In Memory of

Florence

A

Smith

(Manchester)

Obituary for Florence A Smith (Manchester)

Florence Amelia Manchester Smith

September 28, 1922 - January 10, 2024


Jonesport, ME - It is with heavy hearts that we share the news of the passing of Florence Smith. Surrounded by her loving family she passed away peacefully on January 10, in Jonesport, Maine, at the young age of 101. She was so many things to many people: a loving wife, beloved mother, amazing Mimi/Grammie, devoted and faithful servant, friend, and Facebook sensation. Many have followed her well lived life watching the videos shared, and waiting devotedly for her weekly “bean night” posts each Saturday evening. It seems fitting that the final story of her life be shared in that same format.
Hi Everyone! What a revolting development for this to be my last bean post. What an amazing 101 years I have lived. It started so long ago when I was born in the small town of Jonesport to my loving parents Milton and Mertie (Church) Manchester.
I was number nine of the eleven children born to them. I have posted many videos that captured my childhood and what wonderful memories they are. We didn’t have much growing up but it felt like we had it all. There’s so much to write but my highlights are the following: My life would have been cut short had it not been for my dear sister Katie who saved me when I caught on fire in the apple orchard. It’s a story I’ve recounted many times and not a day went by that I didn’t feel blessed to survive that day. My graduation from Jonesport High School in 1940 was one of the greatest highlights in my life. My family was incredibly proud as I was the first to graduate from high school. Our graduation play “The Land of Tomorrow” remained fresh in my mind. As a young adult I remember looking out the window while visiting my brother at the USCG base in Boston and I saw the amazing women of the SPARS walking by in uniform. I said “I think I can do that”. It wasn’t until later in my life I realized what a trailblazer I was as a World War II female veteran. Shortly after joining the USCG I married the love of my life, Philmore Smith at an impromptu ceremony held at my sister's home. We wed in our military uniforms while home on a quick leave, decorating with red, white, and blue, and filling the living room with over 100 guests. It was all planned in less than a day and is one of my most cherished memories. In my lifetime, I held many jobs that filled me with joy and gave me great memories and wonderful friendships. The Manchesters had a long history of working in local sardine factories. I worked at three: Underwood, Jonesport Packing, and Stinsons. My scissors from those days are at the sardine museum in Jonesport.

For three years I worked as a cook and CNA at Resthaven Nursing Home. I have many fond memories there. The most special role I ever held was at CMVTI in Auburn where I was the “housemother” for 17 1⁄2 years. Oh the memories from that job, the college, the antics in those dorms, our apartment we lived in, and the many fond memories of the grandchildren visiting us on break. Their childhood has so many memories of running the halls, and sleepovers in the day room. The day we retired from that job I left a piece of my heart on that campus. Retirement in 1985 brought us back to our hometown of Jonesport. It was the best decision and we lived out our retirement days chasing the grandkids' sports events, being near my siblings, and making our house a wonderful home with all of our finds from Mardens. I spent my days waiting for the ducks and birds to arrive at my feeders. It was one of my favorite things to do. I enjoyed my porch, where I spent hours reading which is a hobby I enjoyed my whole life. Amish books made me happy and I have enough to start a library dedicated to that genre. I wrote in a diary every day and it was something I did until a few months ago. Those books will make for good reading of all the daily events and happenings. I loved looking through “gadget” books and would often find something that we needed. The best gadgets ever invented were the plastic rain bonnet, disposable toilet seat covers,and the Snacker dehydrator that was used to make my dried fish. Each morning I completed the crossword from the newspaper, read five devotionals, and enjoyed starting my day eating toast with peanut butter along with dried fish. All these things I attribute to my longevity. I never missed sending a card for a birthday, holiday, or special event. It would take me weeks to prepare the mail and packages to go out. I enjoyed decorating for the holidays, and working in my garden until I no longer could. I was known by my family for my homemade donuts, Boston Cream Pie, and German chocolate cake. I had a strong faith that has been tested over time but never failed me since I joined the RLDS now known as the Community of Christ Church as a teenager. I have been a faithful/devoted member at the Jonesport congregation for over 85+ years and one of my favorite places to be is on the reunion ground at Camp Winniaugwamauk in Brooksville. I have attended reunions each summer since the 1930’s as a child, and then with my kids, grandkids, and recently great grandchildren. This past summer I was able to be there for a final time and it was a week filled with many blessings. If only the walls of Cabin 10 could talk. I held many roles within the church some of the most special were as the Skylarks and Orioles leader for many years, being part of the choir, Sunday school teacher, and member of the women’s department. I was a life member of Rumery Chapter 46 Eastern Star. I spent years being in charge of decorating for events and enjoyed those monthly gatherings. I have been a Charter Member of the Women’s Memorial in Arlington, Virginia from its start. I attended the ribbon cutting ceremony and most recently was honored along with my granddaughter (Stacey) when we visited as part of our Honor Flight Maine trip. I am a proud member of the Daughters of the American Revolution. I’m also the proud recipient of the Boston Cane for the Town of Jonesport. I waited a long time for that honor and it was worth the wait. I would never have believed that the last decade of my life would be filled with so much technology. I joined Facebook after the passing of my husband and let me tell you it has filled my days with excitement, love, and happiness as I could keep up with family who lived away and it allowed me to stay on top of all the news, events, and yes even drama that those posts seems to hold. I started a weekly post that would be published each Saturday on bean night. I spent my week outlining the happenings, and it became a much anticipated event. I spent many days these last few years entertaining myself on the IPad I received for my 100th birthday. That poor thing endured more thumpings and swipes from me than it was probably intended for. My reading hobby was drastically changed when I discovered online books using a Kindle. I was often questioned on how on earth I had purchased books, and more than once had to be redirected from some scandalous ones that I accidentally clicked on.

