COLUMBIA FALLS – Muriel Lea Hartford, 100, passed away peacefully in the early hours of March 1, 2012, at Jonesport Sunrise Care Facility. She was born Sept. 8, 1911, in South Shields, County Durnam, England, the oldest daughter of the Rev. Fergus and Violet (Atkinson) Lea.
When our mother was 14 years of age, the family sailed to the United States after her father’s ministry was transferred. She attended Kents Hill School, Kents Hill, where she learned the game of tennis and worked in the school dining room to help pay her board. Later, after the family moved to Columbia Falls, she graduated high school there in the class of 1931. She met and married Daniel W. Hartford Jr. the same year and they went on to have three daughters. Our mother later graduated from Machias Normal School, earning her degree in elementary education. She taught in area schools and beyond for more than 15 years. In her younger years she had various occupations: packing beans and sardines, was the local seamstress, and her husband’s lumber and hunting camp cook, alongside Harold Tyler. She was “in charge” of the family blueberry operation at Township 24, by doing the tallying, bookkeeping and payroll; also raking berries. Our mother loved hooking rugs, drawing the design, cutting the strips and making seamless pieces of art into useful floor coverings. She was an avid water colorist at one point in her life, enjoyed writing poetry and was extremely proud of her published works. She was a delicious cook and jam maker. She was a fan of “talking books” and had a long-standing relationship with Maine State Library.
She was predeceased by her husband of 57 years, Daniel W. Hartford; her parents, Fergus and Violet (Atkinson) Lea; her brother, Fergus Lea; and daughter, Glenda Lea Hartford. Our mother is survived by her daughters, Jean and her husband, Albert Dam, of Columbia Falls and Danita and her husband, Elliott Beal, of Beals; eight grandchildren, Bonnie and her husband, Joe Sproul, of Cherryfield, Sherry and her husband, Richard Polley of Addison, Robert Look and his wife, Sandi, of Columbia Falls, Jay Look and his wife, Pam, of Columbia Falls, Daniel Look and his wife, Lorraine, of Pepperell, Mass., Michale Beal and his wife, Brenda, of Jonesport, Mitchell Beal and his wife, D’Anna, and Mathew Beal and his wife, Majel, all of Beals; 14 great-grandchildren, Joseph Bradley, Jennifer (Look) Brown, Maeve Perry, Andrew Polley, Joshua Look, Jeremy Look and Selina (Look) Reifenberg, Micheala Stanley, Morgan Beal, Sterling Beal, BreAnna and Cole Beal, Micki and Maverick Beal; 12 great-great-grandchildren; sisters, Joan Emerson, and Betty and husband, George Keen, all of Bridgton; special friend, Gene Stahovec of Columbia Falls; many nieces and nephews.
Services will be announced in spring. Arrangements by Bragdon-Kelley Funeral Home, Machias.