Friday, 19 March 2010 00:00
Married high school sweetheart, Alden Fiertz ’48, raised three sons, resided 20 years in Germany and Switzerland, earned a law degree at age 55, and served on numerous Woodstock, VT area community boards, Bev Fiertz lived life fully during her 78 years that concluded on Monday, March 8. She successfully fought various ailments over the past years, but unexpectedly died at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center during heart surgery.
The daughter of Margaret and Edwin Fowle, Bev was born in Flushing, NY on May 6, 1931, and grew up in Manhasset. A proud member of Manhasset High School ’49, she graduated from Wheaton College (MA) in 1953. In 1954, she married Alden Fiertz, who she had met in ninth grade French class. After she gave birth to three sons, the family moved from Ramsey, NJ to Duesseldorf, Germany in 1968, to Lausanne, Switzerland in 1972 and then to Geneva in 1979. Later, frustrated by the exploitation of several female friends by the legal system, she decided to fulfill a long-standing desire to become a lawyer even though it had been 30 years since she attended college. Bev graduated in 1986 from Vermont Law School, the first of ultimately many senior students. She always appreciated the warm reception from her classmates, despite their differences in age and experience.
After passing the Vermont Bar Exam on her first try, Bev worked for Vermont Legal Aid before opening her law practice in South Woodstock, VT with a focus on serving low-income victims of domestic abuse. In addition to being an avid skier and tennis player, she enjoyed painting and sculpting. She was also an intrepid traveler, who visited all seven continents, and was fluent in both French and German. She particularly enjoyed her three visits each to the Arctic and Antarctica. She was dedicated to each of the communities she lived in and volunteered on many boards. These included such roles as president of the American Women’s Clubs of Duesseldorf and Lausanne, a six year Trustee of Wheaton College, appointed Chair of the Vermont Human Services Board by Governor Dean, Chair of The South Woodstock Fire Department, Secretary of the Ottaqueechee Health Foundation, and as member of the boards of The New Hampshire Charitable Foundation-Upper Valley Region, the Faulkner Trust, and Woodstock’s Thompson Senior Center. She proudly represented Wheaton College at the recent inauguration of Dr. Jim Yong Kim as Dartmouth College president.
Her beloved husband Alden survives Bev, as do her sons Carey of Salisbury, CT, Randy of Bethesda, MD, and Stuart of London, England, and their wives Kim, Carol and Tina. She leaves behind seven grandchildren: Charles, Henry, Maggie, Katja, Callie, Mimi, and Louisa, and sister Janis Bigelow of Cotuit, MA, brother Bruce Fowle of New York City, and their families. A celebration of Bev’s life is planned for a later date when her treasured garden is in bloom. Memorial contributions may be made to either an educational fund being established in her name at The Upper Valley Haven, 713 Hartford Avenue, White River Junction VT 05001 or to the American Civil Liberties Union – Foundation of Vermont, 137 Elm Street, Montpelier VT 05402.