Charlotte Scribner Brien, 80

Charlotte Frances Scribner Brien

Charlotte Frances Scribner Brien

HARRISON — The final leg of the journey for Charlotte Frances Scribner Brien, 80, came to a close at Maine Medical Center in Portland on Oct. 17, 2013, accompanied by her family, led by her husband and stalwart companion, Gerald “Gerry” Brien.

Like many Mainers born in the Depression Era, Charlotte’s life was marked by distinct phases reflecting the world around her and her own natural grit and perseverance.  In the end, her legacy will be that she transcended her humble beginnings and carved out a life that continues to serve as the model for her heirs and family.

Charlotte was born on Nov. 1, 1932, the eighth of nine children to Addie Flora (Nile) Scribner and Guy Bernard Scribner, then living in the Minot/South Paris area. Early life for her and her family was harsh. Her father worked the woods, often with draft horses, and her mother tended to the children and household, always stretching the food from little to adequate. Moving the household from place-to-place in search of the next job and/or crop opportunity was routine for them and Charlotte became accustomed to adapting to new circumstances and schools. Her high-water mark in education was a freshman year at Gould Academy in Bethel. She always felt privileged to have had that year at Gould.

Harsher times followed. At the age of fifteen, she moved from the family home and lived with understanding older sisters, attending local schools and attempting to earn her way. She arrived in Harrison in 1948, where she worked in a local inn in return for room and board. Harrison became her hometown for the following sixty-five years.

Charlotte married in 1949 and bore four children over the following twenty years: Ron Ward of Falmouth, Anne Ward of Vt., Vicky Edwards of Otisfield and Matthew Ward of North Andover, Mass.

Her instinct to stretch little into something within the household was on full display over her child-bearing years, but she aspired to more. In the mid-1960s, armed with a new GED, she entered the job market, while continuing to run the household, keeping the books for her husband’s small construction company and making civic contributions of time wherever she could find a bit more time, particularly the Woodland Rebekah Lodge. Her primary employment over this leg of her journey was as medical records librarian at Stephens Memorial Hospital, a position she was extraordinarily proud of, and serious about. Many a doctor at Stephens came to understand the limits of his/her medical training when it came to a dispute with Charlotte regarding patient records. Reportedly, they were all allowed to surrender quietly and move on, much the wiser for it.

In the 1970s, Charlotte was able to indulge her delight in working with young people through employment at Lake Region High School. She loved her work in the audio visual department, the professional staff, and particularly liked the boys in the Shop classes who kept her car running.

Charlotte’s course changed forever on Nov. 1, 1983, when she married Gerry. Together, they were able to access joys that neither, individually, would have discovered. Travel became a feature of their days together, most of that involving extended family and military-related travel stemming from Gerry’s career in the U.S. military. Charlotte continued her service through the Rebekahs and, through Gerry, became very active in the local VFW. Charlotte and Gerry were very much the Greatest Generation couple, always looking to give back some of what their country made possible for them.

Family was always at the core of Charlotte’s focus. No family member was ever allowed to founder without receiving offers of assistance, just as no family member could get away without giving their fair share back to the family. Charlotte knew it takes a village, well before others claiming that insight turned it into a campaign slogan.

She leaves nine grandchildren bearing Grammie’s mark: Jennifer Ward of York, Sarah Hart of Falmouth, Lindsey Seavey of Kensington, N.H., Jesse Edwards of Rye, N.Y., Nathan Edwards of Portland, Austin and Julia Ward of North Andover, Mass., and Harry and Ellie Ward of Falmouth. Her five great-grandchildren are Grace and Sam Hart of Falmouth, Lachlan and Ainsley McMorris of York, and Parker Pitts Seavey of Kensington, N.H. She also leaves beloved sons and daughters-in-law, whom she treated as her own.

Thus ends the journey of a bright, compassionate, and feisty, when necessary, woman of Maine and Harrison. Her legacy lives on through her family. Online condolences may be shared with the family at

Family and friends are invited to attend services for Charlotte on Friday, Oct. 25, at 3:00 p.m. at the United Parish Church in Harrison, followed immediately by a reception for all in the ground floor function room at the Church. Funeral services are under the direction of Chandler Funeral Home and Cremation Services, 8 Elm Street, Bridgton.

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