Obituary: Elsie Skolfield, 1929-2022 | Obituaries | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Obituary: Elsie Skolfield, 1929-2022

Longtime UVM Medical Center employee was an advocate for mental health and underserved communities

Elsie Skolfield - COURTESY
  • Courtesy
  • Elsie Skolfield
Elsie (Ries) Skolfield passed away peacefully on Sunday, February 13, 2022, at her home in Wake Robin in Shelburne, Vt.

Ellie was born on August 10, 1929, in Yonkers, N.Y., the youngest daughter of Waldo and Florence Ries. After the family moved to Wollaston, Mass., Ellie graduated from North Quincy High School in 1946 and Fay School for Women in Boston. She met her future husband, Charles Skolfield, while both were members of a Boston-area camera club. They were wed in Quincy in 1956 and settled in Wappingers Falls, N.Y., where their two daughters were born. In 1965, IBM transferred the family to Burlington, Vt., which became the family’s home.

When the University of Vermont created a two-year nursing degree program in 1971, Ellie enrolled. Upon graduating, she worked at UVM Medical Center, where she stayed for 20 years, most of them spent in the psychiatric unit. She was a dedicated employee and became an advocate for mental health and underserved communities throughout Vermont. She was a charter member of Faith United Methodist Church in South Burlington and a member of the Unitarian Universalist Society of Burlington since 1984. Ellie volunteered for JUMP, COTS, hospice, Vermont Nursing Association, and many support groups and committees associated with Unitarian Universalist Church.

Retirement for Ellie meant becoming more active; she took up kayaking at the age of 65, with her last trip on her 90th birthday. She traveled extensively with various ministry groups and as a Road Scholar with Elderhostel and loved to meet new people. She became an active member of the community at Wake Robin, where she moved after Charlie’s death in 1999. At Wake Robin, she volunteered on many committees and was a faithful friend, making sure she stopped to visit many people on her walks around the Wake Robin community and trails.

Ellie is survived by her daughters, Emily Skolfield (Roy Knight) and Susan Huston; and her four grandchildren, Keith, Caitlin and Adam Huston, and Christopher Knight. She also leaves a sister, Virginia Ries Shimer Starling, and two nephews, Donald Shimer Jr. and Peter Shimer; her cousin Stanley Ries; and other nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family hopes you will consider making a donation to a mental health organization in your area or a charity of your choice.

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