ED EPSTEIN: 1948-2014

At 6:40 AM on October 15th, 2014, Ed Epstein died. His passing was both peaceful and spiritually profound. He was attended by friends, his Zen teacher, and Polly. Ed and Polly were held firmly in the light of their spiritual community and practices, and Polly felt a satisfying completion of the care she had provided for Ed over the past decade. The blessing of Ed’s presence in the world continues in our lives.

For a Ed’s obituary, see below the photo.

Polly hugging Ed smiling in orangePolly hugging Ed, 2014.


Edward Joseph Epstein, March 13, 1948 – October 15, 2014, Buddhist and Psychotherapist

Ed Epstein (whose Buddhist name was Yu Shin, meaning “friend of truth”) died on Wednesday, October 15th, a peaceful and spiritually profound death in Barre, Vermont. A psychotherapist in Burlington and Montpelier, he was known for his warmth and empathy and his capacity to touch the heart of even the most remote or anxious person. He practiced psychotherapy from 1983 until 2007, when early onset Alzheimer’s forced his retirement.

Ed was an actor and theater teacher in his earlier career, having earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in theatre from the Tisch School at New York University. When he decided to change his career in his mid-thirties, Ed completed a Masters in Clinical Social Work and a Masters in Human Development at Bryn Mawr College in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. In 1982, he and Polly Young-Eisendrath became a couple and blended their families from earlier marriages. In 1985, they married. In 1994, Ed and Polly moved to Burlington, Vermont from the Philadelphia area. For years, they worked together as couples’ therapists in addition to their individual practices.

During the past 10 years of decline in cognitive and practical functioning, Ed developed his Zen practice of accepting gracefully all that life brought him, remaining warm and cheerful, living into each moment. Even in his dying, he smiled and laughed.

In 2009, though Ed was unable to speak the exact words, he took a Lay Ordination at Shao Shan Temple in East Calais with Taihaku Gretchen Priest. Ed had previously been a Buddhist student of Shinzen Young and Philip Kapleau. The community of Shao Shan contributed significantly to Ed’s ongoing happiness and development during his decline.

From March, 2009 until July, 2014, Ed lived at Craftsbury Community Care Center in East Craftsbury, Vermont, where he was a beloved member of the community. From July until his death, he was at Berlin Health and Rehabilitation Center in the dementia unit. His residence had been in Worcester, Vermont.

Ed is survived by Polly, his children Noah Epstein (and his spouse Rachel), Amber Rickert, and Colin Rickert (and his spouse, Melissa). Ed’s grandchildren are Izzy Epstein, Will Epstein and Clive Smith. Ed’s brothers, Dan and Ken Epstein, and their spouses, live in Cambridge, Massachusetts and Flagstaff, Arizona, respectively.

There was a 24 hour vigil with Ed’s body at Shao Shan Temple on October 15th. He was cremated through the Sayles Funeral Home in St. Johnsbury on October 20th and his remains will be interred at Shao Shan. There will be a public memorial service at Shao Shan Temple in East Calais, celebrating Ed’s life, on Sunday, November 23rd, 1:00 – 3:00 PM. All Ed’s friends, colleagues and family are warmly invited to the memorial service.

All donations given in Ed’s name should be made to Shao Shan Temple at www.shaoshantemple.org .

A Gallery of Pictures from Ed’s and Polly’s Great Adventure


Ed and Polly at the Bee’s Knees 2012

Polly and Ed in 2001.


Richard Ed and Polly parking lot at pond 2012










Ed Epstein 1971 black and white profileEd smiling in orange 1