Earl I. Runner III


On Saturday afternoon, Oct. 27, 2018, Earl I. Runner III, of Cuttingsville, Vt., known by his friends and family as “Tersh,” died due to the effects of a recent and tragic illness. His death was sudden, but he remained himself to the end — a brave, thoughtful, sensitive soul.

Tersh was born on Oct. 18, 1949, in New York City, to Earl I. Runner and Faith H. Illava. His family traveled during his childhood, bringing Tersh and his sister, Faith “Hasty” Runner to encounter many new places and cultures, undoubtedly establishing Tersh’s love of learning and knowledge, and desire to be generous and open with the people he met throughout his life.

After many adventures as a young man, Tersh eventually returned to Westport, Conn., a town where he spent much of his youth, and where he and his former wife, Martha Caruso, chose to raise their family. Tersh and Martha were blessed with two beautiful sons, Samuel S. and Benjamin P. Runner — both unique souls, just like their father.

The Runner family home was a place of learning, artistry, and invention. Tersh loved to teach by experience; a fine woodworker, Tersh helped his sons design and build amazing projects, including dioramas, machines, and even their childhood treehouse, which he lovingly guided them through assembling with their own hands. The boys recall the honest and thoughtful manner in which their dad would respond to their questions — the truly singular way he taught them to appreciate art, craft, and nature. He was profoundly loved by his sons; they write, “The sadness at his passing is indescribable; however, this does not stop us from remembering him as he was, a brilliant, well-thought, well-spoken man with an unfathomably deep love for his children.” They are reminded of him whenever they encounter something special and beautiful.

Tersh was an extraordinary person; an artist, a collector, an admirer of beautiful things, a master carpenter, a writer, and a lifelong scholar of history and cultures. A true intellectual, Tersh was deeply curious about nature and the universe. He was a gentle soul who was always kind and respectful to others. He cared intensely about justice and fairness for all living things, and lived his life accordingly. Tersh was the kind of person one would be lucky to have met in a lifetime; he will be dearly and deeply missed by all who were fortunate enough to be touched by his life.

Tersh is survived by his two loving sons, Samuel S. Runner of Hartland, Vt., and Benjamin P. Runner, of West Tisbury; by Benjamin’s wife, Rose Campbell Runner, their two children, Benjamin Runner Jr. and Ivy Runner, and by Sam’s wife, Jackie Runner. Tersh is also survived by his sister, Faith Runner of West Tisbury; and Martha Caruso, his former wife and the mother of his children.

Tersh was cherished by his best friend, comrade and life partner, Sharon T. Gardiner; the two had known each other for nearly 50 years. He was deeply loved by Sharon’s family, and by her daughter, Raleigh Gardiner.

Tersh loved reading, and volunteered at the Shrewsbury Library. His family and friends request that all donations made in Tersh’s memory please be directed to the Shrewsbury library, located at 98 Town Hill Road, Shrewsbury, VT 05738.

A memorial service for Tersh Runner will be held on Dec. 9 at 1 pm at the Shrewsbury library. Marietta Yeager of the Wilderness Friends Meeting offered the following verse in Tersh’s memory:

I can feel, with new inner life,
My own being’s vastness.
I can pour forth powerful beams of thought,
Rising from the soul’s Sun-like power,
To solve life’s riddles,
Fulfilling many a wish
Whose wings mere hope had lamed.

–R. Steiner