HARPSWELL — On the western shore of Harpswell Neck, Priscilla W. Manter was often found working in her flower garden.

In the distance on a clear day, she could see the outline of Mount Washington. She could smell the salty ocean air and hear the bustle of fishermen returning to Wilson Cove.

“Every day she would be out there,” said her daughter, Patricia Watson of Harpswell. “She created the most beautiful gardens.”

Mrs. Manter, who died on March 5 at the age of 89, had a passion for gardening. She enjoyed working with perennials and reading about various types of flowers. She grew roses and hydrangeas. Her daughter said one of her prized flowers was a deep purple bearded iris with a white throat.

In her later years, Mrs. Manter built a wall from rocks that she carried one by one from the beach to her yard nearby.

“The land around her home looks like a park,” Watson said. “She made it look beautiful and she worked really hard at it. I used to joke with her about charging admission.”

Mrs. Manter grew up in Massachusetts and graduated from Lexington High School in 1940. She went on to study business at Fisher College and worked briefly as a secretary for Cambridge Gas and Electric Co. in Massachusetts.

She married Frank Wright Jr., and moved to Topsham in 1942. She put her career on hold to raise her five children.

Watson remembered that her mother made soap, clothes, mittens and other things to save money. Her frugal ways helped her husband build a business, Wright Pierce Engineering in Topsham, which still operates today. She was the first secretary for the company. They were married for 35 years.

Watson said she was a great mother and a strong role model in their lives “She always had a positive attitude,” her daughter said. “I always felt loved and cared for. I think all of us would say the same thing.”

In the late 1960s, Mrs. Manter worked for Daniel Hanley, former executive director of the Maine Medical Association. She then became a receptionist and secretary for doctors’ offices in Brunswick and Bath. She retired in 1985.

Two years later, she married Everett Manter. He died in 1999.

Mrs. Manter was remembered by her family on Monday as a sweet and gentle woman who always had a kind word for people. Watson said her mother enjoyed traveling and visited Hawaii and England.

“She had this quiet confidence about her,” Watson said. “She liked adventure.”

 

Staff Writer Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at: mcreamer@pressherald.com