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Katharine Metcalf Sheldon

October 29, 1951 January 31, 2020
Katharine  Metcalf Sheldon
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Obituary for Katharine Metcalf Sheldon
Katharine Metcalf Sheldon, 68, died at home Friday, January 31, after a battle with neuro-endocrine pancreatic cancer. Kay met the diagnosis, in 2013, with great courage and love, such that relationships with friends and associates became deeper and more meaningful.
Born on October 29, 1951, in Providence, the daughter of Houghton Pierce Metcalf and Vera Van Marx Metcalf, Kay is survived by her mother, her husband Irving Chase Sheldon, Jr., son Christopher Rhodes Sheldon, daughter Louise Houghton Sheldon and her husband Glen T. Baldridge, grandson Gibson Houghton Baldridge, and her brother Stephen A. Metcalf and her niece Krystyna Metcalf. She was predeceased by her father and her sister Sheila H. Metcalf.
Kay attended the Wheeler and Foxcroft schools, Hartford College for Women and Syracuse University, where she graduated with a degree in biology, which served her well in her abiding interest in landscape and horticulture, especially at her beloved farm in Exeter, R.I. She also loved serving on the board of Swan Point Cemetery in Providence, one of the state’s notable arboretums.
Possessing great practical wisdom and an easy laugh, Kay was a source of advice and humor for many friends. She was valued for her loyalty and understanding and her many stories and insights, always giving more than she received and always able to see things from another’s perspective. And she put her trust others. When traveling, a great enthusiasm, she never worried about where to spend the night; there would always be a place.
She particularly loved Italy, spoke the language, and with her family crisscrossed the country several times to visit museums and architectural sites. She took great interest in art and art history, served as a docent at the Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, and as a Museum Associate planned and organized the 2005 jewelry auction fundraiser that remains the Associates’ most profitable. Kay was also a mainstay of the Perennial Planters garden club, its environmental work and its Mary Elizabeth Sharpe Park on Benefit Street in Providence. She strongly supported the pursuits of her son and daughter in navigation and the arts.
But she was always happiest in the natural world, whether it was the South County woods or on Narragansett Bay or cruising the New England coast, swimming in a lake or at the beach or skiing a snowy trail.
Burial will be private. A celebration of Kay’s life will be scheduled in the spring. Donations in her memory may be made to Hope Hospice, in Providence, the National Cathedral, in Washington, D.C., and Perennial Planters.
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