Cover photo for M. Eleanor "Podgie" Weissent's Obituary
M. Eleanor "Podgie" Weissent Profile Photo

M. Eleanor "Podgie" Weissent

February 14, 1922 — March 2, 2024

Brewster

M. Eleanor "Podgie" Weissent

M. Eleanor "Podgie" Weissent, age 102, passed away peacefully on Saturday, March 2, 2024, at Victorian Assisted Living in Chatham, Massachusetts. Born in Barnet, Vermont on February 14, 1922, she was the daughter of the late Joseph Nathaniel and Gladys Marion (MacDonald) Blair. 

 

Podgie was raised in the pristine Northeast Kingdom of Vermont on a farm in Barnet along with her two sisters, Fran and Betty. Life on a farm and living through the depression taught Podgie many lessons that she would carry with her throughout her life, learning how to work hard, be resourceful, and never let anything go to waste. Chores, such as milking the cows, feeding the pigs, or helping in the kitchen were part of her daily routine, which instilled a strong work ethic and sense of practicality in the young Podgie. She knew the importance of her work to both her family and her community, delivering milk with her father or making pies and butter with her mother. Once, when her parents were away at a county fair, a storm prevented them from getting home on time for milking the cows. When Podgie's parents returned, they were impressed to find that Podgie and her sisters had milked the cows and taken care of the farm on their own; their competence, responsibility, and dedication reflected in their daughters. Podgie loved following her father around the farm as he was a wonderful storyteller, a skill she inherited!

 

During the school year, Podgie and her sisters would make the long trek from the farm to a small one-room schoolhouse for first through eighth graders in the days when school was never called off for weather. She loved the beginning of the year which meant her grandmother would sew her a new outfit, she would get a new pair of shoes, there would be a new wooden pencil box, and her dad would give her a “dutch” haircut! When it was their family’s turn to be the school “janitors” for a week, their dad would take the girls early in the morning by wagon to deliver wood for the pot-bellied stove so the room would begin to heat up, and they would sweep out the classroom. Some days, their mother was their substitute teacher which they disliked as she was very hard on the girls to set the tone that students were at school to learn! Podgie enjoyed spelling bees and the wildflower identification contest that was regularly won by one of the Blair girls! She was so proud to be chosen to read her report about Samuel Clemens at her graduation. Podgie also liked writing poetry which she did throughout her life. 

 

At age 13, Podgie's studies brought her to the Lyndon Institute in Lyndon, Vermont for her high school education. At the Lyndon Institute, Podgie learned woodworking, gardening, and basic mechanics in addition to her general studies and activities. Fittingly, Podgie had the leading role of "Pickles", a tomboy, in her senior class play, "Pickles Becomes A Lady". Podgie would board at the school during the academic year, and on breaks head to West Barnet, Vermont where her mother and stepfather resided, or on vacations to Harvey's Lake, where Podgie and her sisters would leave handwritten stories and notes under stones for visitors to find and attend dances on Saturday nights. While at the Lyndon Institute, Podgie made many lifelong friends, keeping in contact with them for the rest of her life, and reconnecting with them many times over the years for get togethers and formal reunions. She last attended her 80th high school reunion and was the oldest living alumna when she passed! In the spring of 1939, at only 17 years old, Podgie graduated from the Lyndon Institute, walking down the aisle to receive her diploma in a dress she was required to sew specifically for the occasion.

 

At age 18 Podgie enrolled in the Brightlook Hospital School of Nursing in St. Johnsbury, Vermont. The hospital had exacting standards and strict guidelines, ensuring that their students were the best educated and best trained in the country. The students at Brightlook were taught how to be meticulous, thorough, and thoughtful with everything that they did, something that Podgie would value her entire career as a nurse. Podgie often worked a 12-hour shift at the hospital, learning skills while she shadowed and assisted the nurses and doctors on staff, before heading home to sleep and attend classes the next day. Years later when she took the Massachusetts Nursing Boards, she passed on her first try - unlike many of the younger more recent nursing graduates.

