Obituaries 2.12.20

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Roberta Pearl Tanner

Roberta Pearl Tanner, 77, of Newport died on Tuesday, February 4, 2020, at Maple Lane Nursing Home in Barton.

She was born on June 20, 1942, in Sheffield.

Roberta attended school in Sheffield.  She was a longtime resident of Newport, member of Global Campus in Newport, and liked to be outdoors and spending time on the waterfront fishing on and swimming in Lake Memphremagog.

She was an avid participant in the Special Olympics Penguin Plunge. She was known in the community as a social butterfly and hanging out at the Drop-In Center in Newport.

She is survived by her nephews Christopher Phillips and his wife, Jennifer, of North Waterboro, Maine, Shane Phillips of Saco, Maine, Basil Colpitts and his wife, Victoria, of Littleton, New Hampshire, Rob Colpitts of Bethlehem, New Hampshire, and William Colpitts and his wife, Jodi, of Bethlehem, New Hampshire; her uncles Hayden Tanner Sr. and his wife, Patricia, of Sutton, Wesley Tanner of Massachusetts, and Neil Tanner; and her several cousins.

She was predeceased by her mother, Ethera (Tanner) Phillips, on November 28, 1991; her stepfather Carl Phillips on March 16, 1995; and her brothers Wayland, Michael, and Larry Phillips.

A spring graveside service will be held at East Main Cemetery in Newport.

If friends desire, memorial contributions in Roberta’s name may be made to Special Olympics of Vermont, 16 Gregory Drive, Suite 2, South Burlington, Vermont 05403.

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

Mary Evelyn Seymour

Mary Evelyn Seymour, age 99 and two-thirds, died peacefully at her home surrounded by her family on Wednesday, February 5, 2020.

Evelyn was born on May 14, 1920, in Bridgeport, Connecticut, daughter to the late Joseph Lewis and Anna (Garypie) Racenet.  She was raised and educated in Woodbury, Connecticut, graduating from Woodbury High School with the Class of 1938. 

She matriculated to Waterbury Hospital School of Nursing earning her RN, and then worked at Waterbury Hospital in Connecticut.  In 1943, Evelyn married Gordon Howard Seymour.  The couple moved to Vermont in 1967 and were together for 48 years before Gordon’s death in 1991.

An active participant in her communities, Evelyn was a member of the Grange in Connecticut and the Vermont homemakers’ extension.  She was nurse for Litchfield County 4-H camp in Warren, Connecticut. 

Evelyn worked as the superintendent of Watertown Methodist Sunday School and served with the United Methodist Women in both Connecticut and Vermont.  She was an active PTA/PTO volunteer as well as part of the Sutton Christmas Club and a volunteer at Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital (NVRH) in the gift shop. 

Evelyn loved to travel.  She took many trips to the Homemakers National Conventions.  She went to Australia with Gordon and traveled to other international destinations with her daughter Judy.

She is survived by her three sons:  James W. Seymour, Larry W. Seymour, and Alan F. Seymour and his wife, Jennifer, all of Sutton; her two daughters Judith Tassmer of Cromwell, Connecticut, and Charlotte Farina and her husband, Stuart, of St. Johnsbury; her brother Joseph E. Racenet and his wife, Joyce, of Danville; her brother-in-law Robert C. Seymour and his wife, Jean, of Watertown, Connecticut; her six grandchildren:  Kirt Tassmer and his wife, Jenn, Lon Tassmer and his partner, Abby Doolittle, Katrina Seymour, Kyle Seymour, Ryan Seymour, and Patrick Seymour and his partner, Ashley Miles; her four great-grandchildren:  Alecia Jandreau, Devin Tassmer, Ava Tassmer,  and Soren Tassmer; and one great-great grandchild Isabella Vitale.

She was predeceased by her husband, Gordon H. Seymour; her daughter-in-law Shari W. Seymour; and her sister Amelia (Fee) Brady.

Services were held on Saturday, February 8, at Guibord Funeral Home with John Sleeper officiating.  Burial will be held in the spring at the Sutton Village Cemetery at 11 a.m. on Thursday, May 14,which would have been her one-hundredth birthday.  There will be no calling hours.

Special thanks to all the staff at Caledonia Home Health and Hospice for the outstanding care she received.  Donations may be offered in Evelyn’s name to hospice at 161 Sherman Drive, St. Johnsbury, Vermont 05819.

Memories and condolences may be shared with family at guibordfh.com.

Donald F. Nault

It is with great sadness that the family of Donald Nault of Newport Center, announce his death at the age of 90 (just two days shy of 91). 

He was a very caring and devoted father, dedicated born-again Christian (inspired to spread the word of God wherever he went), and a kind and generous man.  He will be profoundly missed.

He grew up in Barton, with his four sisters and two brothers.  He served in the Army, worked as a boilermaker, autobody man, and a constable.  He especially enjoyed working with Vermont farmers, and worked jobs as an artificial breeder, and milk tester for the majority of his life. 

About every day he would be out and about, voluntarily helping out his neighbors, or neighboring farmers in one way or another accepting only a simple cup of coffee in return.

During his time in the U.S. Army he was selected to serve in the prestigious position as an honor guard for Dwight D. Eisenhower.  Eisenhower at the time was the five-star general who was serving as the Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force in Europe during World War II, and later became the thirty-fourth president.

