Phyllis Ann (McKee) Lawson, 85, of Middlebury


MIDDLEBURY — Phyllis Ann (McKee) Lawson, 85, of Middlebury, Vt., died peacefully on April 16, 2023, after a long battle with Alzheimer’s Disease. Phyllis was born on July 2, 1937, to Ronald and Myrtle (McElreavy) McKee in St. Johnsbury, Vt., where she grew up with her older brother, Howard.

It was in high school at St. Johnsbury Academy that Phyllis met the love of her life, George Thomas “Tom” Lawson, whom she married a few years after their graduation. She worked as a telephone operator in Springfield Mass., while Tom finished college, before stopping to become a full-time mother to Karen, and then Dawn, Mike, and Pam soon after. Phyllis was a devoted wife and mother and always put her family before herself.

Friends were included in Phyllis’ extended family. She made lifelong friends while living in Proctor, Vt., and made new friends when the family moved to Middlebury, Vt., in 1969, and to Chatham, Mass., in retirement. She will be missed by friends and acquaintances for her warm and welcoming personality, her kind words, and her wonderful sense of humor. Even when life was not easy, Phyllis rarely complained, so people might not be aware of what a very strong woman she was. She always rallied to support her family and friends.

When the children were older, Phyllis returned to work as a telephone operator at the office in Middlebury. After that office closed, Phyllis worked as an Administrative Assistant in the Admissions Office at Middlebury College for a few years. Phyllis and Tom retired to Chatham, Mass., after years of visiting friends there each summer. They loved hosting friends and family to share clam chowder, lobsters, and trips to the Kream N’ Kone for Phyllis’ favorite treat of coffee shakes and onion rings.

Phyllis enjoyed arts and crafts, especially painting, and was an avid reader. She volunteered at the Round Robin thrift store and at her church in Chatham. Phyllis became a Boston Bruins fan later in life but was an enthusiastic supporter of “her” Bruins. She was in her seventies when she was able to go to a home game to cheer them on.

There was nothing that Phyllis loved more than her role as Grandma. She was never happier than when her grandchildren called to talk to her, she got a card, or they came to visit.

Phyllis leaves behind a family that she was inordinately proud of. She is survived by her devoted husband of 64 years, George Thomas “Tom” Lawson of Middlebury Vt., and her loving children: Karen Ryden (Thomas) of Pepperell, Mass., Michael Lawson of Rutland, Vt., and Pamela Quinn (Erin) of Middlebury Vt. She was predeceased by her daughter Dawn Re (John) of Chappaqua N.Y. Phyllis also leaves behind the grandchildren that she adored: Erik, Anders, and Elisabeth Ryden; Samantha, Matthew, and Jason Re; and Hannah and Connor Quinn.

A celebration of Phyllis’ life will be held on April 22, 2023, at the Congregational Church in Middlebury, Vt., at 3 p.m. Donations in Phyllis’ memory may be made to Addison County Home Health and Hospice or to the Alzheimer’s Association. ◊


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