September 3, 2007 § 6 Comments
My grandmother’s only remaining sibling died last Monday; I happened upon his obituary Wednesday afternoon. When Richard and I were in Maine last month, we expected to see him at the family reunion, but it was hellishly hot, and he didn’t feel well enough to make the trip. So, of course: guilt.
Raymond W. Harmon Sr., 87
LIMINGTON — Raymond W. Harmon Sr., 87, died on Monday, Aug. 27, 2007, at his home with his wife and family by his side.
He was born in Limington on Aug. 3, 1920, the son of William and Susan Brown Harmon. He lived in Limington his whole life. During his working life, he worked as a teamster with his horses at Limerick Mills, Chase’s Lumber Mill in Limington, and he hauled lumber for Phil Bean. He also worked as an auto mechanic for Earland Gerry, Sebago Lake Garage, and Canton Chevrolet in Sanford. He was also a cattle farmer and he enjoyed going local agricultural fairs. Among his many hobbies included camping and feeding the birds. He was a member of the Odd Fellows of Limerick.
He was predeceased by his parents; two brothers, Russell and Ralph Harmon; three sisters, Regina Chase, Geneva Brooks, and Leona Jones; two sons, Donald and Richard Harmon; and an infant daughter, Natalie Harmon. Surviving are his wife of 70 years, Emelene Harmon; three daughters, Barbara Gilpatrick, Gertrude Norris and her husband Stanley, Lois Black and her husband Bryant; three sons, Edward Harmon and his wife Jackie, Joe Harmon and his wife Sarah, and Raymond Harmon Jr. and his wife Donna; 27 grandchildren; 42 great-grandchildren; and 23 great-great-grandchildren.
Fantastic numbers, aren’t they? Eighty-seven is a ripe old age, and seventy years married… I can’t imagine that”s ever been common. And did you do the addition? Ninety-eight direct descendants.
I didn’t know him well at all, but he always knew who I was, even with so many names already cluttering his mind. My own grandmother died at 60— an old 60— seventeen years ago. God, even I can’t believe it’s been that long. Anyway, Uncle Raymond was a treasure trove of family lore. He could tell stories about our Abenaki blood, logging in the Deep Woods, growing a year’s worth of vegetables for a family of eight during the Depression. He could talk about southwestern Maine in the good ol’ days, when the rivers ran with trout and there weren’t quite so many deer to ruin your apple harvest.
A glance at his favorite past-times is like a glance at my own childhood, full of county fairs, dead needles under soaring white and red pines, chickadee-spotting, backyard gardens full of gladioluses and raspberry cane. The kind of wholesome, homespun Yankee memories that seem rare these days. We weren’t close, but I feel like I lost a part of my own past with him.
Farewell to a wise, generous, well-lived elder. Great Aunt Emelene misses you terribly.