Obituary: Louise McCarren, 1947-2024 | Obituaries | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Obituary: Louise McCarren, 1947-2024 

Charlotte woman was considered a trailblazer at a time when there were few female lawyers

Published March 19, 2024 at 6:00 a.m. | Updated March 19, 2024 at 11:49 a.m.

Louise McCarren - COURTESY
  • Courtesy
  • Louise McCarren

Louise was born in San Mateo, Calif., in 1947, not long after the end of WWII. Her ancestors on both sides came from long lines of early California settlers. Her father was a bomber pilot in the Pacific during WWII, once bailing out over China towards the end of the war. As a child, she enjoyed skiing and waterskiing near their Lake Tahoe family cabin, which her father built in the 1950s.

She attended Notre Dame High School in Belmont, Calif., graduating from UC Berkeley in 1969. This was an interesting time, as her brothers were serving in Vietnam, and the counter-culture revolution was unfolding in the Bay Area. She graduated from UCLA law school in 1972, where she reportedly drove a motorcycle around Los Angeles.

She moved to Vermont in 1973 with her first husband, where they had a son, Patrick McCarren. She began practicing law in Vermont as a legal aid lawyer and public defender at a time when there were few female lawyers, and she was considered a trailblazer in that regard. In 1977 she published a helpful guidebook, A Non-lawyers Guide to Getting a Divorce in Vermont.

She met her second husband, Edwin Amidon, in the late 1970s, outside a courtroom where he was an acting judge. She was taken by his sense of adventure, and they soon began white-water canoeing together as early members of the Vermont Canoe Cruisers Club. They welcomed her second child, William Amidon, in 1979.

Louise's career took her into regulatory economics, eventually becoming chairman of the Vermont Public Service Board under Governor Richard Snelling in 1981. She briefly became involved in Vermont politics, unsuccessfully running for lieutenant governor in the Republican primary in 1990. During the 1990s, she began consulting for utilities, eventually becoming CEO of NYNEX (later Verizon) Vermont in the late 1990s. By the mid-2000s, she became chief executive of the Western Electric Coordinating Council, which helps to manage the Western U.S. power grid. Through the years, she was known as a strong leader who could cut to the chase and connected with employees at all levels of an organization. For example, she was famous for eating lunch in the cafeteria at Verizon and once served lunch while the employees were on the picket line. Over the years, she served on numerous nonprofit and corporate boards, including ISO-New England, Vermont Law School, Campaign for Vermont, National Life and as chair of the Fletcher Allen Hospital (now University of Vermont Medical Center) Board.

Louise was an avid athlete and adventurer who was rarely idle. During the ‘80s and ‘90s, she was a triathlete and once competed in the Hawaii Ironman. She shared a passion for wilderness canoeing with her husband, Ed, and they worked together to launch many multi-week canoe expeditions to the Canadian Arctic, on rivers such as the Coppermine, Kazan, Hood, Burnside and Noatak. She also enjoyed gardening and was known for gifting huge bouquets of flowers to everyone and anyone. In her later years, she played tennis and women's hockey and greatly valued being a part of those communities.

Louise returned to Charlotte full time around 2013 and became involved in the life of the town. She was a frequent volunteer at the Charlotte Food Shelf and the Charlotte Senior Center and served on the selectboard for several years. She enjoyed being able to spend time with her sons and her two granddaughters, Pippa and Marley Amidon, who brought her a great deal of joy. Her final show of strength was as a steadfast caregiver to her husband, Ed, until his passing in late December 2023.

Louise lived a vibrant and generous life, touching the lives of countless people with her generosity. She was constantly focused on what she could do for others and provided assistance to countless friends and strangers over her life.

 Louise is survived by her sons Patrick McCarren and William Amidon, her granddaughters Pippa and Marley Amidon, Nora Hopkins, Georgia, Mattie, and Eliza Ware, her stepdaughters Jane Amidon and Martha Ware, and her siblings Michael, Tony and Mollie Moroney.

A celebration of life will be held for Louise and her husband, Edwin, on Saturday, April 6, at 11 a.m., at the Charlotte Congregational Church. All are welcome. Donations in memory of Louise can be made to the Charlotte Food Shelf or to the Adirondack Land Trust.

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