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CHARLOTTE (HOYT) ROSS - SHELBURNE - Charlotte (Hoyt) Ross, of Shelburne, died peacefully on Dec. 13, 2013, surrounded by her family in Fletcher Allen Health Care. Charlotte was born in Ann Arbor, Mich., Dec. 23, 1925, to Charles "Chuck" B. Hoyt and Hazel Sells Hoyt. As a young girl, Charlotte attended schools in Ann Arbor, Mich., and New Haven, Conn., where her father served as Head Track Coach at the University of Michigan and Yale University, respectively. During the war years, the Hoyt family moved back to their farming roots in Iowa where Chuck and Hazel managed and consolidated the family farms when track and other athletic programs were disbanded. In 1941, Charlotte graduated from Roosevelt High School in Des Moines, Iowa. She then matriculated at the University of Michigan, earning her BFA in 1948. While at Michigan, Charlotte met the love of her life, Charles "Charlie" Robert Ross, of Middlebury, Vt. Charlie graduated from University of Michigan in '41, returning on the GI Bill to earn an MBA and JDL in 1948. Charlotte and Charlie were married Aug. 28, 1948, in Ann Arbor, honeymooned in Vermont, before traveling cross-country to Oregon where Charlie accepted a position at the business school at Oregon State University. In 1949, Charlotte and Charlie moved east to Anchorage, Ky., where Charlie worked with his brother, Austin, at Austin's company, Derby Construction. In 1950, Charlotte and Charlie started their family with the birth of Jacqueline Hoyt Ross. A short while later, Peter Holmes Ross joined the family. In 1952, the Ross's returned to Vermont, intending to make Vermont their home, purchasing a family camp on Long Point and settling in Burlington, where Charlie practiced law and a third child, Charles "Chuck" R. Ross Jr., joined the clan. In 1961, the Ross's moved to Potomac, Md., when Charlie accepted federal appointments from President Kennedy to serve as a commissioner on the Federal Power and the International Joint Commissions. Prior to moving to the Washington area, the Ross's purchased their first Morgan horse, an event that would eventually lead to the establishment of Taproot Morgan Horse Farm in Hinesburg in 1968, once the Ross's moved back to Vermont from DC. It was Charlotte who christened the farm Taproot to serve as the place of sustenance and anchor for the Ross's. In 1994, Charlotte and Charlie moved to Wake Robin as early residents. For the next 20 years, Charlotte split time between Wake Robin and the farm. Over the years, her activities and her sustaining friendships at Wake Robin reawakened her, recapturing her joy of the arts; and after Charlie passed in 2003, she became the matriarch of the Ross clan. So who was this woman: Chicky, Charlotte, Mom, Grandma and Aunt Charlotte? She was an Iowa farm girl who took pride in her parents: Chuck a world record holder in the 220 yard dash and the Track Coach of the Century for the University of Michigan, and Hazel, one of the first women to graduate from Grinnell College and role model of what strong women raised on Iowa farmland could attain. Charlotte was a woman who was the quiet foundation of the Ross clan, who spoke her mind, never minced words, lived, loved and laughed; a woman who believed in the ability to accomplish great things even when you might doubt yourself, and who believed in moving forward, regardless of how difficult the route. Charlotte will be missed. She was one of a kind. Charlotte is survived by Jacqueline Ross of Oneonta, N.Y., Peter Ross and Nancy Abernathey of Jericho, and Chuck Ross and Kathy Beyer of Hinesburg; grandchildren, Jacob and Kelly Ross of Chester, N.J., Nick Ross of Hoboken, N.J., Halley Ross and Sam Ross of Washington, DC, and Ben Ross of Hinesburg; and great-grandson, Charlie Ross of Chester, N.J. Her extended family of nieces and nephews reside in Florida, Michigan, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maine, California and Vermont. A Circle of Remembrance will be held at Wake Robin on Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014, at 2 p.m. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Wake Robin staff who were Charlotte's friends and caregivers over the past 20 years: Employee Appreciation Fund, 200 Wake Robin Drive, Shelburne, VT 05482. Arrangements are by the Cremation Society of Chittenden County.

Published in The Burlington Free Press on Jan. 2, 2014
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