AUBURN – Katharine J. McNear, 89, a longtime resident of Leeds, passed away peacefully, Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019, at Schooner Estates, in Auburn, as a result of declining health from dementia. She was born April 14, 1929, in Saugus, Mass., the daughter of Stanley L. Bryant and Ruth (Lovewell) Bryant. At the age of 16, Katharine graduated as valedictorian from Leavitt Institute in Turner, class of 1945. She was awarded a four year academic scholarship to Bates College, but chose a different path. She married Johnny Nutting and they had two sons, John and Paul, before his death during the Korean War. His plane was shot down in the South Pacific; his remains were never recovered.

She later married Gerald McNear on Nov. 27, 1954, and they had sons, Jeffrey and Craig. After 55 years of marriage, Gerald passed away Feb. 14, 2010. No stranger to hard work, together they built a family farm from scratch, with Holstein cattle and poultry barns. Katharine devoted her time to family and home and also served as treasurer for the Town of Leeds for 13 years. Her love and knowledge of music showed in her choir direction of the Leeds Community Church, where she played the organ each Sunday for 25 years. She was also a longtime member of the Androscoggin Chorale. Katharine enjoyed reading, singing, gardening, birdwatching, traveling, knitting, cross-stitching, as well as downhill and cross-country skiing. She especially loved family gatherings and cherished moments spent with them. Everything she set out to do got done, and it was always done well; she always had that expectation of herself. Katharine McNear was a woman well-acquainted with sorrow and grief, yet she worked very hard at being optimistic.

She is survived by her sons, John Nutting and wife, Sandy, Paul Nutting and wife, Penny, Jeffrey McNear, Kathy McNear, and Craig McNear all of Leeds;  nine grandchildren; 13 great-grandchildren; and sisters, Anna Smith, Edna Twitchell, and Caroline McCoubrey.

She was predeceased by her parents; her husbands, John M. Nutting and Gerald McNear; infant son, Joel B. McNear; and her sister, Nancy Trider.  The family would like to extend a special thanks to Nelda Bond, whose devoted care allowed Katharine to stay in her home near beloved family and friends until this past September.

A Memorial Service at Leeds Community Church, 123 Church Hill Rd., Leeds, will be announced in the spring. Interment Fairview Cemetery, Leeds. Arrangements by BRAGDON-FINLEY FUNERAL HOME, 707 Main St., Monmouth.

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