Barbara Immonen, formerly of West Paris, died peacefully in the early hours of April 28, 2013 at Coastal Manor, where she had been residing since late 2006.
She was born on May 18, 1926, the eleventh child of Andrew (Antti) and Lizzie (Sanna Liisa) Nelson (Helenius), both of whom were born in Finland; Barbara also had a half-brother. She grew up in Quincy, Mass., where at the time there was a thriving Finnish community. She graduated from West Quincy High School and in her twenties worked at Carroll’s Cut-Rate Drugstore, eventually becoming manager. One day, when she and some friends from the Finnish Congregational Church in Quincy visited the Finnish Congregational Church in West Paris to perform special music, a West Paris Finn named Jacob Immonen winked at her. Eventually they were married on Dec. 30, 1955 and raised two children. For many years Barbara sold cosmetics from door to door in Hebron, Poland and elsewhere; she also enjoyed attending political events with her husband during his tenure in the state legislature (1966-81). After a serious car accident in 1978, she made a slow but remarkable recovery. She loved conversation and coffee, swimming and Shakespeare. She was active in the Mission Congregational Church, singing in the choir and teaching Sunday school and was a member of the Finnish American Heritage Society.
She outlived many people whom she held dear. Her husband died on April 18, 1999; and her parents and siblings (Robert, Miriam, Anna, Paul, Effie, Ruth, Bertha, Eli, Mae, Fred and Joe) passed away many years ago. Barbara is survived by her son, Lauri of Portland; her daughter and son-in-law, Susanna and Greg Brougham of Salem, Mass.; as well as many nieces, nephews and cousins.
Online condolences may be shared with her family at www.chandlerfunerals.com
Funeral services will be held on Thursday, May 2, at 1 p.m. at Chandler Funeral Homes & Cremation Service, Andrews Chapel, 64 Andrews Road, Bryant Pond. All are welcome. In lieu of flowers memorial gifts may be made to the Mission Congregational Church in West Paris or the Finnish American Heritage Society in West Paris.