Obituary: Charlotte Ely MacLeay, 1949-2021 | Obituaries | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Obituary: Charlotte Ely MacLeay, 1949-2021

Former childbirth educator played a role in the births of hundred of central Vermont babies

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Charlotte MacLeay - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy Photo
  • Charlotte MacLeay

Charlotte Ely MacLeay passed away peacefully at the McClure Miller Respite House in Colchester, Vt., on April 25, 2021, after a difficult battle with a rapidly progressing dementia. She was a caring and community-minded nurse and educator who deeply loved her family, greatly enjoyed meeting new people, and greeted everyone with a warm and engaging smile.

Born on October 8, 1949, to Robert H. and Loree C. Ely in Brownsville (West Windsor), Vt., Charlotte grew up skiing on Mount Ascutney, where her father designed and cut the trails and was the first to make snow in Vermont. Her love of skiing endured throughout her life, including this past season; she took special pleasure in skiing with her four grandchildren.

Shortly after earning a degree in nursing from the University of Vermont, Charlotte married her high school sweetheart, Thomas MacLeay, on June 5, 1971. They moved to Denver, where she followed in her mother’s footsteps, practicing nursing in a hospital setting, and then on to Phoenix, where she enjoyed her work as a public health nurse. After a stint in New Jersey, Charlotte and Tom returned to Vermont and settled in East Montpelier, where they raised their son, David, and daughter, Kate.

With young children at home, Charlotte also started a business as a childbirth educator, a relatively new field at the time. She went on to lead the formation of a statewide professional organization for childbirth educators, and she enjoyed the role she played in the births of hundreds of babies in central Vermont.

As her children grew, Charlotte shifted careers and became a school librarian at the Rumney School in Middlesex, Vt., where her work schedule aligned better with her duties as a mom. An avid reader, she loved researching and selecting the latest titles for the library and sharing her passion for reading with the young students.

Charlotte was always active in the community. She volunteered as a Vermont Statehouse tour guide and served on the board of Friends of the State House. She loved introducing her beloved Vermont to visitors from around the world and teaching school groups about the state’s history. She also had a long affiliation with Central Vermont Home Health and Hospice, volunteering in various roles over the years and serving on the board of directors for several terms. In recent years, she participated on the UVM College of Nursing and Health Sciences Advisory Board. All of these activities, and others, gave Charlotte a great deal of satisfaction and the joy of working alongside many friends and colleagues.

Charlotte loved to travel and particularly liked planning and organizing trips with friends and family. Whether it was a domestic golf trip, a barge tour in France, walking trips in Italy, adventures with grandkids in Scotland and France, or meandering around Europe’s less traveled regions with Tom, Charlotte joyfully attended to all the details and then reveled in the actual journey.

Charlotte also loved time spent at home with family. She was, above all else, a loving mother, grandmother and spouse. As Charlotte's health began to fail, her biggest disappointment was that “Mimi,” as she was known to her grandchildren, would not continue to be part of their lives. She cherished the experiences she shared with each of them.

Charlotte was predeceased by her parents, Robert and Loree Ely; her brother, John Ely; and her brother-in-law William MacLeay. She is survived by her husband, Tom; son David and his wife, Alicia; daughter Kate Crespo and her husband, Joe; grandchildren Burke, Adelle, Amelia and Cooper; brother Eugene Ely and his partner, Lori Keenan; sisters-in-law Bunny Ely, Sandy Bechtel and Maggie MacLeay; brothers-in-law Rick MacLeay and Hank Bechtel; and numerous nieces and nephews.

The family would like to thank Charlotte’s many friends who filled her life with joy, laughter and comfort; her amazing in-home caregivers, who became true friends; the incredibly caring staff at the McClure Miller Respite House; and especially the team at the Arbors, where Charlotte spent her most difficult months in the embrace of an exceptional group of remarkable people.

A celebration of Charlotte’s life will be planned for later in the year, when it is safe to gather.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be directed to Central Vermont Home Health and Hospice (cvhhh.org) or to Ascutney Outdoors (ascutneyoutdoors.org).

Those wishing to express online condolences may do so at guareandsons.com.

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