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Molly Dowd

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Molly Dowd Obituary
Molly McNeil Dowd

1989 - 2014 BRATTLEBORO Molly McNeil Dowd, 24 of Bonnyvale Road, died unexpectedly, on Sunday, July 6, 2014, while enjoying a sunny summer afternoon inner tubing and swimming with friends on the Deerfield River in Conway, Mass. Molly was born at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital on Sept. 7, 1989, the daughter of Ernest and Katherine (Newman) Dowd, sister of Chelsea Dowd Wiehl and sister-in-law of Evan Wiehl. She was baptized and made her first Holy Communion at Saint Michael's Catholic Church. Molly embraced new adventures and loved to travel. She traveled to Australia, worked as an au pair, volunteered on an organic goat farm, and spent two weeks traveling with her Dad, visiting ancient Uluru and snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef. She visited Belgium and made several family trips to Ireland to visit with her Irish family. Between international trips, Molly crisscrossed the United States and lived in Portland, Ore. She traversed the states several times, each time returning with a big smile and many stories to tell. From the time she was little, Molly loved working and playing in the dirt. As a child she was a master mud pie maker and, as an adult, she was a certified Master Gardener and a permaculturist. She coordinated the Green Street School Gardens and worked for several years in the Holton Home gardens planting herbs and vegetables to eat and flowers for the residents to enjoy. In 2010, Molly co-founded the Full Steam Farm at the top of Bonnyvale Road. Full Steam Farm was a place where Molly was able to put into practice the permaculture and sustainable agriculture principles that she had studied and believed in. In addition to selling vegetables from her farm stand, she also raised chickens, rabbits and for a few weeks last summer a very large peacock. Working was important to Molly. In her yurt was a sign that read "a man may do an immense deal of good, if he does not care who gets the credit for it." In high school Molly worked at Brown and Robert's Hardware where she greeted everyone with a friendly hello and huge smile. Molly never shied away from new responsibility and her family remembers how excited she was to turn sixteen, when she could finally run the service elevator and cut keys. That same year, while many were excited about getting a driver's license, Molly worked with the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps in Richmond, Vt. She cleared trails, replanted riverbanks, camped on location and made great friends. She was open to everyone, gave freely of her time and energy and was active in her community. Recently, after volunteering with the Rich Earth Institute in Brattleboro, she was invited to serve on the Board of Directors. The board remembers Molly as kind, articulate, keenly bright and never without her sense of humor. During the last Strolling of the Heifers, Molly could be seen pulling a porta-potty up main street with a sign that read "we're number one." Education was increasingly important to Molly. She had high expectations for herself in the work she did as a student. She studied at Warren Wilson College in Swannanoa, N.C., and finished her associate's degree at Greenfield Community College in Greenfield, Mass. Molly began further studies at Keene State College last fall, pursuing a degree in early childhood education. Molly was planning a trip to South America in January 2015, through Keene State's study abroad program to spend a semester in Valparaiso, Chile. As a teacher, Molly held firm to her high expectations always working from a belief that all children are capable and individually important. She worked at Green Street School with kindergartners and fourth graders facilitating the planning, planting, growing and maintaining of the school gardens. It is evident in the way students care for the gardens that, when working with Molly, they felt important, respected and loved. From her father, Molly learned to cook, bake pies, can and preserve fruit and vegetables, keep bees and process honey. She was her Dad's baseball buddy, watching and cheering for the Red Sox and attending baseball games at Fenway Park in Boston. He taught her how to grow vegetables, go fishing, to drive his tractor, and enjoy all kinds of music. She had his affinity for singing and remembering song lyrics. They did long bike rides and took quiet walks in the woods. From her mother, she learned to love flowers, flower gardening, reading and discovering new words, finding treasures in antique and second-hand stores, the thrill of riding roller coasters and conversations about everything. Molly's sense of adventure came early, taking car jaunts with her Mom, her Aunt Nonnie and her sister, Chelsea, where the direction chosen was decided at any given intersection, go left or right and then see where the road would take you. Molly was the balance in her sister's life. The carefree energy, the leap and the net will appear. Molly was her keeper of secrets, her steadfast friend, her laugh maker, her button pusher. Molly was to be an aunt this September and was looking forward to nurturing her niece and planning marvelous mischief and fun adventures. Molly had a generous and kind heart, was a thoughtful and loyal friend, an independent thinker, a hard worker, was physically strong and possessed a can-do attitude. She was resourceful and immersed herself completely in each of her interests. She enjoyed the challenge of a new project. Molly followed her dreams, enjoyed each day and lived life with gratitude, compassion, and exuberance. She respected nature and all its creatures. She loved people and was committed to taking good care of them. Molly was the change she hoped for and wanted to see in the world. She touched the lives of so many people. People who knew her describe her in many ways: a free spirit, a gem, a firecracker, a loving soul, a big heart, a bright light, a great listener and conversationalist, a giver. She radiated sunshine. Molly had a sparkle, a megawatt smile, and beautiful blue eyes. She always had time to give a helping hand and a loving hug. She was truly loved by everyone who knew her. Molly's bright and beautiful spirit will stay in our minds and hearts forever. FUNERAL NOTICE: Funeral services will be Friday, July 25, at 10 a.m. at Saint Michael's Catholic Church, 47 Walnut Street, Brattleboro. A celebration of her life will take place at 3 p.m. at Green Mountain Orchards on 130 West Hill in Putney. For those who wish, memorial contributions may be made to these organizations that Molly was actively committed to and involved with, the Rich Earth Institute, online or by mail to 44 Fuller Drive in Brattleboro, VT 05301 and to Windham County Farm to School, online or by mail to Post Oil Solutions, P.O. Box 431, Townshend, VT 05353. To sign an online register book or send messages of e-condolence, please visit www.atamaniuk.com.
Published in Brattleboro Reformer on July 24, 2014
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