Beverly Wentworth Jarnagin

Beverly Wentworth Jarnagin

July 25, 1930–February 14, 2023

In Memoriam

Mom as a young woman wearing stylish glasses

Beverly Wentworth Jarnagin passed away peacefully on February 14, 2023, at 92 years old. She is survived by her children—Willa, Roberta, and Alec—and her grandchildren, Sarah, Amber, and Brendan. Her late husband, William Spencer Jarnagin, passed away in 2012.

She rejoined her husband on Valentine’s Day.

Born in 1930 to Doris Wentworth and Francis Wentworth, Beverly grew up in Concord, New Hampshire during the Great Depression. Francis ran a printing press and cultivated an apple orchard, while Doris worked as a nurse.

Beverly posing on a sailboat
Beverly sailing, early 1960s

In her early adult years, Beverly traveled widely and had many adventures, including crossing the Atlantic by cargo ship, riding around in a hearse with a musical band, and flying in a two-seater plane.

Family at a parade
Bill, Beverly, and Roberta at the Bicentennial parade in Concord MA, 1976

In the early 1960s, Beverly was living on Charles Street in downtown Boston and working in the administration at Massachusetts General Hospital (a job that impressed every medical professional she saw throughout her life), when she met William (Bill) Spencer Jarnagin. Bill was a WWII veteran, an artist, and a scientist who would later earn advanced degrees in nuclear physics. Bill and Beverly married in 1962. In 1965, Bill built a house, which he had designed himself, in Concord MA. In this modern house surrounded by trees and across the street from Moses Pond (where, town legend has it, Louisa May Alcott used to ice-skate), they raised their three children and formed many close friendships. They lived there until 2011.

family posing with the Governor Dukakis in his office
Beverly, Roberta, Alec, and Willa with Governor Michael Dukakis, 1979

A lifelong feminist and progressive, Beverly led an active life, always involved in her local community. She immersed herself in Massachusetts politics in the 1970s, volunteering for the campaigns of Governor Michael Dukakis and Senator Paul Tsongas. In the late 70s, she was elected chair of the Concord School Committee, a position to which she devoted herself with her usual combination of passion and practicality.

Mom reading with two cats on her lap
Beverly with Max and Gray-Gray, 1978

In the mid 1980s, Beverly returned to paid employment, and quickly became an indispensable asset to the Minolta Corporation and then Carlisle Systems, of Bedford MA. There, she met Vince Carlson, who became an unofficial member of the family and remained a close friend to her and Bill for the rest of their lives.

Beverly continued flourishing in her career, working as a consultant and doing insurance audits for nursing homes. She worked well into her 80s before finally taking a well-earned retirement.

Always social and loyal, Beverly maintained many friendships throughout her life, including close family friends, work friends, her Concord group, her political pals, and the women in her Alzheimer’s spousal support group, whom she kept up with into her 90s.

family at dinner
Alec, Willa, Beverly, and Roberta at dinner after a visit to the DIA art museum in NY, 2016
family at the table in a dining room
Dinner at the Jarnagins’ house with family and friends, 2002

Beverly was a voracious reader and frequent patron of public libraries, and had a house full of books (and multiple Kindles). She was also an avid antique collector and gift giver, which made her a friendly regular at all her local shops. Her home overflowed with beautiful things—an expression of her love of art, books, and antiques. Somehow, among all this, she also found time to knit traditional Irish sweaters, which her children still wear and treasure.

She was also an animal lover, having been owned by multiple cats—the latest being Lizzie, whom she adopted as a senior kitty from the Dakin animal shelter. She supported numerous humane societies and sanctuaries, focusing especially on elephants and parrots in her later years.

Beverly smiling while a wild parrot lands on her
Beverly took a cruise in 2018 with her daughter, Roberta, and visited a bird sanctuary in St. Maarten.

Refusing to be slowed by age, Beverly traveled often, whether it was to see family, friends, or new places. In particular, she frequently traveled to New York City and to the woods of western MA to see her children and their spouses. In her late 80s, she went on two cruises with Roberta, stopping in Bermuda and the Caribbean islands, respectively.

She will be dearly missed by her family and friends alike.

Beverly’s ashes will be interred next to her husband Bill’s in Arlington National Cemetery, with a memorial service at a date to be announced.