Obituary 12.23.19

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Etta Burghardt Peabody

Etta Burghardt Peabody, 96, formerly of Craftsbury Common and East Albany, completed a long and fruitful life when she died on Thursday, December 5, 2019, at her home in Good Samaritan Village in Loveland, Colorado. 

Etta was born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, in 1923 and grew up in Pittsfield and on a nearby farm in Richmond, Massachusetts, during the Great Depression.  She remembered emptying the thunderjugs on freezing winter mornings.  

Etta’s parents were Charles and Etta Burghardt, who became Christian Scientists and Etta was raised as such.

Etta was valedictorian of her high school class, and graduated from North Adams State Teachers’ College in Massachusetts in 1945. 

In 1946, she married Alan B. Peabody, whom she met on a blind date arranged by her art professor.  She never dreamed she would marry a Protestant minister.  They had four children, two born in Connecticut and two in Upstate New York, where the family lived (with the exception of five years in Waco, Texas).

Etta dedicated her life to her family, but she found time for many causes.  While in Texas during the early 1960s, Etta obtained a master’s degree in American studies from Baylor University and taught English there.  Later, in Utica, New York, she worked as church secretary for a Baptist church, directed a community-service radio program “Call for Action,” and was treasurer of the Utica Community food bank, for which she made many trips hauling donations in her little orange pickup truck. 

In 1986 Alan’s ministry took them to Craftsbury Common.  Alan and Etta formed a chapter for Habitat for Humanity in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom.  She was the site and volunteer coordinator and husband, Alan, worked on projects with local residents and the volunteers that Etta coordinated. 

In 1991, AlanEtta, as they called themselves, retired to a beautiful passive solar home, which Etta designed in East Albany.  Her husband died in 1997.  

In 2009, Etta drove across the country to Loveland, Colorado, to be near her son Charles.

In her last several years, Etta returned to Christian Science, the faith of her childhood and young adulthood.  In early November, she completed a rigorous 12-day course to become a Christian Science teacher.  Etta then experienced a brief illness, and in accordance with her wishes, was at home, surrounded by family until she went to be with her Creator.

Etta’s husband of nearly 51 years and beloved daughter Debbie preceded her in death. 

She is survived by her daughter Gara Spiegelhauer-Peabody of Dormitz, Germany; her son Charles and his wife, Ginny, of Berthoud, Colorado; her son Alan and his wife, Sharon, of Anchorage, Alaska; her grandchildren:  Karen, Tilmann, and Anke and her husband, Adam; and her great-grandchildren:  Tristan, Kaia and Nik. She was a truly special mom and grammy and will be very much missed.

A memorial service will be scheduled at Good Samaritan Loveland Village Chapel in early March, after which Etta will take her last journey to Pepperell, Massachusetts, to be reunited with her husband.

Donations may be made to a charity of one’s choice, or Habitat for Humanity in lieu of flowers.

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