Evelyn M. Blanchard

Evelyn M. Blanchard, age 96, lifetime resident of Milford, NH died March 4 at The Hunt Community in Nashua, NH. Born March 19, 1924, the daughter of Carroll H. Blanchard, Sr. and Alice L. (O’Brien) Blanchard, Evelyn grew up in Milford, NH. Her poetry describes an idyllic early childhood living with her parents, brother and two sisters, at Highland Farm on Federal Hill, where every cow was petted and named, and the horse a friend. She rode the train to Greenfield, NH, with her sister, to visit grandmother and uncles; and the pleasant summers with them at their home and outings at their hunting camp.

As a youngster she was a girl scout, earning badges and selling cookies; and active in 4H, earning ribbons for sewing, and the canning of fruits and vegetables exhibited in county fairs. She attended the Garden Street Elementary School and graduated in 1942 from Milford High School (Elm Street). In high school she was again an excellent student with many activates, highlighted with her selection in 1941 to attend the first Girl’s State of NH held at the University of NH in Durham, one of only fifty NH high school girls. In October of 1938 the family experienced the great hurricane and that same October the death of their daughter and little sister. The following March, they sold the farm and moved to Union Street “in town” where Evelyn lived for over fifty years.

A class of ’42 trip to New York City wet her appetite for travel which she pursues at every opportunity. There were many car trips with her sister Olive to American heritage sites, and Montreal, Canada; seeing friends on the U.S. Virgin Island of St. Croix. The last was a tour of Italy with Franciscan friends visiting Florence, Rome, and Assisi following the footprints of St. Francis of Assisi and St. Clare. She especially enjoyed an audience with Pope John Paul II.

After graduation from high school, World War II was on and classmate boys entered the service while classmate girls became employed in war service work. Evelyn accepted the position of Chief Clerk of Selective Service Board No. 12 (draft board), located in the Milford Town Hall. Selective Service Board 12 was a large territory and often Evelyn was required to be at the Town Hall office at 5:00 a.m. to sign in 100-200 men, appoint a foreman, and see them off on the bus to Manchester for examination or to send them off to Fort Devens, Ayer, MA for induction into the army. She was employed in that position for five years, until the war ended.

She then worked a few years for Public Service Co. of NH before joining The O.K. Tool Company, Inc., and Williams & Hussey Machine Co. She took night courses studying corporate accounting at the former Nashua Business School and was a Notary Public. At The O.K. Tool Co. she worked as an Executive Assistant doing the secretarial work for several C.E.O.s. She as adept in the IBM punched card system and was instrumental in setting the system up. Later, when the punched card system was transferred to computer, she again assisted in getting that up and running. When O.K. Tool Co. was sold, Evelyn continued with Williams & Hussey Machine Co., Inc. when they moved to Wilton until she retired in 1998. (It took three people to replace her.)

Some of Evelyn’s community activities included: the O.W. Lull Woman’s Relief Corps, Auxiliary to The Grand Army of the Republic; and a 25-year member of Granite Grange of Milford, with Pomona Grange, State Grange and National Grange. She was a communicant of St. Patrick Catholic Church if Milford, NH. She was a life long choir member, played the church organ and directed a children’s choir. For a number of years she belonged to the Diocesan choir of St. Joseph Cathedral, Manchester, NH, and the “Messiah Sing” of Mont Vernon, NH. She was a long time Rosary Altar Society member of St. Patrick Church, holding several offices, President, Secretary, Vice President, and member of the Board of Directors. April 26, l976, Evelyn became a Professed Secular Franciscan, with St. Anthony of Padua Fraternity, Blessed Sacrament Church in Manchester, NH in time taking her turn as secretary and council member. She participated for a number of years with the non-denominational local bible study group, ‘The Amherst/Milford Bible Study’, at St. Patrick Church, Milford, NH. Also, she was a long time member of the Milford Historical Society where she was also secretary for a number of years.

After retirement, Evelyn devoted much time in volunteering work. She was a Eucharistic Minister, serving at St. Patrick Church and volunteered with others for many years in taking The Eucharist to patients at Crestwood Nursing home and reciting the rosary there. She volunteered for “Share” at the Clothing Barn at St. Patrick. She enjoyed summertime ‘050’ trips for seniors sponsored by the Milford Baptist church. Her interests were stamp collecting, writing to friends, playing the organ, cross word puzzles, walking, reading, computer games, and in early years enjoyed crocheting, knitting and embroidering, and oil painting.

She was a poet, having written many poems, some of which were published in The Union Leader, The Milford Cabinet, Ideals Magazine, and The National Library of Congress Poetry Anthologies. Another publication was in Prayers From Franciscan Hearts, St Anthony Messenger Press, 2007. In 2010 she published a book of poems, “Peace and Other Poems” and enjoyed a day of signing at the Toadstool Bookstore, now in Nashua, NH. In the preamble to her poetry book, she describes her writing philosophy as, writing “what was in my heart” at the time; “I am a lover of the divine and the beauty of nature … I have a deep feeling for the joys and sorrows, loves and fantasies of people of all ages, and … still see the amusing side of life.” This resulted in her being a great listener, a dear friend and a wonderful conversationalist; much loved by many people of all ages and walks of life. May she herself now rest in peace.

Evelyn was predeceased by her little sister, Ruth Alice Blanchard, her father Carroll H. Blanchard, Sr., her mother Alice L. Blanchard, her brother Carroll H. Blanchard, Jr., who served in the Korean Conflict and saw much heavy fighting, her sister Olive M. Thurston, grandparents, aunts and uncles and several cousins.

A mass of Christian burial will be celebrated on Wednesday, March 10th at 10:00 am in St. Patrick’s Church, 34 Amherst Street, Milford. She will be buried at Greenvale Cemetery, Greenfield, NH in the late spring. In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory may be made to Share Outreach, Inc., 1 Columbus Avenue, Milford, NH 03055 or Boys & Girls Club of Souhegan Valley, 56 Mont Vernon Street, P.O. Box 916, Milford, NH 03055. Arrangements are in the care of Smith & Heald Funeral Home, 63 Elm Street, Milford.

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