Frances McKenney, 91: Spirited and hard-working

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FALMOUTH — Frances Mary Elizabeth McKenney, 91, died peacefully Sunday with her family surrounding her.

She was born in Portland Aug. 14, 1921, one of 13 children born to William and Frances Curran. A 1938 graduate of Portland High School, she went to work during World War II at the South Portland shipyard, building Liberty ships.

She married Gordon “Mac” McKenney and the couple moved to Falmouth in 1947, where they built a home and raised four children. She continued to live in her home independently until last week, when she became ill.

A hard working, spirited lady, she held a number of jobs during her lifetime in addition to raising a family. She worked at B & M Baked Beans, and W.T. Grant, and retired in 1988 after 28 years with Shaw’s Supermarkets.

When her husband took up golf, McKenney decided to join him in the sport, telling her children, “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.” Long after Mac died in 2003, she continued to play with her son, Gordon, until last summer. Despite suffering from extremely limited vision, she was still able to hit the ball straight down the fairway.

In her younger years she loved spending the day at the beach, and in her later years taking trips to the casinos and sightseeing in Portland Harbor on a Casco Bay Lines ferry. Her greatest love was spending time with her family.

In addition to her husband, she was predeceased by a great-grandson, Quinn Gray; a granddaughter, Tiffany Bartlett; and a grandson, Christopher Gordon Poor.

She is survived by a daughter, Patsy Shaw, and her husband, Larry, of Cumberland; their children, Kim Lowe, and her husband, John, of Falmouth and Kevin Shaw, of Portland; a son, Gordon McKenney, and his partner, Paula Gibbs, of Woolwich; his children, Kraig McKenney, of Boothbay Harbor, Kirk McKenney and his wife, Ronnie, of Fortston, Ga., and Douglas McKenney, of Seattle, Wash.; a daughter, Carol Jean McKenney, of Falmouth; and her daughters, Cathy Gray, and her husband, Brian, of Lewiston, and Kelly Wilburn, and her husband, Edward, of Portsmouth, Va.; and daughter, Sharon Poor, and her husband, Ron St. Pierre, of Falmouth; Sharon’s son, Bob Poor and his wife, Darcy, of Cumberland. She is survived by 19 great-grandchildren.

A  graveside service will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday at Blanchard Cemetery in Falmouth, with Pastor Bob Gustavson of Emmaus Lutheran Church in Falmouth officiating. 

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital,

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