1920 – 2015

AUBURN — Alice Norraine Prince Briggs, long­time resident of Turner, noted community member and partner to the late Hugh Briggs Jr. at Brigeen Farms on Upper Street, passed away peacefully at Androscoggin Hospice in Auburn, on Friday, Sept. 11.

Alice was well-known in Turner and in the New England farming community for the generous and delicious meals she prepared for all who came to her kitchen and for her willingness to do her share in whatever joint project she was a part of.

She was born April 5, 1920, and spent her childhood years with her father, Job Prince; siblings, Sherman and Shirley Prince; and housekeeper, Lulu Gray, on Lower Street in Turner.

She memorized the alphabet forward and backward before first grade and went on to love school. She picked raspberries to earn money for a high school class ring and graduated salutatorian from Leavitt Institute in 1937.

There weren’t enough raspberries in Turner to pay for Alice to attend college, so she took a series of au pair jobs in Lewiston-Auburn for several years. She married Hugh C. Briggs Jr. (Bill) on April 2,1940.

She was a bookkeeper, hostess, parts procurer, driver and event planner as they worked to build Brigeen Farms into the nationally known enterprise that it became and continues to be.

Alice Briggs had many pleasures. The first were the six children that she and Bill brought into the world — Stephen (Mary), Jackie (Rich Martin), Audrey (Ron Lewis), Laura (Bruce Smith, deceased), David (Liz Wiesen) and Hugh III. She drove them all over New England to schools, math contests and other competitions, and she was single­-minded in her determination that they all receive the college education she had not been able to afford. Their accomplishments, and those of their children, gave her pleasure until the end of her life.

Alice loved cooking. She cooked regularly for a table of nine or 10 and welcomed many exchange students into her home over the decades. She was pleased to feed them such good food that they gained weight during their time with her.

She made wonderful meals for the many others who came to the farm or ate out of her picnic basket at the Maine State Dairy Show.

For eight years, she baked the pies sold at Youly’s Family Restaurant on Route 4. People came from as far away as Portland to have a piece of Alice’s pie.

She was a regular contributor to the Dollars for Scholars auction at Leavitt Institute and would stay up all night baking anadama bread so it would be oven­-warm for the auction. One year, a loaf of her bread sold for 100 dollars.

Alice found much happiness in sewing quilts and made multiple quilts for her children and grandchildren. She was an artist in combining colors in interesting, surprising and satisfying ways. She also braided rugs and knitted sweaters, afghans and hundreds of pairs of of mittens for children, grandchildren and mittenless friends. She was happy to share what she knew about braiding, knitting or quilting with anyone who wanted to learn.

Alice Prince Briggs was fascinated with words and once woke one of her children with news about the meaning of “runcible spoon” in “The Owl and the Pussycat.” She wrote detailed letters to family and friends. She sent out Christmas cards — with personal letters — until the last Christmas of her life. She enjoyed crossword puzzles and was especially good at New York Times puzzles edited by Will Shortz.

Alice lived at the farm for seven years after Bill died, and in 2002, moved to Island Falls to be companion to Beverly Rand. She continued to knit and sew quilts, and the two enjoyed playing cards, watching Boston Red Sox games, feeding hummingbirds and visiting with friends.

She and Bev were pleased to win a costume contest one summer in their grass skirts, hand-sewn by Alice.

In 2012, she moved to Wayne and spent several happy years at the home of her daughter, Laura Briggs. She still found pleasure in working on quilts, and often said that during that time, she, Laura and Audrey together made the prettiest quilt she had ever made.

She also wrote letters, did crossword puzzles and savored many a bowl of good ice cream, accompanied by “Antiques Roadshow.”

Alice Prince Briggs was preceded in death by her parents, Job Prince and Cora Irish Prince; her husband, Hugh C. Briggs Jr.; grandson, Stephen Briggs Jr.; her sister, Shirley Varney; brother, Sherman Prince; half-brothers and -sisters, Marion, Rufus, Norman, Muriel Prince and Edna Emerson, Frances Farr and Robert Mitchell.

She is survived by her children, listed above; and her grandchildren, Sarah Martin Busse (Reed Busse), Betsy Bullard (Bill Bullard), Justin Martin (Kate Greenberg), Aaron Lewis, Michael Smith (Yao Wang), Nathan Lewis (Michelle), Kate Teixeira (Robert Teixeira) and Vivian Briggs. Her great-grandchildren are Owen Busse, Evelyn Busse, Sydney Bullard, Will Bullard, J.W. Chapman, Chloe Chapman, Alexis Teixeira, Ella Martin and Jonah Martin.

She will be remembered and missed by children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews and friends all over the United States.

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