Obituary: Margery Gessford MacLeod Glass, 1923-2020 | Obituaries | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Obituary: Margery Gessford MacLeod Glass, 1923-2020 

Burlington woman was a gracious, giving and creative friend, mother, wife and community volunteer

Published November 30, 2020 at 6:00 a.m. | Updated November 30, 2020 at 11:57 a.m.

click to enlarge Margery Gessford MacLeod Glass - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy Photo
  • Margery Gessford MacLeod Glass

Margery Glass died on November 25, 2020, in Burlington, Vt.

Born in Washington, D.C., on November 26, 1923, and descended from a long line of Washingtonians on both sides — including her parents, Ruth and Rodger Gessford — Margery was a graduate of George Washington University. President of her Pi Beta Phi sorority chapter, she made lifelong friends and dined with Pi Phi "sister" Margaret Truman at the White House. After World War II, Margery married John (Jack) MacLeod, whom she had met in kindergarten. There had been significant competition for her hand; one suitor came to the Gessfords’ home the morning of the wedding to try to convince Margery to marry him instead.

Margery and Jack had three daughters — Sally, Anne and Lauren — while Jack’s advertising career thrived in downtown Washington. In 1960, with Jack suffering from heart disease, they settled in Burlington in search of a quieter life. They were warmly welcomed by Jack’s boyhood friend Bob Adsit and his wife, Mary Lou, as well as several other couples who formed a close-knit circle. Margery and Jack restored a house and barn/studio on South Union Street. Jack became a partner in the firm Wheeler, Wood and MacLeod, which produced the state marketing campaign “Vermont, the Beckoning Country”; it changed the face of Vermont forever. In 1965, Margery and Jack designed and built a house in Williston. Jack died, age 42, within months of their move.

A year later, introduced by Eve Shakespeare, Margery and Eve’s brother David Glass married. Margery gained three stepchildren — Gordon, Nancy and Dickson Glass — who were mostly grown but with whom she established lasting close connections.

Margery was an effortless hostess, supporting David’s career while also volunteering for numerous organizations, including the Lane Series, Mary Fletcher Hospital and Girl Scouts of America. Margery also took classes at the Shelburne Craft School to learn pottery making and went on to have a pottery studio of her own for several years. She also worked at Eve’s shop, Kado Gifts. Her family will never forget Margery’s excitement about special occasions, including birthdays. She had to be talked out of bringing a very special four-legged gift to Lauren inside to her through the house; the horse was undoubtedly as relieved as David was when she relented.

Margery and David retired to Washington, N.C., and were delighted when Sally and her husband, Marcus, also moved to town. Volunteer activities included the Red Cross, the local library and teaching literacy skills. In 2007, she and David returned to Vermont and lived in South Burlington until his death in 2008. They had traveled repeatedly to their beloved Bermuda and to Hawaii and Europe; Margery made two solo trips to Jerusalem to visit Anne and her family. She also traveled to Greece; she was thrilled to tour the Parthenon, which she had drawn in grade school.

An “it’s just a game” golf and tennis player, lifelong gardener, gifted and adventurous cook, seamstress, and antiques and animal lover, Margery was an innovator, the first in her group of friends to paint a room "Chinese red" or serve quiche. She read widely and questioned broadly. A child of the Mason-Dixon line, she was ecstatic to see President Barack Obama at close range in Burlington.

Late in life and twice widowed, Margery met Martin Levitt, a former art teacher and painter from the New York City area. They became devoted companions, savoring the beauty of Vermont, enjoying sunsets until the last cloud faded and petting many a passing dog down by the lake.

Margery’s warmth and easygoing nature came to the fore in her final years. She became unusually easy to please, inclined toward delight while sensitive to the needs of others. Margery’s unselfconscious beauty and talents, wry humor, graciousness, and personal style are unforgettable.

Margery leaves behind daughters Sally MacLeod Reichert (husband Marcus) of St. Hippolyte-du-Fort, France; Anne MacLeod, of Vergennes; and Lauren MacLeod of Rutland, Mass.; grandson Luke Brownell (a graphic designer like his grandfather Jack) (wife Cierra) and great-grandson Logan Brownell of West Boylston, Mass.; stepsons Gordon Glass of West Falmouth, Mass.; Dickson Glass (wife Mary) of South Burlington; stepdaughter Nancy Glass Angelopoulos (husband Spyros) of North Haven, Conn.; and their families including Ben Glass, Jill Campos, Hilary Glass, Matt Glass, Margo Angelopoulos and Saki Angelopoulos. She also leaves her devoted and beloved friend Emily Rossheim of Starksboro.

Margery’s family is deeply indebted to the entire staff of the Converse Home; Ellen Watson, APRN; Amelia Gerlin; Bayada Hospice; and the incomparable Emily Rossheim, for their tender, expert care. Special thanks also to Lisa Simon and Diane Foulds for their love and support. In her final days, Margery was “in a zone of gratitude,” strewing "thank yous" in every direction. She was deeply thankful for her life. We, too, are profoundly grateful.

A celebration of Margery’s life will be held when the COVID-19 risk has passed.

Contributions to nonprofit the Converse Home in her memory would support their remarkable care for our elders. The Converse Home, 272 Church Street, Burlington, VT 05401.

Arrangements are in care of Stephen Gregory and Son.

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