Pelham, New Hampshire — Beverly A. “Penny” (Bastow) (Preston) Philbrick, 76, of Pelham and wife of the late Leonard E. Philbrick Sr., died Tuesday afternoon, March 18, at the Warde Health Center in Windham, New Hampshire following a long illness.
Born in Methuen, Massachusetts on June 16, 1937, the daughter of the late Miles E. and the late Emma (Taylor) Bastow, Beverly was raised and educated in Haverhill, Massachusetts, graduating from Haverhill High School in 1955. She attended the University of Massachusetts in Amherst for a year before enrolling in the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital School of Nursing, where she graduated and became a registered nurse in 1959. Later in life, she went back to school, attending New England College in Henniker, New Hampshire, where she earned a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology in 1976.
After working third shift as a private duty nurse in Lowell area hospitals for several years while she raised her three young children, Beverly, who was affectionately known as “Nursie,” became the nurse for St. Patrick's School in Pelham, New Hampshire, where she spent the last twenty-five years of her career. Employed by the Pelham Public School System under the town's Child Benefit Services, she worked cooperatively with the other school nurses in town to promote wellness in all the children of Pelham. She was instrumental in establishing the HIV/AIDS education program in the public schools, developing the curriculum, attending many PTO meetings with parents and arranging visits with people with AIDS. During her tenure, she thrice performed the Heimlich maneuver, saving the lives of two children and a teacher. She also forged a close relationship with the Sisters of Mercy, and enjoyed cherished friendships with many of the nuns with whom she worked over the years. Each year, funding for her position had to be approved by town voters, which it was for 24 of her 25 years. In the one year when her salary was not approved by taxpayers, and the school was unable to make up the deficit, she worked her full schedule for several months without pay. When her beloved husband was diagnosed with lung cancer in 1999, she was forced to cut back her hours to care for him, and, with her own health failing, she had no choice but to retire from the job she dearly loved in June of 2000. Following her husband's death in 2006, she became the owner and proprietress of Pelham Machine and Tool in Pelham, New Hampshire. She was also an active member in the Peter Bent Brigham School of Nursing Alumni Association.