FRANKLIN - Lt. Col. Priscilla Katharine Gilchrist, U.S. Army Ret., 89, of Franklin, died Monday, December 3rd, 2012 at the Peabody Home. Priscilla formerly lived on Liberty Avenue in the Veterans Project of Franklin.
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She was born in Northfield, March 10th 1923. The daughter of Maurice F. and Katharine (Young) Gilchrist, she grew up in Franklin. Priscilla was an outstanding athlete at FHS and as a teenager received accolades for her life-saving work as a lifeguard at Webster Lake. She was a freshman at the University of New Hampshire-majoring in physical education and English-when World War II broke out. She completed accelerated studies in physical therapy at O'Reilly General Hospital in Springfield, Mo., and was commissioned upon graduation, entering the Army Medical Corp.
She began her distinguished military career in physical therapy treating soldiers coming home from WWII. Priscilla worked a host of assignments during her 28 years in the Army, including such places as San Francisco, Fort Bragg, and Munich. She worked in Inchon during the Korean War and in Vietnam during the Tet Offensive of 1968, where she was Chief of Staff of PT clinics and consultant to the Surgeon General. After her tour of duty in Vietnam, she returned stateside and became Chief of the Physical Therapy Unit at Walter Reed Hospital. She received numerous commendations during her career, including the Bronze Star and the Meritorious Service Award. She was especially proud of being named an honorary member of the Army Nurse Corps.
She was a long-time member of the Buntin-Rumford-Webster Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution.
Priscilla is pre-deceased by her sister, Roberta Webster, and her brother, Theodore "Ted" Gilchrist, both of Franklin. She is survived by her nieces, M. Katharine Fuller and husband David of Franklin, Anne Marie Bartlett and husband Curt of Madison, Laurie Mullane and husband David of Hollywood, Fla., Gail Hutchison and husband Scott of Gilford, and Wendy DeGray and husband Steve of Bluefield, Va., along with nephew Ted Webster and wife Christine of Gilford; thirteen great-nieces and nephews, and six great-great nieces and nephews. She will be greatly missed by all as the true matriarch of the family.
Services will be held at the convenience of the family.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in memory of Priscilla Gilchrist to the Veterans' Memorial Recreation Area care of Franklin Outing Club, 200 Prospect Street, Franklin, N.H., 03235.
Burial with full military honors at Franklin Cemetery is planned for the spring of 2013.
H.L. Young & Company Memorial Home, 175 South Main Street, Franklin is assisting the family with the arrangements.
H.L. Young & Company
175 South Main Street
Franklin, NH 03235
Published in The Concord Monitor on Dec. 5, 2012