Cover photo for Amy Childress-Obenauf's Obituary
Amy Childress-Obenauf Profile Photo
1977 Amy 2024

Amy Childress-Obenauf

April 25, 1977 — March 15, 2024

Amy Carroll Childress-Obenauf, 46, of Danville, VT, died March 15, 2024. 

Amy was born April 25, 1977, in Burlington, North Carolina, to Tommy and Connie Childress. Growing up, she loved spending time with her paternal Grandma. Every week, Amy accompanied her to church and discovered one of her greatest joys: singing. On the way to church each Wednesday, she and her Grandma would stop by Hardee’s for a hot dog. A simple ritual, one that she loved. 

Music was central to Amy’s life and, as a young girl she showed the ability to play music by ear; her parents played in a band, and she loved tinkering with the piano and guitar. She could listen to a piece of music once and then play it from memory.

One of her childhood friends recalls that there was a developmentally disabled girl who lived in their neighborhood. Amy, as a middle schooler, would sit on the girl’s front porch and communicate with her via sign language–which she learned solely to be able to ‘talk’ to her.   

Amy had an incisive mind and excelled in school, being equally gifted at both math and language. She had an indomitable spirit when it came to solving any problem–it seemed like there was nothing she could not do. Once, the back wheels of her best friend, Anne’s, car got stuck in a ditch–the nose of the car pointed upwards. Rather than panic, Amy calmly went to the back of the car and rooted around to find an object that could give traction: a physics textbook. She instructed Anne to press the gas while she pushed the back of the car, and it jumped out of the ditch. 

At age 17, Amy  left high school a year early–having been the likely valedictorian of her class–to attend Wingate University in Wingate, NC. There she became close to some of her professors; she particularly relished the challenges of her calculus course with Dr. Jan Miller, who became a lifetime friend. 

In 1996, Amy transferred to UNC-Chapel Hill, studied there for a year, then left Chapel Hill in 1997. She cast about for a new direction, and at the suggestion of a mentor and friend, Bill Page, moved to Florida. There she met Michael McKibbin; she and Michael married in 1997. The couple moved back to North Carolina, settling in Salisbury. While working full-time, Amy attended Catawba College in the evenings and earned a B.A. in business administration. Amy and Michael’s son John was born in July 2001. John’s life was cut tragically short by complications from a rare congenital heart defect, and he died in October of that year. In 2003, their son James was born. Shortly thereafter Amy and Michael moved to Winston-Salem, NC.

When making career decisions, Amy insisted on working only for entities that help people, beginning with the state court system in Florida. In Winston-Salem she joined the city-county school system as an assistant in the school Social Work office; she loved helping the school assist students. Amy’s connection to the Winston-Salem community was strengthened when she became a member of the Winston-Salem Symphony Chorus; she performed annually with the symphony for years, performing choral works from Bach to John Williams–this was one of her greatest joys.  Her favorite choral piece was Handel’s Messiah, which she sang every year. 

While working in the social workers’ office Amy felt drawn toward computer technology, a fascination she’d had for many years, since the days of dot-matrix printers. Being strongly drawn to tinkering with computers she began learning by doing: First taking apart household computers for repairs; then gradually trying more complex maintenance and repair projects, then going all-in and learning all she could about laptop and desktop computers, hardware and software. She befriended some of the IT technicians at the school system central office, learning all she could from them while assisting them; her interest in making this her future career solidified. 

Her IT career began with an entry-level assistant/coordinator job, where she worked industriously, learned constantly, and eventually obtained the professional certification for an IT field technician—a job she loved and thrived in. She took ‘ownership’ of each of the middle and high schools that she served as a technician and flourished in that role, developing mutually supportive relationships and lasting friendships.  

During this time Michael and Amy divorced amicably, committing to co-parenting James; this commitment, and Amy’s devotion to loving and supporting James in parenting-partnership with Michael, continued throughout James’ school years and beyond. Amy met her future wife, Pam,  in 2006; they married in 2015 in Winston-Salem, and lived in Lewisville, NC throughout James’ school years. Also during these years Amy began to explore creative writing; through blogging she found she had a writer’s voice that was able to directly connect with readers’ emotions through vivid and concise imagery. She continued to grow as a writer over the years. 

In 2021, Amy and Pam traveled to New Hampshire, where Amy  fell in love with New England’s natural beauty, kind people, sense of history and community. Another aspect of the Northeast that Amy delighted in was weather: She couldn’t get enough of chill winds and flying snowflakes. She would rush to a window like a child to watch snow falling, and baffled nearly everyone she knew by lamenting the arrival of spring and warm weather! Amy and Pam bought a home in Danville, Vermont and moved there in late 2021. After moving to Vermont Amy discovered she had a talent for painting. She especially enjoyed creating special paintings for friends and co-workers. 

Amy’s lifelong love for and talent in music continued in Vermont as well; she joined a chorale, enjoyed concerts, festivals, and pub sings, began learning the hammered dulcimer, and revisited playing guitar. Her first Vermont job was with a public transportation company; she soon reconnected with computer technology, joining the IT team at Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital in St. Johnsbury as the Information Services Help Desk Coordinator.  In this role, she interacted with nearly all of the hospital’s 800+ employees. From resetting passwords and fixing printers to assigning IT tickets, Amy not only helped improve the day-to-day work for staff, she took on the burden of ordinary tasks so her team could focus on large-scale projects. 

Although Amy’s team and colleagues respected her work immensely, it is her kindness and her consideration for which she will be remembered. She understood the significance of the small things, which is why she was committed to helping others do their jobs: she knew she was helping them as people. She will be deeply missed by many.

Amy is survived by her wife, Pamela J. Childress-Obenauf; her son, James Calvin McKibbin; her father, Thomas (Linda) Carroll Childress; her mother, Constance Houle Childress; her former husband and James’ father, Michael (Denise) Andrew McKibbin; her brother- and sister-in-law, Steven and Gail Obenauf; her dearest friend, Anne M. (Ian) Erickson; her beloved dogs, Molly and Lily; and many loving friends.

Amy was predeceased by her first son, John Alexander McKibbin.  

Burial services will be private.

Memories and condolences may be shared with family at

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