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Obituaries 1.11.2023

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Thomas R. Stelter

Thomas (Tom) R. Stelter died and passed peacefully from this earthly life surrounded by those he loved on December 5, 2022, in the comfort of the home he had built (with the help of friends) in the idyllic woods of Irasburg (affectionately known to Tom as Iratopia).

Tom was born on December 4, 1949, in Cincinnati, Ohio, the son of Ralph Stelter and Mildred Lohrum Stelter Rains. He graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 1972.

Tom and his future wife, Cheryl Dickinson, whom he deeply loved, moved to Irasburg in 1975 along with their dear friends, Howard and Vicki (Vee) Gentler. Together they built two homesteads, raised families, and have maintained a lifelong friendship.

Tom was a devoted father and, with Cheryl, was blessed with two children, Leischen Stelter Kranick (Andrew) and Grant Stelter (Summer). Known as Poppy, he adored his three grandsons, Rex Stelter, Arlo Kranick, and Ozzie Kranick. Tom was a devoted and loving brother to his sister, Kathy Stelter.

Tom worked at Northeast Tool in Lyndonville for 12 years where he was a proud member of the Local Steelworkers Union. He believed in the benefits unions provide.

Tom taught school in Brighton, Troy, and Albany for many years. He was a dedicated educator, caring for his students and encouraging them to reach their potential. He valued his colleagues and the positive difference they made in the lives of their students. Tom was known as a team player. He retired from teaching in 2013.

Tom cared deeply about his community and worked to make his small corner of the Kingdom a better place. He devoted many years to the restoration of the Irasburg Town Hall, writing grants, helping with bingo, and encouraging others to join in to bring the town hall back to its original stature on the common. Some projects Tom worked on over the years included the Brick Kingdom trail and bridge in Barton; the annual Irasburg Church Fair; The Meadows senior housing units in Irasburg; collecting old computers from area schools to send to Ghana; lister for the town of Irasburg; DUMP, the environmental group dedicated to protecting the waters of Lake Memphremagog; and numerous other volunteer endeavors.

Tom’s sense of fairness and justice made him a strong voice for those who needed an advocate. He was a neighbors’ neighbor, always offering assistance to those in need. His unsuccessful bid in 2004 for a seat in the Vermont House (he won Irasburg!) encouraged Tom to extend his outreach beyond his local neighbors.

Tom’s love of the land and his woodlot was known and lovingly tolerated by his family and friends. He forged trails and marked trees needing to be harvested. His stewardship will be remembered for years to come.

Tom leaves his loving wife of 47 years, Cheryl; his children Leischen and Grant, their spouses, and his adorable grandsons; his sister, Kathy; and his loving extended family, Howard and Vee Gentler, Marinshine Gentler-Dantona (Rob), their daughter, Agnes; and Evan Gentler (Tracy) and their daughter, Amelie.

Tom died one day after his seventy-third birthday in an incredibly peaceful and gentle manner. He and his family were grateful to the Vermont Legislature for enacting Act 39, allowing Tom to face his death in a dignified manner and on his own terms.

There will be a celebration of Tom’s life in the late spring of 2023 on the land he loved, with the people he loved and who appreciated his devotion, caring nature, wit, and sense of humor.

In loving memory of Tom, contributions can be made to support Siskin Coutts, P.O. Box 565, Derby, Vermont 05829, for the ecological education of children of the Northeast Kingdom.

“He that plants trees loves others besides himself.” — Thomas Fuller


Michael A. Fontaine

Michael A. Fontaine, 66, of Barton, died on December 19, 2022, surrounded by his loving family.  He was born on December 29, 1955, in Newport, to the late Armand and Betty (Blouin) Fontaine.

Mike was a graduate of Lake Region Union High School where he still holds a pole vault record for track and field.  He enjoyed hunting and fishing, but most of all he enjoyed spending time with his family and friends.

Mike worked as a master thread-grinder for most of his life, working for Tivoly, formerly known as Butterfields, and also Kennemetal, which was formerly the Lyndonville Tap and Die.

He is survived by his children: Joshua, Jared, and Summer and her fiancé, Zack; by his grandchildren Everleigh Grace and Timber Jack; by his brothers: Marcel Fontaine and his wife, Karen, and Andrew Fontaine and his fiancée, Janet.  He is also survived by his former wife and friend, Jessica Fontaine.

A memorial will be held in the summer of 2023.


James L. Campbell

James L. Campbell, born in 1958 in St. Johnsbury, died in January of 2023.

He spent his first five years in St. Johnsbury, before moving to the Barton area with family. He was the son of James Campbell (deceased) of Portland, Oregon, and Dorothy Campbell of Barton.

His siblings are Lisa Lybarger of Kalama, Washington, Stephanie Weaver of Vancouver, Washington, Lianne Messier of North Troy, Jimi E. Campbell of Vancouver, Randall Campbell of Longview, Washington, and Rodney Campbell of Barton.

He leaves behind several nieces and nephews, of whom he was very fond, and many cousins, aunts, and uncles whom he loved dearly.

