Obituary: Candis Perrault-Kjelleren, 1957-2023 | Obituaries | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Obituary: Candis Perrault-Kjelleren, 1957-2023

Cofounder of the Relay for Life of Chittenden County is remembered for her leadership, spirit and passion for music

Published February 6, 2023 at 6:01 a.m.
Updated February 6, 2023 at 11:52 a.m.

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Candis Perrault-Kjelleren - COURTESY
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  • Candis Perrault-Kjelleren

Candis Ann Perrault of South Burlington, Vt., and formerly of Charlotte, Vt., lived a remarkable life through her positive attitude, enthusiasm, faith, fearlessness and courage. Candis died with her heart full of joy and peace on February 2, 2023. 

Candis was born prematurely on December 17, 1957, and placed in an incubator until she was adopted a month later as the daughter of Frank and Jan Perrault. She grew up in South Burlington, Vt., and graduated from South Burlington High School with the class of 1975. After high school, she pursued a double major in social work and psychology at the University of Vermont, where she graduated with dean's list and Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities honors in 1979. She received service and spirit awards in high school and college. Her passion for her community and pride in her schools never faltered. She could often be found attending UVM soccer and basketball games whenever they played at home.  

At the age of sixteen, after a summer exchange program to Hamelin, Germany, Candis decided that she wanted to create an international life for herself. So, upon the successful completion of her undergraduate studies, Candis immersed herself in Up With People, a six-month performing arts/community service program where she lived, worked and became friends with people of diverse backgrounds from many countries while traveling throughout Mexico. This experience fueled her confidence in her abilities to be self-reliant, create meaningful relationships and empower others.

Candis trailblazed her way from Vermont to Fairfield County, Ct., in 1981. In 1982, she founded an executive search business. Through her force of will and illimitable intuition, she developed clients in management consulting, financial services and consumer packaged goods. 

Candis moved back to Shelburne in 1992 with a desire to spend more time with her family and to give back to her community. She made several contributions to local organizations, joined a long-standing book group of friends and served as a cofounder of the Relay for Life of Chittenden County. She continued to carry this volunteer effort forward for four years while serving as a board member of the American Cancer Society. The society created the Candis Perrault Research Grant in 1995 in honor of her leadership and spirit.  

She married Don Kjelleren in 1997, and together they shared many outdoor interests and travel adventures to national parks in the United States and Latin America. They skied the Canadian, Craftsbury and Stowe Nordic ski marathons. Both participated in cycling tours to Europe, and Candis joined the Vermont Iowa Medalists for RAGBRAI before the birth of their beloved son, Hayden, in 1998. Candis actively supported Hayden throughout his upbringing, and he was her proudest accomplishment. 

Music was the passion of a lifetime for Candis. She sang and performed with Mystic Chorale of Boston, Middlebury College Community Chorus, Hinesburg Artist Series, Lake Champlain Waldorf School Community Chorus, All Souls Interfaith Gathering Choir, St. Catherine’s Folk Group, the Emergent Universe Oratorio premier concert and Philadelphia Main Line Orchestra and Choir.  

In remembrance of Candis, a small stone memorial has been placed in the Shelburne Cemetery, on which the words “SPIRIT LIVES” are inscribed. Her spirit continues to inspire all who knew her.

She is survived by her mother, Jan Perrault; brother, Kyle Perrault; son, Hayden Kjelleren; husband, Don Kjelleren; extended family members and many loving friends.

Candis’ memorial service will take place at St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church in Shelburne on February 11, 2023, 11 a.m. Lunch and remembrances will follow.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life of Chittenden County.

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