The final year of my life was one of the most special of them all. Reaching the age of 100 was spectacular in itself but the attention and movie star status that came with it was something I never dreamed would happen to me. Although the Today Show snubbed me by not placing me on their Smucker’s Jar, others did not. I was selected for the Honor Flight Maine trip to Washington DC where I visited all the monuments and was treated like royalty along the way. News clips of me from that trip continue to pop up on the television. I was interviewed for a Veteran’s Day special that aired on Fox News and it was a beautiful tribute that I enjoyed watching. I was selected by the Gary Sinise Foundation Soaring Valor program to travel to the World War II Museum in Louisiana. Something I never dreamed I’d be able to do. I was the only female on the trip and it was quite an honor. That trip resulted in me being interviewed by a historian from the museum and being asked if I’d like to be part of a Storyfile project that the museum would be opening as a future exhibit. I traveled to Hollywood, California in August as part of this project. All of these trips were special and even more so because I shared them with my youngest granddaughter Stacey who I refer to as my agent.

I am survived by beloved children: daughter Sharon Lakeman, son Philmore Jr (Feller) and his wife Jan. My youngest sister, Dorothy White. I was blessed with 8 adoring grandchildren who I love with all my heart: Stephanie (Steven) Baillargeon, Michelle (Jerrie) Lakeman, Carrie (Doug) Flagg, Shaun (Christine) Smith, Gina (Matt) Collins, Kevin (Heather) Lakeman, and Stacey (Jeffrey) Balicki. Great-grandchildren: Steph’s children: Molly (Zach) Worcester, Lucas Baillargeon; Carrie’s children: Ryan (Kristine) Flagg, Mallory Flagg, Alyssa Flagg, Evan Flagg; Shaun’s children: Mal (Toby) McKinley; Connor, Cayley, and Macey Smith; Kevin’s children: Traci (Charles) Fournier, Kristopher Lakeman: Stacey’s children: Jordyn, Riley Amelia, and Jaxson Balicki; and Gina’s children: Alexandria and Cameron Vivenzio, Aidan Collins. Great-Great Grandchildren: Peyton and Lorraina Flagg; Oaklyn Guy; Landon and Aaron Turner, Westin Weiss, Emily Fournier; Remington and Everton Flagg. I am survived by many beloved nieces/nephews/cousins/and friends. There’s too many to list and I’m being charged by the word. I was predeceased by my parents Milton and Mertie, siblings: Lessie, Leroy, Harold, Frank, Hiley, Ivy, Kate, Vannie and Thurston. My loving husband of 66 years Philmore H. Smith Sr., my special son-in-law Charles Lakeman, and my dear granddaughter Cheri Lakeman.

God bless you all near and far. Love, Mimi oxox

The void left by Florence’s departure is immeasurable for so many and she will forever be etched in our hearts. Her legacy will live on in the most amazing way at the World War II museum in New Orleans, Louisiana. An exhibit displaying her graduation gown, undoubtedly her most prized possession and an amazing story file that was created this summer during her trip to Hollywood will be opening in March. She anxiously awaited the opening of these exhibits and was so proud!

Visiting hours will be held on Sunday January 14 at the Community of Christ Church in Jonesport from 2-4 pm. Funeral service will be held Monday, January 15, at 11 a.m. at the Community of Christ Church in Jonesport. Graveside service immediately following funeral at Greenwood Cemetery in Jonesport. In lieu of flowers, Florence requested donations be made to her favorite place:
Camp Winniaugwamauk ℅: Jeannie Strout 45 Fiddlehead C-12 Hancock, Maine 04640-3137
Condolences and memories may be shared at www.mcclurefamilyfuneral.com