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Mary Elizabeth “Bess” Hastings

Grantham, N.H. — Mary Elizabeth “Bess” Hastings died on Jan. 15, 2014, at the age of 78. She passed away peacefully at home, in Grantham comforted by her children and husband of 21 years, Paul Hastings. She was born on Jan. 15, 1936, in East Orange, N.J. She was the daughter of John and Charlotte (Osgood) Bennet. She grew up in Chatham, N.J. and attended Chatham High School graduating in 1954. She graduated from Columbia University in 1959 with a BS in Nursing.

She married David Ford of Chatham, N.J. in 1959, moved to Hanover, N.H. in 1964 after living in New Canaan, Conn. for five years. In 1970, they moved to Bradford, Vt. to experience a more rural lifestyle and to pursue her interest in raising Morgan horses. David passed away in 1985.

She began her career working as a registered nurse at Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital in Hanover. Later, she worked as the Director of Home & Community Health Care of the Upper Valley in White River Jct., Vt. Following a long career there, she worked to complete a merger of her agency with the consolidated VNA/VNH before retiring in 1996.

She married Paul Hastings of Grantham in June 1992. Paul retired in 1997 and they built a house off the grid on 210 acres in Croydon, N.H. This land and farm was the embodiment of her dream to live off the land along with her many animals. The property was a frequent gathering point for their extended family and they worked steadily on clearing out trails, restoring the old apple orchard and creating a pond.

In retirement, Bess and Paul traveled to Alaska, Hawaii, Ireland, Australia, South America and made several trips across the US. Bess was always very active. She enjoyed hiking and climbed 46 of the 48 4,000’ peaks in N.H. as well as many of Vermont’s high peaks. She also completed the southern half of the Long Trail in Vermont in 1996. She had a passion for animals with a special place for horses and dogs.

Following the diagnosis of degenerative neurological illness in 2007 they returned to Eastman in Grantham. Bess is predeceased by her sister, Sally Treadwell; first husband, David Ford; and parents, Charlotte and John Bennet. Surviving family include her husband: Paul Hastings of Grantham; five children: Dan Ford of Bolton, Mass., Jeanette Mitchell of San Jose, Calif., Bill Ford of Chevy Chase, Md., Anne Kaplan of Randolph, Vt. and Tim Ford of Andover, Mass.; three stepchildren, Jeff Hastings of Hanover, Brad Hastings of Grafton, N.H. and Chris Hastings of Thetford, Vt. She has 16 grandchildren.

The family extends many thanks for the love and caring provided by her personal care providers and the Connecticut Valley Home Care & Hospice.

Friends may call at the Chadwick Funeral Home, 235 Main St., New London, NH 03257 on Sunday, Jan. 19, 2014, at 2 p.m. and a time of sharing will be held at 3 p.m. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to: Connecticut Valley Home Care & Hospice, 958 John Stark Highway, Newport, NH 03773.