Townshend - Eris Marjorie Howe, a native Vermonter and a woman with a fiercely independent spirit, passed away peacefully Tuesday morning, October 23. She was a lifelong resident of the West River Valley, living by herself for many years at the Howe family homestead on Windham Hill Road in West Townshend.
Eris was born in Dr. Hefflon’s office in Jamaica on August 1, 1928, the fourth of five children of Raymond and Iola (Gleason) Howe. She attended West Townshend Elementary School and was a graduate of Leland & Grey Seminary, Class of 1946.
Eris worked at a variety of jobs, including a stint at American Optical in Brattleboro, helping family run Gleason’s Store in East Jamaica, and she also took over a mail delivery route in the West Townshend/Windham area that her parents had driven for years. Her last 30 years of work was spent as a bookkeeper and office clerk for Kearley Fuel/Barrows Coal Company in Jamaica. Following her retirement from Kearley she continued work for fifteen more years as a substitute mail delivery route driver out of the Jamaica Post Office.
For over 50 years Eris was very active as a member of the Order of the Eastern Star, Mount Lebanon Chapter #89 in Jamaica. She served in many stations in that organization, including Worthy Matron and Grand Organist. She was also a member of the West River Valley Chorus, participating in their twice-yearly public performances for more than 20 years.
Eris was a lifelong member of The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts, and, locally, for many years was a mainstay of the Christian Science Society in Chester, Vermont, serving as organist and in many other posts. For the past three years she was a member of First Church of Christ, Scientist, Brattleboro.
Eris loved her animals and had a deep appreciation for nature and the beauty of the land. Her dogs were her companions, and for many years she cared for her beloved horses and especially enjoyed riding on Turkey Mountain to pick blueberries. Many of those blueberries made their way into the muffins and desserts served at her favorite Valley restaurant, the Dam Diner. Eris built many a stone wall, and each spring reveled in tapping the maple trees near her home, boiling the sap into syrup which she shared with family and friends. A couple of her indoor pleasures were crossword and other word puzzles as well as a good game of cards. A raucous game of Oh Hell around the dining room table with family was one of her favorites.
Although Eris was a reserved and private person, she is also remembered as warmhearted, exhibiting a great love of people as well as animals. She very much enjoyed sharing her love of music, entertaining those at local convalescent homes on a regular basis with her piano playing. Her can-do attitude was remarkable and although she prided herself on being self-reliant, in many ways she undervalued her attributes. She definitely underestimated the strength of the connections she made with folks wherever she went as evidenced by the staff at Thompson where she resided for the past month who said that she was the most visited resident they had!
Eris is survived by her brother-in-law, Donald Prouty of West Townshend, several cousins, and many nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews scattered throughout the United States.
A celebration of her life will be conducted at 11 o’clock on Saturday, November 24, in the Mount Lebanon Lodge/Masonic Hall on Route 30 in Jamaica. There will be no calling hours. Her cremated remains will be buried in the Howe family lot in South Windham Cemetery at the convenience of the family. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Eris’s name may be made to Order of The Eastern Star, Mount Lebanon Chapter #89 c/o Barbara Coleman, PO Box 303, Bondville, VT 05340 or First Church of Christ, Scientist, 57 Putney Road, Brattleboro, VT 05301.