Town recalls Mary Leavitt
LYNDEBOROUGH – Mary Leavitt was one of those people who knew everybody, who would and did help anyone.
She was probably the most well-known, and best liked, person in town.
On Saturday, several hundred of those friends packed the United Church in Lyndeborough Center to remember her and to say goodbye.
"She was compassionate and caring," the Rev. Regina Kinney said in her remarks. "She accepted everyone. She was born to be a nurse and an EMT."
Leavitt, 72, who died Sunday, Sept. 20, volunteered for more than 30 years as an emergency medical technician with the Wilton-Lyndeborough- Temple Ambulance Service. She attended St. Joseph Hospital School of Nursing in 1987, while her two children were teenagers, and worked for many years at Monadnock Community Hospital. She also taught first aid and CPR for many years.
"She was the person to liven things up," ambulance service Director Gary Zirpolo said. "On a bad day, when things were going wrong, there had been a bad accident or something, she knew what to say to break the tension, to make people laugh."
Leavitt was recalled by many as a person who loved life.
"She loved arts and crafts, talking to people, being on Facebook, being with her family," Kinney said. "And she was an avid reader of murder mysteries."
Fire Chief Rick McQuade, who knew Leavitt most of his life, recalled her as a Cub Scout leader and her later services on the ambulance.
When arriving with the ambulance, "It was always good to see Mary’s car there first," he said.
She was a "true matriarch" for her family, her clan and her town, McQuade said.
Mary Eleanor Hyde Leavitt, 72, was the daughter of the late John and Muriel Hyde. She grew up in Hollis and graduated from Appleton Academy in New Ipswich. She then attended the New Hampshire College of Accounting and Commerce, graduating in 1963. She worked for many years at Abbott Machine Co. in Wilton.
She married Milton "Skeeter" Leavitt in 1966; he died in 1985. They had two children, Ellen (Mrs. Seamus) Grossman, of Wilton, and Milton "Mickey" Leavitt. Both of her children followed her into the ambulance service.
In addition to her ambulance work, she served as health officer for Wilton and Lyndeborough, and police matron for both towns. She loved to socialize, and belonged to the Library Ladies and the Red Hat Society. She was one of the many who congregated at The Village Store.
Selectman Chairman Fred Douglas knew her for much of her life.
"She was always there to help people," he said, recalling a terrifying incident when his handicapped son stopped breathing.
"The first one through the door was Mary. It was comforting to have someone with experience. She was an extension of God’s hands."
Leavitt and the late Betty Stevens "laid the foundation for the ambulance service as we know it," Douglas said. "I was a member because of them. She was a very loving person, a strong lady."
Zirpolo went a bit further: "She and Betty are part of God’s ambulance service now."
Donations in her memory may be made to the Wilton-Lyndeborough Ambulance Service in care of David Gill. Donations will be used to buy CPR training supplies.