Deborah Davenport Wheeler – Shelburne

After 97 years, Deborah Davenport Wheeler left this earth on June 18, 2013. She was preceded in death by her husband, Dr. Edward M. Wheeler, to whom she was married for 70 years. Deborah is survived by her three children, Daav of Asheville, N.C.; Patricia McLaughlin of Essex Junction; and Timothy of State College, Pa. Deborah was born on March 24, 1916, in Forest Hills Gardens in the borough of Queens, New York City, N.Y. She was the eldest daughter of Sebert Ellsworth Davenport and Helen Snow Davenport. She graduated from the Kew Forest School in 1933, and from Smith College in Holyoke, Mass., in 1937. She married Edward Wheeler in 1941, and they lived in Chappaqua, N.Y., until 1975. Deborah and Edward then moved Middle Haddam, Conn., where they lived until 1993, when they moved to Wake Robin Retirement Center in Shelburne, Vt. It is said that “there is no order of miracles:” in the eye of God small acts of love are just as important as the great ones. Deborah Wheeler’s life was comprised of many small miracles of love for her husband, her family, her friends, and her community. She was a devoted partner and helpmate to her husband of 70 years, and raised her children with loving attention. She kept a clean, happy, and orderly home for her family, but still gave a generous amount of time to community involvement. She was an ardent supporter of education, and did volunteer work for the Parent Teacher Association of the Chappaqua school district. For many years she also worked for the Westchester County Smith College Club and the Smith College Alumnae Association, serving the latter group as class secretary and class president for several terms, and enthusiastically participating in the group’s annual pecan sale. Later in life she took up loom weaving and genealogical research. Quietly, but steadfastly devout, she was a member of the Congregational Church for all of her adult life. She made sure her children attended Sunday School every week, and also served as a deacon and took on other administrative duties in the local church wherever she lived. Shortly after her 80th birthday, Deborah presented her children with copies of, “An Olio of Remembrances,” a collection of stories and impressions from her long life. The book offered a new perspective on Deborah’s life and revealed new aspects of their mother’s personality that the children had never before seen. In this “Olio,” in a chapter titled, “Immortality,” Deborah wrote: “What I am; what I have become in my time on this earth; what I have taught my children and what they make of themselves as a result of my teaching – all this will add up to my impact on this world.  The mystery of Life After Death is too large a question for my terrestrially-based mind… About that, I will just have to wait and see what happens, and deal with it however I can at the time. But, meanwhile, I do the best I can on earth, and welcome with my whole heart each new, small person born into my family, each carrying forever a part of me to pass along.” In lieu of flowers, family and friends are invited to give a donation to The Smith College Fund, Box 340029, Boston, MA 02241; or to The Visiting Nurse Association of Chittenden and Grand Isle Counties, 1110 Prim Road, Colchester, VT 05446.

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