Elizabeth B. Harwood

January 5, 1918 ~ June 27, 2018 (age 100)

Elizabeth Brigham Harwood was born in Bayonne, New Jersey on January 5, 1918 to Ida (Tibbetts) and William Schenk.  She died on June 27, 2018.

When Betty was eleven years old the family moved to Lynn, MA but she remained in contact with her Bayonne friends and had many fond childhood memories. Several times over the years she would bring one of her children back to the house where she had lived and re-tell the stories of her childhood.

Betty graduated from Lynn English High School and kept a framed photograph of her classmates on her wall. As before, she remained friends with many of her classmates throughout her life.

After high school Betty trained as a registered nurse at State Street Hospital in Portland, ME, again picking up more life-long friends.

She went to work at Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, MA and enjoyed the work, as well as the active lifestyle of Cambridge, but when a fellow nurse heard of openings in Nashua, NH they both went to apply. Betty was hired as the day supervisor for the entire hospital and later became the night supervisor. Hospitals at that time provided nurses residences and Betty was also responsible for maintaining order there.

It was in Nashua that Betty met Fred (also known as Ted) Harwood and his young son Richard. Fred’s mother and sister were patients at the hospital. As supervisor Betty often became the friend and confidant of patients and their families, as she did with the Harwood family.

Fred and Betty were married in 1943. The following year Fred joined the war effort and Betty returned to Lynn with her young son Andrew. After Fred’s military discharge the family lived briefly in Peabody, MA before moving to Byfield, MA. Their daughter Nancy was born and Richard, who had been living with his grandparents, joined them.

Soon Fred began building a “house of their own” on adjacent land. Circumstances dictated that the young family move into this house before it was finished. Betty was at that time expecting the birth of her daughter Heidi. There are many amusing stories of that first year that are often part of family conversations!

After moving to Byfield Betty continued her nursing career, first at Hale Hospital in Haverhill, MA and then as an industrial nurse at Hytron in Newburyport, MA. In 1957 Betty started nursing at Danvers State Hospital where she remained until her retirement in 1969. Throughout that time her children were always her first priority and Betty worked the night shift so that she could be home to send them off to school. Betty was always involved in community activities. The National Grange awarded her a Silver Certificate for her 25-year commitment to the Quascacunquen Grange, having served as Past Master and advancing through the seventh degree.

What Betty considered her greatest achievement in the community began when she started working with the Town Library. Since it was founded, the library had been located above the local convenience store and Betty thought that they should be in their own building. Betty found that a piece of property across the street had been donated for the use of the town’s children and was available for the new library.

For two years Betty was the coordinator, clerk of the works, and general manager for the building of the Town Library.

The library was constructed by student labor from the Whittier Vocational Regional High School and Betty furnished transportation for the boys when a bus was not available. She also went in search of materials to save money and often cajoled her family to transport those materials. And, of course, sought grants, donations, and other funding sources to help pay for this project and future library programs.

When the project was complete the Town Selectmen resolved that Betty Harwood be named “Lady of the Year” and Janet Price of the Massachusetts Department of Education commended her for her “persistence and dedication to serving her community.”

After Betty’s husband Fred died in 1994 she was often off on an adventure. She researched family history and traveled throughout New England visiting town offices and cemeteries to complete the family puzzle. She would also travel far and wide to visit family and old friends.

Betty is survived by her children Richard and Betty Harwood of Port Orchard, WA, Andrew Harwood and Marie Hardy, Nancy and Alexander Burke, Heidi and Steven Fram, all of Byfield, MA, nine grandchildren and many great grandchildren.

 At Betty’s request there will be no services. Her remains will be interred with her family at Pike’s Hill Cemetery, Norway, ME. In lieu of flowers donations may be made in Betty’s name to the Schenk Fund, Empire Grove Methodist Campground, Front Avenue, East Poland, ME 04274 where her parents had a summer camp for city girls when Betty was a teenager and later where she and her family spent many enjoyable times.

© 2019 F. S. Roberts & Son Funeral Home. All Rights Reserved. Funeral Home website by CFS