Lois Pitkin Booth, a guiding light for many and a powerful force of compassion, love, and good in the world, died peacefully on September 13, 2019, with family by her side.
Lois was born in Epping, NH June 14, 1922 to Fred and Gertrude Pitkin. The family moved to North Andover, MA when she was a young child. She graduated from Antioch College in 1944.
Lois was working as a personal assistant to the directors of American Youth Hostels (AYH) when she first met her husband-to-be, Donald Booth, who was active in AYH. When they met, Don was on a short leave from alternative service during WWII, so their courtship was mostly via correspondence and occasional brief leaves. They were married March 9, 1946, just one month after Don was discharged. Like many other post-war newlyweds, they started a family forthwith. In 1951 they moved their young family to Canterbury on the invitation of a friend of Don’s who had also served in alternative service. They lived in Canterbury until they moved into the retirement community of Havenwood in Concord in 2003. Although neither one grew up as Quakers, both Lois and Don fully embraced the Quaker spiritual community, joining the local Friends Meeting when they moved to Canterbury, and they were very active members of the Concord Friends Meeting for the rest of their lives.
Lois was an early proponent of organic gardening and natural foods, nourishing her family from the beginning from her own garden. For decades she baked her own hearty bread from organic wheat that she ground herself. She developed her own precursor to today’s energy bars to ensure nutritious snacks for her family. Her kindness, caring and wisdom compelled her to take in and/or mentor countless people she encountered locally. She was a dedicated advocate for peace and justice for all people everywhere, tirelessly researching and promoting alternative perspectives to war, the draft and concerns of peace and justice around the world. Raising her family, organic gardening and peace work were the focus of her life’s work.
Lois also had a real estate broker’s license, which she initially obtained to help sell the houses that Don built, but later developed into a part time business (Canterbury Realty) selling homes and farms in the area. As she bought and sold land she donated several parcels of conservation land, including the Riverland Conservation area in Canterbury, which includes what has become a popular swimming beach on the Merrimack River.
In her dedication to peace work, Lois helped establish NH Peace Action, and also helped establish a NH office of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC-NH). She and Don were jointly honored with the 2001 NH Martin Luther King Award and a Haymarket People’s Fund award. In 2014 Lois was honored with a Culture of Peace Award by NH Peace Action, “Humbly presented in gratitude for a lifetime of advocacy, work, and devotion to peaceful and sustainable solutions to the problems of humanity.”
Lois was predeceased by her husband Don in 2011. She is survived by six children, oldest daughter Heather di Giovanni, sons Christopher, Steven, Jonathan and David, and her youngest daughter Barbara Berwick, as well as a number of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
A memorial service is scheduled for 2 PM Saturday, November 9 at the Unitarian Church, 274 Pleasant St, Concord, NH. A reception will follow approximately 3-5 PM also at the UU Church. There will also be a small memorial service at the Havenwood retirement community in Concord, date to be determined.
Friends and family are invited to post comments or remembrances .