By Lee Corbett and Meredith Easton Brown (Bronxville HS, class of 1984)
June 29, 2022: Anne Browne Easton joyfully celebrated her 86th birthday week with dear friends, music, and a garden party with sailboats in sight! She died peacefully at home, her beloved George and family by her side, listening to favorite classical music.
Bronxville friends will remember that Rev. George W. Easton served as Associate Minister of the Bronxville Reformed Church for 8 years. Anne and their daughters sang in the choir and volunteered tirelessly behind the scenes. She worked as a librarian at Bronxville Public Library and Sarah Lawrence College. Their eldest daughter Melissa graduated from Winchester (Mass.) HS class of 1976 (Smith 1980), Laurie is Bronxville High School class of 1978 (Wheaton, Mass. 1982), and Meredith is BHS class of 1984 (Wellesley 1988). Anne and George were determined that their daughters pursue higher education.
A service of remembrance and celebration of Anne Easton’s life will be held at The United Church of Chester, 29 West Main St., Chester, CT 06412 on Saturday, July 9, 2022 at 2:00 pm, with music starting at 1:30 pm. There will be a reception following. Anne will be laid to rest at Riverview Cemetery in Essex, CT.
Anne Leighton Browne Easton was born May 13,1936 to Bayard Davis Browne & Mary “Polly” Downing Browne in Montclair, NJ and raised in Wilton, CT. As an only child, she developed an early creative imagination and curiosity about the natural world. Anne lived a full life despite the physical challenges of Parkinson’s disease in recent years. Anne brought remarkable energy to her academics and her life in general. She was a spirited young woman and an excellent student.
Anne graduated from Northfield School MA in 1954 and attended Pembroke College at Brown University, class of 1958. Anne and George met at Brown and married on Nov. 23, 1957. Her determination was illustrated by the completion of a BA from the University of Hartford CT shortly after her third daughter was born in 1966. Anne was Class Valedictorian when she earned her Master of Library Science from St. John’s University NY in 1983.
She was an enthusiastic life-long learner, including choral music studies and performance for decades in New England, New York, and Europe. She was a devoted gardener, and creative with textile arts from sewing clothes and costumes, to crewel embroidery, weaving, and knitting.
As newlyweds, they lived in New Haven, while George completed his Master of Divinity at Yale. A welcoming and gracious hostess, Anne enhanced her husband’s ministry, always singing in the choir, and volunteering in myriad ways behind the scenes.
Rev. and Mrs. Easton raised their three daughters in the following towns: New Haven, Simsbury, & Newington, CT, Winchester, MA, Bronxville, NY, and finally, Chester, CT where George served as pastor of United Church of Chester for 18 years. After his retirement, they lived in Essex, CT before returning to Chester Village.
Anne and George were soulmates, looking forward to their 65th wedding anniversary in 2022. George was the love of Anne’s life; he called her “my Annie Gal.” Her friends sometimes called him “Saint George”. They simply adored one another. As an only child, Anne was delighted to marry into the large and loving Easton family.
Anne and George lived a truly joyful life. Anne's adventurous spirit provided her children an endless round of singing, reading, gardening, hiking, biking, swimming, sailing, skiing, picnicking, canoeing, camping, visiting museums and gardens, and attending concerts.
Anne will be remembered for the way she lived fully, laughed freely, and loved fiercely. She was a loyal and true friend. Her smile and laugh were contagious and her joie de vivre was only matched by her positivity. Anne made friends everywhere she went. She added sparkle to every gathering, although she preferred not to be the center of attention. Anne was an utterly devoted mother to Melissa Anne Easton-Sandquist (Eric John Sandquist), Laurie Elizabeth Easton Parker (Weston Peale Parker), and Meredith Downing Easton Brown (Matthew Van Dyck Brown). Anne took joy in visiting her family wherever they lived, from England to Denmark, and from the east coast to the Rockies and Pacific NW. She inspired her daughters to be strong, perseverant, and passionate about exploring ideas and the world.
Anne delighted in her four grandchildren, Bradford George Easton Parker (Erika Elizabeth Grob), Kristina Anne Sandquist (Rolfe Duane Bautista), William Peale Parker, and Lee Alexander Sandquist. “Gramma Anne” made life magical.
Anne enjoyed working at the nascent Boston Center for the Arts, Bronxville NY Public Library, as Children’s Librarian, and Sarah Lawrence College, as a Music Librarian. Anne’s library career centered around the Valley Regional High School (Conn.) Library Media Center where she served 24 very successful years. In addition, she acted as a class advisor, organized the first coat drive, planned proms and receptions, booked and enjoyed music and theater assemblies, hosted many student and faculty library events, worked all the French dinners, chaperoned every school trip to Paris as well as to Germany, Spain, and Quebec. She shared her love of opera by chaperoning students to performances. A big sports fan, she never missed a soccer game. In recognition of her efforts, she was honored with the White Rose Award from the Main Street News.
Anne was a wonderful role model. Throughout her life, Anne was passionate about volunteer work through churches and community groups. She served as a Girl Scout leader and in the League of Women Voters. Anne was an advocate for Planned Parenthood, immigrant rights, and social justice. Locally, she was a founding member of the board of trustees of The Community Music School and a charter member of New Horizons Band – taking up the clarinet at age 75! She was a board member of The Robbie Collomore Concert Series. Anne and George served in soup kitchens and worked with Habitat for Humanity, among other causes. Anne was a voracious reader and avid book club member who always had a stack of books on hand. She delighted in reading aloud to her daughters, grandchildren, and the preschoolers who called her the "Library Lady". Anne was enthralled by music, history, art, and architecture. She participated in and traveled with the Berkshire Choral Festival for 18 summers and was especially thrilled to sing under the direction of the British composer John Rutter daily for a full week.
Closer to home in Connecticut, she enjoyed singing with Capella Cantorum.
Anne was an avid sailor and captain of a series of wonderful sailboats enjoyed by family and friends. The Easton’s favorite place to gather is on beautiful Swan’s Island, off the coast of Maine, where they have summered since 1967. Anne designed a cabin built in 1972 by two lobstermen, overlooking the harbor, and facing the rising sun. She eagerly awaited the start of each new day. Anne cherished family time spent together. Her grandchildren remember the “fairy mailbox” that Anne filled every day. She was always and immediately available to any grandchild for any adventure, going to the beach, picking blueberries or mussels, painting watercolors or playing in the mud. She was everything a grandchild could dream of and much more.
If Anne shone as a mother, she was effervescent as a grandmother! Anne was dearly loved by family and friends. She touched countless lives with her joyful spirit of optimism. Anne will be deeply missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing her.
Gifts in memory of Anne B. Easton may be donated to:
Swan's Island Educational Society (& Library) P.O. Box 12, Swan's Island, Maine 04685
Swan's Island lighthouse support: Friends of Swan's Island Lighthouse, Swan's Island, ME 04685
Swan's Island Historical Society 9 North Rd, PO Box 144, Swan's Island, ME 04685
The Island Institute PO Box 648, Rockland, ME 04841
Community Music School P.O. Box 387, Centerbrook, CT 06409
Shoreline Soup Kitchen & Pantries c/o St. Mark the Evangelist 222 McVeagh Rd, Westbrook, CT 06498
Child & Family Agency of New London 255 Hempstead St, New London, CT 06320