Friday, January 20, 2023

100-year-old Windham resident has no plans on slowing down

By Ed Pierce

Phyllis Coffin of Windham marked a milestone that was a century in the making last month when she celebrated her 100th birthday on Dec. 10.

Phyllis Coffin of Windham turned 100 last month and
celebrated with family at a dinner in Portland. She has 
always led an active lifestyle and enjoyed roller skating,
water skiing, dancing, tennis and snow skiing when she
For the occasion, she enjoyed dinner at the Harbor Hotel in Portland with her family, including her children and grandchildren, her twin sister’s two daughters, and friends. Afterward, she was thrilled to converse at home via ZOOM with extended family across the country, while 100 birthday candles lit up the night sky outdoors, and more than 100 birthday cards decorated her porch.

Phyllis was born Dec. 10, 1922, some 10 minutes before her identical twin sister, Frances, in a farmhouse in Clinton, Maine to her parents, Grace Walls Lambertson and William Lambertson. She graduated from Clinton High school as salutatorian in 1940 and went on to attend Westbrook Junior College completing the Commercial Course with studies in bookkeeping, shorthand, law, mathematics of law.

On April 21, 1946, Phyllis married Herbert “Lucky” Coffin and the couple had two children, Jeffrey Coffin, and Gail Hamilton, who both live in Windham.

Her professional career included co-owning Friends Bridal Shop, working as a bookkeeper, and later as a Real Estate Broker.

She says that her most memorable job was when she was a full-time bookkeeper for Eastern Tractor and Equipment in Portland doing what she was trained to do and loved to do, working with numbers. To this day, she still tracks her own finances and signs her own checks to pay bills.

She’s lived an active life ranging from playing high school basketball and roller skating and dancing to

water skiing and snow skiing and in her senior years, playing tennis starting in the 1960s, which she continued until she was 90. Waterskiing became a genuine passion for Phyllis, and she became an AWSA-certified judge and served as the chief judge at numerous waterskiing tournaments throughout New England.

Her cooking was something special too.

“My favorite has always been her Hungarian rolls, which were traditional holiday fare at her house,” said her daughter, Gail Hamilton. “They were so gooey and sweet and made her holiday meals extra special.”

According to Phyllis, advances in technology during her lifetime have been nothing short of amazing, with a few inventions standing out among all the others.

“Telephones because they introduced us to technology,” she said. “And transporting of people from horse and buggy to car and flight and landing someone on the moon.”

She said the biggest historical event to take place in her lifetime is hard to choose because there have been so many.

“Bad things that stand out because they were so horrid,” Phyllis said. “The insurrection at the Capitol

floored me. I couldn’t imagine that happening in our wonderful country. And the destruction of the Twin Towers on 9/11 and the bombing of Pearl Harbor.”

Her husband passed away in 2012 and her twin sister, who was a huge part of her life, died in 2017. The twins attended the same college in Westbrook for bookkeeping and shared a mutual love for roller skating, performing together in shows at Old Orchard Beach to entertain U.S. servicemen during World War II.

As far as her own longevity in life goes, Phyllis said she credits having constant interests outside of just living, taking good care of her body, and helped by God in maintaining it.

For the future, she wants to continue to watch tennis on television and to do walking and exercises to maintain her mobility. She’s also planning to accompany her daughter to Idaho this coming summer for her grandson’s wedding. <

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