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Ann Gras

Was born Annette Elizabeth Peters in 1926 at her parent's farm in South Hero, VT. After many years of home schooling, Ann (Petey) attended and graduated from St. Mary's in Peekskill, NY and attended Bryn Mawr for two years. In 1945, she left Bryn Mawr to marry Ranulf (Ranny) Gras. For 12 years they lived in Cambridge, MA and Weston, MA and started a family with four children: Gerry, Robn, Adrian, and Seaton, the initials spelling "GRAS". Ann and Ranny wanted to live in what is now called an "Intentional Community". They researched several existing community concepts, including Bruderhof and Walden II. Finally they and others started Brown's Wood in 1953, a community of 23 families, in Lincoln, MA. There Ann helped Ranny build the partial solar heating system on their house, (described in section 21 of the book "Solar Houses for a Cold Climate"). A few years later Ann and Ranny and others created Valley Pond near Brown's Wood. Ann joined the League of Women Voters, participated in the Lincoln Review, and wrote for the Fence Viewer. She had a ditto machine, a mimeograph machine, and an offset printer, long before such equipment was common in home offices. Also Ann wrote one or more children's stories and co-authored "The Software Sifter" with Phil Frankel. And much later, in October, 2001, she wrote an essay titled "Better World If We Start Planning Now". which was published on Common Dreams, (www.commondream s.org /views01/1023-05.htm). In October, 1969, Ann and Ranny and the three younger children set off from Salem, MA in their 52-foot yacht, the Merry Maiden, to sail around the world. They returned to Salem in June, 1975. After returning from the voyage, Ann spent a short time in the corporate world where she quickly rose from part-time secretary to full-time system analyst. She subsequently created AEGIS, a one-person business providing various computer services to other small businesses. Later Ann and Ranny created GRAS Corp. to sell alternative energy-efficient heating systems, involving solar heating and heat pumps. Adrian and Seaton contributed to this effort. In 1992 Ann and Ranny moved to the family farm where she had spent her childhood. Ann created an organic gardening business, training many young people about the theory and practice of organic farming, as well as selling organic produce to local people. Ranny died in 1994. In 2000, Ann moved to Starksboro, VT, where she died in April 2003 in her home. She leaves her children, Gerald, of Sunnyvale, CA; Robn Diekow, who lives with her husband Gerhard on their boat, and who are currently sailing in the Pacific; Adrian, of Billerica, MA, and Seaton, of Seattle, WA. She also leaves two grandchildren, Antares Diekow of Port Townsend, WA, and Tiare Gras of Seattle, WA. Services will be held North Hero, Vermont at 2:00 PM on August 17th and Lincoln, Massachusetts at 2:00 PM on August 23rd. Call Adrian at 978-671-4574 or (after August 4th) Gerry at 802-453-5177 for more information.
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