Antique Vintage 19

Francine T. O'Donnell

January 18, 1954 ~ August 11, 2019 (age 65)


Cornish-Francine O’Donnell (Wilfert), 65, was happiest walking in the woods, digging in the dirt, searching for sea treasures, watching the sunrise or frolicking with an ever present family of rescue pups. She always marched to her own drummer.

On August 11, 2019 Francine moved on from this earthly life to join the endless,

wondrous universe, the great mystery that always intrigued her.


Born on Munjoy Hill in Portland, Maine, the daughter of Thomas B. O’Donnell and

Cecile (Ledoux) O’Donnell, Francine was a keen listener and an astute observer of

nature. Wise beyond her years, at an early age she possessed an abounding sense of

wonder that never left her. Her insatiable curiosity remained a constant throughout her



She married Greg Wilfert in 1981 and together they shared a life of adventure. They

enjoyed traveling abroad just as much as navigating the country backroads in their

airstream, the Peapod. In February, on a whim, they hopped in the car and meandered

down the east coast, loosely planning each new day. Free and easy was their style.

Francine and Greg restored several homes, cottages and commercial buildings and

helped revive the small town of Cornish, Maine. They had a common goal of leaving

things a little better than when they found them.


Together they hiked, biked, skied, snowshoed, kayaked, canoed and spent countless

hours exploring the islands of Casco Bay. They always packed a hearty lunch that was

usually gone before the adventure began.


Francine sought to excel in everything she undertook, from teaching 1st grade in

Westbrook, to working up the ranks in the corporate world at UNUM, building The

Cornish Trading Company into a nationally recognized antiques and design center, and

finally, obtaining her real estate license and making her mark in the Greater Portland

real estate market at Vitalius Real Estate Group. Throughout her life she also donated

her talents to a number of nonprofit organizations. In each undertaking she was known

for her professionalism, integrity and tenacity.


Francine found her greatest joy in the activities outside of her professional life. She was

devoted to the protection of the environment and all creatures great and small. Whether

through financial support, or adopting dogs in need, rescuing was a prime motivation.

About 10 years ago she taught herself the art and science of organic vegetable

gardening. She created beautiful, productive gardens and was quick to share her

bounty with friends or those in need. She established a small self-serve vegetable stand

in Scarborough and donated the proceeds to the Good Shepherd Food Bank. She was

passionate about helping to end food insecurity in Maine.


Francine was known for her style, design skills and entrepreneurial spirit. She loved

transforming spaces for her own enjoyment or for clients who sought her eclectic flair.

She courageously participated in 2 cutting-edge clinical trials through Dana Farber

Boston, helping advance the science and treatment of multiple myeloma, a bone

marrow cancer. She hoped her contribution would help extend the lives of others and lead to a cure.


In addition to her husband Greg Wilfert of Portland and Cornish, ME, Francine is

survived by her sister, Jean Cagianello, of Coventry, CT; her brother, Tom O’Donnell, of

Portland, ME; her nieces, Terese, Corine and Bernadette; nephew, Sean; several great nieces and nephews; many cousins; and a number of close friends. She will be missed

by her canine companions, Karma, Grace, Sprout and Basil.


The family would like to thank the team at New England Cancer Specialists led by Dr.

Christian Thomas. He was more than a physician; he was a kind friend & advocate.

Francine will be remembered for her wisdom and wit, a fearless warrior with a tender

heart. In her memory donations may be made to the Animal Welfare Society in West

Kennebunk, Maine or the Good Shepherd Food Bank.


A memorial service will be held on September 21, 2019, 10:30 AM, in The Spurwink

Congregational Church at 533 Spurwink Avenue in Cape Elizabeth. A reception will

immediately follow in Sprague Hall at 1 Charles E Jordan Road in Cape Elizabeth. All

are welcome.


“I am going to make everything around me more beautiful, that will be my life.”

~Elsie de Wolfe

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Francine T. O'Donnell, please visit our floral store.


Memorial Service
September 21, 2019

10:30 AM
Spurwink Congregational Church (Spurwink Avenue, Cape Elizabeth)

September 21, 2019

11:30 AM
Cape Elizabeth, Jordan Road, Sprague Hall

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