The world lost a legendary Navy attack pilot and naval officer with the death of Captain (retired) Ralph C. “Mouse” Miko, USN on July 10, 2016.
Captain Miko was born August 24, 1950, in Rantoul, Illinois, and was a 1973 graduate of Florida State University. Captain Miko was commissioned an ensign in 1974, and served in the Attack Squadron 176 Thunderbolts, Attack Squadron 55 Warhorses, and Attack Squadron 85 Black Falcons. During his ten major overseas deployments, including his tour as the Carrier Air Wing 7 Landing Signal Officer, Captain Miko participated in combat operations off the coast of Libya (1986), and the entirety of Operation Desert Storm (1991). By the pinnacle of his career as the commanding officer of VA-85, he had been awarded the Commander Michael G. Hoff Award, as 1988 Attack Aviator of the Year, and had earned two Distinguished Flying Crosses (with the Combat “V”), three individual air medals (with the Combat “V”), and numerous additional unit and campaign awards. Captain Miko amassed an astonishing 4,600 flight hours in seven types of aircraft, and 1,100 “traps”, and the long-standing records of the Navy’s Tailhook Association indicate that he may have literally been the finest carrier aviator of all time, with 42 “Top Ten” Awards, for his performance behind the ship — for unsurpassed precision in his carrier landing skills. One of the most extraordinary A-6 Intruder pilots throughout the Atlantic Fleet, there are hundreds of aviators, officers, and the very finest enlisted personnel who would have unhesitatingly followed him anywhere, under even the most demanding operational and intense combat conditions.
Captain Miko ended his Naval career with tours on the NATO staff in Belgium, and on the staff of the Chief of Naval Operations. Upon retirement in 2001, he became a much-loved community leader in Derby Line, where he remained, until a final move to Murrayville, Georgia, in 2015. Captain Miko is survived by his wife, Jennie, originally from Tallahassee, Florida; their two children and spouses, Edward and Marcee, and Samantha and Mike; three grandchildren; his parents and four siblings; and a very long list of close relatives who will miss him dearly.
Memorial contributions can be made to the A-6 Intruder Association, Wings Over America, American Cancer Society, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, or to the charity of your choice.
John T. Nelson, 80, died Wednesday, July 13, 2016, at the St. Johnsbury Health and Rehabilitation Center following a sudden illness.
Mr. Nelson was born March 30, 1936, in Haverhill, New Hampshire, the son of the late Robert and Lottie (Gochee) Nelson. He grew up in and around St. Johnsbury and graduated from St. Johnsbury Trade School. On September 21, 1956 he married the former Patricia Gilman and shared nearly 60 years together. He was a hunter and fisherman and was able to take fishing trips to Alaska. He enjoyed cutting wood and taking trips to Maine to spend time at the ocean. For over 50 years he worked at Vermont Tap and Die. John was an avid worker, but a very devoted husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather.
Survivors include his wife of 60 years, Patricia; son, Michael Nelson, and his wife, Julie, of Orleans; daughter, Terri Nelson of Sheffield; brothers, Donald “Donnie” Nelson, and his wife, Geraldine, of Sheffield, Ronald “Ronnie” Nelson of St. Johnsbury, Phillip “Bingy” Nelson, and his wife, Barb, of St. Johnsbury; sisters, Lillian “Sis” Treagus, and her husband, George, of St. Johnsbury, Florence “Tootie” Matthewson of St. Johnsbury, Ruth “Ruthie” Woodward, and her husband, Leonard, of Danville, Lottie “Jayne” Nelson of Lyndonville, Francis “Frannie” Nelson of Wells River; grandchildren, Elysha Thurston, and her husband, Matt, Christopher Eastman, David “Ben” Nelson, Danielle Nelson, and her husband Tucker Dunlavey, and Tricia Eckhardt; five great-grandchildren: Lilah, Grady, Reed, Jamison, and Elijah; and several nieces and nephews.
John was predeceased by three brothers: Robert “Pat,” Scott “Bill,” and Paul Nelson; a sister, Harriett Davis; and a sister-in-law, Dorothy Nelson.
At the convenience of the family, a private graveside service will be at the Lyndon Center Cemetery with the Rev. Barbara Dwyer officiating.
Memorial donations may be made to the Santa Fund, 1187 Main Street, Suite 3, St. Johnsbury, Vermont 05819.
Condolences may be shared privately with the family at www.guibordfh.com
Madison Rose Simoneau, 15, of Newport, died on July 12, 2016, in Boston.
She was born on December 25, 2000, in Newport, beloved daughter of Tammy (Hetrick) Simoneau and the late Timothy Simoneau. Madison graduated from Newport City schools and would have entered North Country Union High School in the fall.
Madison, Miss Madi, or Mad Hatter as she was frequently called, was an amazing, courageous, spirited young lady who impacted everyone she met. You couldn’t help but smile or laugh when she did. She drew you into a place that brought you such joy and happiness with her wonderful personality. Madison was tested with trials and tribulations every day, and approached them with tenacity and grit. Her heart light shined like the sun and warmed your heart and filled it with love. Madison is now in heaven with her dad, wearing her sparkling wings, and her heart light will now fill the sky. We love you, Madison!
She is survived by her mother, Tammy Simoneau, of Newport; by her siblings, Samantha, Korrie, Morgan, Riley, Jayden, and Landon Simoneau, all of Newport. She is also survived by her niece, Penelope Longe; by her grandmother Linda Simoneau of Newport; and by a very large extended family in the Newport area.
A celebration of life party will be held August 28, at Crystal Lake State Park in Barton, from noon until closing. Hot dogs, hamburgers, and drinks will be provided. Please bring a side dish, and anything you need for the beach. The family hopes to see you there to celebrate this amazing young lady’s life.
