With great sorrow, we share the news that Mrs. Avis Goodwin, our founder and namesake, died peacefully on December 27, 2014. She was an extraordinary woman whose influence will endure and continue to be a profoundly inspirational. We extend our deepest sympathy to her family and to our own staff mourning her loss.
Calling hours are Monday December 29 from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. at Tasker Funeral Home, 621 Central Ave., Dover, NH. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated 10 a.m. Tuesday at the Parish of the Ascension of the Lord, St. Christopher’s Church., York, ME Burial will follow in First Parish Cemetery, York. To read more about her life and legacy click here for her full obituary.
Memorials in Avis’ name may be made to Goodwin Community Health, 311 Route 108, Somersworth, NH 03878 or online
More about Avis Goodwin
When people wonder if one person can make a difference in the world, we think of the energetic Ms. Avis Goodwin. Our namesake was an incredible woman and the legacy she sparked close to 45 years ago, is still growing strong. Goodwin Community Health, formerly known as Avis Goodwin Community Health Center, began as a compassionate solution to a growing problem under the vision and leadership of this remarkable woman.
More than four decades ago, when Avis was the Director of Social Services at Wentworth Douglass Hospital in Dover, NH, she realized that there was a large number of young pregnant women appearing in the emergency room in labor, confused and scared because they had no prenatal care or education. At this time New Hampshire was experiencing unfavorably high mortality rates and risky deliveries. It was clear that uninsured, low income women needed help to deliver healthy babies.
So in July of 1969 with one patient in her ninth month of pregnancy, Avis Goodwin founded the first prenatal clinic in the county. Medication, formula, space and services were donated and a group of dedicated volunteers, medical staff and community supporters formed a Board of Directors. From twenty-nine patients that first year, the agency grew to serve ninety-seven patients in just two years. In 1971 the agency was incorporated as a non profit prenatal and family planning clinic.
Over the years, more staff and services followed and the tiny clinic blossomed into a comprehensive health center. Today, Goodwin Community Health is thriving and offers a wide range of primary care, behavioral health, prenatal and dental services, community programs and wellness services for all ages.
This mover and shaker continued to touch many more thousands of lives through her community service. Not only did she start Goodwin, but Avis is also a founder of Strafford Guidance Center, Dover Trouble Clinic, Dover Child Care Center, Homemakers, Strafford County Hospice, and the Social Workers Oncology Group. During her busy career, she and her husband Bob raised three daughters, one of whom, Valerie Goodwin is now our Board member. Avis stayed at home to care from them from 1952 through 1965 during which she also served as an on-call case worker for the NH department of Health and Human Services. She has served on the boards of Strafford Guidance, Adult Basic Education, Homemakers of Strafford County, Southern Maine VNA, Southern Maine Area Agency on Aging, AGCHC, and Strafford County Hospice. In her spare time, she was awarded the NH Governors Volunteer Award, and served on the White House Conference on Aging, as well as various religious and community organizations.
Until her health declined at age 95 and death on December 27, 2014, she remained active and happily living in York, Maine. Here at Goodwin Community Health. we are honored to celebrate her founding spirit and look forward to continuing her legacy for years to come.