The Daily Me


DEXTER - Gwendolyn "Gwen" M. Lancaster, died March 16, 2001, after a brief illness. She was 82. Born in Corinna, Aug. 24, 1918, Mrs. Lancaster was the fourth of Herbert and Flossie (Walker) Russell's five daughters. She was raised in Dexter and attended N.H. Fay High School before marrying Harold "Dutch" Lancaster in 1934. As a young wife and mother during the Depression years, Mrs. Lancaster also worked outside the home. She is fondly remembered as a cook at both the Sterling Hotel and the school cafeteria, and she eventually became a waitress at the Scenic Restaurant in downtown Dexter, where she delighted in catering to her appreciative patrons. Later, over the protestations of her husband, she began a new career as a weaver at the Eastland Woolen Mills, from where she retired. She served as a local Girl Scout leader and was an active member of the Dexter Women's Literary Club and the First Universalist Church. Mrs. Lancaster was an avid reader, especially of biographies and enjoyed music, theatre and the arts. She took great pride in her appearance and worked out daily. She kept herself current on popular culture and fashion. She was a world-class traveler and especially enjoyed visiting her daughter and son-in-law, wherever their military assignments found them. She was a prolific letter writer and took great pleasure in documenting her many adventures. Energy, industry, creativity, generosity, keen awareness and enjoyment characterized her life. Mrs. Lancaster suffered a stroke in 1992, which left her partially paralyzed and unable to speak or write. While it severely curtailed her mobility, her infirmity did not destroy her spirit. Her enthusiasm for life, cheerful disposition and positive attitude remained undiminished, despite recurring ailments that would have discouraged a saint. She persisted through adversity to regain her independence and sustain her self esteem. Up to the end, she took an active interest in current events, kept herself entertained and labored tirelessly so as not to burden those who cared for her. In this regard, she was an inspiration to those more physically and mentally advantaged. Though slim in physical stature, her departure leaves an immense void in the lives of her family and friends. She was and will continue to be remembered as quite a lady. Mrs. Lancaster was predeceased by her husband in November of 1989 and was engaged to be married to Clarence "Hank" Harrington until his untimely death in 1993.

Surviving family includes daughter, Beverly and her husband, Ron Goldstone of Dexter; a son, Ronald Lancaster of Durango, Mexico; daughter-in-law, Joan Lancaster of Hallowell; a sister, P. Frances Sweetser of Marlborough, Mass.; two granddaughters; a great-granddaughter and numerous nieces and nephews. She is already sadly missed by a loyal, loving companion of 14 years, her dog, Oliver.

A public memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 24, 2001, at the First Universalist Church of Dexter. Spring interment will be in Corinna Center Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Mrs. Lancaster's name to the Dexter Historical Society, P.O. Box 481, Dexter, Me 04930. Arrangements are by Crosby & Neal Funeral Home, Dexter.

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