The life of a truly remarkable woman, Caroline Mae Blackwell Gale, came to a peaceful end on the evening of Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2020, at the Bethlehem home of her daughter, Margaret, with loving family members by her side.
Caroline was born in Elmira, N.Y., on March 16, 1925 to Cora Margaret (Rathbun) Blackwell and Enoch Arden Blackwell of Elkland, Pa. She grew up with a brother and sister in Elkland and graduated from Elkland High School. She went on to nursing school and graduated from the Diploma School of Nursing in Rochester, N.Y. at Strong Memorial Hospital/University of Rochester. Later in life she returned to school and received a Bachelor’s Degree in General Studies from Plymouth State College in Plymouth, N.H. She practiced professional nursing from 1946 until her retirement in 1980. She was a proud member of the New Hampshire Nurses’ Association and the American Nurses’ Association for 65 years.
In December 1946, Caroline married Robert G. Gale, M.D. of Stowe, Vt. They moved to Littleton, N.H., in 1952 where they resided throughout their married life, with the exception of a short stint at Ford Hood in Texas. They had four children: David, Margaret, Cynthia and Richard. Her husband predeceased her in 1987.
In addition to working full-time in Dr. Gale’s office, Caroline was an active member of the North Country community; serving as a trustee of the Littleton Public Library and as President of the North Country League of Women Voters. She was also a gifted musician, playing piano and violin; she sang for many years with the North Country Chorus. Her love of music was life-long and sustained her until her death.
Caroline was a committed advocate for health, well-being and elderly issues. She served for several years as an officer and/or Board Director of North Country Home Health & Hospice Agency, White Mountain Mental Health and Developmental Services and Northern New Hampshire Mental Health and Developmental Services which were blended together to become Northern Human Services. In 2005 she was presented with the Northern Human Services’ Helen Lesperance Award which recognized her remarkable commitment of 25 years of service to the citizens of northern New Hampshire, noting that she was a compassionate and caring person whose investment of time and energy was matched with a deep sense of integrity and value-driven concern.
Caroline loved and respected the beauty of the natural world and cared about the environment. She liked to hike in the White Mountains, swim at Forest Lake and bird-watch anywhere. She practiced yoga daily and walked regularly. She also enjoyed playing Bridge with friends, reading, and doing crossword puzzles. Caroline was an avid and loyal Red Sox fan who never gave up on them when they were in a slump. She had a good sense of humor and loved to laugh even when the joke was on her. At the end of a phone conversation she would often say, “If you hear any good jokes, phone me up!”
Caroline was predeceased by her parents, her husband, her brother, Enoch “Dell” Blackwell; her son, David G. Gale; and her grandson, Philip Gale. She is survived by her sister, Mariam B. Bliss of Liberty, Pa.; daughter, Margaret E. Gale, and partner, David Van Houten of Bethlehem, N.H.; daughter, Cynthia Gale Harris, and husband, Richard Harris of Colebrook, N.H.; son, Richard B. Gale, and wife, Susan Gale of Daniel Island, S.C.; five grandchildren: Kathleen Gale Bakhshi, Elizabeth Gale, Christopher Gale, Andrew Gale, Alex Gale; four great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.
No public services will be held at this time. Caroline requested that memorial donations be made in her name to North Country Home Health & Hospice Agency, at 536 Cottage St., Littleton, NH 03561; or to the Littleton Public Library, at 92 Main St. in Littleton.