Gloria Boches, 87, Active in Haverhill, Atkinson, N.H. Civic Groups

Gloria Boches, a longtime civic leader in Haverhill and Atkinson, N.H., died peacefully, surrounded by family, Monday, June 11 at her home in Atkinson, N.H. at the age of 87.

She was born in Dorchester on Dec. 9, 1930, the youngest of three children, to David and Eva Berman. It was the beginning of the depression and Eva, an active community volunteer and president of the local VFW Auxiliary chapter, introduced her daughter to the idea of tzedekah -- the moral obligation to be charitable.

Boches would regularly go with her mother to the local temple where they’d knit socks, hats and mittens for soldiers and conduct fundraisers in support of veterans’ hospitals.

For the rest of her life, she generously gave her time and leadership skills to one civic organization after another. While in Dorchester High School, she became a senior service scout, working hospitals and raising money for war relief. After attending the Massachusetts College of Art, where she studied fashion design, and a brief stint in New York City as an illustrator, she moved to Haverhill in 1957 with her first husband, the late Sumner Boches.

There she quickly became president of the Ladies Helping Hand, a position she held for seven years.

In 1982, she was named president of the Haverhill chapter of Hadassah, and led the organization for well over two decades. During her tenure, she was named Hadassah’s Women of the Year and later received the National Hadassah Award for her many contributions.

During the 1970s and 1980s barely a week went by when her picture didn’t grace the pages of the local newspaper for one or another civic program she ran or attended.

In 2007, then a resident of Atkinson, N.H., where she lived with her second husband, the late Herb Abramson, she became president of the Friends of the Kimball Library, shepherding the organization through the ambitious fundraising efforts needed to build a new library, which was constructed and dedicated in 2008.

In her keynote speech at the dedication ceremony, Boches spoke about the importance of a library in the local community. “Computers and email can connect us to many things, but they can’t replace the warmth of a library, which connects us with folks in our own community and brings us together rather than apart.” If she had a mission in life, that was it: bringing people together.

Finally, she was a long time and active member of the Atkinson Garden Club.

In addition to her many civic roles, Boches worked as the manager of an Andover women’s shop, as an advertising salesperson for the Haverhill Independent, and along with her late husband Herb Abramson, as an insurance agent for Sun Life. For over 30 years she produced Personals by Katya, custom paintings of children’s names made one at a time out an animal alphabet she designed herself.

Closer to home, she was known throughout the neighborhood for her never-ending parties and gatherings around the pool in her backyard. She welcomed a nonstop flow of family and friends into her home all year long, including her legendary Hanukah parties where neighborhood children of every faith were invited to join in the festivities.

Her survivors include three sons: Edward Boches and his wife Barbara or Winchester, Scott Boches and his partner Beth Dipaola of Falmouth, Brian Boches and his wife Eileen of Beverly, daughter-in-law Lori Dameron of Methuen, and seven grandchildren, Alex, Michael, Emily, Arielle, Evan, Sarah Huan and Wen Hao Jonah. She will be missed dearly by all who loved her.

Private funeral services will be held at H.L. Farmer and Sons Funeral Home in Haverhill. The family will sit shivah and welcome guests on Thursday, June 14, from 2:30-6 p.m. and on Friday, June 15, from noon to 6 p.m. at 3 Farview Hill Road in Atkinson, N.H.

Donations can be made to Atkinson Elder Services. Mail checks to Atkinson Elder Services, c/o Town of Atkinson, 21 Academy Ave., Atkinson, NH 03811.