STANDISH – While going through Priscilla Poitras’ belongings after her death Saturday, the family found baby clothing and quilts she had sewed.

She had made the quilts in anticipation of her grandchildren — Heather and Megan Larrivee, Michael Walsh and Stephen Poitras — having children one day, said her daughter Robin Walsh.

“She’s that type (of person),” she said. “She always thought of her friends and family before herself.”

Even when she was diagnosed with brain cancer earlier this summer, Mrs. Poitras, 73, did not want her daughter to tell Michael Walsh, who had just left for boot camp.

“She said, ‘Don’t call and don’t tell him. I don’t want him to worry,’” her daughter said. “She was thrilled about him getting through boot camp and joining the military. It was one of her most proud moments.”

Mrs. Poitras was born in Boston and grew up in Lakeside, Calif. After just six weeks of dating, she and Bob Poitras were married on July 2, 1960.

For the couple’s 50th anniversary this year, the family planned a surprise party for them.

“Who can do that nowadays?” her daughter asked, marveling that her parents had known each other for such a short period when they married but stayed together for 50 years. “Look at what an accomplishment that is.”

Friends and family members from all over the country — 80 in all — danced and partied all night at the anniversary celebration, Walsh said.

With her husband in the military, Mrs. Poitras packed up and moved her family of three children every two or three years for nearly 20 years of the couple’s marriage.

During that time, Mrs. Poitras was not only a mother and wife, but also worked as a bookkeeper for various companies or as an independent consultant.

The family lived all over California, parts of Maine, Australia and Guam. Through their travels, they became a very close-knit family, her daughter said, and Mrs. Poitras never complained.

“She enjoyed the stories she could tell where she had lived. It was neat that she had that life, (one) that she wouldn’t have had if she hadn’t met my father,” Walsh said.

After her husband retired, the couple settled in Westbrook, where he was born and raised, and later moved to Standish.

Having converted to Catholicism for her husband, Mrs. Poitras immersed herself in her faith. She not only attended church every Sunday, but also volunteered for various programs hosted by the church community, Walsh said.

In August, the family took her out to dinner to celebrate her birthday. Her daughter said they tried to make it “as special as they could,” decorating with balloons and giving Mrs. Poitras a feathery boa to wear.

The family dubbed her “superstar” for the evening and her “sassy” side came out, her daughter said.

“She was in seventh heaven just spending time with us,” Walsh said.

 

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

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