Gardening 07

Betty Lou Harris

January 3, 1933 ~ January 22, 2024 (age 91) 91 Years Old

Betty Harris Obituary

Our beautiful mom, Betty Lou (Lyons) Harris, passed from this world on January 22, 2024 at Cove’s Edge in Damariscotta, Maine.  The grief of her loss is matched by the joy of knowing she is finally reunited with our dad, Ron, her husband and the greatest love of her life.

Mom was born on January 3, 1933 in Portland, Maine, to Ruth and Frederick Lyons.  Being so much younger than her brother Frederick and her sister Albertine, she truly was the baby of the family, and the many photos of her with her dolls and bikes and neighborhood buddies reflect the love she grew up in.

As a little girl, she loved books and dolls, and especially animals.  She also loved to dance, and blossomed into a spirited little tap-dancer and later an accomplished and elegant ballerina under the careful eye of Miss Jackson at the Three Arts Studio in Portland.

In high school - Romance!!  She and dad caught each other’s eyes at a friend’s gettogether.  “Your father was standing by the record player, all alone, totally caught up in all the jazz records, oblivious to everything else”.  Mom was intrigued!!  At their first goodnight kiss, she was so flustered that she dropped all of her school books on his feet!  Love persevered, and after dating all through Dad’s college years at Bowdoin, they were married in June of 1956.  Then it was off to El Paso, Texas where Dad was stationed for his stint in the Army.

Despite the heat, the sandstorms, the scorpions and fainting dead away at her first (and only) bull fight (probably not the best spectator sport to bring your animal loving mother to, Dad admitted years later) they both had fond memories of El Paso.  Mom also began an interest in cooking while there.  Early attempts included a fried shrimp recipe that resulted in “big baseballs of batter with shrimp tails - unshelled - sticking out all over…your poor father!!”, Mom said.  However, she stuck with it and turned into an excellent cook.  I still have many envelopes of recipes she clipped over the years - some labeled simply, “Good Food.”.

Their next move was to Connecticut for Dad’s position at Southern New England Telephone.  This is where Mom had me, and then my sister Kim, two and a half years later.  The house in North Branford was their first, with lots of neighborhood parties and backyard barbecues (and all those great ‘60’s clip recipes!!).

In 1966, Maine called the family home to South Portland, where Dad took over the Harris Oil Company family business in Portland.  Mom developed a talent for interior decorating, and with her love for antiques, made the house on Wildrose Avenue a comfortable home.  The many wonderful neighbors and their friendships made Wildrose even more special.

Strong family ties to Round Pond led Mom and Dad to the building of their dream house there in 1976 - “Sweet Beginning”, and it was just that - of wonderful friendships, family gatherings and involvement with this beautiful village - especially the Little Brown Church.  Mom worked hard along with friends, Shirely Ross and Ann Baty, to organize the Summer Vesper services and to bring back the Christmas Service - and to get the church on the Registry of Historic Buildings.

In 2002, Dad died and part of Mom never really recovered.  She moved to Round Pond full-time with her little dog, “Georgie” - and when her memory started to fail, she found a safe and welcoming home, first at Harbor View and then at Cove’s Edge in Damariscotta.  In both places, she found a second family and so much kindness and love.

In her final days, that love was all around her as so many caregiver friends came to her room to quietly hold her hand and say, “goodbye Miss Betty Lou”.  Beacon Hospice angels’, Carly and Tanya, were her gentle guides on her journey home.  Words can never express our gratitude to them and to everyone at Cove’s Edge.

Mom had a gift for listening and for empathy.  Whether you were a person with a broken heart, or a small hurt animal, she could make a safe space to heal and be heard.  “Life’s a gift”, she’d say, and she meant it.  She has many people who will carry her memory in their heart: her daughters, Stacy and her husband Don Meserve, and Kim and her husband Mark Jespersen.  Her nieces and their families, April and her husband Jon Knoop, Mia and her husband David Whitney, and Susanne and her husband Bill Paulson. And her dear friends, Marilyn MacLeod and Sheryl Stockless, Dawn DeRice and Bobby and Joanne Marsolais.

Mom, I was awed, afraid, grief stricken, but so grateful to be with you on this journey.  Your memory will live on in the life of Round Pond Harbor, in the Christmas services at the Little Brown Church, in a new recipe that turns out right the very first time, in the bright loving face of a little dog, in Sunday dinners, in old well-loved hymns.  And in me.

Now carry our love to Dad, and soar high and free together to your new adventure.  We will love you both forever.

Private services will be held at the convenience of her family.  Interment will be in the Chamberlain Cemetery in Round Pond later this spring.

Arrangements are under the direction and care of the Strong-Hancock Funeral Home, 612 Main Street, Damariscotta, ME 04543.  Condolences and messages for her family may be expressed by visiting her memorial page at: www.StrongHancock.com

 

 

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