ABIGAIL "Abby" BASSETT

Obituary
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ABIGAIL (ABBY) BASSETT ESSEX JUNCTION - Abby Bassett died unexpectedly Saturday, Nov, 20, 2010. She was born Sept. 4, 1956 in Flemington, N.J. and moved with her family to California, then Vermont. Graduating from Mt. Mansfield High School, Abby attended UVM for two years, majoring in Classics and Middle Eastern Studies, despite having schizophrenia. Her goal was to become an anthropologist. Instead, she became a teacher and an active volunteer with NAMI-VT, the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Vermont. She co-taught NAMI's Course for Professional Providers 17 times, no matter where in the state it was offered, and usually arrived first. Over 12 years, she helped with hundreds of NAMI-VT mailings, making this task fast and fun. Toward the end of her all-too-short but full life, Abby co-led NAMI Connections, support groups for people living with mental illnesses/brain disorders. She also spoke to many groups of people, including medical students and family members. Her own family takes comfort from the tributes of her many friends and acquaintances whose lives she touched with her earnest cheerfulness. Abby had an unfailing ability to rejoice in the good fortune of others, celebrate their successes, and encourage them in the face of seeming setbacks, all the while dealing with the challenges of her own illness. She met the symptoms of this illness with a strong will, intelligence and humor. She had the gift of recognizing others' woundedness and was unfailingly kind. Abby had about her a grace and wisdom that was and will continue to be an inspiration to others. She also had a wonderful sense of humor and could be laugh-out-loud funny, sometimes irreverent and bawdy, yet never mean. In the last five years of her life, Abby became a prolific poet, truly her heart's desire. She wrote literally hundreds of poems, most in notebooks, some on paper bags and napkins when in her travels she found herself without paper yet inspired by the sky, a memory, something she'd learned, or a conversation with a friend. She shared these poems with many people, sometimes writing impromptu lines that she gave to others. Abby was predeceased by her parents, Linaford (Lyn) Kershner Bassett and Glenn Bassett. She leaves on this Earth her sister, Sarah (Bassett) Chamberlain and her husband, Malcolm (Mal) Chamberlain of Shelburne; her brother, Glenn Bassett and his fiancée, Charlene Dauphin, of South Burlington; and many cousins and their families. The family is holding a private burial. There will be a Memorial Service at the Ready Funeral Home, South Chapel, 261 Shelburne Road, Burlington on Sunday, Jan. 9, 2011 at 1 p.m. to celebrate Abby's life. In lieu of flowers, it was Abby's wish that donations be made to The Howard, 300 Flynn Avenue, Burlington, VT 05401 and/or to NAMI-Vermont, 162 South Main Street, Waterbury, VT, 05676. To send online condolences and tributes, please visit www.readyfuneral.com.

Published in The Burlington Free Press on Nov. 27, 2010
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