 

After graduation, Podgie and her best friend, Helen, headed to Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, where she was immediately hired as a nurse. In addition to treating students at the school’s infirmary, the Dick Hall House, Podgie also cared for injured World War II veterans that were brought to the Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital. Podgie loved her time nursing and enjoying life on campus and in New Hampshire. She looked forward to trips to the mountains to ski, to fish in local lakes, or participate in campus events on her days off. While at work, Podgie enjoyed a sense of industriousness and the satisfaction in a job well done.

 

In 1945, Podgie took a nursing position with the Lahey Clinic in Boston, Massachusetts. The Lahey Clinic was a pioneer in the medical field, adding leading edge technology to its facilities and working in revolutionary methods. This was an exciting career move for Podgie, who was a steadfast proponent of excellent nursing and being the best that she could be. 

 

All her life, Podgie had a strong connection to her faith, and through her faith, met her future husband. As a child, her family often took trips to Massachusetts to visit a special aunt, also a nurse, who lived in Mattapan, Massachusetts. When there she would join her aunt for services at the St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church in Mattapan. It was in this setting that she met a handsome young man named Alec with whom she stayed connected through the years.Their friendship sparked a romance and after he returned from serving as an intelligence officer in Burma during World War II, they were married at the same church where they first met. On July 12, 1947, Podgie married the love of her life, Alexander G. Weissent.

 

The Weissent’s started their married life in Boston before moving to Brockton, Massachusetts, living in a small apartment on Myrtle Street above a convenience store. After her wedding, Podgie took time off from her nursing career to start a family, but as their family grew, so did their need for more space. In 1950, Podgie and her family moved to Walpole, Massachusetts, settling into a home at 28 Harding Road in a neighborhood that Podgie would cherish for 68 years. 

 

After both of her children had entered grade school, Podgie returned to her nursing career, part time at first, with the Walpole Visiting Nurses Association. Podgie brought her fine-tuned nursing skills with her to each resident's home, ensuring they received the best care possible by taking the time necessary to assist them and tend to their ailments. Podgie felt immense pride in her work and would not rush through one job to get to the next, instead focusing on doing the job right and providing an elevated level of care to her patients until her retirement in 1980.

 

At home, Podgie was passing on many of the valuable life lessons she had learned to her children. She was a strict but loving mother who had high expectations for her children, instilling in them a passion for learning and a strong work ethic. Podgie's values provided a foundation for her children to be capable of self-discipline, to have a healthy respect for authority and others, to be self-reliant, and to appreciate what they had in life. She also knew how to relax and have fun though, spending an evening knocking down the pins at a local bowling alley with her husband or enjoying parties with friends. When a woodworking class was offered for citizens at Walpole High School, Podgie and Alec signed up, working together to hand craft a desk for their daughter to use for completing her homework. She proudly attended games and loved following her son’s baseball career from Little League through college. In her down time, Podgie could be found reading the Walpole Times or partaking in activities such as  knitting, crocheting, sewing clothes for her daughter’s dolls, rug hooking, painting or taking ceramics classes. She enjoyed craft nights at church, making items to be sold at the church fair.

 

Never one to be idle, Podgie was very active in her community throughout her life. Podgie served as a Girl Scout Leader for her daughters’ troop, teaching the girls to be independent and strong. Podgie was also a member of the Walpole Civil Defense Committee during the Cold War, prepared to respond at any moment to a crisis. She took her role as a nurse for the Civil Defense so seriously that at home she had a cupboard set up with canned items, water, and other necessary supplies for her family to take care of themselves in the event that her skills were needed and she were gone for a long period of time during an emergency situation. Over her many years in Walpole, she spent her free time volunteering with the food pantry, helping to coordinate and run blood drives, and at one point, serving as a member of the Board of Health. Podgie was patriotic and showed her dedication to her country every election season by volunteering to work the polls, ensuring that every vote was counted. She was devoted to taking care of the environment, an original reuser and repurposer!

 

Podgie was also incredibly active in her faith community. Upon moving to Walpole, her family joined the Union Congregational Church in East Walpole. She passed on her love for her faith and her church to future generations by volunteering as a Sunday School Teacher. Over the years she volunteered in many areas of the church, especially enjoying the church fairs, making sure every donated item was repaired, clean, and ready to sell. Podgie was fanatic about keeping the kitchen at the church clean and materials neat. For almost 70 years Podgie was a staple at the church, even having her own dedicated parking space! She treasured her church friends.

