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Michael E. Colbert

Michael E. Colbert Obituary
Michael E. Colbert, 63, of Durban, France, died January 8, 2019 in France where he lived since 2002. Born in Concord, he was the son of Edward Colbert and predeceased by his mother Dorothy (Hoar) Colbert, and his late brother Edward. He was a graduate of Concord-Carlisle High School, class of 1973 and graduated cum laude from University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 1978 with a degree in environmental design. While there, he spent a semester in Toulouse, France with The Experiment in International Living. He also received a masters degree in renewable natural resource studies from the University of Arizona, Tucson in 1988. He spent two years in the Peace Corps working with other volunteers to develop woodlots, tree planting, and soil conservation in rural Nigerian villages. He studied ballet and modern dance at Jacobs Pillow in Lee, Massachusetts and the Harkness School of Ballet and the Alvin Ailey School, both in New York. Becoming a professional dancer, he performed in Boston, New York, Marthas Vineyard, and Tel-Aviv. He studied art with several venues while living in Arizona. With his keen intellect and sense of purpose he managed to blend his wide range of talents and skills in the arts with his life-long commitment to sustainable environmental practices and land conservation. Michael worked for several years with The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. He was involved in such projects as the design of zoological exhibits for city zoos, landscape restoration projects in New Yorks Central Park, and the exterior landscaping of one of the World Trade Towers. He held similar positions as well in Tucson and in Boston where he managed a graphic production team for the Central Arterys final Report to the states Office of Transportation and Construction. He also owned and managed a sheep farm in Benson, Vermont. Prior to selling this farm, Michael brought together owners of adjoining farms who collectively agreed to give up their development rights in exchange for permanent protection of 775 acres of prime agricultural land. He moved to France where he bought and managed a sheep farm in Durban located in the farming region in the countrys southwest. Ann- ually, he bred 250 sheep resulting in 450 lambs. His husbandry practices meant no pesticides and only organic feed. Using the contours of his property he planted trees and created oases to provide sun protection and water holes for his animals. He kept horses for working the farm, hayrides, and competing in jumping and riding events. He was visited regularly by family and friends who enjo- yed his engaging wit, his passion for the land, and assi- sted with the annual lambing season. Michael is survived by his father, Edward M. Colbert and his partner Beverly Simpson of Marblehead, his brothers, Stephen Colbert and his wife Bethany of Manchester-by-the-Sea, John Colbert and his wife Luann of Norwood, and Joseph Colbert and his wife Jean of Carlisle, his nieces and nephews, Stephanie, Michael, James, Andrew, Michaela, Matthew, Tate, Kelsey, Keith, Kimberly, Jennifer and many extended family members and friends. Donations in his memory can be made to: the Vermont Land Trust, 8 Bailey Ave., Montpelier, VT 05602 www.vlt.org; the Environmental Defense Fund 257 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 1001 www.edf.org; or to a . Family and friends will gather to honor and remember Michael on Sunday, June 30, 2019 in Dublin, NH.
Published in Concord Journal from May 29 to June 13, 2019
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