Constance Middlesworth was born to sing.

“If she hadn’t married, she could have been a movie star,” said her daughter, Beth Cook of Gorham.

“She was a beautiful singer and had a lovely voice. She loved to entertain. She was a natural actress. She entered a room, and she could fill it with smiles.”

Mrs. Middlesworth died Thursday at the age of 78.

She was born in Westbrook and spent many years in Cape Elizabeth, where her children were raised.

Her attraction to entertainment began when she was a young girl. Songs on the radio captured her imagination and transported her to faraway places, her daughter said.

When she was young, Mrs. Middlesworth won many beauty pageants, sang on the radio and even recorded an album of popular songs.

She graduated from Westbrook High School and was voted the class comedian.

When she was older, she focused her talents on song and dance. She sang in the Sweet Adelines and other choirs, and was a regular at Lyric Music Theater in South Portland for many years.

Her daughter remembers those days well. “She was in a whole bunch of shows in the 1970s. I remember she starred in ‘Anything Goes,’ ‘Cabaret,’ ‘Guys and Dolls’ — all the popular shows. She continued singing her entire life.”

Later in life, she worked at the Carriage Trade Restaurant in Cape Elizabeth. It served her well. Working in a public place such as a restaurant enabled her to keep up with old friends, meet new friends and establish new relationships after she raised her family, her daughter said.

“Working at the Carriage Trade Restaurant was so good for her, because she was so outgoing. It was a very special time for her. It was her first taste of independence after the children, and she really enjoyed the time she spent there,” Cook said. “I think it was a real turning point in her life.”

Mrs. Middlesworth was active in the community in other ways.

She was a member of the Shore Acres Garden Club, and after she moved to South Carolina she began selling real estate.

She and her husband, Rex, spent 25 years in South Carolina.

Mrs. Middlesworth returned to her native Maine in 2003, living in Gorham and Westbrook.

She was a member of the Westbrook Historical Society and the Westbrook Senior Citizens.

Her daughter said the family’s fondest memories involve summers at Crescent Beach in Cape Elizabeth and Higgins Beach in Scarborough.

“We lived at Shore Acres, so we spent a lot of time at Crescent. But my grandparents owned cottages at Higgins, so we really spent a lot of time over there. Those memories are absolutely priceless,” she said.

“We have photos from all through the years. She cherished the time she spent with her family at the beach in the summer.”

 

Staff Writer Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or at:

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