Sally Hartshorne

Sarah Jane Dickson Hartshorne – Sally, as she was known – died peacefully September 6 at the Center for Extended Care in Amherst, Massachusetts.

She was born October 27, 1928, in Montclair, New Jersey, to Charles Keith Dickson and Anne Brown Dickson. She grew up in New Canaan, Connecticut, and attended Rosemary Hall in Wallingford. She graduated from Vassar College in 1948.

In 1949 she married Robert Doremus Hartshorne, Jr. and they lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and later moved to Dedham, where they raised four sons.

Sally was a member of St. Paul’s Church, the Dedham Choral Society, the League of Women Voters and the town’s Fair Housing Committee.

In 1978 she earned a Master’s Degree from Boston College, where she taught for many years. She also taught at Brown University, where she was awarded a PhD in Literature in 1990. She published a number of scholarly papers about American women writers including Harriet Beecher Stowe, Willa Cather, and Marilynn Robinson.

She loved to share her love of learning with others and acted as a mentor and supporter to many students, colleagues, and friends.

In 1990 Bob and Sally moved to Waterbrooks, the home in South Conway, New Hampshire, where they had spent vacations for many years. Sally was an active member of the South Conway Club and a member of the Board of Trustees of the Conway Public Library, where she helped to oversee a major expansion.

She was a member of the Democratic Party and an early and enthusiastic supporter of Barack Obama.

Her interests included tending her beautiful gardens, climbing in the White Mountains, sailing on the coast of Maine, traveling the world, cross-country skiing, tennis, bicycling, and above all, reading. She was also a lover of animals and kept numerous dogs, cats, rabbits, and even a pet quail.

She was known to friends and family for her kindness, her lively wit, and her support and understanding in times of need.

During the last year of her life she lost her memory and most of her faculties, but hung on with determination to her love of life, her sense of humor, and her love and consideration for others. She was always ready to make a new friend and have a good laugh. When at last she could no longer speak, she could still smile.

She is survived by her husband Robert, her sons Robert, Stephen, Paul, and Charles, her daughers-in-law Laurie Ellis and Allison Foster, and her granddaughters Sarah and Joanna.

A memorial service will be held Saturday, October 3, at 2 p.m. at the South Deerfield Congregational Church. A second memorial service will be held October 31 at 2 p.m. at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Tamworth, New Hampshire.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Conway Public Library.

Sally’s granddaughter and namesake has a wonderful entry on her blog, Erratic in Heels.