Elizabeth L. Keene, 90

Elizabeth Lea Keene

WESTBROOK — Elizabeth “Betty” Lea Keene, 90, formerly of Bridgton, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018 at Stroudwater Lodge in Westbrook, Maine.

She was the daughter of the Rev. Fergus Lea and Violet (Atkinson) Lea, who came to this country from England in 1925. Elizabeth was the only member of her family born in the U.S., being born in West Baldwin on July 4th, 1928. As a child she thought all the July 4th parades and fireworks were in honor of her birthday!

As the child of a minister she lived in several locations in her youth including: West Baldwin, Greenville, Columbia Falls, Wilton, and Conway, N.H., where she graduated from Kennett High School in 1945 at the age of 17.

After graduation Elizabeth moved to Bridgton, where she studied and received her hairdresser license in 1946. She then worked with her sister, Joan Emerson, at the El-Fa-Br Beauty shop until 1951.

Elizabeth married George A. C. Keene on Dec. 24, 1948, and they were married for 66 years until George’s death in 2015. While home on leave from boot camp, George proposed to Elizabeth and after a one-day engagement, they were married in Bridgton on Christmas Eve in 1948 by Elizabeth’s father, the Reverend Fergus Lea.

George and Elizabeth moved to “The Farm” in South Bridgton in 1957. It was the first time she had ever resided in the country.  She said it was a great place to raise children and chickens! After having four children, in 1967 they built a poultry house and for 21 years raised flocks of 36,000 broilers and then replacement pullets, where Elizabeth was very involved in the day-to-day operation of tending to the chicks.

During this time she also continued to work out of the house as a hairdresser for friends and family, doing so until leaving Bridgton in 2015.

In the 1960s Elizabeth was active in the South Bridgton Congregational Church, and then later in the First Congregational Church in Bridgton. She was a member of the Order of the Eastern Star, Pondicherry Chapter, for 70 years holding many offices including Worthy Matron twice, and was also active in Rainbow Girls where she was Mother Advisor for several years. She was also a member of the Bridgton Literary Club for over 35 years, and was involved in the Legion Auxiliary, BPW Club, and numerous church groups. Elizabeth and George were also foster parents for two babies in the 1960s.

Elizabeth was well-known for her baking skills and, for many years, worked frequently on the numerous local church and Masonic suppers, baking homemade pies, bread, rolls, beans, brown bread, biscuits and other delicious treats to share. She also entered many of her baked goods at the Fryeburg Fair and one year won the King Arthur blue medal ribbon for her oatmeal bread.  Grammie has even passed on some of her favorite recipes and baking secrets to her grandchildren.

Elizabeth was predeceased by her husband George, as well as her oldest daughter, Shelley Vaughan (William) of Belfast.

Elizabeth is survived by a daughter, Vickie Fulton (Temple) of Elizabethton, Tenn.; and two sons, Matthew Keene (Shirley) of Hilton, N.Y., and Jonathan Keene (Denise) of Falmouth; ten grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren.

The family would like to give thanks to the incredible staff at Stroudwater Lodge for their assistance, love and care shown to Elizabeth. You are truly an amazing group of individuals who became Elizabeth’s extended family.

A memorial service will be held at the South Bridgton Congregational Church, on Friday, Oct. 26, at 1:30 p.m., with a reception immediately to follow in the vestry. Burial will be private. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a gift to Hospice of Southern Maine at 180 US Route One, Scarborough, ME 04074 (www.hospiceofsouthernmaine.org/give), or to the South Bridgton Congregational Church, 16 Fosterville Rd., Bridgton ME 04009. Arrangements are in the care of the Wood Funeral Home, 9 Warren St., Fryeburg. Condolences and tributes may be shared at www.woodfuneralhome.org

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