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Ellen Leigh "Chris" Hyde

1923 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
Ellen Leigh "Chris" Hyde Obituary
Ellen Leigh Martin Hyde, "Chris" to her many friends, died peacefully June 13 in her 95th year.

She was born July 10, 1923 in New Orleans, La., the daughter of the late Alan Roland Martin and Constance Marye Alexander. Her paternal grandparents were Percy Fraser Martin and Margaret Conrad Severn of Philadelphia, Pa. Her maternal grandparents were Mark Leigh Alexander and Ellen Leven Luckett of New Orleans and Alexandria, La.

Chris attended Miss Edith Aiken's School in New Orleans, and when her family moved to New York City and Rye, N.Y., she continued her education at the Warrenton Country School in Warrenton, Va., a French boarding school. From there she entered Rosemary Hall in Greenwich, Conn. and graduated in 1942. World War II interrupted her formal education, but during the war years she was active in British War Relief, the Navy League and served as a Red Cross Nurse's Aide. In 1943 she joined Time Inc. and was with Time-Life International until 1948, when she divided her time between New York and her family's home in Weston.

Those early days in Vermont were filled with lively house parties, skiing at the Weston rope tow, square dancing, competitive rounds of charades and mixed doubles tennis. Chris was an accomplished equestrian at a young age. She rode in the horse show circuit in New York, Connecticut and Madison Square Garden, collecting many blue ribbons. She retired her horse to the family farm in Weston where she continued to ride.

In 1948 Chris married Henry Cheves Hyde, also of Rye, N.Y. He proposed while rowing her out to a mooring at the American Yacht Club and there was no turning back. As much as they loved the salt water, they were both drawn to the Vermont mountains and married at St. John's Episcopal Chapel in Manchester.

In 1950 Chris and her husband left New York and moved to Vermont fulltime, first to Weston and then to Chester. Together they enjoyed the outdoors, hiking and camping with their children and friends, skiing the slopes at Bromley and Okemo, and entertaining young and old on their backyard terrace. Chris became active in the Episcopal Church of Vermont, served on the Diocesan Council and headed Christian Education for Episcopal Women. For several years she served on the staff of the Rock Point Summer Camps on Lake Champlain under the late Rev. Alexander Smith. She was also instrumental in the founding of the first Planned Parenthood Clinic in Springfield, and served on the community education team as a public speaker.

Chris was active in community theatre, was a member of the Chester Players, and performed in many productions on the Chester stage as well as several at the Weston Playhouse under the direction of the late Harlan Grant. For all of her years in Vermont she was a substitute school teacher, teaching in many of the one-room schools of the day and later in the larger consolidated schools. She was much loved and respected by her students.

In 1976 Chris and her husband built their home in Landgrove, a community they had enjoyed since the late 1940s. She was active in the Landgrove community church and Zion Episcopal Church in Manchester, a great friend of the Brothers of the Weston Priory, a member and past president of both the Green Mountain Gardeners and the Vermont chapter of the National Society of Colonial Dames, and a board member of Dumbarton House in Washington, DC.

Above all, Chris was a gifted mentor with a talent for reaching young people in any setting. She was spirited and fun-loving, and was most at home entertaining her children and their friends, whether at Luke's Place, an afterschool gathering spot she created, or at her annual Advent parties enjoyed by generations of children. With tireless energy, she was masterful at rounding up the troops for outings, games, backyard sports, parties, dancing and music. She wrote many children's stories and poems for family and friends, and will be remembered especially for her "Lemon and Lime" tales told over and over to adoring grandchildren.

Chris was predeceased by her husband, and her brother Alan Roland Martin Jr. She is survived by her children Leigh Hyde Adams (Richard) of Landgrove, Henry Cheves Hyde Jr. (Connie) of Falls Church, Va. and Anne Hyde Degan (Daniel) of Weston, her grandchildren Cameron, Elisabeth, Lucy and Mat, four great grandchildren and generations of nieces and nephews.

The family wishes to extend a heartfelt thank you to the caregivers at Equinox Terrace in Manchester for their warm and sensitive care.

A memorial service will be held Saturday, June 30, 2018, at 4 pm at the Landgrove Meeting House. Memorial gifts may be made to Mountain Valley Health Center, Londonderry, VT 05148 or to Neighborhood Connections, PO Box 207, Londonderry, VT 05148.
Published in The Manchester Journal from June 22 to July 13, 2018
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