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A tribute to Nancy Perkins

The Monadnock Area Transitional Shelter in Peterborough lost a very dear friend on Nov. 30.

Nancy Perkins’ commitment to MATS was evident in so many ways from its inception in 1991 until she died recently; she was very loyal to MATS and the work we do.

Nancy was a member of the MATS board on two different occasions, but at all times, she was the quintessential volunteer. She wrote the MATS newsletters for many years; she served on the Oversight Committee as a board member and as a community member after leaving the board; she and I would interview guests at the shelter and then write the monthly articles about them and their hopes for a better life.

A very caring and compassionate woman, Nancy enjoyed meeting our guests and encouraging them. She was thrilled when guests met with success getting back on their feet, and I could sense her deep concern when, after an interview, she felt the guest had a long road ahead of him or her.

Nancy volunteered in many others ways in our region. A graduate of Mount Holyoke College, she regularly visited a fellow alumna as well as other friends when they retired to RiverMead. She also started a book discussion group with the Mount Holyoke alumnae who lived in the area. Loyal to her alma mater, Nancy led several trips to various parts of the world in conjunction with the college. Her favorite trip was to Antarctica where she fell in love with penguins – friends often gave her gifts of “anything penguin.”

A member of All Saints Episcopal Church, Nancy was very involved at the church participating on the Alter Guild, making breakfasts for the early service congregants, reading during the services, and hosting church dinners at their home, as well as volunteering at The Serendipity Shop.

Nancy loved to entertain and she was an excellent cook. During the many years that she and her husband, Linn, spent their summers in the Georgian Bay area of Ontario, Canada, they often invited friends to visit them there. Bob and I were fortunate to be among them, under strict orders that we brought Nancy’s “best friend,” our dog Andy, with us.

The two of them enjoyed a strong bond, and the Perkins’ house became his second home whenever we were away. Nancy often referred to herself as Andy’s second mother!

With her ready smile and happy spirit, Nancy touched many, many lives around the Monadnock region and beyond. She left our area a better place because she cared so deeply about the quality of life here. We have lost a wonderful citizen, and a true friend.

I miss her terribly.

MATS will sponsor a candlelight service on the Winter Solstice, Saturday at 5:30 p.m., on the steps of the Peterborough Town House. At that time, we will remember our friend Nancy as well as the people who were homeless and died during the year.

Hope Pettegrew of Hancock is a former board member but remains a volunteer for MATS. MATS is a transitional shelter, not an emergency shelter. MATS collaborates with The River Center.

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