The Rev. Edith "Edie" Poland, Pastor of the Keeseville/Harkness United Methodist Church, died unexpectedly of a heart condition, Monday, April 30th.
Born December 14, 1946, the oldest child of a career military father who served in WW II, Korea and Vietnam. Edie grew up on military bases in Bermuda, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Massachusetts, Germany and Texas during her formative years. But New England was home. Whenever her father had extensive leave, the family traveled to Shelburne, Vermont or Camden, Maine to be with family.
Following graduation from high school in San Antonio, Texas, Edie attended nursing school at what is now the UVM Medical Center in Burlington, VT, earning her nursing degree in 1968. She then joined the Navy during the Viet Nam conflict. She served in the Philippines' Subic Bay, Washington, D.C. and San Diego while continuing her studies. Edie eventually earned both a master's degree in administration as well as a master's in education. She helped train future generations of Navy nurse corpsman.
Edie retired from the Navy with the rank of Commander in 1993 and came home to Vermont to be closer to family. She settled in Brandon, Vermont. Never one to rest, she found employment within the Vermont Department of Health for several years and was elected to serve as a town auditor.
Her Bible studies led her to want to do more for those in need. She became an ordained deacon and assisted at the United Federated Church of Williamstown, Vt., and graduated from Boston University's divinity program. Edie became an ordained minister at the age of 68, while serving the Harkness and Keeseville, N.Y. Methodist churches.
Edie gave tirelessly of herself to others, never refusing a late night visit to meet with individuals in crisis. And when she wasn't serving her own congregation she worked with ministers of other faiths to help all those in need, regardless of their faith or circumstances and served on multiple community boards designed to improve the lives of others among them the Mental Health Association of Essex County, and the Essex Community Action Board.
Among Edie's most outstanding attributes was her loyalty to her family and friends and generous gift giving. Edie was looking forward to a road trip to Charleston, S.C. to visit friends and nurses with whom she had served in Subic Bay and San Diego, when the Lord called her home.
Edie is survived by a sister, Jean P. McHenry of Charlotte, Vermont and brother, Gary Poland of Glenburn, Maine; beloved nieces, Rhonda Hanley of Shelburne, Vermont, Kerri Poland of Springfield, Ill., Pamela Tzovarras of Hampden, Maine; and nephew, Benjamin Poland of Levant, Maine. Among her many treasured cousins, Margaret "Peggy" Perrigo of Shelburne who shared summers in Vermont with Edie and her siblings at Shelburne Bay when they were children as well as adventures in San Diego, was a long and loyal friend. Edie's parents, Herbert and Beulah (Perrigo) Poland of Camden, Maine predeceased her.
A celebration of her life will be held Saturday, May 12, 2018 at Noon at St. John's Church in Keeseville. A private burial will be held at the convenience of the family.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to the church, a local humane society or simply smile and do something surprisingly generous and kind for someone.
Arrangements are in the care of the Hamilton Funeral Home, 124 Clinton Street, Keeseville, 834-7667.