GUILFORD, Vermont – Heidi Gold, a wife, mother, sister, daughter, and friend, died on September 12. She was 62 years old. Heidi is survived by her husband Jeremy, his mother Ruth Pardoe, Heidi’s children Angelena and Antonio, and her five siblings.
Born Heidi Schilling in Rockford, Illinois, she was the fourth of six children. She had two older sisters, Rosa and Kay, one younger sister, Rebecca, and two brothers, David and Peter. Her parents, anesthesiologist Erwin and homemaker Arthene, both from Iowa, were children of farmers. They continued their family traditions of gardening, rearing livestock, and tending horses. Heidi often spoke of the close relationship she shared with her paternal grandmother, whom she visited on her Iowa farm and who taught her, from a young age, how to garden and how to cook.
Heidi moved to northern Vermont at just 18 years old in search of a life she could build, row by row in the garden and nail by nail at home. A few years later, Heidi had her daughter Angelena Rebecca. She loved to tell how her “Beaner,” as she called Angelena, would cry if anyone else tried to hold her. Strangers would stop Heidi while she was pushing Angie in a carriage to ask if her perfect, beautiful baby was a doll. Twenty months later, Heidi welcomed a son, Antonio Peter, named for his paternal great grandfather and grandfather. Tony became the light of Heidi’s life.
An amazing hands-on mother, Heidi provided most of her family’s food from scratch. She grew fruits and vegetables in her gardens, made her own maple syrup, and raised animals in her barns and fields for meat, milk and cheese. She was a skilled baker, adept as any professional at kneading bread and perfecting an extra-crispy crust. She made almost all of Angie’s and Tony’s clothing – mittens, jackets, sweaters, and even a dress for Angie out of an old grain sack. She was a prolific and proficient crafter, creating everything from terrariums to pine cone wreaths.
Heidi was wicked smart, a voracious reader who would have several dog-eared books scattered around the house at the same time, sometimes reading more than a book a day. Heidi knew the burden of a body that, from time to time, would betray her. She struggled with health issues as Angie and Tony got older. Yet, as the years passed, she watched her son Tony begin and hone a successful career as an opera singer, performing on some of the world’s biggest stages. She proudly celebrated her daughter’s marriage in New Orleans, dancing the night away at the reception, perhaps, dancing even more than her daughter that day.
In 1988, Heidi found Jeremy Gold, her new love who quickly became her soulmate. In a small, civil ceremony they married just before the New Year. It was a new beginning for both of them. Their deep partnership would last more than a quarter of a century.
Heidi traveled extensively with Jeremy, exploring some of the finest fishing grounds in North America. She was happiest pulling in a large marlin, a striped bass, or a brilliantly-colored mahi-mahi. Heidi and Jeremy often spent vacations in Cabo San Lucas, where she found a great love of both the fishing and the people of Mexico.
Heidi was a guy’s girl, often enjoying the company of contractors and mechanics who worked with Jeremy. She especially loved the fishing mates. She loved the hunt, the catch, and the release. After a quick pat on the head of some great creature, she would return it to the sea.
The end of Heidi’s life marks a turning point for her family, and a chance for everyone who knew and loved her to remember the good, celebrate the great, and learn from the struggles. Maybe she was put here to teach us that, while we can’t control everything in our lives, we can work each day to love, not just others, but ourselves. Rest in peace, Heidi, and may your spirit finally have the space, simply, to be.
A celebration of Heidi’s life will be held at the family home in Guilford on October 17, at 2 p.m. All who knew her are welcome. It will be a pot luck, with music and memories. In lieu of flowers, donations to the Guilford Volunteer Fire Department, would be warmly welcomed in Heidi’s memory. Send a check to G.V.F.D., 108 Guilford Center Road, Guilford, Vermont 05301.