Another member of the greatest generation has left us. Priscilla E. Hemenway Poore, a proud member of the United States Marine Corps and a World War II veteran, passed into eternal rest on Nov. 13, 2021, at the Maine Veterans Home in Scarborough, Maine. Priscilla was born on June 28, 1924, in Worcester, Massachusetts, the eldest of five children born to Mortimer C. Hemenway and Florence (Ashworth) Hemenway. She married Merton E. Poore of Auburn, Massachusetts, on August 20, 1948, sharing fifty-seven years together until his passing on January 23, 2006. Priscilla was also predeceased by brothers Paul Hemenway, Richard Hemenway and Lindley Hemenway; a sister, Betty Leblanc, survives her. Priscilla is also survived by her three children, Wendy Cowan and her husband, Stanley, of North Berwick, Maine, Alan Poore and his wife, Cynthia, of Lebanon, Maine, and David Poore and his partner, Lisa Ryan, also of North Berwick. Priscilla adored her six grandchildren, Christopher Cowan, Jordana Thompson, Zachary Poore, Eli Poore, Justin Poore and Nathan Poore, enjoying a special bond with Christopher, Zachary and Eli, all members of the Marine Corps. She was especially proud of their service during the Iraq War, which they all thankfully survived. She also delighted in her four great-grandchildren, Hattie, Ella, and Holden Poore and Emerson Thompson.
Priscilla was raised in Worcester, where she attended local schools and excelled in her studies. She was a descendant of the Ashworth family, which established some of the earliest woolen mills in the Worcester area. She adored her grandfather, Charles Ashworth, who owned the Leicester Woolen Mill in Leicester, Massachusetts. One of her early memories was riding in his chauffeured Duesenberg, one of only two such vehicles that existed in Worcester at the time. She also loved summer outings to family-owned camps at Lake Dunmore in Vermont, a tradition she maintained throughout her lifetime. Her last visit to Vermont occurred in 2014 in celebration of her 90th birthday.
As a young woman, Priscilla’s adventurous spirit led her to leave Bates College at the end of her sophomore year and enlist in the Marine Corps, following in the footsteps of her father, a World War I Marine Corps veteran, who she revered. Priscilla often regaled her family in later years with tales of her exploits and experiences while stationed at Camp Pendleton in California during World War II, a period in her life that she valued greatly. Her affiliation with the Marine Corps is one she highly prized throughout her lifetime. She was honored to contribute personal artifacts and recollections of her World War II experiences for the Steven Spielberg miniseries “The Pacific”, which premiered in 2010.
Shortly after their marriage in 1948, she and Merton moved to Maine, purchasing a farmhouse on Oak Woods Road in North Berwick. Although short in stature, Priscilla could be a force to be reckoned with in terms of her influence on those within her circle of family and friends. She was an avid reader and possessed a keen mind, both of which she continued to nurture until the end. Her incredible memory skills and ability to recount precise details from past events and people’s lives were legendary within the family. Priscilla greatly enjoyed watching the Jeopardy program on television, where she excelled at answering questions posed to contestants. She applied and had been selected to compete for a spot as a contestant on the program, traveling to New York City for the initial interview before deciding she wasn’t quite ready for prime time. She returned to North Berwick and focused her energies on raising her children and supporting Merton in their shared endeavors. She spent many long hours during summer months helping to harvest vegetables and her prized cultivated blueberries produced at their family farm. Along with wholesaling their produce to area vendors, they also maintained a small vegetable stand on Route 4 in North Berwick which was highly popular with area residents.
Priscilla and Merton shared a strong connection to their faith as members of North Berwick Baptist Church, where they were both members of the choir and served in various capacities within the church. Some of the happiest and most enjoyable moments of Priscilla’s life were spent traveling with Merton while he toured New England as a member of both the Revelaires and the Rising Sons gospel groups. Priscilla and Merton also helped establish and support the construction of the New Covenant Church in North Berwick.
Following Merton’s retirement from teaching, they made the difficult decision to sell the family farm to pursue their dream of seeing the country. They spent many happy years touring the United States in their RV, especially enjoying time spent with their son David and his family in Phoenix, Arizona. When their traveling days were done, Priscilla and Merton settled into their apartment in Wells, Maine, where they resided together until Merton’s passing in 2006. Priscilla continued to live independently in Wells, maintaining her driver’s license until the age of 92. She strongly resisted her family’s efforts to convince her to move to assisted living until her declining health mandated her move to the Maine Veterans Home in Scarborough, Maine, in 2019. Priscilla loved her time there, playing Scrabble games and doing puzzles, even learning to play cribbage at the age of 96, alongside her C-Wing buddies. She was an avid sports fan, especially her Boston Red Sox and New England Patriots. Priscilla’s mind remained sharp until the very end, a goal she was determined to achieve. Her passing leaves a very large hole in the fabric of her family’s lives. She will be forever loved and missed.
Priscilla’s family is deeply grateful for the excellent care she received at Maine Veterans Home, with special thanks to Maggie and Katie for helping her access and enjoy activities there. We also greatly appreciate the friendship of Ann Lynch, her neighbor in Wells, with whom she shared many meals and conversation.
At Priscilla’s request, a graveside service with full military honors will be conducted at the Southern Maine Veterans Cemetery in summer 2022. She will be buried alongside her husband, a U.S. Army veteran.
For those wishing to honor Priscilla’s memory, the family suggests donations to the MVH Activity Fund, c/o Maine Veterans Home in Scarborough, Maine, to support activities benefitting veterans.
Final arrangements are entrusted to Johnsons Funeral Home in North Berwick, Maine.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Priscilla E. (Hemenway) Poore, please visit our floral store.
Maine Veterans Home Activities Fund
290 US Route 1, Scarborough ME 04074