YARMOUTH – Annie Simpson worked for Key Bank for about 15 years and rose quickly through the ranks to manager before her career came to a halt when she was laid off around 2001.

Instead of pounding the pavement looking for another job in the banking industry, she decided to pursue her passions for gardening and landscaping.

For the past five years, she did the landscaping for two houses on the Wallace estate on Highlands Farm Road in Yarmouth.

“It was the best time of her life,” said her brother, Henry Simpson, of Steep Falls. “She loved it. She loved working with plants and watching them grow.”

Ms. Simpson died Wednesday. She was 66.

She was remembered by her brother Monday as a strong, determined and independent woman, who lived her life to its fullest.

Ms. Simpson joined Key Bank in the mid-1980s as a collector. Soon after, she entered the management trainee program. She managed Key’s branches in Falmouth and South Portland.

“She was a real organized professional,” said DeAnn Lewis, her best friend, who worked with her at Key. “She was very smart and very much a take-charge person. She was up to whatever task was set in front of her.”

She was married to Dan Edgerton for 19 years. In addition to her husband, she leaves a son, Matthew Velentgas of Austin, Texas, and two stepdaughters, Susan Nixon and Cathy Adams, who live in Portland.

Ms. Simpson enjoyed cooking and going to art auctions and museums. Lewis, her friend, said she had a passion for antiques.

She was remembered by her family and friends as a generous and thoughtful person, who made time to help others.

She volunteered for the town of Yarmouth, maintaining the trails in Frank Knight Forest on East Main Street.

“She used to wear me out,” said her brother, who occasionally went with her. “She tried to teach me, but when it comes to trees and plants, I could kill anything just by looking at it. She was supposed to do the landscaping on my house next year. She had great plans for it. Now, it will never happen.”

Ms. Simpson was diagnosed with appendix cancer in March 2010.

Her brother said she took control of her treatment and maintained a positive outlook throughout her illness.

She died Wednesday at Gosnell Memorial Hospice House in Scarborough.

Her brother said he will miss spending time with her.

“We were very close,” he said. “We would play cribbage together for hours and chitchat like a couple of old women over tea.”

Staff Writer Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at: [email protected]