Elaine D. Miles
(Carol) Elaine Demsky Miles, 87, passed away December 18, 2019, at the McClure Miller Respite House in Colchester, after a brief illness. She was born on February 6, 1932, in Hinsdale Hospital, Hinsdale, Illinois to
David Daniel and Robena Gordon Demsky.
Elaine attended Hinsdale Schools until the family moved to Burlington, Vermont for her father’s job at the University of Vermont. Elaine graduated from Edmunds High School, Burlington, in 1949 and University of Vermont in 1953. She met Bill Miles at UVM and they were married at the First Methodist Church on September 12, 1952 by Reverend Hobart Goewey and Rev. Eugene Eakin. They recently celebrated 67 years together.
After living on Loomis Street and Bayview Street they built their first home on Home Avenue in Burlington. At one point they moved to East Greenbush, NY, for 4 years, but returned to South Willard Street, Burlington where they raised their 3 children, Gordon, Barbara, and Jonathan. After being an at-home mom for twelve years Elaine earned her teaching certificate and began a career at Hunt Middle School in 1970. She particularly enjoyed the team teaching of 7th and 8th graders at Hunt School for the next 24 years and one year in the Paradise Project at Edmunds Middle. She was Ski Club advisor, Newshunt sponsor, honored as a UVM Teacher of the Year, and was a member of the Gemini and Enterprise teams. The teams took many memorable trips related to the curriculum: Boston, Washington, D.C., New York, Quebec City, and Montreal. She led one group of Ski Club alums who went to Park City, Utah, and also a cross country camping trip with the Paradise Project.
During this time Bill and Elaine built a home at Bolton Valley where they hosted many Hunt Ski Club gatherings, wood-moving parties, and eventually later snowboarding grandchildren and friends. Favorite things were the veggie soups and cups of hot chocolate as well as being able to ski out the back door.
Following retirement from Hunt School, Elaine and Bill taught Family Education classes for 15 years with the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI). They were charter members of the NAMI-VT Board where Elaine served as Secretary, and they shared many experiences with their friends in the Central Vermont group. They were active in the Montpelier group during the establishment of parity in health care for mental illnesses, always seeking to erase stigma through education.
Elaine enjoyed many happy days at the family camp on Barney Point in Colchester. Gatherings of friends and family for BBQs, 4th of July antics, book club, watching children of all ages spending time on the shores and in the waters of Lake Champlain and the most beautiful sunsets.
Elaine and Bill had many years of travel inspired by a first trip to the U.K. in 1994, then Australia, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Portugal, Spain, Italy, and a fascinating trip to Iceland. In later years they explored landmarks in the U.S. and spent winter months at North Padre Island, Texas, with many friends from the Midwest. They cherished their friends from the NAMI-VT group, Hunt Middle School, Cathy’s Book Group, Kenquesters Home Dem, the Tilley Drive UVM rehab gym, and late-in-life friends from the Shelburne Bay community. Fond memories remain of lunches with Hunt buddies, breakfasts with the cardio group, and surf casting with winter Texan friends. They especially remembered the warmth and compassion given by caregivers at Shelburne Bay.
Her family includes three children: Gordon F. Miles of Montpelier, Barbara Connor (James L.) of Colchester, Jonathan W. Miles (Elizabeth Passage) of Williston. Her five grandchildren are Hannah Miles, Somerville, MA, Ethan Connor, Waterbury, VT, Kelsey Connor, Hyde Park, VT, Erin Connor, Austin, TX, Asa Connor, North Creek, NY. She was pre-deceased by her husband William F. Miles of Shelburne, and daughter-in-law Alicia Ballantyne Miles of Montpelier.
A celebration of her life will be held on Saturday, January 4, 2020 at 1:00 p.m. at All Souls Interfaith Gathering, 291 Bostwick Farm Road, Shelburne, VT 05482. In lieu of flowers donations may be sent to Spectrum Youth and Family Services, 31 Elmwood Ave., Burlington, VT 05401 or the McClure Miller Respite House, 3113 Roosevelt Hgwy, Colchester, VT 05446. Arrangements are in care of Corbin and Palmer Funeral Home, 9 Pleasant Street, Essex Jct., VT.
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