Karin E. (Sherrard) Gower, 95

Karin E. (Sherrard) Gower

Karin E. (Sherrard) Gower

WESTBROOK & CHARLOTTE — Karin E. (Sherrard) Gower, 95, widow of Harold W. Gower, formerly of Carlson Street, Westbrook, passed away unexpectedly on Monday, Oct. 21, 2013, at the Gorham House in Gorham, where she had resided the past year.

Karin was born on Sept. 14, 1918, in Charlotte, the daughter of Philip E. and Mildred A. (Goodeill) Sherrard, the first of three children. For the initial 10 years of her life, she and her parents resided with her maternal grandparents along the Moosehead Stream in Charlotte and thereafter on the Sherrard family farm on the shore of Round Pond in Charlotte, originally settled by her paternal great-grandfather. She attended various one-room schools in Charlotte (Gardner, Lake and Damon Ridge) and graduated from Pembroke High School in 1935 at the age of 16.

Karin married her beloved husband, Harold, in Calais on Oct. 8, 1935, with whom she shared nearly 75 years of a wonderful, loving marriage. The family moved to the Portland area in 1941, residing in Westbrook for 57 of the subsequent years.

Although Karin’s primary occupation was that of a housewife raising her five children, Karin also worked full-time for a number of years, principally for Grants department store in the early 1950s, then as a housekeeper for the William Rines family of South Portland beginning in 1954, concluding her formal outside employment with five years of service in the Central Supply department of Maine Medical Center in the 1970s. During World War II, she served as a volunteer in the Red Cross Motor Corps, primarily as an ambulance driver. She also served as a volunteer Civil Air Defense observer for several years following the war.

Karin was an active member of the Prides Corner Congregational Church for 54 years, during which time she was in charge of the dining room for the monthly bean suppers for many years, and where her custard pies were legendary right up to the time she moved to the Gorham House. She was very active in the Church Guild, of which she served as president for several years and as chairman of the Guild room for many Christmas fairs. She (and Harold) also worked for over 15 years as part of the church’s support of the Soup Kitchen in Portland, not only as food servers but also by baking cookies or bars for each session on which they worked.

The Grange was also an important part of Karin's life. Karin joined Charlotte Grange on Sept. 28, 1938, and transferred her membership to Cape Elizabeth Grange on Jan. 26, 1946. Not only was she a subordinate member for 75 years, she also belonged to Cumberland County Pomona Grange, the Maine State Grange, and the National Grange. She was past Master of Cape Elizabeth Grange and Junior Deputy three times for the Maine State Grange. She was an active participant of the Cape Elizabeth Grange Ceres Circle, serving as president and treasurer several years.

Karin (and Harold) was among the founding members of Hospice of Maine in 1976. In 1989 Karin and Harold 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. The award indicated particularly their work in 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 by the Spirit of America Foundation. Sharing and working for the benefit of others was a way of life for the Gowers.

Karin was a member for 25-plus years of the Maine Genealogical Society and the Maine Historical Society. In 1993, she published a genealogy of the descendants of her great-grandfather, John Sherrard, through seven generations. In 2003, Karin produced a 105-page memoir of her life for her children and grandchildren. She also printed for them in 2000 a 92-page book of her favorite recipes.

Karin was a fabulous cook. She baked her first apple pie at age nine under the guidance of her grandmother Sherrard and made hundreds of pies thereafter of all varieties. She canned or froze prodigious quantities of vegetables, pickles, applesauce, mincemeat, etc., each fall.

As suggested above, Karin was an accomplished seamstress. She made much of her children's clothing in their younger years. She made quilts for all her children and grandchildren, and made dozens of quilts for the Ronald McDonald House, A.B. C. AIDS Babies and Project Linus, contributing one to two dozen quilts a year. She won many awards for her submissions to State Grange sewing contests.

She liked to play cribbage and hand and foot; and enjoyed doing puzzles.

She was predeceased by her beloved husband, Harold, in September 2010; an infant son, Norman in March 1940; and her sister, Agatha Morrison in October 1995.

She is survived by 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; 26 great- grandchildren; six great-great-grandchildren; her brother, Chester Sherrard of Davenport, Fla.; several nieces and nephews; and many special friends.

Visiting hours will be held on Thursday, Oct. 24, from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m., with a Grange service at 7 p.m., at Blais & Hay Funeral Home, 35 Church Street, Westbrook. A funeral service will be held on Friday, Oct. 25 at 1:30 p.m. at the Prides Corner Congregational Church, Westbrook, with a reception to follow in the church hall. Interment will be at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 26 at the Round Pond Cemetery in Charlotte.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to: The Prides Corner Congregational Church, 235 Pride St., Westbrook, ME 04092.


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