Ocean Beach 06

Beryl "Bev" (Matthews) Pettiford

June 7, 1957 ~ July 22, 2022 (age 65) 65 Years Old


WORCESTER – Beryl “Bev, Philomena” (Matthews) Pettiford, 65, of Worcester, died Friday, July 22, 2022 at St. Vincent’s Hospital after a courageous battle with cancer.

She leaves five beloved children, Gary Pettiford of Boston, Lisa Pettiford of Brockton, Kimberylee Martins and her husband Nelson Martins of Leominster, Brittney Richards of Fitchburg, and Monica Anukem of Worcester; a sister-in-law, Margot Matthews of Worcester; six grandchildren, Jolisa Zenny Pettiford, Jakayla C. Pettiford, Amani Pettiford, Michael A. Martins, Jordan T. Martins and Hakeem Z. Richards; her former husband and lifelong friend, whom she met when they were 13 years old, Gary C. Pettiford; several nieces and nephews.  She was predeceased by two brothers, Henry G. Matthews Jr and John B. Matthews, and a granddaughter, Tatyana Abrams Pettiford.

Beryl was born in Boston, the daughter of the late Henry and Marilyn (Ford) Matthews.  She often shared stories about her childhood and how she grew up swimming in the ocean of Onset Beach with her father and cousins, instilling in her a desire to visit the beach often, as it brought her peace and grounding.  She enjoyed learning and immersing herself in different world cultures, cuisine, music and arts throughout her lifetime.  She was adventurous.  She loved taking impromptu trips to different beaches and to the White Mountains, as she listened to smooth jazz and Luther Vandross with the windows down.

She gave all her children and grandkids the “good pieces of watermelon,” showing her unconditional love, providing opportunities, and creating rich memories for each.  Beryl had a yearning for education. As a nontraditional college student at the age of 55, she was an inspiration to many.  Her quote, which inspired many, was “never too late to educate.”  She was heavily involved in student affairs at Quinsigamond Community College.  During her studies she was a part of the Honors Society and the Board of Trustees, a member of ALANA, and an author for QCC’s Open Door newspaper.  She also held a spot in the book of Who’s Who as a Woman of Distinction.  After graduating with a double associate degree, she then went on to receive a Bachelor of Science in Urban Studies at Worcester State University. She had planned on utilizing her furthered education to the fullest extent post-graduation, and to eventually obtain a master’s degree; however, just a couple of weeks after receiving her Bachelor’s, she was diagnosed with Cholangiocarcinoma.

Beryl had a strong work ethic, and she wore many hats.  Her final position was as a behavioral health tech at a children’s psychiatric hospital, a role she held while obtaining her degree.  Her kindness touched many people.  She was selfless.  She gave to her friends and family abundantly out of pure Agape.  She made long lasting impressions on many individuals, and she will be in the hearts and minds of her loved ones forever.

Beryl was raised as a Jehovah Witness.  Throughout life’s different stages and seasons, her love and faith grew stronger.  She continued to walk in faith as she allowed Jehovah to take lead, which limited any fears in her transition.  Her hope was to one day reunite with her loved ones in paradise.

Funeral services will be private and in the care of Rice Funeral Home, 300 Park Ave.


You can still show your support by sending flowers directly to the family, or by planting a memorial tree in the memory of Beryl "Bev" (Matthews) Pettiford

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