Obituary: Henry Andrews Ingraham, 1947-2023 | Obituaries | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Obituary: Henry Andrews Ingraham, 1947-2023 

Montpelier man loved taking care of animals and was drawn to farming

Published March 24, 2023 at 6:00 a.m. | Updated March 24, 2023 at 2:36 p.m.

click to enlarge Henry Andrews Ingraham - COURTESY
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  • Henry Andrews Ingraham
Henry Andrews Ingraham, known throughout his life as “Sandy,” died in Colchester, Vt., on March 11, 2023.

Sandy was born in 1947 to Henry Gardiner Ingraham and Barbara Lamb Ingraham. He spent his childhood playing outdoors with his sister and three brothers and their many cousins and friends, in the fields and woods surrounding their house in Northport, on Long Island’s North Shore. Sandy especially loved setting up obstacle courses for track and field, playing ice hockey on Northport’s frozen ponds and riding bareback on his pony, Red.

After high school, he got a BA in history from Denison University and then a master's degree in English from the University of Chicago and made many lasting friends along the way. He taught for a year in an elementary school in the inner city of Chicago, then traveled through Europe on a Triumph motorcycle and worked on a sheep farm in Scotland before making his way to Vermont.

From the time Sandy was a small boy, he loved taking care of animals. Despite his fine education and keen interest in history and literature, he was drawn to farming. In the early 1980s, he lived in Alburgh, where he worked on a small dairy farm for room and board and taught at a two-room schoolhouse. After two years, he decided he needed a better way to make a living and commuted to McGill University in Montréal, Qué., where he received a master’s degree in business. He accepted a job teaching at Lyndon State College in 1983 and moved to the Northeast Kingdom.

In 1985, he met Amy Ehrlich, newly arrived from Brooklyn with her 11-year-old son, Joss. After a whirlwind courtship, Sandy and Amy married in June and bought a hill farm in Barnet. Sandy raised Holstein heifers and did chores twice a day while working at Lyndon State. Every morning in the summer, he dove into the farm pond, then worked outside until dark — cutting hay, fixing fences,and moving cows from pasture to pasture with a series of beloved dogs. There were laying hens and always horses — two Percherons, a retired racehorse and, once, a dozen wild mustangs from the West.

The farm was open to all. Friends and their children, nieces and nephews and grandsons from California rode with Sandy on his tractors, played on the basketball court he created in the barn with hay bales for bleachers and swung into the water from a zip line above the pond. There were lawn parties with pick-up bands, big Thanksgiving dinners and even a wedding.

Sandy also found time to pursue his deep interest in improving the quality of life for animals. When he read about the Aqua Cow Rise system, a water tank invented by a Danish farmer for floating downed cows which lifted them without clamps or chains, he took on its manufacture and distribution in the United States. In just a few years, almost every veterinary school in the country was using the Aqua Cow system.

All this ended in 2013 when Sandy became ill with what was diagnosed as a severe depression. He endured it bravely but was unable to run the farm. It was put into the Vermont Land Trust in 2017, the property and equipment were sold and Amy and Sandy moved to Montpelier. No medicines helped him, but it wasn’t until November 2022 that Sandy was correctly diagnosed with Lewy body dementia, for which there is no treatment or cure.

Amy cared for him at home with the help of family and friends, caregivers and hospice nurses. On March 7, Sandy was admitted to Respite House in Colchester. He lived for four more days, finally at peace, with Amy at his side day and night.

In addition to Amy, Sandy is survived by his stepson, Joss Williams (Jennie), and three grandsons, Aaron, Noah and Gabriel. He also leaves his siblings Mike (Sally), Steve (Sheila), Rob (June) and Polly (Rob Hirschfeld); and many cousins, nieces, nephews and friends.

Sandy was a funny, kind and generous man; a committed steward of the land and caretaker of creatures; and a particularly acute observer of the tragedy and comedy of life. Beyond any earthly accomplishments, his legacy is in the respect and love he earned every day just by being his own pure self.

Contributions in Sandy’s name may be made to Central Vermont Home Health and Hospice or The McClure Miller Respite House. A celebration of Sandy’s life will be held in early summer.
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