Anne Blanchard Foote, 95
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PORTLAND -- Anne Blanchard Foote, 95, of Portland, died peacefully at her home on Sunday, Sept. 15, 2013.
The second of four children of Raymond C. and Helen Overholser Blanchard, she was born in Portland on July 5, 1918. She was a graduate of Deering High School, class of 1936, and the then Westbrook Junior College, class of 1938.
Anne was the total package of brains, beauty, natural athleticism, and magnetic personality. An early job was as a librarian at the Portland Public Library, and she continued for much of her active life working part time at the library, often in the reference or art rooms, which she particularly enjoyed. She was a good student, placing second in the Portland spelling bee one year, named to the National Honor Society at Deering, and winning special honors at Westbrook Junior College.
Her parents saw to it that she had, among other graces, violin and piano lessons, and she was a music lover all her life. She was a gifted pianist, with perfect pitch and the ability to play anything by ear. She relaxed by playing Chopin nocturnes, Mozart and Beethoven sonatas, most from memory, along with old hymns, college songs, even a Scott Joplin rag. While working in New York in her 20s, she sought out classical music concerts, the theater, and became a Metropolitan Opera devotee. Back in Portland, she was a top ticket seller for years for the Community Concerts series. Anne was a lover of the woods and nature, visiting with her father the family timber holdings in Maine and New Hampshire. Deering High had a ski club in which she was active, in the rustic early days of the sport, racing on a small slope in Stroudwater and at the club's Ski Haven at Dyke Mountain, near Douglas Hill in East Sebago. The club also went on spring jaunts toting their skis up into Tuckerman's Ravine (or its lower reaches) on Mount Washington. She hiked mountains, before her marriage with a few girlfriends and the mostly older gentlemen in the Eastern Slopes Mountain Club. Later, with her young family, the hikes were with the Appalachian Mountain Club's Portland chapter. In her 60s, she was thrilled to climb Ben Nevis, Great Britain's highest peak, on an AMC walking tour of the United Kingdom. Her life long, she loved beautiful sunsets and mountain views, waxing lyrical in her delight. Another interest was wildflowers, and for a time she was active in the Josselyn Botanical Society.
During the years of World War II she worked as a timekeeper in one of the South Portland shipyards, and later in charge of a Crop Corps crew of Portland youngsters, picked up by a farm truck to spend summer days weeding or harvesting crops on nearby farms. After this she went to New York, some of the time as a waitress at the Maine Maid, a tearoom on Long Island, then as a librarian at a branch of the New York Public Library, living in a residence for young working women.
In 1947 she married Harry T. Foote, a young Bowdoin grad and Marine Corps veteran, a Portland Evening Express reporter whom she had first met and been wooed by during her time at the Portland Public Library before the war. They lived on Hawkes Street in Westbrook, then during a long summer stretched to water shut-off in the fall, in a rented cottage on Peaks Island. They raised their four children
Anne Blanchard Foote
Jones, Rich & Hutchins
Funeral Home & Cremation Service
first on Hamblet Avenue at the edge of Evergreen Cemetery, then on Concord Street near Woodfords Corner. When her husband bought the then Westbrook American and sister South Portland- Cape Elizabeth Journal in 1965, it began a new era for Anne, with long hours helping edit, proofread, and pasting up each week's issue, as well as writing her own column, which she continued until very recently in the successor American Journal. She loved newspapers and newspapering, and often called Harry's attention to some gem of a story that deserved Page One placement. She had a fierce nose for news and was sometimes the one urging further digging and publication of a touchy story. If the AJ had fire in those days, Anne was partly responsible. She had a great gift for column writing, often providing detail-rich accounts of various places she had visited or of books read, which make good reading even decades later. Recipes were usually added at the end, often suggested by readers. Her family was treated to many a new dish that became a favorite.
She was an ideal mother, always accepting, letting each child find his or her own way forward. She had lovely ladylike manners, noted even in recent times by those who looked in on her. Her children's friends in high school years often commented, 'Your mother is so cool.' She was still active and up and about the house even after her husband's death in August 2012, but broke her right hip in January while preparing to attend a friend's funeral. After rehabilitation, she went home and spent the past six months quite cheerfully in bed. She had recently been showing gradual improvement in leg and body strength.
Anne was predeceased by her sister, Jane Luthe and husband H. Merrill Luthe, and by her brother, Raymond C. Blanchard Jr. and his wife Patricia. She is survived by her four children, Susan B. Foote of Portland, Thomas O. Foote and wife Anne Harwood of Bowdoinham, Raymond M. Foote of Portland, and Daniel H. Foote and his wife Mikiyo Ishii of Tokyo, Japan and Seattle; and by grandsons, Jeffrey H. Perry and his wife Elizabeth of Virginia, and Kevin B. Perry of Charlotte, N.C. Also surviving are her sister, Sally Blanchard Vaughan and brother- in-law Richard Vaughan of Buxton, sisters-in-law Charlotte Foote of Michigan and Jeannette Foote of Ohio; and numerous nieces and nephews.
The family would like to thank Home Instead Senior Care and its caretakers, especially Sheila, Cathy and Betty, for their great attention, and the VNA nurses and other home care staff, especially Sarah and Cheryl.
Family and friends are invited to attend a time of visitation and a luncheon on Friday, Sept. 27, 2013, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., with a service to follow at 1 p.m., at Jones, Rich & Hutchins Funeral Home, 199 Woodford St., Portland. Please visit www.jonesrichandhutchins.com for additional information and to sign Anne's online guestbook.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be given in her memory to:
Portland Public Library
5 Monument Square
Portland, Maine 04101
Published in Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram on Sept. 25, 2013