Barbara (Brooks) Gilbert
Hanover, N.H. — Barbara (Brooks) Gilbert died peacefully on Friday, Sept. 20, 2013, at Kendal at Hanover. She was born Sept. 23 in Colombo, Sri Lanka, where her parents, Elizabeth (Wistar) Brooks and Murray Gordon Brooks served in official capacities for the YMCA. She moved at the age of six with her sister, Margaret (Peggy) and her parents to Toronto, Canada. At the age of 12, the family moved to Montreal where she attended public schools and where she began studying ballet. As a senior in high school, the study of medicine began to take priority over ballet. She entered McGill University, in Sept. 1936 and three years later, she began medical school, the week Canada declared war on Germany. She married fellow classmate, John Ellis Gilbert, of Hanover in Jan. 1943.
They settled in Easthampton, Mass. in 1948, where John became chief of pathology at the Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton. While raising five children, Barbara served on the board of the Children’s Aid and Family Services, ran a ballet school and was active in the Williston Academy drama department doing choreography and dance.
Barbara taught microbiology and immunology at the CDH nursing school for eight years. As a life long Quaker, she served as a counselor to many young men during the Vietnam War who were pursuing their Conscientious Objector status from the Selective Service Board.
Upon John’s retirement in 1972, they moved to Thetford, Vt. where Barbara obtained her license to practice medicine in Vermont and New Hampshire. She conducted well child clinics in the Upper Connecticut Valley. She became active in the prevention of child abuse and founded and served as first chair of the Vermont Child Protection Coalition. Upon Barbara’s retirement from active practice in 1986 she received a distinguished service award from the Vermont College of Education and Social Services.
Barbara was a longtime and active member of the Mount Toby Friends Meeting in Leverett, Mass. and later of the Hanover Friends Meeting .Barbara was one of the founding members of the Kendal at Hanover Overseers and moved to Kendal with John in July 1991, where she remained on the board of directors until July of 1995. At Kendal, she served in various capacities including becoming a Hospice volunteer and a Hospice VNH board member.
Barbara is survived by her five children, Patricia Vidil of Silver Spring, Maryland, Meredith Ellis of Trumansburg, N.Y., Thomas Wistar Gilbert of Lakewood, Ohio, Jeffrey Howe Gilbert of Revelstoke, BC, Canada and Harriet Phillips Whitcomb of Sorso, Sardegna, Italy; 12 grandchildren and nine great grandchildren. She was predeceased by her husband, John, in 2005 and their young son, Gordon Murray Brooks, in 1951.
A memorial service will be held on Nov. 9 at 2 p.m. in the Gathering room at Kendal at Hanover.
Memorial contributions can be made to McGill Medical School, Montreal, Quebec or the Cadbury Fund at Kendal at Hanover.