Renee Elizabeth Westland, of Swanzey, passed away March 16, 2021, at Cheshire Medical Center in Keene after a short illness, with the deep love and comfort of family by her side.
She was born on May 18, 1945, in Cambridge Mass., to Prof. Robert O. Schlaifer and Genevieve Domergue. She received her education primarily in France and Arlington, Mass., attending Boston University and the New England School of Art. She also tutored French students at Harvard University for two years.
On Sept. 22, 1974, she joyously married Paul Westland in Cheesman Park, Denver, tripping the light fantastic for 46 years together.
Renee was a gifted artist above all else, and when she found work in the insurance industry, friends and family were somewhat surprised she took on the task; her fluid intelligence and perseverance served her to noted accomplishments in the business world.
She was employed in Denver by the CIGNA Insurance Co. as a senior commercial underwriter, continuing in that position with NGM and Peerless Insurance after moving to Keene.
Upon an early retirement from the insurance world, she devoted her creative spirits and energies to the homestead, caring for the native grasses, wildflowers, shrubs and trees, and beautifully maintained vegetable gardens. Peonies blooming in mid-June were a favorite. All the birds, chipmunks and nesting turtles received equal attention. Her always-present creative gifts were shared with many of son, Jon’s, friends and acquaintances, many of whom called her “MOM,” for she had life lessons and course-correction advice to share as needed.
The birth of her first grandchild, Logan, sent her over the moon and back. She devoted all her creative powers and love to him and his older sisters, Kylee and Emma, every day.
Renee was a skilled figure skater who carved lovely patterns in the ice during her time in Cambridge and Denver. She loved skiing the Rockies with Paul, and had a graceful, disciplined style that got her down even the most challenging slopes with that bright, luminous smile on her face. She taught her husband to ski at Keystone Resort.
Renee’s love and knowledge of Italian Renaissance frescoes was boundless. Her shared study of Giotto, Gozzoli, Ghirlandaio and others, illuminated several visits to Italy. Her murals and paintings are a beautiful reminder of a high-spirited, elegant woman.
She was devoted to her friends: Gail Kraft, of San Diego; Ron Slaughter of Poncha Springs, Colo.; and her late pal, Lucy P. Grant, of Exeter, Devon, England; and Merry Tikalsky of Williston, N.D., Lucy’s sister; and Tom and Pam Morrissey of Raleigh, N.C., closest of friends from Denver days and nights.
Renee is survived by her loving husband, Paul, and her son, Jonathan, of Swanzey; her brother, Peter C. Schlaifer of New York City; her nieces: Jenny Schlaifer Lassen of Cherryfield, Maine; and Abigail Schlaifer of New York City; and her cousins: Steven Schlaifer of Los Angeles; and Janet Schlaifer of Oak Harbor, Wash.
Family and friends will gather together in early summer for a celebration of her life @ the Homestead.