Florence Kinney was born in Castle Hill, Maine, the 7th of 11 children. The family had a history of farming and a father who worked in the woods and as a cook on log drives on the Aroostook River. As a lot of families did, they moved often but always made sure the children were able to attend school.
Florence maed George H. Howe of Washburn at the time of WWII. Early in their marriage George was drafted into the war, serving in combat, and was away for nearly four years. With her new husband off to war, Florence decided to do something to help and keep busy until he returned. She enlisted with the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC). She attended basic training in Georgia and was then stationed at Geiger Field in Spokane, Washington. She was assigned many tasks and because of her demonstrated “can do” attitude she was transferred to logistical support for the troops.
She served her time and returned home to Maine where she attended beauty school located in Presque Isle. She was hard at work as a beautician when George returned from duty. Although Florence worked outside the home, she was supportive of George’s labors with heavy equipment, earthwork, logging, and even potato farming.
Together they raised a family of eight children. While raising her family she continued to work outside the home at various jobs at shoe and plywood factories, in social work, and as First House Mother at the Sister Mary O’Donnell Temporary Shelter for the homeless.
She lost her beloved George to lung cancer in 1981 at age 60 leaving her school-aged children. In time she remarried John Kinney, a schoolmate, and neighbor during their younger years. Together on their small farm in Bridgewater they gardened and owned several horses. They were able to travel but preferred the simple pleasures of life at home. They were active in senior groups and church, and Florence also found time to volunteer, sit on Boards, and care for ill family members.
Florence continued to maintain her own home, cook, and welcome lots of company until age 94. Although her upbringing was simple, she was always well rooted and carried an optimistic attitude. She lived her life with patience, discipline, and hard work and raised her children with those strong values. Florence always rose to help anyone less fortunate, whether they were family, friends, or strangers.