BEESON, BARBARA NEAL 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 October 28 at the RiverWoods retirement community in Exeter, New Hampshire. She was 96 years old. Her husband, the late Dr. Paul B. Beeson, was chairman of the Department of Medicine at Yale Medical School from 1952 to 1965. Mrs. Beeson moved to RiverWoods from Redmond, Washington in 2001 with Dr. Beeson, whom she met in 1941 in England where he 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 and then Oxford University in England. When the couple retired in 1974 to Redmond, 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, New York 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 Beeson 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 at RiverWoods. Their affection for the outspoken and feisty Mrs. Beeson, will be a lasting consolation for her family. Mrs. Beeson is survived by her children, John N. Beeson, of Livingston, New Jersey, Peter G. Beeson of New London, New Hampshire and Judith Beeson Assirelli, of Montello, Italy; six grandchildren and a great granddaughter. At her request, there will be no memorial service. To read more about Barbara Beeson’s extraordinary life visit www.brewittfuneralhome.com.
Published in The New Haven Register on Nov. 8, 2013