A longtime nurse, Cynthia Conklin was well known as a caretaker for the elderly and a nurturer to all who crossed her path. Driven at a young age to care for the sick and the vulnerable, she attended Dana Hall School in Massachusetts, Sweet Briar College in Virginia and the University of New Hampshire earning a Master of Science degree in nursing.
For many years, she specialized in maternity care at White Plains Hospital in N.Y., where she rose to the position of senior nurse. When her parents began finding it difficult to live independently, she moved into their home in Sharon to care for them, She soon realized that several elderly aunts who lived nearby needed caring for as well. Cynthia looked after all of them and continued caring for others as a part-time nurse at Sharon Hospital.
She took great pleasure in buying gifts for her grandnieces and nephews. She was known for hiding gifts throughout her house and in her yard, sending the children on treasure hunts to find them with rhyming clues. She made brownies for the post office staff and brought hot coffee and muffins to snow plow workers.
“There was no end to her generosity in every way, of her time, of herself; she was always thinking about others,” said Cynthia’s sister-in-law Carol Pierson.
Caring for so many didn’t keep Cynthia from embracing the Sharon community. She was invaluable to several local nonprofits, volunteering her time and talents to serve on numerous committees. She served on the Board of the Sharon Historical Society & Museum, the Sharon Woman’s Club, and the Sharon Housing Authority.
“Cynthia had a way of understanding other people’s problems. She enjoyed helping people,” said Cynthia’s brother, Hank Conklin.
When her parents passed away, Cynthia opened her home to travelers as a bed and breakfast. She planted beautiful gardens and baked countless loaves of bread and sheets of cookies for friends and guests – and cared for stray cats, which she would teasingly complain about, but doted on and often prepared salmon balls for as a treat.
Just before her death, Cynthia fulfilled a life-long goal of gathering her family for a week-long reunion in Maine.
Once home in Sharon,Cynthia passed away. But true to her spirit and in keeping with her life’s work, she was not done caring for others. Through a bequest in her will, Cynthia made possible the NCCF Cynthia Conklin & Family Fund For Pets in Need.
The Fund continues her life’s work and enhances her legacy of caring for others through grants that support the work of nonprofits that serve animal welfare and alleviate suffering.