CONSTANCE LEONA STAATS - MIDDLEBURY - With her family at her side, Constance Leona Staats, 84, of Middlebury, passed away peacefully on March 6, 2013, in Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington. Connie was born in New York City on Jan. 4, 1929, the daughter of the late Dr. Herbert and Leona Jackson. She earned her B.A. in Children's Theatre at Northwestern University and her Master's of Education at UVM. She married Paul Staats in 1950, and in 1960 they moved their growing family to Middlebury. In 2000, she was a recipient of the Middlebury College Bicentennial Medal and McCardell Citizen's Service Award, recognizing her lifetime contributions in education and theater. These contributions include founding Old College Farm Nursery School, directing summer preschool programs at the Middlebury Charter House, teaching kindergarten at Mary Hogan Elementary School, and her many years as Lead Teacher and Director at Mary Johnson Children's Center. In theater she founded the Old College Farm Players children's theater and directed, produced and performed in many adult plays with lead roles in "Born Yesterday," "The Gin Game," and "Steel Magnolias." Her most recent role was Miss Maudie Atkinson in "To Kill a Mockingbird." In 2007, she was recognized with a Life Membership to the Middlebury Community Players. In later life, she enjoyed her work with the Vermont Folklife Center, Round Robin Thrift Shop, the Sheldon Museum and the Addison County Humane Society. She took great pleasure in her gardening and in her artistic work mentored by the late Prindle Wissler. She is survived by her older sister, Suzanne Blalock of Lewis, Texas; six children, Paulette Staats and husband, Paul Shriver, of Braintree, Michael Staats and wife, Jennifer, of Middlebury, William Staats and wife, Melanie, of Victory, Nicholas Staats and wife, Susan, of Salisbury, Christine Staats and husband, Brian Perkins, of Burlington, and Wendy Staats of Boulder, Colo.; nine grandchildren, Paulette, Nicholas, Kathryn, Galen, Arlon, Avery, Darcy, Ella and Holly; and three great-grandchildren, Heidi, Oliver and Gueneviere. We thank Katie Bird, NP, Diana Barnard, MD, and the staff of the medical ICU for their support and guidance. A celebration of Connie's life will take place at Saint Stephen's Church in Middlebury, March 23, 2013, at 10:30 a.m. A reception will follow. Donations in Connie's name can be made to The Middlebury Town Hall Theatre and to The Addison County Humane Society.