Betty Trask, 89
LACONIA — Laconia native and former Citizen county editor Betty (Beatrice May Burbank) Trask, 89, of 150 Pleasant St., formerly of Gilford where she resided for 62 years, died Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018, at the Laconia Rehabilitation and Nursing Center.
Born Jan. 28, 1928, in Laconia, she was the daughter of James Edwin and Clemency (Anstey) Burbank. A year after graduation from Laconia High School in 1946, she married World War II Army veteran Allison Keith Trask Sr., who died in 1999.
During 30 years association with The Laconia Evening Citizen, Mrs. Trask had worked in various positions, including 19 years as county editor. She had also been Gilford correspondent for three years, then full-time as a reporter, photographer, women’s lifestyle and religion editors, and was probably best known for her weekly travel column, “Around the Globe with the Prowling Cat.” (Her MEOW license plate soon became a familiar sight throughout the region.) She also was a book reviewer and covered plays at the Gilford Playhouse, interviewing many of the Broadway and film stars who appeared there.
On retirement from The Citizen in 1993, Mrs. Trask spent a few years at home with her husband until his death in 1999. Finally, she accepted a part-time position as administrative assistant at the Evangelical Baptist Church, which she held for eight years until retiring at the age of 81.
While with the newspaper, Mrs. Trask covered numerous local, state, national and international events, interviewing and/or photographing various political figures and/or members of their families, such as Lady Bird Johnson, Tricia, Julie and Pat Nixon, some of the Kennedys, Gerald and Betty Ford, the Carters, George and Barbara Bush and Ronald and Nancy Reagan. Personal letters cited her “fair, honest, and unbiased reporting.” Barbara Bush noted: “They may not like what I said but that is what I said,” referring to Mrs. Bush’s visit to Gilford. Mrs. Connelly hoped Betty would cover her husband John’s next campaign. (This was following his recuperation after being shot in Texas along with President Kennedy.)
Some of her articles appeared in such publications as The Congressional Record, U.S. Weather newsletter and NH Echoes magazine. She also was quoted in Variety after a performance starring Kitty Carlisle at Gilford Playhouse. Among those refusing interviews due to time elements was Princess Grace of Monaco in a handwritten letter from Moultonborough where she briefly stayed at the Bald Peak Colony Club while leaving her son, Prince Albert, at a summer camp in the area.
Betty’s foreign travels began in 1974 when she was assigned to cover the Laconia High School Band’s participation in St. Patrick Week festivities in Dublin and Limerick, Ireland, beginning a lifelong love for that country. During that time, following the famed parade on O’Connell Street, she was the only journalist permitted to photograph then-President Erskine Childers in Ireland’s equivalent to our White House.
Subsequent travels with her husband included return visits to the Emerald Isle, and also Scotland, England, Wales and the Continent, for a total of 17 countries. The highlight of her career was the 1979 Economic Summit Conference of world leaders in Tokyo, Japan, following a few days in Seoul, Korea, along with the national press corps accompanying President Jimmy Carter and members of his administration. Stops were also made in Hawaii and Alaska. Her candid photos included those of the late Emperor Hirohito.
Active in community affairs, Mrs. Trask was a former member and president of the Altrusa Club, Laconia Business and Professional Women’s Club and the women’s organization of the Evangelical Baptist Church. She had also taught Sunday school and served on the EBC board as well as boards of the Salvation Army (25 years), Lakes Region YMCA, Belknap County Chapter American Cancer Society, Belknap County Easter Seals, Child and Family Services, Belknap County Committee on Drug and Alcohol Abuse, N.H. Organization for Drug and Alcohol Abuse, Smarteens, Gilford Sea Scout Explorers, Belknap County Law Enforcement Planning Council and Gilford Village Knolls Apartments. She was also a former member of the Laconia Historical and Museum Society, Thompson-Ames Historical Society, Lakeport and Gilford Woman’s Clubs, Sigma Delta Phi (National Society of Professional Journalists), the New England Women’s Press Association, the International Platform Association, and a fellow of the International Biographical Association, Cambridge, England.
Her gubernatorial appointments included advisory boards of the New Hampshire Vocational-Technical College at Laconia (six years, three as secretary); two years on the New Hampshire Vocational-Technical Colleges and Institute state board; and the New Hampshire Commission on the Status of Women with one term as treasurer. She also served on the Governor’s Commission on Crime and Juvenile Delinquency task force on drugs and alcohol abuse.
Mrs. Trask was the holder of the Lakes Region Citizenship Award presented annually by New Hampshire Vocational-Technical College, and recipient of recognition awards from the American Legion and VFW Auxiliaries and the Laconia Lions Club. On her retirement in 1993, she was named Woman of the Year by the Laconia Chapter AARP, and Betty Trask Day was observed in her honor by the Laconia Elders Friendship club. In the late 1960s, she was first runner-up for Mrs. New Hampshire.
In addition to her parents, the deceased also includes a son, Tom Trask, who died in 2016; a sister, Ruth Winslow, who died in 2017; and a great-grandson, Zachary Lapp, who died in 2004.
Family members include three sons and daughters-in-law, Frank and Dawn Trask of Strafford, Tom’s widow, Dottie of Laconia, Rory and Linda of Belmont, and Chip of Prince Edward Island, Canada.
Also surviving are 11 grandchildren and their spouses, Bonnie (Trask) and Alan Williams of Strafford; Heather (Trask) and Brandon Klein of Woodstock, Georgia; Frank and Sarah (Wolcott) Trask of Barnstead; Tim Trask of Farmington; Crystal (Trask) and Mike Mull, Tiffany (Trask) and Ryan Robinson all of Laconia, Michael Trask, of Barnstead; Kevin and Kelly (Madigan) Trask of Gilford; Kelly (Trask) and Daniel Turan of Belmont; Brandi (Trask) and Robert Lapp of Colorado; and Shalen (Trask) and Aaron Prado of Prince Edward Island, Canada. There are also 33 great-grandchildren. Mrs. Trask also leaves a sister, Barbara Hall of Kittery, Maine; cousins, nieces and nephews.
Betty deeply loved her family with whom she enjoyed many happy hours camping on the Maine coast and in the White Mountains, followed by several summer vacations in a cottage in Maine and more than 25 years at one on Nova Scotia’s Bay of Fundy, birthplace of her late husband.
She was listed in several biographical manuals including Marquis Who’s Who in America.
However, she emphatically believed the only books that really mattered were the Bible and God’s Book of Life, in which the names of those who will spend eternity with Him are listed. She noted, as stated in the Bible, that anyone can be included by repenting, believing on Him and trusting in His word. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
Her life verse was: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13.
Calling hours will be held on Thursday, Jan. 25, from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Wilkinson-Beane-Simoneau-Paquette Funeral Home, 164 Pleasant St., Laconia, using the Carriage House entrance. A memorial service will immediately follow the calling hours at 6:00pm also at the Funeral Home. Burial will be held in the spring at Union Cemetery.
If desired, memorial donations may be made to Aspire Women’s Center, 506 Union Ave., Laconia, NH 03246.
Wilkinson-Beane-Simoneau-Paquette Funeral Home & Cremation Services, 164 Pleasant St., Laconia, is assisting the family with the arrangements. For more information and to view an online memorial go to www.wilkinsonbeane.com.