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Kendall Ankeny Mix

South Strafford, Vt. — Kendall Ankeny Mix died Tuesday, June 3, 2014, at her home in South Strafford. She had suffered from dementia for several years.

She was born in Minneapolis, Minn. June 21, 1927, the oldest child of DeWalt and Marie Hamm Ankeny. She graduated from the Ethel Walker School and Bryn Mawr College.

She married Robin Heud Mix in 1949. They spent the first 18 years of their marriage in Long Lake, Minn., where they had five children.

Kendall’s path to Vermont was a long distant trek. It began in 1967 when her husband, eschewing the usual mid-life crisis of a hot red sports car, tried to join the Peace Corps. The Peace Corps, then populated by unattached 20 somethings, looked askance at his wife and five dependents, but suggested a better choice of international adventure for a man in his position might be the United States Information Service. He joined USIS and was assigned to Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Kendall and their two youngest children moved to Abidjan, where Kendall immersed herself in the sprawling open air markets, collecting fabric and jewelry and taking fabulous photographs. Her husband developed a passion for African masks and sculptures. By the time they returned to the United States in 1969, they had amassed a significant collection.

They returned from West Africa to South Strafford, a picturesque village which they picked through careful market research. They had decided they wanted to live in New England, so they circled every college town in northern New England and wrote to the Chamber of Commerce for referrals to a local realtor. Hanover was the only town which replied. The realtor showed Kendall two properties, one a two bedroom log cabin with a master suite in a loft and the other, a seven bedroom summer house in South Strafford. To her children’s immense relief, she picked the Strafford house.

The importance in proximity to a college became apparent shortly after she moved to Strafford. Dartmouth did not offer graduate degrees, but Kendall discovered that she could audit any course at Dartmouth for $2, the cost of a library card at Baker Library. She studied extensively in the history department alongside undergraduates until Dartmouth created the ILEAD program. She was a regular ILEAD student until her health failed.

Despite the randomness of the selection of their new home, both Kendall and Robin quickly immersed themselves in Strafford civic life. Kendall served as auditor from 1979-1985, and as a Selectman (her preferred term) from 1985-2002. The State of Vermont recognized her long career of public service in 2002.

She was a lifelong skier. She taught in the Newton School Ski School for xx years. She was an intrepid downhill skier, inadvertently luring feckless teenagers onto dangerously steep slopes by her devotion to lace-up boots and fancy fur hats. She gave up downhill skiing when Delta lost her luggage, but she remained an avid cross country skier, regularly skiing deep into Taylor Valley with her dear friend Gina Steele.

She travelled extensively, with her family, with ILEAD and other groups, always returning with fabulous photographs, one of which would become the Christmas card which, along with German Christmas cookies which she baked by the dozens, she shared with a wide circle of friends and family.

She is survived by her five children and their families: Phoebe (Joseph Rosenthal and Michael Rosenthal-Mix), Peter (Cynthia Salter, DeWalt Mix, Sophia Salter Mix and Ashley Hall), Robin (Tess and Ivy Dollenmaier Mix), James (Malaika dos Remidios), and Kendall; her siblings, Sally Anson, Pete and Mike Ankeny and their families; and her latest dog, a Katrina rescue named Gracie.

Burial was private. A celebration of Kendall’s life will take place later this summer in Strafford.