SOUTH POMFRET — A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 4 at the Pomfret Town Hall for Josephine K. Brayton, 93, who died March 30 after a brief illness. She was the oldest citizen of Pomfret. Burial in Fall River, Mass., will be private.
A transplanted “flatlander” from Massachusetts, Jo loved Vermont. After years of ever-longer vacations, Jo and her husband, Lincoln, moved permanently to Pomfret in the 1990s. They spent countless happy days walking Vermont’s trails and backroads. Jo’s friends often tell a familiar story: while driving on some distant backroad, Jo would say, “Lincoln and I walked this road.” As one friend put it, “We became convinced that Jo and Lincoln walked every backroad in Vermont.”
After Lincoln’s death in 2002 at age 96, Jo continued to walk the roads near her home. “Until physical infirmities set in, she walked every day down the road to visit her favorite tree, a big old sugar maple she named “Abraham,” her son Stephen recalled. She loved trees, as well as flowers, cats, stuffed bears, the Red Sox, and cherry tomatoes from the plant on her deck.
Strongly independent, Jo lived in her own home until the last week of her life. Last year, the Pomfret Ladies Circle presented her with the ceremonial cane recognizing the oldest citizen of Pomfret. Recently, the Circle presented Jo with a quilt made by its members, an event that made headlines when a newspaper reporter and photographer showed up along with Circle members.
She was an avid reader, especially on polar exploration, an interest stemming from river-rafting trips in the Yukon that she and Lincoln took in the 1970s.
Born in New Bedford, MA on April 16, 1919, daughter of Thomas C. and Emily (Rotch) Knowles, Jo was a graduate of Concord Academy and Bryant & Stratton Business Institute. She attended the University of Pennsylvania. While working in Boston, she met Lincoln D. Brayton of Fall River at her roommate’s wedding in 1945. They were married the following year and settled in Fall River.
Jo and Lincoln and their two sons later moved to nearby Swansea, Mass., where she cultivated a bountiful vegetable garden. Her son Nathanael recalled their gradual adoption of the Green Mountain State. “As they spent more time in Vermont, they built lasting friendships and enjoyed becoming part of the community.”
Josephine leaves her son Stephen and his wife, Lisa, of Dedham, Mass., and her son Nathanael, also of Dedham. She also leaves her good friends and travel companions, Annie Hastings and Sue Cole, both of Woodstock.
Contributions in Jo’s memory may be made to the Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium, St. Johnsbury, VT. Contributions will support the museum’s “Eye on the Sky” weather program.
Arrangements are being handled by Waring-Sullivan Homes of Memorial Tribute in Fall River, Mass. and Cabot Funeral Home in Woodstock. To send memories: www.waring-sullivan.com, or cabotfh.com.
This obituary first appeared in the April 11, 2013 print edition of the Vermont Standard.
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