Francine Currier

SCARBOROUGH — Francine Currier, 73, died of cancer last Saturday at Hospice of Maine in Scarborough.

During the three years of her treatment she walked regularly, traveled widely, and claimed, until the last few days of her life, to have had no pain.

Her claim of no pain was no surprise to her friends: Francine was a triathlon athlete. She was the first woman over 40 in the state of Maine to run 50 miles. She was the holder of the United States record for women over 40 in the 24-hour race, during which she ran a total of 93.5 miles. She came in ninth in the whole field of runners including men and women. She ran 16 marathons; her best time was 3:30.

Pain never dominated her. But, she understood pain, especially sympathizing with those who could not avoid it. For seven years as a member of the Maine Rowdies she helped organize and carry out a 400-mile relay run from Fort Kent to Kittery to raise money for the unfortunate residents of Pineland Hospital. Members of this group, the Maine Rowdies, were cited by Governor Joseph Brennan as a “premiere volunteer group” for running the entire north-south expanse of Maine year after year to raise money for these children and adults.

Francine was born in Boston in 1937 to Carmen Gosselin and Thomas Frank Fontaine. She attended Sacred Heart School and graduated from Deering High School in 1955. In 1960 she married Robert J. Currier of Westbrook, who became her companion of 53 years.

Her career was as varied as her abilities. She simultaneously held real estate broker’s licenses in Maine, Florida, and Hawaii. When her three children grew up, her joie de vivre and that of her husband, Bob, sent them traveling to Hawaii and Florida — to more sports and records. She also managed Breakwater at Spring Point in South Portland. In Hawaii, she excelled in vacation ownership sales.

But, the biggest project of her life was the three children she raised in Portland. In her early 20s she mothered her three children who, at one point, were all under three years of age, while her husband worked in Portland at Couri Pontiac for more than a 40-hour week. Yet, they still had time and energy for a summer home on Long Lake in Harrison. Francine and Bob gave their children idyllic Maine summers.

For her children, Francine was a model of resourcefulness, creativity, love and devotion. A trip through any of the homes that she made was a trip through an arts and crafts showroom, with original works of art by her and ingenious restorations of the arts and crafts of different periods. Her love and skill with flowers was a life-long passion. She surrounded her family with their beauty. To see the home and gardens that Francine made was to see her devotion to beauty and style. Work and art were the means by which Francine constantly created herself anew and kept life interesting for those around her. Living for her was an act of love.

She carried her love for perfection to sports. In Hawaii, she took up out-rigger canoeing. In the world out-rigger canoe competitions held in Hawaii in 1995, she and the other members of her six-person crew became the World Champions of long distance out-rigger canoeing, Senior Women’s Division. The race was the 24th Annual Queen Liliouklani Race.

Whatever she chose to do she aimed for perfection, and always achieved it.

She leaves behind her husband, Robert J. Currier of Raymond; and her three children, Craig Currier of Old Orchard Beach, Felicia Bitterman of Saugerties, N.Y., and Valerie Currier of South Portland. She leaves behind one grandchild; and one great-grandchild. She also leaves behind two brothers, Ronald G. Fontaine of Greenville, Pa., and Donald F. Fontaine of Portland.

There will be a Catholic funeral Mass at Our Lady of Perpetual Help, 919 Roosevelt Trail, Route 302, Windham, on Friday, July 15, at 10 a.m. Following the Mass there will be a celebration of her life at St. Joseph’s Academy on White’s Bridge Road, three miles from the church.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Francine’s memory may be made to: American Lung Association of New England, 460 Totten Rd., Waltham, MA 02451, or online at “American Lung Assoc.: donate.”

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