Laurie Balch Huse, 70, of South Hero passed away peacefully on May 9, 2020. Her husband, Art, was at her side, as he has been, throughout their 48 year marriage and her 38 year struggle with Multiple Sclerosis. Laurie was born in Middlebury on March 4, 1950, daughter of the late Lois Ann Skillings.
In her school–age-years Laurie moved frequently, graduating from Essex Junction High School in 1968 and from the University of Vermont in 1972. She married Art Huse, in 1972.
Laurie taught seventh grade English at St. Albans City Elementary School for seven years. She then joined the staff at Vermont National Education Association (VT-NEA), where she was Communications Director for more than 30 years. Laurie was dedicated to the betterment of her former teaching colleagues, public education, and her union.
Laurie edited the VT-NEA newspaper "Vermont NEA Today". She also organized the annual Vermont Teachers Convention - considered to be the best in New England. Laurie created the first VT-NEA website and edited an electronic newsletter for Vermont teachers. She also travelled around the country to train other NEA Communication Directors.
As Communications Director, Laurie played a pivotal role in organizing and managing teacher strikes across Vermont. Vermont NEA Executive Director, Joel Cook, later wrote "When she retired in 2006, she took with her the accumulated wisdom of this organization's history and its prudent approach to the use of the strike as a means to help local unions to resolve negotiations with their employers. It is in large measure because of her skills and judgment that out of the 3,000 or so contract negotiations around the state during her career, there were only two dozen school strikes. Laurie lived each of those strikes with our members, walking the picket line until a settlement was reached."
Laurie retired in 2006, maintaining several long and valued friendships that grew from her career. In 2013, She completed her book "Events In Vermont-NEA History, Teacher Strikes, 1978 To 2006". While living in Fairfax in the 1980s, she co-edited town newspaper "The Fairfax News" with her husband Art. She produced church member directories and pamphlets for the Congregational Church of South Hero.
Laurie was a member of the Vermont Human Rights Commission. During the push to pass the E.R.A., She flew to Arkansas to lobby then Governor Bill Clinton to help pass the E.R.A. there. Laurie won many national and regional awards for here work at VT-NEA.
Laurie strongly valued her friends, family, and the Island Community of South Hero. She loved flower gardening, the change of seasons and observing nature at their small cottage on Keeler Bay. She cherished her bridge games with so many players in the islands.
She was a teacher, educator, volunteer, and always a good and thoughtful friend. Those who knew her will miss her generous spirit and sharp sense of humor.
Laurie is survived by her husband, Arthur Huse of South Hero, her brothers, Matthew Balch of Ripton, VT, David Balch of Bonifay, FL and sisters, Jamie Balch of Essex Junction, VT, and Martha Balch of Stow, OH. She leaves a niece, several nephews, and many treasured friends.
At her request, there will be no calling hours. A private scattering of ashes will occur at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made, in her memory, to Franklin County Animal Rescue, 30 Sunset Meadows, St. Albans, VT 05478.
The family thanks all the staff at the University of Vermont Medical Center for their compassionate care.
Messages of condolence / remembrance can be made on line at – awrfh.com.