Dorothy V. (Franklin) Cole
Dorothy Viola (Franklin) Cole, 98, died July 6, 2021 at Birchwood Terrace Rehab and Healthcare in Burlington, VT, after a series of debilitating strokes. It is impossible to put into a few words the richness, the fullness, the variety of her life. She found time to play church organ and perform on piano in her husband’s swing band; to have an ice cream loving woodchuck for a pet; raise dozens of kittens and three wonderful dogs; to race on snowshoes, play baseball; and to share her sense of humor. Our mother was also dedicated, respected, trusted, generous, and beloved. She was daughter, sister, niece, wife, aunt, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother.
Dorothy was born at Old Cottage Hospital in Woodsville, NH, on September 28, 1922, daughter of Rupert and Iva (Anderson) Franklin. She was named to honor her father’s sister, Dorothy, and her mother’s sister, Viola. She grew up in the paper mill town of East Ryegate, VT, on the Connecticut River, where her father owned the general store and served several years as Postmaster. She graduated from Woodsville, NH, High School, Class of 1939, and from the University of Vermont, Class of 1943, with a degree in elementary education and a minor in psychology. Dorothy was a member of Sigma Gamma, and in the early months of World War II volunteered to be an airplane spotter from the top of UVM’s Old Mill Building tower, watching for enemy aircraft.
Our mother was one of those rare people who knew what she wanted to do from an early age. She always said that on her first day at East Ryegate Grammar School, she wanted to be a teacher. She pursued and fulfilled her dream after graduating from UVM when in September 1943 she began her teaching career in the Shelburne, VT, school system.
At the school dance to introduce the new faculty and staff, she met her future husband, Al Cole, who was playing lead trumpet in the band. The attraction was mutual and they were married by Rev. C. Lynwood Smith on July 14, 1946, at All Saints Chapel in Burlington, VT. After taking several years off to raise two sons and serving as a substitute teacher, she returned to a full-time position in Shelburne.
Shelburne School originally contained grades 1-12, and she taught several grades over the years before settling on junior high, specifically eighth grade. She believed eighth grade was pivotal in child development and enjoyed facilitating the transition of her eighth graders into young adults as they prepared to move on to high school. She felt that every student has an education “switch” and it was up to her to activate it. Students trusted her, and she never betrayed a confidence. She loved teaching, and really never stopped teaching or learning. She strongly believed that no student should graduate from eighth grade without having Winnie the Pooh read to them. She retired in 1984.
She was raised United Presbyterian, and became a member of Trinity Episcopal Church in Shelburne, VT, where she served as lector, greeter, usher, prayer chain coordinator, and on the vestry. She was a member of Laplatte Chapter #64 of the Order of the Easter Star, and the Charlotte Grange.
Dorothy was predeceased by her parents; her husband of fifty-five years Allen “Al” Cole; her only sibling Marion and husband John Roland; and niece Gail (Roland) Haywood.
She is survived by son Franklin Cole and spouse Judith; son Daniel Cole and spouse Jennifer; granddaughter Caroline and spouse Rocio Mora; granddaughter Susannah and spouse Alex Cseh; granddaughter Aislynn Cole; great-grandchildren Calista and Evander Cseh; and niece Virginia (Cole) Randlett.
Our mother directed us to include as survivors the hundreds of special former students whom she considered a great privilege to be “hers” for one year of their lives; as well as her fellow teachers and school personnel who were such an integral part of her career and life.
We wish to extend our gratitude to the staffs at Griswold Home Care, Birchwood Terrace, and Bayada Hospice for their help over these last difficult months, and are thankful for the visitations to and support of our mother by her church Episcopal Darcy Jewett. The number of friends our mother and we would like to acknowledge in this space are far too numerous to list, but we know you and appreciate you.
At her request there will be no visiting hours. Please join the family for her graveside service in the Shelburne Village Cemetery on Wednesday, July 14, at 10:30 am. In lieu of flowers, those who desire are encouraged to send a donation in her memory to the charity of their choice.
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