copyright the Chronicle February 26, 2014
Next week at Town Meeting four Orleans County towns will vote on a resolution that basically says they don’t want tar sands oil to be shipped through the Portland Pipeline’s Northeast Kingdom oil lines. They are Albany, Glover, Westmore, and Charleston.
Unfortunately, none of those towns are host to the pipeline and would not be directly affected by any such plan.
For years now, Vermont environmentalists have warned about the possibility of the flow of the lines being reversed and Canadian tar sands oil being shipped south and west through them from Alberta to Maine. For two years, 350 Vermont has attempted to show opposition by persuading towns to adopt resolutions at Town Meeting.
Although their efforts were a bit more organized this year, they still seem to be inept at best. One of the towns that would be most severely affected by any oil spill is Barton, yet that town will not be voting this year on a tar sands resolution.
copyright the Chronicle January 29, 2014
by Joseph Gresser
NEWPORT — A Barton woman pled guilty to first degree arson Tuesday in the Orleans Criminal Division of Superior Court.
Rebecca R. Ray, 21, apparently settled the score with an informant who helped police arrest her boyfriend for heroin trafficking — by burning down the informant’s house.
Judge Howard VanBenthuysen deferred sentencing in the case for three years.
Ms. Ray is the girlfriend of Matthew R. Prue, 34, of Barton who, with his brother Louis A. Prue II, 40, of Newport was arrested on July 10 for selling heroin, said Morrisville Detective Jason Luneau. The brothers were charged with selling 26 grams of heroin in a controlled buy carried out at the Subway in Orleans, he said.
copyright the Chronicle January 29, 2014
by Natalie Hormilla
On the week of her twenty-sixth birthday, Ida Sargent of Barton got some very big news — that she had officially been named to the U.S. Olympic women’s cross-country ski team.
“I think when I found out I couldn’t stop smiling,” Ms. Sargent said in a telephone interview Friday from Toblach, Italy, where she will compete in two World Cup races this weekend.
The weekend’s events are the last for Ms. Sargent before she heads to her first Olympic games, in Sochi, Russia.
“Then on Sunday, we’ll drive to Munich, then Monday we do all the processing — fill out the forms, get the visas figured out, and get our uniforms. Then on Tuesday, we fly to Sochi.”
Even with the Olympics around the corner, Ms. Sargent is still focused on the tasks at hand.
“Right now, I’m still kind of focusing on these next World Cup races and trying to just take each moment in stride,” she said.
Her birthday plans included hard training sessions in the morning, followed by fun with a couple of friends who just happen to be in Italy, too.
“Hannah Dreissigacker and Susan Dunklee are training about 30 minutes from here, which is really unique, because we usually don’t cross paths,” she said. “That’ll be a really special way to celebrate my birthday.”
Ms. Dunklee and Ms. Dreissigacker are newly named Olympians themselves, having been nominated to the U.S. women’s biathlon team.
The three women have known each other most of their lives, through skiing together at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center, first as kids in the Bill Koch League, then as young women in the Craftsbury Green Racing Project.
The Newport City Council missed the boat last week when approached about the possibility of putting a tar sands resolution on the agenda for the annual City Meeting in March. The council could have welcomed city residents who want to talk about an important local issue. Instead they snubbed them.
The council told residents and an environmental organizer who wants to put a question about tar sands on the ballot that they might accept a petition from 5 percent of the city’s voters and put it on the ballot. Or they might not.
Traditionally, the city council has turned down items that are not strictly city business, aldermen told the voters.
In this discussion, they told voters and a representative of the Sierra Club that they should not put anything “politicized” on the ballot.
Isn’t the whole idea of Town Meeting Day about local politics? How strange for the city’s leading political figures to say they want to avoid politics at their city meeting.
Beyond that, just whose city is Newport anyway? If 5 percent of city voters want to talk about something, what harm is that going to do?
The city council seems to be saying that tar sands is not a local issue.
City Manager John Ward called the Sierra Club, “just one more lobbying group coming here to tell us how to live.”
But tar sands is definitely a local issue. The Portland Pipeline goes through Newport Center, which borders the city. The pipeline goes through a number of towns further south where the rivers drain into Lake Memphremagog.
Does the council believe that an oil spill into rivers and streams leading to Lake Memphremagog would not harm the city’s economy, not to mention the environment? If there were a spill, we wouldn’t be eating bass, walleye, trout or perch for years to come.
