For the first time in his adult life, Malcolm Lyons is having to live without his wife, Mary, who died Saturday – less than three weeks shy of their 76th wedding anniversary. She was 95.

“He’s devastated,” said their daughter, Patricia Buck of Windham. “He feels lost. He wishes he could go with her. Someone is with him all the time. He doesn’t know what to do.”

Their love story began in the mid-1930s. The Lubec native had enlisted in the Coast Guard and was stationed at Biddeford Pool, where Mary met him. From then on, she visited him often and he visited her at her parents’ farm in Windham.

Buck said she still has a box of love letters they exchanged during his years in the service. They were married on Feb. 5, 1938. Soon after, they moved to their home on Windham Center Road.

The couple raised five children, three foster children, and took in other foster kids for short periods of time. Buck reminisced about their summers on Sebago Lake and visiting Harbor Heights in Lubec.

“Housework … she could care less about it,” Buck said. “She was a wonderful mother. She was very caring and very open. She loved our friends. The more, the merrier. She was someone we could always talk to.”

Mrs. Lyons, who devoted her life to her family and community, entered the work force in her 50s and became a real estate agent. She worked for Peterson Realty and Mark Stimson Realty, selling houses in Windham and Lubec for about 20 years.

She was active in the Windham community and was a longtime member of the Windham Hill United Church of Christ. In the 1950s, she co-founded the Health Council and Loan Closet in Windham, which offers free medical equipment to local residents.

“She loved it,” Buck said of her mother’s service work. “She knew a lot of people in Windham.”

Mrs. Lyons enjoyed feeding birds, gardening, crocheting and cooking.

“I admired her optimism,” her daughter said. “She was always cheerful, she always had a smile. No matter who came, she wanted you to sit down and have supper. I’ll miss the daily conversations.”

As for Mr. Lyons, he is learning how to live without the great love of his life.

Mrs. Lyons became ill in October. Since then, he had been at her bedside. Buck said he would hold her hand, read her poetry, and tell her how much he loved her. At night, he would lie in a bed next to hers and hold his wife’s hand. She died at home. He was by her side.

On Monday afternoon, he was writing a poem for his wife that he wanted someone to read at Wednesday’s service.

Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at:

mcreamer@pressherald.com