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Elizabeth “Betty’ Colby


Friday, November 17, 2017

Chelsea, Vt. — Elizabeth “Betty” Colby, age 94, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017 at the Menig Nursing Home in Randolph Ctr., Vt. following many years of failing health. She was surrounded by family. Betty was born Feb. 17, 1923 on the family farm near Ryder Corners in Corinth, Vt., the youngest of eight children of Archie E. McCullough and Emma McLaughlin McCullough.  At the age of three she moved with her family to the former Hood farm on Chelsea West Hill where she spent her childhood.  She attended elementary school at the one-room West Hill School, followed by Chelsea High School (Class of 1940).  She was active in sports, playing guard on the girls’ basketball team. She really did walk three miles each way to school, sometimes twice a day, if she had a basketball game or other school activity. On Dec. 12, 1942 she and Merle G. Colby, of Chelsea, were married in Plainfield, Vt. after which they settled in Plainville, Conn. where Merle was employed by Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Corp. during World War II.  They returned to Chelsea in the mid-1940s and resided there for the rest of their lives together.  Betty was a homemaker first and foremost, but also worked outside the home to contribute to the needs of her family.  She worked at the Rock of Ages Capacitor plant in Barre in the 1950s, along with her sister June.  She later worked as a cook in the school lunch room in Chelsea and also worked many years as a nurse’s aide at the Chelsea Nursing Home, again working alongside her sister, June.  When her children were young she was a Sunday School teacher and worked in the Summer Bible School at the United Church of Chelsea.  She was a faithful contributor of baked goods and her time to support community and church activities.  She was a life member of Lady Washington Chapter #86, Order of the Eastern Star, serving as Worthy Matron during the mid-1960s and continuing in other chairs in the years that followed until failing health prevented her active participation.  She loved nature and for years watched nearly all the nature programs on ETV and following her retirement she was able to travel with family to Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Kings Canyon, Sequoia, Zion and Bryce national parks, as well as, making a visit to Alaska.  She also traveled to Florida three times to visit her oldest brother and his family and see the sites on the way. She felt blessed to be able to see so many of the wonders of nature introduced to her by television.

Betty is survived by her three children, Edward Colby (Kathleen), Grantham, N.H.; Philip Colby (Patricia), Barre, Vt.; Vicki Harty (Thomas), Randolph, Vt.;  Grandchildren, Yvette Fontaine (Brian), Lebanon, N.H.; Justine Seymour (David), W. Lebanon, N.H.; Colleen French (Alex), Lyme, N.H.; Bridget Harty, Waterbury Ctr., Vt.; as well as, five great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews in the Chelsea area, Conn., Florida and Texas.  She was predeceased by her husband, Merle in 2006; her parents and seven siblings: sisters Harriet and June, brothers Charles, Dwight, Stanley, Archie and Wayne.

Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 19, 2017 at the United Church of Chelsea. Burial to follow at Highland Cemetery, Chelsea Village.  Fellowship at the United Church of Chelsea following the burial.  A private message for the family can be shared at boardwayandcilley.com. Arrangements are under the direction of the Boardway & Cilley Funeral Home in Chelsea, VT.