New Hampshire PBS Centenarian and Proofreader Millie Penhale Dies at 101

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Millie Penhale, 101, died Aug. 3.

In her 90s, she was coy about telling her age, leery of being expected to retire from her job as the editorial assistant at New Hampshire Public Television.

As she approached 100 in July 2015, Millie Penhale, working remotely from her retirement home downloading the weekly edition of the station’s enews, expertly searching for sloppy syntax and Googling to check the accuracy of dates and names, finally decided to embrace her age and appreciate the acclaim that comes with living a full century.

About a month shy of 101, her vision became more limited and she took a hiatus from proofreading. No longer reticent about being lauded for her age, Millie helped plan her 101st birthday celebrations with coworkers, friends and family. Ten days later, she passed away at her home in Exeter.

“Millie progressed through decades of change in public television with us,” said Peter Frid, president and CEO of New Hampshire Public Television. “She had a rare perspective on her work and life. We are grateful to have had her as our colleague.”

Mildred “Millie” Penhale arrived as a volunteer at New Hampshire Public Television 32 years ago after she, a retired clinical psychologist, and her husband Bill, a retired pediatrician, relocated to Durham from Concord, NH. Her competent, firm and self-assured manner and devotion to public television eventually earned her a paid part-time job in the Communications Department. Who better than a psychologist to respond to viewer comments about their TV programs? Millie was also the mother of four boys, and many of her coworkers sought her counsel about child-rearing and work-life balance.

Millie was passionate about PBS programs (though she never caught the Downton Abbey fever). She knitted hundreds of sweaters through years of wins and losses by the Patriots and Red Sox, several Super Bowls and the 2007 World Series. She was also a dedicated reader and subscriber of The New Yorker magazine, did the Foster’s crossword daily, relished her evening cocktail, was a clam chowder connoisseur, and enjoyed travel, theatre, family and friends.

Born and bred in Brooklyn, New York, Millie received her undergraduate and graduate degrees in clinical psychology from the University of Michigan, and worked as a psychologist for various organizations for decades, including the Philbrook Center and Central New Hampshire Mental Health Center in Concord. Her interest in media and the arts led her to volunteer and work at New Hampshire Public Television in 1984, where she was employed until her death on August 3rd.

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