Merilee (Tillotson) Hayes, 69, of Punta Gorda, Florida died June 3, 2017 of glioblastoma brain cancer.
Merilee was born May 13, 1948 in Lowell, Vermont, the youngest daughter of Arlton and Elizabeth (Monteith) Tillotson.
In 1965 Merilee and Bernie Coolbeth fell in love and together they had a son, born Eric Scott Coolbeth. He was adopted by a wonderful family in New York and raised Richard Sparling.
In 1967 Merilee married Raymond Hayes of Hyde Park, Vermont. They raised two children together and divorced after more than 20 years of marriage.
In 1993 Merilee married Chuck (Gordon) Batchelder. They divorced in 2010.
When her children were young Merilee worked jobs that allowed her to be home for her kids. She worked in a nursing home, Couson's bakery in Hyde Park, and Pecks Flower Shop in Morrisville. Once her kids were older she worked for the state of Vermont and later retired from there.
Merilee spent her retirement years traveling with Chuck, doting on her cats and bird, volunteering, gardening, doing crafts, spending time with her family and drinking margaritas with her friends; always with a quick wit, impeccable taste and a desire to live life paying it forward.
Merilee was a steadfast defender of those she loved. She would do anything to care for and protect her family and dear friends. Her unwavering support and unquestionable belief in her loved ones made for a champion of a mother and friend.
Merilee is survived by her kids, Richie Sparling of East Patchogue, NY, Raymond Hayes of Woodbury, Vermont, and Alyssa and husband Chip Chaffee of Punta Gorda, Florida, step grandchildren Paige, Chip, and Breuk, and great granddaughter Montana, sister Elsie Tillotson of Shelburne, Vermont, and nieces Christa and Jessica, sister Sharon and husband Steve Litwhiler, of Shelburne, Vermont and nephew Michael and wife Nina Litwhiler, and lifelong friends Susan Jennings of Punta Gorda, Florida and Jan Morrow of Punta Gorda, Florida. She was predeceased by her parents, first husband and beautiful niece Lisa Litwhiler.
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