Anita K. Caswell, longtime resident of Jefferson Heights, Bennington, died peacefully at her home on May 31, surrounded by her family. Born in Allentown, PA on July 16, 1930, she was the only child of the late Dr. William and Helen (Fretz) Kichline. The family later moved to Durham, New Hampshire, where Anita would spend her youth.
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Anita graduated valedictorian of her class from Dover High School in 1948. An extraordinary and versatile athlete, she was inducted into the Dover Sports Hall of Fame in 2009. She continued her education at the University of New Hampshire, where she earned a degree in Physical Education in 1952 and was recognized as one of the most outstanding female athletes of her day. While in college she played varsity field hockey, basketball and softball, and was a member of the varsity tennis and gymnastics teams. Anita held the New Hampshire state diving championship title for seven straight years. After graduating she was on the ski patrol at Franconia Notch, NH and worked as a lifeguard at the university. In 1996 she was elected to the Wildcats Hall of Honor by the UNH Department of Women’s Athletics.
In 1953 Anita accepted a position as a physical education teacher at Bennington High School, and in 1954 married fellow faculty member, the late Richard H. Caswell. The Caswells both later taught at Mt. Anthony Union High School, where Anita remained until 1984. Throughout her teaching career she coached the women’s field hockey, basketball and softball teams, enjoying many undefeated teams and seasons. In 1973 she coached the first Mt. Anthony field hockey state championship team. She also found time to head the cheerleading program and to serve as the physical education department chair.
Anita loved traveling and camping, and along with her husband and family, visited every state in the union and all the Canadian provinces. They took excursions to innumerable European countries, as well as China, New Zealand, and the Caribbean. In their retirement Anita and Dick wintered in Florida, where they established wonderful friendships and enjoyed outdoor activities.
Anita was an active member of the Retired Teachers Association and volunteered at the Bennington library, the hospital, and the Second Congregational Church for several years. She always enjoyed golf and tennis, playing cribbage and bridge, and was an avid reader. Her favorite pastime, however, was spending time with her family, especially her children and grandchildren, of whom she was so proud.
Survivors include two sons and daughters-in-law, Richard H. II and Maria Caswell of Bennington and Christopher S. and Catherine Caswell of Concord, NH; six grandchildren, Ricky and Mark Caswell of Boston, MA, John and James Caswell of Bennington, and Katelyn and Christopher Caswell of Concord, NH; a special aunt, Ethel Pudleiner of Bethlehem, PA; a sister-in-law, Sally Caswell of Burlington, VT; and several nieces and nephews.
Private committal services will be held at the convenience of the family at the family lot in West Cemetery in Middlebury, VT. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Anita’s memory can be made to the VNA/Hospice of Bennington through the office of Mahar & Son Funeral Home, 628 Main Street, Bennington, VT.
Guestbook condolences may be made at www.maharandsonfuneralhome.net.