Former News Anchor Susan Wornick Has Audience in Stitches at Ashland Farm

December 10, 2018

Beloved Boston news personality and former WCVB-TV news anchor, Susan Wornick, made an appearance on Dec. 5 at Ashland Farm at North Andover, a Benchmark assisted living and memory care community in North Andover, Mass. As part of the community’s Holiday Wreath Stroll event, over 50 people from the Merrimack Valley and many of the community’s residents and health care partners turned out for a fireside chat with Wornick, a friend of Benchmark. Guests also viewed nearly 20 holiday wreaths that were decorated and donated by local businesses. 

Many attendees grew up watching Wornick on Boston’s Channel 5 and were surprised at how funny she is. Wornick told tales of her painfully honest late mother, Myrna Billian, who she considers her biggest critic. Billian never hesitated to give her opinion on things like Wornick’s wardrobe, hair or makeup or even give unsolicited dating advice. But it was clear by how she always found a way to tell people that she was Wornick’s mother that she was incredibly proud of all she accomplished. 

Wornick was born in the Bronx and moved to Needham at the age of seven when her father accepted a new job. Later, the family moved to Natick where Wornick graduated from high school in 1967. Despite not being a great student, she went on to attend Emerson College in Boston as a psychology major after her father begged them to accept her. After college, she started selling radio advertising. On April Fool’s Day her boss let her do a newscast as a joke, and that’s when her broadcasting career began, long before there were a lot of women in the business. 

Wornick also recalled her least and most favorite stories spent while on the air at Channel 5, including the story of a giant reptile living under a house in Florida that landed her in hot water with PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). She also told stories of a personalized vitamin company that she was able to prove wasn’t on the up and up, and of the numerous natural disasters she covered outside while her colleagues stayed in the studio. 

Wornick also tackled the difficult topic of aging and caring for elderly parents, including how she handled her mom’s desire to get a license at the age of 99, and how she had to follow her mother around to test her driving skills because Myrna wouldn’t drive with Wornick in the car!

Wornick cared for her mother for the last five years of her life before she passed away last June at 103. She later regretted the lack of community her mom had as she got older. “Life is all about community and the families we make for ourselves and choose,” said Wornick. “These connections, there is nothing more important. Although I was fortunate to have the time I had with her, I wish she had been with friends at a wonderful community like Ashland Farm.” 

More than anything, Wornick served as a reminder to cherish the relationships we have with the special people in our lives, especially over this holiday season. 

About Benchmark
Based in Waltham, Mass., Benchmark is a human connection company and leading provider of senior living services in the Northeast. Founded in 1997 by Tom Grape, Benchmark, with 6,300 associates and 58 communities, offers independent living, assisted living, Alzheimer’s care and skilled nursing in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont. The organization this year was selected by FORTUNE magazine for its inaugural 2018 Best Workplaces for Aging Services list, taking the number 16 spot on the list of top 40 aging services companies and ranking number three among companies with more than 40 communities. Benchmark is one of only six companies named to The Boston Globe Top Places to Work list every year of the 11 years it has been published. And it has been consistently recognized by Boston Business Journal, Hartford Courant and Hartford Business Journal as a top workplace, and by the Boston Business Journal, Providence Business News and Hartford Business Journal as one of the healthiest employers. Click here for more information.

Press Contact: Carol Arnold, Arnold Communications,, (603) 502-0469. 
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