Milestones, Obituaries

SALLY PLEASANTS LONEGREN

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September 13, 1936 – December 12, 2023

DENVER, Colo. – In the morning hours of December 12, 2023, in Denver, Sally Lonegren peacefully passed away in her sleep at 87 years of age. She was in the company and hearts of her loving family.

Sally was born in Montclair, N.J., to Virginia Pleasants and Sigfrid Lonegren, where she was raised with her older sister Lee and younger brother Sig. She and her family spent many summers in Greensboro, Vt., building lifelong friendships and fond memories of swimming, sailing, evening dances, and enjoying classical music on Caspian Lake. It was there she would ultimately return later in life to live and build a rich community of friends, family, and neighbors.

Sally attended Hollins College, where she studied French before graduating in 1958. She shortly thereafter married Robert Chamberlin, with whom she had her first two children, Thatcher and Virginia. In 1962 she moved to Denver, where she met and married her second husband, Richard Vanden Bergh, with whom she had her two other children, Rick and Fred. Sally spent more than 25 years in Denver raising her four kids and building a loving family.

Sally was deeply spiritual, and embodied an intellectual passion for psychology, the mysterious, the ephemeral, and the metaphysical aspects of human consciousness. She eagerly explored these and related topics with many fellow seekers, through travel, art and song, poetry, and community.

In 1986, Sally broke ground for what would become The People Barn, a retreat center in the wooded acres of her Greensboro home. For the next 30 years, people from across the region, country, and globe gathered there to practice yoga, wander the secret paths along the brook, walk the labyrinth, sing and dance in shared community, and explore all aspects of a meaningful and conscious life.
Above all, Sally found joy in sharing the blessings of her life with others, always looking for opportunities to share her home, her ideas, and her generosity. She had a fundamentally playful nature, being reliably silly with all she knew well and many she’d just met.

She had a deeply nuanced and compassionate understanding of life and its complexities that is rare and precious to find. She parlayed the considerable challenges of her life into personal growth, while always seeking out the joy in others and celebrating the beautiful and sublime. Sally’s unique personal insight, her boundless compassion, and her loving, smiling eyes will be profoundly missed.

Sally is survived by her two siblings, her four children, three daughters in-law, Tracy, Kate, and Kre and her six beloved grandchildren, Ariana, Zack, Isa, Rebecca, Emerson, and Teagan.
Friends and family are invited to join in a Celebration of Sally’s life on May 25, at 1 p.m., at the Greensboro United Church of Christ. Please join us for a service followed by a reception at Fellowship Hall. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Pleasants Fund at the United Church of Christ. If you have any questions, please contact Sally’s son Rick Vanden Bergh ([email protected]).

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