CAPE ELIZABETH – Nancy Wynne was, in the words of her daughter Laurie-Sue Adams, a Maine woman.

that, Adams says, she means that her mother was one of those women who finds a way to do what needs to be done, no matter what the obstacle. Starting with raising her children and instilling in them her own beliefs about the value of education and self-reliance.

“My mother raised three kids on her own, while continuing her own education and working,” said Adams, of South Portland. “She was working as a nurse, going to school at night, and had a second job at night (teaching nursing).”

Wynne, who worked at Maine Medical Center in Portland for 40 years and eventually attained a master’s degree in nursing, died Saturday after a nine-year battle with cancer. She was 77.

Raised in South Portland, Wynne graduated from Maine General Hospital’s nursing program in 1953, then married and had three children. But the marriage later ended. She raised her family in Cape Elizabeth.

Wynne pursued her bachelor’s degree in nursing, eventually earning a master’s in 1979. Adams said she “learned to cook at a young age” because all the children had to help with household chores while their mother worked and went to school.

But Adams said she and her siblings didn’t mind, because they could see how hard their mother was working for them.

“We had really good reasons to want to do right by our mother,” Adams said.

She said her mother still made time to have fun and to do creative things with her children, and later, her grandchildren.

Adams recalls the television in her mother’s home breaking down, and her mother having no money for a new one. So she immediately started reading books to her children each night as substitute entertainment.

“My brother and sister tell me we eventually got another TV, but I don’t remember it,” Adams said.

Wynne used to invite her grandchildren over for dinner and spread out a tablecloth on the floor in front of the fire. Then she’d let them roast their supper — hot dogs and s’mores — over the flames.

“She loved being Grammy so much,” her daughter said.

As a nurse, one of Wynne’s major contributions was her early involvement as a certified CPR instructor, teaching the technique to other medical professionals. The American Heart Association/Maine Affiliate named its Nancy Wynne CPR Volunteer Award in her honor.

Wynne loved to travel, and after retiring traveled to Europe and Hawaii with her second husband, Walter “Charlie” Wynne. She also loved to fish and make jelly — not jam, which is easier, her daughter said.

She also volunteered for several groups, including the Maine Heart Association and the Bruce Roberts Toy Fund.

 

Staff Writer Ray Routhier can be contacted at 791-6454 or at: [email protected]