January 21, 2024
Anne Maher Grimes of Southport, Maine passed peacefully on Jan. 21, 2024.
Anne loved Maine, calling it “God’s Country.” Growing up she spent summers with her cousins in Kennebunk and Cape Porpoise. When it came time to raise her own family, August trips to Maine were eagerly anticipated all year long. The Grimes family first came to Southport, over 50 years ago for the launch of a turnabout built by Denis McWhan. From that time forward, the Grimes family spent summers in Southport. A cottage on Pratt’s Island provided great access to the rocks, tide pools and mossy woods that kept the kids occupied for hours. Once the family learned to sail and bought a turnabout, Cozy Harbor and the Sheepscot River turned into the watery playground.
In 1993, Anne and Mike retired to Southport full time. They energetically joined the local volunteer community. Among many projects, Anne worked as Membership Chair and Treasurer of Southport Yacht Club for years. She was also an active volunteer with the St. Andrews Hospital Auxiliary and the Boothbay Region Land Trust. Anne & Mike enjoyed decades of walking the trails of Porter Point and counting baby lobsters on the south beach of Pratt’s Island. For a time, their New Year’s Eve party became a local tradition, as neighbor Gus Pratt fired his shotgun at midnight to announce the New Year, while Em and others banged on pots and pans.
Active engagement in the community was important to Anne. During winters in Summit, New Jersey, Anne was a professional volunteer, as well as mother. A highlight was participation on a steering committee that successfully designed, built, and raised money to pay for a new, state- of-the-art Summit Childcare Center. Anne was passionate about education and women’s rights, serving as PTO president and school volunteer extraordinaire. She read the newspaper each day and was engaged in local politics. Much to her surprise, friends talked her into running for City Council and she spent four years embedded in local issues and learning more about the solid waste hauling contracts than she ever expected to know. Once the children were in high school, Anne re-entered the for-pay workforce doing development work for St. Barnabas Hospital and then Kean College. At work she became friends with Cathy Messmer, and another Southport story was born. Cathy and Bill now own Anne and Mike’s old home on Cozy Harbor Road and have remained valued friends over the years.
Born in Cortland, New York, Anne Whitehouse Maher was the middle of three children of Ethel Whitehouse Maher and William Campbell Maher. Anne graduated from the Northfield School for Girls and Colby Junior College, then Katherine Gibbs School. She enjoyed sharing stories of walking to school at Katy Gibbs in Boston’s Back Bay, wearing the white gloves and pumps expected of young women learning stenography, typing and secretarial skills. She worked as an executive secretary in New York, at Bankers Trust, then moved to California. Anne was excited to own a brand-new VW bug that she drove cross-country. There, her older brother, Bill, introduced her to a Navy buddy, Mike Grimes. They were married in La Jolla, California on Nov. 11, 1957.
While living in San Diego, Anne was proud to have been employee #16 at General Atomics, when it was in its infancy. There she worked with many of the scientists who had been instrumental in the Manhattan Project. Her work as a secretary to the scientists was exciting and she had wonderful stories about several Nobel Laureates and what they were like as people. She enjoyed visiting the General Atomics campus again in 2018, seeing the transformed business – now a huge research facility.
Anne and Mike moved to Berkeley, California where Mike studied physics, then a job at Bell Labs moved them to the East Coast, settling in Berkeley Heights and Summit, New Jersey. Their first two children, Susan, and Andrew, were born in Berkeley, CA. Daughter Anne, their third child, was born in Summit, NJ.
Anne and Mike retired to Southport in 1993, enjoying 25 years overlooking the Sheepscot. She reflected, “I feel so fortunate, I have to pinch myself each morning to remember this is real.” When the family returned each summer, Anne and Mike were in their element welcoming grandchildren and orchestrating picnics on local islands. After Mike died in 2018, Anne missed him every day. She relocated to Reading, Massachusetts to be closer to family. On her final day, Anne enjoyed a milkshake with her children, regaled by stories of recent adventures. She lived a full life of 94 years and passed peacefully on Sunday, Jan. 21.
Anne is survived by her three children – Susan Grimes McPhee, Andrew Grimes, and Anne Grimes Rand – who live in Massachusetts and return to Southport each summer. Anne is survived by five grandchildren: Kate McPhee and Will McPhee of Winchester, Massachusetts; Alice Grimes and Rachel Grimes of Reading, Massachusetts, and Martha Rand of Ipswich, Massachusetts.
A remembrance of Anne will be held in Southport this summer. Memorial donations can be sent to Southport Yacht Club (P.O. Box 57, Southport, Maine 04576) or the Boothbay Region Land Trust (P.O. Box 183, Boothbay Harbor, ME 04238 or www.bbrlt.org.)