ORONO – Viola (Purinton) Giffin, 102, departed this world March 8, 2012, resulting from complications of pneumonia. Viola was born March 15, 1909, in Kenduskeag, delivered by her father, in their home. She was the youngest child of Dr. Watson S. and Nellie Mae (Jenness) Purinton.
Viola was the current holder of the Boston Post Cane award recognizing her as Orono’s eldest resident. She was educated in Bangor schools and upon her graduation from Bangor High school, class of 1927, she attended the University of Maine, class of 1931. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in home economics. While there she was a member of Pi Beta Phi sorority. Viola was the first of four generations to graduate from the University of Maine. She married her college sweetheart, Alvin Hitchcock Giffin, also class of 1931 and majoring in mechanical engineering, Feb. 14, 1933. Upon graduation from college, Alvin became an officer in the U.S. Coast Guard rising to the rank of captain. Throughout her life Viola kept close ties to her family in Maine, returning often for summer vacations and various family events. During retirement she and her husband took a world tour and then settled in Fort Myers, Fla., and Hemlock Point on Pushaw Lake, Orono. Pushaw Lake became the family compound for more than 50 years. It was there that so many family memories began, built around daughter, Alola, three grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. Viola was a woman with many interests. She was an accomplished golfer, usually besting the men folk of the family. She enjoyed sailing, boating and fishing. Cards were a particular favorite and much time was spent playing bridge and cribbage with family and friends. All her life she was proponent of higher education and an avid reader. Perhaps Viola’s greatest strength and one that endeared her to all of us, was her love of people. She always put others at ease with her gracious and welcoming nature. Above all else family was the main focus of her love and generosity and to whom she gave so much of herself. She was the family’s mainstay and undisputed matriarch. We all drew strength and inspiration from her example. She was without pride or pretense and her quiet yet dignified presence will be so missed by family and friends alike. What she experienced in her almost 103 years comprised a life that only few could hope for. Viola can depart this world knowing that she will have left a legacy of love that will live within all she touched. The love that we share with one another is never lost and those that we love are never gone from us and Viola was loved by so many!
Viola was predeceased by her husband, Capt. Alvin H. Giffin; grandson, Kenneth Bryant Morrison; and siblings, Bernice (Purinton) Webster, William Andrews Purinton, M.D., and Earle Purinton. She is survived by her only child, Alola Morrison, dietitian, and son-in-law, Joseph Franklin Morrison, retired principal, of Orrington; grandson, Mark Giffin Morrison and wife, Candice Clewley Morrison, of Windham; granddaughter, Cheryl Ann Morrison Ginsberg and her husband, Mark Allen Ginsberg, of Hampden Falls, N.H.; plus five great-grandchildren, Kristin, Gregory, Connor, Olivia and Joseph Morrison. Thanks must be given to the staff at Orono Commons for the thoughtful and sympathetic care given to Viola during her time there.
A graveside service will be held 1 p.m. Monday, March 12, at Mount Hope Cemetery, Bangor, with the Rev. Carl Schreiber, pastor of East Orrington Congregational Church, officiating. Relatives and friends are invited to gather 12:45 p.m. at the superintendent’s lodge, State Street entrance. A memorial service honoring Viola’s life will be announced this summer. Those wishing to remember Viola may make gifts in her memory to Kenduskeag Case Memorial Library, P.O. Box 312, Kenduskeag, ME 04450. A service of the Orono Chapel of Brookings-Smith, 72 Main St., Orono. Condolences to the family may be expressed at