Gertrude Lawrence Murray Notman

KENNEBUNKPORT – Gertrude Lawrence Murray Notman, longtime resident of Kennebunkport, accomplished garden designer and lifelong advocate of historic preservation, died peacefully at her home on Sunday, Dec. 13. She was 92. A native New Yorker, Mrs. Notman was known as “Gerry”. “Gertrude – good name for a goat,” she noted, with characteristic dry wit. Her Lawrence ancestors, who came to America in 1635, have served as mayors of New York, as congressmen, abolitionists, artists, doctors, and bankers. One ornithologist uncle donated 8,000 bird skins to the American Museum of Natural History, a favorite childhood destination. Novelist Edith Wharton was a cousin. Country settings – Long Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts – delighted her. She became an expert horsewoman, devotee of large dogs, and a crack shot with a .22, collecting 25 cents from her father per dead water rat and vowing every summer to dispense with Maine chipmunks the same way. Mrs. Notman married Donald D. Notman in 1950; they settled in Buffalo, N.Y. While raising her family, she established herself as an ardent supporter of art and artists, a sought-after garden designer, and as an architectural preservationist focused on Buffalo’s cluster of Beaux-Arts and Renaissance and Georgian Revival homes.The family spent summers in Kennebunkport, always accompanied by Labrador dogs. Their Maine home, known as The Floats, stood close to local courts for cutthroat tennis games. They moved to Washington, D.C., in 1974, where Mrs. Notman served as a member of the Smithsonian Women’s Committee; The National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the District of Columbia; of the Founders Committee of George Washington’s Mount Vernon, and as a chair of the Dumbarton House Board.A new house in Kennebunkport, built in 1980, became the Notmans’ permanent home in 1992. Its bright English tangle of flowers and shrubs stops tourists and joggers every day. Donald Notman died in 1998. Mrs. Notman is survived by her three children, Gaier “Missy” Palmisano, of Southport, Conn.; Andrea Sahin, of Boston, and Donald Jr., of Wellesley, Mass.; son-in-law, Sam Palmisano; daughter-in-law, Pam Notman; eight grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren. To share a memory or leave a message of condolence, please visit Mrs. Notman’s Book of Memories Page at Arrangements are in care of Bibber Memorial Chapel, 67 Summer St., Kennebunk, ME 04043. In lieu of flowers,donations may be made in her memory to theCoastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay or to George Washington’s Mount Vernon, Mount Vernon, Va.

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