Teacher’s memorial fund donates close to $500k

Associated Press / April 12, 2011

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NEWFANE, Vt. — A fund set up in the memory of a southern Vermont music teacher killed by two escaped prison inmates has donated almost $500,000 to local groups in Vermont and New Hampshire that help children, animal, and the environment.

Yesterday marked the 20th anniversary of the death of Robin Colson, who taught in eight Windham County schools.

“Her death was shattering for the students,’’ said Ellenka Wasung-Lott, who in 1991 was a student at the Townshend Elementary School and had taken a private lesson from her the day she died. “It was so brutal, and we were so young. It was devastating to see what happened to someone you so looked forward to seeing each week.’’

Four days before Colson was killed, Charles Gundlah and Christopher Bacon had escaped from a low-security work crew that was cutting wood near the Townshend Dam. They broke into Colson’s home, killed her, and buried her body. The two men are now serving long prison sentences.

Since 1993, the Robin Colson Memorial Foundation has donated $464,534 to various agencies that Colson loved, including the Windham County Humane Society, Animal Rescue League of New Hampshire, Merrimack Concord Association, Milford Regional Counseling Services, New England Kurn Hattin Homes, and Court Appointed Special Advocates, said Colson’s neighbor Michael Rohan.

“For seven years, she was an integral part of our family,’’ Rohan told the Brattleboro Reformer. “So when she was killed, there was no hesitation in being part of her foundation.’’