Grayson A. Hartley

ISLESBORO – Grayson A Hartley, 90, a resident of Islesboro, Maine passed away peacefully Thursday evening, July 1, 2021 with his wife Ruth and four children by his side. He had been residing at the Atria Assisted Living Facility in Darien, Conn.

Grayson was born in Portland on Jan. 1, 1931 to William and Martha Banks Hartley who had immigrated from England. Grayson grew up in Westbrook and was only 13 when he lost his father, which would ultimately shape his future. He was quickly entrusted to care for his mother and sister which he did by working jobs throughout his teenage years before graduating from Westbrook High School in 1949. He studied education at the University of Maine, graduating in 1953 then proudly served in the Army for two years while stationed in Puerto Rico.

After obtaining his masters degree, Grayson embarked upon a long and distinguished career in education starting as a history teacher in Gorham before becoming principal of the former Little Falls School School. He quickly ascended to Superintendent of the Kezar Falls School District before moving to South Berwick where he was responsible for combining the area towns into the School Administrative District known as Marshwood. Grayson made many lifelong friends in the southern Maine area during his 10 years as superintendent. He moved his family to Jay in 1972 and was superintendent there until his retirement in 1990. He was proud of his service to each school department and made many long lasting relationships with teachers, custodians, coaches and office personnel.

Grayson embraced his retirement years with his wife Ruth at their beloved Islesboro home. He quickly became involved with town government and served many capacities. Selectman member and chairman, school board member, cemetery treasurer and Christ Church Trustee were a few of the positions he held. He also took great pride in maintaining the Tiffany Cottage as caretaker for many years. Grayson was an advisor and mentor to many individuals throughout his life as he had a gift of being a problem solver willing to reason with both sides in order to make fair and fiscally responsible decisions for the town or school system he was serving.

Grayson and Ruth spent much of their retirement years traveling abroad to many countries and most notably to England where he was determined to gather his family history. He eventually produced a family genealogy book and had copies distributed to family members. He was extremely proud of his English heritage.

His retirement years on the island mostly involved tending his vegetable garden and beautiful flower beds that surrounded the house. Grayson took great pride in maintaining his lawn and home and looked forward to visits from his children and grandchildren. He especially enjoyed the numerous family gatherings throughout each year, especially the Fourth of July when he would make his famous clam chowder and “fritters’ ‘ for all to enjoy. He maintained a supply of clams in his freezer which had been retrieved on various early mornings at Sprague’s Beach with any family member willing to join him.

His beloved grandchildren could count on a full candy jar, money for ice cream, a ride in his truck, and lessons on weeding the garden.

He also had a tradition of gifting a $100 bill to each grandchild at Christmas. He loved being “Grampa.”

Grayson and Ruth were married on August 26, 1959 and hold lasting memories from each town they lived throughout the years and raised their children.

Grayson was a true Patriot who loved his country and lived his life the right way as a son, father, grandfather and friend.

He will be forever remembered as a man of principle, honesty and integrity who loved his family deeply.

He is survived by his wife Ruth and his four children and their families including Susan and John Brisson of Rockport, Mass., children Sarah, Isabelle and Jack; Carol and Christopher Rooney of Darien, Conn., children William, Charles and Fiona; William and Terri Hartley of Kittery, Maine, children Alexander, Emily, Delia and Billy; John and Gretchen Hartley of South Portland, Maine, children Grace and Lucy. He is also survived by a special cousin Barbara Wilson of England.

He was predeceased by his parents and twin sister Florence in 1985.

A memorial service will be held on July 29, 2021 at 1 p.m. at Christ Church of Dark Harbor 105 Christ Church Road, Islesboro.

A family burial will take place at a later date.

In lieu of flowers,

please consider a donation

to one of the following:

The Islesboro

Community Fund

PO Box 166

Islesboro, ME 04848

Islesboro community

or: Beacon Project

PO Box 1135

Islesboro, ME 04848


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