Newport City’s annual meeting is typically a brief, perfunctory affair where almost no one comes and almost nothing is discussed. The city’s business is done by paper ballot.
Certainly this works well in terms of getting a good number of people to vote on municipal and school budgets and elections. It’s more convenient for working people to choose their voting time.
But the lack of discussion is unfortunate, and here is an opportunity to allow city residents to have a debate about an issue that could affect the city drastically. What is the problem with allowing that discussion and even a vote on a resolution?
There is such a thing as being too provincial. The Northeast Kingdom sometimes has that reputation, and it’s time for that to change.
The city council could have taken a step to welcome discussion on an important regional topic, but instead they mostly closed the door on it. Why? Tradition? Maybe it’s time for a new tradition. — B.M.D.
Recently, a videotape of schoolchildren from Orleans Elementary fighting was posted on Facebook. Upon investigation, the school’s principal concluded that it wasn’t so much a case of targeted bullying, as some had suspected, as it was an argument, mostly amongst middle school kids.
However, the incident served to highlight the role social media plays in the lives of young people these days — and how adults can exacerbate a situation.
It also illustrated the increasing complexity of a world where media so thoroughly infiltrates the lives of young people that it’s hard to draw the line between what happens in school and what happens outside of it. An incident that occurs outside of school but is publicly posted and viewed by schoolchildren — what territory does that lie in?
The issue is so complex and troubling that it would take more than the space we have on this page to delve into every aspect of it. But there are two things we’d particularly like to mention here.
One doesn’t have to look far these days to see plenty of uncivil behavior. “Watch TV, listen to talk shows, talk radio…people seem to be so much less civil,” said Andre Messier, principal of Lake Region Union High School.
We agree with him.
The federal government is certainly no example of civil discourse or respectful behavior. Political and ideological differences turn into personal, often nasty and intimidating attacks. News programs don’t deliver information in a calm or neutral fashion; many of them are little more than shouting matches. Scorn, condescension, and polarity are far more prevalent than empathy, compassion, and respect.
In the age of You Tube, iPhones, iPads, Facebook, and vines, nearly anyone can put anything up for public view — tasteful or not, worth watching or not. Shock value seems to be a goal, the ultimate goal being attention, we suppose.
And we don’t need the National Security Agency’s help with violating our privacy. We seem to be pretty good at doing it ourselves.
One would think that, in such an atmosphere — which children are heavily exposed to — adults would set out to temper matters. Instead, as in the Orleans incident, the opposite can happen.
“Basically, all of the adults turned into bullies themselves in the comments,” said Kristin Atwood, an Orleans School Board member who saw the boy’s video after a Facebook friend passed it on to her. “The sharing of the video was really kind of incendiary, and the adults’ comments were often promoting violence against the student who’s accused of bullying,” Ms. Atwood said.
If a questionable video involving schoolchildren appears on Facebook, it seems to us that the appropriate course would be to bring the matter to the attention of school officials and leave it there. “Sharing” the video and posting incendiary comments (behaving, in other words, like a bully) does not strike us as an ideal method for dealing with an online video posted by a kid about kids.
Posting something online rather than talking to a teacher or administrator can inflame a situation, but it won’t remedy it. Kids may not know better; adults should.
So grownups: Either get off Facebook, or limit your own behavior to the best of what you would expect from children. If you deplore uncivil discourse and disrespectful behavior in children, don’t do such a good job of showing them how it’s done. — T.S.
For the Chronicle‘s story on bullying, click here.
President Obama was right to stand his ground while the government was shut down by the U.S. House of Representatives, which is controlled by the Republican Party, which is controlled by its extreme right wing.
To give in would have been to turn the government over to minority rule by a group united in its hatred of government. As Senator Bernie Sanders has said, to give up part of Obama Care to avoid the shutdown would only invite the House to use its absolute control over the budget to pick off the next program it decides to hate — Social Security, say, or Medicare.
Sensing, perhaps, that they have misjudged the public mood, the Republicans are now trying to choreograph a slow retreat. Their leaders propose to fund the most popular federal services — the national parks were on the bargaining table Tuesday night — while leaving the programs they most dislike begging.
If the Democrats agree to play that game, the result will be the same. The Republicans will fund just exactly as much government as they want, of exactly the sort they want. That would seem pretty much like running the country. In their effort to do that through the electoral process, the Republicans missed a couple of steps, like the Senate and the presidency.
