Betty Arlene Gosselin, daughter of Wallace and Olive Baker and adopted daughter of Walter and Ethel Austin, passed away on March 13, 2019, after a long battle with COPD. She was one of nine children born in Whitefield, N.H., on Feb. 23, 1937.
She is survived by her husband, Guy, a daughter, Debby Martin, of Rochester, N.Y., a son, Eustis and his wife Suzanne, of Merrimack, N.H., a son, Emil, of Marblehead, Mass., five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren as well as two siblings, Theresa Carey and husband Robert, of Milford, N.H., and Mary Fogg and husband Jerry, of Raymondville, Texas, and several nieces and nephews.
Betty overcame a difficult childhood to become a strong voice for women’s rights and against domestic violence and child abuse in all its forms. As a middle-age woman she was awarded a bachelor’s degree from the College for Lifelong Learning and went on to earn a master’s degree in social work from Boston University commuting nights and weekends to accomplish it. She was for several years membership secretary and later administrative assistant for the Mount Washington Observatory. She interned for Coos County Mental Health and later, as an employee of Coos County Family Health, served as local director of the WIC program. She also worked and volunteered for the Response program.
Betty’s interest in children and education led to her being elected for three terms to the Gorham School Board, which she eventually chaired. At a time when little was known about learning disabilities, she promoted better understanding and treatment for dyslexia. She was perhaps best known locally for her interest in companion medicine, especially the energy therapy of Reiki and the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). She was a Master in Reiki and trained many others in that technique. She was also instrumental in promoting infant massage as an effective means of parent child bonding.
She was socially oriented and volunteered for many local programs and non-profit organizations and was involved in the formation of the Gorham Historical society and organized fund-raising events for that group. She was, for several years, the driving force behind the collection of bicycles for Bikes Not Bombs, an organization based in Massachusetts that repairs and distributes bicycles internationally. She was also a member of the Red Hat Society and several other informal women’s groups.
Betty always stressed the positive even during her struggle with COPD. She had a personality and attitude that were inspirational to her family and her many friends.
A memorial service will be held in July near the labyrinth at 1 Washington St. in Gorham. Details will become available later. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to Response, c/o Coos County Family Health, Berlin NH 03570.