ROCKPORT — Barbara Louise Morris Guptill, 92, long time resident of Owls Head, Maine, died peacefully at The Sussman House in Rockport, Maine on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2020. Her family was by her side as she went to join her beloved husband, Walter “Shorty” Guptill, who predeceased her in 2016. A Valentine’s Day reunion for the ages.
Born in Attleboro, MA, January 2, 1928, she was the only child of Allison Mason Morris of Tenant’s Harbor, ME and Marion Louise Fuller of Attleboro, MA. Barbara was a Mayflower descendant of Edward Fuller, an original signer of the Mayflower Compact. Barbara attended local schools graduating from St. George High School as Valedictorian of the Class of 1946.
While attending a dance in Spruce Head, the young and pretty Barbara caught the eye of a handsome Army soldier just returning from WWII. Evidently the soldier caught Barbara’s eye too as it is said she commented, “He’s a good dancer, but he knows it!” Regardless of first impressions, soon after on June 28, 1946 Barbara and Walter would marry at the home of her parents in Tenant’s Harbor, having had many more dances and would celebrate 69 years of marriage together in 2015.
In the early years Barbara and Shorty settled in Rockland and later made their home on Guptill’s Lane in Owls Head. Barbara, for the most part was a stay at home mom, tending to the needs of her growing family on the “Hill,” as Ingraham’s Hill was known. Over the years she would be involved in many of her children’s activities and supported them in all their endeavors including Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, Parent Teachers Association and attending many sporting, theatre and dance events.
Outside of the home Barbara did try her hand at packing sardines in Rockland, as had her mother for many years in Port Clyde. However, it was soon realized that the skill of getting little fish into a can isn’t one that naturally passes down from mother to daughter. As the cost of babysitters exceeded the earnings of piecework, that career was abandoned much to the delight of her family. Later, with children grown and now in school full time, Barbara went to work at SAD 5 in the school lunch program at Rockland District Hight School and Rockland District Junior High and Middle School. This was a job that brought her much satisfaction from her co-workers, school staff and especially the students. At a time before free lunch program, Barbara would never let a child go without and there were many “short-term loans” made for milk or lunch money. Barbara was kind, caring and compassionate to all who knew her.
Second only to family, Barbara loved family camping as much as anything. Many summers were spent on Damariscotta Lake at Moody’s Island Campground and later at Town Line Camping. Potluck dinners, s’mores around the campfire, meals under a canopy in the rain, sing-alongs, horseshoes, badminton, water skiing, and Captain Tuttle were the simple activities that shaped her family’s appreciation and love for one another and the outdoors. Barbara met many dear friends camping, but special among them were Alice Dinsmore, of Damariscotta. Together they would spend many hours talking, knitting and crocheting what would become Barbara’s signature dishcloths. They were a coveted gift for her children, grandchildren and friends. It is no doubt Barbara’s time family camping with her many friends, children and grandchildren were among the happiest in her life!
In addition to her parents, Barbara was predeceased by her husband, Walter “Shorty” Guptill, in 2016; daughter Patricia; stepfather, Maurice “Block” Thompson; stepsister, Ernestine “Snooky” Stein; and nephew Donald “Tink” Bergren.
She is survived by children, Judy (Bob) Royce of Hope, Marcia Guptill of Owls Head, Walter (Lisa) Guptill of Lauderdale By The Sea, FL and Jane (David) Vester of Cocoa Beach, FL; grandchildren Lisa (Donald) Pendleton of Hope, Robert Royce and partner Ashley Aiken of Spruce Head, John (Charlotte) Guptill of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, Amy (Adam) Krawic of Damariscotta, Stacey (Omar) Simpson of Damariscotta, Casey Vester of Cocoa Beach, FL, Samantha Siegel of Altamonte Springs, FL and Derek Siegel of South Thomaston; fourteen great grandchildren; 9 Gr-Gr grandchildren; sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Donald and Cora Bergren of Owls Head; nephew John (Karen) Bergren of Brunswick and niece Diane (Ronald) Linscott of Rockland; 1st cousin James (Carolyn) Deering of Upton, MA; several cousins, nieces, nephews and dear friends.
Lastly and certainly not least, beloved grand puppies, Windsor and Willy, who offered companionship, brought many smiles and much joy to Barbara in her final years.
A graveside service will take place at the Achorn Cemetery in Rockland and will be announced and held at the convenience of the family to celebrate Barbara’s life with family and friends sometime in the summer.
Memorial donations in memory of Barbara may be made to the Pope Memorial Humane Society of Knox County, P.O. Box 1294, Rockland, ME 04841.