The Democrats need to hang tough in this crisis. The Republicans need to answer a question posed during a recent, unrelated argument by Barton Village Trustee David White: “Why can’t we all put our big boy pants on?”
And as long as we’re excoriating people, we’re puzzled by the gag order that padlocked federal agencies have imposed on their idle employees.
Why shouldn’t we know about the services they are unable to provide? Why shouldn’t we know how this has affected their lives and their families?
Fact is, they and the rest of us are being screwed by the devious, anti-democratic machinations of the right-wing rump of the Republican Party. And everybody should have the right to say so. — C.B.
The statistics presented by the district health department Saturday are alarming. Seventy-five percent of the people in Orleans and northern Essex counties are overweight or obese, they say.
What might be even more alarming is the assertion made by the film Weight of the Nation that it’s not entirely an accident. If you believe the documentary, done by HBO with the Institute of Medicine among others, the two-thirds of Americans who are now overweight or obese have had a lot of help putting on the pounds.
For one thing, federal farm policy encourages monoculture farming and subsidizes soy and corn, ingredients commonly used in snack and processed food.
For another, the U.S. food industry — since it’s in the business of making money — most heavily markets its most profitable products, which tend to be foods made with artificially inexpensive, government subsidized ingredients. Those so-called foods are full of calories rather than nutrition, but they’re cheap, quick, and generally appealing, to young people in particular.
When was the last time you saw a television commercial pushing string beans? The profit on string beans is about 10 percent. The profit on soda is 90 percent, according to Weight of the Nation.
Any parent knows that grocery shopping these days with a young child is a nightmare. The collection of junk foods aimed at children is daunting.
As a parent, I’ve long resented the food industry and how it’s made my life more difficult. The snack cracker aisle alone is like running a gauntlet.
No, we are not getting Sponge Bob crackers. No, we are not getting Lunchables; I don’t care if Johnny has Lunchables. No, we are not getting this substance that pretends it’s related to yogurt….
At some point, grocery shopping with a child turned into a battle against marketers who want my kid to want things that are bad for him.
It wasn’t this way even 20 years ago. When my daughter was young the battle was over SpaghettiOs, which I refused to buy. That’s laughable now. SpagettiOs have come to seem pretty benign in the face of the explosion of other, far worse and voluminous, possibilities.
Twenty years ago, avoiding sedentary screen time was also easy enough: I disconnected the TV. Today, it doesn’t even matter that the satellite dish is disconnected six months a year. There’s the computer, Netflix, Hulu, iPads, iPhones, Wii, Xbox, so many ways for kids to engage with a screen rather than the great outdoors.
Yes, there are lots of reasons for being overweight, and lifestyle choices are among them. But it’s not likely that about 30 years ago two-thirds of Americans got up in the morning and decided they’d get fat.
Nationally, there are good reasons why people add pounds: No close place to buy good food, no safe place to exercise.
Those reasons don’t hold true here. It is true, however, that obesity is linked to poverty, and we are poor. It takes time and money to come up with lean and nutritious meals, and a poor population may not have much of either.
To understand what some call an obesity epidemic, we should look at the cheap and time saving choices people are offered today. Many fast food restaurants have a dollar menu. Salads aren’t on it. Yes, it’s good that fast food places offer healthier choices, but let’s be real here. No one is going to McDonald’s to get a great salad.
Frozen fruits and vegetables don’t take up much room in the grocery store freezers. They’re more likely to be filled with pizzas and highly processed microwavable meals.
The cereal section is no place to look for healthy breakfast food. Chocolate, marshmallow, and frosting are among the choices.
A time and money stressed family may have enough trouble buying and cooking healthy food without also battling a food industry that’s making the job harder.
Weight of the Nation notes there was a time when people thought it was impossible to take on the powerful tobacco industry. That turned out to be untrue.
The food industry can also be successfully taken on, the film suggests. It’s possible, at least, to cease marketing bad food to kids, as cigarettes are no longer advertised on TV.
Parents have to step up, as well. But it would help if the playing field were level. As it is, a meal of fresh fish and vegetables costs considerably more than a pound of burger and a box of Hamburger Helper, which contains soybean oil and, surprise, corn syrup, that most ubiquitous U.S. ingredient.
You can’t blame a farmer for wanting to make a living. You can blame a farm policy that uses our own tax dollars to encourage overproduction of the cheap, unhealthy food that’s helped make two-thirds of us fat. – T.S.
