Monkton - Dawn Marie (DeVarney) Thibault, 68, passed away peacefully on August 4, 2019. She was born on September 15, 1950 in Burlington. She grew up in Milton, graduating from Milton High School in 1968. She then went on to graduate from the University of Vermont in 1973, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders.
Dawn was the oldest of three children born to Donald and Marion (Giroux) DeVarney. Her childhood was filled with playing with her younger brothers and tribe of friends and cousins. Her earliest memories were of being outside, skating, swimming, and especially running through her father’s prized asparagus patch.
Dawn met her husband Clarke in college and they married on May 20, 1972. The couple had two daughters, Zarabeth and Leah, both strong, fierce, independent women. It was obvious how proud Dawn felt of the women her daughters had become. Her two grandsons, Ty and Garrett, brought her great joy. She enjoyed talking about the latest book they read, hearing if they had won their soccer game, or listening to them recount the last hike their mother had taken them on. Dawn loved her family and friends dearly and took pride in spending time fostering those relationships. Friends were often absorbed into family functions and holiday celebrations.
After graduating from college, the couple lived in Burlington, spending their summers pitching a tent on their family land in Huntington. In the fall of 1976 they bought a small house in Monkton, affectionately now known as La Maison Rose, where Dawn lived for the remainder of her life. It was there that the couple grew their homestead, tending their large flower and vegetable garden and raising pigs and chickens. Time was spent both in the garden – planting, weeding, and harvesting – and in the kitchen, cutting, processing, and preserving the fruits of their labor for the long winter.
A lover of the outdoors, Dawn was well-versed in Vermont geology and its natural history. A walk with Dawn through meadow, valley or mountain always included her knowledge of many of Vermont’s native species. Those she didn’t already know would quickly be identified by her extensive collection of field guide books. Dawn’s husband grew up hiking and camping, and that became a beloved family tradition. That love of hiking expanded to allow Dawn to guide hikes for Vermont Hiking Holidays. She enjoyed introducing travelers from near and far to the magic and beauty of Vermont. As time went on, and hikes along the spine of the Green Mountains were no longer attainable, woods walks through the Watershed Center and Raven’s Ridge allowed her to continue to enjoy the natural world around her.
Dawn had a penchant for multifaceted creative pursuits. With a talented seamstress for a mother, she developed her own proficiency in sewing and took a part-time seamstress position with Freemountain Toys, sewing Vegimals and other plush creations. From there Dawn designed a line of hand-stenciled, fabric-lined, wooden baskets that she sold at craft shows and to wholesale clients. There was little that Dawn could not create or engineer from everyday materials. Armed with yarn, fabric, paper, paint, beads, and buttons, Dawn also gave her daughters the guidance and confidence to be creative in any medium.
After her daughters were both in school Dawn went back to the classroom and co-taught the Share class at Beeman Elementary for over two decades, retiring in 2015. Fellow educators recognized Dawn as an innovator and advocate for children, allowing children to be their best selves. Long after students left her classroom, students would continue to write letters to Mrs. Thibault, keeping her up to date on their current events.
As a lifelong reader and lover of books, Dawn had a passion for promoting a love of reading and learning in others. Shortly after her position as a hiking tour guide, Dawn worked at Deer Leap Books, helping to pair patrons with books in which they could become immersed. This practical experience allowed her to become a librarian at Russell Memorial Library in Monkton. In this role she helped expand the library collections and to institute programs for the community’s youngest readers. She took great joy in developing activities for the summer reading program.
Those who know Dawn have long been struck by her kindness to others, her laugh, her willingness to teach and learn, and her dedication to her family, friends and community. Dawn is survived by her husband Clarke; daughter Zarabeth and husband Christopher Duell; daughter Leah and husband Donny Phillips; grandsons Ty and Garrett Duell; and by all who called her Auntie Dawn. She is also survived by her two brothers, Ed (and wife Deb) and Bob (and wife Cherie); her husband’s family; and countless other family members and friends that will remember Dawn’s life with light and love.
A celebration of her life will be held on September 7, 2019 at La Maison Rose in Monkton. Further details forthcoming; to be apprised of full details please email firstname.lastname@example.org. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Watershed Center or Addison County Home, Health & Hospice.