Sonya Diane Shippee, 82, of Vernon, VT, passed away peacefully at home surrounded by family on October 13, 2023. She was born in Brattleboro, VT on July 26, 1941, daughter of the late Lester and Myra (Brown) Howard. She grew up in Dover and attended local schools. Sonya was known for having a brilliant mind and valiantly fought dementia for the last few years until her death.
Sonya married Lawrence Shippee on December 30, 1957. They initially resided at Fort Campbell, Kentucky and after Lawrence’s Army service ended they moved back to Vermont finally settling and raising their family in Vernon, VT. She was the bookkeeper and driving force behind their family automotive business in Vernon for over 30 years. Sonya also was a book keeper at Vermont Yankee during the final few years of construction. She was a dedicated Christian and valued her family first and foremost. She had plenty of love to give to her husband, children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Sonya had the most beautiful handwriting and loved gardening. She was always known for her huge garden and trying to give everyone she met her overabundance of zucchini every August. Sonya was an amazing cook and every Thanksgiving and Christmas her home was full with her ever growing family. Her potato salad, meatballs, and macaroni and cheese will live on through her children.
Sonya was an extremely humble person and few know that she was instrumental in starting the winter ski program at the Vernon School in the 1970s while she was the PTA President. She spent many winters gathering up all the ski equipment with her truck and delivering them to and from the Maple Valley Ski Area so that the kids could ski. This later turned into the winter sports program. She rarely spoke of her many accomplishments which included; earning her pilots license, winning trophies drag racing in the 1960s, winning trophies circle track racing in the 1970s, bowling across the country, and being awarded the employee of the year in 1999 at the Windham County Sheriff Department.
The Town of Vernon was very important to Sonya. She spent many years trying to make a positive influence on the town. She took on many roles including: Select Board member, Windham Regional Commission member, low level radioactive waste advisory committee chairman, and delinquent tax collector.
After her children were grown she started working at the Vernon Police Department and quickly became well respected in law enforcement due to her unwavering honesty and work ethic. She joined the Windham County Sheriff Department where she was the Office Manager until her retirement. As office manager she was a jack of all trades and was often seen dispatching or serving court papers. She was also the work “Mom” to all the younger deputies who may or may not have been scolded a time or two about timesheets or paperwork.
She leaves her loving husband Lawrence Shippee Sr., four sons Lawrence Shippee Jr. and wife Jean of Vernon, VT, Shane Shippee and wife Linda of Vernon, VT, Shawn Shippee and wife Alison of Westmoreland, NH, and Sheldon Shippee of Martinez, GA; eight grandchildren Jennifer Calantropio and husband Garrett, Jessica Shippee and fiancé Dan Spooner, Lawrence Shippee III and wife Allison Cram, Vickie Rea and husband Robert, Seth Shippee and wife Elizabeth Parolski, Alex Shippee, Brendon Shippee and wife Alyssa, Reagan Shippee; three great grandchildren Tenley and Mason Rea, and Paxton Shippee. Sonya was predeceased by her sister Constance O’Masta and grandson Derrick Shippee.
Calling hours will be held on Friday October 20, from 5 to 8 pm at Ker Phaneuf Funeral Home located at 57 High Street, Brattleboro, VT 05301. A memorial service will be held on Saturday October 21, at 11:00 at West Brattleboro Baptist Church located at 979 Western Avenue, Brattleboro, VT. Following the service there will be a reception at the Eagles Club, 54 Chickerling Drive, Brattleboro VT. A burial service will be held at the North Cemetery on Fort Bridgman Road in Vernon on Wednesday October 25th at 11am. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in her name to the West Brattleboro Baptist Church.
Ker Phaneuf Funeral Home has been entrusted with arrangements. To view an online tribute, leave a message of condolence or for more information please visit www.phaneuf.net.