To read the Chronicle’s full story on this subject, click here.
Robert C. Belida
Robert C. Belida, 65, of Jay died suddenly on April 6, 2013.
He was born on April 6, 1948, in Lowell, Massachusetts, son of the late Michael and Lorraine (Cockerline) Belida. He was a graduate of Winchester High School and attended Tulane University. He was a veteran of the United States Coast Guard as well as a longtime member of the American Legion.
Mr. Belida worked as a self-employed electrical engineer and designer. He was a co-founder and director of the Jay Athletic Association, and he was active with Little League coaching and umpiring while his children were involved, extending over ten years. He was also district administrator for the Northeast region of Little League.
On July 4, 1976, he married Becky Mathieu. A devoted husband of 36 years, father, and “Grampa,” he always found time to be with his family including attending sporting events that his children were involved in. His love for his family and friends was apparent through his words and actions; he always spoke highly of his wife and children describing how proud he was of each of them. He cherished the time he spent with his two grandchildren as they always brought a smile to his face and a joy to his heart. He had a natural gift of interacting with children and could always make them laugh. He was an avid Boston sports enthusiast and enjoyed spending time in the woods.
He is survived by his wife Becky Belida of Jay; his children: Corey Belida and his wife, Erica, and their two children, Emerald and Ashton, of Fairfax, Kevin Belida and his wife, Rachel, of Portland, Oregon, and Nikki Belida of Fairfax; his brothers: George Belida and his companion, Jonan Cacciola, of Woburn, Massachusetts, and Peter Belida and his companion, Geraldine Rossi, of Salem, Massachusetts; his mother-in-law Lorraine Mathieu of Williston; and by his sisters-in-law, brothers-in-law, and many nieces and nephews.
He was predeceased by a brother, Michael Belida, and his wife, Pepper; and by a sister, Belinda Belida.
A private burial with family will be arranged at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Hope Lodge, 237 East Avenue, Burlington, Vermont 05401.
Online condolences may be sent to the family through the funeral home website at www.curtis-britch.com.
Rachel Lorraine Marcotte Bussiere
Rachel Lorraine Marcotte Bussiere, 82, of Newport died on April 3, 2013, in Newport.
She was born November 7, 1930, in Magog, Quebec, a daughter of Jean and Malvina (Stebenne) Marcotte.
On July 22, 1947, she married Remi Bussiere, who predeceased her in 1997.
She was a strong woman who was a firm believer in God, human decency and love. She raised us with morals, values and forgiveness. She was a tower of strength both physically and mentally. She instilled in us the power of our mind; she used to say, “you can do anything as long as you put your mind to it.” Her love for us was deep. Her first grandson, Benjamin Bussiere, said it best: “Grandma, you lived a full life. You made me laugh all the time when I go to visit. You also spoiled me like crazy. Your love was warm and heartfelt even though I took it for granted. I’m happy your suffering is over and you can be with Grandpa forever. Rest in peace, Grandma. You shall be missed forever.”
She is survived by her children: Dennis Bussiere and his wife, Barbara, of Norwalk, Connecticut, Michael Bussiere and his wife, Ruth, of Norwalk, James Bussiere and his wife, Laura, of Norwalk, L.C. Bussiere of Newport, Remi Bussiere and his wife, Jessica, of Newport, and Paul Bussiere and his wife, Hope, of Newport. She is also survived by nine grandchildren; and by the following brothers and sisters: Real Marcotte of Canada, Norman Marcotte of Florida, Ben Marcotte and his wife, Jeannine, of Magog, Quebec, Rita of Florida, and Claire of St. Johnsbury.
Services will be held at the convenience of the family.
Should friends desire, contributions in her memory may be made to the Adult Day Care in care of Newport Health Care Center, 148 Prouty Drive, Newport, Vermont 05855.
Online condolences may be sent to the family through the funeral home website at www.curtis-britch.com.
Annelies E. Champagne
Annelies E. Champagne of Newport Center died on April 12, 2013, in Newport.
She was born in Dresden, Germany, on May 24, 1927. On February 7, 1956, she married Lawrence (Larry) Champagne who survives her. She graduated from high school in Germany.
Mrs. Champagne operated her own variety store on East Main Street in Newport for many years. She loved all animals, enjoyed flower gardening, bird watching, and her nickname was “Annie Oakley,” as she was a sharp shooter. She was a member of the National Rifle Association.
