HIGHGATE — January 14, 1963 – April 30, 2020 — Wendy Elenor (Casavant) Lambert’s sudden death as the result of a hit-and-run accident in front of her house would be tragic under any circumstances, so beloved was she by her family and her community. That it occurred in the midst of a pandemic, when we cannot gather in person to mourn her loss, compounds our heartbreak. It also makes us all the more determined to share words of remembrance and grief in her honor. She was a gentle, warm, giving woman with a quiet, impish sense of humor. We are devastated by her passing even as we take heart in her faith in a heavenly afterlife, as expressed in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Wendy was born on January 14, 1963 in St. Albans, Vt., to Cecile M. (Cote) Casavant and the late Wallace “Wally” Casavant. She grew up with her siblings Brian and Nena in Fairfield, where they attended Fairfield Central School. She was a 1981 graduate of Bellows Free Academy in St. Albans, and she earned her Associate’s degree from the Community College of Vermont. As a young woman, Wendy delighted in becoming a mother, and she raised her two sons, Shane and Kyle, in Highgate. She loved her boys, but more than that, she enjoyed them. Their memories are filled with humor and encouragement to look on the bright side of life.

Over the years, Wendy worked outside the home in various settings. Most recently she was employed at the Homeland Security Service Center in St. Albans. Wendy was devoted to her church and her church family at the Highgate Center United Methodist Church/Four Points Rising. A talented seamstress, she was a member of Franklin County Field Days Homemakers’ Association, and she loved to enter her sewing and crochet items in friendly competitions. One of the last projects Wendy completed was an apron she gave as a bridal shower gift for her niece Laura Chevalier of Highgate, just this past March.

Laura is a member of the extended Lambert family Wendy joined upon marrying Michael “Mike” Lambert on September 16, 2006 in Highgate. Theirs was a love that was all the sweeter for its later arrival in their lives, and their marriage was a model of devotion, respect, and what it means to hold each other in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad. Mike called his bride “my Wendy” and he was her Mike. They brought five grown and adolescent children into their union: Wendy’s two sons, and Mike’s three children, Nicholas, Kristina, and Isaac. The blended family they shared was one in which all felt a sense of belonging and gratitude for being among its members.

In time, their children’s partners, Heidi, Lori, Adam, and Hilarie, were welcomed into the fold, and then Wendy and Mike found their greatest joy in the arrival of their grandchildren. Wendy was “Mimi” to Willa, Joanna, Knox, and Kilian. She splashed with them in puddles and was excited to show them frog eggs in the pond, passing on her love of animals and nature to the next generation. Oh, how Wendy loved animals! The family collectively referred to her menagerie of pets as “Wendy’s Zoo.” At the time of her death, this zoo included: a dog named Mini-Moo, whom Wendy referred to as “my baby”; another dog named Lucy; cats Miss Violet and Sparkle; a horse named Belle; two goats, Thunder and Lightning; and eleven chickens she called by name. Another dog, a chihuahua named Marcus, died with Wendy in the accident.

The pain of losing Wendy is all-encompassing now, but it will not define her memory. Love will. We know that though Wendy’s life has ended, her love is everlasting, and its imprint on all who knew her runs deeper even than our anguish. We will cherish recent memories of air hugs from the deck during visits in this time of social distancing; her contagious smile; her countless acts of kindness; the joking way she gifted items made with cat-print fabric to granddaughter Willa, since daughter-in-law Heidi isn’t a fan of felines; and the quiet sense of whimsy that infused her spirit and led her to dye her hair purple, evoking a precocious nod to the line, “When I am an old woman, I will wear purple.” The fact that Wendy will never get to be an old woman makes those left behind feel robbed of all she could have given in the years to come, while her death in this time of global crisis underscores the fragility of life and our absolute certainty of the power of love. Wendy loved her family. She loved her pets. She loved her community. She loved her God. She was love itself, and she is still.

Wendy leaves behind her husband and soulmate, the love of her life, Michael Lambert of Highgate; her mother Cecile (Cote) Casavant of Highgate; the adult sons and daughters in her blended family, Shane Conger and his wife Heidi (Maheux) of Underhill; Kyle Conger and his partner Lori Papineau of Fairfield; Nicholas Lambert of Swanton; Kristina (Lambert) Bosworth and her husband Adam Bosworth of Highgate; Isaac Lambert and his fiancée Hilarie Santiago of Swanton; her beloved grandchildren Willa Rey Conger, Joanna Lucia Lambert Santiago, Knox Griffin Lambert Santiago, and Kilian Lael Bosworth; her brother Brian Casavant and his wife Kathleen (Cardinal) of Highgate; her sister Nena (Casavant) Melvin and her husband Rick of Weare, New Hampshire; a nephew Matthew Casavant and niece Allison Fagga; her extended Lambert family of many brothers and sisters-in-law, as well as dozens of nieces, nephews, and grandnieces and grandnephews; and a wide circle of grieving friends.

There will be no calling hours at this time. We will plan a celebration of Wendy’s life for a later date, and in the meantime we close this written tribute with the simple request that all who read these words will reach out to a loved one in her honor. Send a note or a text, make a phone call, or turn to a person nearby and tell them you care. Don’t wait.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be sent to the Highgate Methodist Church, P.O. Box 312, Highgate, Vermont 05459, to the American Diabetes Association at the following website: www.diabetes.org/donate-to-ada, or Franklin County Animal Rescue, 30 Sunset Meadow St, St. Albans, Vermont 05478.

Condolences, photos and favorite memories may be shared through www.gossfs.com.

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