FALMOUTH – Albertine “Tina” Parker spent most of her life taking care of others.

As a teenager, she helped care for four younger siblings. When she first married Eugene Parker, she began helping to care for his grandmother, who had dementia.

Though she didn’t grow up around animals, she learned to care for the horses, pigs, steers and cows on the couple’s Falmouth homestead. She had a daughter, Lois, and stayed at home to raise her.

Twenty-one years later — long after Parker and her husband were told they couldn’t have more children — they had a second daughter. Parker, by then a grandmother, began her second stint as stay-at-home mom to care for Ellen.

While Ellen was growing up, Mrs. Parker’s own mother began battling dementia and came to live with the family.

Mrs. Parker died Friday after her own long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. She was 82 and lived most of her life in Falmouth.

“She was just an amazing woman with a great deal of strength, and I think that’s a quality we got from her,” said her daughter Ellen Josephs, 39, of Falmouth. “To be a stay-at-home mother twice over, and take care of as many people as she did, she had to be strong.”

When Ellen was born, Parker’s daughter Lois already had children of her own.

This made for a very special relationship between Parker and her eldest daughter — as they were both raising young children at the same time, with each other’s help.

“We just went off and did things together, shopping, and we’d pile all the kids into the car and go,” said Lois Roy, 60, of Falmouth. “She was Mum, but it was like we were friends, too.”

Roy married young and moved to Hawaii with her husband, who was in the Army. She said her mother’s constant letters and care packages helped her battle terrible homesickness.

One of those letters was a 10-page, step-by-step instruction manual on how to cook and serve a Thanksgiving dinner.

“Growing up, I spent more time in the barn then the kitchen. When we were living in Hawaii my husband tells me he’s bringing home three guys for Thanksgiving dinner,” said Roy. “She (Parker) sat down and wrote me 10 pages on how to cook the dinner. I still have that letter.”

Parker was never afraid to try new things. She began riding horses as a hobby, with her husband, after her oldest daughter was married. In their 70s, Parker and her husband began riding four-wheel all-terrain vehicles on trails all over Maine.

The couple continued to take day trips with their four-wheelers until Eugene Parker’s death in August of last year, the family said.

“They’d come home and say ‘We crossed this river today and our feet got a little wet’ and we’d say ‘You better be careful,’” said Josephs. “Even when she (had Alzheimer’s) they would go out. It seemed to calm her.”

 

Staff Writer Ray Routhier can be contacted at 791-6454 or at:

[email protected]