Katharine Rubio Briggs, 75, of Brandon

Katharine Rubio Briggs

BRANDON — Katharine Rubio Briggs, 75, of Brandon, Vt., passed away from cancer March 17, 2022, at her second home in New Orleans, La., surrounded by her loving family.

Kate was born in Chicago, Ill., to Alfred and Helen Schmidt Rubio, and grew up on the West Side of Chicago. She had a life-long connection to Addison Country and particularly Lake Dunmore, where she spent summers as a child with her sister, Ann, at her grandmother Ruth Cady Schmidt’s lakeside cottage. She attended Chicago Public Schools, participating in youth organizations both at her schools and West Side Congregational Church.

After graduating from Swarthmore College in 1967, she earned a Ph.D. in Political Science at State University of New York, Buffalo. Over the following decades she held a variety of professional positions in both the public and private sectors: Erie County New York Department of Public Welfare; Director of Human Resources at Lykes Steamship Company, and New Orleans; Office Administrator at Wiedemann and Wiedemann (law firm), New Orleans. In 2001, she established the Bridge Lounge wine bar in the Lower Garden District of New Orleans. She also worked part-time as a zoning administrator, most recently for the town of Whiting, Vt.

Kate was a prominent and active member of NO/AIDS Task Force, an AIDS action and support organization, in the 1980s, both as a fundraiser and as a personal “buddy” providing support for people with AIDS.

Kate is survived by her beloved husband Sherwood Briggs; her ex-husband and friend Clark Murdock; her children, Jane Murdock, Jesse Murdock, and Ben Daniels; two stepsons, Joe and Jonathan Briggs; five grandchildren; and her sister, Ann Froines. She was pre-deceased by her son Carlos Murdock.

She is also mourned by her extended family of aunts, cousins, nieces and many close personal friends in New Orleans and in Vermont. Her close friends Randy Boudreaux of New Orleans and Beth Quenneville of Brandon provided Kate with loving care and companionship for as long as she knew them.

A very sociable and articulate person, Kate enjoyed bringing people together at events she organized. She could always be counted on in a crisis and was often able to assist family and friends during difficult times. She was a supporter of the arts in whatever community she lived and loved reading, crossword puzzles, gardening, tennis, and cooking. She also loved dogs, especially Maddie, her blue heeler.

She became a Vermont resident in 2004 when she rebuilt and launched a small farm with horses, chickens, goats, and rescued llamas in Leicester and proudly fed her visiting family members with her home-grown vegetables. Her father spent his final years at her farm, enjoying the chores and the animals.

After Tropical Storm Irene inflicted considerable damage in Vermont and on numerous buildings on Brandon’s main street in 2011, Kate invested in two historic commercial buildings, and with her contractor and friend Chris Conlin, worked to renovate them for new commercial and residential tenants. She was recognized for her efforts to restore the beauty and culture of the town.

Her dynamism, smile, and dry wit will remain forever in our hearts. A remembrance for Kate will be held at Lake Dunmore in early August. For additional information, please email Jesse Murdock at jc57902@gmail.com.

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