She is survived by her husband Larry Champagne of Newport Center; her foster children: Sheila Rice of Michigan, Louis Greene of Michigan, Stewart Greene of Troy, and Kenneth Greene of Wisconsin; and by ten grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
She was predeceased by her parents, two brothers, and a sister during World War II.
Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 21, at the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Newport Center, with the Reverend Chris Barton officiating.
Should friends desire, contributions in her memory may be made to the Pope Memorial Frontier Animal Shelter, 502 Strawberry Acres, Newport, Vermont 05855.
Online condolences may be sent to the family through the funeral home website at www.curtis-britch.com.
Jeff Ricky Gerrow
Jeff Ricky Gerrow, 46, of Holland died suddenly on April 9, 2013, at his home in Holland.
He was born on October 10, 1966, in Newport, a son of the late Morris and Barbara (Blanchard) Gerrow. He was a farm worker for Brian Champney in Holland. He loved farming, fishing, playing horseshoes and attending family gatherings.
He is survived by his daughter Hannah Gerrow of Newport; his son Jeffrey Gerrow of Brownington; his brothers: Bill Gerrow of North Troy, Tim Gerrow and his wife, Laura, of Jay, and Bryan Gerrow of Coventry; his cousin Roland Blanchard who was looked upon as a brother; and by his half-brother Larry Lagrow and his wife, Sally, of Fairfax. He is also survived by his nephews: Corey French, Ricky Gerrow, Tucker Gerrow, Ethan Shepard, Mike Gerrow, Nicholas Gerrow, Jessie Gerrow and Logan Gerrow; a great-niece, Amelia French; and by numerous cousins, aunts and uncles.
A graveside service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 27, at the Albany Village Cemetery with Pastor Paul Prince officiating.
Should friends desire, contributions in his memory may be made to Laura Gerrow in trust for Hannah Gerrow, in care of Community National Bank, 4811 U.S. Route 5, Newport, Vermont 05855.
Jerry Henry Mason
Jerry Henry Mason, 65, of Albany died on April 9, 2013, at his home.
He was born on May 27, 1947, in Barton, a son of Richard and Lois (Larocke) Mason. On September 2, 1965, he married Huguette (Yogi) Tanguay, who survives him.
Mr. Mason was a driver for Wilbert Vault Company in Hardwick for many years, and later worked for Ethan Allen Manufacturing in Orleans for 13 years.
He enjoyed hunting, fishing, and woodcrafts.
He is survived by his wife Huguette (Yogi) Mason of Albany; and by his children: Richard Mason and his wife, Cindy, of Coventry, Susan Ewert and her husband, Darrel, of Lees Summit, Missouri, and Paul Mason of Albany. He is also survived by his grandchildren: Richard Mason Jr. of Newport, Elizabeth Behena and her husband, Evelio, of Charleston, Daniel Behena of Dickenson, Texas, and Nathan, Cynthia, and Sophia Behena all of Charleston; a sister, Sarah Donofrio and her husband, Larry, of Kentucky; a special aunt, Helen Stacy, of Albany; and by numerous aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews.
He was predeceased by two brothers: Sam and Mike Mason.
Should friends desire, contributions in his memory may be made to the Orleans-Essex Visiting Nurse Association and Hospice Inc., 46 Lakemont Road, Newport, Vermont 05855.
Brian Scott McGivern
Brian Scott McGivern, 48, of Newport died in Williston. He was pronounced dead on April 10, 2013.
He was born on June 3, 1964, in Newport, beloved son of Robert McGivern and Nancy (Fairbrother) McGivern.
He is survived by his mother Nancy McGivern of Westfield; his father Robert McGivern and his wife, Christine, of Lyndonville; his brothers: Eric McGivern of Newport and Keith McGivern of Derby; his sister Rosalie Putnam of Coolville, Ohio, his nephew Christopher Putnam; and by his niece Amanda Monahan.
Funeral services will be held at a later date.
Should friends desire, contributions in his memory may be made to North Country Hospital, 189 Prouty Drive, Newport, Vermont 05855.
Dorothy E. Metcalf
Dorothy E. Metcalf, 94, of Barton died on April 7, 2013, in Glover.
She was born on August 15, 1918, in Ticonderoga, New York, a daughter of Charles and Rose (Shelley) Varmette. On February 14, 1935, she married Roy F. Metcalf of Irasburg, who predeceased her in 1971.
