August 3, 1923 — May 31, 2015
Edith Bronson deChadenedes (known to everyone as Edie) passed away peacefully on May 31st at the Terraces at Fountaingrove in Santa Rosa, California, at the age of nearly 92. Born on August 3, 1923, Edie attended Radcliffe College, where she met Francois, her husband-to-be, before entering the Women’s Army Corps in 1943. She worked in recruiting and in military intelligence. After the war the newlyweds moved on to Stanford University, where Edie completed her undergraduate degree in American history in 1947. Edie and Francois were the proud parents of five children, Anne, John, David, Lucy, and Nicholas.
Edie loved the West, making a home for her family first in Wyoming, then Utah, and finally in Boulder, Colorado, where she lived from 1957 to 1983. Edie was an expert knitter and made many complex Aran and Danish pattern ski sweaters for her family when the kids were young. She liked to sew and took classes in silversmithing and architecture. She loved horses and riding. She and Francois owned two beloved horses when they lived in Salt Lake City and later in Boulder. Edie loved early music and played in a recorder ensemble for most of her adult life.
In midlife Edie studied early childhood development at the JFK Center in Denver and was involved in teaching Head Start for years. In 1974 she spent six months in Vietnam using what she had learned consulting with an orphanage that promoted international adoptions. Later she wrote a book about her experiences: “My Saigon Diary.”
Edie’s politics were unabashedly left-wing. She took part in anti-nuclear protests in Boulder, became an ardent feminist in the 1970s, and was an active member of the ACLU during the 30 years she lived in Friday Harbor, Washington. When Edie moved to San Juan Island she became an avid gardener, growing much of her own food for her vegetarian diet as an element of her Buddhist practice. Edie encountered Zen Buddhism in the early 1980s while visiting Seattle and became an active member and a lay minister of the Shasta Abbey Zen community for the rest of her life. She made many trips to Shasta Abbey for retreats and is remembered for her devoted work sewing liturgical garments. Her funeral was a traditional Zen Buddhist funeral. In recent years she was also closely connected with the Tibetan Buddhist community on San Juan Island. She was instrumental in starting Friends and Neighbors, an organization on San Juan Island that provided volunteer help for older people, a cause very dear to her heart. Edie volunteered for many years at the public library in Friday Harbor mending books and teaching others to do the work.
Edie is survived by four of her children, and an older brother, David. She was preceded in death by Francois, her husband of 29 years (d. 1999), and her son, David (d. 2007).
A memorial service will be held July 17, 2-4 p.m. at Friends House in Santa Rosa, CA.