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BATH — Johanna T. Flaherty, 74, of Bath, died April 30 at Mid Coast Hospital, surrounded by her family.
Flaherty was born Sept. 6, 1938, in Philadelphia, Pa., the older daughter of Anna Feiler and John Donnelly.
She met Paul Flaherty, of Bath, when she was 16. He was hitchhiking from San Francisco to Bath following his discharge from the U.S. Navy, and she was babysitting for the people who offered him a ride. The two started corresponding, and eventually married on June 8, 1957. They lived, loved and laughed together for nearly 56 years.
Flaherty lived for a year in Hartford, Conn., while her husband completed his education at the Hartford Institute of Accounting. They moved to Bath in 1958, and Flaherty considered herself a lifelong resident of Bath.
The first 10 years of married life were filled with babies and pets and friends. In her little spare time, Flaherty was a reader, a painter, a baker, a gardener, and a member of the local chapter of Beta Sigma Phi. She also was an avid quilter for over 40 years, and participated in a quilting and sewing group since 1983. She generously shared her creations with family and friends.
Flaherty babysat for children in her home, and volunteered with the American Heart Association, at Red Cross blood drives, and at the voting polls on Election Day. She never missed an opportunity to send a card to friends.
At the age of 48, Flaherty completed her high school education by earning her GED. She worked part-time, and in 1987 began serving in full-time roles as a clerk and deputy registrar with the Sagadahoc Registry of Deeds. She retired in 2005.
Flaherty’s greatest accomplishment was raising her family, and her greatest joy was being with her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Whether it was baking, playing games, making crafts, or simply visiting with them, she wanted to be in the middle of the action.
She was predeceased by her son Patrick on Jan. 26, 1993, and his death was the greatest sorrow in her life. She was also predeceased by her brother Bob in 2005.
She is survived by her husband, Paul, and her six children, Margaret Carpenter and husband Rob, of Topsham, Kathy Helming and husband Jim, of Portland, Elizabeth Clapp and husband Tom, of Fort Washington, Md., Michael Flaherty and wife Faith, of Wiscasset, Mary McDonald and husband Frank, of Georgetown, and Johanna Massé and husband Tim of Williston, Vt.
She delighted in being grandmother to Sarah Caron, Jessica Marr, Lexi Helming, Meg Helming, Michael P. Flaherty, Genna Herbert, Malissa Flaherty, Allison McDonald, Molly McDonald, Nathan Massé and Kevin Massé, and great-grandmother to Desiree, Cali, Rebekah, Caleb, and Andrew. Flaherty is also survived by her sister, Janice Cannon, and husband Bill, of Philadelphia, Pa., and many nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Morse High School Scholarship Fund, Morse High School, 826 High St., Bath, ME 04530. A reception for family and friends will be announced at a later date. Burial will be private at the convenience of the family.