MANCHESTER, NH – Marie Susan Madison Metoyer, M.D., 94, passed away on March 17, 2020, at the Community Hospice House in Merrimack after a brief illness.
A resident of Manchester for nearly four decades, Dr. Metoyer was a soft-spoken woman of few words whose appearance belied her impact on the State of New Hampshire, not only as the first African-American female psychiatrist in the state, but her decades serving those less fortunate in community mental health, and the health and welfare of women and minorities.
Dr. Metoyer was born in September of 1925 in Jersey City, NJ, to Dr. Lena Edwards (a recipient of the 1964 Medal of Freedom from President Johnson) and Dr. Lewis Keith Madison, physician parents who had met at Howard Medical School.
Dr. Metoyer was the eldest of their six children. An accomplished pianist with a keen intellect, she graduated summa cum laude from Fordham University (when women were only allowed on campus on weekends) and entered Cornell Medical School at 20. She was one of the few women there and would become the first African-American woman to graduate from the medical school. She mentioned that the professors would often complain that, due to World War II, too many women were enrolling; and they were looking forward to the war ending and the men returning. Also, they thought that it would be a waste to educate women because the women would drop out as soon as they married and became pregnant. Dr. Metoyer pledged that she would work until retirement to prove them wrong, and she did. She graduated from medical school as a married, young mother of two and she worked until her retirement at age 70.
While at Cornell Medical School, she met and married architectural draftsman/artist Victor Metoyer Jr. of Omaha, Neb., who was stationed in New York City during World War II. The couple had five children: Victor III, Stephen, Cecile, Eric and Adrienne. The family settled in Jersey City, N.J., where Dr. Metoyer took over her mother’s obstetrics/gynecology practice from 1952-1968.
In the 1960s, after delivering hundreds of babies, she heard the call from President Kennedy emphasizing community mental health, so she moved from New Jersey to Vermont to pursue a residency in psychiatry at the University of Vermont from 1968-1972 and received a Fellowship in Community and Child Psychiatry.
Dr. Metoyer practiced in Vermont from 1972-1981 as the sole psychiatrist in the Northeast Kingdom. She was Clinical Director at Northeast Kingdom Community Mental Health, President of the Vermont Psychiatric Association 1980-81 and Secretary of the Vermont State Medical Society 1979-81. She was a member of the Lyndonville Women’s Club.
Once empty-nesters, Marie and Victor moved to Manchester in 1981. Dr. Metoyer worked as a psychiatrist 1981-85 then Clinical Director of the Day Program 1985-96 with Manchester Mental Health. She was also Chairperson of the Women’s Committee of NH Psychiatric Society 1990-92, and Member of Ethics Committee of the NH Psychiatric Society 1990-95, and 1999, as well as membership in several national psychiatric organizations.
She retired in 1996 at the age of 70 and dedicated her retirement to women, minorities and medicine, seeking to promote African American heritage, racial equality, cultural diversity, and the fine arts. Dr. Metoyer was Vice President of the Cultural Diversity Task Force of Greater Manchester, Chair of the Scholarship Awards for the Greater Manchester Black Scholarship Foundation, three-term Secretary of the Manchester NAACP, eight years on the New Hampshire Commission on the Status of Women, and member of the Advisory Boards of the Mental Health Center, New Hampshire Minority Health Coalition (serving as Treasurer 1997-99), the Currier Museum of Art, the NH Advisory Committee to Federal Civil Rights Commission, and the Cultural Competency of the Mental Health Center. In 2012, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen honored Dr. Metoyer for her years of service to the people of New Hampshire. More recently, Senator Shaheen called her while in hospice to thank her again for service to the people of New Hampshire.
Dr. Metoyer was also the recipient of the Martin Luther King award in 2008 from the MLK Coalition, was named a member of the “It” list by New Hampshire magazine in 2007 with Nabil Migali for their multi-cultural work reinvigorating People Fest (formerly known as the “international Festival”). She was a recipient of the Susan B. Anthony Award by the Manchester YWCA in 2002, and was an honoree for the 2000 Eight New Hampshire Women of Color and the 2001 NH Speaking of Women’s Health. She was active in the New England chapter of the African American Historical and Genealogical Society (AAHGS) and had extensively recorded the family tree on both sides of the family.
Dr. Metoyer became a lay associate member of the Sisters of Mercy in 2016. She was featured in an article in Parable magazine from the Catholic diocese of Manchester in February 2020, a month before her death. The timing was serendipitous, so the staff at Catholic Medical Center and Community Hospice House could read and understand the woman in her final weeks of life.
Dr. Metoyer was predeceased by her husband of 57 years, Victor Metoyer Jr., and by her sister Genevieve Madison West and her brother Father Martin Madison, S.A. (a Franciscan priest).
She is survived by her children: Victor J. Metoyer III of New York City, N.Y., Stephen A. Metoyer (Patricia) of Takoma Park, Marylyand, Cecile M. Garcia of Randolph, Mass., Rev Eric M. Metoyer (Jessica) of San Francisco, Calif., Adrienne R. Eng of San Carlos, Calif.; four grandchildren, Victor (“Robby”) Metoyer IV, Nicole Cahlander, Kimberly Eng, and Aqueelah Shaheed and great-grandchildren through Aqueelah (Yusef, Halim, Nasir and Achilles). Dr. Metoyer’s surviving siblings are Dr. Edward Madison of Freehold, NJ, Dr. John Madison (Avril) of Wilmington, Del., and Paul Madison of Grand Rapids, Mich.; along with numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.
There are no services at this time due to COVID-19 Virus restrictions. Services will take place in the near future once the restriction on gatherings is lifted.
Donations in memory of Dr. Marie Metoyer can be made to Greater Manchester Black Scholarship Foundation (http://nhblackscholarships.org), Sisters of Mercy (https://www.sistersofmercy.org), or Community Hospice House (https://www.hhhc.org).
J.N. Boufford & Sons Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
For future service information and online guestbook please visit www.bouffordfuneralhome.com.