Barbara Beeson (1917 - 2013)

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EXETER - Barbara Neal Beeson, who served as a nurse with the American Red Cross in England during World War II and then led a long, full life as a devoted wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and community activist, died peacefully, comforted by her three children, on Oct. 28, 2013, at the RiverWoods retirement community in Exeter, New Hampshire. She was 96 years old.

Her son Peter G. Beeson and his family were longtime residents of Concord. Mrs. Beeson moved to RiverWoods from Redmond, Wash., in 2001 with her husband, the late Dr. Paul B. Beeson, whom she met in 1941 in England, where Dr. Beeson was chief physician at the Red Cross - Harvard Field Hospital Unit. Barbara Beeson's steadfast strength and determination anchored the family throughout Dr. Beeson's long and distinguished career in academic medicine which took them from Emory University in Atlanta, to Yale University in New Haven, Conn., and then to Oxford University in England. When the couple retired in 1974 to Redmond, Wash., it was Dr. Beeson who then supported his activist wife as she established herself as a relentless and formidable advocate for preservation of parks, horse trails and open space.

Barbara Neal Beeson was born in Buffalo, N.Y., in 1917. She graduated from the nursing program at St. Luke's Hospital in Chicago in 1939, expecting to pursue a career as an airline stewardess, which at the time required nursing background. In 1941, she accepted a request to serve with the Red Cross Nurses Reserve Corps at the new Harvard Field Hospital in Salisbury, England, where she met Dr. Beeson. They were married on July 10, 1942.

Barbara devoted enormous energy toward the details of family life while supporting her husband's career. She was always attentive to her many friends and she forged strong personal relationships because she treated everyone with equality and respect. She never failed to say thank you to visitors and especially to her caregivers and the staff in Winnesquam at RiverWoods. Their affection for the outspoken and feisty Mrs. Beeson, will be a lasting consolation for her family.

In addition to her son Peter, Mrs. Beeson is survived by her son John N. Beeson of Livingston, N.J., and her daughter, Judith Beeson Assirelli, of Montello, Italy; six grandchildren and a great-granddaughter.


Services: At her request, there will be no memorial service.

For more information about Barbara Beeson's extraordinary life, visit

Funeral Home
Brewitt Funeral Home
14 Pine Street
Exeter, NH 03833
(603) 772-3554
Funeral Home Details
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Published in Union Leader on Nov. 8, 2013
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