Obituary: Sabina Barbara Evarts, 1937-2024 | Obituaries | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Obituary: Sabina Barbara Evarts, 1937-2024 

Shelburne woman’s life was a journey of unrestrained curiosity and creativity, filled with joys of her own making

Published January 25, 2024 at 6:00 a.m. | Updated January 25, 2024 at 7:52 a.m.

click to enlarge Sabina Evarts - COURTESY
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  • Sabina Evarts

Sabina Barbara (Sauter) Evarts, 86, of Shelburne, Vt., made her own life full by surrounding herself with people, art, conversation and lots of laughter. She loved to share both her knowledge and “well-informed” opinions on everything with everyone. She not only marched to the beat of a different drummer but also grabbed the drumsticks, crafted a new drum and wrote her own beat to live by. She passed away on January 22, 2024, from complications related to Alzheimer’s disease.

Sabina was born on May 15, 1937, to Sophie and John Sauter in Springfield, Vt., the oldest of three sisters. A passionate lifelong learner, Sabina first attended Cathedral High School in Burlington, Vt., and ultimately graduated from Vergennes Union High School. In preparation for taking religious vows, she was a novice at Mount St. Mary's Abbey before becoming a mother. She attended Trinity College and earned a degree at Christopher Newport College. Sabina was self-taught in many disciplines, allowing her to manifest a life for herself that was filled with everything she was interested in and become a teacher to many over the years. She impacted so many by sharing her knowledge of psychology, English, sewing, visual arts, crafting, Reiki and, later, the art of teaching Reiki.

click to enlarge Sabina Evarts - COURTESY
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  • Sabina Evarts
Sabina married Lloyd F. Evarts in 1959 and had three children. The family traveled all over the world together and created amazing memories as they camped and explored local cultures, making a home together in White Sands, Nuremberg, Greencastle, South Burlington, Göppingen, Newport News, Warner Robins, Ferrisburgh and finally Shelburne.

As time went on, their house in Shelburne became a home for thousands of books, a teapot collection, rocks, gems, Hummel figurines, remarkably unique jewelry, an ever-expanding supply of fabric scraps and notions, and enough art and supplies to warrant the use of two bedrooms. They shuddered at the mere idea of minimalism. She treasured beauty and found it often and in unlikely places. The things she enjoyed were displayed as the treasures which she knew them to be. A poster with beautiful lines next to signed original art. A one-of-a-kind papier-mâché vase made by a grandchild next to a shiny stuffed Beanie Baby.

Her love of the arts was as deep as it was varied. She was an avid reader, causing her husband to start using eBay to keep up with her book-buying habit. Shakespeare, Langston Hughes, Marion Zimmer Bradley, E.E. Cummings, L. Frank Baum, Rumi and Maya Angelou were all on her bookshelf, with soft spines and notes in the margins, filled with scrap papers memorializing her thoughts throughout. She loved to write short stories about elves in the eaves and poetry about her mother, and filled journals with musings written in her indecipherable (even to her) script.

The music of Miles Davis, George Gershwin, Paul Simon, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Loreena McKennitt, Booker T. & the M.G.’s, and so many others filled her home. She sang along with great enthusiasm — sometimes with the right words and in the right key, but often not. It was simply about experiencing the joy of the music. Sometimes this happened by dancing along in the kitchen, sometimes by humming a verse over and over or through deep, focused listening while working on mandala art.
click to enlarge Sabina Evarts - COURTESY
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  • Sabina Evarts
Her visual artistry was legendary. Her sewing skills were phenomenal, and she ran in the craft fair circuit for a number of years making quilted vests and coats — before it was cool. In the ’90s, she worked with Arts Alive to increase awareness and appreciation for Vermont’s visual artists, especially through her time volunteering at the Arts Alive Fine Arts Festival in the summers. She dabbled in many mediums, and you can track her various artistic phases through those mediums and her subjects. There were watercolors of Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks, oil pastels of flower fields in Addison County, line drawings of her grandchildren, expressive ink and watercolor mood drawings inspired by Asian art, charcoal chiaroscuros of buildings and shapes, Sculpey beads, oil on wood images of strong female characters, wire jewelry, fine line drawings of individual flowers in vases, mandalas in various mediums, found-object collage, and even-larger-than-life watercolor representations of her favorite characters from The Wizard of Oz. Her art was unique, and for many years a small fairy or dragons could be found hiding in almost all of it. She adored working on art with her grandchildren and taught them that there weren’t “mistakes” in art, just happy accidents.

Sabina discovered Reiki later in life and became a Usui Satori Reiki master teacher. She found comfort in the meditative, healing practice of Reiki and relished the opportunity to share that as a teacher. Her interest in Reiki, meditation and Buddhism led to a desire to know more about all types of Eastern art and culture. In the early 2000s, she traveled to China twice, including to the Potala Palace in Tibet during one of her trips.

The life led by Sabina was an amazing journey of unrestrained curiosity and creativity, far more than the sum of its parts. She was a loving and adoring wife, mother, grandmother, teacher and friend. Sabina invested in happiness and built a life filled with joys of her own making. Her legacy will live on in her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and the hundreds of people who called her a friend and teacher. She believed in beauty, in nature and in loving kindness. In the words of Rumi:

don't cry for my leaving
i'm not leaving
i'm arriving at eternal love

She is survived by her husband, Lloyd; her children, David (Lisa C.) Evarts, Patricia Evarts and John (Lisa V.) Evarts; her younger sisters, Mary Ann Broughton and Andrea Shattuck; nine grandchildren; and fifteen great-grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, her family suggests the following: Plant flowers. Make weird art. Buy weird art. Listen to music that is new to you. Support local and new musicians, artists and writers. Wear your brightest colors and most bold jewelry. Kurwa mać! Swear in other languages to get a rise out of someone, and eat ice cream for dinner.

They insist that you live joyfully, like Sabina.

A celebration of Sabina’s life will be held on February 3, 2024, 1 to 4 p.m., at the Ferrisburg Grange Hall.

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