CHESTER, Vt. – On July 31, 2020, an inscription stating “In Memory of Suzy Henry Forlie” was carefully sandblasted on the side of the stone bench that had been created to honor Suzy Forlie, who died April 16, 2020.
Suzy, the wife of Hans Forlie and mother of son, Kai, was a lifelong Chester resident, local businesswoman, active community volunteer, and member of Chester Townscape. Townscape is the charitable organization that for many years has beautified Chester with floral planters and bridge boxes, landscaped prime public places, and been instrumental in the repair of the Hearse House and its rehabilitation into a unique museum dedicated to the display of the town’s horse-drawn hearse and information about Chester history and funeral customs. Suzy was a co-chair of the Townscape subcommittee that undertook the transformation of the Hearse House and repairs to the adjacent Public Tomb, both of which are located beside the Brookside Cemetery and opposite the Village Green on Main Street. The stone memorial bench is positioned beside the granite Public Tomb and faces the nearby entrance to the museum, which is open in good weather from Memorial Day to Columbus Day.
The bench was the culmination of many generous donations of time, skill, and materials from private and public organizations and individuals who respected Suzy’s contributions to the town. The town of Chester contributed the slabs of granite for the bench. Town workers provided transportation of the heavy materials to the site, and the bench itself was created and installed by Scott Wunderle of Terrigenous Landscape Architecture, with help from his son Tuck, June 2.
Arrangements for the sandblasting of the inscription, which was performed by Dale Barnard of Green Valley Memorials in Randolph, were made through the Fenton & Hennessey Funeral Home in Bellows Falls. Chris Potter at Fenton & Hennessey coordinated the process and notified members of Chester Townscape so a CT representative could be present to record the process.
Funds for the sandblasting were donated by friends and associates who were eager to express their affection and appreciation for the once-active Chester resident. Of enduring granite, the bench is a fitting tribute to Suzy Henry Forlie and a symbol of the lasting impact one person has made on her community.