DURHAM/ LEWISTON— Althea L. Ross, 91, of Pleasant View Farm in Durham, more recently of Montello Heights in Lewiston, passed away peacefully on January 11, 2019.
She was born in Lewiston on July 8, 1927 the daughter of Adelina Crockett Ross and Bernard Ross. Althea graduated in 1946 from Edward Little High School as class valedictorian. A gifted writer and storyteller, she continued her education through correspondence with the University of Chicago while working the family dairy farm with her parents and sister, Natalie.
Their life on the farm was depicted in the book What Can She Be? A Farmer, written by Gloria and Esther Goldreich. Published in 1976, the book was meant to inspire young women and instill the belief that women can do anything for a profession.
Althea was ahead of her time in the belief that women are capable and responsible for their own happiness. She placed her bets on her own determination, intelligence, and work ethic in achieving a full and well lived life. She was fiercely independent, except for her love and devotion to her sister, Natalie, with whom she shared her life and family home.
Althea’s spirit and grace through the years are reflected in her favorite song, “You’ll Never Walk Alone” and a cherished book, No Trumpet Before Him. She was committed to doing the right thing and doing her best despite the often long odds. Many a soul would have been worn down with the worry, difficulties and challenges she and her sister faced keeping a small dairy farm going in a more modern era. But Althea always walked on in the storm with hope perched in her heart. She nourished this hope with her love of gardening, good food, music, literature, poetry, and history.
Althea’s younger years were enriched by her Guernsey herd, her dogs, the birds, the trees and her favorite flowers, dahlias and roses. Together, Althea and her sister welcomed customers, friends and family into the front parlor and milk room to enjoy conversation and friendship.
Althea took care of her sister during Natalie’s final years so that she could live out her days on their beloved farm. Following Natalie’s passing, Althea moved to Montello Heights in 2013.
Unable to resist a good book, Althea was an avid reader from childhood on. She also stayed abreast of current affairs, often reflecting and debating the changing times and issues. Althea enjoyed her extensive record collection. She had a remarkable mind and memory, cataloguing in her mind the lives and details of her favorite books, authors, artists, historical figures and events.
Althea generously shared her wide expanse of knowledge with those close to her.
In the end, Althea’s mind remained sharp and her hope alive, but her strength was under siege after breaking her hip. No longer able to hold her ground physically, she surrendered with grace and dignity to the will of time. It is fitting that the words of “The Man with the Hoe” bid her farewell. Upward looking and the light are her reward for a life well lived.
Althea is survived by a number of nieces, nephews and cousins. She will also be sadly missed by neighbors and friends, many who lent a hand out of love during tough times. She was predeceased by her parents, and her sisters, Natalie Harriet Ross and Barbara Ross Munn.
A special thank you to the staff of Clover Manor and Androscoggin Home Healthcare & Hospice for providing excellent care and comfort to Althea during her final days.
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