TURNER — Barbara Janelle Longway died at her home in Turner, as was her wish, on Sunday, Aug. 15, with her loving son by her side.

She was born at home on the North Parish Road on June 18, 1924 to parents Harold Randolph “John” and Ella Kilgore Murray. Thus began her life long love affair with her family, home town of Turner and her Murray/Kilgore heritage.

“Jane”, as she was known to most, graduated valedictorian of her Leavitt Institute class and continued her studies at Maine School of Commerce. Completion of her formal studies by no means completed her learning. Her teachers became the people she met, the places she went and the many experiences she had. Her entrepreneurial spirit took her to Washington, D.C., as a young woman, where she worked for Senator White. She was bored in her role as “there was nothing to do” so she returned to Maine, where she worked at the Ration Board in Lewiston during World War II.

While there was plenty to do, she found it very difficult to turn people away who didn’t qualify for the rations they requested. It became evident quickly that Jane had superior organizational skills and a head for numbers. This led her to office manager positions in shoe shops throughout Maine and eventually Massachusetts. Her son, Dana, remembers their “gypsy” years when they moved frequently to various Boston suburbs as his mother was transferred and promoted.

Her impeccable reputation, work ethic and integrity led her supervisors to tell others of her trustworthiness and she was recruited by small businesses to manage their books and payroll on the side. Her small business bookkeeping clientele grew to the point that she was able to leave the office manager role and focus solely on her home-based independent bookkeeping business, which she did until her retirement in the mid eighties.

Upon retirement, she returned to her home in Turner which she set about renovating. Jane was not a rocking chair on the porch retiree. She was anxious to become involved in the town she loved, reconnect with longtime friends, spend more time with family and focus on her philanthropic side. She set-up and opened Ella’s Antiques & Collectibles in her garage and sold Christmas trees from her driveway.

She volunteered for the Turner Historical Society, served on the Leavitt Institute Restoration and Preservation Committee and spent countless hours tracking down graduates of LI and Leavitt High School for the publication Friendship Link. She was politically active assisting in campaigns for those who she deemed worthy-mostly democrats and volunteered on voting day at the town office. She was an animal lover and supported many causes devoted to them.

Retirement afforded her the time to focus on her roots. She was the researcher and keeper of the family history, archiving many documents and caring for artifacts. Touring her home, you knew immediately that you were in the home of a woman who lived in the present but cherished her ancestry. From Civil War medals to documents of the eminent domain seizing of the family farm in Cape Elizabeth during WWII, she kept, cataloged and cared for it all.

While she had an accountant’s mind she had a caregiver’s heart and spent much of her time assisting both family and non-family who required help. Her philanthropy was endless. She was generous with both her money and time and was always “happy to do it.” Providing transportation to medical appointments or the grocery store, helping with financial statements, fixing meals and adopting pets of those who could no longer care for them…she did it all.

While Jane took life seriously she also knew when it was time to have fun and did she have fun! She was a wonderful story teller and enjoyed hearing a good story. She loved to laugh and at family gatherings it was known that both she and her brother Gus would laugh until they cried and it became a who would cry first guessing game. She looked forward to summer and spending time at the family camp on Pleasant Pond, where she learned to water ski and took late night swims with her “sis”-in-law, Jean.

Her travels by planes, trains and automobiles were adventures she felt lucky to have. Of all that has been said by many of her wonderful life well lived, the most important to her would be the words of her beloved son, Dana, “she was the best mother a son could possibly have. She was tough when she needed to be but she showed more compassion than anyone I’ve ever known.”

She is survived by her son, Dana Longway, his companion, Tina Lavoie and her son, Jonathan Lavoie; her granddaughter, Erin Longway; her sister-in-law, Mean Jean Murray; nephew, Randy Murray his wife, Mary; nieces, Bonney and Colleen Murray; great-nephews, Jonathan Murray his wife, Sarah and Jared Murray his wife, Krista; great friend, Elizabeth Herrick; great-niece, Jen Dinovelli; great-granddaughter, McKenzie; and great-great-nephew, Aidan.

She was predeceased by her parents; her brother, Oliver “Gus” Murray; her uncle, Oakes Kilgore; and her aunt, Connie Murray.

Messages of condolence may be sent to: www.finleyfuneralhome.com.

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