Alice Louise Wilmot, 91, of 101 West Center Rd., died at home of natural causes early on the sunlit morning of November 10 surrounded by her loving family. Alice was the beloved wife of Robert S. Wilmot and cherished mother of Sandra, Richard and J. Thomas. She was a Berkshire resident for 40 years but, throughout her life Alice was active in civic and religious organizations, epitomizing her belief that helping others should be the guiding principle of her life.
Born May 5, 1926, in Providence, Rhode Island, Alice was the daughter of William J. Irons and Isabel Healy Irons. Her only sister, Ruth, tragically died of rheumatic fever when Alice was 8. Growing up, she was active in the Providence Assembly of the International Order of Rainbow Girls, serving as a worthy advisor when she was 18. She attended Providence schools and, after graduating, she joined the U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps, established to provide needed nurses during World War II. She trained as a registered nurse at Truesdale Hospital in Fall River, doing internships at Boston Children’s Hospital and with the New York City Visiting Nurses.
In October 1947, she married Robert S. Wilmot and they moved to Albany, New York, where, before they had children, she worked in obstetrics at Albany Medical Center. She taught home nursing for the Red Cross, giving how-to lessons on early television broadcasts, and she and Bob became active members of the Delmar Methodist Church where she began her nearly four decades-long tenure as a Sunday-school teacher.
In 1958, the family moved to Scarsdale, New York, and she returned to school to earn her B.S. in nursing at the University of Bridgeport and teaching certificate at Teachers College, Columbia University. She then became a nurse-teacher in the Ardsley, New York, public schools. Alice was a committed member of Scarsdale’s Hitchcock Presbyterian Church where she served as Sunday school teacher, deacon and trustee; in 1971 she went to work for the church full-time as the director of Christian education and director of the Hitchcock Church Weekday School.
Upon Bob’s retirement in 1978, Alice and Bob moved to West Stockbridge, to the old dairy farm they had purchased as a summer retreat 10 years before. Alice then became involved in many local organizations. She and Bob were founding members of the West Stockbridge Rescue Squad; they volunteered for Berkshire Elder Services and worked at the Great Barrington food pantry.
Alice was a great believer in the collective power of people to work together to make the world a better place. She devoted much of her time to the First Congregational Church of Stockbridge, teaching Sunday school for many years and serving as trustee, deacon, a member of nearly every board and church tutor to the residents of the Riverbrook School in Stockbridge. She served on the church and ministry committee of the Berkshire Association and was also vice chair of the board of directors of the Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ. She was president of the Berkshire chapter of Church Women United for a decade. She was past president of the Women’s Service League at the Stockbridge Congregational Church and of the Tuesday Club of Stockbridge. Recently, she was first vice president of the Thursday Morning Club in Great Barrington and on the board of the Alford Garden Club.
Alice was born with a crusading spirit, always thinking of how she might help someone else. Each year she helped organize the assembling of emergency kits for Church World Service, knitting countless sweaters for needy babies around the world. She was a talented seamstress, consummate hostess, wonderful cook and baker, award-winning floral arranger, and caring friend. She was a perfectionist, often opinionated, and generous to a fault. A natural leader, she was an inspiration to many, sweeping friends and family up in her projects with her smile, her energy and her contagious commitment to causes larger than herself.
Alice leaves her daughter, Sandra, of New York City, son Dick and wife JoAnn of Loudonville, New York, and son Tom and wife Diana Lyman of Lincoln; grandsons Jeremy Wilmot and wife Crystal of Olympia, Washington, Peter Wilmot and fiancée Liz Jiminez of San Francisco, California, and Michael Conti and wife Corinne of Northvale, New Jersey; as well as many nephews, nieces and devoted friends. She is predeceased by her husband, Robert; her close friend Janet Merkl; her parents; and her sister.
A memorial service celebrating Alice’s remarkable life is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 16, at 1 p.m. at the First Congregational Church of Stockbridge. Donations in Alice’s memory may be made to the First Congregational Church of Stockbridge for the Christian Education Fund, to HospiceCare in the Berkshires, or to World Vision c/o FINNERTY & STEVENS FUNERAL HOME, 426 Main St., Great Barrington, MA 01230. To leave a message of condolence, go to www.finnertyandstevens.com.