Mrs. Metcalf liked to travel and enjoyed visits with members of her family. She also enjoyed outings with her friends.
She is survived by her son Donald W. Metcalf and his wife, Pauline, of Coventry, Connecticut; her daughter Janice Sanville and her husband, Dustin, of Irasburg and Daytona Beach, Florida; and by four grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.
She was predeceased by six brothers and two sisters.
A graveside service will be held at a later date at the Irasburg Cemetery with the Reverend Rick Shover officiating.
Should friends desire, contributions in her memory may be made to the charity of one’s choice.
Online condolences may be sent to the family through the funeral home website at curtis-britch.com.
Brooklyn E. Morale
Brooklyn E. Morale, beloved infant daughter of Kristen E. Pierce and Justin T. Morale, died on April 7, 2013, in Newport.
She was born on April 7, 2013, in Newport.
She is survived by her parents: Kristen E. Pierce and Justin T. Morale; and by her sister Kallie Buck. She is also survived by her maternal grandparents: Tracy Davis Pierce and Carl Leroux, of Barton, and Ritchie Pierce and his fiancé, Sue Wilkins, of Barton; her paternal grandparents: Kimiko Fitz and her fiancé, Todd Scelza, of Irasburg; her maternal great-grandparents: Stanley and Beverly Davis of Derby; her paternal great-grandparents: Gerald and Patricia Fitz of Lowell; and by several aunts, uncles and cousins.
Private services will be held at the convenience of the family.
Should friends desire, contributions in her memory may be made to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, Tennessee 38105.
Myrna R. Nadeau
Myrna R. Nadeau, 74, of Coventry died on April 11, 2013, in Newport, surrounded by her loving family.
She was born on September 14, 1938, in Newport Center, the daughter of Forrest and Lillian (Butler) Duckless. On January 14, 1964, she married Charles H. Nadeau who survives her.
She was bookkeeper for Nadeau Auto Parts and Landfill. She volunteered for many years for American Red Cross blood drives. She enjoyed knitting, playing cards, doing puzzles, and traveling, especially to their home in Florida. She was a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Ladies Auxiliary, American Legion Ladies Auxiliary, and Daughters of Isabella. She loved her family dearly.
She is survived by her husband Charles H. Nadeau of Coventry; her children: Kim Russell and her husband, Brian, of Derby, Christina Nadeau and her husband, Floyd Kelley, of Derby, and Kerry Keement and her husband, John, of Coventry; her grandchildren: Douglas and Tracy Russell, Jennifer and Joshua Bowen, Jessica Pierpont and her husband, Ralph, and Ashley Keement; and by her great-grandchildren: Connor, Madison, and Parker Russell, and Peyton Pierpont. She is also survived by her brothers: Harold Duckless and his wife, Lucille, of Newport Center, Robert Duckless of Brattleboro, and Elwood Duckless and his wife, Louise, of Newport Center; and by her brother-in-law Robert Nadeau and his wife, Priscilla, of Ipswich, Massachusetts.
She was predeceased by her infant daughter Tracy Ann Nadeau; her brother and sister-in-law Kenneth and Louise Duckless; and by her sister-in-law Marilyn Duckless.
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, April 17, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Newport, where a Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated. Spring interment will be in St. Mary’s Cemetery.
Should friends desire, contributions in her memory may be made to St. Mary’s Church, 191 Clermont Terrace, Newport, Vermont 05855; or to Bel-Aire Activities Fund, 35 Bel-Aire Drive, Newport, Vermont 05855.
Donald M. Funk
A memorial service to celebrate the life of Donald M. Funk, who died on March 24, 2013, will be held on Saturday, April 20, at 12 p.m. at the Plymouth Congregational Church in East Charleston.
Please come celebrate the life of a humble man who volunteered to help others throughout his life without any thought of himself. Whether it was leading a Cub Scout pack, teaching guitar to whoever asked, fighting fires in his community, or his heroic saving of a two-year-old drowning victim, he never looked for praise. He was also active with the Barre, Massachusetts, Rod and Gun Club, helping with the annual fishing derby, Easter egg hunts, and Christmas parties for the area children. As part of the American Legion, he used his sound equipment for all their functions, making sure everything went off without a hitch.
Come share your stories of this funny, unassuming man.
