LONG ISLAND - Martha Gabrielle Whitener (nee Flanagan) 63, died at home on her beloved Long Island in Casco Bay after a long illness. Born in Bangor the fourth child of Thomas S. and Constance M. Flanagan, she enjoyed a happy childhood in Hampden, Maine before moving to Portland.
She graduated from Deering High School where she had been active in student life and sports and particularly enjoyed the Latin classes and trip to Rome with Miss Cowan. She went on to study design at Stevens College and graduated from U Maine Orono with a degree in Psychology in 1974. Design remained central to Martha, and she began work as a self-employed jeweler while in St. Croix the Virgin Islands. She carried this work with her on her travels through the West, Europe, and Mexico and moves around the country before ultimately settling on Long Island with her two boys. Known by many for her beautiful hand-wrought sterling jewelry, she was a kind soul with strong opinions who looked out for others. All were welcome to her house, especially her yard, on Beach Avenue for quasi-annual events such as Croquet parties and pig roasts. When people asked about parties, she would reply, "Why have a big yard if you're not going to fill it with people?"
Martha's pride in her sons was boundless. Sam and Zach were central to her life and sources of amusement and occasional consternation. But she was also proud of many of their friends and mothered them in her Martha way, also calling them her sons. Her intelligence, wit, and appreciation of fine things and beauty were with her throughout her life.
She was predeceased by her parents and leaves seven siblings: David Flanagan, Terrence Flanagan, Paula Dobrow, Nora Flanagan, Peter Flanagan, Lisa Flanagan and Mark Flanagan. Her son Samuel Whitener, his wife April and their daughter Cora, and her son Zach "Buoy" Whitener are now without their mother and grandmother. Many nieces and nephews are without their aunt.
A memorial service will be held at the VFW Hall on Long Island on Saturday, October 24th at 12:30. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations are made to:
The Changing Tide Foundation
772 Island Ave.
Long Island, ME 04050
Arrangements made by Hobbs Funeral Home, South Portland.