Obituaries

Mary Ann Castimore, 66, of Waltham

MARY ANN CASTIMORE

WALTHAM — Mary Ann Castimore of Waltham, Vt., died peacefully on Dec. 26, 2020, in the Intensive Care Unit of the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington. She was 66 years old.
Mary Ann was born and raised in Sussex County, N.J., on Ideal Farms. She attended High Point Regional High School. She and her husband moved to Vermont twenty years ago when they purchased Buck Mountain Farm.
Mary Ann was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 32, while an undergrad at the University of Florida. She later became a crusader, public speaker, advocate and fundraiser for breast cancer research. She joined a mountain-climbing, breast cancer survivors group that scaled Mt. McKinley, while being filmed for the “Climb Against the Odds,” a documentary that subsequently became a book. Later she joined an all-breast-cancer-survivor dragon boat team that paddled all over the world, competing and winning international recognition. After scaling McKinley, Mary Ann was invited to speak to area schools about the rigors of such an amazing feat. When asked by kids why she never climbed Everest, she answered that her mother wouldn’t let her. The kids understood and commented, “My mom doesn’t let me do lots of things either.”
Mary Ann spent the past 34 years fighting breast cancer. Each change in cancer markers would necessitate a change in the chemotherapy, which would buy more time. Each change was met with adaptation and acceptance, and Mary Ann moved on with her life: managing the Vergennes
Community Food Shelf for more than 15 years, as a certified Master Gardener accumulating 1,000 hours of volunteer service to the Vermont Extension Service Hotline, served as a Trustee in her church at the Vergennes Congregational Church, and served as Town Clerk of Waltham Township, Vermont, until her death.
In between all this volunteer service and medical follow-up, Mary Ann traveled in her RV with her dog, Glendy, to visit national parks in her 20s and 30s. Then after she and John married, when they were both 43, they traveled all over the U.S., Canada and the world, climbing mountains (including all 50 state highest peaks in the U.S.) and running marathons and half-marathons, respectively, then traveling farther afield to other continents to do the same: Asia, Australia, Africa, Europe, etc., etc. Mary Ann and John just bought a new RV last year, with plans to travel the U.S. again.
Mary Ann never wasted a moment of her life living with cancer. A health and fitness enthusiast, she grew organic vegetables and fruits and ate little meat and no dairy and exercised every single day. She was as skilled with knitting needles and yarn as she was with pottery clay as she was with a recipe. She grew Christmas trees, ran a gravel business, grew asparagus for local restaurants, belonged to book clubs, went to church every Sunday, and with John looked after their neighbors.
What were some of Mary Ann’s favorite things? Blueberries, Vermont, peanut butter, farming, sunsets, and she loved all her dogs: Fifi, Glendy, Harley, Ross, Spanky and now Bitty and Addie. She loved family vacations with the whole crazy Castimore bunch. She loved Tom Petty, and Joe Bonamassa, rock music in general. She was a prodigious enthusiast of red wine, until IV chemotherapy destroyed her taste buds, and she cultivated friends all over the world that she treasured.
She loved to camp, hike, walk, and canoe, especially to deserted places. She loved the planning, the execution and the memory. Mary Ann took her nieces and nephews canoe camping to remote areas of the Adirondacks several times, giving them experiences and memories that remain vivid to this day. She was a trailblazer.
She slept on ice and snow on many mountains including Mount McKinley in Alaska, in huts on Kilimanjaro in Africa, on rocks and sand in Death Valley, California, and slept in bunks on small boat cruises to Vancouver and the San Juan Islands, down the Columbia River, down the Mississippi, and in a real bed on a river cruise down the Danube. 
Her niece Robin described her best as fierce. Yes, she pursued everything with a ferocity that was unmatched. If she decided to pursue it, it got done, and it got done right. She was brave, courageous and committed. She held cancer at bay by sheer force of will for many years, but not before she kicked its butt. Cancer ultimately won, but not before she left her mark on the world.
Mary Ann Castimore is survived by her husband of 23 years John G. Lent of Waltham, Vt.; her parents Emery and Lillian Tanis Castimore of Lafayette, N.J.; her brother Dr. Sam Castimore and his wife Joan Flanagan of Augusta, N.J.; nephews Matthew E. Castimore and his wife Leighanne of Sparta, N.J.; Nathaniel and Emery Castimore and Robin Sue Castimore of  Augusta, N.J.; her sister, Candace Moose and her husband James of Rumson, N.J., and their children, nephew Bradford L. Moose and his wife Lauren E. of Westfield, N.J., and niece Lauren A. Riley and her husband Timothy of Atlantic Highlands, N.J.; and numerous great nieces and nephews.
The family held a private zoom service in honor of Mary Ann this past week. A public memorial service will be held when COVID-19 is no longer an issue.
Her husband requests that memorial donations be sent to: The University of Vermont Cancer Center, The Courtyard at Given 3rd Floor North, 89 Beaumont Ave., Burlington, VT 05405. To make an honor and memorial gift, please contact Cheryl Taylor at 802-656-8414.
Or to:
Addison County Home Health and Hospice, 254 Ethan Allen Highway, New Haven, VT 05472.◊

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