Margaret Ottinger, 56, died peacefully, as she had lived, with husband Matt of 28 years by her side in their home in Shelburne on Monday, March 13.
Her children Harvey (21) and Lila (17) were Margaret’s greatest joy in life. She loved watching both of them grow and succeed in life. Diagnosed with brain cancer two years ago, Margaret was asked what was on her “bucket list” and her wish was just to continue providing normalcy to her children, which she did with love and grace.
Margaret was a farm-girl born on June 10, 1960 in Sioux City, Iowa – the middle child of Lila and Alex Pelelo – and raised on a family farm outside of Merrill, Iowa with six siblings: Mary, Mike, Steve, Sarah, Cathy, and Bob. She is survived by all of of her siblings along with their spouses and children.
She graduated from LeMars High School in 1978 and went on to attain a Bachelors Degree in Social Work from Iowa State University, and a MSW at the University of Minnesota in 1987. She married Matthew Ottinger on Oct. 22, 1988, and together they spent two years in the Solomon Islands as Peace Corps volunteers. Margaret enjoyed years of the love and support from Matt’s parents Harvey & Kathryn, who live down the road in Shelburne, and siblings Debi, Harvey, Jean, Judy, Mary and Sarah, along with their spouses and children.
With her bright mind, compassionate soul, and unending ability to listen, Margaret dedicated her life to being of service and caring for others. Margaret found her true calling working for the Counseling Service of Addison County as a School-Based Clinician at Vergennes Union High School for the past ten years.
She served on the Shelburne Social Services committee and was active at All Souls Interfaith Gathering supporting food drives and organizing the annual COTS walk. Each year Margaret and her family enjoyed preparing holiday meals for neighbors at Harbor Place, as well as roasting corn at the Shelburne Farms’ Harvest Festival. Even amid health challenges, Margaret continued to shine in kindness, humility, gratitude, and purpose as a loving wife, mother, sister, friend, neighbor, and volunteer.
A celebration of Margaret’s life will be held at 3pm on Saturday, March 18 at All Souls Interfaith Gathering in Shelburne, with a burial to follow in the summer. The family extends deep gratitude to the VNA, Dr. Moustakas and his office staff, and to all of the friends and neighbors who have supported Margaret and her family these past two years. Anyone who wishes may consider a gift to the VNA or a public service organization of your choice in Margaret’s memory.
Arlene Smith Rec passed away quietly at Vernon Green on March 6, 2017 at the age of 97. Arlene was born in an apartment above the Central Vermont Railway Station in Vernon, Vt. to parents Guy and Alta (Richardson) Smith on Jan. 23, 1920.
Arlene was educated in Vernon North School, where eight grades were taught by one teacher. She continued her education at Brattleboro High School, graduating in 1938. After raising her family, Arlene returned to school and obtained an Associates Degree from Castleton University at age 55.
On July 22, 1938, Arlene married John Rec in the St. Michael’s Catholic Rectory. John and Arlene were married for 77 years this past July. John passed away in Sept. 2016. They resided in Brattleboro all their married life, except for living at Shelburne Bay for a year before moving to Vernon Green.
Arlene is survived by two children, Jeanne LaClair and her husband Charles of Shelburne, Vt. and Michael and his wife Carol, residing in Ocala, Fla. Additionally, she left three grandsons, Timothy (Cathy) and Daniel (Shannon) LaClair residing in the Burlington area, and Jeffrey Rec (Deanna) residing in Stafford Springs, Conn.
During her work career, Arlene held many diverse positions in the Brattleboro area. She worked as a domestic while completing high school. She also sewed baseballs for Spaulding Brothers and made bomb and shell boxes during World War II. She worked for the town listers’ office, canvassed the entire town of Brattleboro for school census, and worked as a teacher’s aide at Green Street School. She retired as secretary at St. Michael’s School in 1982.
She was active as a room mother, den leader, and Little League scorekeeper, and always supported her children’s activities. In their later life, she and John took many trips to polka weekends, as well as visits to National Parks. Arlene enjoyed dancing, painting, and making greeting cards.
She is survived by her sister Helen Monroe of Northfield, Mass., and numerous nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by her parents and by brothers Elwin, Allen, and Russell, and sisters Leona Tinney, Ruby Purrington, Bernice Foley, and Norma Putnam.
Visiting hours and a brief service will be held at the Atamaniuk Funeral Home from 1 to 3pm on Saturday, March 18. A reception will be held at the Union Congregational Church Fellowship Hall following the burial at the North Cemetery in Vernon.
Memorial donations may be made in Arlene’s name to Vernon Green Nursing Home Activities Fund, 61 Greenway Drive, Vernon, Vt. 05354.
To sign an online guestbook with messages of e-condolence, please visit www.atamaniuk.com.