CUMBERLAND — Barbara Frances Blanchard Garsoe, 93, died March 20, the first day of spring.
She was born July 4, 1919, in Cumberland Center to Anna Fox and Howard Calderwood Blanchard. She graduated from Greely Institute, Westbrook Junior College and Gorham Normal School.
She was a teacher in Lewiston until she married William Joseph Garsoe in 1942, in Houston, Texas. She helped Bill run the farm and greenhouses, worked at Five Elms Nursery School, Head Start and L.L. Bean.
Until 2012, a month shy of her 93rd birthday, she lived on the farm which has been in her family since 1820. She loved her family, her friends, and her land. From a letter she wrote in 1986: “I wish you could see the view out of my window this morning. The blueberry bushes are bright red, the goldenrod, golden and the asters a soft blue. And behind it, all the fields are still green. The sun has just hit it all and it’s beautiful. I’m lucky to be here in such a cheery place.”
Garsoe was a beloved, life-long member of the Cumberland Congregational Church. She volunteered in all aspects of town life, working on church and Lions Club suppers well into her eighties. She skied, swam, and was an accomplished sailor. Garsoe and her husband spent the last five years of his life sailing the Atlantic Coast in their trimaran named The Walloping Window Blind.
She passed on her love of reading, gardening, travel, the natural world, and story-telling to her children. She was a repository of the oral history of the town of Cumberland. After Bill passed away in 1986, she continued to travel, counting England and Thailand among her favorites. But her true happiness lay in her visits with her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, and travels with her good friends.
She is predeceased by her husband, Billy; her sister, Estelle Blanchard Heraptha, and her husband, John; her brothers-in-law Bruce Potter and Curt Gerry; and her nephew, Tommy Gerry.
Garsoe is survived by her children, Peter Garsoe, Susan Garsoe and Kathy Garsoe Poirier; sons-in-law Marc Poirier and Tim Davis; her beloved sister, Margelia Potter; grandchildren Michelle and Alan Vanvliet, Nichole and Bob Fien, Monique and Peter Dever, Carrie and Ed Greenaway, Molly Poirier, and Harper Rouse-Garsoe; great-grandchildren Brian Witherspoon and Beatrice Greenaway; sister-in-law Eileen Gerry, and nieces and nephews David Potter, Mark Potter, Judy Potter, Claudia Gerry Cusack, and Dana Gerry.
A funeral was held Saturday at Cumberland Congregational Church.