Brigid R. Landler
Charlotte - Brigid Rita Landler, an Irish-born American who made much of her life in Vermont, where she acted in amateur theater and worked in politics, died on Wednesday, April 7 at her home in Charlotte, after a long battle with cancer. She was 86.
A lively, restless presence, with an adventurous spirit and abiding curiosity, Brigid put deep roots into her community while roaming the world with her husband, Paul, whom she married in 1965. For more than a decade, she worked as an administrative assistant in the School of Business Administration at the University of Vermont, where she wrote a newsletter for alumni of the school.
In the 1970's, Brigid was a regular at the Essex Players, where she acted in productions of "Charley's Aunt," "Dracula," and "Lady Windermere's Fan," and at the Lyric Theater, where she appeared in "My Fair Lady" and "Gigi." She also worked in Democratic politics, once hosting a reception at her home for Gov. Thomas P. Salmon during his 1976 challenge of Sen. Robert Stafford.
For many years, Brigid volunteered at the polls on Election Day, both in Essex, where she lived from 1971 to 1989, and later in Charlotte. She treasured those history-making days, viewing them as her window into the American democratic process, which she followed avidly throughout her life.
While in Charlotte, she joined the board of SCHIP, a nonprofit resale shop in Shelburne. She logged many hours there and donated dozens of items of fashionable clothing - the fruits of countless trips to the stores in Manchester. She was a regular at antique shows and auctions around the state, where she brought a discerning eye, impeccable taste, and adroit bargaining skills.
Born in Carrickmacross, Ireland in 1934, Brigid was the second daughter of Denis Callan, a South Dakota homesteader who returned to his native Ireland to start a family, and of Annie Duffy, a teacher (through her father, she was an American citizen from birth). She was raised on the family farm, Longfield, and educated at St. Louis School in Monaghan, which provided the foundation for her lifelong Catholic faith, and at University College Dublin, where she earned a bachelor's degree.
In 1956, Brigid moved to New York City, the first stop in a series of exotic travels that took her to San Francisco and Saigon, in pre-war Vietnam, before she returned to New York in 1961, and went to work as an administrative assistant to Iraq's ambassador to the United Nations. Paul spotted her on a street in Manhattan in the summer of 1963; they were married two years later in Dublin.
The couple settled in Sindelfingen, Germany, where Brigid's husband began a career with IBM and where their three children, Mark, Philip, and Juliet, were born. After learning to speak German and working on an American military base, she and the family moved to Poughkeepsie, N.Y. in 1968 and to Vermont two years later.
Brigid sought to imbue her children with her curiosity about the world, introducing them to literature, history and the arts. She cherished the chance to move the family to Paris, when her husband took a two-year assignment there in 1981. And she relished a sojourn in Texas in 1998, when Paul represented IBM at the Semiconductor Industry Association and she worked as a docent at the L.B.J. Presidential Library in Austin.
Even as Brigid lived in Vermont for five decades, she never lost her taste for adventure. Each winter, she and Paul made ski trips, from Austria and Switzerland to Colorado and Utah. She ventured to Mao's China, explored temples in Burma, mingled with democracy activists in Tahrir Square in Egypt, and chatted with Barack and Michelle Obama at a White House holiday party.
She is survived by her husband Paul; sons Mark (Angela), of London, and Philip (Beverley), of Ridgefield, Conn.; daughter Juliet (Bradley), of Sydney, Australia; brother Paul Callan, of Carrickmacross, sister Joan Mulcahy, of Dublin; and five grandchildren.
A funeral mass will be held on Saturday, May 15 at 11 a.m. at Our Lady of Carmel Church in East Charlotte, where Brigid was a parishioner for 30 years. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Humane Society of Chittenden County.
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