Mary Aldana Gurney, 91, passed away peacefully Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2011, at Pen Bay Medical Center in Rockport. She was born in Stockton Springs on Feb. 6, 1920, the daughter of the late Sidney and Olive Foster Berry. She grew up in Stockton Springs and was a graduate of Stockton Springs High School.

After high school Mary worked at the Alford Lake Jersey Farm in Hope. She married Harvey L. Gurney in September 1942, and waited three years for his safe return from the European front of World War II. Together they ran their family dairy farm and raised their daughter in Appleton. Mary spent many summer hours canning and freezing her homegrown produce or working in her flower gardens. The smell of fresh yeast rolls, for which she was known, often wafted from her cozy farmhouse kitchen.

Family was very important to her and she spent many enjoyable moments with the children, always ready to share a story from her childhood or read poetry. Her door was always open to the numerous friends and family members who would drop by for a visit and share the family meal or have coffee and cookies. She was blessed with many wonderful friendships.

She was a member of the People’s United Methodist Church in Union and was very active in many capacities throughout the church including leading the youth group and serving as a lay speaker. She pursued her love of learning and graduated with an associates degree from the University of Maine in 1976.

Mary led a very busy life and was a member of a wide variety of groups including the Appleton Historical Society, the Union Historical Society, the Stockton Springs Historical Society, the Maine State Genealogical Society, Come Spring Quilters, Cocheecho Quilters group in New Hampshire, American Legion Auxiliary, Rebekahs, Appleton Artiques, Rag Baggers Rug Club, the Union extension group, Order of the Eastern Star, Knox Pomona Grange, State of Maine Grange, Appleton and Hope Granges, Pioneer Grange in East Union, and Seven Tree Grange in Union.

She volunteered for many years at Matthews Museum at the Union Fair, and sold tickets at the fair as well. She served for a time as a 4-H Club leader, as a member and then a leader of the Campfire Girls Club and volunteered at the Appleton School. She and her husband ran auctions for many years at the old Legion Hall in Union. She also worked at the Knox County Extension Office, and in an alterations shop in Rockland, and sold Royal Plastics. She frequently wrote articles for the Good Neighbors newspaper in Union.

Among Mary’s favorite hobbies were historical and genealogical research. She spent many hours researching town history, and in particular learning about the Civil War soldiers from Stockton Springs and Appleton. She enjoyed knitting, sewing, crocheting, weaving, painting, spinning, ceramics, quilting and photography. She was very proud of her spinning and weaving. She made sure that everyone got at least one handmade gift at Christmastime whether it was a hat, scarf, mittens or a doll or baby quilt. She especially enjoyed passing her skills on to the next generation and inspiring the same love in them.

She loved to travel. She and close friend, Jane Pears, took a cross-country trip with stops in Montana and the West Coast in the 1960s when most women would not be as adventurous. Her lifelong dream of traveling to Europe came true in 1998 when she accompanied her grandchildren to England and Scotland. She also traveled to the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee and Washington, D.C.

A recent achievement, and one she was very proud of, was being awarded the Boston Post Cane in March 2011, honoring her as the oldest living person in the town of Appleton. When asked what the secret of her longevity was she replied, “The Lord willed it” — reflecting her implicit trust in her Savior.

She was predeceased by her loving husband of over 50 years, Harvey L. Gurney; her infant daughter, Rebekah Gurney; brother, Walter Berry; and son-in-law, Kent Kershner.

She is survived by her daughter, Maryann Kershner of Stockton Springs; sister, Pauline Gurney of Appleton; brother, Giles Berry and his wife, June, of New Castle, Del.; six grandchildren, Dean Kershner and his wife, Olga, of Silver Creek, Ga., Danaë Kershner, Edith Kershner and Jinnan Kershner of Stockton Springs, Caleb Kershner and his wife, Whitney, of Purcellville, Va., and Serell Grubbs and her husband, Matthew, of Middletown, Md.; and nine great-grandchildren, Irvin, Harvey, Adriel, Lydia and Wesley Kershner, all of Silver Creek, Ga., and Adia, Kent, Sawyer and Levi Grubbs, all of Middletown, Md.

A visitation will be held from 10-11 a.m. followed by the funeral service at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 13 at the People’s United Methodist Church in Union with the Rev. George Hodgkins officiating. The burial will follow at the Pine Grove Cemetery in Appleton. A reception will follow the burial at People’s United Methodist Church in Union.

Contributions in Mary’s memory honoring her love for children may be made to America World Adoption, 6723 Whittier Ave., McLean, VA 22101; or St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 262 Danny Thomas Place, Memphis, TN 38105.

To share condolences, memories and photos with the family, visit their Book of Memories page at

Arrangements are with Hall Funeral Home and Cremation Services, 949 Main St. in Waldoboro.