Esther Blanchard Gyger

BRIDGTON – Esther Blanchard Gyger, 95, formerly of Bridgton, died on April 6, 2020, at the Androscoggin Hospice House in Auburn. At the time of her death, she was a resident at Clover HealthCare assisted living facility in Auburn. Born on August 27, 1924, in Winchester, Mass., Esther was a daughter of Dean and Esther (Parshley) Blanchard. She attended local Winchester Schools and graduated in 1946 from Jackson College of Tufts University in Boston with a BS in Education.Along with her family, Esther summered in a cottage situated on the shore of Broad Cove in Cumberland Foreside on land owned by Blanchard heirs. It was here that Esther developed her life-long love of salt water; and it was during one of those summer visits that Esther met her future husband, John T. Gyger, Jr., on a blind date arranged by her cousin. They were married in Winchester on June 20, 1947, and moved to Amherst, Mass., where John (who had interrupted his college education to serve in the Army) finished his studies at Amherst College. In 1949, the couple settled at Five Fields Farm, the Gyger family apple orchard, in South Bridgton. There they raised three children, Tom, Sally, and Martha, before moving to a home on Elm Street in Bridgton where Esther lived for over 45 years.First and foremost, Esther viewed her primary role in life as being a helpmate to John and to her children. She was also the immediate – as well as the extended – familys communicator; and her medium was the telephone. John would often groan and say, Esther . . . when he opened the monthly phone bill. And that would be it. He joked that the phone bill was his wifes entertainment budget and that talking on the phone was good for her mental health.Esther was a loyal volunteer in the Bridgton community serving as a Cub Scout leader; as a member on the school board; and as a volunteer at the Hospital Coffee Shop, the Hospital Thrift Shop, and the Chamber of Commerce. Prompted by her son Toms difficulties in school, Esther developed a lasting interest in learning disabilities; and, off and on for about 20 years, she was a reading tutor for the local elementary school. Esther loved the rocky coast of Maine, but John won out on having the familys summer place be on fresh water (Sebago Lake). Following his death, however, every summer for many years she and her best friend and sister, Sally Maynard, rented a cottage on an island (especially Peaks) in Casco Bay for a week, where family and friends joined them to savor the charms of island living.Esther had a deep curiosity about human nature and psychology. She always wanted to get to the bottom of things. She loved walking on the beach, breathing in the salt air and collecting sea glass, traveling the back, back roads of Maine (just to find out where they ended up), hunting for pussy willows and mayflowers in the spring, making jigsaw puzzles, knitting, mending and darning, listening to Maine Public Radio, and doing the Cryptoquip and JUMBLE every day. In her years in assisted living, Esther discovered bingo (much to her daughters surprise) and would object if they attempted to schedule doctors appointments if the times would interfere with it. She liked white flowers, particularly gladiolas.In the years following Johns death in 1989, Esther enjoyed attending Elderhostel programs, often combining them with a visit with her daughter, Sally, and son-in-law, Eric, who had moved to the Northwest in the early 1990s.Esther attended the Bridgton First Congregational Church and was a member of the South Bridgton Congregational Church, but she always considered herself a Unitarian at heart.In addition to her parents; her beloved husband, John; and son, John Tom T. Gyger III; Esther was predeceased by her brothers, William and Dean Blanchard; and her sister, Sally B. Maynard.Esther is survived by her daughters Sally G. (Eric) Biggar of Topsham, ME, and Martha P. Littlefield of Poland, ME; daughter-in-law, June B. Gyger of South Bridgton, ME; and her grandchildren, David E. (Kim Bownes) Gyger of Campton, NH; Daniel F. (Jess) Gyger of Bridgton, ME; John H. (Beth Callahan) Culpepper of Portsmouth, NH; and Sally C. Littlefield of Brooklyn, NY. She is also survived by her older sister, Carolyn B. Fisher, of Burke, VA.The family wants to thank the staff of Chapman House, Clover HealthCare (particularly Donegal Place), Androscoggin Home Health and Hospice, as well as the multitude of health care professionals (you know who you are) for their loving care of our mother over the past decade.As a result of the coronavirus, there will not be a memorial service at this time. However, the family invites you to view a tribute of Esthers life at https://youtu.be/CQ8IZcWIlV4. Condolences may be shared at www.thefortingrouplewiston.com The family asks you to recall Esthers love and concern and to honor her life in ways that are meaningful to you. Arrangements are under the care and direction of The Fortin Group Funeral Home 70 Horton St. Lewiston MaineMemorial gifts in Esthers memory may be directed to the John T. Gyger Scholarship Fund, c/o Bridgton Scholarship Foundation, P.O. Box 269,Bridgton, ME 04009or toMaine Public,1450 Lisbon Street,Lewiston, ME 04240

Esther Blanchard Gyger