Portland - Annie Parkman passed away peacefully in her sleep on Memorial Day, three months short of her 95th birthday, in the Clinton Street home her daughter, Eve Sawyer, shared with her.
Born Elizabeth Anne Vernon in Reading, Pa., Annie was known to her friends across the country as an irrepressible force of nature. Married to Dr. Howard Sawyer, an anesthesiologist at the Maine Medical Center, and then to Francis Parkman "Parkie" of Boston and Seal Cove, she was the mother of 10 children, grandmother to 21, and great-grandmother to eight. She trained as a nurse during the World War II era at the Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital School of Nursing at Dartmouth in Lebanon, N.H.
Annie planted astonishing gardens all her life at her homes in Putney and Saxtons River, Vt., Portland, Belfast, Raymond, West Athens, and Seal Cove. She was particularly devoted to the propagation of raspberries, advising her daughters and sons, friends and neighbors on proper cultivation techniques.
She traveled widely, throughout Europe, and also to Russia, China, and New Zealand. In the late 1960s, she lived in Beirut, Lebanon, working as a nurse at the American Community School. For many years, she spent the winter months at the home of her daughter, Rebecca Sawyer and son-in-law, Michael Ward, in the West Indies on the island of Carriacou.
With so many descendants to gather, services will be held in August, on Annie's birthday, the 24th, at St. Luke's Cathedral on State Street in Portland.
In addition to her daughters, Eve and Rebecca, they are sons, Howard Sawyer and daughter-in-law, Marcia Ryan of Belfast and Peter Sawyer of Portland; daughters, Mary and son-in-law, John Shepard of Saxtons River, Vt., Susan and son-in-law, Robert Towne of Portland, Lydia and son-in-law, Greg Simpson of Waterbury, Vt.
Annie's sons, Jonathan, Stephen, and David predeceased her; as did both her husbands; and four of her five siblings. Her remaining sister is Laura Vernon Bury of Nokomis, Fla. Annie's extensive family includes a myriad of beloved nieces and nephews. She was the stepmother to three Parkman children: Alex, Wendy, and Chris.
Anne Vernon Sawyer Parkman leaves an indelible impression. Her energy is legendary. She is famous for her entertaining stories and post cards, bountiful harvests, unusual family recipes, and friendships that lasted a lifetime.
In lieu of flowers, plant something in her honor. She'd love that.
Arrangements are under the direction of Cremation of Southern Maine, Portland.