Harold W. Gower

WESTBROOK — Harold W. Gower, 96, of Westbrook, passed away peacefully on Sept. 16, 2010, at the Gosnell Memorial House in Scarborough of complications of a stroke suffered on Aug. 24, 2010. His loving wife of 75 years and three generations of his family were at his side.

Harold was born April 9, 1914, in Charlotte, the son of the late Horace and Martha (Brown) Gower, the sixth of 10 children. He was raised on the family farm in Charlotte, attending the Gardner one room school of that town, and graduated from Pembroke High School in 1934.

He married Karin E. Sherrard on Oct. 8, 1935, in Calais with whom a celebration of 75 years of a wonderful marriage was planned for Oct. 9, but is now not quite to be.

Harold moved to the Portland area in 1941 to work in the South Portland Ship Yard as a crane operator. He was a member of Local #4 of Hoisting Engineers and Operators, employed mainly after WWII by Robbins & White Co. of Westbrook. He retired in 1979.

Harold was an active member of the Pride’s Corner Congregational Church for 51 years. He was a past deacon, Sunday school director, and treasurer, helped construct the current building, and was a fixture in the kitchen for the church’s many bean suppers and fairs until his death. Harold was a subordinate Grange member for over 71 years. He was past Master of the Cape Elizabeth Grange, past Master of the Cumberland County Pomona, a former Deputy of the Maine State Grange, and a member of the National Grange. Harold was a 37-year member of the former Warren Phillips Masonic Lodge, where he served as Master, and the Saccarappa Lodge #86, with which the Warren Phillips Lodge merged.

Harold (and Karin) were among the founding members of Hospice of Maine in 1976, of which Harold was treasurer for several years in addition to countless hours of direct service for 23 years. In 1989, Harold and Karin jointly were recipients of the prestigious Mary Rines Thompson Award given by the Center for Voluntary Action, a division of the United Way, in recognition of “their exceptional and faithful service to the Hospice of Maine and their unwavering kindness and support for all people in need. Sharing and working for the benefit of others is a way of life for the Gowers.” The award noted particularly their work on behalf of Hospice, the Grange, the Baxter School for the Deaf, the Little Wanderers, and their church. In 1997, the Gowers received a lifetime achievement award from the Spirit of America Foundation.

Harold was a member for 25-plus years of the Maine Genealogical Society and the Maine Historical Society. In 1989, he attended a reunion of his Gower line in Tennessee, where, among other things, he was able to observe the state memorial plaque honoring his third great-grandfather, and other early settlers of Nashville, who were killed by Indians in 1780 during the first year of settlement there.

Harold had many other interests. He loved family camping trips. After retirement he and Karin took a two-month motor trip to Alaska. He went on many other trips, including trips to Prince Edward Island, Pennsylvania, and New York, with special friends Bob and Charlotte Pratt. He liked to play cribbage and Hand and Foot; make plastic canvas items; did beautiful latch hook rugs for all his children and grandchildren; enjoyed doing puzzles; and was known to recite poetry whenever asked. He will be remembered for his firm handshake and warm smile.

He was predeceased by an infant son, Norman in March 1940; and siblings, Stella Cousins, Ralph Gower, Mary Chase, Thelma Batron, Alice Featherson, Eva Neill, Florence Hatton, Lewis Gower, and an infant unnamed sibling.

He is survived by his loving wife, Karin E. (Sherrard) Gower; five children, Louise Worster of Satellite Beach, Fla., Gerald Gower of Raymond, Lois Morin of Sebago, Horace Gower of Freeport, Elmira Collins of Standish; 15 grandchildren; 23 great-grandchildren; four great-great-grandchildren; several nieces and nephews; and many special friends.

Visiting hours were held on Monday with a Masonic service) and a Grange service at Blais & Hay Funeral Home, 35 Church Street, Westbrook. A funeral service was held on Tuesday at the Pride’s Corner Congregational Church, with a reception following in Friendship Hall. Interment was on Wednesday at the Round Pond Cemetery, in Charlotte, followed by a reception at the Charlotte Fire Station.

Those who wish may send donations to: The Pride’s Corner Congregational Church, 235 Pride Street, Westbrook, ME 04092.

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