Peekskill Mourns the Loss of Two HRHCare Founding Mothers

M and WMPeekskill, NY – HRHCare (Hudson River HealthCare) is saddened to announce the recent passing of Mary Woods on May 12th and Willie Mae Jackson on May 20th, two of the four HRHCare Founding Mothers. Both women were instrumental in opening the very first HRHCare Health Center at Peekskill, originally known as the Peekskill Area Ambulatory Health Care Center, in 1975, bringing health care to one of the poorest communities in Westchester County.

“We will miss their presence but will continue to honor their vision every day through the work we do,” said Anne Kauffman Nolon, MPH, President and CEO of HRHCare.

With heartfelt sadness, the Reverend Jeannette Phillips, Executive Vice President and fellow Founding Mother of HRHCare, added, “Just knowing that our faith would always sustain us, we stood ready to go forth.”

A memorial service will be held for Mary Woods and Willie Mae Jackson at 11:00 AM on Saturday, June 27th, at the United Methodist Church of Peekskill, 1040 Main Street. A reception, hosted by their families and HRHCare, will immediately follow.

From hosting the very first discussion of bringing a community health center to Peekskill at her kitchen table to becoming one of the first employees of the Health Center, it would be an understatement to say that Mary Woods played a vital role in making HRHCare what it is today. She served patients as a Clinical Assistant in Pediatrics, a Dental Assistant, a Medical Assistant, the first marketing representative with the Medicaid managed care plan HealthSource (Hudson Health Plan), a Patient Care Referral Specialist and HRHCare’s representative for the United Way Corporate Appeal. Mary was an active member of Mt. Lebanon Baptist Church in Peekskill and volunteered her time there in various capacities.

At the first public meeting to discuss a community health center in Peekskill, Willie Mae Jackson’s testimony of four-hour bus rides to access necessary health care for herself and her 12 children was crucial in solidifying the desperate need for a health center. As well as working as a Housing Assistant and coordinating a food pantry at HRHCare, Willie Mae also found time to volunteer with the Peekskill CAP, Hudson Valley Hospital and the Peekskill Auxiliary Police. She was an accomplished musician and was an active member of Mt. Olivet Baptist Church in Peekskill before retiring to Valdosta, Georgia.

About HRHCare:

HRHCare (Hudson River HealthCare) is a nonprofit, New York State licensed, Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC).  Founded in 1975 to provide care to the medically underserved population of Peekskill, HRHCare has grown to include 24 directly operated health centers and six sub-recipient health centers delivering care throughout a 10 county region of New York to 135,000 patients with over 200 primary care practitioners.

HRHCare provides comprehensive services including adult and pediatric care; obstetrical and gynecological care; family planning; HIV counseling, testing and referral; dental services; mental health counseling; nutrition counseling; podiatry; WIC services; health education; and a full complement of outreach, translation, transportation, benefits counseling and health insurance enrollment assistance.

HRHCare has a profound commitment to the communities it serves and works to improve community health through partnerships and collaborations with key stakeholders including local businesses, social service agencies, housing organizations, food banks, agricultural worker alliances and other community organizations.

For more information contact:

Jeffrey Palmer

914.425.0890 /

Comments are closed.

Translate »