Mary A. Germane, 103: Cumberland County's first female deputy sheriff
PORTLAND — Mary Alice Jordan Wright Witham Germane, 103, died Dec. 5, at the Barron Center in Portland.
The daughter of Joseph F. and Mary Theresa Jordan, she was born June 17, 1910, in Jamaica Plain, Mass., the oldest of six children. When she was 3, her family moved to Portland, where she resided ever after.
She was a member of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception parish and attended the parochial school system. She graduated from Cathedral High School as valedictorian on her 18th birthday. She was awarded a gold medal for that honor, which she wore proudly her entire life.
Her secretarial career began at Lee Higgins Investment Co., continued at New System Laundry, where she met and later married Joseph E. Wright. she also worked in the insurance office of C. Samuel Seavey. She was widowed in 1942, with three children, and headed back into the working field.
She was the first employee of Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Maine. She then married a second time, to Alvah Laurence Witham, and with the addition of four sons, became a stay-at-home mother. In 1951, her second husband died and she returned to the working world to support her seven children, continuing her secretarial career in the office of Portland attorney Udell Bramson.
In 1973, she married for a third time, to Portland police officer, Guelfo Germane. Not only was she the first female deputy sheriff at the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office, serving in the jail on Federal Street, she also became the first female jury officer in Cumberland County Superior Court. She served there for five years, retiring in 1985 at 75.
The Germanes traveled extensively, visiting India, Egypt, Israel, Paris, Rome, Venice, Portugal, Spain, as well as the United States, Canada and Cuba. She was widowed again, in 1980. In her retirement, she continued on as a temporary receptionist for the Attorney's Trust organization. Her last travel was at age 95, with her daughter, Gwen, and companion Richard A. Davis, who took her on a cruise to Alaska. Her life experiences shaped her into an amazing woman.
She was predeceased by her parents; four brothers, Robert T., Joseph F., James J. and Edward A. Jordan; a sister, Margaret M. Martin and her son, Bradley R. Witham.
She is survived by four sons, Walter S. Wright and wife, Beverly, Bruce E. Witham, Brian L. Witham and wife, Nancy, and Barry R. Witham and companion, Rebecca MacLean; and two daughters, Marlene A. and husband, Charles G. LaRose, and Gwendolyn E. Ricci and her dear friend and companion Richard A. Davis. she also had 23 grandchildren, 34 great-grandchildren and 12 great-great-grandchildren.
She lived in Portland, with her daughter Gwen for five years before being hospitalized with pneumonia and subsequently becoming a permanent resident at the Barron Center in January, 2010. She was compassionately cared for by the Center caregivers, and was the oldest resident at the time of her death. Her children would like to extend their heartfelt thanks to the staff and caregivers for their excellent care. A special thank you to Debbie, Doris, Jackie, Linda and Allyson for their individual loving care and attention.
Visiting hours were held Monday at Conroy-Tully Crawford Funeral Home, Portland. Family and friends were invited to attend a Mass of Christian Burial Tuesday at the Cathedral of The Immaculate Conception, Portland. Burial followed at Calvary Cemetery, South Portland.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be sent in her memory to Barron Center, Recreation & Activities, 1145 Brighton Ave., Portland, ME 04102, to be earmarked for the benefit of all Barron Center residents.