He enjoyed all animals on the Kittredge family farm and elsewhere. He found great joy in family gatherings and had a very full life. He flew to the west coast to spend time with family. He enjoyed sports, fishing, and concerts over the years spent with the drivers and staff at Northeast Kingdom Human Services. He enjoyed participating in the Vermont Special Olympics, and going for walks in Barton Village, where the community would watch out for his smiling face.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations in memory of James to any animal programs.


Joseph Paul Brosseau

Joseph (Joe) Paul Brosseau, 57, of Hardwick, died on January 1, 2023. He left this world without saying goodbye. That was his M.O. He was born on December 3, 1965, to Robert and Myrna Brosseau. He was a simple guy, that’s how he liked it. We are not going to fill up a paper of where he went to school, jobs he worked, or places he lived. We are just going to remember him for the fun-loving, stubborn, and sometimes opinionated man he was.

He loved a good game of golf, and he was an avid Dallas Cowboys fan. He enjoyed riding his bike for miles and miles to clear his head until he traded it for a motorcycle. He had a strong, competitive nature that was evident during family board games. He worked in and with the public every day. His customers at the UPS Store knew him to be loyal, hardworking, and had an uncanny wit about him. The owners and staff there were his second family. John and Monica were his best friends of thirty plus years. He was always excited about the many people he met through catering with Jason and the Black Diamond Barbecue gang. He told great stories of the meals they prepared and the places it took them, and they became his restaurant family.

Even working out of town he still made time to be involved in the Hardwick Community.  Working with the recreation committee, he designed the new Mackville Pond Park sign and was key in making the new playground there a reality. After years of absence, the ice-skating rink at Atkins Field was established due to his hard work. He was always willing to help out a friend or family member, never expecting help in return. He left his “Maker’s Mark” on this world.

He has left behind siblings: Robert Brosseau Jr. of Barton, Theresa Quinlan and her husband, Dan, of Houlton, Maine, Debbie Messier and her husband, Shawn, of Walden, and Andre Brosseau and his wife, Tammy, of Coventry. He also leaves behind many nieces and nephews, as well as his step-siblings: Candace Patenaude and her husband, Paul, of Derby, Wendy Hamelin and her husband, John, of Troy, Scott Gray and his fiancée, Sheila Carpenter, of Derby; sister-in-law Angie Gray of Derby; his step-mother Judy Gray of New Hampshire; and his entire “Stowe Family.” In true Joe fashion, his family is not saying “goodbye.”

A celebration of Joe’s life was held Sunday, January 8, 2023, at the Black Diamond Restaurant in Morrisville.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the Hardwick Recreation Committee, the Hardwick Area Food Pantry, or the NEK Council of Arts in Joe’s name.


Mae MacNeil Brinck

Mae MacNeil Brinck, 90, of Cromwell, Connecticut, wife of the late Carl Brinck, died on January 3, 2023, at the village of South Farms in Middletown, Connecticut.

Mae loved spending summers at her cottage on Lake Willoughby with Carl and their beloved springer spaniels.  It was on the front porch of her cottage where she made many lifelong friends.  She was a very loving and outgoing person, as evidenced by her delight in remembering people with handwritten notes and small gifts.  She will be dearly missed by all who knew and loved her.

Along with her husband, Mae was predeceased by two sisters, Nancy Bailey of Texas and Marge Klukas of Vernon, Connecticut.

Mae is survived by her sister Roberta Thurrott of Wallingford, Connecticut, and by her daughters: Nancy Benedetto and her husband, Nick, of Easton, Connecticut, Roberta MacNeil and her husband, Brian Theriault, of Sterling, Connecticut, Marjorie Gruszkiewicz and her husband, Bernie, of Naugatuck, Connecticut; by her step-daughters: Carolyn Russell of East Hampton, Connecticut, and Elizabeth Coonan of Seattle, Washington; and by two grandchildren: Dr. Lauren Benedetto and fiancé, Tyler Fong, of Los Angeles, California, and Zachary Gruszkiewicz of Naugatuck.

A celebration of Mae’s life will be held at Lakeview Cemetery in Westmore in the summer of 2023.

It was Mae’s wish to have donations made to the American Cancer Society, 111 Founders Plaza, second floor, East Hartford, Connecticut 06108.

To share memories or send condolences to the family, please visit doolittlefuneralservice.com.


Donald Clyde Austin

Donald Clyde Austin, 87, of North Troy, died on December 16, 2022, in Newport. He was born on May 17, 1935, in North Troy, to the late Clyde and Mary (Paye) Austin.

Donald graduated from North Troy High School, class of 1955. Upon graduation he enlisted in the United States Navy. After being honorably discharged from the Navy he worked as a barber and as a trash hauler.

He loved his family unconditionally. He was a prankster, loved eating leftover Halloween candy, and he taught his pigs how to sit for Christmas ribbon candy. He was also a lifelong member of the Masonic Lodge.

He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Sally Austin; by his daughters Cathy Burghardt, Darlene Miles, Donna Tiedeman, and Diane Tiedeman; and by many grandchildren, as well as numerous nieces and nephews.

He was predeceased by his parents, by his brothers Leo and Roger, and his sister Jean.

A burial will take place in the spring at North Troy Village Cemetery.

If friends desire memorial contributions in Donald’s name may be made to the Feline and Friends Foundation, P.O. Box 1316, Newport, Vermont 05855.

Online condolences may be made at curtis-britch.com.


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