Evelyn Coe Erskine, age 93, formerly of Lyndonville, died on Sunday, Jan. 23, 2022, with her family by her side at the Bel-Aire Center in Newport, Vt., following a recent, rapid decline in her health.
Evelyn was born on May 14, 1928 to father Clayton Brewer Coe and mother Edith Smith Coe. In 1933, when Evelyn was 5 years old, her father died. Evelyn and her 3-year-old brother Wayland Brewer Coe moved from Connecticut to their mother’s family town of East Burke, Vt. Evelyn was raised on a farm with many chickens and a huge garden, and often shared happy childhood memories of jumping from the hayloft with her brother and other adventures. The family moved to Lyndon when Evelyn was a teenager. She graduated from Lyndon Institute high school in 1946, and from the Lyndon Teacher’s College in 1948 with a two-year teaching degree. She taught grades K-8 in a one room school house for three years at the 4-corners school in East Montpelier before marrying a local Lyndon man, Donald O. Erskine, on July 15, 1951. Don and Evelyn lived in Lyndon Center where Don taught chemistry and physics at Lyndon Institute and coached the ski team, and Evelyn devoted herself to her five children; four daughters and one son. Evelyn also continued her love of teaching by being active in the church and teaching Sunday school for many decades and Vacation Bible School during the summer. When Evelyn’s youngest child started school she returned to college part-time, eventually graduating from Lyndon State College with a BS in Education at age 55. She began teaching kindergarten at Miller’s Run School in Shefﬁeld, Vt., and recounted her enjoyment of circle time on an area ﬂoor rug with children gathered around listening to her read. She would often have pictures, props or crafts that went along with stories that kept childrens’ attention and fostered a love of reading and sense of fun with learning. Evelyn was concerned by the lack of appropriate clothing for some of the children she encountered and started an informal winter clothing fund that blossomed into regular donations of items from area parents, friends and church members. Many children were outﬁtted with boots, snow pants, mittens or hats over the years as a result. Evelyn did not like being in the spotlight and shied away from praise, attributing any product of goodness to be the work of the Lord. She was devout in her faith and looked forward to coffee chats, studying the Bible and prayer time with close friends in the United Women’s Group. In her later years, Evelyn enjoyed being involved in her adult children’s lives, with trips to wherever they were living, including many annual visits to Alabama and Colorado. Wherever she was, or whoever she was with, she always had a way of making each person feel special and loved.
Evelyn is survived by daughters Cheryl Paulson of Lyndonville, Vt., Karen Ireland and husband Tom of Florissant Colorado, Diane Matthews and husband Don of St. Johnsbury, Vt., son Bryant Erskine and wife Malena of Alabama, and son-in-law Paul Guyer of Anniston, Alabama. She is survived by grandchildren Michael Russell, Mark Russell, and Eric Paulson. Caleb Morgan, Justin Morgan, Molly Ireland Cowan, and Zachary Ireland. Nichole Guyer Zurek. Aaron Matthews, Corey Matthews and Sam Matthews. Courtney Erskine and Eric Erskine. She is also survived by niece Shirley Coe, nephews Doug Coe, Bruce Coe, four step-grandchildren and many great-grandchildren.
She is sadly predeceased by daughter Linda Guyer on 12/11/2020, brother Wayland Coe on 08/31/2013, and husband Don Erskine on 02/08/1988.
The family of Evelyn Erskine wish to our express our deepest gratitude for the exceptional care that she received at the Bel-Aire Center in Newport, Vt., where she was admitted in June 2021. After near death following a harrowing year of COVID isolation, recurrent infections, weight loss and grieving, she was given an opportunity to recover and ﬂourish due to the skilled PT/OT, nutrition planning, and constant kindness at Bel-Aire. We also wish to thank VT ombudsman Alice Harter, through VT Legal Aid, who outlined practical actions to take during a time of terrible duress. Evelyn spent her ﬁnal six months in comfort and enjoyed time spent on the Bel-Aire patio taking in the foliage, multiple visits with family, and relishing the occasional bowl of clam chowder brought to her from the Miss Lyndonville Diner.
There will be a Celebration of Life co-ofﬁciated by Pastors Dave Colwell and Joel Stoddert on Saturday, Jan. 29, 2022 at the Lyndon Center Baptist Church at 1 p.m., 65 College Road in Lyndon Center, VT. For those who are unable to attend the service it will be live-streamed through the Lyndon Center Baptist Church Facebook page, available online 5-10 minutes prior to the 1 p.m. start time on Jan. 29, 2022.
Memorial donations can be made in Evelyn’s name to the United Women’s Group, c/o Lyndon Center Baptist Church, PO Box 447, Lyndon Center VT, 05850.
Memories and condolences may be shared with the family at guibordfh.com.