Geraldine Cole Follansbee, 92 years young, a retired owner and president of the Credit Bureau of Haverhill, Inc. and avid sponsor of Haverhill basketball and softball teams, died on May 29, 2018 at Birchwood Terrace in Burlington following a long illness.
Born in Haverhill, Mass., she was the wife of the late Somerby C. Follansbee Jr. for 49 years, the mother of deceased daughter, Martha Ruth Follansbee; a daughter of the late E. Earle and Alice (Sargent) Cole, and sister of the late Alan Cole. She grew up in Bradford, Mass. and graduated from Haverhill High School in 1943. Geraldine began her business career in 1947 in her family’s business, Credit Bureau of Haverhill, Inc.
When her father passed away in 1956, Geraldine assumed full control of the business. Geraldine received numerous awards and was president and charter president of the Haverhill Chapter of Credit Women International/Credit Professionals and secretary of New England Collectors. She also held positions in the Associate Credit Bureaus in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. She was honored by the Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce as a nominee in the YMCA Haverhill First Annual Tribute to Women in 1990.
In addition to running a business, Geraldine raised a family and was actively involved in her community as a corporator of the Pentucket Bank. She participated in American Cancer Society fundraising efforts and conducted budgeting seminars for Community Action. In March 2009, she relocated to Essex to be close to her three grandchildren, daughter Geraldine Eva and son-in-law, Toby. Geraldine attended numerous concerts and sporting events to support her grandchildren. Geraldine was an active member of the Essex Senior Center and passionate bridge player for years at the senior center, which was a weekly highlight for her. Geraldine taught her grandchildren about the joys of playing chess and played chess into her 90s. Geraldine is remembered for her love of family and friends, her leadership in the credit reporting and collection industry, her love of York Beach and the joy of dancing with her husband and children and playing with and reading to her grandchildren.
She is survived by her son, Steven C. Follansbee, of Gainesville, Fla.; daughter Janice A. Follansbee of St. Petersburg, Fla. and daughter Geraldine E. Stewart and her husband, Toby C. Stewart, of Essex Jct.; granddaughter Melissa F. Stewart; grandson, Benjamin D. Stewart; and granddaughter Heidi E. Stewart, all of Essex Jct.
The family extends its heartfelt thanks to Geraldine’s doctors, nurses and care providers for the exceptional medical care they and their teams provided to Geraldine during her residency in Vermont. Her medical team always went the extra mile to assist Geraldine and bring a smile to her face. You truly all blessed her life!
Funeral services will be private and at the convenience of the family. Those who wish to honor her memory can best do so by donating to Alzheimer’s and Brain Research Center, Alzheimer’s Association, or Essex Alliance Church of Essex, Vt. The family invites you to share your memories and condolences by visiting www.awrfh.com.