Mary Pendleton - age: 89
(September 20, 1928 to September 17, 2018
A memorial service and reception to celebrate her life will be held in the Atrium of the Fine Arts Building at Thornton Academy on Sunday, October 21, 2018 from 2:00-4:00 pm.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Thornton Academy. Please send your gift to Thornton Academy, Attn:Development, 438 Main Street, Saco, ME 04072 or contact the Development Office at 207-602-4460.
Mary Pendleton, a 46-year breast cancer survivor, former teacher, and longtime owner of Garside’s Ice Cream, died last week of congestive heart failure. She was almost 91. She was a wonderfully unique girl who loved to laugh, thanks to her sweet and sometimes edgy sense of humor.
Mary was born in Dover, NH to Fred and Frances Vibert. She and her elder sister, Barbara, grew up in Somersworth, NH yet spent every summer in Saco, Maine at their family’s beach house in Camp Ellis. Her father was an executive at Pillsbury and was transferred to the Portland corporate offices, so in 1937, the family became permanent, full-time Saco residents.
Mary graduated from Thornton Academy where she was a member of the "Sub-Deb" sorority and was voted most attractive and most flirtatious of her class. She went on to graduate from Westbrook College where she studied psychology and business. She began dating Gordon Pendleton (1928-1994, also a TA alum) in college. The two continued to date throughout college until they married in 1952. Mary worked for "Ma Bell" (the phone company) for almost 10 years as a customer service supervisor.
In the mid-1950s, Gordon and Mary moved to Hyannisport on Cape Cod for several years where Gordon had accepted a teaching/coaching position at Barnstable High School. After living on the Cape for almost three years, during which time, Mary's sister Barbara and her father both passed away, so she and Gordon moved back to Saco to be closer to Mary's mother.
Barbara left behind two daughters, Bethany Hanson and Joanna Flanders, who Gordon and Mary helped raise. They later adopted a son, Eric, while Gordon was teaching and coaching at Deering High School (where he eventually became Athletic Director). In the 1970s, Mary became a reading teacher at Fairfield School in Saco.
In 1981, Gordon retired from Deering and purchased Garside's Ice Cream on Ferry Road, which he ran until his death in 1994, after which, Mary and Eric took over operations. (Ironically, Mary’s parents opposed the building of Garside’s Ice Cream in the 1950s!) Yet Mary continued to run the ice cream stand until August of this year. She truly enjoyed being a business owner and a mentor to her staff.
In the 1970s and 1980s, the Pendletons used to take annual trips to Myrtle Beach, SC. Mary spent every winter from 1990-2016 in Englewood, FL. After her husband Gordon passed away, she also enjoyed traveling outside the US with friends. She visited a number of countries several times from Canada to the UK, France, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, and Greece. However, her most inspiring trip was to the Grand Canyon.
Mary was generous with a number of worthy causes and made regular contributions to Thornton Academy, cancer research, as well as different animal charities (local shelters, The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Wildlife foundations).
She loved going out for a nice dinner especially at Joseph's By The Sea, which was her favorite restaurant. Mary also recently became involved in a social bowling league. One of her favorite activities was simply taking rides together with her son, Eric, anywhere along the coast to discover beautiful spots by the sea.
Mary is survived by her son, Eric (Boston, MA), who is now the caregiver for her cat, Chloe; also by her nieces Joanna Hanson Flanders (Scarborough, ME) and Bethany Hanson (St. Augustine, FL).