Janet Perron Boulanger, Last Local Hale Hospital Administrator, Dies at Age 95

File photograph. (Image licensed by Ingram Image.)

Janet P. Boulanger.

Janet Perron Boulanger, of Haverhill, the last local administrator of the former city-owned Hale Hospital before it fell under the control of a national management company, died Monday, Jan. 10, at age 95.

Boulanger was born in Billerica, April 16, 1926. She graduated as class valedictorian from Abington High School and attended the New England Baptist Hospital School of Nursing, where she went on to teach and was a proud Cadet Nurse during World War II. Her father served as the minister of Portland Street Baptist Church in Haverhill, and it was during her daily commute into Boston via train that she first met her future husband.

She and her husband Albert had a love of gerontology and a passion for providing quality healthcare to seniors. They obtained federal funding to establish the Union Mission Nursing Home, now Penacook Place, where she was the director of nursing.

Boulanger was a trailblazer in education as she returned to the classroom as a wife and working mother of three. She obtained an associate degree in nursing from Northern Essex Community College in 1975, a bachelor’s from Merrimac College in 1979 and a master’s from the University of Lowell in 1983 at the age of 57. She inspired family and colleagues on the importance of education and that you were never too old to return to the classroom.

Her career in health care moved from nursing to administration when she began working as a nursing home inspector for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. She was later appointed to serve as the administrator of the Glynn Memorial Nursing Home and subsequently went on to become the associate administrator of the Hale Hospital, a position she held until her retirement in 1996. She was instrumental in “the move” of the Hale Hospital from Buttonwoods Avenue to the newly constructed hospital located on Lincoln Avenue. She was much loved by the Hale staff, referred to as Janet’s “Hale Family.”

As a “preacher’s kid” her belief in God was part of who she was, and she passed that strong faith onto her children. Growing up in Abington, she played the piano for Sunday evening services for her father at the First Baptist Church. She had a beautiful singing voice. Music was just as important as words reaching the soul and a beautiful hymn could make tears flow from her eyes. There was always a piano in the home – which she would play while the family gathered around singing.

Her grandparents and parents spent summers in Ocean Park, Maine, founded by Baptist ministers in 1881, and she followed in their footsteps. As a teen she attended the Christian Camp in Ocean Park as a camper, a counselor, and later as the camp nurse. she and her husband planned to retire in Ocean Park, but life changed and, as a widow, she chose a different path instead, living in Haverhill surrounded by children and grandchildren. However, she loved to spend time whenever she could in Ocean Park and made her last visit there in the summer of 2021 when she visited her favorite places – the Soda Fountain, the Temple, the Gift Shop, and the neighborhood where she spent much time.

After her retirement, her most treasured role of all was that of grandmother. She babysat, did homework with and enjoyed buying what her four grandchildren needed or asked for. She played the role of active grandmother in the children’s lives, watching them grow into young adults, and was so proud as they became a doctor, teacher, a nursing student and senior at Georgetown Middle High School. Above all else, family was the most important of all.

Boulanger loved being with her family and food was sometimes a big part of that. Cookouts in Andover, dinner at the Haverhill Country Club, ice cream from Biggarts or Garsides, and coffee fribbles from Friendly’s were her favorites. She loved “you-hoo” visits using phones and windows outside of Hannah Duston during COVID visiting restrictions. Never a day went by that she didn’t talk to kids or grandkids letting them know how much they were loved.

The wife of the late Albert D. Boulanger, a Haverhill attorney, she is survived by her children, David Stephen Boulanger and his wife Dr. Paula Boulanger, of Andover, Diane Boulanger-Prescott, of Haverhill, and Debbie Sousa and her husband Steve, of Dorchester and Ocean Park, Maine; four grandchildren, Matthew David Boulanger, of Andover, David Albert Prescott, of Haverhill, Alexandra Diane Prescott, of Boston, and Nicholas Argeo Prescott, of Haverhill; brother-in-law, William Hennig, of Kennebunk; niece, Suzanne Hennig; and nephew, David Mark Hennig. She was predeceased by her parents, the Reverend Arnold R. Perron and Irene Grimset Perron, her sister Carol Hennig, and son-in-law David Scott Prescott.

The family would like to thank the staff at Hannah Duston for their exceptional care, especially during the pandemic.

The visitation and funeral service is private and will be held at the H.L. Farmer & Sons Funeral Home, 106 Summer St., Haverhill, with a public graveside service to be held on Tuesday, Jan. 18th, at 1:30 p.m., at Linwood Cemetery in Haverhill. A Celebration of Life will be held this summer at The Temple, in Ocean Park, Maine.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Boulanger’s memory can be made to the Ocean Park Association www.oceanpark.org.

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