SACO – Yvonne Mitchell was known for her baking.

Whether it was her strawberry rhubarb pie, her whoopie pie cake or her banana bread, everyone enjoyed it.

“When she’d go shopping, she’d deliver banana bread to all the girls in the deli at Shaw’s,” said her granddaughter Billie-Jean Steere.

Her specialty was the whoopie pie cake, which her son, Robert Estes, remembers her hiding from her children so they wouldn’t eat it all.

Mrs. Mitchell died Friday. She was 86.

She was born and raised in Saco and lived there her entire life.

Before she had children, she and her first husband, Herb Estes, owned Herb and Yvonne’s Diner in Saco.

“Supposedly, they had the best cooked food there,” said her daughter, Pamela Davis, based on the stories she has heard.

After the diner closed, in the late 1940s, Mrs. Mitchell stayed at home with her children through the time they were teenagers.

“I always felt like I was the luckiest person in the world,” her daughter said. “I was very close to her, we always got along. She’s just a sweetheart.”

Her daughter-in-law, Sandra Estes, said that Mrs. Mitchell was always like her own mother.

In her early adult years, Steere lived across the street from her grandmother. Working two jobs, Steere often had long days. She would come home and find dinner on the steps of her apartment, “with a napkin and a note from Gram.”

Steere also would visit with Mrs. Mitchell over a cup of coffee in the morning. “I just remember talking and hanging out,” she said.

Mrs. Mitchell was involved in the First Parish Congregational Church, and spent three to four hours a week at the Saco Food Pantry, helping to pass out food to those in need, her daughter said.

“She was the most generous, full-of-life lady you’ve ever met,” her daughter said.

“She was a very feisty lady” who never went anywhere without her lipstick, her granddaughter said. “Right until the end, she had her lipstick on the nightstand.”

“She loved getting flowers more than anything,” Steere said.

Whenever she received a bouquet, Mrs. Mitchell would take a picture of it and label the back of the picture with the date and who sent the arrangement.

As the family packed up all of her belongings, Steere said, they found a whole photo album full of photos of floral arrangements.

 

Staff Writer Emma Bouthillette can be contacted at 791-6325 or at:

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