Margaret Thornton Genthner, 103: Matriarch, proud of Irish heritage
PORTLAND — Margaret Thornton Genthner, 103, died peacefully Jan. 10, at her home in Portland.
She was born Aug. 17, 1911, the fourth of nine children to John Thornton and Mary Walsh Thornton. Her parents immigrated to Portland from County Galway, Ireland, where they met as teenagers, and married in Portland. She was very proud of her Irish heritage and, as matriarch of the extended Thornton clan, was loved and admired by generations of family and friends. She graduated from Cathedral High School in 1929, and worked at the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company and at General Motors Finance Corporation prior to her marriage to Charles J. Genthner on April 12, 1947. They resided first in Portland, and then in Manchester, N.H., after the birth of their daughter, Catherine Marie. They then returned to Maine, living in Falmouth for many happy years.
Genthner was devoted to her family, especially her grandson, Christopher, and was always involved in the lives of both her siblings and many nieces and nephews. The family gatherings at her homes in Portland and Falmouth were legendary, and she enjoyed boating with family from their camp on Small Point and later from Handy Boat in Falmouth. She was an avid reader and walker.
She lived on her own and was very active. A gala celebration of her 100th birthday at the Inn by the Sea brought four generations of family members from Ireland and all over the U.S. She visited Ireland, where her father was born, and remained in touch with her Irish cousins throughout her life.
She was predeceased by her husband, Charles; daughter, Catherine; and her eight siblings, Mary Frates, Thomas, John, Catherine, Helen Harris, Joseph, Robert and David.
She is survived by her grandson, Christopher Charles Shea, of Rhode Island; her son-in-law, Brian Shea, of Rhode Island; three generations of nieces and nephews, and many other members of her extended family whose lives she touched and enriched with her smile and affection.
Visiting hours were held Jan. 18, at the Conroy-Tully Crawford Funeral Home, Portland, followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Portland. Burial will be private.
Those who wish may make contributions in her name to, Sisters of Mercy Retirement Fund, 966 Riverside St., Portland, ME 04103.