• Doris W. Kidd
    August 27,2014

    NORTHFIELD — Doris W. Kidd died at age 95 on Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, at Mayo Healthcare in Northfield, Vermont. Predeceased by her husband, Kenneth Kidd, of Northfield, and three brothers of Watertown, New York, she is survived by one daughter, Katherine Young, of Victoria, British Columbia.

    Doris was born June 19, 1919, in Watertown, New York. As a teen, she loved figure skating, spending her summers honing her skills at the Lake Placid skating arena (venue of the 1932 and 1980 Olympics). When she studied to be a medical technician in New York City, she skated at the Rockefeller Plaza. Later, Doris moved to Washington, D.C. At a skating club there, she met her future husband, Kenneth Kidd.

    After World War II, they moved to Northfield. When Ken became a professor at Norwich University, Doris taught figure skating, volunteered making flower arrangements for the Central Vermont Hospital gift shop, and was a longtime member of the Northfield Ladies Reading Circle. She took up landscape painting, first in oils and then in watercolors, learning techniques through many workshops with well-known artists in New England and abroad. Doris was active in the Northern Vermont Artist Association and the Barre Paletteers.

    Doris had a natural modesty, almost an absence of ego, which allowed her to be one, as it were, with her subject matter. Winning the occasional show ribbon and selling paintings came as a surprise and gave her great delight. By 90, as dementia was setting in, she stopped painting, realizing she could not achieve the same subtle flow. But it was not quite over. When she later moved to Mayo Healthcare, she joined Michael Grey’s art class. It was always the highlight of her week. As her subject matter became reduced to lines and her vision blurred with macular degeneration, one could hear her occasionally say, “I’m an artist.” It took dementia, it seems, to free her sense of identity. Just before her 95th birthday in June of 2014, Michael Grey entered several of her paintings in an invited juried show in Montpelier sponsored by Central Vermont Council on Aging. Although for Doris many days had become a blur, mentally and visually, she rallied on this occasion, telling someone, “I’m doing abstracts now!”

    Deep thanks go to Jill Sahlman, who provided care more like a daughter than a caregiver, and all those at Mayo Healthcare who gave Doris such warm and wonderful support. Central Vermonters should be very proud that they have such an establishment.

    There will be visiting hours Wednesday, Aug. 27, from 2 to 3 p.m. at the Kingston Funeral Home, 35 Slate Ave., Northfield. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her memory to the Activities Department (which supports the arts classes) of Mayo Healthcare 71 Richardson St., Northfield, VT 05663.

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