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Edmund M. Brelsford III

Obituary Condolences

Edmund M. Brelsford III 1931-2011 Edmund M.Brelsford, drew his last breath in the White Mountains on Sunday afternoon, September 11, at the top of Bear Notch Pass. He was 80 years old. Born April ll, 1931 in Miami, Edmund was the youngest of three children born to Alice Brelsford (nee Ashby). His grandfather, Edmund M. Brelsford was a pioneer in the state of Florida, founding the settlement that became Palm Beach. When still young, Edmund and his two sisters, Alicia and Dorinda, acquired a step-father and two step-brothers, Frank and Edwin Dunbaugh. The family moved to Coral Gables where Edmund's life-long love of the sea, sand, and sun began. Edmund attended Christ School in North Carolina from 1947-1950 where he played football, sang in the chapel choir, and learned the perils of poison oak. When the Korean conflict broke out he joined the Navy. Later he received his BA in Spanish at the University of Miami, but it was his minor in French that got him a French Government scholarship that took him to Paris to study at the Sorbonne. Later he made his way to Madrid, returning just in time to encounter a certain young lady who was also frequenting those shadowy halls, but chance dictated that another 2 years would go by before Edmund and Veronica Alewyn crossed paths again, this time at Middlebury College where they both received their MA's in the summer of 1960. Degrees tucked in their pockets, the two embarked on a rollicking jaunt across the US and back again, ending up at City Hall in New York for a brief but joyous wedding ceremony. Allegra Alewyn was born in New York in 1961; Oliver Ashby arrived the following summer, and when Wendy Carlotta was about to put in an appearance, the small but thriving family escaped the city to a small farmhouse in Westminster West. Edmund's love for the green mountains took root, and here the family stayed. A few years later, the family was complete with the arrival of Cecelia vanHook and Alicia Throm. In 1964 Edmund began his decades long career teaching languages and literature at Marlboro College. Fluent in four languages, he embraced the opportunity to explore the "less frequently taught" languages with any student who was truly committed to learning and he relished the intellectual environment that the College offered. But he was also invested in his children's education and sent them all to the Grammar School; he helped that little school thrive also - he chaired the Board, he cut ski trails, he drove the school bus. Edmund was an accomplished musician and performed music from the Medieval, Renaissance and the Baroque on period instruments. In 1967 he formed the Marlboro Recorder Workshop, which celebrated its 44th year last April by celebrating Edmund's 80th birthday with a concert. Above all, Edmund loved to sing; it made him happy. Having studied dance as a young man, Edmund danced Oberon in a local production of a Midsummer Night's Dream, and performed with the Coincidance troupe. He provided music for the College's theater productions, occasionally stepping on the stage himself, most notably as the Fool in "King Lear". Recently Edmund indulged his love for poetry by broadcasting a weekly poetry hour on WVEW, and served on the board of Write Action. Edmund was also an athlete, an accomplished cross country skier and cyclist, and over the years landed a good supply of medals for successes in competitions in his age group. He shared these loves with his children, supporting them in their own athletic achievements. South Pond, Hogback Mountain, canoeing the West River - where there was adventure to be found, he led the way. Edmund walked this planet with an unfailing joie de vivre. He was a life-long learner, a true Renaissance man, equally at home rebuilding the carburetor on his 1954 tractor as debating the true authorship of Shakespeare's plays. He relished it all and touched many with his intellect, enthusiasm and wit. Edmund was a committed family man whose love for his wife, children and grandchildren was unending. He chose deliberately and conscientiously the life he made for himself and his family and lived it lovingly and fully. He felt his life to be rich, wonderful and blessed. "Lucky, lucky we!" was his refrain, and it came from his heart. He is survived by his loving wife, five children, ten grandchildren, a sister, a step-brother, and many nieces and nephews. A celebration of Edmund's life will occur at the West Village Meeting House on October 11 at 10.00. Please bring a single flower to add to a vase. Donations in Edmund's memory can be made to the Grammar School's accessibility project, 69 Hickory Ridge, Putney 05346, or Sandglass Theater's access project, Putney.

Published in Brattleboro Reformer on Oct. 1, 2011
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