Members’ Stories

Member features here have appeared previously in our monthly newsletter Inclinations.

 

August 7th was Betty Hutchinson Appreciation Day at UUFES. Betty at 97 was there with most of her children, grandchildren, and even some “greats.” We sang many of Betty’s favorite songs from our national anthem to Girl Scout songs like the Happy Wanderer, popular songs like Oh What a Beautiful Morning, and hymns like I Would Be True.

Grandchildren in good strong voices read some of her favorite poems like Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening. Betty clearly enjoyed herself and entered into the festivities with alacrity and presence. She sang or recited every word of every song and every reading on the program. We also learned a lot about Betty’s life which I share with you now in this month’s Profile.

Betty grew up in Manchester CT. Her father, Watson Woodruff, was a Congregational minister who had graduated from Hartford Seminary in 1907. He served with the YMCA during World War I. With his wife, Edna, they had three girls. Tedd Osgood told wonderful stories about his childhood on Silver Lake with the three Woodruff girls – Jean the oldest who had a limp from polio, Betty, the “more serious” of the three, and Peggy who like Tedd went to Swarthmore. They swam in the lake and watched their parents play tennis on a clay court near the house. Betty was a Girl Scout and loved hiking. They built the cottage on the lake in the 1930s.

During World War II, Betty served in the Philippines as a nurse. She came back to the lake in 1946 with Hutch, and soon they were married. They lived in Torrington CT, had seven children, and came up to the lake each summer. Betty worked as a school nurse, volunteered with Jon in such organizations as the Veterans for Peace, and played cello in the Torrington Civic Symphony. Son Jack told us that when he was 8 years old and learning the piano, Betty challenged him to a race as to who could learn Happy Birthday the fastest! She was also a baker, and her family still makes her oatmeal-molasses bread.

Jon and Betty built their year-round house on Silver Lake in the 1990s and were active in the early years of UUFES, always supporting progressive causes. The UUFES Shawl Ministry presented Betty with a shawl, and Jack probably summed up his siblings feelings about Betty when he said “she was the foundation for our lives.” Still looking into her eyes, Jack finds it the one safe place of comfort.

Marshall was born in Woburn, MA, but soon moved to Westford where he met Diane. He and Diane went to high school together, but didn’t really start dating until a few years after graduation when they met at a restaurant. They married in 1974, and moved to Sandwich in 1980. There they built their house which is passive solar, with no central heating. They have a stove using wood pellets, but most of the time, the sun does the heating.

They have six children, eight grandchildren and two great grandchildren. Three children live in Virginia, one in Moultonborough and one in Sandwich. Trips to visit the family are a great source of pleasure.

Marshall’s career was as a chef. His specialty is “good” food – local and not processed. He always starts from scratch and has never been “by the book.” Diane frequently worked as a head waitress at his restaurant because they both felt that it was critical that wait staff and the kitchen had good communication. Marshall always started the evening with a talk so that everyone understood the main offerings of the evening. They worked at many restaurants, including the Depot in Meredith. They also did a lot of catering including at Gunstock, Governor’s Island, and Mount Washington.

As many people at UUFES know, Marshall and Diane Nye have hobbies that they enjoy and that bring pleasure to our congregation as well. Diane is an avid crafts person. She knits, sews, embroiders and also bakes a lot. As we ended our talk this month, I saw her putting another prayer shawl in the cabinet for the next person who needs one. Marshall has been a photographer for 30 years. He does weddings and events, and also loves to photograph nature. He used to do only black and white, but switched to color and digital photography a few years ago. We enjoy his photos in Inclinations and the Friday Mail Pouch.

Susan Blake introduced the Nyes to UUFES. They met her at the Squam Beach one day, and she suggested they try us out. Now that they are retired, they have more time for social events and have enjoyed the Dinner for Eight Program and all the volunteer work they do for UUFES. The con-gregation in turn is very grateful for all they do for us.

 

Ellen Farnum’s dad was an engineer which meant that the family moved around a lot, and Ellen had to change schools frequently. However, the family summered in New Hampshire, and Ellen moved here permanently in the 1970s. She loves hiking and the beauty of NH. She also loves animals and says that the health of the environment is particularly important to her.

