Polly Lawrence MARSHFIELD — Paulyne S. Lawrence was born in Marshfield, Vermont, on March 26, 1925, the daughter of Ernest and Marion St. John. Ernest was a horse logger, farmer and road foreman for the town. This was a second marriage for Ernest. Polly had three half-brothers and two half-sisters, the youngest of whom was 10 years her senior and was her husband Rodger’s elementary school teacher. Polly lived with her parents until elementary school when her mother’s mental health issues required that she live with her mother’s brother and his wife in Marshfield. Polly’s uncle and aunt ran a small dairy farm where they relied heavily on horses to provide transportation, gather hay, cut lumber, and produce maple syrup. An only child on a remote dairy farm during the Great Depression, Polly grew up hardworking, tough, resilient and madly in love with horses. She fed, harnessed, saddled, worked them, and often rode them the three-and-a-half miles to school. School was always important to Polly. She was a good student, but the thing she loved most was playing on the school basketball team. She was a varsity starter from 7th through 12th grade, and after graduation, joined a team of outstanding players who had recently graduated and played against any and all competition available. After high school, Polly went to secretarial school (called business school in those days). She worked as a secretary in Montpelier and then Burlington, where she met Rodger Lawrence, an engineering student enrolled in UVM under the GI Bill. They married in Montpelier in 1949, then moved to Northampton, Massachusetts, where Rodger worked at the VA as chief of hospital facilities. This move was followed up by a move to Manchester, New Hampshire, and finally to Canandaigua, New York. Throughout her career, Polly worked as a secretary for UVM, the military and the YMCA, as well as volunteering in the local Head Start program and acting as president for the Parent Teacher Association. Polly always had a passion for adventure and as a young single woman, often headed to Boston or Montreal for weekends with friends, sometimes returning just in time for work. While not reckless, she often said, “things aren’t much fun unless they are a little dangerous.” She also had a great ability to make the most of each day and to accept the challenges that life presents. This approach served her well and made her a great role model for her family and others she met along life’s road. In 1981, Rodger retired from the VA and they moved back to Vermont to live in an old farmhouse the family had restored in Marshfield next door to the house in which she had grown up. Polly and Rodger were incredibly dedicated to their family and active in the lives of their children and grandchildren throughout retirement, attending countless concerts, sports games and dance recitals. After living together in retirement for 33 years, Rodger passed away in 2014. Polly is survived by her son, Dana and his wife, Nancy Thomas, of East Montpelier; and her son, Gregory and his wife, Andie Lawrence, of Cropseyville, New York. Polly is also survived by her four grandchildren, Isaac Lawrence, Maija Lawrence, Patrick Lawrence and Christopher Lawrence; and one great-granddaughter, Louisa Lawrence, born this past March. Due to COVID, there will be no memorial service at this time.

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