Caroline J. “Cally” Clifton, 64, of Montpelier died in the comfort of her home, surrounded by family and friends, on Wednesday morning, Sept. 4, 2019, after a long and courageous battle with acute myeloid leukemia.
She was born in Montpelier Nov. 4, 1954, daughter of Emmaline (Izor) and Douglas L. Clifton Sr.
On Feb. 16, 1974, she married Peter C. Schober in Waitsfield. Although she and Peter divorced, they continued to be lifelong friends and a source of support for each other.
Cally was kind, loving and full of life, and it’s difficult to begin to capture Cally’s true essence, or what she meant to the many people whose lives she touched over her 64 years.
She grew up in Waterbury, graduated in 1972 from Harwood Union High School and pursued a degree in accounting at Johnson State College.
As a young woman entering the workforce, she was employed as a bookkeeper for the former A.G. Anderson Co. in Waterbury. She then embarked on a nearly 30-year career as an administrative assistant, first at the Washington Central Supervisory Union, then at Fayston Elementary School for a few years, and at Berlin Elementary School for the majority of her career.
Cally loved the children, looking forward to greeting them every morning, and they adored Cally, who always went above and beyond to help them and their families feel welcome with her positive outlook and kindness. In December 2017, she was forced to leave Berlin Elementary to focus on her health.
After Cally and Peter moved their young family from Duxbury to Berlin Pond, Cally thoroughly enjoyed watching her children play and grow and looked forward to walks around the pond with various dogs and friends, swimming, establishing lifelong friendships, and simply sitting on the peaceful front porch of Irish Hill Farm.
Reflecting on what made Cally so unique, these words come to mind: caring, genuine, independent, hopeful, boundless energy, zest for life, loving, generous with her time and selfless (even donating a kidney in 2009). Cally always wore a beautiful smile, even through her illness, and steadfastly maintained her faith and hope.
Cally loved to bake and cook, especially for others, and was famous for her chocolate cake. She also took special delight in recipes from her Lebanese heritage. She felt enormous joy and pride in being a “Sita” to her two cherished grandchildren. She loved sunbathing at Lake Elmore, trips to the Maine coast, visiting with family and friends, knitting, walking, biking, dressing in bright colors, including accessories (always impeccably coordinated), creating fabulous care packages, decorating her cozy home for every season and, in recent years when her illness changed her pace somewhat, birdwatching and cheering on the Red Sox.
Cally loved entertaining guests and had a special way of making everyone feel welcome. The door to Cally’s home was always open to all, the site of many Longaberger basket parties, and it was a favorite spot for friends, neighbors and family to visit, and have a cocktail and delicious homemade “nibblies.”
Cally served for many years on the Fresh Air Fund committee (and was also a host), and was a survivor and caregiver lead for Relay for Life of Central Vermont, region chair of the Vermont Association of Educational Office Professionals, and a faithful member (and former deacon and trustee) at the First Congregational Church in Berlin.
Survivors include a daughter, Erin E. Schober of Seattle; a son, Conor A. Schober and wife Nadya Santiago Schober and their children Eva Grace and Jace Alfredo Santiago-Schober of Olympia, Wash.; her former spouse, Peter C. Schober of Berlin; her brother, Douglas Clifton Jr. and wife Heidi Libercent of Williston; sister-in-law Debra Clifton and her son Cole of Wolcott; and many treasured relations.
A brother, Glenn S. Clifton, died earlier, as did her mother-in-law, Sarah Schober, and beloved cousin Patricia (Izor) Bolio.
Cally’s family thanks all who supported Cally through her fight with cancer, including Dr. Soiffer, Dr. DeAngelo, and the nurses and staff at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and Dr. Ospina and the nurses and staff at Central Vermont Medical Center in Berlin.
A memorial service will be held Saturday, Sept. 28, at 4 p.m. at Berlin Elementary School, followed by a reception at Berlin Congregational Church. In honor of Cally, people are encouraged to wear bright colors — particularly purple, her favorite — to the service.
In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory may be made to the First Congregational Church of Berlin, 1808 Scott Hill Road, Berlin, VT 05602 or to
Be The Match/National Marrow Donor Program (bethematchfoundation.org).
Perkins-Parker Funeral Home and Cremation Service in Waterbury is assisting the family. To send online condolences: perkinsparker.com or the funeral home’s Facebook page.