2009 Nancy Boyle honors WDH with a lifetime of giving
When she was just seven years old, Dover native Nancy Reynolds Boyle knew she wanted to be a nurse. Her grandfather James Lee Estey’s debilitating stroke launched a remarkable career centered on compassion and caring for others. “I learned so much from taking care of my grandfather,” she said. “I learned to pull the covers off his toes and hold a glass down low so he could sip without dribbling water down his neck. He couldn’t talk and I know he tried to smile. If he could have talked he would have said, ‘Oh, thank you honey, I love you so much.’”
As one grandfather gently taught Nancy about caring, her other grandfather, Dover Dentist, Dr. Fred I. Reynolds, taught her about the value of giving. Dr. Reynolds donated to the first dental clinic at Dover District Nursing and when the Wentworth-Douglass Community Dental Center opened in 2004, Nancy honored her grandfather with annual donations, in his name.
This year she extended her generosity to name Wentworth-Douglass Hospital as one of the recipients of a trust in her will. She designated $50,000 of the trust for Wentworth-Douglass Hospital’s unrestricted use. “The hospital has always been part of my life,” she explained. “I had my tonsils out in 1940 and my appendix out in 1948. I’ve been thinking about it for some time. Wentworth-Douglass Hospital is part of my family history and hopefully wise people will know what to do with the money once I’m gone.”
Just as the hospital is a part of her life, there’s a part of Nancy that’s touched the lives and hearts of visiting nurses, Rotarians both local and international, First Parish Church parishioners, a world of consummate knitters and so many more. Of course, her great love was John E. Boyle. They married shortly after she graduated from nursing school in Boston. “Johnie didn’t want me to work, so I volunteered at bloodmobiles, polio clinics and vaccine clinics. That’s how I met Helen Goggin who ran Dover District Nursing. I helped out in the office, it was just a temporary thing. She retired three years later. I had a key to the office and the Board asked me to step in. It was 1959 and we only had two nurses and I was one of them.”
Dover District Nursing grew over the years and merger with Oyster River Home Health Agency in the late ‘80s and changed its name to Squamscott Visiting Nurses. In 1994 Wentworth-Douglass Hospital acquired the agency eventually changing the name to Wentworth-Douglass Homecare & Hospice. As planned, Nancy retired six months later after 36 years of nursing. “It was a great time to be in healthcare. I saw so many new discoveries; I saw the discovery of insulin and advances in neurosurgery. They really were exciting years.”
Nancy’s love of people extends to love of places around the world. She’s been to all the continents except Antarctica and she’s hoping that’s coming soon. She’s been on Rotoplast trips as a volunteer in clinics caring for children with cleft palate and she’s seen the extremes of poverty and wealth in India. “I saw so many things in India, I cried over a little boy and was amazed at the wealth of the Tai Ma Hal.
Nancy was recently honored by the Dover Rotary Club for generously sharing her life with so many groups and people around the world. Nancy’s response, “I only do this because it makes me feel good.”