Today we laid my grandmother to rest beside her husband of 71 years. “I’ve never lived alone,” she told my mother after Grandpa’s death earlier this year. More recently, she told her doctors, “I made it past 90. I have no need to see 100.”
A long life of love and care. I’d like to share this remembrance I helped my mother write about her mother’s life:
Lucile Higgins Gonnam Parker was born April 30, 1925, and grew up in Reading, MA. She graduated from Reading High School and worked briefly as a bookkeeper, but her real life’s work was caring for others. When World War II was over, she married Robert S. Parker in 1947, and spoke of herself as the marriage partner who facilitated Robert’s career. She remained his loving spouse for seventy-one years until his death earlier this year.
Together they raised three daughters: Vivian, Diana and Patricia. They were also closely involved in the lives of their eight grandchildren, and extremely proud of their four great-grandchildren. Her home was warm and welcoming, and Lucile showed love through her excellent meals and pies. She nurtured caring, kindness, honesty and hard work in everyone around her.
Lucile was a great teacher of the things she loved best, including sewing, cooking and gardening. She shared generously her love of nature and the outdoors, and a general curiosity about the world. She organized hikes to pick berries, rowboat rides, swimming and game nights, and encouraged family togetherness.
Throughout her life, Lucile also contributed to her communities in Reading, MA, Naples, FL and Bridgton, ME. She was a Girl Scout leader with more than twenty-five years of service, as well as volunteering with her church, the Red Cross, food banks and a town-wide recycling program. She had many lifelong friends, cherishing them all, and as an AFS host mother, she developed a lifelong loving relationship with her Afghan daughter Fakhria.
Lucile died on November 9, 2018, in Auburn, Maine. She always saw the best in everyone and the world around her, and is survived by the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren she inspired to do the same.