Ellen came from a family that sang a lot. They always harmonized, and as a teen she joined the adult choir of the Episcopal Church. Music has continued to be a very important part of her life. When she moved to Center Sandwich, she met Bob Bates and got involved with musical theater. She says she learned a lot from him. Today she sings with numerous groups including the UUFES choir. She sings with Mary Edes in her Hospice group and with Silver Lake Singers. She also sings in a 4-part jazz quartet, Stanza XXI, with Hans Stafford, Rev. Mary, and Martell. She also belongs to the Sandwich Singers.

Another love is children. She began working at a day care center and taught swimming during the summers. Then at age 43, she got her B.A. and later her masters degree. Since then she has been teaching K- 2nd grade at the Moultonborough School. This year she has a kindergarten class and is also doing musical theater with middle school children.

Ellen uses the word “joy” a lot when she talks about her family, beginning with Willie who has been part of her life for the last 11 years. She also has two daughters. Heather is a faculty member at the University of Minnesota in Mankato, living there with her husband, Ryan, and their daughter, Nora, who is four years old. Closer to home is her daughter, Rachel, and husband, Sean, and their two sons, Verity and Gaius. Rachel is in family practice at Memorial Hospital.

Yet one more love that Ellen talks about is her love of UUFES. She says coming to services is like coming home.

 

Ricky and John Banderob are the newest members of UUFES. They retired after 40 years in the math department at Milton Academy in June oflast year and came to UUFES for the first time in August. They had bought land on a road near Bearcamp Pond in 1980, built a cabin there, and then in 1989 built the year-round house where they now live.

Ricky grew up in Concord MA and John in Tulsa Oklahoma. Ricky went to Oberlin College and John to Yale. They have two grown children who live in the Boston area. They love the Sandwich area and its opportunities to hike, snowshoe, and cross country ski. They are particularly fond of kayaking on Bearcamp Pond, searching for blueberries on the island and along the edges of the pond. After living in the girls’ dormitory as house parents for 24 years, they are enjoying being full-time residents here.

As they neared retirement, both Ricky and John wondered how they would replace the community they had had at Milton Academy for so many years. They were looking for a community of people who shared their values and as John said, “could make a connection not just over a beer, but at a deeper level.” Neither had come from a religious background. They visited other religious institutions in the area but said that, the first time they came to UUFES, they felt genuinely welcomed. They were particularly grateful for having support during and after the election.

As both Ricky and John said, “How grateful we are to be included in a community that shares such a very important part of our lives. How lucky we feel to have found a community of people whose values we share.”

 

Pamela and Ed Ambrose are relatively new members of the fellowship, and Pamela has recently joined the Governing Board. She is a native of the Belgrade Lakes area in central Maine, and came to NH in 1983 to search for work. She was then a single parent with three children to support, and despite having a BA, northern Maine did not offer the opportunity she needed. She found work at the Lakes Region Mental Health Center in Laconia (now Genesis Behavioral Health) where her skills in listening and connecting with people with a serious mental health diagnosis. particularly those with chronic and severe diagnoses, were much needed. Over the next 25 years she served as a case manager and therapist and eventually as coordinator and then director of the Emergency Psychiatric Team of Belknap County. Along the way, she got a masters at B.U. in psychiatric rehabilitation.

In 1984, Pamela met Ed. They married and later welcomed their “miracle baby” into their lives. Ed is the “semi-retired” President of Ambrose Bros. Construction which he owns with his brother. Together they have parented their four children and now enjoy four grandchildren.

Pamela describes her early religious practice as being “a by-the-book Catholic.” She felt it was mostly a “rote performance” kind of faith. After her move, she joined the Methodist church in Moultonboro, but again found it didn’t meet her needs. She described her other religious explorations in a “This I Believe” presentation last summer, explaining: “I took a foray into Eastern religions, past life séances, fire walking (not for the faint of heart), studied a little reincarnation, and even took a fainthearted stab at being a Republican when John McCain was running.”

She then describes the day of driving through Tamworth and seeing the UUFES sign. She attended a service and met with Rev. David several times. She was impressed with the UU requirement that each person develop his/her own set of beliefs. Also the emphasis of Unitarian Universalists on social justice and on respecting the planet fit with her own interests and values.

Pamela describes her other passions as “cross country skiing, hiking, reading, and spending time with her family.”

 

Ann-Marie Holland became a member in 2017. She says it is “like finding home.” Over her lifetime, she has had a rough time with various religions. She grew up Catholic, attended Catholic schools, taught CCD Sunday School for the older children and married in the Catholic Church. As she said, “I bought the whole thing.”