Richard V. “Dick” Swift
Richard V. “Dick” Swift, 84, of Barre Town, died on April 4, 2013, at his home, surrounded by his family.
He was born to Ella (Richardson) Swift on February 13, 1929, in Worcester, Massachusetts. At age five, and after her death, he was adopted by William and Ethel (Flanders) Swift. He attended Matheson Elementary School in Barre and graduated from Thetford Academy in 1947. Following graduation from high school, he enlisted in the United States Navy serving on the U.S.S. Macomb, minesweeping in the Mediterranean Sea. After his discharge from the service in 1950, he attended Becker Junior College in Worcester, graduating in 1952. While attending college, he was a member of Phi Theta Pi, an honorary business fraternity.
On April 26, 1952, he married the love of his life, Mabel Joyce Farnham, in Barre. This made Mr. Swift a new member of the Farnham family. He quickly became everyone’s favorite “Uncle Dick,” and many non-family members also knew him as “Uncle Dick” or “Swifty.” Following their marriage, they lived in Springfield, Massassachusetts, Ware, Massachusetts, St. Johnsbury, and Littleton, New Hampshire (1954-1968), before moving to Barre Town in 1968.
In earlier years, he worked as a manager for the McClellan Retail Store in St. Johnsbury; as an insurance investigator for 21 years with the Retail Credit Co. and New York Life Insurance Co.; he owned and operated a bread business and a Thomas English Muffin sales route; was a school janitor at Spaulding High School in Barre; he served for many years as a senior enlisted man with the Vermont Army National Guard; he was employed by General Electric in Burlington; and he worked for Capitol Stationers in Barre. In his late 60s, he became a substitute teacher at local schools. At the age of 73, he became a full-time substitute teacher for Barre Town Middle and Elementary School, a job that he dearly loved. He also was a part-time house painter.
While living in Littleton, he served as a Littleton park commissioner and was a member of the Littleton Lions Club where he had served as president. After moving to Barre Town, he became a member of the Montpelier Lions Club and the Canadian Club and the American Legion Post #10, both of Barre. He was also a member of the Democratic Party, Alcoholics Anonymous, where he was a sponsor and had reached 54 years of sobriety, the Sno-Bees, and he served as a commander in the Vermont Civil War Hemlocks group.
His interests were many and varied. He enjoyed raising sheep and showing them at local fairs, fishing, hunting, skiing, and playing horseshoes and cards, which he took very seriously. He liked to attend Thunder Road and enjoyed NASCAR racing, coaching and watching baseball, keeping the scoreboard for the American Legion Post #10 team, and calling bingo at the Canadian Club. He had a deep love for children and took pleasure in playing Santa Claus during the Christmas season since 1967. He really liked going to the Trow Hill Grocery Store for his coffee, ice cream floats and sharing jokes. He was a passionate reader and enjoyed crossword puzzles. He also was a poet who wrote many beautiful and touching poems.
All of his interests aside, his number one passion was his family. He was a devoted husband, father and grandfather. His favorite thing was to gather with everyone for a birthday or holiday. His family was fortunate to be able to be all together with him for Easter dinner. It was a bittersweet celebration. A niece also had a star named after him.
As the family has been going through his pictures and newspaper clippings, it appears that he may have been photographed more times than Elvis. He certainly had more “five minutes of fame” than anybody the family knew, including his appearance on WCAX television as a “Super Senior.” He will be deeply missed by his family, friends, and all of the students whose lives he touched.
He is survived by his wife Mabel Farnham Swift; his children: Sarah Carlyle and her husband, Robert, Peter Swift, and Candace Stewart and her husband, Randy, all of Barre; his grandchildren: Kerri Hull and her husband, Cary, Brian Allain and his companion, Julie Barclay, Joshua Stewart and Holly Stewart, all of Barre; his great-grandchildren: Monica, Madelyn and Ava; a sister, Joyce Isham, of Barre; a sister-in-law, Susan Swift, of Glover; and by many nieces and nephews.
Besides his parents, he was predeceased by a grandson, Devin Richard Swift; and by three brothers: Dwight Swift, Ken Swift and Alan Swift.
A memorial service and life celebration was held on April 13 in Barre. Interment will be in the Brook Haven Cemetery in Orange.
Contributions in his memory may be made to the Dick Swift Scholarship Fund, Barre Town Middle and Elementary School, care of Principal Timothy Crowley, 70 Websterville Road, Barre, Vermont 05641.