First female trustee dies at 92
By Iris Liu, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Defying Dartmouth norms, former Board of Trustees member Sally Frechette Maynard led a Dartmouth Outing Club First-Year Trip in the summer of 1981 alongside her two sons, who were trip leaders at the time. As the first woman elected to the Board, Maynard is remembered for her kind and passionate nature. She died on Feb. 6 at age 92.
Maynard, who did not attend Dartmouth, had extensive connections to the College that brought her closer to the community. Both of Maynard’s sons attended the College while she was a trustee and her late husband, Henry Frechette ’41 was also a Dartmouth graduate.
After the College became coeducational in 1972, the all-male Board began its search for a qualified female candidate and ultimately elected Maynard in 1979. Maynard served until 1989.
In an interview featured in Rauner Special Collections Library’s Oral History Project, Maynard attributed her Board candidacy to her links to the College, her experience on corporate and educational boards and her residency in New Hampshire.
Maynard grew up in Keene, N.H., and graduated from Smith College in 1942. In addition to serving on Dartmouth’s Board, Maynard was a member of the New Hampshire School Board Association and served on the Board of Directors for New England College and Public Service of New Hampshire.
One of her six children, Peter Frechette ’82, credited her many accomplishments to her ability to “stay incredibly on top of things.”
“She was always preparing for the future, looking ahead for herself and the people she loved,” he said.
Maynard began renovating her house after her children moved out, constructing wheelchair ramps and building her bedroom on the first floor.
Philanthropic and generous, Maynard always focused on others and never asked for anything in return, Peter Frechette said.
“For us, when it came time at Christmas, if we asked her what she wanted, she never wanted,” he said.
Maynard brought her generous and thoughtful nature to Dartmouth while serving as a member of the Board. She valued challenges and was always ready to push boundaries, said her only daughter Jocelyn Frechette.
“I saw her as an incredibly creative person when it came to problem solving,” she said. “It had everything to do with all she aspired to.”
In her many endeavors, Maynard held her work to a high standard of integrity.
As the first woman on the Board, Maynard received criticism for not doing more to promote feminism.
“People expressed disappointment, but my mother knew that she couldn’t speak for all women,” she said. “Not only does that speak to her idea of feminism, but to the way she lived her life and interacted with all people.”
Despite the controversy surrounding the College’s decision to accept female students, Maynard was able to ease the rest of the Board into a more comfortable transition, said Sydney Frechette, one of Maynard’s daughters-in-law.
“She came in, and in her own way, she helped persuade the male trustees that women, too, had a competency,” she said.
Assistant dean of the faculty Jane Carroll, who interviewed Maynard for Rauner’s Oral History Project, also observed Maynard’s gracious manner.
“We usually think of trailblazers as people who use their elbows and push to get in there, but she had her own path,” Carroll said. “She was a quietly powerful woman who got to the same place through her social graces.”
Jocelyn Frechette recalls her mother’s warm smile as one of her most distinctive qualities.
“She always called her smile ‘beaming,’ and that really tangibly captures the quality of her smile,” she said. “When she smiled at you, you could tell she really saw you and was happy to see you.”
Maynard was dedicated to many causes beyond her position on the Board, including Planned Parenthood, the Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music and many local clinics.
“I think she will be remembered for her generosity, her kindness, her joy of life and her ability to inspire others to seek their own joy,” she said. “We as a family are much stronger for having her as our matriarch.”
Maynard is survived by her husband, Douglas Maynard, her sister, Alice Bakemier, as well as her nine children and stepchildren and their spouses.