For the sake of her grandchildren’s happiness, Margaret “Peggy” Meserve had no problem defying a hurricane warning at Crescent Beach.

“It’s the coolest memory,” said Mrs. Meserve’s daughter Catherine King of Berwick.

“I left her with my children at the beach. And because of the hurricane warning, the lifeguard said they had to leave the beach so she had to leave the toys. But she went out in the hurricane warning and scooped them up and protected them so they could take them home. My kids love that memory and always will.”

Mrs. Meserve died Friday surrounded by her family in South Portland. She was 59.

Mrs. Meserve’s life brimmed with stories and examples of her giving in big ways and connecting with people around her.

She was a special education teacher, volunteer and, later, a grandmother. But Mrs. Meserve spent the early years of her family sharing the fun of auto racing throughout New England.

The weekends and years sharing the excitement at the track at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway bound the Meserve family tighter, and that closeness permeated all parts of their lives, said her son, Barry Meserve Jr.

“We are definitely a racing family. My youngest sister used to drive go-karts and I drove stock cars. We’ve grown up and gone our own ways, but my dad and (mom) were still a huge part of that track. She supported my dad in that all through her life,” he said.

Mrs. Meserve grew up near her husband, Barry, in Scarborough, and when they married they shared their passions in life for 38 years.

“For today’s standards it is one of the most incredible marriages I’ve ever seen. They loved each other unconditionally,” said Barry Meserve Jr., who lives in Millinocket.

“Whatever one was into, the other would find a way to make it a part of their life in order to be there for the other. And they always found a way no matter what we were doing to make it a part of their lives.”

Mrs. Meserve was a teacher who specialized in special education, teaching for years at Scarborough High School, where her children went to school.

Mrs. Meserve’s daughter Bobbi Coffin of Dover, N.H., said it was her mother’s work ethic, first displayed during her years as a teacher, that taught her children how to be successful, happy people.

And when she finished teaching 14 years ago, Mrs. Meserve spent her time volunteering, devoting more than 1,200 hours at Maine Medical Center.

“It’s sad but comforting (that) the last six weeks at the hospital, the same hospital she volunteered at, a lot of nurses knew her by her face and knew she volunteered there,” said her son.

Mrs. Meserve’s interests were many and varied. But it was her way of living honestly and with others in mind that remains to her children her most memorable quality.

“She was just one of the most caring people. Her whole life centered around helping others,” Barry Meserve Jr. said.

Staff Writer Deirdre Fleming can be contacted at 791-6452 or at:

[email protected]