Last summer, the Oddfellows Hall on Route 302 in Windham received a new sign after 50 years with the old one. Josie Morrell, who created and paid for the new sign, was honored Wednesday night and the sign was officially dedicated to her.
Morrell, a Windham resident, and her son, Peter Morrell, together created the new sign for the lawn in front of Oddfellows Hall. Josie nearly didn’t get to see the sign installed after suffering a major heart attack.
Josie is a charter member of Pinea Rebekah Lodge #71 that shares the hall with the Lake Shore Lodge group.
“I looked at that sign for 50 years,” Josie said. “I said to my son, ‘can you do what I want,’ and he did it.”
According to Josie, it took one-and-a-half months to complete the sign. Son Peter did all the outside work and construction while Josie did the lettering and painting. What made the process all the more difficult and incredible was that during the construction of the sign, Josie had a major heart attack.
“That woman died and they brought her back. She had one heck of a time,” friend Elsie Haskell noted. She went on to say that after Josie awoke, her first thought was that the sign should be put out before the fair that occurred in July of 2004. The sign was installed by Peter while Josie was recovering in the beginning of June last year.
“She’s something else. She’s been a good friend to me,” Haskell said.
Josie graduated from Casco High School before moving to Windham in 1946. She worked for the Windham school department for thirty years as a bus driver. She was also a 4H leader, Cub Scout leader, taught Sunday School, was president of the Parent Teacher Association and served three years on the town council in Windham. She and her husband at one time owned 150 cattle and a propane gas business.
Today, Josie has family spread across the United States. Her children and grandchildren are in residence in Florida, Maine, New York and Colorado.
Josie stated how proud she was of Peter, a former U.S. Marine. According to her, he is quite handy and assists her with multiple tasks year-round at home and at the hall.
On Wednesday night, the sign was officially dedicated to Josie. Haskell presented her with a framed photo that included pictures of the sign and the Hall. A cake was custom-made with an image of the sign decorating it. Haskell made favors out of large green gumdrops with toothpicks holding signs that said “for rent.”