Thomas Nelson Harmon

SCARBOROUGH – Thomas Nelson Harmon passed away on October 21, 2020, at the age of 91, at home surrounded by his family. Nelson was born, in Portland, Maine, on May 18, 1929, to Carl Nelson and Catherine Hamilton Harmon. He grew up in South Portland and graduated from South Portland High School in 1947. During high school Nelson worked at Larry Rowe’s golf course (now the South Portland Municipal Golf Course) after school. He was active in the Forest City Chapter Order of DeMolay in 1945 and was Master Counselor in 1948.

He was a member of Engine 5, South Portland Fire Dept. from 1947-1950, joined the Naval Reserves in 1946 and graduated from Portland Junior College in 1949.

Nelson married Elizabeth Crawford in 1950 and was called to duty that same year during the Korean War, in “The Battle of Key West”. Nelson and Betty’s only child, John Crawford Harmon, was born in 1953. Nelson was a kidney donor for his son John, who died from complications of kidney disease in August 2002.

Nelson worked at Rowe Motors, in Westbrook, as a Salesman, Sales Manager and General Manager for many years, retiring in 1994. He was a member of the Westbrook Jaycees serving as President in 1957. He belonged to the Westbrook/Gorham Rotary Club since 1966 and was President in 1972 and 1973. He was a member of the Scarborough Town Council for 11 years, serving as Chairman in 1989 and on the Library Board. He was a Master Mason member of the Hiram Lodge and St. Albans Commandry and a Shiner for over 50 years.

He and his first wife, Betty, were members of the Woodfords Congregational Church for 52 years. Nelson served as a Deacon, Trustee, Governing Board as well as many other committees.

After retirement, he worked for his son John’s real estate agency and managed his rental cottages at Higgins Beach.

Nelson married Ardeth “Sunny” Browne in 2002. They were members of the First Congregational Church in Scarborough where he was active on the Board of Trustees.

Nelson enjoyed cutting and splitting wood to burn in the winter months. He had the ability to repair or replace anything and kept his home and cottages in great condition. He felt he had to accomplish a job every day no matter how insignificant so he rarely had a minute that he was idle. When he did relax, he loved to sit at his beach house and enjoy the views of Higgins Beach and tell stories.

Nelson’s greatest love was his family. He enjoyed his grandchildren and great grandchildren and delighted in their accomplishments.

Nelson was predeceased by his parents, his wife, Betty, to whom he was married for 50 years, his wife, Ardeth “Sunny”, to whom he was married for 13 years, his son, John and his sisters, Beth Greenleaf and Doris Flaherty.

He is survived by his grandson, John Harmon II, wife Jennifer and great grandson Nicholas of Scarborough; granddaughter, Nicole Erickson and husband Brad of Herndon, Virginia; daughter-in-law, Christina Harmon of Scarborough; stepsons, Ted Browne and wife Dona of Saco; Scott Browne and wife Sheryl of Cape Elizabeth; stepdaughters Laurie Castignetti and husband Lee of Braintree, Mass.; Leslie MacMurtry and husband Tom of Bedford, N.H., and several nieces, nephews, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

The family would like to thank Jo Wong for taking such good care of Nelson over the past 10 years.

Visitation will be held on Saturday, October 24, 2020 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at Hobbs Funeral Home, 230 Cottage Road, South Portland. Funeral service and burial will be private.

Online condolences may be expressed at

In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the Scarborough Food Pantry.

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