DUBLIN, N.H. — Hundreds of people gathered at a church on Sunday afternoon to remember political activist Doris “Granny D” Haddock, who at age 89 walked across the country to raise awareness of campaign finance reform.

Haddock, who died last week at age 100 of respiratory failure, surprised many political observers in 2004 when she took on incumbent Republican Judd Gregg for his U.S. Senate seat and garnered 34 percent of the vote in a losing effort. But she was best known for her 3,200-mile trek across the country in 1999 and 2000.

About 250 people, including local and state officials, attended Sunday’s service at Dublin Community Church in her tiny hometown, an hour’s drive southwest of Concord.

A woman wearing a finance reform T-shirt passed around small pins in the shape of straw hats, reminiscent of the hat Haddock constantly wore during her walk. Unlike at some memorial services, the pre-service chatter in the church was robust and revolved around health care reform and other political matters, until the Rev. Michael Scott gave a gentle reminder to behave in the “spirit of preparation for worship.”

But that feisty spirit carried over into the service, as speakers called on officials and citizens in the crowd to finish Haddock’s political work.

Dennis Burke, who helped Haddock write her autobiography, “Granny D: You’re Never Too Old to Raise a Little Hell,” remembered Haddock as someone who spoke “without filter and without permission.”

“She did not cure any diseases or end war or write 10 symphonies,” Burke said in his eulogy. “(But) she is more durable to history than any old man in the mountain.”

The Old Man of the Mountain was a famous granite formation that collapsed in 2003.

She believed, Burke said, every person had the capacity and responsibility to fight and speak up as she had.

Dan Weeks, who took up Haddock’s cause of campaign finance reform at the age of 17 after hearing her speak at his school, said she could inspire.

“I was one of the many thousands inspired and uplifted by Granny D,” Weeks said. “She gave her life so that all people could enjoy free and equitable access to government, for a process untrammeled by special interests.”

Even while Haddock was in a nursing home, she continued her work using a laptop, Scott said.

“More than the feat of her walk itself, what left an impression, what took our breath away,” he said, “was that she came up with the idea and had the temerity, the audacity, the whatever the heck it was, just to do it.”


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.