Obituary: Sallie West, 1952-2022 | Obituaries | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Obituary: Sallie West, 1952-2022 

Mother, dancer and psychotherapist helped countless people find meaning in their lives

Published December 29, 2022 at 6:00 a.m.

click to enlarge Sallie West - COURTESY
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  • Sallie West

Sallie West died peacefully on December 20, 2022, in the beautiful home she designed in Fayston, Vt., after living with ALS for four and a half years. Her children Ashley and Jonathan Leonard were at her side.

Sallie was born in Northfield, Vt., on April 16, 1952. She enjoyed the loving care of her grandparents, Francis and Anna Martin, when she was a young girl dreaming of becoming a child psychiatrist.

Sallie went to Mad River Valley schools and attended Harwood Union High School. She graduated with a BS in human services from Springfield College and an MA in marriage and family therapy from Antioch New England graduate school.

Sallie deeply identified as a mother, dancer and psychotherapist. After devoting her younger years to motherhood and higher education, Sallie started her career as a psychotherapist and spent nearly 30 years in private practice in Burlington and the Mad River Valley. She helped countless people find meaning in their lives, take accountability and stop telling stories about themselves that didn't serve them. Sallie felt blessed to do the work she did and to work with such wonderful people.

Sallie was also a lover of hiking, cooking, reading and spending time with her family. She was deeply attuned to both the pain and the beauty in the world. Even when faced with ugly truths or bitter consequences, she dug deep until she found beauty. Give her a piece of old fabric, some rusty staples and 50 cents, and Sallie could make over a room fit for a magazine cover.

Sallie ended every therapy session with "What are you taking with you today?" Her loved ones are taking with them dear memories of a fiercely independent, empathic, athletic, creative, sassy and stylish woman who touched us all.

Sallie is survived by her two children; her grandson, Alden Leonard; her sister and brother-in-law, Elizabeth and Stanley Walker; her sister, Kimi Jo Slayton; her cousins, Steve and Tony Martin; and her beloved dog, Hunny Bear. She was predeceased by her mother, Anna West Thomas.

The family of Sallie West invites all who knew her to come together to celebrate her life on Sunday, January 29th from 1-3pm. We will be gathering at Tucker Hill Inn in Waitsfield to share stories over small bites and cocktails. Kindly assist the family in the planning process by responding via email to ashleywestleonard@gmail.com with the number of individuals planning to attend.

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