DOVER — Elizabeth Gates Whaley, 90, a local educator, feminist, activist and book-enthusiast, and long-time resident of Newmarket, passed away on March 13 after a period of declining health at Riverside Rest Home in Dover.
She was born in Philadelphia on Aug. 5, 1930, the daughter of Frederick T. Gates and Helen E. Gates. She lived in Merchantville, N.J., until 1944 when the family moved to Lexington, Mass. Liz graduated from Lexington High School in 1947 and from Wellesley College with a degree in English, in 1952. She earned a Master’s in English from the University of New Hampshire in 1973. In addition, she took courses that gave her 30 hours beyond the Master’s. Before marrying, Liz worked in publishing in New York and New Jersey. She married Delevan E. “Ned” Whaley, Jr. in 1958 and they moved to New England in 1959. While having her sons, Liz worked part time at Dartmouth College in the General Reading Program, at the observatory, on the Russian Review, and at the Amos Tuck School of Business as an assistant teacher. The family moved to Canterbury in 1965. And in 1968 Liz and Ned became the English teachers and the librarians for Coe-Brown Northwood Academy. Liz taught at Oyster River High School in Durham from 1975 until 1996 when she retired. After that she worked part time as a bookseller at the Water Street Bookstore in Exeter.
Liz was an ardent feminist, an activist for several causes, going to marches and demonstrations against the Vietnam War, for Civil Rights, and for Women’s Rights. She conducted a Women’s Literature for the Community discussion class from 1982 until 2007. And as part of her job at the bookstore, she ran a monthly book discussion from 1996 until her retirement from the bookstore in 2014. During her teaching years she attended many conferences on English teaching and Women’s Literature, and she ran many workshops. With her colleague, Liz Dodge, she wrote Weaving In the Women: Transforming the High School English Curriculum, published by Heinemann in 1993 with a second updated edition that came out in 1998.
She won the Susan B. Anthony Award in 1985, given by the Manchester YWCA, and in 2001, the Women’s Recognition Award given annually by the New Hampshire Commission on the Status of Women on Women’s Equality Day (the anniversary of the day women got the vote). She also, along with Liz Dodge, received an award as an Outstanding Secondary School English Teacher from the NH Association of Teachers of English.
She divorced in 1984. Liz is survived by her sons, Michael G. Whaley and his wife, Jill Rosenblum, of Portland, Maine; Christopher J. Whaley and his partner, Nancy Jordan, of Hampton, and Matthew R. Whaley and his wife, Beth, of South Portland, Maine; three grandchildren, Ethan Whaley, Taylor Whaley and Jack Whaley. She was predeceased by her parents, her brother, Fred, and her grandson, Josh Whaley.
Donations in lieu of flowers: Joan G. Lovering Health Center, P.O. Box 456, Greenland, NH 03840 or A Safe Place, 6 Greenleaf Woods, Ste. 101, Portsmouth, NH 03801.Print Obituary & Condolences