William E. ( Frosty) FrostSeptember 19, 1952 ~ February 16, 2017 (age 64)
FAIRLEE/THETFORD—William E. (“Frosty”/ “Bill”/ “Frost”) Frost died peacefully at
Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon on the afternoon of Feb. 16, 2017 after
suffering a stroke on Jan. 30.
Frosty was the youngest child of Velmer and Leslie Frost, born in Barre on Sept. 19,
1952. He was raised in the farmhouse in East Topsham where many generations of his
ancestors had lived.
Frost’s father and uncle Renwick farmed the land and both raised their families together
in the house. Renwick’s wife, Helen, worked for many years at Freddie Miller’s Store in
East Topsham and Frost was very close to his aunt. His grandmother was responsible for
instilling a love of gardening in him at an early age.
Frosty attended Bradford Academy and graduated in 1970. Several years later, he moved
to Burlington where he attended classes at Burlington College before moving to
Middlesex, where he began working with developmentally challenged people. He also
ran a garden center during this period of time. In the early 1990s, he relocated to Fairlee
and opened Frost Gardens, which was then located behind Chapman’s Store. In the
offseason, he worked at the Third Rail and Lake Morey Inn.
Several years later, Frost moved Frost Gardens to Route 5 south of Ely, on the town line
between Fairlee and Thetford. There, he developed three greenhouses, which were named
Fairlee, Thetford and Ely. He hybridized hundreds of day lilies, a passion of his.
Approximately 50 to 75 of those strains were “keepers.” The “In Spider of Frost,” a
spider-type yellow day lily with red blushes in the center, was named for himself. Other
varieties included the “Princess Irene” and the “Heather Fields.”
In 2015, Frost Gardens was sold to Chris Clemson, who will continue to operate the
business. Frosty himself stayed on as a mentor and laborer. He never really wanted to
retire or stop planting, just to slow down from the 24/7 grind of the busy season. At the
time of his death, he was excited about the thought of another spring on the way and was
looking forward to filling up the newest greenhouse at Frost Gardens.
Frost Garden’s clientele enjoyed Frost’s customized and knowledgeable advice and many
customers also became close friends. The gardens behind his own house on the property
were a riot of color and included a fountain, disco lights and an arbor.
Frosty had a huge network of friends because he was a wonderful friend. A generous
spirit, he shared his humor, time, wisdom, plants and plant knowledge with many. He
loved music and dancing and was a drummer in several rock bands in his youth. He was a
rabid Red Sox fan and had a deep knowledge of baseball. Frosty was a fantastic
storyteller and mined his own life to share many hilarious and poignant tales. Many of
these centered on his mother and aunt whom he was devoted to, driving them around on a
variety of adventures during their later years. He enjoyed traveling and for years spent
part of the winter in Mexico, California or Florida.
In addition to his family of friends, Frost is survived by his brother Leslie Frost Jr. and
sister-in-law Nancy, of East Corinth; and a sister, Julia Carlton of West Newbury as well
as many cousins, nephews and nieces.
Calling hours will be held at Hale Funeral Home in Bradford on Feb. 23 from 6 to 8 p.m.
Contributions in memory of William Frost can be made payable to the Town of Fairlee
and sent to P.O. Box 95, Fairlee, VT 05045 to be used by the Fairlee Gardeners at their
discretion. Contributions in his memory can also be sent to the Topsham Cemetery
Association, c/o Topsham Town Offices, P.O. Box 69, Topsham, VT 05076.
A celebration of life will be held at his home on the Fairlee-Thetford town line when the
flowers are blooming at a date and time yet to be decided.
The Hale Funeral Home and Cremation Care of Bradford, VT are in charge arrangements.
To view an online guest book go to www.halefuneralhomes.com