FARMINGTON — Zelma (Meisner) “Sis” Toothaker, 96, formerly of N. Chesterville, passed away on Wednesday, Sept. 20, at Sandy River Nursing Center with a loving friend by her side.

She was born in Chesterville Center at the family home of Charles William and Frances Wesley Meisner on July 15, 1921, one hour before her twin brother Delma “Joe” Meisner was born.

She attended the one-room school in Chesterville Center Town Hall. The starting age at that time was 6 years old in first grade. The teacher taught all subjects for eight grades besides music, art and health and had to be on the playground during recess. Children already knew their ABC’s and other necessary beginner’s knowledge.

Transportation wasn’t furnished in the “good old days” so her freshman year she went early with her father when he went to work at Fairbanks. The second and all the years of Farmington High School and normal school she worked her board at Rex and Marcia Parsons. Weekends she worked in J. J. Newberry Co. as clerk. She also worked at Riverside Greenhouse. Summers she worked at Pine Haven Campground in Canton.

Her first choice of a vocation was to go to Brunner Studio of Fine Arts in New York, but that did not happen. After graduating from Farmington High School in 1942 she taught school in Dead River for three years. She then taught at Chesterville Center with all grades and North Chesterville for fifth through eighth grades. In 1949 she received her B.S. in Jr. High Education. She taught third grade at the Mallett School and the Red Schoolhouse. She taught both Sunday and Bible School at Farmington Falls Baptist Church and N. Chesterville Baptist Church.

She married Clark W. Toothaker on Dec. 23, 1944. They were married for almost 68 years before his passing in 2012. They owned and operated Toothaker’s Greenhouses for 20 years.


She was the Franklin County publicity chair during World War II and helped watch for airplanes at Zion’s Watch Tower. She worked at Forster Manufacturing Co. and 15 years for the SAD #9 lunch program.

She was a 74-year member of Chesterville Grange #20, a member of Excelsior Pomona #5, Maine State Grange, National Grange, Order of the Amaranth, White Shrine, Woodland Wanderers Snowmobile Club and Chesterville Ladies Auxiliary.

She enjoyed cooking, crocheting and embroidering but her main love was painting.

Zelma was predeceased by her husband; mother; father; siblings, Vella E. Meisner, Merville “Jack” Meisner, Orville Meisner, and Delma “Joe” Meisner; and daughter, Claire T. Trask.

She leaves behind her daughter, Anne T. Lambert and husband, Tom, of N. Chesterville; two special grandsons, Jeremy T. Lambert and wife, Danielle “Dani,” of Coleville, Calif., and Joshua C. Lambert and his wife, Elizabeth “Liz,” of N. Chesterville; a sister-in-law; one niece; and two nephews.

The family would like to thank the staff at Sandy River Nursing Center for the care and compassion during her last days with us. Special thanks go to Lori, Diane P., Emily, Lindsay, Diane C., Barb and Amy. Also, a special thank you to all the girls who she grew fond of during her stay in the assisted living center. Condolences and tributes as well as a memorial video tribute may be shared on her memorial wall at

Zelma M. Toothaker

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