In Memory of Inga Potter

In May the PSOV lost one of its oldest and most beloved members, Inga Potter. Inga joined the PSOV shortly after she moved to Vermont in 1972. Over the years she served in many roles on the Executive Council, including President, Troubadour editor, and Executive Secretary. 

Inga frequently wrote about her Swedish heritage; in one of her poems, “Busy Hands,” she explores the joy of Swedish baking. As you will see, I referenced Inga’s poem when I wrote “No Regrets.”

No Regrets

 

After I moved, I meant to still visit,
again coax my car up that mountain road,
take in the view of that sun-drenched Valley
while anticipating the feast ahead:
shortbread, homemade jelly and clotted cream,
tea cosseted in a quilted cozy
then poured into hand-painted porcelain,
antique cups reminiscent of
things past.

But I didn’t find the time.
I let those afternoons slip away,
along with those views of Vermont pastures
and the poems I shared with my friend–
until a phone call, just a word or two,
connected me to darkness
and to death.

So it’s only now I pull out chapbooks
long hidden in musty corners of closets,
rediscover her verses extolling
the exotic scent of ground cardamom kneaded
into the dough of vetebrod–
not to mention the impossibility of Swedish Spritz,
those fragile cookies I balanced
so lightly in my hand.

Carol Milkuhn

Obituary, Inga Potter

 

Inga M. Potter, 96, died peacefully on May 25, 2023 after a brief illness at the Central Vermont Medical Center.

Born in Detroit, Michigan in April, 1927 to Swedish immigrants, Inga was the youngest of three children.
A clever and talented artist, musician, actress and poet at an early age, Inga spent many hours in her mother’s art studio and listening to her father’s string quartet. There she developed a solid appreciation for and understanding of sculpting, painting and classical music which would last throughout her long life.
Her mother was a student of the famous Swedish sculptor, Carl Milles, who became a close family friend and great influence on Inga’s future artistic pursuits. In her late teen years, she studied at the prestigious art school in Gothenberg, Sweden.

Inga married Olin Potter in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1949, making her home shortly thereafter in the quiet suburb of Wilbraham. She was active in the Springfield Artist’s Guild and the Wilbraham Women’s Club, and was an actor, makeup artist and costumer for the WilbraHams, a local theater group. Inga participated in several art shows, and had the honor of exhibiting her own one-person show at The Eastfield Mall.

In 1972, Inga and Olin moved to the mountain home they had designed and built in Waitsfield, Vermont, which would be their home for the next 40 years.

Inga was an active member of the Poetry Society of Vermont for decades, penning over 400 poems, serving in nearly every position on the PSOV Board, and was Editor of the PSOV’s biannual publication, The Mountain Troubadour. Though not a poet, Olin served as Treasurer of the PSOV and greatly enjoyed accompanying his wife to the PSOV luncheons. Inga published her own book of poems, as well as contributing to the book “Pebbles On The Stream'”, a collaboration of the Mad River Poets group she had started.

In 2012, the couple sold their Vermont home and downsized to condo life in Lebanon, New Hampshire. There, Inga and a dear friend formed a small, independent poetry group which met once a month. She and Olin traveled extensively, until declining health put an end to their foreign adventures.

When Olin passed away in 2021, daughter Shari moved to Lebanon to be a companion to her mother. During that time, Inga continued to be a prolific poet and painter.

In 2022, Inga and Shari moved back to Vermont, settling in Berlin. By then she could no longer paint, but she greatly enjoyed her adult coloring book creations and was an avid reader.

Inga was predeceased by her husband, her siblings and daughters Britt and Kristin. She leaves her daughter Shari Potter of Berlin, grandson Trevor Gaylord (Kate) of Moretown and two cherished great grandsons, Lincoln and Emmett. She also leaves close family members, both here and in Sweden and France, dear friends and, of course, Molly and Garry, her constant fur-companions.

Inga had a full, loving and very happy life, and was married for nearly 72 years to Olin, her ‘anchor’. She adored her grandson and his family, and was so happy to move closer to them. She was a gentle soul who tried only to see the goodness in life. She loved all forms of art, gardening, sailing, reading, singing. She was a wonderful mother, friend and roommate. She will be sorely missed, but leaves us all full of rich memories.

Interment and memorial services have yet to be determined, but as the Covid pandemic prevented a service for Olin, the two will most likely be combined.

In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to Central Vermont Home Health & Hospice, Granger Road, Berlin.

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