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Margaret Putnam Wesley


1926 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Margaret Putnam Wesley Obituary
Blessed savior there to guide us, till we reach that blissful shore. And the angels there to join us. In God's Grace forevermore.

Margaret Putnam Wesley, 90, died early Saturday morning March 18, 2017, gaining the peace that passeth all understanding in the beautiful tranquility of the Hospice room at Helen Porter Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, almost two weeks to the hour after the death of her precious husband, John. Ending perhaps the longest period of separation during their romance of more than 70 years, Margaret's death brought to a close Part I of the love story, and so begins Part II. Their family is lifted by the thought of them, together with their beloved daughter-in-law Jean Stilley, all singing songs and watching bird feeders in the afterlife, while we remain grateful for, and guided by, their legacy of love.

The daughter of Frank and Jessie (Archibald) Putnam, Margaret was born at home on November 12, 1926 in Bethel, VT in the 1830 farmhouse still occupied by her sister. She had a healthy farmgirl's upbringing that taught her respect for the land and all the creatures on it, a sunny outlook she cultivated her entire life. Some of her closest childhood friends were other members of the extended Putnam clan throughout the White River Valley in Windsor County, who have gathered annually on the last Sunday in July for the Putnam Picnic, a family reunion celebrated regularly since 1929.

Following her graduation from Whitcomb High School, where "Captain Put" was a high-scoring leader of the basketball team, Margaret entered the University of Vermont in 1945. When John succeeded in opening her locker after chemistry class, he forever won the key to her heart. Lest he lose her to the lure of transcontinental flight, John dashed to Massachusetts where she was beginning a stewardess training course and begged her to marry him. The wedding was in the United Church in Bethel on Dec. 27, 1947.

After settling in Middlebury where John spent a long career as a high school teacher, Margaret and John raised six children, and took great joy in watching close family ties knit together their nine grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren, with another great grandchild due in June. To them, Grandma will be forever remembered for her ardent love-filled greetings, a love that would never wane, as assured by the sound of her voice, her smiles and kisses, her twinkling eyes.

Margaret's character was inseparable from her instinctual need to be of service, whether to her family, her church or her community. She was a member of the Middlebury United Methodist Church, chairing the United Methodist Women for decades, and heading up their renowned rummage sale. When she retired from singing in the choir, the celebration took note that her tenure of more than 60 years equaled Queen Elizabeth's reign.

Margaret's volunteer work included R.S.V.P. and Helen Porter, where among many other duties she enjoyed calling Bingo every week. Eventually her diligence and compassion as a volunteer prompted the offer of employment at Porter Medical Center in discharge planning. When Margaret and John came to Helen Porter to spend their last weeks together, many staff commented on her role in creating the culture of compassionate care for which that vital community resource is now so widely known.

Together with John, Margaret gloried in an active life, marked by camping trips, canoeing, maple sugar making, square dance calling, ballroom dancing, and countless songfests with family and friends. For years, she knit a colorful pair of "Grandma Marg" socks to celebrate each family member's birthday, no two ever alike. She wrote letters and cards every day, typically announcing "I've got to walk these to the post office before it closes." She constantly whistled and hummed in rhythm to her life.

Margaret embraced her long and wonderful life to the fullest. Sock-knitter, article-clipper, goulash maker, angel food cake baker, champion whistler, devoted volunteer, prolific correspondent, shining beacon of love, compassion and understanding to her family and community, she was a truly beautiful woman inside and out. The world and our family have lost three extraordinary souls in the past two weeks and it is almost too much to bear...except that these three souls passed on to all of us a fierce love for life and all the beauty and challenge that it offers. For them, we march onward.

Margaret is survived by her sister, Loraine Putnam of Bethel, by her daughter Patricia J. Wesley and husband Garry Schaedel of Burlington, by her sons, John P. Wesley and wife Julie Peterson of Brattleboro, VT, Charles S. Wesley and wife Jennifer Joy of Loudon, NH, Edward F. Wesley of Lincoln, VT and Richard P. Wesley and his girlfriend Robin Higginbotham of West New York, NJ, and by her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She was predeceased by her parents, by her daughter Barbara L. Wesley who died in 1975, by her sister Louise who died in 2010, by her husband John W. Wesley who died on March 4, 2017, and by her daughter-in- law Jean Stilley who died on March 9, 2017.

SERVICES: A memorial service will be held on Sunday, April 2, 2017 at 1:00 p.m. at the United Methodist Church of Middlebury. The Rev. Jill Robinson will officiate.

The family is deeply grateful for the extraordinary care provided by staff at Addison County Home Health and Hospice and Helen Porter Health Care and Rehabilitation Services, and for the remarkable assistance provided by Michelle Whitney, SASH coordinator.

Memorial contributions may be made to those institutions, or the Middlebury Methodist Church.

Arrangements are under the direction of the Sanderson-Ducharme Funeral Home. Online condolences at www.sandersonfuneralservice.com
Published in Brattleboro Reformer on Mar. 22, 2017
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