Lois (Stiles) Edgerly, formerly of Cambridge, passed away peacefully on August 6, 2019 surrounded by family at home in Concord.
She was born on April 29, 1929, in Sudbury, in the home of her parents, the late Leonard D. and Obeline (Cadieux) Stiles.
As a young girl, Lois was a tomboy and a good hitter in baseball. “You had her last time, we want Stiles on our team,” the boys would say.
During World War II, when she was a young teen, Lois learned the difference between bombers and fighter planes in order to report on all flights she observed from a lookout tower on Goodman Hill in Sudbury. She rode her bike to the tower, which was tall enough to offer views above the tree line. “Luckily I didn’t have to ever see a German plane,” she recalled in “How I Won the War,” a chapter in an oral history recorded for her family.
During the war, her school’s principal, Al Flynn, would release students to help at harvest time on local farms, including one owned by Lois’s uncle, Harvey Fairbanks. They received 25 cents a bushel for potatoes at a time when there were no men of military age left in Sudbury to do farm work. “Every now and then we’d get bored and throw potatoes at each other,” Lois said. “Uncle Harvey would come out into the field to chew us out, and we’d soon settle down.”
Lois graduated from Sudbury High School in 1947. Her planned date for the prom, a British doctor, had to cancel due to his residency schedule at Mass General Hospital. When William S. Edgerly, whose family had moved to Sudbury from Syracuse, NY in 1937, heard Lois didn’t have a date for her prom, he moved fast.
“So that was a hinge of fate,” Will recalled in his Nine Decades memoir. “We were dancing on air the whole night, and everybody was just all smiles. It was an incredibly memorable evening.”
That fall Lois enrolled at Lesley College in Cambridge, where she studied teaching.
On June 12, 1948, she and Will were married at the First Parish Unitarian Church in Sudbury. The following year they moved to Rochester, New York, where Will had been hired to work at Kodak.
Lois was an accomplished oil painter and wrote two books. Tillbury House published Give Her This Day: A Daybook of Women’s Words in 1990, followed four years later by Women’s Words, Women’s Stories: An American Daybook.
Her tomboy days far behind her, Lois in later years invariably dressed in a Victorian style, wearing a long skirt and white blouse fastened at the neck by a broche. She loved dogs, flowers, politics, home construction, Volvos, Spaghetti Bolognese, Maine, and graham crackers with peanut butter. She disliked any movie that had Nazis or Jack Nicholson in it.
She had magical way with plants, including a cactus she bought in 1950 and kept alive through various shoots the rest of her life.
She designed and oversaw construction of numerous residential building projects for the benefit of her family. Her taste in architecture and interior décor was impeccable, as was her constant love and support for her family.
Lois is survived by her husband of 71 years, William; children, Leonard and Stephanie; grandchildren, Seth Betlyon, Sarah Foleno, Fran Weber, Kristen Krafsig, and Jesse Betlyon; 11 great-grandchildren; and her brother, Parker Stiles.
Public calling hours are Friday, August 9, from 5 to 7 p.m. Funeral services are private.