 

In her retirement, Podgie also found time for Alec’s favorite hobby, golf. The pair often traveled to Florida to escape the winter for a couple of weeks, meeting friends or enjoying the courses on their own. It was common for theto meet up with friends from Podgie's days at Lyndon Institute for a golf outing. She improved with age in every way, including her golf game, and found competition playing with men into her 80’s. At home, Podgie continued being active and volunteering in her community. In addition to supporting her various causesPodgie also began to spend time at the Council on Aging, helping in any way she could, efficiently setting up the donations on tables on food distribution days.

 

Podgie took on a new role in life when her grandchildren were born. She was thrilled to become a grandmother, flying out to Illinois for the birth of each child, helping care for them while her daughter recovered. She was so excited and in such a rush to get out west when her third grandchild was born that she accidentally broke her foot, delaying her trip, but still arriving as soon as she could. She found so much joy in spending time with them, playing with cars and reading books, and seeing them grow up into amazing young people. Podgie looked forward to their visits to her home in Walpole and to visiting them in Lake Bluff, IL., happy to hear about new interests and achievements. She also loved that her son, Sandy, was in nearby Chicago, a city she enjoyed visiting with him as her guide.

 

Podgie remained independent, still driving, and active well into her late nineties until she broke her hip in an unfortunate fall in 2019. At this time, she made the tough decision to leave her beloved town of Walpole and relocate to Victorian Assisted Living in Chatham, Massachusetts, to receive the care she needed to recuperate and be closer to her daughter Sally. While at the Victorian, Podgie could be found at daily devotions, helping with the set up, then playing bingo, attending exercise classes, or putting together a jigsaw puzzle, often preparing them by setting up the border and arranging the pieces. Podgie also could be found at any craft or flower arranging activities. 

 

Her "Podgie Cookies" are infamous, enjoyed by children and adults alike. She will be remembered as a strong, resourceful, and purposeful woman. She was a woman who, according to those who loved her, practiced the strength of her convictions, and held unbridled principles. Podgie held a powerful love for her family, her church, her community, and her country. Every night Podgie prayed for her loved ones, asking God to grant them health and happiness, never missing a single person. 

 

Beloved wife of the late Alexander G. Weissent.

Loving mother of Sally B. Bullard, and her husband Robert, of Brewster, MA and Alexander B. "Sandy" Weissent and his partner, Ms. Wynn E. Johnson Goodchild, of Chicago, Illinois.

Cherished grandmother of Katie O'Connor, and her husband K.C., of Westminster, CO, Scott Bullard, and his wife Susannah, of Darien, CT, and Lisa O'Hern, and her husband, Mark, of Minneapolis, MN; and great grandmother of Chloe, Luke, Whitman, Palmer, Collins, Avery, Riley, and Maddy.

Devoted daughter of the late Joseph Nathaniel Blair, and Gladys Marion (MacDonald) Hastie and her husband, W. Glen Hastie.

Sister of the late Frances B. Bonner and Elizabeth M. "Betty" Leo.

Also survived by several nieces, nephews, extended family members, and friends.

 

Relatives and friends are kindly invited to attend Podgie's visitation on Thursday, March 14th, 2024, from 4:00 pm - 7:00 pm in the James H. Delaney & Son Funeral Home, 48 Common Street, Walpole.

 

A Funeral Service will be held on Friday, March 15th, 2024, at 10:00 am in Union Congregational Church, 55 Rhoades Avenue, East Walpole, followed by a collation at the church. Interment will take place privately at Knollwood Memorial Park in Canton.

 

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations in Podgie's name may be made to Union Congregational Church, 55 Rhoades Avenue, East Walpole, MA 02032, or by visiting https://www.churchbythepark.org/

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of M. Eleanor "Podgie" Weissent, please visit our flower store.

Past Services

Visitation

Thursday, March 14, 2024

4:00 - 7:00 pm (Eastern time)

James H. Delaney & Son Funeral Home

48 Common St, Walpole, MA 02081

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Funeral Service

Friday, March 15, 2024

Starts at 10:00 am (Eastern time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Guestbook

Visits: 824

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Send Flowers

Send Flowers

Plant A Tree

Plant A Tree