Jennifer Sherwood Turner, 66, of Starksboro
STARKSBORO — Jennifer Sherwood Turner, 66, died peacefully on July 8 at the McClure Miller Respite House in Colchester, Vt. Her husband Robert was at her side.
Jennifer was born in Manchester-by-the-Sea, Mass., to the late Priscilla (Janeway) Sherwood and Thomas Sherwood. Whether sailing the bay or digging sea worms for fishing from the dinghy, outdoors was where she played. She graduated high school early and attended Simons Rock, where she earned an associates degree, but, perhaps as importantly, there she was able to fully engage her artistic side with drawing, painting, sculpture and woodworking. A yearning to explore the world led her to build a 24-foot wooden sailboat that she sailed to the Mediterranean with a cat, but no motor.
Jennifer’s New England roots were strong, and she returned to pursue a bachelor’s degree at UNH in biology. Jennifer was an extraordinary student of the natural sciences, both in and out of the classroom. She graduated with a Master’s in Botany from UVM and moved with her husband to Starksboro in 1986. There she threw herself into family and community. She was a dedicated mother, raising two children along with her extraordinary gardens, which provided much of the food her family ate.
Her volunteer efforts were extensive. Whenever there was a community event, Jennifer was there with boundless purpose and enthusiasm; she shared her love with people through food, and was known for showing up to help accompanied by her sourdough bread, dilly beans, and the best pie in town. She started the recycling program in Starksboro and served as the “recycling lady” two Saturdays a month for over 30 years. Jennifer worked as a forestry consultant and was most happy when she was hired to help a neighbor fell a tree or clear a trail. For the last 12 years, she worked as a self-described factotum for Bear Cobble Sugarworks in Starksboro, where she could be outside, in the woods, all day, every day.
While Jennifer’s accomplishments and adventures were many, in honor of her humility it seems most fitting to celebrate her life here with who she was, rather than what she did; Jennifer always carried dog biscuits in her pocket to share with four-legged friends she might encounter (and would sample herself when particularly hungry). One of her last great satisfactions was tutoring her niece in biochemistry. She found great joy in the bluebirds that (finally) nested in her boxes this spring. All who knew her found that cheerful, brilliant, hard-working, and incredibly generous personality irresistible, and she will be greatly missed.
Jennifer was inordinately fond of her friends and family, far too numerous to be listed here. She is survived by her loving husband of 36 years, Robert; her daughter Emily and husband Jacob Sherwood of Wilton, N.H.; and her son, Benjamin Turner of Starksboro. She was fortunate to enjoy her first grandchild, Temple Sherwood, born in 2019. She is also survived by two sisters, Frannie Sherwood of Colorado Springs, Colo., and Brooky Sherwood, from Dummerston, Vt.; and by her stepmother Jennifer Rochow of Cambridge, Mass. She leaves behind many cousins, nieces and nephews, spread across the country.
Jennifer was buried at her home in Starksboro, her final act a gift of compost to the earth she loved. A celebration of her life will be held when we are able to gather for a party, as she wished. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Starksboro Fire Department or the Robinson School Four Winds Program.◊
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