Myrtle Denney Willey

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. – Myrtle Denney Willey, 102, of Port Charlotte, Fla. passed away at Tidewell Hospice in Port Charlotte on Nov. 24, 2020 after a long illness.

Myrtle was born on July 7, 1918 in Jacksonville, Ill. to Benjamin H. and Lora E. (Burke) Denney. She was educated in Jacksonville schools and married George A. Corbett in 1945. She worked as a fashion buyer, photographer and retail manager before moving to Miami Beach with her husband. There she worked for People’s Water and Gas for several years.

In 1956, she and her husband settled in Gardiner, Maine where she took a part-time job at TW Dick Steel Co. There, her son Michael was born. After a divorce, she focused on giving her family a better life and by 1968 was executive vice-president of the company, eventually becoming president and owner. Myrtle married Leland B. Willey in 1972.

She was a board member of The Gardiner Savings Institution, Gardiner General Hospital, and United Way of Kennebec Valley, where she was also president. She was a long time patron and board member of Forum-A at UMA, supporter of the Portland Symphony Orchestra, and president of the Augusta Music Jazz Society. She was on the board of Maine Good Roads Association, and a member of the Small Business Association of New England.

An active member of Christ Church Episcopal in Gardiner, she served on the vestry and also as music director and senior choir director. She was director of the Kennebec Valley Chamber of Commerce, a board member of the Kennebec Valley Medical Center and president of the Kennebec Valley Medical Center Auxiliary.

Myrtle was also active in professional and service organizations becoming the chartering president of the Maine Chapter #276 of the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC). She was a committee member for Associated General Contractors of Maine and helped to coordinate the Construction Expo of Maine, which was sponsored by her NAWIC chapter.

She had a long history with Zonta International, starting with the Augusta Chapter in 1974. She became club president and was eventually elected to Governor, Zonta International District 1 (New England & Nova Scotia). She was a member of the Maine Development Foundation Technology Task Force for Governor Joseph Brennan as well as a member of Governor John McKernan’s Maine Business Advisory Board.

Retiring to Port Charlotte, Fla. in 1996, she became involved with St. James Episcopal Church where she served many years as a vestry member, choir director and as senior warden. She worked for many years for the Episcopal Church Women charitable outreach group providing assistance, support and companionship to members of the local community in need.

She is survived by her son, Michael Corbett of Port Charlotte, Fla. and extended family in Illinois and California.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks to please consider a donation to the organizations that Myrtle so passionately served:

St. James Episcopal Church

stjamespcfl.org or:

Christ Church Episcopal

christchurchgardiner.org or:

Zonta International

zonta.org or:

United Way of

Kennebec Valley

uwkv.org or:

NAWIC

nawicmaine.org

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