Rachel Agnes (Sherman) Straw, beloved and devoted wife, mother, grandmother, sister and friend, passed away in Middlebury, Vermont on December 31, 2023. She was 83.
Rachel was born February 13, 1940 to Howard and Katherine Sherman of Duxbury, Vermont, the second of their nine children. She graduated from Waterbury High School in 1958 and Johnson State College in 1962.
While in high school she spent a summer working at the Rutledge Inn in Bradford, where she met the love of her life Duane Straw. They were married on August 25, 1962 in Waterbury, Vermont.
They started their life together in Richmond, Vermont where they welcomed three children – Daryl in 1964, Doreen in 1965, and Anne in 1970. They moved to Ferrisburgh in 1974 and raised their family on a small farm. Rachel continued her teaching career at Ferrisburgh Central School. She taught there until her retirement in 1998, although she never really stopped working. She loved seeing her former students around town and reminiscing with them.
Family was everything to Rachel. She loved kids and was overjoyed when her grandchildren arrived, Samir, Jacob, and Gabriel Kadric, and Natalie Straw. There was nothing she wouldn’t do for her children or grandchildren – cheering at numerous athletic events, piano recitals, skating shows, going on 50 foot flume plunge Sea World, sliding parties at her family home in Duxbury, baking hundreds of chocolate chip cookies, and homemade cinnamon rolls all while keeping her cupboards stocked with Grandma snacks.
Rachel was up for any adventure her family and friends invited her to: trips to New York City with the Fresh Air Fund, book tours to California, shopping trips to North Conway, road trips to Florida, a cross county van trip with Duane to see Mount Rushmore and the Black Hills, visits to Canada to see relatives and Niagra Falls, and an Alaskan cruise and train trip to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary in 2012.
She never met a stranger and was well known in Ferrisburgh and Vergennes. She loved talking to people whether at the bank, skating rink, soccer games or airports. She made people feel welcome and safe while sharing their stories. She was always there to help those who needed it because she truly wanted to, never for recognition. She was an excellent cook (especially baked goods) and gardener. She was proud that Duane could build or fix anything and often volunteered him to help family or friends with their projects.
Rachel and Duane had a family camp in Vershire, Vermont, where years of fun were spent with their children, grandchildren, and friends. The water in the brook is always cold but you could count on Mom to be knee deep in it repairing the dam and helping the kids fish.
Following their retirements, Rachel and Duane wintered in South Daytona, Florida for 25 years. Their Florida home was a welcoming place for family and friends to visit. Mom loved to call and tease about the winter weather in Vermont while they were basking in the Florida sun.
Rachel is survived by her three children and their spouses: Daryl (Michele) Straw of South Burlington, Doreen (Mumin) Kadric of Ferrisburgh and Anne (Jeremy Gibson) Straw of Indianapolis, Indiana; four grandchildren, Natalie Straw, and Samir, Jacob, and Gabriel Kadric; eight siblings and their spouses: Rebecca (Burton) Green, of Duxbury, Rodney (Patricia) Sherman of Duxbury, Gladys (Albert) Noel of Middlesex, North Carolina, Constance Sherman Dolloff of Northfield, Ronald (Mary) Sherman of Duxbury, Theresa (Roy) Marshall of Waterbury Center, Kathryn (Robert) Grace of Waterbury, and Howard (Denise) Sherman of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; many loved nieces and nephews; and many treasured friends from a life well lived. She was predeceased by her parents; her aunt Barbara McGrath; and by her husband Duane.
The family would like to extend gratitude to Helen Porter Rehabilitation and Nursing Center for their loving care of Rachel during her final months, as well as Dr. Karen Fromhold, Marianne Potter, NP, Drs. Dana Barnard, Jenna Clough, and Taylor Zak from Palliative Care.
Visiting hours will be held 5 to 8 p.m. on Monday, January 8th at Brown-McClay Funeral Home in Vergennes. A graveside service will be held in the spring. In lieu of flowers, family requests donations be made in Rachel’s name to the Alzheimer Association of Vermont. To send online condolences to her family please visit www.brownmcclayfuneralhomes.com