Martha Wilcox: paragon of public health

On June 7, NYSNA lost a very special nurse colleague, board member, committed public health professional, wife, mother and devoted community advocate: Martha Wilcox. She passed away in her sleep at her home in Roscoe, New York. Martha was 57.

First and foremost, Martha distinguished herself for the work she carried out as a public health nurse in Sullivan County. The county is rural, where family farms dot gentle hills. Many of these small agricultural enterprises are dairy farms, others grow organic fruit and produce. Lamb, beef and fowl are also raised. Much of what’s grown and raised is served in New York City’s finest restaurants. Martha and her husband, Daniel, operated a farm that has been in Daniel’s family for several generations.

Martha’s family camped in Sullivan County when she was a teen and it was during these trips that she met Daniel. She worked hard every day with her husband and family to maintain the farm—a demanding life, but one she loved.

In this rural setting, marked by farms and small towns, lake communities and bordered on the west by the Delaware River, Martha was the go-to public health nurse, protecting residents from a range of illnesses, outbreaks and other matters of public health. She traveled many miles in her indefatigable effort on the public’s behalf. Her husband said that during parts of her 20-year career Martha traveled more than 100 miles a day.

A valuable perspective

At NYSNA, Martha brought the invaluable perspective of a public health nurse working across a rural county. Her observations were keen and contributions to our meetings, classes and dialogue articulate and intelligent. She was a good listener, but did not hesitate to express her views with vigor. She will be sorely missed here at NYSNA.

Martha is survived by her husband, Daniel L. Wilcox, Sr.; two sons, Daniel L. Wilcox, Jr., and Shawn T. Wilcox and a future daughter-in-law, Michaela Schaefer. Martha is also survived by her mother, Mary Ann Pike and a brother, Charles Pike and his wife, Jo Anne; one sister, Debbie Pike-Thomas and her husband, Lincoln; and two nieces.

Memorial contributions may be made in Martha’s name to Roscoe Cares c/o Mrs. Debbie Hendrickson, 154 Rockland Road, Roscoe, NY 12776.

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Martha Wilcox, RN, and NYSNA board member (center/background), at a rally against Rep. John Faso, a one-term representative from New York's 19th congressional district, defeated in 2018. Faso voted to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

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