Gertrude W. Cole, 93

 

Gertrude Cole

Gertrude W. Graffam Cole, 93, of 469 Kansas Road, Bridgton, and recently in winters at Melbourne Beach, Fla., died Sunday, April 30, 2017, after a short illness.

Gertrude was born in Bridgton, on June 2, 1923, to Harold N. and Myrtle Foster Norton Graffam.

She lived her childhood in Bridgton with her parents and attended Bridgton Schools, graduating from Bridgton High School. She and her sisters, Dorothy, Phyllis, and Alice, loved life and dancing, and she often joined her older sisters taking in the Big Star Bands like Benny Goodman’s Band at the Old Orchard Pier. She and her first husband, Edgar Peterson, now deceased, were married following high school. After a short time in Massachusetts, they returned to Maine, settling on the Kansas Road where Gertrude lived throughout her life. In her early married life she was a stay-at-home Mom, raising their daughter Karen. In later life, she worked for and retired from Central Maine Power Company. Gertrude was predeceased 19 years ago by her husband of 32 years, Bruce Cole.

Having a Maine Guide for a father, she spent many hours in the woods with her Dad, “Neighbor Graffam,” as his hunting companions and neighbors addressed him. In November, you could find Gertrude with the Graffam Clan and in-laws in the woods hunting deer, bear, partridge, rabbits and, often, coons. The hunting fever did not leave her when she left home for married life as she continued hunting, much of the time with her sister, Phyllis. They would often, with a fresh snow and a crisp day, borrow Neighbor Graffam’s dog or brother-in-law Gordon Stuart’s dog and hit the woods for rabbits. She loved her family and summers often found her at her sister Phyllis' camp on Moose Pond enjoying the kids who were always present. Snowmobiling became a pastime for her as well, and she rode many miles with friends, sister Phyllis and her nephew and niece, Mark and Amy.

Gertrude, in her early 70s, took up painting so that she that she could join her daughter in Karen’s summer painting trips. Painting brought them together for many summers when they would travel up the coast of Maine, selecting picturesque locations to set up their easels and spend several days painting. Her home is adorned with many of these paintings. A favorite location for many of those summer trips was on Deer Isle in the town of Stonington. Staying in a quaint Downeast Motel right on the Main Street of Stonington, they would venture forth daily to a new scenic location and capture the beauty of this granite-scaped coastal town.

Highlights of her traveling were to Florida for many years to visit her sister Alice, where she took up golf and to Donegal, Ireland in 2006 with her two older sisters, daughter Karen, and nephew Bill and his wife Beverley, where she met seventh cousins from her Grandfather Foster’s lineage. This trip gave some real images to the experience of a concert highlight when she and her sister Phyllis attended a Daniel O'Donnell concert, a native of their heritage, County Donegal.

She is survived by her daughter Karen of Melbourne Beach, Fla., four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren: Alicia Busbea and her husband Johnny and children Avery and Mason of Spring, Texas; Angela Joslin and son Charlie of Westerly, R.I.; Shelby Buck and daughters Sophia and Phoebe of Westerly, R.I.; and Siobhan Maynard of Pawcatuck, Conn.; her two close nephews Gordon (Gene) Stuart of Harrison and William Warren of Gorham; and 93 nieces and nephews. She was also predeceased by her parents and five siblings; Dorothy Norton Stuart of Harrison; Harold N. Graffam Jr. of Bridgton; Alice Norton Sanborn of Standish, Phyllis Marie Norton Warren of Bridgton, and Faye Graffam Shepherd of Dover, Okla.

She loved her church family and served the First Congregational Church faithfully in her younger years as a member and choir member. Gertrude requested her funeral service be held at the First Congre-gational Church, Bridgton.

A Memorial Service will be held early in August with a reception in the church vestry following the funeral service. Donations may be made in her memory to the: Harvest Hills Animal Shelter, 1389 Bridgton Road, Fryeburg, ME 04037 or, to the charity organization of your choice.

Arrangements are by the Chandler Funeral Home, Bridgton.

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