WESTBROOK — Frank Keith Atherton, 95, of Windham, passed away Jan. 31, at Springbrook Center.
He was born in Windham, Sept. 5, 1916, one of nine children of Elsie and Clifford Atherton. He took on responsibility at an early age, of the family farm for his parents and eight sisters because of his father’s illness. At age 12, each day before he went to school, Frank began picking up milk from as far away as Otisfield so his Uncle George could deliver it to Oakhurst Dairy. He graduated from Windham High School, Class of 1935, where he played basketball for three years and sang in the chorus all four years.
After a brief period at the Dupont Factory in South Windham, in 1942, he began work at American Hoist and Derrick, Crosby Laughlin Division, retiring after 37 years.
Frank was a 65-year member of the Presumpscot Masonic Lodge 70 and more than 50 year member of Eastern Star, Kora Shrine and Scottish Rite. He was past noble grand of the Odd Fellows and a member of the Pleasant River Grange.
In 1959, Frank married Katherine Sylvester and welcomed her five children into his family. They will be forever grateful.
Frank had many hobbies and loves, chief of which was his skill with building and woodworking. He built two homes in Windham and a camp on Little Sebago Lake. He also helped build the Odd Fellows Hall in Windham and helped many friends and family build their homes. The lasting memories of the toys and furniture that he and Kay created together will be cherished forever.
An ardent golfer, he played on courses throughout Maine and from their retirement home in Dade City, Fla. He was active all his life, on many bowling teams, snowmobiling and continued water skiing until age 72!
Frank and Kay traveled extensively with their many friends, on cruises and RVing. He also loved to dance, sing and play cards. Frank was best known for his story telling, his sense of humor and wonderful smile. Every grandchild and great-grandchild loved riding on his John Deere tractor. We are comforted in knowing that he is snow-blowing, hauling wood, mowing the lawn and scooping leaves on that great John Deere in the sky.
Frank is survived by his wife and loving partner of 52 years, Katherine (Purington) Atherton; seven children, son, Roger (Dorothy) Atherton of Windham, daughter, Darlene (Rupert) Morrill of Hebron, daughter, Gail (John) Staples of Sierra Vista, Ariz., son, Joseph Sylvester of Hooksett, N.H., daughter, Donna (David) Morton of Casco, daughter, Janet (Dale) Morrell of Windham and daughter, Deborah (Michael) Doucette of Lisbon; Frank had 13 grandchildren, Kristine and Donald Atherton, Julie Heikkinen, Christopher Staples, Jill (Christopher) Hoard, Gregory (Tracey) Staples, James (Liz) Sylvester, Benjamin (Katherine) Morton, Jennifer Morton, Darcy (Andy Flaherty) Morrell, Brett (Jennifer) Morrell, Kyle Morrell and Danielle (Thomas) Caron.
The delights of his life were his 13 great-grandchildren, Brandon and Kaitlyn Fogg, Bree Heikkinen, Ryan, Matthew and Amber Hoard, Chase Haines, Blake Ellis, Gabriella and Brenna Morrell, Coleman Flaherty and Jacob and Graham Caron.
Frank was predeceased by his first wife, Flora (Page) Atherton in 1954; and his eight sisters, Doris, Lois, Marcia, Arline, Marie, Avis, Roberta and Dawn.
Family would like to thank the staff of Springbrook Center for their kind and loving care for Frank and Kay.
For online condolences, please visit our web site at www.dolbyfuneralchapels.com.