Laurie Balch Huse SOUTH HERO — Laurie Balch Huse, 70, of South Hero passed away peacefully on May 9, 2020. Her husband, Art, was at her side, as he has been, throughout their 48-year marriage and her 38-year struggle with multiple sclerosis. Laurie was born in Middlebury on March 4, 1950, daughter of the late Lois Ann Skillings. In her school-age years, Laurie moved frequently, graduating from Essex Junction High School in 1968 and from the University of Vermont in 1972. She married Art Huse in 1972. Laurie taught seventh grade English at St. Albans City Elementary School for seven years. She then joined the staff at Vermont National Education Association (VT-NEA), where she was communications director for more than 30 years. Laurie was dedicated to the betterment of her former teaching colleagues, public education and her union. Laurie edited the VT-NEA newspaper "Vermont NEA Today." She also organized the annual Vermont Teachers Convention - considered to be the best in New England. Laurie created the first VT-NEA website and edited an electronic newsletter for Vermont teachers. She also traveled around the country to train other NEA communication directors. As communications director, Laurie played a pivotal role in organizing and managing teacher strikes across Vermont. Vermont NEA Executive Director Joel Cook later wrote "When she retired in 2006, she took with her the accumulated wisdom of this organization's history and its prudent approach to the use of the strike as a means to help local unions to resolve negotiations with their employers. It is in large measure because of her skills and judgment that out of the 3,000 or so contract negotiations around the state during her career, there were only two dozen school strikes. Laurie lived each of those strikes with our members, walking the picket line until a settlement was reached." Laurie retired in 2006, maintaining several long and valued friendships that grew from her career. In 2013, she completed her book, "Events In Vermont-NEA History, Teacher Strikes, 1978 To 2006." While living in Fairfax in the 1980s, she co-edited the town newspaper, "The Fairfax News," with her husband, Art. She produced church member directories and pamphlets for the Congregational Church of South Hero. Laurie was a member of the Vermont Human Rights Commission. During the push to pass the E.R.A., She flew to Arkansas to lobby then-Gov. Bill Clinton to help pass the E.R.A. there. Laurie won many national and regional awards for her work at VT-NEA. Laurie strongly valued her friends, family and the island community of South Hero. She loved flower gardening, the change of seasons and observing nature at their small cottage on Keeler Bay. She cherished her bridge games with so many players in the islands. She was a teacher, educator, volunteer and always a good and thoughtful friend. Those who knew her will miss her generous spirit and sharp sense of humor. Laurie is survived by her husband, Arthur Huse of South Hero; her brothers, Matthew Balch of Ripton, Vermont, David Balch of Bonifay, Florida; and sisters, Jamie Balch of Essex Junction, Vermont, and Martha Balch of Stow, Ohio. She leaves a niece, several nephews and many treasured friends. At her request, there will be no calling hours. A private scattering of ashes will occur at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her memory to Franklin County Animal Rescue, 30 Sunset Meadows, St. Albans, VT 05478. The family thanks all the staff at the University of Vermont Medical Center for their compassionate care. Messages of condolence/remembrance can be made online at awrfh.com.

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Cathy Ranney

I did not know Laurie but something about her smile in her picture Lead me to read her full obituary. What a glorious life she led. What a beautiful last gift to her to have such an amazing obituary. They say life is measured in the moments you make Not the length of your years how true this is with your loved one. She was a gift to society for sure.

My heartfelt condolences.

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