Merlene Irene (Thomas) Greenwood

BUCKFIELD – Merlene Irene (Thomas) Greenwood died on April 28, 2020 at 2 p.m. in Norway from complications of aging.Born Oct. 24, 1934 to Ida (Pettengill) (Becky) Thomas and Earle Allen Thomas.Merlene grew up on the Anson Road in Greene. She attended the one room school house on the Allen Pond Road near the intersection of the North Mountain Road. She often walked to school with her Irish Setter dog who would stay with her the entire day. Early to school, she would sometimes start the wood stove or monitor the class if the teacher, Laurel Gagne, was running late. Merlene attended High School at Lewiston High but changed to Leavitt Institute in Turner for her Junior year and graduated in the class of 1952. Activities included being a cheerleader. After graduation, she attended Central Maine General Hospital School of Nursing and became an LPN. In the early 1950’s at a baseball game in Turner, Merlene’s best friend, Ruby (Footman) Austin, introduced Merlene to the Wales native, Frederick John Greenwood. At the time, Ruby was dating (and later married) Fred’s first cousin, Horton. Fred and Merlene were married on Nov. 11,1953 in Monmouth. They soon settled on the Allen Pond Road in Greene in a new cape house they built on family land. While living there, they purchased their first race horse as a colt and they named her “Hi Midge”. In 1960, they purchased the 250 acre Chase apple – nursery stock farm on South Hill in Buckfied and moved there with the family in early August of 1960. It is on this farm Merlene spent her years helping her husband build a successful family apple – garden business they named Greenwood Orchards. The business soon extended to land purchased on Route 4 in Turner and included a retail store,cider mill and apple storage-packing facility. Today, the business they started with their children continues and is owned and operated by family members.Merlene was one of the first members of the Hebron and Buckfield Rescue Unit and ably served as an EMT for many years. She was one of the very first LPNs to work for the newly formed Androscoggin Home Health Services in the early 1960s. Because of her nursing education, Merlene possessed a practical interest in all things medical which included veterinarian applications for the many animals she owned or adopted. In the 1980s and 1990s the farm included a herd of over 30 registered Jerseys which she daily attended. In her youth, Merlene’s father, Earle – a woodsman, used work horses which Merlene taught herself to ride. She often spoke of her first horse, “Queenie”, that she rode bareback and western style. She told of riding Queenie on the woods roads up to Quaker Ridge Road where she would horse race with friends who lived on that road. She always retained a love for horses and racing. Much later in life and in a period of semi-retirement, she had as many as twelve race horses which she bred and raced well into the early 2000s. Merlene and Fred spent many hours raising, training and attending their herd of horses over the years. One could often find them at the Lovejoy practice track in Buckfield where Merlene, flying around the track in a sulky cart behind a pacer she was training, appeared to be totally of and in her essence. Blitz, one of her favorite race horses she bred and raised now lives retired at the farm. Merlene played an important role in the Buckfield Bicentennial Celebration in 1993. On that special day, she was instrumental in the production of successful pacer races at the Lovejoy track. This event was well attended and helped make the event even more memorable to many. In her early years, Merlene was greatly influenced by her paternal grandparents, Georgie (Farris) and Sullivan Lee Thomas (from the East Oxford/Minot area) and her only paternal aunt, Velma Merlene (Thomas) Rais. For many years during the 1930s and early 1940s they occupied the farm across the Anson Road in Leeds. They played a great role in Merlene’s formative years thus the many humorous stories of which she enjoyed telling to her children and grandchildren. Merlene raised her children and taught them through example to work hard, be independent, resourceful, self sufficient and ultimately, successful. Many of the grandchildren, neighbors, friends, summer students all learned by experiencing and helping at the many tasks on the farm and at the store. Merlene always worked right along with them and taught them by example. She was a friend and a resource to all who worked for and with her. She rooted for the underdog and loved the one that raced from the back of the pack to challenge the front runner for the win! It is rest for now Merlene but your spirit lives on in all those, man or beast, you taught, healed and touched so deeply. Merlene’s four children and their extended family members survive her: Daughter, Kathryn Greenwood King (Neal). Grandchildren: Harold King, Richard King and Katie (King) Matulis. Great grandchildren: Calvin King and Elise, Joe and Ozzie King. Son: Fred Allen Greenwood (Rebekah). Grandchildren: Laura Hughes, Carolyn Kennison and Aubrie Carter. Great grandchildren: Luke and Liam Hughes, Mallory and Ryder Kennison, and Nellie Pearl Carter.Daughter: Peggy Greenwood Holland. Grandchildren: Jennifer Lowell, Thomas Lowell and Lindsey Youland. Great grandchildren: Riley Hussey, Payton Lowell and Hudson and Charlotte Youland; Great, great grandchildren, Harper and Bryce Child. Daughter: Cynthia Greenwood Scott (Glen) Grandchildren: Cassie Violette and Cody Andersen. Great grandchildren Kelsey, McKinley and Ayla Violette. Merlene is also survived by her only sister, Gloria (Thomas) Dinsmore (Roger) and nephews David, Frank and Thomas Dinsmore. The children of her deceased brother, Robert Becky: Sandra (Becky) Arthur; Timothy Becky and Angela Becky.In addition to her parents and brother, Merlene was predeceased by her husband, Fred on July 1, 2007; her son in law, Tom Holland in Dec. 2019; Nephews: Ralph (Peter) Becky and Robert (Bobby) Dinsmore. Her paternal aunt, Velma M.(Thomas) Rais (Anthony). The family wishes to thank the management and staff of the Norway Rehabilitation and Living Center for their exceptional kindness and care during the past nine months. A celebration and remembrance of Merlene’s life will be announced in the near future. Arrangements are under the care of Chandler Funeral Homes & Cremation Service, 45 Main St., South Paris. Online condolences may be shared with her family at For those who wish to make a memorial contribution in her memory please consider Androscoggin Home Health & Hospice or the Buckfield Rescue Services

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