John E. Stanhope Sr., 92

John E. Stanhope

PORTLAND — John Edmond Stanhope Sr., 92, passed away on Feb. 2, 2013. He went peacefully in his sleep with his lifelong love Sarah Jane Austin Stanhope and other family members by his side.

Born on Oct. 7, 1920, he was one of 16 children born to Irish immigrants, William Stanhope and Sarah MacDaid Stanhope, who came to Maine from Derry, North Ireland in the early part of the twentieth century.

The 10 children who survived into adulthood grew up under harsh conditions during the great Depression and the boys and girls helped the family by gathering driftwood from east end beach and coal from the railroad tracks to help heat the family home on Adams Street during the winter.

He and his siblings took any odd jobs they could find; they included delivery boy, night paper route, and loading freight cars for $3 a day. He eventually worked for the National Youth Association for $18 a month and worked baking bread for local Army troops on Great Diamond Island. There was so little money during the depression that the children didn't have the 10 cents needed to buy lunch at the high school cafeteria. All the immigrants on Munjoy Hill were in the same situation.

He joined the Marines shortly after World War II broke out and successfully completed boot camp at Camp Lejeune N.C. He eventually was shipped out of New Orleans with his fellow Marines for an unknown assignment overseas. Soon after they left New Orleans, they were disappointed to know that they were going to the Canal Zone, rather than a War Zone assignment. He spent the remainder of the war as part of a unit in Balboa, Canal Zone, and guarding ships as they passed through. Upon being honorably discharged at the end of the war he returned home to help care for his ailing mother in Portland. He was a devoted son who sent most of his salary home to his mother to support her while he was on active duty.

In 1950, he became a full-time policeman for the Portland Police Department following his training in 1948. His first assignment was the Portland Waterfront, now known as the Old Port section of town. He said that he never had to use his gun, but on several occasions relied on his “billy club” to subdue drunken patrons in bar fights or break-ins. He walked the beat for many years before his first assigned patrol car. He finished his career writing parking tickets/violations on Congress Street, which was the easiest job of his life, he said.

He met the love of his life, Sarah, and they married in 1959, raising three children on Brighton Avenue. He and Sarah employed by the Portland Gas Light Company, retired in the early and mid 1970s and spent their retirement years at their home. He worked part time as a courier for 10 years at Casco Bank and retired. John and Sarah enjoyed square dancing and danced for years throughout the northeast and Canada with a large group of square dancers and friends.

John enjoyed Irish tunes and Broadway musicals and would regularly sing or hum these tunes when doing his chores or projects around the house. They loved their family and helped raise many grandchildren and held formal family gatherings at Thanksgivings and Christmases, until the last year of his life at their home on Brighton Ave. He spent his final days in the home he loved with the woman he loved surrounded by family and friends that loved him.

John was predeceased by eight of his siblings.

John is survived by his loving wife, Sarah Stanhope of Portland; their children, John E. Stanhope Jr. of Sebago, Gary Morton of Fort Mill, S.C. and Pam Peterson of Portland; a brother, Erbyn Stanhope of Pennsylvania; and nine grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.

A period of visitation for John and his family will be held this Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Jones, Rich & Hutchins Funeral Home, 199 Woodford Street, Portland, where a funeral service will be held on Friday, Feb. at 10 a.m. Burial will follow at Calvary Cemetery in South Portland.

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