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Elizabeth Kearns

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Elizabeth E. Kearns

1924 - 2012 KEENE, N.H. Elizabeth Eileen (Burgess) Kearns, 88, died Sunday, Nov. 25, at Westwood Care and Rehabilitation Center in Keene after a period of failing health.

She was active in Democratic Party politics in Vermont for several decades, was elected vice chair of the state Democratic Committee in 1967, and worked for several years in the Montpelier, Vt. office of U.S. Senator Patrick J. Leahy. After retiring in 1989, she lived in Port Richey, Fla., until resettling near family in Walpole, NH, in 2002.

Mrs. Kearns was born in Bennington, Vt., on Nov. 22, 1924, daughter of Earl E. and Helen L. (Briggs) Burgess. She was a member of the Bennington High School Class of 1943, graduated from St. Joseph Business School in her hometown, worked in New York City as a secretary for Hearst publications, and after returning to Bennington was the director of the "Teen Town" recreation program.

On Oct. 25, 1947, she married William F. Kearns Jr. at St. Francis de Sales Church in Bennington. He died in January 2011. His career as a newspaperman and public servant led to the couple residing in Hammond, Ind., Montpelier, Vt., and Manchester, Maine. In 1975, the two interrupted their careers to embark with their young son, Robert, on a 10-month cross-country road trip that she considered second only to raising her family among the highlights of her life.

Survivors include son, Robert, and daughter-in-law Lauren of Burlington, N.C.; daughters, Dianne Duncan and son-in-law, Dayton, of Walpole; Sandra Brauer and son-in-law, Fred, of Fletcher, Vt., and Gail Kearns of Santa Barbara, Calif.; sister, Hazel Candib of Bennington; brothers, Chester Burgess of Bennington and Edward Burgess of Belmont, Vt.; five grandchildren, four great-grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews.

Her parents, two brothers and one sister predeceased her.

Contributions in Mrs. Kearns' memory may be made to Home Healthcare, Hospice and Community Services, 312 Marlboro St., Keene, N.H. 03431.
Published in Bennington Banner on Nov. 26, 2012
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