Milestones, Obituaries

PATRICIA ANN GALLANT 

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Patricia Ann Gallant

FAIRFAX – Patricia “Pat” Gallant, Ed.D., passed away peacefully on April 10, at home in Fairfax, with loved ones at her side.

Pat was born September 19, 1950, in Hardwick, to Florence (Couture) and Clarence Gallant. She treasured her childhood. Almost anyone who met her had the experience of learning about Hardwick and finding a connection. While there were many challenges during her childhood, she strongly loved her family, friends, and community. 

Pat was proud of her Hardwick identity. She enjoyed returning there for visits with family and friends, including high school reunions with the Hardwick Academy Class of ’68. She had the fondest memories of her school days and maintained her friendships throughout her lifetime. Classmates affectionately remember Pat as “the glue that held the class of ’68 together.” Pat never wanted the day to end. Through her last days, she enjoyed life to its fullest. 

Pat was engaged to Dean Johnson from Craftsbury, who died in Vietnam. Dean’s tragic death set Pat on the path to becoming a classroom teacher, college educator, and lifelong student. She lovingly kept the Johnsons part of her own family for the rest of her years.

While completing her undergraduate degree at UVM, Pat’s summers were spent working at the Highland Lodge on Caspian Lake. She spoke frequently of those being the best summers of her life. During this time Pat met and then married Alfred “Chum” Daniels from East Albany.  She became lifelong friends with his Orleans buddies and his Johnson State College friends (and their families), and beloved Aunt Pat to the Daniels, Sinon, and Ferguson families.

Pat and Chum honeymooned in their Volkswagen bus across the country and into Mexico. They settled in Fairfax, as elementary school teachers. While restoring and renovating a centuries-old farmhouse with views of Mount Mansfield, they raised three children, James “Jim”, Sara, and Amy, to be curious, empathetic, independent, frugal, and peace-seeking. Pat practiced homesteading, made many in-town friends, enjoyed gardening, and kept a beautiful home. The dust from the dirt road outside the front door never settled on her tastefully-curated antiques.

While her children were young, Pat provided loving care to them and others in her home daycare, then returned to teaching at The Maple School, a local Montessori, that her daughters attended at the time. Soon, she returned to Georgia Elementary. She made memories with students and everlasting friendships with co-workers including the Ladies Hiking Group. 

Pat returned to UVM for her Master’s Degree in Education, and served as director of the Elementary Education Program. She dove into mentorship, pursuit of knowledge, and passion for education with a focus in literacy.  Through this, she began her numerous journal publications, as well as local and international conference presentations. In 1999, she achieved her Doctorate in Education at UVM. With that in hand, she became director of curriculum, instruction, and assessment for her local school district. 

It was through Pat’s ongoing commitment to literacy education that she met and then married Robert “Bob” Schwartz in 2004. They furthered their professional pursuits while residing in Lake Orion, Mich. There, she continued to build relationships with colleagues who became her Michigan friends. Her ever-expanding community of friends included teachers in the Lake Orion school district, the University of Michigan-Flint (where she was a faculty member), Oakland University (where Bob taught), and the Reading Recovery network. Her caring and compassion for others brought friendship and leadership roles. Both Vermont and Michigan elected her president of their state reading organizations.

As grandchildren were arriving, Pat returned with Bob to Fairfax, to be close to family and friends. Pat continued in higher education as research professor at Vermont Reads Institute at UVM. She was a founding member of the Partnership in Literacy and Learning (PLL) board. She was a mentor to many in her profession and personally to all with whom she shared her kindness and constant positivity.

Pat retired in 2015, but continued involvement in the field of literacy. She volunteered as chair of the Fairfax Community Library Trustees. She focused on friends and family including rekindled friendships in her book club, sought out many local live music venues and hosted numerous family and friend gatherings. Pat’s love brought the Gallant family together.

Pat’s love of traveling and experiencing the world flourished as she aged. She was always planning journeys with Bob and close friends. She went to Europe, New Zealand, Australia, Egypt, and on many Caribbean and Mediterranean cruises. Any two weeks away left her eager to return to her life in Vermont.

A 2022 diagnosis of ALS brought out Pat’s resilience, positivity, radiance, and bravery. She quickly befriended others with ALS and participated in two successful fundraising campaigns for the ALS Association through the annual ALS walk in South Burlington. Many friends and family were by her side. She continued her long-distance friendships remotely by playing “Words with Friends” and sending many loving emails and Facebook messages. Bob tirelessly and lovingly became her steadfast main caregiver. She cherished the visits from those close to her, many of whom also compassionately assisted with her care and with keeping the house tidy. Her personality and determination continued to shine through on her last days despite ALS progressively robbing her of the ability to move her body, swallow, communicate, and breathe.

Patricia was predeceased by her parents. She is survived by her siblings, Phillip Gallant, Cynthia and James Cota, Jeffrey Gallant and Louis Godin, Clare and Tom Hale, JoAnne Stubbs and Terry Hall; children, Jim Daniels, Sara and Craig Villeneuve, Amy and Lucas Gendron; stepson Michael Schwartz; grandchildren Fred, Margaret, Anna, Camden, Cyrus, Ira and Colette; and great-grandsons Ezra and Judah. 

On May 19, friends and family are invited to attend a graveside service at 1 p.m. at Fairview Cemetery in Hardwick, followed by a celebration of life at Turning Stone Farm, 491 Country Club Road, Greensboro.

Pat’s family would like to thank Dr. Audrey von Lepel, the University of Vermont Medical Center ALS Clinic, the ALS Association, and Compassionate Care ALS for their support over the last two years. Pat adored her caregivers from the VNA and Hospice of the Southwest Region and those from the community. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Pat’s memory to Partnerships for Literacy and Learning, 250 Main St., Ste 202, Montpelier, VT 05602, and to the Northeast Chapter of the ALS Association at web.alsa.org/goto/patricia_gallant.

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