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Elizabeth (Liz) Hirbour

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Elizabeth (Liz) Hirbour Obituary
Elizabeth (Liz) Denstad Hirbour (formerly Everest), 88 years old, passed away peacefully on March 19 at The Bradley House in Brattleboro, Vermont.

Liz's earliest years were surrounded by poverty, being shuffled to a variety of relatives and "children's homes" along with her four brothers and sisters, parental conflict and the horrors of the bombing of London during WWII in England where she was born and lived--except for a seven month stay with her father in Norway. However, those many traumas did not stop her from having a richly successful life by almost any standard. Ultimately-- like most immigrants - Liz gave back much more to the United States than she ever received.

After being shipped to the United States at age 10 with her 8-year-old brother David to escape wartime bombing in London, she was raised by the generous and loving Avery family in Malden, Massachusetts. The Avery's sponsored her undergraduate education at Oberlin College in Ohio, she eventually married (Rutherford 'Rudy' Everest) and raised four sons while serving first as a "minister's wife," then working part time as a research assistant at Worcester State Hospital.

While new traumas imposed themselves on her life in the form of the death of a son (David) in 1981 at age 22, and the divorce from her husband Rudy after 30 years of marriage the following year, she persevered, moving alone to a Cape Cod apartment while working in a gift store. Liz eventually remarried John Hirbour, whose love of antiques and simple country living was a great match for her. While living with her husband John, first in North Brookfield and then Hardwick, Massachusetts, Liz worked for Head Start as a Home Visitor, then part time as an Interpreter at Old Sturbridge Village for many years where she found great joy, especially when working with young children. Liz and John often traveled together, including many trips to England to visit Liz's sister Paula Hardwick and her family, while also touring the English countryside and visiting antique shops. John and Liz retired to Yarmouthport on Cape Cod, where John operated an antique store until his death in 2016.

After John's death, Liz moved to Brattleboro to live with her son John Everest, his wife Katey and daughters Chloe & Thea, then moved into The Bradley House where she received the most extraordinarily loving care. Liz quickly adopted Brattleboro as her home, often admiring the plethora of deeply caring, unique, artistic and welcoming people with whom she consistently came in contact. Liz charmed (and was charmed by) the staff and other residents of The Bradley House, making many deep connections.

Liz's oldest son Clifford died in February of 2017, though Brattleboro Area Hospice's bereavement program was extraordinarily helpful in easing the pain of that and her husband's death the previous year. Liz had lived with Parkinson's disease for many years, and when a fall in early 2017 resulted in a broken back, the Bradley House staff, Brattleboro Area Hospice, and Bayada Hospice staff and volunteer support provided a comfortable and deeply enriching final year of life.

In addition to Liz's son John Everest and his family, Liz leaves her sister Paula Hardwick in England, brother David Denstad of Reno, Nevada, and son Peter Everest, his wife Marian and their three daughters: Laura and Kelly Everest and Kristine Fernandez (and husband Nick) and their two young daughters Keira and Colbie ...all of Southern California.
Published in Brattleboro Reformer on May 8, 2018
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