South Portland-Barbara (Hamlin) Pierce, 97, passed away peacefully on Memorial Day, May 31, 2021, at Pinnacle-South Portland Nursing Home. Born January 1, 1924, in Portland, Maine, Barbara was the daughter of Eugene and Arsilia (Cote) Hamlin.
Like any child of the great depression, her family endured hardship but also took joy in the simple life, especially when it included family. Trips to Derby Line, VT to her paternal grandparent’s farm along with visiting her maternal grandparents in Coaticook, Quebec were some of the memories she fondly shared.
Barbara attended Portland Schools graduating from Deering High School in 1942. She had happy memories of school and the clubs she belonged to especially, the Yearbook and the Cadets which she captained. During this time, she enjoyed the time spent with her friends riding the Boston & Maine Railroad to Boston with her dad as the train conductor.
During the war Barbara attended many USO dances where she met Doug who was from Alabama. They both shared a love of dance and won several dance competitions while he was stationed on Long Island with the US Navy. They married in 1948 making South Portland their lifelong home where they raised three boys and three girls. Barbara was a devoted and loving mom and grandmother. She loved attending all the school events, church events, and numerous sporting events including, traveling to many ballfields which gave her great joy. She enjoyed people and her homestead was a steady flow of friends and her children’s friends. She loved opening the pool in the summer and inviting the neighborhood to swim. In the winter she would have Doug make an ice skating rink complete with music and hot chocolate.
Barbara’s life was marked by tragedy in 1971 by the death of her oldest child who was a senior in high school and later in life by the unexpected death of her second child in 1999 at the age of 45. All during this time she continued to remain the heartbeat of the family guided by her strong Catholic faith.
In retirement Barbara became a happy traveler organizing bus trips for numerous friends and line dancing groups throughout New England, upstate N.Y., Atlantic City, Hilton Head, and Charleston S.C. Barbara enjoyed several winters on the west coast of Florida with her special friend, Joseph Nappi. Barbara loved talking family, politics, local and national news but dancing was her passion. She would not miss the chance to dance especially if Jose Duddy were playing and enjoyed dancing into her nineties. Barbara had a kind heart, a great sense of humor, and her absolute greatest joy in life was her children and grandchildren. The family was blessed to have had such an incredible and loving woman as the head of it.
Even though Barbara’s life was very full having a large family, her great empathy for others led her to working with the less fortunate with jobs at The Baxter School for the Deaf, P.R.O.P, USM Social Science Research, AARP, Portland Housing Authority, The Children’s Museum, and in retirement, volunteering and raising money for Meals on Wheels. Barbara was a very warm and positive person. She engaged everyone who crossed her path and was always there to give a helping hand or utter words of encouragement. There was no such thing as a bad day! One of her favorite sayings was “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars”. She found beauty in her surroundings and with all she encountered.
Barbara was a member of the VFW, American Legion, and the Eagles Club. She also was a lifelong communicant of St. Johns and Holy Cross Catholic Parish.
Barbara was predeceased by her parents, her husband Douglas of 45 years, sons Dana and Scott Pierce, and her sister, Ruth Rand. She is survived by her son Kevin (Donna) Pierce of Venice, FL, her daughters; Jill (Jesse) Shannon, Leanne (Steven) Duca of South Portland, Janann (Benjamin) Brown of Rutherfordton, NC, daughter-in-law Judy Pierce of Old Orchard Beach, 14 grandchildren; Heather Lanier, Brandon Pierce, Nicole Phillips, Ian Pierce, Jennifer Brachman, Kevin Cromwell, Krystal and Shawn Shannon, Ashley and Chelsea Duca, Christopher, Blair, Kevin, and Andrew Brown; 9 great grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews.
The family would like to thank the staff at Pinnacle Nursing Home and Beacon Hospice for the wonderful and compassionate care shown to Barbara. We will forever be grateful and appreciative for all that was done to make her stay the best it could be.
Arrangements are under the care of A.T. Hutchins Funeral Home, Portland, Maine. Interment was held at Calvary Cemetery, South Portland on June 3rd. A private graveside service will be held in July.
For those wishing to make memorial contributions in her memory please consider
Meals on Wheels
South Portland, ME 04106