Betty Hoskins (1936 - 2015)

Betty (Bruening) Hoskins, 78

Worcester, MA - Betty (Bruening) Hoskins, Ph.D., of Worcester died unexpectedly at home at the end of June 2015, days before her 79th birthday. Lord Peter Wimsey, a lifelong favorite, was on the nightstand, and in the garden berries, grapes, and herbs transplanted from her parents' garden (in Baltimore) were ripening.

She was preceded in death by her son, Kent Eric Courtland Hoskins; parents John and Bessie Bruening; siblings Bob and Grace Bruening.

She is survived by her daughter, Kathryn Millis, sister in law Elizabeth Bruening, cousins, and close friends of many decades. Her cats Emma and Ash were re-homed by Sweetpea For Animals.

In 1972, Dr. Hoskins was the first woman hired as a tenure-track faculty member at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. She had graduated from Goucher (a women's college) at age nineteen, then earned a Master's degree in entomology from Amherst (at the time, a men's college), and a doctorate molecular biology at Texas Woman's University. She also taught at Massachusetts College of Art and Design, and was an editor at Ginn and Company and Third-Party Publishing.

She was an active scholar and leader of academic, women's, religious, and arts organizations.

She wrote about bioethics, reproductive technology, feminism and women in science, religious education and Safe Congregations materials, in addition to dozens of research articles. She edited books including "Birth Control and Controlling Birth: Women-Centered Perspectives," and "The Custom-Made Child?: Women-Centered Perspectives," and served decades on science journals' editorial boards.

Betty loved singing with Salisbury Singers, Folk Song Society of Greater Boston, and Uppity Women Singers. A longtime folk, contra, and English Country dancer, she was president of CDS-Boston Centre, and passed on the joy of community dance to her daughter. With dear friends she regularly enjoyed ballet, opera, organ recitals, concerts by the All Saints Choir of Men & Boys, with which Kent had sung before his death at age nineteen; lectures, and classes through the Worcester Public Library and Worcester Institute for Senior Education.

She attended First Unitarian Church and Worcester Friends Meeting (Quaker). She served as president of the Unitarian Universalist Women's Federation, chair of Collegium, an association of liberal religious scholars; in leadership roles for Institute on Religion in an Age of Science, Religious Coalition For Reproductive Choice, and Theological Opportunities Program at Harvard Divinity School, was a founder and early steering committee member for the Worcester Women's History Project, and longtime supporter of Abby's House.

She made arrangements to be an organ donor, and an anatomical donor to the University of Massachusetts Medical school.

A memorial service will be held Thursday, September 24, 2015 at 10:00, at First Unitarian Church of Worcester, 90 Main St.

In lieu of flowers please contribute to an organization like those named here. 

Published Date: 
September 22, 2015