PORTLAND – William Harlow, who died Wednesday at age 89, was described by his family as a man who was fun to be with.

Mr. Harlow was born and raised in Portland, and graduated from Deering High School in 1939. He worked as a painting contractor for a time, and enjoyed painting and wallpapering people’s homes, said his daughter, Karen Green.

For 42 years, Mr. Harlow worked for the J.J. Nissen bakery in Portland. He started in the cake department, his daughter said, which is where he met his future wife, Eva.

“He loved her very, very much,” Green said.

The Harlows were married for 58 years. Back when they marked their 50th anniversary, Green said, they celebrated by having a dinner party at the Olive Garden.

Mr. Harlow was a hard worker, but he always had time for his children. His daughter said he would return home from work every day and they would all go outside to toss a Frisbee.

“He’d have to run (for the Frisbee) and we’d have to run a lot too,” she said. “He always had time to play with us.”

Throughout his life, Mr. Harlow was an avid philatelist — a stamp collector. He started buying stamps when he was 7, his daughter said. He added to the collection until two or three years ago, when he sold everything.

“He had a whole room upstairs full. One (stamp) from every country. You name it, he had it,” she said. He also enjoyed collecting coins and, more recently, cast metal model cars.

After he retired in 1983, Mr. Harlow spent time enjoying life.

Every year, he planted a vegetable garden and tended to it daily. His largest crops were tomatoes, squash, cucumbers and green beans.

His daughter-in-law, Sandra Harlow, often visited him and shared stories about things that had happened to her, or something she had heard about.

“They’d sit there and laugh about them. He really loved that,” his daughter said.

Mr. Harlow loved to spend time with his nine grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. He often sat and read books to one of his great-granddaughters. He even played “tea party” with her on occasion, his daughter said.

“He really loved his grandkids,” Green said.

Two years ago, Mr. Harlow and his wife moved to Buxton.

“He came back to his roots,” said his son, Thomas Harlow.

Generations ago, Mr. Harlow’s relatives ran the Chicopee Road Lumber Mill. His son remembers hearing stories of how Mr. Harlow visited relatives in the Buxton area and went swimming at Bonny Eagle Pond when he was a young boy.

“He was a great guy,” his daughter said.


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

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