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NO. R-386.  House concurrent resolution in memory of Violet Coffin of Strafford.


Offered by:  Representatives Cheney of Norwich and Masland of Thetford

Offered by:  Senators Campbell, MacDonald, McCormack and Nitka

Whereas, Violet Bodman Coffin was a towering presence on Vermont’s political and cultural scene for three decades and a much respected community leader in her adopted hometown of Strafford, and

Whereas, after graduating from Smith College, Vi Bodman directed her immediate attention to defeating fascism by joining the Office of Strategic Services and working in Washington, D.C., and London on selecting allied bombing targets in Nazi Germany, and

Whereas, following World War II, she continued her interest in world affairs as a journalist for Time-Life in the Middle East and then in New York City, and

Whereas, after Vi Bodman married Ned Coffin in 1950, the couple moved to Toledo, Ohio, where she successfully directed the first campaign of former U.S. Representative Thomas Ashley and simultaneously launched her own career as a Democratic Party activist, advisor, and strategist, and

Whereas, in 1964, she served as the Long Island chair of Robert Kennedy’s U.S. Senate campaign, and

Whereas, as an avid horsewoman, Vi Coffin attended events at the Green Mountain Horse Association in South Woodstock and, on discovering the town of Strafford, decided Vermont should be her new home, and

Whereas, after settling permanently in Strafford, Vi Coffin embarked on a path of active participation in the Vermont Democratic Party, serving first as town committee chair, then as Orange County chair, and ultimately as Vermont state chair from 1985 until 1993, and

Whereas, she led the Vermont delegations to the 1988 and 1992 Democratic national conventions, and, as recently as this past December, she and her husband traveled to Manchester, NH, to attend a Barack Obama speech, and

Whereas, in recognition of her many contributions to the Vermont Democratic Party over recent decades, in 2005 she was given the party’s foremost accolade, the David W. Curtis Leadership Award, and

Whereas, Vi Coffin’s passionate belief in promoting public financial support for the arts equally matched her vibrant advocacy on behalf of the Democratic Party, and

Whereas, she served as chair of the Vermont Arts Council board of trustees, and, in that role, Vi Coffin fought vigorously against the Reagan administration’s proposed cuts in federal arts financing, and

Whereas, her peaceful death at home in Strafford this week ended the life of a woman whose accomplishments former Governor Dean, U.S. Senator Leahy, and U.S. Representative Welch have each praised and recalled with great fondness, and

Whereas, her husband Ned, children Judy, Doug, Tad, Cris, and Andy, 13 grandchildren, and many friends will cherish their memories of this amazing woman who fought for what she held dear, now therefore be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:

That the General Assembly extends its sincere condolences to the family of Violet Coffin of Strafford, and be it further

Resolved:  That the secretary of state be directed to send a copy of this resolution to the family of Violet Coffin.


Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont