Josephine B. Harper
Port Clyde — Josephine B. "Jo" Harper, 92, died peacefully, Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014, at Lexington Health Care Center in Lexington, Mass.
Born in Port Clyde, April 16, 1921, she was the daughter of Freeland and Christie Poland Thompson. Educated in Port Clyde, she was a graduate of St. George High School in 1938. She and her twin sister, Pauline, were co-valedictorians of their class. Josephine and Pauline were also selected as Maine’s Most Beautiful Twins at the Maine Twin Party in 1938. Following graduation, Jo lived in Arizona for a short time where she was employed as a nanny for a family that summered in Port Clyde.
Returning home, Jo married Raymond O. Harper, having eloped to New Hampshire in 1940. The couple spent 47 years together, living in Turkey Cove after Raymond returned home from World War II Pacific Theatre. Mrs. Harper worked for Simmons Store in Port Clyde, and later for Port Clyde Packing Company. They had two sons, Gary Lewis Harper and Raymond Austin Harper. In 1946 she and her husband began their chicken business, River View Poultry Farm, initially an egg producing farm, which transitioned into raising broilers in the 1950s. At one time they had more than 25,000 broilers.
Mrs. Harper was an active member of the Ridge Church in Martinsville, and she served for more than 50 years as the treasurer. She was also active in the Womans Club, helping with many suppers and fairs. Mrs. Harper is remembered as a wonderful cook, and was famous for her lemon meringue pies. She was also a two term member of the St. George School Committee, and a member of the Rebekkahs.
After retiring from the poultry business, Josephine and Raymond helped to manage The Black Harpoon Restaurant, a local Port Clyde Restaurant, co-owned by their son, Gary, during the 1980s.
Most recently she had spent winters in Belmont, Mass. with her son, Gary and his family. Over the years she has enjoyed flower gardening, reading and especially caring for her many pampered cats.
Mrs. Harper was predeceased by her husband in 1987; her son Raymond A. Harper in 1983; a brother Lewis Thompson; her twin sister and brother-in-law, Pauline and Robert Saunders; and a sister and brother-in-law Virginia and Charles Kinney. She is survived by her son Gary Harper and his wife Kathy of Belmont, Mass.; her former daughter-in-law, Susan Meyer and her husband Paul of Addison; a brother Robert Thompson and his wife Jeanette of Winthrop; four grandchildren, Christopher Harper and his wife Jennifer, Wendy Harper and her husband Patrick Cunningham, Kristen Harper, Meghann Jacobs and her husband Matt; five great-grandchildren, Austin Harper, Suki Harper, Josephine and Charlotte Harper-Cunningham and Erin Jacobs; as well as many nieces and nephews.
A celebration of her life will be held Saturday, Jan. 25, at 11 a.m. at Port Clyde Baptist Church. The Rev. James R. Robbins will officiate, assisted by The Rev. Steven Maxwell. Interment will take place in the spring at the Ridge Cemetery, Martinsville.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. George Firefighters and Ambulance Association, P.O. Box 249, Tenants Harbor, ME 04860.
Arrangements are in the care of Burpee, Carpenter & Hutchins Funeral Home, 110 Limerock St., Rockland. To share a memory or condolence with Mrs. Harper's family, please visit her Book of Memories at bchfh.com.