Laura Hathorn Obituary

March 5, 2014

in News,Obituaries,Woodstock

There will be no services, and burial will be private for Laura K. Hathorn, who died on Feb. 25, after a period of declining health.
She was born on Oct. 19, 1930 in Randolph, daughter of Henry C. and Pearl Hathorn.
She spent her childhood on the family farm in Bridgewater.
She was a graduate of Castleton State College, where she studied Education, later becoming a talented and influential second grade teacher at the Woodstock Elementary School in Woodstock for 40 years.
She started the “Kindness Club” that instilled in children respect for each other, animals, and the environment. In the 1980’s she initiated the foundation of “Opening Worlds” a non-profit organization for enhancing the life experiences of children in the community. Laura was a truly compassionate and empathetic woman. She retired from her teaching career in 1994 and enjoyed time in her garden, her sheep, cats and dogs, most recently Dartagnan, her loving Sheltie. Laura enjoyed feeding the birds outside her home and was an active supporter and beloved friend of VVSA Humane Society.
She is survived by her sister and brother in law, James and Mary Jane Fox of Chazie, N.Y. as well as nieces and nephews.
She was predeceased by two brothers, Lonnie and Francis.
In lieu of flowers donations may be made either to Vermont Volunteer Services for Animals HS, Post Office Box 100, Bridgewater, 05034 or Lucy Mackenzie Humane Society, Post Office Box 702, Brownsville, 05037.

This obituary first appeared in the March 6, 2014 print edition of the Vermont Standard.


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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Maryann E. Allcroft March 31, 2014 at 10:13 am

Laura was not my teacher in school. I did know her as the very caring person that she was.

It was quite a shock to me when I discovered that I was sitting directly across the dining table from her on 1/15/2014. I was visiting a dear friend from Cavendish. (When I saw her last Dec., I did not recognize her.) I
quietly asked Gladys her name again. Then I spoke directly to Laura, saying that we know each other. She looked up and called me by name.

Gladys was delighted to have Laura sitting next to her. She was pleased to finally have an intelligent person to chat with at meals. Gladys has had another fall – a bad one. She doesn’t know your sad news. I’m not telling unless she asks.

Peter Thompson March 10, 2014 at 3:19 pm

I came from the West Woodstock one-room school to the village for second grade, where Miss Hathorn was our beloved teacher. I remember her good humor at finding Jay Johnson and I when we hid in the coat closet, pretending to have gone back to West Woodstock. She organized a circus, complete with cardboard cages and stuffed animals from home. She led us in the tale of the Lion Hunt, in which we all beat our chests and thighs to make the sounds of a grand safari. She understood that kids need a balance of chaos and organization in their early learning. Thank you, Miss Hathorn!

Meg Anderson March 7, 2014 at 2:06 am

This is an ode to a great teacher and woman, Miss Laura K. Hathorn. I believe I speak for my entire 1966-1967 Woodstock Elementary School second grade class when I say we loved her. Her classroom smelled of warm southern-window sunlight, damp wooden floorboards, wet woolen mittens on radiators, construction paper, chalkdust, peace, unity, happiness, laughter – and sawdust. Yes, next to our rows of tiny wooden-topped desks (with inkwell holes) lived the class RABBIT, in a large cage full of fresh sawdust. Georgie Pepper chewed contentedly on carrots and lettuce as children filed in and out of that schoolroom year after year. To this day I am seven years old and happy and safe whenever I smell fresh sawdust.

Miss Hathorn was the perfect teacher for a kinesthetic learner. She walked us to the nearby telephone company to watch switchboard operators plug in jacks connected to thousands of multi-colored wires. She led a field trip past the old wooden Woodstock Inn and other historic buildings in the village. We sat at our desks and shook half-pint boxes of cream (seemingly forever) until we had made butter, which we ate. I had just moved to Vermont from the tropics and hadn’t zipped up a parka before, so Miss Hathorn helped me until I learned. She encouraged us to share what we knew, listened to us carefully, and gave us the freedom to be ourselves. I am forever indebted to Miss Hathorn for creating the learning environment I required for my soul to bloom and thrive, alongside my classmates and Georgie Pepper.

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