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Harriet Richardson Ames

  • Birth 2 Jan 1910 Barnstead, Belknap County, New Hampshire, USA
  • Death 23 Jan 2010 Concord, Merrimack County, New Hampshire, USA
  • Burial Barnstead, Belknap County, New Hampshire, USA
  • Memorial ID 47186262

Harriet Richardson Ames, 100, died Jan. 23, 2010, at Havenwood Nursing Home.

She was born Jan. 2, 1910, in Barnstead Parade, to Walter and Hattie Belle (Brown) Richardson. She was a 1929 graduate of Pittsfield High School and a 1931 graduate of Keene Normal School. As a result of her subsequent course work at the University of New Hampshire, Plymouth Teachers College, Keene State College and extensive teaching experience she earned her bachelor's degree in education
the day before she died.

She married Irving M. Ames on June 24, 1933. He predeceased her.

She taught in the rural school in South Newbury from 1931 to 1933, was a substitute teacher at various schools in New Hampshire and then was employed with the Pittsfield School District. She was teaching-principal at the Memorial School for 20 years before retiring on June 30, 1971.

She was a member of several committees through church, Grange, Eastern Star, Pittsfield Historical Society and Barnstead Parade Cemetery Association.
Knitting was a big hobby for her as well as playing bridge. She was named Citizen of the Year in Pittsfield in 1971. She was a member of New Hampshire Retired Teachers Association, Golden Circle of Keene State College, James Farrington - Pleiades No. 7 Order of the Eastern Star in Rochester, the DAR and Ladies Aid Society at the First Congregational Church of Pittsfield.

Family members include her daughter, Marjorie A. Carpenter of Concord; three grandchildren, Sandra A. Pickering and Herbert S. Carpenter IV, both of Concord and Cheryl A. Tepper of Atlanta; four great-grandchildren, one great-great grandchild and several nieces and nephews.

SERVICES: Memorial services will be Saturday at 11 a.m. at First Congregational Church of Pittsfield, 24 Main St., Pittsfield, with the Rev. David Stasiak officiating. Interment will be at Barnstead Parade Cemetery in the spring.

Memorial contributions may be made to The First Congregational Church of Pittsfield Building Fund, P.O. Box 188, Pittsfield 03263. Bennett Funeral Home, Concord, is in charge of arrangements.

Published in Union Leader on January 26, 2010


CONCORD, N.H. – It was Harriet Richardson Ames' dream to earn her bachelor's degree in education. She finally reached that milestone, nearly three weeks after achieving another: her 100th birthday.

On Saturday, the day after receiving her diploma at her bedside, the retired schoolteacher died, pleased that she had accomplished her goal, her daughter said. Ames had been in hospice care.

"She had what I call a 'bucket list,' and that was the last thing on it," Marjorie Carpenter said Tuesday.

Ames, who turned 100 on Jan. 2, had earned a two-year teaching certificate in 1931 at Keene Normal School, now Keene State College. She taught in a one-room schoolhouse in South Newbury, and later spent 20 years as a teaching principal at Memorial School in Pittsfield, where she taught first-graders.

Through the years, she had taken classes at the University of New Hampshire, Plymouth Teachers College and Keene State to earn credits for her degree. With her eyesight failing, she stopped after retiring in 1971 and was never sure if she had enough credits.

Her wish for a degree became known when a Keene State film professor interviewed her a couple of years ago for a piece on the college's own centennial, which the school celebrated last year.

The school decided to research her coursework and see if it could award Ames her long-sought diploma. The offices of the provost, registrar and other departments worked quickly in the last month to determine, that indeed, it could.

"She wanted to be the best that she could be," said Norma Walker, coordinator of the Keene State College Golden Circle Society, an alumni group for classes that graduated 50 or more years ago.

Walker said when she mentioned to Ames during a recent visit that the college was working on the degree, Ames started to cry and said, "'If I die tomorrow, I'll know I'll die happy, because my degree's in the works.'"

College officials, including Walker, drove the document to Ames' bedside on Friday.

Walker, who first met Ames in 1997 at an alumni gathering, said she enjoyed listening to her talk about her students and how she encouraged them to read.

"She's the kind of person that every parent would want their first-graders to have as a teacher," very loving and caring, Walker said. She will read Ames' diploma at a memorial service this Saturday, "if I can do it without crying."

Paula Finnegan Dickinson of Gilford, who was Ames' student back in 1956 and became an educator herself, regarded her as a mentor and dear friend.

"Mrs. Ames, along with Dick, Jane, Sally, Spot and Puff, became our friend," Dickinson said, recalling the "Dick and Jane" series that was used in class reading groups. "With her enthusiasm, these characters came to life. ... Mrs. Ames showed us how reading opened the doors to other experiences we in Pittsfield might never have known."

Family Members






  • Created by: No Guts, No Glory
  • Added: 27 Jan 2010
  • Find A Grave Memorial 47186262
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Harriet Richardson Ames (2 Jan 1910–23 Jan 2010), Find A Grave Memorial no. 47186262, citing Barnstead Parade Cemetery, Barnstead, Belknap County, New Hampshire, USA ; Maintained by No Guts, No Glory (contributor 46889469) .