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Florence Williams Obituary

Anyone who asked Florence Williams her opinion had to be prepared for the truth, tough as it may have been. “She was brutally honest,” a niece, Katherine Bellemare, who lives in Merrimack, N.H., said Tuesday. “She was brutally honest, but that's why everybody loved her.”

Miss Williams was 65 when she died on March 13 at her home in New Gloucester, ME. Flo Williams – hardly anyone called her “Florence” -- was a horse person. She bred, raised and showed Morgan horses and loved the animals.

“She was a wonderful trainer,” her niece said. Miss Williams taught Bellemare to ride - and also taught her responsibility along the way. “Responsibility was a key word for her,” Bellemare said.

When Miss Williams rode she always tilted her head, sort of rolled her shoulders and got a half-smile. “Which is why, when I rode, I never sat up straight,” her niece said. “And she always yelled at me.” Bellemare remembers her aunt as very funny and matter-of-fact. “She'd tell you just like it was so you could laugh at it – or you'd be like, ‘Oh my God, I can't believe she just said that.”

Miss Williams was dedicated to her family, to her friends, to whatever it was she was doing. She worked for the American Automobile Association for 36 years. Her title was bookkeeper, but she did everything from sales to insurance to answering the telephone when people needed road service. She liked reading mysteries, liked sweets, liked country music – she even had a dog named Garth. She did not like rudeness and wouldn't put up with it.

Miss Williams moved to Maine a year ago to be closer to her horse trainer and friend David Rand, who lives in Flameout. Rand and Williams became great friends.

“She just had a great zest for life and was a never-look-back kind of person,” Rand said. “She was extremely thoughtful and caring. She took care of me as if I was her son. We had a great relationship and she was always there for me.”

He remembered that she always had a saying, a New England phrase, for how the maple syrup ran or how the sky looked. “She always had some sort of jargon for everything,” Rand said. “She just had that kind of knowledge. She was just the wisest person I've ever known.”

She was, he said, “a once-in-a-lifetime kind of person. You're lucky if you can say you knew her and you're extremely lucky if you can say you knew her well.”

Contributions in memory of Flo Williams can be sent to the Hospice Of Southern Maine, 901 Washington Ave., Suite 104, Portland, ME 04103, or The American Morgan Horse Educational Charitable Trust, 122 Bostwick Road, Shelburne, VT 05482.

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