Elizabeth M. Gribbin, 92: Radio personality entertained generations

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PORTLAND — Elizabeth “Betty” M. Gribbin, 92, of State Street, died Aug. 16.

Gribbin was born in Portland on Sept. 23, 1921, a daughter of Charles P. and Elizabeth O’Neill Gribbin, and was the youngest of 13 children. She was educated in the Portland school system and graduated from Portland High School in 1939.

She began her career as a radio entertainer that year as the “mistress of ceremonies” on the Saturday-morning WGAN Talent Club. Later, she began working with Ken McKensie on “Ken’s Western Variety Show.”

She went on to perform on McKensie’s TV show as a singer and as comedienne “Windy” Gribbin. Her performances eventually became popular not only in southern Maine, but in countless cities and towns throughout northern New England. During World War II, she served with the USO and entertained troops up and down the East Coast. In 1979, Gribbin was elected to the Maine Country Music Hall of Fame, which described her as “one of the cornerstones of Maine country music.”

In addition to her entertainment career, Gibbin worked in telephone sales for J.E. Goold & Co. for 23 years, and for another 20 years as a bus tour guide.

She was a communicant of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, where she for many years organized the St. Patrick’s Day Minstrel Show. She was a member of the Irish-American Club, the Boys & Girls Clubs Alumni Association and the Maine Country Music Association.

She was predeceased by her parents and her 12 siblings. She is survived by many nieces and nephews.

Visitation was held Aug. 19, and a Mass of Christian burial was scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 20, at 10 a.m., at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, 307 Congress St., Portland. Interment was scheduled to follow at Calvary Cemetery, South Portland.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Gribbin’s memory may be made to The Maine Country Music Hall of Fame, c/o Nancy Crosby, 398 Keeth Road, Jay, ME 04239, or to The Boys & Girls Clubs Alumni Association, 277 Cumberland Ave., Portland, ME 04101.

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