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Gilmanton NH News

September 21, 2016

The Suncook Valley Sun News Archive is Maintained by Modern Concepts. We are NOT affliated in any way with the Suncook Valley Sun Newspaper.


A Tribute To Sarah Josepha Hale At Gilmanton Historical Society

Sarah Josepha Hale, 19th century editor and promoter of Thanksgiving as a national holiday, is the subject of Sharon Wood’s presentation at the Gilmanton Historical Society program on Tuesday, September 27.


A native of Newport, New Hampshire, America’s first female editor, Sarah Josepha Hale, made Godey’s Lady’s Book the most influential women’s magazine of its time.  She is also known as the author of the poem “Mary’s Lamb” and for her efforts over 3 decades ago to have Thanksgiving decreed a national holiday. 


In this living history set in 1866, Sharon Wood  portrays Ann Wyman Blake, a resident of West Cambridge, Massachusetts speaking of her admiration for Hale.  As Blake, Wood shares stories of Hale’s many accomplishments while living in Boston, including an editorial career that spanned five decades.  The program is sponsored by New Hampshire Humanities.


The program, at Old Town Hall in Gilmanton Iron Works, begins at 7:30.  Social hour and refreshments begin at 7 pm.  The Society’s museum in the basement of Old Town Hall will be open at 7 pm.


This is the final program  in the Gilmanton Historical Society’s 2016 summer series.  A brief annual meeting to elect officers will precede the program.


The programs are free and open to the public. The hall is handicapped accessible. The Society’s Museum is open at 7 pm before the program, and Saturdays during the summer from 10 am until noon.  Donations to support the work of the Society are always welcome.




Wendy Elizabeth “Svarna” Wilkens

GILMANTON - Wendy Elizabeth “Svarna” Wilkens died peacefully at her Gilmanton home on August 22, 2016 with her family around her.


Daughter of William B. Wilkens and Laurose (Schulze-Berge) Wilkens MacFadyen, she was born December 9, 1942 in New York, New York.  She was predeceased by her parents and her brother, William B. Wilkens Jr. and is survived by two sisters, Joanne Wilkens and Phyllis Weston of Gilmanton, a brother John Wilkens and numerous nieces and nephews.


Wendy graduated from Laconia High School and Sweet Briar College, spending her junior year in Madrid, Spain. After college she served in the Peace Corps in Thailand for two years where she taught English and developed an interest in Eastern religions and philosophy.


Upon returning home, she earned a Master’s Degree from Boston University and subsequently taught English as a Second Language at Harvard Summer School and the University of San Francisco.  Wendy was a founding director of the English Center for International Women at Mills College in Oakland, California where she taught English for several years.


Wendy’s interest moved from education to psychology when she discovered the work of the pioneer hypnotherapist and psychiatrist Milton Erickson.  She traveled to Arizona to study with Dr. Erickson and was certified to practice alchemical hypnotherapy, which she later integrated into her doctoral studies in psychology.


Wendy’s interest in Eastern philosophy developed into a deep spiritual practice that inspired her family and friends.  Seeking to understand the relationship of Eastern philosophy to human psychology, she accompanied Zen Master Seung Sahn on a walking pilgrimage to Buddhist sites in India, and spent time with the philosopher Rajneesh Osho at his International Meditation Center in Pune, India.  She subsequently earned a PhD in counseling psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies integrating her knowledge of Eastern practices into her own clinical therapy work. Wendy was a licensed clinical psychologist maintaining private practices in both Gilmanton, New Hampshire and Carmel, California.


Wendy lived courageously and independently at her much loved home in Gilmanton in spite of progressive ALS, and enjoyed the beautiful views and wildlife that surrounded her. Memorial donations may be made to the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center, PO Box 173, Holderness, NH 03245.  


A memorial service will be held December 10, 2016 in Gilmanton, location to be announced. 


Wilkinson-Beane-Simoneau-Paquette Funeral Home & Cremation Services, 164 Pleasant Street, Laconia, N.H. is assisting the family with the arrangements.  For more information and to view an online memorial go to






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