1925 – 2015

RUMFORD — Our beloved Christine Elaine (Hanson) Gorham, Teena as she was known by family and friends, was called home on Good Friday, April 3. As she was all her life, Teena was surrounded by family in her last days before peacefully passing from this earth.

She was born on Christmas Day, 1925, the youngest of nine children, to Harry and Fabiola (Duval) Hanson of Rumford. Teena spent the greater part of her life right here in her hometown. Even though she loved venturing off and visiting family throughout the country, oftentimes with her sister Emmy, she was always happiest when returning to her home, here in the valley.

In her youth, Teena summered at their camp in Oquossoc on the Rangeley Lakes. Her father would take the family up by train after school got out. There she, alongside her best friend, Frankie Falls, would explore all the many wonders that area had to offer until it was time to board the train and head back home once more. The wonder and beauty of Rangeley Lakes were never lost to Teena, and to this day, they took her breath away. Time spent there was Heaven on Earth for her.

Teena had a fun and outgoing spirit. She was a drum majorette in high school, among other things. Born in the era of live “Big Bands,” she spoke of the wonderful times she, her siblings and friends would have attending dances throughout the area.

Teena took up flying, alongside her brother, John. She was the first woman to fly solo in the town of Rumford. On occasion, Teenie would take her children up into the sky to see the beauty of the valley from above.

After graduating high school, Teena ventured, for a short time, to Bethel. There, she worked in the offices at Gould Academy. She returned home to work for her brother, Ed Hanson, and Byron Joy at their car dealership.

Teena met and married William Gorham of Portland in 1948. They made their home here in Rumford, where Bill worked as an electrician in the mill. Together, they raised their large family, moving them into their big house on Penobscot Street.

In 1955, Teena and her sister, Emmy (Murphy), opened Teena’s Snack Bar, which evolved into Teena’s Restaurant, in beautiful East Rumford. Thousands of people enjoyed their food and their charm over the years. Many would pop into the kitchen to visit with the girls and express their satisfaction, as would often be noted in the ads Teena crafted…perhaps you were one of them. Teena was very proud of the many young people who worked for them throughout the years. For many, it was their first job; others would return, season after season, and became like family.

When in her mid eighties, Emmy had to retire due to health issues, Teena carried on. Some years later, when Teena, also in her eighties, had to retire due to her own health issues, she still continued to come in early on Tuesday mornings to make their specialty, “Emmy’s Chicken Pie.”

Along the way, the Murphys purchased a camp at Roxbury Pond, where Emmy’s son, Willy, and the Gorham Clan would begin to spend their summer vacations, much like their mothers did. When the opportunity arose, Teena and Bill acquired their own place, just down the street from the Murphys. Here at camp, so many new memories were made. Teena’s favorite part of life at Roxbury Pond was watching the beautiful sunset at the end of the day, often times enjoying a leisurely sunset cruise around the lake.

Teena had been a member of the American Legion Ladies Auxiliary in Rumford, serving in different capacities, including secretary and president. During that time, she worked for the betterment of that organization, serving brunch to parade participants and selling poppies downtown, assisting in the sponsorship of numerous young women from the area to attend Girl’s State. She served on the Board of Directors for NOVA and was an advocate for technical school training. Teena also dabbled briefly in real estate with Anthony Koliche.

In more recent times, she had discovered the joys of FaceTime, enabling her to see and visit her grandchildren and great-grandchildren in Florida, the youngest of which she had yet to meet in person. She was also watching and waiting for her winning numbers to be selected from Publishers Clearing House.

Teena loved her life and provided a most wonderful one for her own children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. This was of the utmost importance to her. Teena loved family — not just her immediate family, but her many nieces and nephews, as well. She was kind and generous woman. In her home, even more so than in business, you were always “welcome as the flowers in May.”

Teena always loved to sing, a trait that seems to have been passed down to her children and grandchildren. Oftentimes, she would wake in the morning (no matter how early) with a song. Whether you knew her as Mother, Grammy Teenie, Great Grammy, aunt or friend, her presence will be greatly missed, but her spirit and song will carry on.

Christine Elaine (Hanson) Gorham is predeceased by her husband, William J. Gorham; son, John E. Gorham; and daughter, Katharine (Gorham) Symington.

She is survived by her brother, John Hanson of Washington state; and sister, Catherine “Kaye” (Hanson) Troberman of Texas; children, Joseph Gorham, Bridget (Gorham) Mayo and Steve, Christopher Gorham and Jane Goddard, Patrick Gorham and Roxanne, Mark Gorham and Mindy, W. Kelly Gorham; grandchildren, Brandon Gorham, Christopher Symington, Alyssa (Hertubise) Foss and Ethan, Colton Cyr, Meghan (Symington) Hamylak and Mark, Bethany Mayo, Travis Cyr, Steven Collette, John Patrick Gorham, Hanson Gorham, Adrianna (Addy) Gorham, Alex Gorham and Madison Collins Gorham; great-grandchildren, Emerson, Reese and Bennett Hamylak and Chloe Cyr.

You are invited to share your thoughts, condolences, and fond memories with the Gorham family by visiting their guestbook at www.SGThibaultFuneralHome.com.

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