Obituaries

Wendy Elizabeth Coughlan, 62, of North Ferrisburgh

WENDY ELIZABETH COUGHLAN

NORTH FERRISBURGH — Wendy Elizabeth Coughlan, 62, of North Ferrisburgh, Vt., passed away on Feb. 12, 2024, surrounded by her loving spouse and children.

Wendy was born on Nov. 9, 1961, in Montréal, QC, Canada, to Ian Louis Coughlan and Mary Elizabeth Coughlan (née Newcomb). Wendy grew up in Montréal and attended The Study from grades one to eleven, graduating in 1978. At The Study, Wendy excelled in both academics and the creative arts. Wendy was a member of Kappa Rho house, like her mother and sister before her, and served as the head of the house and treasurer of the student body in her final year. After her time at The Study, Wendy attended Middlebury College in Vermont. She graduated class of 1983 with a degree in Northern Studies and Biology.

Wendy discovered Waldorf education while working at Anore Station in New Zealand in her early twenties. She enrolled at Antioch University and received an M.Ed. in Integrated Learning and a certificate in Waldorf Education in 1989. That fall, Wendy began her teaching career by taking on the first-grade class at the Lake Champlain Waldorf School, and she shepherded those students through their studies from grade one to grade eight. She then became the handwork teacher, and taught every child in the school how to knit, crochet, and sew until she retired in 2020.

Wendy met her spouse, Bet, 25 years ago and they quickly fell in love. Bet and her children Soren and Rosa, as well as their other mother Terri, all moved into Wendy’s large farmhouse, where they were soon joined by baby Nicholas. Wendy loved the blended family that she, Bet, and Terri created together, and always took the time to show her love to all those in her life.

Wendy was an active member of the Vergennes Congregational Church, where she served as a deacon for many years. She was a beloved member of the weekly craft group and was admired greatly for her skills in the fiber arts. Her willingness to teach others and her patient guidance were integral to the way she approached the world.

Wendy was a master seamstress, and her hands created endless beauty. She spent hundreds of hours lovingly crafting individual nativity sets for immediate and extended family members, and she kept careful track of her progress on each set. Every Christmas, the newest additions were greatly anticipated, and once unwrapped, everyone would marvel over what Wendy had crafted.

Wendy held a deep appreciation for the world and nature’s gifts. She was an avid gardener; every year her garden yielded a vibrant harvest, and it was not uncommon to receive beautiful homegrown vegetables as gifts. Wendy was also an incredible baker and cook; the chest freezer always overflowed with frozen soups and meals, all ready to prepare for a quick supper, or to send off to a family member or friend in need.

Wendy was incredibly resilient and strong-minded from the moment she was born. She survived infant cancer, wore a scoliosis brace through her teens, and later in her life she survived a devastating car accident that left her with a broken neck. However, despite the numerous challenges she faced, Wendy never failed to find a way to defy odds and expectations, all while loving the beauty of the world. She leaves us with the reminder to treasure the quiet rituals, small details, and simple joys of life: the cycle of the garden, the time it takes to knit one row of a cabled sweater, and the blue of the eastern bluebird.

Wendy is survived by her spouse, Bet Dews of North Ferrisburgh, Vt., their children, Soren Dews (Meg Dews), Rosa Dews, Nicholas Coughlan; and their other mother, Theresa Borden; her brother, Jerry Coughlan and his wife Stephanie of Wellesley Mass., and their children; and Mike Coughlan and his wife Amy of Kennebunk, Maine, and their children. Wendy was predeceased by her father, Ian in 1979, her mother, Mary in 2020, and her sister, Suzie, in 2022.

A service will be held at the Vergennes Congregational Church on March 9, at 10:30 a.m. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Vergennes Community Food Shelf at tinyurl.com/UCCVergennes-food-shelf by selecting “food shelf donation” from the dropdown menu. ◊

 

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