Rockland — Virginia Dare (Winchenbaugh) Poletti, 103, died peacefully, Sunday, May 18, 2014, at her home.
She was born at Dutch Neck, Dec. 7, 1910, the daughter of Reverend Herman R. and Carrie Burns Winchenbaugh. As a teenager she moved with her family to Rockland where she graduated from Rockland High School in 1929. During her youth she frequently accompanied her father as he preached at various churches in the area, most notably South Thomaston and Spruce Head.
Trained as a secretary, Mrs. Poletti worked for eight years for the M.B. and C.O. Perry Coal Company in Rockland. She met her future husband, Constantine Poletti, while he was stationed with the U.S. Navy in Rockland during World War II.
In 1944 she followed him to Florida where she stayed with friends until they were married in Miami in May 1944. Later they left Miami for Sturgeon, Wis., where they remained for several months while the ship Mr. Poletti was assigned to was being built. During this time Mrs. Poletti worked as a secretary to a ship’s officer until the ship left for New Orleans, La., where the couple spent several months until the ship left for Oakland, Calif. While in Oakland, Mrs. Poletti worked in the shipyard as a secretary for the Pacific Overseas Air Transport Command. Among her duties she wrote letters to servicemen overseas as dictated by an officer.
During these months away from Rockland, Mrs. Poletti kept in touch with family, mostly her sister, Evangeline, also a trained secretary. Their letters were unusual as they corresponded to each other in shorthand.
When Mr. Poletti’s ship, the USS Pontotoc was commissioned in 1945 at San Francisco, departing shortly thereafter for active duty in the Pacific, Mrs. Poletti returned to Maine. When her husband returned after World War II they settled in Quincy, Mass., where he worked at the Boston Post Office and she was employed at a photo laboratory. During these years they acquired family property at Spruce Head Island where they spent summers. Following their respective retirements, they relocated to Stuart, Fla., while maintaining their summer residence in Spruce Head.
During their 48 years of marriage, until Mr. Poletti’s death in 1990, the couple took 21 cruises, including to Alaska, Panama, South America and the Caribbean. Mrs. Poletti created and painted numerous ceramic figures that decorated not only the cottage at Spruce Head, but in later years, her residence at Bartlett Woods Assisted Living Facility in Rockland. During the past six years, she had become especially attached to the residents and staff at Bartlett Woods where she received extraordinary and loving care during her illness.
Besides her husband, Mrs. Poletti was predeceased by six brothers, Gabriel, Basil, Benedict, Ensign, Exavier, and Manual Winchenbaugh and two sisters, Evangeline Sylvester and Eleanor Paquin. She is survived by several nieces and nephews, including Theodore W. Sylvester Jr. and his wife Natalie of Owls Head, Kay Sylvester of Thomaston, Sandra Sylvester of Duluth, Ga., Sara Tavares and her husband Jerry of Sun City West, Ariz., and Bette Paquin of Novato, Calif.
Family and friends are invited to visit from 6 to 8 p.m., Wednesday, May 21, at Burpee, Carpenter & Hutchins Funeral Home, 110 Limerock St., Rockland, where a celebration of her life will be held at 1 p.m., Thursday, May 22. Reverend Linda Campbell-Marshall will officiate.
To share a memory with Mrs. Poletti’s family, please visit her Book of Memories at bchfh.com.