Harriett S. Craven, 96, Middlebury
MIDDLEBURY — Harriett S. Craven, 96, died on March 16, 2021, at Helen Porter Rehabilitation and Nursing. She was born in Pittsburgh, PA, to Charles N. and Mary (Newhard) Stine on October 29, 1924, and graduated from Mount Lebanon High School in 1942. After working and attending secretarial school in Pittsburgh, she enrolled at Ohio University, graduating in 1948 with a B.A. in English. She was married in 1949 to John V. Craven of Portland, Maine.
Before having children, Harriett worked at the medical school library at Syracuse University and the Public Health Service in Washington, D.C. She and Jack moved to Vermont when he took a job teaching in the Middlebury College Economics Department; they settled in Middlebury for the rest of their lives, with two periods living in Europe.
Harriett held secretarial positions in the Middlebury College Art Department and the Chinese and Japanese Summer Language Schools, and later worked in the office of the Congregational Church of Middlebury. She was a Girl Scout Leader, organized Unitarian Sunday School, participated in college service groups, was a board member at Ilsley Library, and volunteered at the Sheldon Museum.
Always happy to return to city life, she reveled in years spent in Brussels, Belgium, and Bath, England. In a Volkswagen Beetle the family drove through most of Western Europe, guided by Harriett’s close reading of “Europe on $5 a Day” and the Michelin series, visiting every cathedral, art museum, chateau and scenic ruin in their path. In later years, she and Jack traveled to other countries in Europe and Latin America, and to cities across the U.S., especially for reunions of Jack’s 305th Bombardment Group, Eighth Air Force. They spent March in Florida with her brother and his wife for many years.
Harriett was an expert knitter, sewed clothing, made slipcovers, curtains, quilts and pillows, framed pictures, refinished furniture, and painted walls, always with a strong sense of color and design. She grew flowers and vegetables every year and enjoyed the beautiful landscapes, woods and views of her adopted home in Vermont, as well as the beaches of Maine. She disliked sports and games (other than bridge) but learned to ski, played tennis and had a good golf swing. She faithfully stayed in touch with friends and extended family and devotedly cared for her husband through several major illnesses, including in the last years of his life.
Reading fiction, biography and history was a lifelong pursuit, and she was dedicated to The New York Times, “The New Yorker” and other publications; she tackled the Times and other crossword puzzles daily.
She is survived by her brother Charles N. Stine and his wife Barbara, of Fayetteville, NY; daughters Marianne and Carolyn, son-in-law Peter Matthews, and granddaughters Catriona and Emma Craven-Matthews; as well as nieces, nephews and cousins. She was predeceased by her parents and her husband Jack Craven.
The family would like to thank Dzevida Avdagic for her years of friendship and support, and the staff at Helen Porter for their kindness and expert care. In lieu of flowers, please consider contributing to Helen Porter, HOPE of Addison County, Ilsley Library, or the Sheldon Museum. ◊
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