Esther M. Grimm, 84

Esther M. Grimm, 84, of Bridgton, passed away on Sunday, July 2, 2017, after a short illness.

She was born on Dec. 26, 1932, in Newton, N.J., the daughter of Cecil and Marjorie Powers Dennis.

In May 1970, she moved with her family to Bridgton. She became an integral part of her community, working for many years at Renys department store and Saunders Dowel Mill. She was a longtime member of the South Bridgton Congregational Church, serving in many roles, holding several leadership positions and organizing fundraisers, church suppers, and community activities. In her last years, she enjoyed the fellowship of the Denmark Congregational Church.

Having known great difficulties in her own life, her heart was always moved by others in need. Where her heart led, her hands soon followed. She knitted scores of mittens and hats for inclusion in Christmas boxes given out by community churches. She made and distributed quilts and blankets for Project Linus. She had a special relationship with the staff and children of Dodge House School, where she served on the board for many years. She was involved with the Foster Grandparent program, various programs at the Bridgton Community Center, and anywhere she found a need unmet.

When her children were young, her home in South Bridgton was a gathering place for all the children in the neighborhood. She provided childcare for many over the years, and always kept a special place in her heart for all her “kids.” Working at Renys, she took many teenagers under her wing, teaching them good work ethics. One teenager remarked, “If Esther doesn’t have something for me to do, she’ll get a hammer and nails and make something for me to do.”

She enjoyed music of all types, her houseplants, watching birds on her porch, knitting, sewing, reading, and spending time with family and friends. One of her proudest accomplishments, beyond the raising of her own and other’s children, was working three jobs to allow her to buy her own house. She was proud of having lived long enough to pay off the mortgage and own her home “free and clear.”

She is survived by her six children: William Jr. of West Athens, Robert of Raymond, Caroline of Bridgton, Barrett of Vt., Catherine Frost of Seabrook, Tex., and Cynthia of Auburn. She leaves six grandchildren: William III who is currently deployed in the Navy, Amanda of Bridgton, Becky of Chesapeake, Va., Deemer and Matthew Frost of Seabrook, Tex., and Ember of Auburn. She leaves five great-grandchildren: William IV, Kaitlyn, Lauren, and Benjamin of Chesapeake, Va., and Tyler Brann of Bridgton. She is also survived by her two sisters: Ellen Kays of Ariz., and Sharon Dennis of Mich., many nieces, nephews, cousins; and more “adopted” children than can be counted. She will be dearly missed by her wide circle of friends of all ages.

A service of celebration will be held on Saturday, Aug. 12, at 10 a.m., at the South Bridgton Congregational Church, with interment in the South Bridgton Cemetery by Adams Pond. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations of time or money be given to any charity of choice.

Arrangements are under the care of Chandler Funeral Homes & Cremation Service, 8 Elm Street, Bridgton. Online condolences may be shared with her family at www.chandlerfunerals.com

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