SCARBOROUGH — Efthimia “Effie” Blackstone passed away peacefully on December 21, 2012 at Gosnell Memorial Hospice House in Scarborough, Maine. She was 95 years old and had lived for the past 17 years at the Highlands retirement community in Topsham, Maine.

Effie was a devoted mother and grandmother who had a wide circle of friends and close companions in Maine and across the country. Before a series of recent hospitalizations slowed her down, Effie enjoyed exceptionally good health and was active in her vegetable and flower garden through early this fall. She was an avid and competitive Scrabble player, playing as many as a half dozen times each week with friends at the Highlands and with family on holidays. This Thanksgiving she joined her family in a final Scrabble game, gaining an early edge despite her failing health. Effie was a familiar and beloved figure at the Highlands, volunteering for many years in the marketing department and later caring for neighbors and befriending the community’s staff. She was a longtime member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Brunswick and enjoyed attending cultural events at Bowdoin College and in Portland.

A native of Nashua, New Hampshire, Effie lived most of her life on a large potato farm in Caribou, Maine, where she and her husband Arnold I. Blackstone, who died in 1988, raised two daughters. In addition to managing the finances of the family farm business, Effie worked well into her 70’s as an accountant both at a Caribou accounting firm and on her own.

Effie was especially proud of her Greek heritage. Both her father, Andrew Cortius, and her mother, Sophia Lekas, emigrated to the United States from small mountain villages in Greece early in the 20th century. Effie and her late sister Kiki grew up in a household where Greek was spoken. Their father, Andrew, ran a coffee house in Nashua and wrote for a local Greek language newspaper. The sisters grew up with a love of words and language and all things Greek. A brother, Peter, passed away in the 1930’s while a college student in Massachusetts.

In 1947 Effie married Arnold Blackstone, whom she met while volunteering at a Boston area hospital during World War II. Arnold was a decorated U.S. Army infantryman who landed on Omaha Beach in Normandy in 1944 and served in combat throughout France and Germany. From the late 1940’s through the mid 1990’s, Effie lived on the Blackstone farm, where she had beautiful gardens and was actively involved in her church and the community. Effie, Arnold and their family were faced with many challenges, including a major fire caused by lightning that destroyed their home in the mid 1960’s. Following their retirement, Effie and Arnold bought a home in Spain to be close to their oldest daughter, Cynthia, and granddaughter Andrea. They traveled to Spain often for many years.

Seven years after her husband’s death, Effie sold the farm and moved to Topsham, close to where her younger daughter Kathleen and her youngest granddaughter Whitney live.

Effie is survived by her daughter Cynthia Severance and granddaughter Andrea Severance, both of whom reside in Spain and spend part of each year in Gardiner, Maine; as well as daughter Kathleen McKeen, her daughter Whitney Blackstone Huse and Kathleen’s husband, James Harnar, all of whom live in the greater Portland area. She also is survived by her brother-in-law William Salo and nephew Peter Salo, both living in Nashua, New Hampshire.

A celebration of life is being planned at the Highlands in Topsham. Effie’s family is deeply grateful to the staff at the Highlands for their many years of devoted friendship and support for Effie. The family also wishes to recognize the caring and compassionate staff at Parkview Hospital in Brunswick and, especially, at the Gosnell Memorial Hospice House in Scarborough, where Effie spent her final days.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in Effie’s honor to the Gosnell Memorial Hospice House, 180 US Rte One, Scarborough, ME 04074.