Mrs. Rao was born in Helsinki, Finland, on October 20, 1928. She was the daughter of the late Bruno and Helen (Schobloch) Spies and sister of the late Helen Kemble, of Farmington, ME. She grew up in Finland and escaped with her family to Germany during World War II. In July 1950, she married the late John J.Rao in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. The couple, with their daughter, Jeanne, moved to the United States in 1953, settling down on Long Island. Mrs. Rao was employed by the US Army in the budget and fiscal department at the Garmisch Military Base in Germany, then as an insurance agent on Long Island, prior to retiring and moving to Wilmington in 1983.
A very elegant, spiritual, and vivacious woman, she enjoyed years of skiing and snowboarding for pleasure at Mount Snow and instructing at Carinthia, gardening, reading, and writing to family and friends. Mrs. Rao loved people and spoke several languages, which helped her immensely in her work at the Mount Snow Valley Chamber of Commerce where she made friends from all over the world. She was a longtime member of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Bennington, where she enjoyed the congregation, made many friends, and especially loved the young people.
She will always be remembered and loved by her daughter, Jeanne Daum, of New York; granddaughters, Pamela Scheller, of New Jersey, and Kimberly Daum, of Pennsylvania; grandson Matthew Daum, of New York; great grandchildren Andrew and Natalie Scheller, of New Jersey; sisters Edith von Schulmann, of Frankfurt, Germany; Vera Bentley, of Ottawa, Canada; nieces Isabel von Wedel, of Germany, Elizabeth Rousseau, and Carolyn Bentley, of Canada.
A service to celebrate her life and her late husband’s will be held on Saturday, November 10, at 1:30 pm at Our Lady of Fatima church. Burial will follow in the Riverview Cemetery. Memorial gifts in her memory may be made to the Village of Wilmington Disaster Relief Fund or Hospice of Ulster County, New York, c/o Covey & Allen Funeral Home, PO Box 215, Wilmington, VT 05363.