October (Toby) Cullum Frost was born March 10, 1933 in New Bedford, Massachusetts to Eugene and Clementine Cullum, and died on January 22, 2023 in Acton, MA. Toby was a bright and lively child. She met her future husband, Wesley Towne Frost, when she was 10 (he noticed her riding her pony) and they stayed in touch over the years. As a teen, she attended the Northfield School for Girls and then went to Radcliffe College (and was delighted after the “non-merger merger” of Radcliffe and Harvard to learn that she now had a degree from Harvard). She earned two master’s degrees - a Master’s in Education from Harvard and a Master of Arts in German from Middlebury. Education was quite important to her.
Toby and Wes married in 1955, moving to the land that Wes owned as part of the Scott Nearing intentional community in Jamaica, Vermont. They had two sons, Arlo and Rainer, and moved to Cambridge, MA and then Putney, VT. Finally, in 1964, they settled in a small farmer’s cottage on land in what was then rural Lincoln, MA. Wes and his sons built a home around the cottage that Toby truly loved and lived in until her final illness.
Toby loved words. As a German and Spanish teacher at Woburn High School, she imparted the appreciation of other languages to her students and led a student trip to Germany and other countries. Toby loved to play with words, spelling them in funny ways or making them up. She found fun and humor in that - humor was essential, she would say, to a healthy life. At the same time, she was a stickler for grammar. She’d correct you when you were speaking or would be unable to focus on the gist of an important letter if it was poorly crafted. So it was a natural step, after leaving teaching, to pursue a career as a technical writer, eventually retiring from Digital Equipment Corporation (now Hewlett Packard). For several years after retiring, she contributed articles to the Lincoln Journal, sharing her views on current events.
Toby cared deeply about progressive issues. She was particularly focused on prison reform and believed deeply in the potential of restorative justice. She supported issues related to global peace, including nuclear disarmament, anti-war movements, and negotiation and communication across political divides. She also cared about the health of the planet and how we treat it. Her interests were wide ranging. She loved to read newspapers, especially the Boston Globe, and magazines from a variety of sources.
The oldest of four, Toby loved her sisters Holly, Mercy, and Merry and worked to help out their families over the years. Her nieces, in particular, note the positive influences she had in their lives. Toby leaves behind her sons Arlo and his wife Stephanie, and Rainer and his wife Martha, her grandchildren Brendan, Riordan, Andrew, Annette, Kate and Henry, and her great-grandchildren, Imogen (Brendan), Arabella (Andrew), Oliver (Annette), and Theodosia (Kate).
A memorial service will be held in the spring in Lincoln.
In lieu of flowers, Toby requested that donations be made to the charity of your choosing in her memory.
The family would like to thank the staff of Atrius/Harvard Vanguard Concord, Mass General Oncology, Emerson Hospital, Life Care Center of Acton, and New England Hospice for their excellent care and support of Toby during this final illness.
Arrangements under the care of Concord Funeral Home, 74 Belknap Street, Concord, MA 01742 978-369-3388 www.concordfuneral.com