Obituaries

Louise Gee Philputt, 95, of Bennington

BENNINGTON — Louise Gee Philputt passed away peacefully at the age of 95 and joined her heavenly family on March 12, 2024.

Louise was born on July 6, 1928, to William and Helen (Johnson) Gee in Bennington, Vt. In her early childhood, Louise lived in the house that would become her lifetime residence next to the Horst Farm on Pleasant Valley Road. Her earliest school memories were of her 1st grade teacher Fannie Percy and the red brick schoolhouse at the top of Pleasant Valley Road. Her parents purchased the property from the Horst family, and later rented the house when they moved to work for the Colgates at their estate on Mt. Anthony.

LOUISE GEE PHILPUTT

Louise graduated from Bennington High School in 1946, where she sang in the school chorus and served as assistant editor of the Benhi Catamount student newspaper. At the University of Vermont, she was a proud member of the Alpha Chi Omega sorority. Her parents were very supportive of her pursuit of higher education, even picking up her laundry bag on the bus from Burlington and returning the clean laundry to her on the bus. She majored in Liberal Arts, and graduated in 1950.

When Louise returned to Bennington after graduating from UVM, she worked as a telephone operator at Sibley Manufacturing Company. It was there that she met Raymond Philputt. Louise married Ray on October 8, 1955. They bought the house on Pleasant Valley Road from Louise’s parents where they raised their children, Susan and James (Susie and Jimmy). Louise excelled at shorthand and taking notes at meetings. When her children were young she was secretary to the Bennington school boards. In the 1960s Louise typed Robert T. Pell’s handwritten manuscript for a book about General Montcalm.

Louise longed to be an elementary school teacher, and took education courses at North Adams State Teachers College for certification. She completed her student teaching at the Cora B. Whitney School and began teaching 3rd grade at the Bennington Elementary School in 1968, where she was on the faculty with her 1st grade teacher Fannie (Percy) Horst, who was also her next door neighbor and a dear friend. Louise thoroughly enjoyed teaching reading and cursive writing. After her retirement in 1991, she was always warmly greeted by her former students all over Bennington. Louise was a proud member of the Delta Kappa Gamma Society International-Alpha Lambda State and ETA Chapter for many years, serving as local and state secretary. She was also active in the Bennington County and Vermont State Retired Teachers Associations.

Louise was a lifelong member of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, where she participated in many aspects of the church after retirement including the altar committee, knitting circle, faithful folders, lunch bunch and editing the Keystone. She sang with the (VNA & Hospice) Serenity Singers for many years. Louise volunteered in the Catamount Elementary School library for a number of years.

Louise’s greatest joy was attending musicals and concerts, especially when her children and granddaughter were performing. She loved to read, keeping copious notes on hundreds of books that she read and sharing books with her friends. She learned to knit at age 7, and was still knitting at 95, making blankets, scarves and sweaters for family and various organizations. Louise enjoyed watching a variety of sports on the television. She was an avid Red Sox and NASCAR fan. The soap operas on CBS were daily favorites for Louise, which she would discuss with her friend Diane Roy every afternoon. Talking on the telephone with friends was a favorite pastime for Louise, and she was always happy to contact a list of people for her various organizations. She enjoyed ginger ale, cookies and her son-in-law’s homemade applesauce every day.

Louise’s family is grateful to Patty Squires, who cared for her in her home, and to the staff at SVMC and at The Center for Rehabilitation and Living (Coolidge and Frost) for their friendship and attention to Louise during a difficult time for many months. Among her caregivers were a number of wonderful former students.

Louise is survived by her children, Susan O’Daniel (Michael) of Vergennes and James of Bennington. Susan married into a large family who loved and embraced “Nana Lou”: Cathy Fuller (Chris, Nicholas, Emma) and Sharon O’Daniel (Jason, Grey, Petra Fearon) of Vergennes, and Nancy Zimmer (Mike, Burke, Maggie, Juliet) of Wilmington, MA. Louise’s greatest joy was her granddaughter Meghan (Sam Hagen) of Brookfield, VT. Louise was predeceased by Raymond Philputt in 2004 and her daughter’s stepson, James O’Daniel in 2019.

A celebration of life will be held at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Bennington, VT, on Friday, April 12, at 11 a.m. Calling hours will take place an hour before the service. Interment will be at Park Lawn Cemetery. A gathering of family and friends will be held in St. Peter’s Parish Hall following the interment.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Louise’s memory may be sent to St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, 200 Pleasant St., Bennington, VT. ◊

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