Family, friends pay tribute to local teacher

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BRATTLEBORO — Family and friends of a local teacher who died recently are planning special tributes that include an engraved plaque at one of her favorite restaurants and a tree planting at the Retreat Farm.

Carol Condon, of Brattleboro, died peacefully with family by her side at home on August 11. She was the second oldest of her eight brothers and sisters born in Woburn, Mass., and raised in Concord, Mass.

"A proud Vermonter" for over 40 years, Condon was a graduate of Keene State College class of 2011, where she found time to finish her degree while working full time and raising her boys, Sean and Kevin Condon.

Family members describe Condon as having a passion and love for the craft of teaching. Her career involved almost every preschool in the area including Neighborhood School House, Hilltop Montessori, Green Street, Owl Tree, Putney Central, Head Start Program and Brattleboro Nursery School as director and lead teacher.

"As a teacher, she was considered a cherished gift to all the lives she touched during her 24-year career in summer camps, after-school programs and daycares in the area. She has raised most of this community with love, and some were lucky enough to have multiple family members in Carol's care," her family said.

In January 2016, Condon was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. The emergency surgery caused many complications, but family members said Condon stayed strong throughout. She was given only days to live but left the hospital "by the strength of her own will to conquer her devastating diagnosis at home with family and friends by her side." Condon defied the odds "and lived her very best life with grace and beauty as only she could for the next five years." She visited classrooms to volunteer her time and walked her pup Marley to visit neighbors and friends near Frost Place in Brattleboro. She traveled the countryside with her brothers and sisters, enjoyed every sunset she could catch from the sunny beaches of Florida to the rocky coast of Maine and made frequent trips in between to Spofford Lake with family and friends by her side, a cold drink in her hand "and a smile that would light up your soul, just enjoying every moment given." Many in the community would recognize Condon from years of attending sporting events with her boys or possibly from her frequent favorite spot at The Marina restaurant in Brattleboro.

Her family says she didn't lose her battle to cancer; rather, they say she lived it and never let it slow her down. Condon "loved every student she had the privilege of teaching and raised them like her own with the most love possible, leaving a lasting impression on every family." She was described as "the definitive mother figure to all, including Sean and Kevin's friends during their years growing up that lasts till this day." Sean and Kevin say they are the lucky ones, being able to call Carol their mom.

Condon also has a large, supportive family of brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews and a grand niece. Her beloved pup Marley is safe and loved with Kevin and Jill. Her sons says she continued to make friends and fans throughout her life and benefited from that support, and she was thankful for those friends who helped her throughout her treatment as well as the nurses, doctors and hospice folks.

There are plans for a small gathering at The Marina restaurant to dedicate a plaque designed by family and friends at Condon's favorite table, so that all can come enjoy a margarita, a smile and a sunset with her whenever possible. Also, the folks at Early Horizons Education are planning a maple tree planting at the Retreat Farm in Condon's honer, with hopes of using it as a educational field trip for years to come, showing children the process of tapping a tree and producing syrup. There will also be a celebration of her life to be announced on Condon's Facebook page. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to local animal shelters or school programs in Condon's honor.

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