I ‘m going out to clean the pasture spring . . .
I shan’t be gone long. – You come too. (Robert Frost)
Vernon — Beatrice Taylor Ward, 101, resident of Vernon Advent Christian Homes for 31 years, passed away peacefully on Saturday, October 18 at Vernon Green nursing home, while recovering from her first major illness in 60 some years.
Born April 14, 1913 in Halifax, VT, the daughter of Eli (1864-1928) and Grace (Howard) Taylor (1892-1918). She was the much younger sister of Madge Hamilton (1896-1984), Leon Taylor (1902-1993), and Howard Taylor (1893-1974); wife of Rev. Parker Bennett Ward (1913-1962); mother of Cynthia Jane Ward (1945-2012) and Wesley Taylor Ward (1943 – ).
Beatrice was born in a small farmhouse on Hatch Schoolhouse Road in Halifax, and grew up without electricity and many other comforts we now take for granted. At that time, horse-drawn sleighs provided winter transportation. The farmhouse and barn still stand with their ridges straight and corners plumb. Following her mother’s death, five-year-old Beatrice was “taken in” by her older sister, Madge Hamilton at the Joseph Hamilton Farm in West Brattleboro. She grew up with, and eventually helped to raise, the five Hamilton children, Alice, Joseph, Richard, Edward, and Howard and was, in effect, adopted by the extended Hamilton family.
Beatrice graduated from Brattleboro High School in1932 and earned a teaching diploma from Castleton Normal School; then taught multiple grades at Higley Hill School in Marlboro. As was customary, the job involved building, lighting, and tending the fire in the one-room schoolhouse and dampening the internal fires of the older boys. In 1941, she married Parker Ward, of St. Johnsbury, VT and Boston, MA, a beginning minister in Brownsville, Vermont. In many quiet ways, she supported his ministry in Methodist churches in Bellows Falls (where he preached against the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II), and Middlebury (where he preached against alcohol); Schenectady, Amsterdam, Dannemora and Lyon Mountain, NY; and finally, Osterville, MA on Cape Cod, where Parker succumbed to cancer at 49 years of age.
Following Parker’s untimely passing, she bravely and cheerfully supported her children, Cynthia and Wesley while they attended college by working as a dietitian at Cape Cod Hospital in Hyannis, Skyline Restaurant and Eden Park Nursing Home in Brattleboro. After her children graduated from college, Beatrice felt called to do something more tangible to help others beyond her family. She moved to Henderson Settlement in Frakes, Kentucky, deep in the Appalachian Mountain coal country, where she served as a housemother for several years in the girls’ dormitory. She returned to Marlboro in the late 1960’s and helped raise her grandson, Carrington Ward, as well as two goats and a hive of bees. After Wesley and his wife, Gale McCullough, moved to Massachusetts and Maine respectively, Beatrice joined the Vernon Advent Christian community, and became active in the Brattleboro community. While living in Marlboro and at The Birches in Vernon, she worked as a dietitian at Eden Park Nursing Home. She helped to launch the Brattleboro Farmers’ Market, and volunteered at Brattleboro Area Hospice and Loaves and Fishes. She was a member of the United Methodist Church and the Methodist Women’s Association.
After moving from the Birches to Vernon Hall, she applied for and obtained a grant to construct a large, waist-high garden between the two main wings of the assisted living facility. She and her friends tended the resulting 8’ x 30’ garden bed for many years; the sunflowers, petunias, marigolds, and vegetables have been a glorious sight from June through September.
In recent years, while grieving for the sudden loss of her daughter Cynthia Fuller, she enjoyed cheering on her granddaughter Andrienne in college and getting to know her granddaughter-in-law, Natasha Spencer, and her two great-grandchildren, Kofi and Imani Ward of New Haven, Connecticut; as well as the younger generation of Hamiltons and Taylors.
Though never politically minded, she was a faithful voter; she especially admired Eleanor Roosevelt, Martin Luther King, Jimmy Carter, and Michelle and Barack Obama and believed that the United Nations was a force for immense good in the world. She was a quiet and faithful advocate of peace among nations and goodwill among humankind. She loved Vermont and was proud of Marlboro College and the Marlboro Music Festival.
She leaves her son Wesley Ward, formerly of Marlboro, and now of Cambridge, MA and her daughters-in-law, Wenda Tai of Cambridge and Gale McCullough of Hancock, Maine; her son-in-law, Robert Fuller of Deering, New Hampshire; her grandson, Carrington Ward and her granddaughter-in-law, Dr. Natasha Spencer, and their children Kofi and Imani, all of New Haven, CT; and her granddaughter, Andrienne Tai Ward, of San Francisco, California.
At Beatrice’s long-standing and determined request, her remains have been donated to the University of Vermont Medical College in Burlington. Following cremation, her ashes will be laid to rest next to her husband’s in the Ward family plot in Saranac, New York.
Memorial services will be held on Saturday, November 8 as follows: at Vernon Hall, 13 Greenway Drive, Vernon, 12:45 p.m. and at the First United Methodist Church, 18 Town Crier Drive (off Putney Road) at 4:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Beatrice’s name may be made to First United Methodist Church, Brattleboro Area Hospice, P.O. Box 1053, Brattleboro VT 05301, or Vernon Advent Christian Homes, 13 Greenway Drive, Vernon, VT 05354.
To sign an online register book with messages of condolence, please visit www.atamaniuk.com. Arrangements are under the direction of the Atamaniuk Funeral Home.