Jean Lasher Gaede

Jean Lasher Gaede
February 9, 1925 – November 14, 2020


In the 20’s and 30’s as a girl she walked the hills of Bearsville bringing home the cows or visiting her friends and neighbors.

In the 40’s, the only time she lived away from her beloved Woodstock, she never drove, kept walking and even did some marching in the Army.

In the early 50’s she thought she would try flying but got discouraged on her solo flight when she clipped a tree. Luckily, little damage to the plane or tree and no damage to Jean.

Later in the 50’s and into the 60’s she walked the Hamlets collecting money for the March of Dimes and stories to be recounted later.

In the 70’s she started selling Real Estate and got a driver’s license and a car. Her clients and the town were probably relieved when she gave that up. I know she was.

In the 80’s she got to travel and walk the walls of the Grand Canyon and the streets of Paris. But never for long because she would yearn for the view across Cooper Lake.

In the 90’s she worked the Chamber Office and walked the streets of the Village taking time to chat up the merchants about their businesses and the number of cigarette butts in front of their shop. She was protective of her town and could be annoying.

In the 00’s you would find her walking Maverick Road, mapping the houses in Hervey White’s Maverick Colony and exploring each house’s story. If you lived there, she may have knocked on your door. For her, this was where the real Woodstock Festival was held.

In the 10’s she could be seen pulling her cart walking to town or the Sunfrost Farms. She was notable for her cart, colorful shawls, hats and always lipstick. Her walk was a little slower and sometimes she would even accept a ride. But walking is always slow and gives you a chance to see, hear and smell your community and think of the stories. And a ride, well, that is a chance to have a talk.

Jean not only walked the walk – but she also talked the talk. She loved her town and its people, and their stories became her stories. Stories are made to be told and while she could spin endless yarns, she was also an author. In 1967 she published “Recollections through Recipe” as a fundraiser for the March of Dimes. Jean and Fritzi Striebel collected stories and pictures from Hervey White’s Maverick Festivals which are now on extended loan to the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art. Finally, in 2002 she published “Woodstock Gatherings: Apple Bites and Ashes.” (I was never sure if this 600 plus page book was a cookbook or a storybook. The recipes are good, but the stories are even better) When she could no longer walk the Village and Hamlets, she had your stories and the stories of her town.

What my Mom taught me is that life is full of adventures, but adventures end when the plane lands and you are home. It is the stories of the adventure that can be shared and go on forever. So, make sure you celebrate the adventures with good stories.

Jean will be laid to rest in Woodstock Cemetery up the hill toward the Artist Cemetery. While she is no longer walking, that we can see, she long ago placed a bench on her plot so she, and now you, can sit amongst friends and gaze at majestic Overlook. Please drop by and share a story.

A celebration of Jean’s life will be held in 2021 when, hopefully, life will be warmer and calmer.

“On The Cusp of Cemetery Hill”
On the top of Woodstock Cemetery Hill
There spreads our family’s fancy
A scattered and haphazard gathering plot.
I’ve put a stone bench up there
Where I can sit in the sunshine
And watch over the backside of town
I sit in the sunshine
That comes with each season
Hot stones of summer
And cold of winter’s piercing freeze….
(From “On The Cusp of Cemetery Hill” — jlg 2008)

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