BENNINGTON, NH: Atheleah (“Lani”) McCullough, 91, of Bennington, New Hampshire, passed away peacefully on October 10, 2021. She was born in Peterborough on May 28, 1930, to Ernest D. Hutchinson and Atheleah G. (Edwards) Hutchinson and later became a big sister to her brother, Bruce. Lani spent her youth in Peterborough and Hillsborough, graduating from high school in 1948. She played on the basketball team and loved her summers at Camp Takodah in Richmond.
Lani attended the University of Michigan and graduated in 1952 with a degree in education. She then taught third grade at the Angel School in Berkeley, Michigan, where she met her husband, Sheldon B. McCullough. Shortly after marrying, they moved to New Jersey, started a family, and settled in Florham Park, and later Chatham. Lani was a proud and happy homemaker until their daughter, Martha, went to school, and then she divided her time between the home and working as a substitute teacher in Florham Park. No matter how busy she was with work, church, and her own hobbies, she always planned something special for Martha, whether it was doing crafts, baking, or cooking dinner together. She also loved meeting Martha after school with a homemade snack while she asked about her day. As a member of the community, Lani enjoyed leading nature walks through the woods and welcoming the neighborhood children with a wide array of snacks from popcorn to cookies. She baked for weeks for Halloween each year, making cookies and popcorn balls, and then hosted apple-dunking for the trick-or-treaters.
In her later years, Lani worked as a proofreader at Pitney, Hardin & Kipp and then became a conflict clerk for Porzio, Bromberg & Newman. In 1991, her only grandchild, Rebecca, was born, and she retired to become a full-time grandmother, her greatest role to date. Lani loved being a grandmother and took full advantage of every opportunity to spend time with Rebecca, whether it meant reading countless books at bedtime, hosting slumber parties, or taking her to the community pool for hours on end. While being a mother and grandmother was always her priority, she was also an avid reader of historical fiction and romance novels and enjoyed knitting, needlepointing, and baking for friends and family. Her chocolate chip cookies were a favorite among neighbors and friends. In fact, one year she baked three hundred cookies a month to send to a group of servicemen in Korea.
In 2009, Lani moved to her family home in Bennington, New Hampshire. She became an active member of the Bennington Congregational Church and continued to foster her love for reading, needlework, and baking. Although she no longer lived near her daughter and granddaughter, she remained close with them through phone calls, text messages, and bountiful care packages full of cookies, hand-knit hats and mittens, and anything else she could find that reminded her of her family. To her utter delight, she was able to live her final year with her daughter, granddaughter, and future grandson-in-law under one roof when the family relocated to New Hampshire to be with her during the COVID-19 pandemic. The year was a gift to all of them, and one they treasured deeply.
Lani was predeceased by her husband, Sheldon B. McCullough, in 2001; her father in 1982; her mother in 2003; and her brother, Bruce Hutchinson, in 2002. She is survived by her daughter, Martha D. Munro, and her husband, Keith G. Munro; her granddaughter, Rebecca L. Munro; and Rebecca’s fiancé, Matthew J. Burbridge.
Calling hours will be held at the Holt-Woodbury Funeral Home 32 School St in Hillsborough on Friday, October 22, from 6 pm to 8 pm, with a private burial at a later date.
The family encourages all guests to wear something purple, which was Lani’s favorite color, and asks that all unvaccinated guests wear masks and observe social distancing protocols.
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation in Lani’s name to the charity or foundation of your choice.