Beverlee Elaine Redding made the passage she helped so many prepare for on June 28, 2021, when she left this life for the next. Her family has no doubt that this latest chapter in Bev’s life will be marked by the same love of God and compassion for others that led to the remarkable milestones that distinguished Bev’s life on earth. That journey began 88 years ago when Bev was born in Yeadon, Pennsylvania.
Bev met her first husband, Barry Wiggins, at church. Though she would ultimately attend many churches in her faith journey through Presbyterian, Roman Catholic, and Episcopal traditions, Bev’s abiding belief in Jesus Christ served as the model for the values she ascribed to and raised her four children by. That faith faced the ultimate test when Bev lost her youngest daughter, Pammy, to cancer at nine years old and her subsequent divorce.
The pain and trials of that unfathomable loss inspired Bev’s transition to her lifelong work as a groundbreaking palliative care nurse and family grief counselor. The academic achievements she earned to support that work included both a BS and BSN in nursing and an MS degree in Marriage and Family Therapy.
Shortly after Bev’s initial work as a pediatric oncology nurse at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, she met the partner who would join her in her life’s work to help patients and families navigate the kind of travails she’d faced during her own daughter’s illness and death. Bev married Dr. Ralph Redding, a physician who shared her commitment to advancing the nascent field of palliative care. Together, they started the second hospice program in Miami, Florida, an achievement that earned the Reddings a day awarded in their honor by the city’s mayor.
When the couple moved to Oklahoma, Bev served as the palliative care coordinator for St. John Medical Center. She later started her own therapeutic practice as a family and grief counselor. Bev’s calling as a healer continued even into retirement. She and Ralph started Merci Clinic in New Bern, NC, to serve the local uninsured population’s healthcare needs.
Throughout her life, Bev maintained her identity as a spiritual seeker who held fast to that pursuit despite suffering the cruelest fate any parent can know. Her lifelong explorations of the nature of God and her faith in His divine guidance granted her the gifts to ease the suffering of the dying and those they left behind. Bev’s beloved family were only some of the people whose lives were transformed by her love and care. They will cherish her memory until they meet with her again.
Bev is survived by her husband Ralph; six children, Sandy (Tracy), Wendy (Mike), Bryan (Dana), Colleen (Christian), Cameron, Joanne (John); twelve grandchildren; and ten great-grandchildren. A service honoring her life will be held at 11am on Saturday, July 24, at Christ Church, 7 Elm Street, Westerly. In lieu of flowers, contributions in Beverlee’s name may be made to Beacon Hospice in North Kingston, RI. Gaffney-Dolan Funeral Home, 59 Spruce St., Westerly is in care of the arrangements. For online condolences please visit www.gaffneydolanfuneralhome.com
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