Marilyn Whitcomb Fenno died June 29, 2019, at University of Vermont Medical Center, Burlington, departing a life well-lived that spanned more than nine decades. At UVM her family was at her side. She was a native of Bath, New Hampshire, born on Aug. 6, 1922. Her grandfather, Benjamin Stymest, and then her parents, Harry and Doris Stymest Whitcomb, owned and managed the Bath Brick Store. She was a graduate of Bath High School and of the University of New Hampshire, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a B.A. in English. She then set out to New York City where she worked for Time magazine as a researcher. She loved her time there.
In 1947 she married Ross V. Fenno from Bellows Falls, Vermont. Their first home was in Indianapolis, Indiana. She worked as a reporter for the Indianapolis Times while he earned his degree at Lincoln Chiropractic College. They then made their home in Montpelier, where they raised their family. Ross passed away in 1975. In 1967 Marilyn had accepted a position in the Montpelier Public School System teaching English at the high school level. Her new career as a teacher allowed her to share her love of literature, especially poetry and drama, and to pursue further study. Her efforts led to a Master of Arts in Teaching in English from the University of Vermont in 1977. After she retired from MHS in 1992 she remained in touch with many of her students and treasured her continuing friendships with colleagues.
Marilyn was a lifelong member of Bethany United Church of Christ. She enjoyed travel, and after retirement, she visited Great Britain, Portugal, Italy and Japan. She had a special empathy and concern for animals and cared lovingly for many cats and dogs over her lifetime. Marilyn always loved baseball and was an enthusiastic fan of the Boston Red Sox (most recently Mookie Betts especially) and of the Vermont Mountaineers. In the last decade of her life, time with family and friends was a source of great joy. Until 2018 she lived in her home, where she was most fortunate in her wonderful neighbors. She was very fond of the neighborhood children, who would drop around to help bake cookies. After joining the assisted living community at Heaton Woods in 2018, she enjoyed many new friendships. Marilyn’s family is very grateful for the warmth and professionalism of the staff there.
Marilyn’s family members include her daughter Shelley F. Quinn and her husband, Charles J. Quinn, and her daughter Gwen L. Fenno; her grandchildren, David B. Maxwell, Alison W. Maxwell, and Roslyn T. Maxwell; her son-in-law John J. Maxwell; her great granddaughter, Charlotte E. Clay; her sister Carol W. Smith; and her godson, Teagan E. Bate. In addition to her husband, she was predeceased by her second daughter, Lynn F. Maxwell, and by her grandson David’s wife, Heather P. Maxwell.
A celebration of Marilyn’s life will be held at Bethany United Church of Christ, 115 Main Street, Montpelier. The service will be held at 11 a.m. on Monday, July 8, with a reception to follow. Burial will be at 2 p.m. at Green Mount Cemetery in Montpelier. If desired, donations may be made to Bethany Church’s Community Meal Fund; to the Central Vermont Humane Society, CVHS, PO Box 687, Montpelier, VT 05601; or to the Heaton Woods Activity Fund, Heaton Woods Assisted Living, 10 Heaton Street, Montpelier, VT 05602. Guare and Sons Funeral Home in Montpelier is in charge of arrangements.