Ann-Marie was 19 when she married; her mother thought the young man suitable and forced Ann-Marie to go through with the ceremony. The marriage did not last. She left after four years with two babies to support. She said that approaching a priest for guidance ended in abuse and took that as a sign from God that she should leave the church.

Despite these difficult experiences at such a young age, she took control. At first she lived with her parents but then got a good paying job as a designer in a factory pattern room. With her earnings, she moved the family into their own home. Later she married again. Her daughter Karen is now 56, has rheumatoid arthritis and needs to use a wheel chair much of the time. Her son, Peter, is a pipefitter and lives in Freemont. He has been particularly helpful, as Ann-Marie had developed Polymyalgia Rhumatica. Ann-Marie is also a believer in counseling and credits the assistance she has received for helping her to forgive and move on. She also has many interests including her business with making jams and pies, as well as her love of making quilts and needlework.

Eventually, Ann-Marie and her husband moved to Sandwich. Her parents had had a summer place in Atkinson, NH, and her husband had family in Moultonboro. When that marriage ended, she began to look for a church. A friend invited her to a local church on Christmas Eve, and at first she thought she had found the place. However, several months in, the minister preached a sermon declaring all homosexuals sinners. Ann-Marie believes that we have no business judging each other for any reason.

Later another friend invited her to attend UUFES. “I love it,” she said. “The community is so special.” We too welcome Ann-Marie and hope she has found her home with us.

 

Willie Mork was born in Cincinnati OH in 1925. She graduated from the University of Cincinnati and became a first grade teacher. After her marriage to Phil, they moved to Weston, Mass and brought up their four children. Willie was a scout leader, den mother and led other kid-related activities. With the kids out of school, Phil and Willie moved to Wolfeboro in 1980.

In Wolfeboro she became very active in the Village Players. Her first play was the chorus of Oklahoma in 1981. She appeared in 45 plays through the years, and she served as producer and in many other capacities as well. She also loves to travel, ski, knit, and do crafts. She and Phil sang in the Clearlakes Chorale and kicked up their heels in the Wolfeboro Wranglers square dance club.

The Morks started out in a roomy house on Wolfeboro Bay. Now their four kids are spread out – one in Tuftonboro, two in the Boston area, and one in Los Angeles.

When her husband died in 1999, Willie downsized into a condo. In 2011 she moved to the Sugar Hill Retirement Community in Wolfeboro which she loves. It’s like a big extended family. The friendships are very important. There is an exercise class and workout room and a community therapy pool which help keep her moving. An extra bonus is that there are three more UUFES members at Sugar Hill, Jerry Cline, Normandie Mindheim, and Harvey Stephenson.

Willie came to UUFES a couple of months after her husband died as guests of Dick and Debbie Cary. A long-time Unitarian, she felt right at home from the minute she walked into Runnells Hall. Here she has been very active serving on the Sunday Service Committee and the Hospitality Committee. She has retired from most of those activities now but still comes to the Shawl Group when she can. She hopes that UUFES will continue to work on creative ways to include long-distance members like those from Wolfeboro in the activities of the Fellowship.

 

When I called Ed Butler to discuss this profile, he was on the phone with a constituent who had a very complicated medical maltreatment issue that she hoped Ed would help her solve. It was a good introduction to the life of one of New Hampshire’s Representatives to the General Court!

Ed grew up in upstate New York with four brothers and two sisters. His first move away from home was to Boston where – after eleven years – he got his college degree. He met the man who is today his husband, Les Schoof, in 1974 when they were both working in the box office at the Charles Playhouse. They moved to New York City in ’78 for a number of years. Ed worked as a psychiatric nurse and then got his masters degree in long-term care. He helped establish the first daycare, homecare and nursing home programs for people with HIV/AIDS. During their stint in NYC, Les managed the Joffrey Ballet and American Ballet Theater.

When it was time to leave New York, Ed and Les decided to explore innkeeping. It took a number of years to find the place that would “sing to us.” Driving up to Notchland in 1993, they immediately knew they had the right place. The inn has been a strong business through the years, with good staff, and has allowed Ed to take on politics. He is currently in his 5th term as a Carroll County representative.

