LEWISTON – Penelope “Penny” Poor, 56, a longtime resident of Andover, died May 5, at Central Maine Medical Center, following a 24 year struggle for life against the effects of Hodgkin’s disease. With characteristic courage, she had fought for recovery from recent surgery; a week later, with even greater courage, she accepted and faced her passing with her loving family at her bedside.

Born Nov. 25, 1947, at the Rumford Hospital, she was the first child of Frances DeLong and Archer Dalton Poor Jr. At age two, in her father’s arms, “Penny” turned her young face directly into the wind on Andover’s Main Street; from the start, she was undaunted by adversity.

She graduated from Andover High School in 1966; she went on to attend Husson College in Bangor and then Andover College in Portland. Then she turned to her culinary gift, inherited from both of her parents, becoming chef and pastry cook at the famous Balsams Hotel in NH, and later at Summerfields in Laconia, NH.

Her loves were many. Some of them emerged when she was a girl and occurred mostly in the Richardson Lakes area: paddling a canoe through a quiet bog or across rough lake waters; climbing mountains; cannon balling off a diving board into Upper Richardson’s icy morning waters or diving off a pier at Upper Dam; and sleeping out on Big Rock.

As a grown woman, she found more to do: fishing, listening to music, gardening, knitting, quilting, and making maple syrup in her father’s maple orchard. Once she was compromised by Hodgkin’s’ disease, her interests and loves only grew: the natural world became her university, and she became an expert in many of its areas.

She studied the behavior of loons, eagles, fox, and birds, especially the hummingbird, and she read all she could about these creatures, as well as Maine’s history from 10,000 years ago, a specialty of her father’s. She knew wildflowers and wild grasses, and she decorated the woods near Upper Dam with red and pink impatiens. Her sister took her up to the lake before her recent surgery. “It was the best day of my life,” she said of it.

While most people faced with her limitations would succumb to television watching, she was instead a tireless volunteer; first at the Andover Library where she also was a Trustee, the Andover Bicentennial Committee, and the Friends of Richardson, and she conducted the loon count for Maine Audubon.

Her love of her family filled much of her heart. She especially loved her three nephews and one niece; she labored with love over a high school graduation quilt for her niece a year ago, and again this year, she and her sister, Paula completed a quilt for their nephew, Peter’s graduation from high school.

She knitted endlessly for Ryan and Cory when they were young. Her sister Paula and brother Peter and their families never wavered in their support of her; she returned their support with homemade gifts and a generous, loving heart.

She will be sadly missed by her father, Archer Dalton Poor Jr.; her sister and brother-in-law, Paula P. and David F. McDonald; her brother and sister-in-law, Peter J. and Belinda Poor; her nephews, Ryan David McDonald, Cory Stevens McDonald, and Peter John Poor II; and a niece, Jenna Lee Poor.

The loons and eagles of Upper Richardson will likewise miss her, but many believe they will carry her spirit into the woods and the sky, and over the lake, so part of her may abide in the place she most loved.

She was predeceased by her mother, Frances Delong Poor.

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