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Charlotte Rafferty

Charlotte Rafferty Obituary
Charlotte Nelson Rafferty, June 29, 1929 to June 16, 2019. Born near St. Johnsbury, Vermont and raised in a farming family in the hamlet of East Burke, Charlotte was the youngest child of Walter and Elizabeth Nelson and the sister of Elizabeth, Charles, and Annette. She grew up on a dirt road that crossed a swift stream in a house that looked across a grassy valley that terminated at the steep slopes of Burke Mountain. Her grammar school education took place in a one-room schoolhouse just down the hill from their house. For her secondary schooling, Charlotte attended St. Johnsbury Academy as a boarding student. It was here that she picked up a love for Latin from her favorite teacher and a taste for the busier pace that city life offered. From there, she was off to Champlain College in Burlington where she majored in secretarial studies. While matriculating at Champlain, she visited her sister Annette, at UMass, Amherst to double date with her, her husband-to-be boyfriend and his friend, a World War II vet from urbane Connecticut who was studying to be a chicken farmer. That was evidently a most attractive combination because the following summer, on June 11, 1950, Charlotte married Robert Rafferty of New London. They began their married life at the Spinney Farm in Littleton, followed by a brief residency in West Acton, and spent the remainder of their lives together at 16 Elmwood Road in Snow Village. There, Charlotte and Bob raised 4 children, Sarah, Mark, Seth, and Carolyn. Like many ladies of her generation, Charlotte was a stay-at-home mom. But those close to her will tell you that she took that selfless job to a higher level. Each summer, Charlotte shared vegetables from the family garden with neighbors without gardens. Harkening back to her practical, Vermont roots, she canned many vegetables from the garden, filling the basement shelves with produce for the winter. Each Christmas season, her small, busy kitchen was going full tilt as she baked breads, assorted cookies and prepared from-scratch caramels and chocolate candies, mostly for giving to her neighbors. Charlottes love for Littleton extended beyond Snow Village. She was a Girl Scout leader for several years, served as secretary to the Board of Appeals in the 80s and 90s, and was a Littleton Lyceum volunteer in that same period. An enthusiastic supporter of music, she was one of the volunteers to get the Indian Hill Center launched. Both Bob and Charlotte delivered lunch to seniors in the Meals on Wheels program...when they were both seniors. They enjoyed Littleton culture and were long-time members of the Bird Club and the Historical Society. Charlottes life of service extended beyond Littleton. She was a member of First Church of Christ, Scientist in Concord for sixty years, serving in nearly every capacity and committee in that congregation. She was a long-standing volunteer for the Boston Symphony Orchestra. To read this list of local activities that Charlotte pursued with such zeal, you might picture a frantic gadfly. Instead, she was the quiet one in the room, letting others have their word and offering up easy inquiries to let them be heard. Vermonters have a reputation for being region-proud, as well they should. Charlotte embraced Littleton and Massachusetts so wholeheartedly that it would appear she never looked back at East Burke. Rather, she was that rare, blithe spirit who cherished the moment and the present company. Her family and her adopted hometown were the happy recipients of that unsinkable, appreciative nature. Nearly 90 years of living in the moment and finding joy in all of them is a happy and well-lived life. But the folks who knew her will still miss her. A loving mother and grandmother, Charlotte is survived by her four children and their families, Sarah, Mark, and Lauren Kelly of Houston; Mark, Natalie, True, Quinn, and Blythe Rafferty of Atlanta; Seth and Catherine Rafferty of Dover, New Hampshire; and Carolyn, Wayne, Julia, and Laura Boisselle of Holden. She is also survived by ten nieces and nephews and their families. She was predeceased by her siblings and their spouses, Elizabeth and Richard Maxwell, Charles Nelson, and Annette and George Gibavic, by her husband, Robert, in 2008, after a 58-year marriage, and by her grandson, Adam Kelly, in 2017. She was also predeceased by her nephew, Donald Gibavic, in April. A memorial service will be held Saturday, August 3, at 11 a.m. at the Congregational Church of Littleton, 330 King Street. All are welcome. In lieu of flowers, those who wish may donate to Indian Hill Music or Littleton Lyceum.
Published in Eagle Independent from July 16 to July 26, 2019
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