Ed finds politics both fascinating and challenging. It allows him to be active in the issues that he cares deeply about including LGBTQ issues, access to affordable health care and housing, and long term care. He has been either chair or the ranking member of the House Commerce Committee which deals with many of these issues. He also has been involved in the Mt. Washington Valley Housing Coalition that is exploring affordable housing and assisted living for seniors.

Ed describes himself as “spiritually curious.” He grew up Catholic but left the church as a young man. He soon knew he was also not a Christian and explored many other religious traditions. When he first encountered UUFES at Runnells Hall, he knew he had found his spiritual home.

Ed is currently reading The Book of Joy, conversations between the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu. He listens to the book on his long rides to Concord and finds that a wonderful way of thinking about one’s spiritual path. It sounds like it would be a good choice for the Monday Book Group.

 

This summer two things transformed Peaco Todd’s experience of living in Chocorua: she discovered the joy of swimming every day in Lake Chocorua and she found the spiritual community she had long been seeking – UUFES: a group of compassionate, intelligent souls committed to social justice, inclusion and peace. She’s thrilled to be part of it.

Peaco is a syndicated cartoonist and author of several books and numerous articles on subjects ranging from the psychology of anger to infant vision. Becoming a cartoonist was the culmination of a long (and tortuous) professional journey that included stints as a copywriter, graphic designer, factory floorwoman, lifeguard, music impresario and long-distance multihull sailor. She finds cartooning to be more fun than all of the previous combined.

A humorist, political satirist and environmental/animal rights activist, Peaco has worked as a political columnist for The Conway Daily Sun and the Somerville Journal and as a reporter for the Arab News (Saudi Arabia). Prior to devoting herself full time to various cartooning projects, she served as a liberal arts professor for Lesley University and the Union Institute and University. A member of the National Cartoonists Society and the Authors Guild, she believes in community service, pro bono work and volunteering – for a year now she’s been a volunteer escort for Planned Parenthood of Massachusetts.

Currently she’s working on three graphic projects. One is a memoir about depression (Table for One); two are collaborations: a memoir about thyroid cancer (McCancer) and a book about feminist economics (Screwnomics).
In addition to those projects, in 2015 she and her husband established a 501(c)3 corporation, “Earth Comix,” whose purpose is to use cartoons to raise awareness of, and encourage activism in, the fight to save elephants, rhinos and other endangered animals that are facing the possibility of extinction from poaching, trophy hunting and habitat infringement. Her work can be seen at earth-comix.com and www.peacotoons.com.

 

Ted and Bobbi Hoyt. Ted grew up in Madison, graduated from Kennett High School, and then from UNH. He spent three years in the army, mostly in Alaska, which he loved almost as much as NH. He passed his CPA exam, but then returned to the family business as Director of Camp Tohkomeupog when his father retired.

Bobbi grew up in upstate NY. After becoming a RN, she moved to Boston to work, then to several other cities in the US. East Madison is where their family of five boys grew up – Steve, Jeff, Jesse, Jon, and Ryan. Bobbi was the camp nurse and then the Office Manager of the camp. Ted also ran Purity Spring Resort as the CEO and CFO. Ted liked getting out, so when they needed a new dam at the lake, he built that; when they needed a new building rebuilt, he did that; when they needed a skating rink, he created that, and when they needed a bridge by the spring house, he built that and so it went. For 25 years, Bobbi ran her ski shop, The Ice House at King Pine Ski Area that was right down the hill from their house.

The boys all started working different jobs in the valley around 12 years of age – washing dishes, the snowmobile business with Grandpa Hoyt, then teaching skiing and working as camp counselors. Later Steve joined the family business.

A family highlight was the trip to Alaska in the Winnebago in 1989. The long days of playing canasta and euchre while on the road, the glee Jesse and Jon had when they tossed Ryan’s Little moose in a crevasse on Portage Glacier, and the massive salmon the boys caught at the Homer Fishing hole were high points. Ted and Bobbi also explored the Caribbean as certified scuba divers for many years; the underwater beauty reinforced their pantheist spirit.

After the boys finished college, Bobbi and Ted decided that they wanted a smaller home with a view. They found their spot on Ossipee Lake, where together they built their beach house. It has the calm of the water and views of the Sandwich Range all the way to Mt. Washington.

Ted found his religion when he was hiking in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. He’s climbed all the 4000 footers, many several times. For Bobbi, The Church on the River in Memphis was the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship that became her religious home. Together they both embrace Pantheism. Now you will often find them working together at UUFES and at UUSED.