Bruce Frankel

Author of the new book "What Should I Do with the Rest of My Life? True Stories of Finding Success, Passion, and New Meaning in the Second Half of Life."

Political Pilgrim Doris “Granny D” Haddock Dies at 100

March 10, 2010

Doris “Granny D” Haddock, the gnome-sized New Hampshire woman whose trek across the continental United States at 89 helped galvanize national support for campaign finance reform, died Tuesday at her home in Dublin, N.H. She was 100.
One of the chapters of my book braids together Haddock’s heroic 14-month, 3,200-mile march and Alidra Solday’s five-year effort to make “Granny D Goes to Washington.” Solday’s film chronicles Haddock’s fight to get Americans to take back their government from special interest groups and private industry by restricting political donations. Here’s the trailer:

I last spoke to Doris Haddock about a year ago. Between coughs triggered by the respiratory illness that caused her death, she spoke as passionately as ever about the need for Americans to become politically involved to save their democracy. In the Alidra’s film, she explained the motivation for her walk across the country this way: “If you look at your life, you will see your your life is made up of acts. And this is my last act. I would like to make some news of my life.” And she did. Important news. Valuable news.

Doris Haddock was a Yankee through and through. Vulnerability was not her style. “As she told me, Granny D is more poetic than Doris. But Doris has more street smarts and is tougher than Granny D,” Alidra said last year. “Either way, she really does believe in kindness and caring and that you are your brother’s keeper.”

Doris had turned 100 on Jan. 24 and, according to Alidra, she “was the bell of the ball at several parties given in her honor. We had spoken of death many times while making the film. She was finally ready.” In an email Tuesday night, Alidra said she had spoken with Jim, Haddock’s son, earlier and he had comforted Alidra by reminding her that Granny D “had a good run.”

“I will miss her,” Alidra said. “She was precious to me.”

Here’s the New York Time’s obituary:

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