SOUTHWEST HARBOR – Lurline Soukup Tuttle, 92, died Sept. 11, 2013, at her home in Southwest Harbor, SWH. Born Nov. 14, 1920, in Northeast Harbor, NEH, she was the daughter of the late Elizabeth Stanley and William Theodore Soukup of SWH and the granddaughter of the late Ulrica Birlem and Herbert A. Stanley of NEH and the late Antonia Soukup of Austria.
Her ancestors settled Great Gott Island and Mount Desert Island, in the early 1700s. She attended Pemetic High School in SWH and graduated from Gilman High in NEH in 1940. The Women’s Club of Seal Harbor awarded Lurline a scholarship to attend Washington State Normal School. She was the college’s commencement speaker for the class of 1943. Lurline taught six grades in a one-room school house. Her first contract provided a $900 salary and forbade her to marry.
Lurline delivered phone messages for President Franklin Roosevelt’s aide who spent time in a SWH cottage that had no phone. When the Civilian Conservation Corps, CCC, arrived in the 1930s, Lurline met George Francis Tuttle Jr. They were married in 1945 after his return from the Pacific Theater.
During the 1947 Bar Harbor fire, Lurline and her newborn daughter were evacuated to the mainland by the Coast Guard. She and George traveled the country with the Navy. They settled in Virginia Beach, Va., where Lurline became a school librarian.
George developed ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease, in 1960. Though he was completely paralyzed within six months, Lurline cared for him at home until his death that same year. As a self-sufficient Mainer and Navy wife, Lurline raised three daughters, played car mechanic, worked full-time and earned a second degree in a time when single mothers were rare. She was clever, practical and equally good with a pen, a sewing machine, a hammer or a paintbrush. She brought her girls home to SWH every year. She retired from the Virginia Beach Public Schools in 1973 and returned to Maine full-time.
Lurline put her three daughters through college at the University of Maine at Orono and helped her daughter, Georgia, hand-pick enough wild raspberries to pay half of her first year medical school tuition.
A heart attack in 1988 left Lurline with new challenges but she remained active in the Hancock County Extension and the SWH American Legion Auxiliary. She won ribbons for her quilts at the Blue Hill Fair and taught herself the art of quilling, curling paper into three-dimensional objects.
Lurline is survived by three daughters, Lurline T. Buelow (James) of Amsterdam, N.Y., Ellen E. Whitcomb (Neil) of Fairfield, and Georgia A. Tuttle Tonseth, MD of W. Lebanon, N.H.; and one grandson, Pao D. Meader of Gorham. Lurline’s husband, parents and brothers, Robert S. Soukup and Harold J. Soukup, predeceased her.
A funeral service will take place 1:30 p.m. Sept. 28, at St. John the Divine, SWH. Burial will be Nov. 6, 2013, at Arlington National Cemetery, where Lurline will be laid next to her husband on their 68th wedding anniversary.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Lurline’s memory to the SWH Ambulance Service, 24 Village Green, Southwest Harbor, ME 04679; or the SWH Library, P.O. Box 157, Southwest Harbor, ME 04679. A message of condolence may be left for the family through an online guest book by visiting www.rickerfuneralhome.com.