Shirley Mae (Perkins) Colburn was born November 12, 1928 in Willimantic, CT to Howard and Marjorie Perkins. She was raised in Connecticut with her two brothers, Richard and Russell Perkins. On August 13, 1948 she married Harvey Colburn, Jr.. They began their life together in Connecticut but Harvey’s job as a Beacon Feed salesman and store manager soon took them all over northern New England. During this time their three children; David, Kathy and Karen were born.
In 1968, Harvey’s job brought them to Hardwick where they decided to stay and Shirley was able to fulfill her love of horses. They had been part of her life since she bought her first horse with money earned from her first job. She and her family soon became active members of the community. Shirley joined the Lamoille Riding and Driving Club and the United Church of Hardwick. She was a member of the Diaconate and participated with and was a member of the Executive Board for Circle 8. She later joined the St. Norbert’s Community Hand-Bell Choir. Shirley’s most memorable involvement and lasting contribution was as secretary at Hazen Union for 30 years. Administration, teachers, support staff and students all remember this spunky little lady who “ran the school.” She not only did her job well, but supported the school in many other ways. Most visibly at sporting events, concerts, plays and anything that brought the school and community together. Shirley lost her husband in 1980 and was always disappointed that they weren’t able to travel together as planned but later she did travel extensively with the school and senior groups. When she wasn’t traveling, substituting at school, volunteering or enjoying time with her family after retirement, Shirley could be seen walking around town or at Hazen with her walking companions. She was the first to say that she lived a good, full life for 91 years. That life ended June 6, 2020. She was home, comfortable, and surrounded by family as per her wishes following a courageous battle with cancer.
Shirley was predeceased by her parents, brothers and a sister-in-law, Terrie Perkins. She is survived by her children: David and wife, Paulette; Kathy and husband, Bob Slayton; Karen and husband, Steve Collier. Her grandchildren: Michelle (Slayton) and husband, Jordan Noury; Amanda (Atwood) and husband, Ryan Fecteau; Matthew Atwood and Fiance, Victoria Foster and Sarah Collier. Her great grandchildren; Brandon, Michael, Madison Noury and Hudson Fecteau. She is also survived by a sister-in-law, Priscilla Perkins, several nieces and nephews and many special friends. Shirley will long be remembered and respected as a stereotypical, staunch New Englander. Honest, moral, loyal and strong in her beliefs. She was a steward of the land who tried to save every sapling and flower bulb. She conserved resources, recycled, and repurposed long before it was common practice. An inspiration and role model.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations in Shirley’s memory to the Shirley Colburn Memorial Scholarship Fund at Hazen Union ℅ MaryKate Crum, PO Box 368, Hardwick, VT 05843 or Hardwick Emergency Rescue Squad, PO Box 837, Hardwick, VT 05843.
Funeral services will be planned and announced at a later date.
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