Maizie S. Hescock, 93, of Shoreham


SHOREHAM — Maizie S. Hescock, 93, passed away on Tuesday morning Nov. 9, 2021, at the Porter Medical Center in Middlebury after a brief illness.

She was born at home, 21 Hard Street, Westville section of New Haven, Conn., on May 5, 1928. She was the daughter of Maybel Dickinson Sokol and Joseph J. Sokol. As a young girl she spent many happy hours on her grandfather Dickinson’s farm in Woodbridge, Conn. She attended Westville’s Beecher Elementary School and Susan Sheridan Junior High, where she excelled in art and won the citywide music contest with her essay on Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.

As a teenager she spent many hours roaming the cliffs and paths on West Rock, a 500-foot precipice rising up close to her home. Getting straight A’s all three years, she graduated with high honors from Hillhouse High School in 1946. While at Hillhouse, at that time one of the 10 top schools on the Eastern Seaboard, she excelled in sports and participated in homeroom leadership and the senior yearbook. As a junior she translated Cicero’s Third Oration and read it to the class. Her senior year she won the top Spanish prize.

Maizie graduated from the University of Connecticut with Distinction in 1950, earning a B.A. in Landscape Design, with minors in Botany and Art. While at UConn she was very active in intramural and collegiate sports, 4-H, the Horticulture Club and was inducted into the Gamma Chi Epsilon Honorary Fraternity. The summer of 1950 she did graduate work at the Horace H. Rackham School of Landscape Architecture at the University of Michigan and in 1951 briefly attended the Harvard Graduate School of Landscape Architecture.

On Oct. 27, 1951, she married Gilbert Henry Hescock at the church of St. James the Apostle in Westville, Conn. They made their home in North Stonington, Conn., where Mr. Hescock owned and operated Meadow Lake Dairy. At their home, Heartsease, they brought six children into the world and continued to expand their business with dairy/ice cream stores in town and in Groton. While in Connecticut, in 1965, Maizie began a teaching career as a first-grade teacher.

In 1966 she and her husband purchased a farm in Shoreham, moving there in 1969. She continued her teaching career until the birth of her son, Timothy, in 1972. The move to Shoreham allowed her to expand her flock of Hampshire sheep, open a small yam shop and give spinning demonstrations throughout the county. She was a member of the Vermont Sheep Breeders Association and participated in the Vermont Farm Show in Barre. She and her son, Todd, were responsible for reintroducing sheep and spinning at the Addison County Field Days, which today has grown into one of the main agricultural attractions there with a high level of participation.

In 1973 the unexpected death of her husband left Maizie with the sole care of her seven children, the youngest being only 16 months old. By 1975 she had earned a Masters Degree in Special Education from the College of St Joseph in Rutland while at the same time caring for her family and working fulltime. She spent the ensuing years as the Learning Specialist at Bridport Central School, retiring in 1995.

Since that time, she has devoted her time to her family and caring for her flock of Jacob sheep, which she and Todd imported from Scotland in 1975, they being the last importation into the United States. With the arrival of the sheep, she changed the name of the farm from Candy Mountain to Jacob’s Ladder, by which it is still known today. In 2005 the Jacob Sheep Breeders Association honored Maizie for her important contribution to the breed, making her a life member of the organization. Over the years she has been responsible for the establishment and growth of many of the Jacob flocks east of the Mississippi.

Travels have taken Maizie abroad to Ireland and in 1996 to Oxford, England, where she attended a weeklong conference in honor of the death of William Morris 100 years earlier. She visited Paris with her granddaughter, Lindsey, and New Mexico with her son, Bill. One summer in the ‘80s she met her goal to swim in all five Great Lakes. Maizie made several trips to Australia to visit her son, Rob, and family; two of the trips were with her husband, Rustan, whom she married in 1997. Together they also visited Ireland and Bath, England.

In 2004 Maizie received a Barn Grant from the state of Vermont to help restore her circa 1803 English barn. Subsequently, numerous dances have been held in it, including one to honor Shoreham’s 250th anniversary.

Maizie leaves her beloved husband, Rustan Swenson; her children Faye Jantzi and husband Daniel of Lowville, N.Y., Jonathan Hescock and wife Kim of Cornwall, Robert Hescock of Australia, Joseph Hescock and wife Kathleen of Shoreham, and Timothy Hescock and wife, Loraine of Shoreham; 20 grandchildren, and great grandchildren.

She was predeceased by her first husband and mate, Gilbert Henry Hescock in 1973, son William Henry Hescock in 2010, son Todd Dickinson Hescock in 1987, an infant son, Phillip Martin Hescock in 1968 and an infant grandson, Ira Stevens Hescock. She was also predeceased by her parents and her brothers, Robert Pollington Sokol and Theodore Coolidge Sokol.

At Maizie’s request, there will only be a private service for immediate members of the family. Interment will be in the Hescock Cemetery on Turkey Hill at Jacob’s Ladder Farm. A Memorial Service will be held this Sunday, Nov. 14, at 2 p.m., at the Orwell Congregational Church. There will be an outdoor celebration and festivities honoring Maizie at her farm in Shoreham this Saturday, Nov. 13, at 4 p.m.◊

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