Vanessa (Darling) Prigge, 81, a longtime resident of Keene and formerly of Simsbury, Connecticut, died on Monday, September 11, 2017 at Cheshire Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Keene. She passed peacefully with the love of family near after a lengthy period of declining health.
Vanessa was the daughter of the late Lillian (Splatt) and Van Ness Darling on November 12, 1935 in Huntington, Long Island, New York. She was raised and educated in nearby Northport and graduated from Northport High School in 1953. She obtained her BA degree from The College of William and Mary, class of 1957. On April 5, 1958 she exchanged vows with Charles “Chuck” Prigge. They were married in a simple service with close family and friends in attendance in Bronx, New York. They had been married for almost sixty years.
Vanessa was a dedicated stay-at-home wife and mother for many years. It was important to her to be available for her children and attend to their needs. Later in life, she worked for Kaiser Orthotics and Prosthetics Company in Keene as an Administrative Assistant for thirteen years before retiring.
Vanessa was a “people person” who had an engaging personality. She thoroughly enjoyed interacting with others all her life. As a teenager, she wrote an about-town column for the Northport Journal. Early on in her married life while living in Simsbury, Connecticut, she served as a Girl Scout leader, volunteered for a local children’s organization and she was active in her church. After moving to Keene, she made time to volunteer at the then Elliot Community Hospital and later at the Cheshire Medical Center. She worked with the volunteer auxiliary for many years and served in several roles, including president. One of her favorites there was serving people in the hospital’s coffee shop. Later she volunteered with the Prospect Hill Home and then served as president of that organization. Vanessa served as clerk of Keene Ward 5 for twelve years and enjoyed the excitement of an election. Vanessa also enjoyed supporting her husband in some of his volunteer work. One Rotary project she especially enjoyed was serving water at the Demar Marathon. Last year, the Rotary Club of Keene awarded Vanessa the Paul Harris Fellow award for her community service.
Vanessa’s interests and passions included staying fit with walking or cross-country skiing with her husband or friends, going to a gym or yard work. Somewhat renowned in her neighborhood, she mowed her yard with a push mower and raked until disease kept her from continuing. She took pride in having a clean home inside and out. She enjoyed sewing for her home and clothes for her family including doll clothes. Vanessa enjoyed baking and kept homemade cookies in the house much to the pleasure of all, especially her local grandsons who would stop in after high school sports practices. A daughter’s move to Germany thirty years ago inspired what would become a passion for travel that she and her husband enjoyed for the rest of her life. They watched travel videos together and then she meticulously planned and coordinated trips that took the two all over Europe and many places in the U.S. Vanessa also developed a passion, with her husband, for girls’ and women’s basketball games locally and at Amherst College, his alma mater. She enjoyed following the players from year to year. Many nights in the winter found them traveling to a game in Keene or Massachusetts. Vanessa loved to play games for their social nature, especially card games. She was always connected to a bridge group. Solitaire and reading were her downtime interests. A long-time member of Spofford Yacht Club, she enjoyed entertaining large family gatherings there including visits from her daughters and grandchildren. It was an ideal location for all to enjoy. She will always be remembered for her ability to engage others in conversation and her infectious laugh at the dinner table or the game table.
Vanessa was a woman of faith. She was a member of the Covenant Presbyterian Church in Simsbury, Connecticut and attended the United Church of Christ in Keene for many years.
Mrs. Prigge is survived by her husband, Charles “Chuck” Prigge of Keene. Her four daughters: Jennifer E. Buhl and her husband Peter of Kressbronn, Germany; Patricia A. Smith and her husband Lawrence of Westmoreland; Virginia A. Prigge and her partner Patrick Russell of Everett; Washington and Whitney T. Prigge of Clarksville, Tennessee. Eight grandchildren: Markus, Matthias, Lukas and Claudia Buhl, Kelcey, his wife Corynn, and Travis Smith, Thomas and Caitlin Turner. In addition, she leaves her cousin Ron Splatt, the Prigge family of Fitzwilliam and friends. Vanessa is pre-deceased by her sister Elizabeth Darling who died in June of 2016.
Calling hours will be held on Friday, October 6, 2017 from 5 to 7pm. in the funeral chapel. A celebration of life service will be held on Saturday, October 7, 2017 at 11am. at the Sturtevant Church, 15 Washington St. Keene, NH. 03431. Flowers will gladly be accepted. However, the family would prefer donations be made in memory of Vanessa to: Lyme Disease Association, P.O. Box 1438, Jackson, NJ 08527 or to ALS Association of New England, 10 Ferry St. Ste 309, Concord, NH. 03301. All services are under the care of Cheshire Family Funeral Chapel and Crematories, 44 Maple Ave. Keene, NH. 03431. WWW.cheshirefamilyfh.com