SWANTON – Elizabeth Read passed away peacefully at the Homestead Community with family by her side on January 4, 2021, at the age of 94. Throughout her life in Franklin County, Elizabeth was known as Becky.
Becky was born on a winter day in 1926, to her parents, Marguerite and Wilfred Girard, on their hill farm in Fairfield, where she joined her brother, Cedric Abel, and sister, Phyllis Girard, and later helped welcome three younger brothers, Augustus (Greg), James, and Lawrence Girard. All the children gained an appreciation for hard work by working beside their parents; the boys worked on the farm, and the girls helped inside with the housework and cooking.
After graduating from Mount St. Mary’s Academy, Becky shared an apartment in St. Albans with friends and was employed by the phone company as a telephone operator. She was on duty when President Franklin D. Roosevelt died and was busy connecting calls all day.
Her life changed when she met Charlie Read at a dance. Following a brief courtship, they married in 1947 and then began their family in East Fairfield, where they raised their four children, James, Marguerite (Peggy), Valerie and Frank.
Becky’s home was welcoming to all. Her table was always set with delicious and nutritious meals. She took homemaking and parenting seriously and was a member of the Home Demonstration group. By taking her children to the library every two weeks, she instilled in them a love of reading. She volunteered to be a 4-H leader for many years, teaching homemaking skills. Becky was active in the parents’ group at East Fairfield Elementary School, where she was instrumental in starting a hot lunch program. She hosted Thanksgiving dinner for the Girard side of the family every year, and she was a member of St. Anthony’s Catholic Church.
In 1967, the family moved to Swanton and made many new friends. As a member of the Altar Society, Becky was active with the Church of the Nativity. She belonged to several bowling leagues and enjoyed swimming laps several times a week well into her 80s.
She started a family tradition. Every Thanksgiving, all nine grandchildren stayed overnight, and the next morning, they made gingerbread houses together. Becky loved having her home filled with family every Christmas and worked hard throughout the year to make sure the pile of gifts under the tree was at least five feet tall.
When their children were grown, Becky and Charlie began traveling, visiting 49 of the 50 states as well as the British Isles and Europe. As a member of the Autonoe Club, Becky liked nothing more than winning first place at the bridge table. She also liked to play cribbage and scrabble, and she enjoyed knitting, sewing, and connecting with friends.
In 2014, Becky and Charlie moved into the Homestead, where they made many new friends and received assistance from a devoted community of caring staff.
Becky is survived by one brother, Lawrence (Carol) Girard of Essex, as well as one brother-in-law, Frank (Ellen) Read of St. Albans. She also leaves behind her children, James Read of Essex, Marguerite (Peggy) and William Pearson, also of Essex, Valerie Ives of St. Albans, and Frank and Sandra (Cushing) Read of Georgia, as well as grandchildren: Cheryl Read and husband, Gary Richardson, Derick and Leslie Read, Laura and Nicholas Dattilio, Darrell Read and partner, Erin Schmitt, Tay and Ted Olson, Kimberley and Jody Desjardins, Jamie and Josh McNight, Julie and Jamie Danaher, and Jill and Matt Abair, as well as 15 treasured great-grandchildren and several beloved nieces and nephews.
Becky was predeceased by her husband, Richard Charles (Charlie) Read, her sister, Phyllis and husband, Norman Bishop, brothers: Greg Girard, Cedric and wife, Marian Abel, James and wife, Betty Girard, sister and brother–in-law, Alberta and Wendell Reed and brother and sister-in-law, David and Joyce Read, as well as her daughter-in-law, Elaine Read, and her son-in-law, Rudy Ives.
The family would like to extend heartfelt thanks to the many caregivers and staff at the Homestead who lovingly cared for Becky and went above and beyond for her.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Becky’s memory to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, Tennessee 38105-9959.
A celebration of Becky’s life will be announced when it is safe for people to gather.
Assisting the Read family is the Heald Funeral Home, Celebrating Lives Since 1918, where messages of condolence and sharing of memories are welcome at www.healdfuneralhome.com.