SANDGATE - Edith (Edie) Pullman Tschorn died peacefully on Thursday, September 20, 2012, surrounded by her family, at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center in Bennington. She was diagnosed with glioblastoma brain cancer in October 2011, and proceeded to live the following year with such clarity, courage, humor and love that it became a life-changing gift to all of her family and friends. She felt that her confrontation with mortality brought her a perspective on her life and connection to loved ones present and past that gave a deeper sense of meaning than she might ever have come to otherwise.
Edie and her husband, Reggie Tschorn, combined optimism and realism in facing the cancer, taking part in an innovative stem cell trial at JFK Neurological Institute in New Jersey, in addition to surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. Her physical strength and amazing attitude carried her through the year with great vitality, as she continued to mow the hay at the family farm in Shaftsbury, work in the woods around her home in Sandgate with Reggie, and take long walks, with her companions struggling to keep up with her. She was still hiking around the farm and Sandgate just a few days before she died. She was fascinated by the elusive ways that memory and language were torn down and rebuilt during the process of her treatment, seeing the experience as a game and a puzzle to be solved.
Edie was born in New York City on August 7, 1956. She found her true home on her grandparents' dairy farm in South Shaftsbury, Vermont, and she could barely wait for summer each year so she could run in the fields, swim in the pond and search for kittens in the hay barn. As a child, she was in constant motion. When cooped up in the New York apartment, her specialty was shinnying up the door frames after leaping over pretend horse-jumps made of furniture, but she was also a voracious reader and imaginative artist. She loved learning, but preferred to do it outside of school! She discovered the world of horses early, became a superb rider, and competed successfully in horse shows all over New England, winning many Vermont State and New England Championships. Horses and cats were always full-status family members. She also discovered the lifelong joy of flying, attaining her pilot's license before she was licensed to drive a car. She became a flight instructor at the Bennington airport, and she and Reggie, who is also a pilot, flew all over New England, around the Bahamas, and across the county to explore, visit friends and work with clients.
She moved to Vermont full-time in 1970, and graduated from Mount Anthony Union High School in Bennington in 1974. After a year at Bennett College in Millbrook, New York studying stable management, she decided to get on with starting a stable business at the family farm. The old barn was refurbished for horse stalls and a new barn and indoor ring were added in 1976, becoming the center for Trumbull Mountain Stables and Tack Shop. The stalls and pastures were soon filled with boarders, as many local horse-owners took advantage of Edie's boarding stable facilities and the riding trails around the beautiful farm. She and her brother Jim Pullman built an excellent hay operation that continues to produce high quality hay for the farm and other customers.
Edie developed this equestrian business over the next 30 years, becoming a respected horse trainer and breeder of Morgan horses, a gifted teacher, and a successful entrepreneur with a national reputation for custom saddle fitting. With the hope of making time for her many other interests, Edie sold the saddle business in 2009, but continued to actively manage the boarding and hay operations, and explore the possibilities for the future of the farm. Just a few weeks before her death, she was on the tractor mowing a good second cutting of hay with a crew of family and friends. Edie was a relentlessly hard worker, and conveyed to her nieces and all those who worked at the farm how to balance accountability and responsibility with generosity of spirit and a sense of humor. Her joy at doing work she loved in a beautiful landscape was a vision she shared with all who know her. Edie's family will carry on the stable and hay production enterprises that she worked so hard to sustain, and will continue to share her dedication to keeping small working farms alive in Vermont.
Edie and Reggie Tschorn were married on April 30, 2001, and Edie moved to Sandgate, where they enjoyed the network of mountain trails, and worked together on forest management and a spectacular vegetable garden, radiating energy and laughter wherever they went. Edie was previously married to Michael Devens, who has remained a dear friend to Edie and her family.
Known for her piercingly blue eyes, Edie was a keen observer of human nature, including her own, and a true believer in what people can accomplish if they are willing to try. Compassionate, honest and uproariously funny, she was a treasured daughter, sister, aunt, wife, stepmother, and friend. She is survived by her husband Reggie Tschorn, her brother Jim Pullman and sister Candace Pullman Wheeler, her nieces Kate and Caroline Wheeler, her brothers-in-law Mike Wheeler and Hank Tschorn, stepsons Brian and Brandon Tschorn and their families, mother-in-law Winnie Riggle, and many beloved friends, both human and animal.
A celebration of Edie's life will be held in the indoor riding ring at the farm in South Shaftsbury (957 Trumbull Hill Road), on Saturday, Oct. 20, at 1 p.m. All are welcome. For anyone who wishes to make a gift in honor of Edie, the following organizations were important to her: The Vermont Land Trust, The National Brain Tumor Society, and Ducks Unlimited, c/o Hanson-Walbridge & Shea Funeral Home P.O. Box 528, Arlington, VT or to the following addresses:
National Brain Tumor Society, 124 Watertown Street, Suite 2D, Watertown, MA 02472; Vermont Land Trust, 8 Bailey Avenue, Montpelier, VT 05602; Ducks Unlimited, One Waterfowl Way, Memphis, TN, 38120. To send the family personal email condolences, please visit www.sheafuneralhomes.com
. The family has entrusted arrangements to Hanson-Walbridge & Shea Funeral Home, Historic Rt. 7, Arlington, VT.