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Durham, New Hampshire
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Sarah Brown McCulloch, former resident of Guilford, North Branford, and Westport, died in Durham, New Hampshire, on Feb. 4, where she had moved in 2017 to be nearer to her family. She died of complications from pneumonia just shy of her 98th birthday.
Sarah was known in Guilford for her strong advocacy of historic preservation, serving as a board member and also president of the Guilford Preservation Alliance to preserve and improve the town’s historic features. She became chair of the Green Committee in 2001. She also worked as assistant to her sister-in-law, Elizabeth Mills Brown, helping to research Connecticut architecture.
In 1989, she published Guilford: A Walking Guide, which went through numerous editions, the proceeds of which benefit the Preservation Alliance. Many people remember her for her tours of historic Guilford and her introduction of historic Early Guilford Days into the schools. She assisted teacher Joann Corlett and her class in writing “Around the Guilford Green: A Children’s Walking Guide.”
Sarah received the Award of Merit from the Connecticut League of Historical Societies in 1984 and a Volunteer Recognition Award for Preservation from the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation and the Connecticut Historic Commission. In 1997, she received the Charles Hubbard Award from the Guilford Preservation Alliance and a Distinguished Alumna Award from Vermont College of Norwich University.
Sarah and her husband Ronald moved to Guilford in 1980 and she continued to be active in the community after his death in 1992. She was a member of First Congregational Church and the Leete’s Island Garden Club; she also served on the board of the Dorothy Whitfield Historical Society and volunteered at the Guilford Free Library.
At 65, Sarah graduated from Vermont College with a BA in art history, fulfilling her lifelong dream of obtaining a college diploma. An accomplished quilter, rug braider, and rug hooker, she was thrilled to win a blue ribbon for a braided rug at the Guilford Fair in 1984. She was also well-known for her cooking and canning, her lifelong love of opera, and her Scrabble game.
Born Feb. 16, 1922, in Federalsburg, Maryland, she was raised with her four siblings in Girdletree and Snow Hill on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. She married Ronald McCulloch in 1942, after two years of college at American University, at the outbreak of WWII, during which he served in the US Navy. Sarah and Ron had three daughters, Susan, Ellen, and Gail. She held deep ties to family and returned almost every summer to the Eastern Shore. She was the matriarch of the large Brown clan and the family historian and archivist.
Sarah led an active life as wife and mother in various locations in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Massachusetts, Hawaii, and Connecticut, moving many times when her husband changed jobs. In Hawaii, she became fascinated with Hawaiian history, culture, and flora, attending courses at the University of Hawaii, and assembling a library of Hawaiiana.
Before moving to Guilford, she worked at the Mianus River Gorge Wildlife Refuge and Botanical Preserve as executive assistant to the chairman, in Stamford for six years, from 1974 to 1980. She also volunteered at the League of Women Voters, American Field Service, the PTA, the Girls Scouts, and at church, among other organizations.
Sarah and Ron were known for their wide circle of friends and hospitality; their dinner table always had an extra seat. They hosted two foreign students, Monique Nicole from France and Elisabeth Reverbel from Brazil.
Sarah was predeceased by her husband Ron; and siblings Ralph, Elliot, Huey, Barbara, and their spouses. She is survived by her daughter Susan McCulloch Bennett and her husband Dr. Alan H. Bennett of Durham, New Hampshire; daughter Ellen McCulloch-Lovell, husband Dr. Christopher W. Lovell, their son Evan McCulloch Lovell and his wife Kristi and three daughters, Lucia, Isobel Sarah, and Evelyn, all in Vermont; her daughter Gail McCulloch of Port Jefferson, New York, and her children Colin McCulloch Blocksma and Lorna Brown Blocksma.
There will be a memorial service in Guilford in the spring. Donations in her honor may be made to the Guilford Preservation Alliance, PO Box 199, Guilford, CT 06437, or First Congregational Church, 122 Broad St., Guilford, CT, 06437. Visit www.kentandpelczarfh.com to sign an online guest book.
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