Lelah (Sumner) Estey Reed, 91, of West Addison


WEST ADDISON — Lelah (Sumner) Estey Reed passed from this world on April 2 to join those loved ones who had passed before her. She was born in Bristol on March 2, 1931, to Dewey and Ruth (Hallock) Sumner, the youngest of six children. Lee married Richard Estey on March 24, 1950, and together they raised their six children on the family farm in Bristol. They were married for 46 years until Richard’s death in 1996. 

Lee’s early years were taken up with caring for their six children and the household. She was active with the school PTA and Home Dem group when the family was younger. As the last child entered school, Lee entered the workforce in the records department at Porter Hospital. She was there for about 16 years. She also worked at Abram’s Department Store and Ben Franklin in Middlebury until her retirement. As the children grew older, Richard and Lelah were able to take some time off from the farm to travel throughout the United States, visiting nearly all the states. They also were able to take a trip to England in 1977. She was a member of the United Church of Lincoln and sang in the choir.

Lelah later renewed a family friendship, and she and Charles W. Reed were married on April 29, 2000.  They made their home in West Addison where they enjoyed their time together and supported each other in their later years until Charlie’s death in 2017.

Lelah is survived by her children, Debra Cullen of New Jersey, Richard (Chris) Estey, Lori (Jim) Rivers, and Curt (Heather) Estey of Bristol, and Judy (Jim) Brown of Lincoln. She is also survived by a step-son, Michael (Marshlyn) Reed of Addison, son-in-law Bob Whitcomb of New York, brother Russell (Polly) Sumner of Bristol, grandchildren Sara (Brock) Quesnel of Orwell, Aaron (Lorisa) Rivers of Utah, Derek Estey of Bristol, Elijah Whitcomb of Tennessee, Megan (Ben) Butterfield of Hinesburg, Andrew (Carla) Whitcomb of New York, Matthew (Carolyn) Brown of Lincoln, Natalie (Nick) Angers of Washington, Alex (Beth) Estey of Colorado, and Steve Whitcomb of Virginia; 18 great-grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews. 

She was predeceased by husbands Richard Estey and Charles Reed, infant daughter Cheryl Estey, daughter Karen (Bob) Whitcomb, brothers Lloyd Sumner and Leland (Sam) Sumner, sisters Alice Moseley Neal and Dorothy O’Neal, and son-in-law Glen Cullen.

Lelah’s family would like to thank Kasie Bingham and Tim O’Toole for the care they gave our mother and grandmother the last few years and sharing their precious little children with her, which she so enjoyed. Also, our thanks to Dr. LaMancuso and the Addison County Home Health and Hospice nurses and therapists who nursed her back to health in her better times and lent their support in the end times.

A celebration of Lelah’s life will be held at 1 p.m. at the United Church of Lincoln on Saturday, April 9, with a gathering following at Burnham Hall. Contributions in her memory may be made to the United Church of Lincoln, 23 Quaker Street, Lincoln, Vt., 05443; the West Addison Methodist Church in care of Grace Birchmore, Lake Street, Addison, VT 05491; or Addison County Home Health and Hospice, PO Box 754, Middlebury, VT 05753. To send online condolences to her family, please visit◊

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