Should friends desire, contributions in her memory may be made to the Boston Children’s Hospital, 300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02115; or to the Vermont Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired, 60 Kimball Avenue, South Burlington, Vermont 05403; or to Prevent Child Abuse of Vermont, 94 Main Street, #3, Montpelier, Vermont 05602; or to Make a Wish of Vermont, 431 Pine Street #214, Burlington, Vermont 05401. Online condolences can be made at curtis-britch.com.
Eric Stevens, most beloved father, grandfather, husband and friend, died peacefully at his home in East Charleston on Friday, July 15, 2016, in the company of his loving family. He fought a courageous battle for the past years with a cruel and rare neurological disease, multiple systems atrophy. In spite of the challenges he faced, he never lost his smile or his ability to make others smile.
Born in Moorestown, New Jersey, November 23, 1948, to Joseph S. and Constance Stevens, he found his home in East Charleston in the early 1970s. Settling on Echo Lake, he created his homestead and lived a contented and active life. There he raised his family, ran a bed and breakfast for many years, planted and maintained an ornamental tree nursery, tended his prolific garden, and cultivated his friendships. Mr. Stevens was an avid trout fisherman and steward of Echo Lake and the surrounding Clyde River watershed. He volunteered to raise trout at the Morgan fish hatchery for over a decade, supporting the efforts of the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Conservation Group. He also lived to ride his bicycle, clocking miles and miles as he traversed the highways and back roads of Orleans and Essex counties with his best buddies. With the change of seasons, he’d get out on his backcountry skis, trekking where few would ever think to venture on foot, much less skis or snowshoes.
He is best known by many around the North Country for all the years he played lead guitar in rock and roll bands — the Shuffle Band, Commotions, and BTUs most famously. Many have fantastic memories of gigs at the Osborne Hotel, Gantre’s, the Valley House hotel in Orleans, and many other venues. He also played a mean banjo in his early days, acoustic guitar, and most recently dobro, playing bluegrass and other more eclectic tunes with his friends and family in his kitchen band. Above all, he appreciated technical proficiency in the musicians he admired, and in craftsmanship and artistry of all kinds. Mr. Stevens sought that proficiency in his own musicianship and all else he accomplished.
His countless friends and neighbors, as well as many business and professional acquaintances who became his friends over the years, will all miss his ready smile, his priceless wit and intelligence, his quiet and at times irreverent humor. He was endlessly curious and interested in so many and varied subjects and causes. In his last days, his voracious appetite for reading allowed him to explore the world beyond his armchair, learn of cultures beyond his domain, and continue to meet new people — in fiction and nonfiction — as he so enjoyed doing his whole life long.
His love for his friends, for music and nature, and for people from every walk of life was surpassed only by his love for his daughters: Jossamber, and her husband, Barnaby Shapiro, of Stowe, and Samantha, and her husband, Danny Kinsley, of Winooski; and for his wife of 38 years and greatest love, Peggy. He was also the proud and adoring “Poppy” to Jacob and Leila Shapiro, and to his third grandchild, baby Stevens-Kinsley, due in November. He is survived as well by his brother Joseph W. Stevens, and his wife, Susan, of Haverford, Pennsylvania; by his nephews Joe and Andy and their families; and his stepson Moss Jennings, all of California. Special thanks to his medical doctors, the nurses and therapists of Orleans-Essex Visiting Nurse Association and Hospice, and to caregivers Jessica Welch and Jeff Scelza, and their daughter Allayna.
Family and all his many friends and neighbors are welcome to gather to celebrate his life on July 23, from 1 to 4 p.m., at the NorthWoods Stewardship Center in East Charleston. Donations in his memory may be made to Patient Choices Vermont, P.O. Box 671, Shelburne, Vermont 05482, or online at patientchoices.org, or to the Charleston Volunteer Fire Department, care of Blair Moulton, CVFD Treasurer, 71 East Echo Lake Road, West Charleston, Vermont 05872.
Online condolences can be made at curtis-britch.com.
Marilyn (Marni) Elizabeth (Cochran) Surdy, 85, of Derby, died on July 11, 2016, at her home on Lake Salem.
She was born on February 17, 1931, in Derby, to Ralph and Helen (Crawford) Cochran. She married Dr. Theodore Ernest “Ted” Surdy, who predeceased her on September 7, 1998.
She graduated from Derby Academy and later received her bachelor’s degree from Boston Deaconess Hospital. She worked as a registered nurse for many years.
She is survived by her children: Craig Cochran Surdy and his wife, Renee Ann, Dr. Theodore Michael “Mickey” Surdy and his wife, Nancy, Sandra “Sandie” Ann O’Harrow and her husband, Harry, and Dr. James “Jim” Edward Surdy and his wife, Kristin; by her grandchildren: Janelle Marie Kandziora and her husband, Chris, Craig Ryan Surdy, Theodore Nash Surdy, Taryn Surdy and her husband, Ben Kunath, Delaney McConkey and her husband, Pat, Cory O’Harrow, Amy Strauser and her husband, Scott, Ashly Haugland and her husband, Ben, Derek O’Harrow, Jamie Surdy, Marnie Surdy, Connor Surdy, Jordan Cotter, and Ashtin Cotter. She is also survived by her great-grandchildren: Aiden Kandziora, Mason Kandziora, Asher McConkey, Dryden Strauser, Adison Strauser, Emma Haugland, Emmie Cotter, and Beckam Cotter.
Services will be held at the convenience of the family. Online condolences may be made at curtis-britch.com.