Washington, Vt. — Sharon Spiegel, age 58, died peacefully at home on Friday, June 21, 2013, following a courageous 16-month battle with pancreatic cancer. She brought grace and determination to her fight. Sharon traveled to Spain for treatment where she found renewed strength and reconnected with the Spanish culture that she had always appreciated. She returned to the US and continued her self-directed treatment; repeatedly defying medical projections.
The milestones and markers of family life were of great importance to Sharon and she drew satisfaction from organizing family events, bringing the family together. In mid-May she celebrated the college graduation of her son Cody and coordinated a gathering of family and friends to mark this accomplishment. Her dedication to her children and family were paramount and in this final event she emphasized the joy and pride she felt for her now- grown children. Her passing on the summer solstice adds a symmetry to her final earthly chapter.
Sharon was born on March 24, 1955, the eldest child of Phyllis and Ben Kopstein. She was raised in Rockland County, N.Y. and showed an early interest in the natural world and the arts. As a young adult she studied education and the arts at Clark University in Worcester, Mass. It was there that she met her future husband, Jay Spiegel. They were married August 2, 1981. She completed a Masters Degree in Integrated Arts and Education at Lesley College and taught elementary students in Texas and Vermont. She taught kindergarten, Gifted and Talented students, Art and Spanish.
In Vermont she became acquainted with the Waldorf Education movement. This creative approach captured her imagination and the spirit of this approach guided her work and home life. The friends and connections she made though this path were of special importance to her, as was her association with the Wellspring School in Tunbridge, Vt. She had a strong commitment to social justice and interest in the cultures of Central America, traveling to Guatemala, Ecuador and Costa Rica.
Sharon loved Vermont and the rich life she crafted here with her family. She leaves her husband, Jay of Washington, Vt.; and her children, Karina and Cody, both of Burlington, Vt.; her father, Ben Kopstein and his wife, Cristabel of Kent, Ct., her mother, Phyllis Soloff and her husband, Jack, of Boynton Beach, Fla.; her sister, Eileen Sutton; and nieces, Dana and Lilly of Boonesboro, Md.; her brother, David Kopstein and his wife, Takako; and nephew, Jackie; and her brother, Steven Kopstein of NYC. Her departure leaves a hole in our lives, but the gifts she gave will provide renewal and hope for the future.
Our family would like to thank the caring staff of Bayada Hospice, Gifford Hospital, Starr Strong of the Chelsea Health Center and friends and neighbors for their support and kindness. In lieu of flowers a donation may be made to the Wellspring School, 693 VT RT 110, Tunbridge, VT 05077.
Family and friends at invited to visiting hours on Wednesday, June 26, 2013, between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. at the family residence in Washington, Vt. The Boardway & Cilley Funeral in Chelsea, Vt. are assisting with the arrangements.