Mildred went to be with her Lord and Savior in Heaven on March 29, 2023 at the venerable age of 107. With all her interests in life here on Earth, the Lord surely has plenty of useful and enjoyable service for her in His kingdom. Just picture her at the Pearly Gates saying to St. Peter, “Don’t just stand there, I need animals and a garden to take care of; and get me some yarn, carpentry tools, and oil painting supplies!”
Mildred was born at home February 4, 1916, twenty minutes after her identical twin sister, Marion, in North Dorchester, NH to Frank and Bertha (Tilton) Burnham. Two other sisters, Ruby, then Bertha, were born after the twins. Her only brother was stillborn at full term before the four girls were born. Her mother was a schoolteacher before she married, and her father was a mason and butcher. Her parents were married for 17 years and were very happy together. When Mildred was 11, her father passed away from congestive heart failure. A year later, her mother moved her daughters to Bristol so they would have the opportunity for a better education, and raised them by herself through the Great Depression. They attended church regularly. They had no indoor plumbing or electricity and only basic clothing and necessities. They all worked together and learned to be strong and thrifty. Mildred loved math and took postgraduate classes for chemistry, biology and physics after high school. She attended Laconia Nursing School for two years, but left because of illness. In later years her health was much improved, and she worked at Franklin Regional Hospital as a Nursing Assistant. She especially loved Pediatric nursing. She attended Bristol Federated Church (now Bristol United Church of Christ) with her family.
Mildred was married twice. She and Charles Proctor married before WWII. Charles enlisted in the Navy during WWII. Soon after the war ended they bought an old farmhouse with 40 acres of field and mountain in Hill, NH. They had two daughters, Maxine and Rosalie. They were married for 11 years and divorced. Charles went back into the Navy, but stayed in close contact with his daughters and took them with him when he had leave every year. She married Lloyd Lindsay and they had one daughter, Esther. Mildred continued to live semi-independently on her beloved farm after Lloyd passed away. Her family helped her on the farm as often as possible.
Mildred did not enjoy reading when she was younger, but in her senior years became very interested in reading religious books and stories, which she said helped her understand the Bible and prepare her. She loved Merlin Carothers’ praise books and would re-read his books many times when she had trouble falling asleep. She also loved books and stories about animals. Mildred had many interests and hobbies throughout her life. She enjoyed traveling to scenic places with family in her little Bambi Airstream trailer and would bake pies and cook full course meals in it just like she did at home. She sewed clothes for her family and knitted many mittens, fisherman knit sweaters and afghans. She was skilled in crafts and made toys, jewelry, birds and wreaths. She was handy building and fixing things and would have liked to become a carpenter, but that was before women were accepted in what was considered men’s work. She loved cooking from scratch and eating home cooked meals with family, but did not enjoy eating out at restaurants (“Too many choices!”). She enjoyed raising farm animals for meat, wool, eggs, and milk. She had cats, dogs, chickens, turkeys, rabbits, goats, sheep, and pigs at various times. She had a big garden and shared produce with her family and farm animals. For many years she tapped her maple trees the old fashioned way by hand drilling the trees, then gathering and carrying buckets of sap to her saphouse to boil down into maple syrup in pans on a big wood fired arch. When it became too hard for her to climb up and down her mountain maple orchard, plastic tubing was installed that led into the saphouse. It became a great family party enjoyed by all who participated to tap the trees (with a gas powered drill) and repair the sap lines every year. Mildred continued to boil down the maple syrup and can it herself well into her 90’s. At the age of 76, Mildred started painting pictures with oils. She produced hundreds of beautiful paintings – as gifts displayed in her family’s homes and commissioned by other people. She continued to knit and paint until the age of 105.
Per her wishes, she lived in her own home until at age 105 she needed more assistance than her family could provide, and she became a resident at the Peabody Place. We are all very grateful for the loving care and support of Mid-State Health home visits, Franklin VNA and Hospice, and the staff at Peabody Place.
Mildred is survived by:
Daughters: Maxine (Proctor) Tear, Rosalie (Proctor) Wright, and Esther (Lindsay) McDonald.
Son-In-Law: Neil G. Wright
Sister: Bertha (Burnham) Kowalczyk and her husband Andrew Kowalczyk
Grandchildren: Charles Matthews, Shelly Matthews, Luanne Wright, Eric (Wright) Gavelis, Monica Marchand;
Great Grandchildren: Peter Matthews, Mary-Ellen Matthews, C.J. Matthews, Mary-Elizabeth Matthews,
Ever Gavelis, Sora Gavelis, Jacob Marchand, Maya Marchand;
And Many Great, Great Grandchildren, Nieces, and Nephews
Mildred was pre-deceased by:
Father and Mother: Frank and Bertha (Tilton) Burnham;
1ST Husband: Charles Rodrick Proctor
2ND Husband: Lloyd Everest Lindsay
Sisters: Ruby (Burnham > Cayes) Firth and Marion (Burnham) Woodward
There will be no calling hours. A closed casket funeral service will be held the Bristol United Church of Christ in Bristol, NH on Wednesday, May 3, 2023 at 11:00 am. Burial will follow at the Homeland Cemetery in her family plot. A reception will follow graveside services. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Mildred’s name to: The Bristol United Church of Christ, Attention: Financial Secretary, POB 424, Bristol, NH 03222, 603 744-8132.
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