July 25, 1930–February 14, 2023
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.