He also worked on his own small farm over the years with his wife, Dee, who predeceased him.  Over the years, they had a variety of animals, like horses, goats, pigs, sheep, Jersey cows, ducks, and chickens, and really enjoyed visiting with their egg customers.  They had five children and raised them to love and enjoy the country and nature as well.  Donald especially enjoyed visiting family and friends, and going fishing.

His family will greatly miss his sense of humor, mentorship, support, and his concern for his fellow man.  He leaves behind his children Ramona, Donna, Fred, and Vernon; his six grandchildren; and his five great-grandchildren.

He is predeceased by his oldest daughter Mildred.

Anyone wishing to make a donation in Donald’s name can donate to the Orleans/Essex Visiting Nurses Association and Hospice Inc. at: www.orleansessexvna.org/.  They were extremely kind, caring and helpful during his final weeks.

Anyone unable to attend the service or just wishing to leave any sentiments or memories online can leave them at the A.W. Rich Funeral at www.AWRFH.com.

A celebration of his life memorial will be held at the Faith Lighthouse Assembly of God Church, 51 Alderbrook Road, Newport, on Saturday, February 15, at 11 a.m.

David C. Lawrence

David C. Lawrence, 84, died on Sunday, February 2, 2020, at his home in Albany Center.

 He is survived by his son Daniel William Lawrence and Daniel’s partner, Michael Brennen.

David was predeceased by his wife, Delia (Hinman), and his daughter Wendy Sue (Lawrence) Buck.

Born and raised in Albany Center, David was born in his family’s six-generation farmhouse on January 2, 1936, to Daniel and Ruth Lawrence.

He attended graded school at Albany Center’s one room schoolhouse and stayed home to help his father run the family farm, which has been in the Lawrence family since 1823.  

 In 1956, he married Delia of Greensboro and they raised their two children Daniel and Wendy.

David was a man of many talents.  At 13 he shot a trophy 13-point whitetail buck, launching a hunting career that resulted in numerous trophy animals throughout the United States and Canada.  Many of his trophies were self-preserved by using his own taxidermy expertise.  

David was an avid trapper, which supplemented the farm income.  He had a special love for dogs with many becoming his trusted hunting companions.

David’s love for animals evolved into a purpose for conservation.  He spent much of his later years helping and protecting wildlife.  He raised a young and abandoned moose, which became nationally recognized as Pete the Moose.  David launched a national campaign, “Save Pete the Moose” that resulted in Pete being pardoned by the Governor of Vermont.

David had a love for the arts.  He played both the trumpet and guitar, and he was part of a band known locally as the Albany Swingsters.  Additionally, his original paintings can be found within the homes of family and friends.

David was also an admirer of literature, leaving it difficult to buy him a book that he had not already read as his book collection rivaled small libraries.  He published many personal stories about his own hunting experiences.

David’s work was regularly published in the local Chronicle newspaper with one piece making it to the nationally renowned Outdoor Life magazine.

David left a legacy on the Northeast Kingdom. In fact, a documentary short film titled David and the Kingdom, produced by Brian Paccione and Woodrow Travelers, was released in 2018.

David will certainly be missed by his family and countless friends.

Melvin W. Lantagne

Melvin W. Lantagne, 92, of Irasburg died Thursday, February 6, 2020, in Irasburg.

He was born on June 13, 1927, to Alexander and Florence (Marandola) Lantagne of Newport.

On July 13, 1972, Melvin married the love of his life, Jean Garahan, who survives him.

He worked as a mechanic on Canadian Pacific Railroad for many years.  Melvin enjoyed making rings, fixing cars, and playing many musical instruments such as the guitar, the fiddle, a harmonica, and the piano.  He loved playing music for others and especially playing in the nursing homes for the residents.  He had a strong love of God.

He is survived by his wife, Jean Lantagne, of Irasburg; his daughters Brinda and her husband, Doug Daggett, of Holland, and Tina and her husband, Ron Pion, of Irasburg; his son Kevin Lee of Newport; his daughter Linda Nadeau Forcier and her husband, Fernand of Island Pond; his brothers Lawrence Lantagne of Newport, and Antonio (Buddy) Lantagne of Newport; his sister Ann and her husband, Jim Hansen, of Newport; and his grandchildren:  Jason Cross, Amanda Bergeron and her husband, Travis Bergeron, Meghan Daggett, Trevor Coddere, KC Lee, Kelsey Lee, Curt Wilcox, Jason Griffith, Bradley Paulette, Sierra Phillips and her fiancé, Robert Pothier,  Kasaundra Phillips, Nick Pion, and Dan Daggett and his girlfriend, Kari Brosseau, of Newport; and his great-grandchildren: Braden, Averie, Maddex, Quinn, Bailee, Connor, Kingston, Gracie, Jaxson, Triton, Aidean, Caidean, Jaydean, Danivyn, and Kaizley; and by his numerous nieces and nephews.

He was predeceased by his brothers:  Roland, Francis, Donald, and David Lantagne; his sister Isabelle Lantagne; and his first wife Leona (Waters) Allen.

Should friends desire, contributions in his memory may be made to the Pope Memorial Frontier Animal Society of Vermont, 502 Strawberry Acres Road, Newport, Vermont 05855.

Funeral services will be held at a later date.

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

A special thanks to Millie and Gary Seguin, Mark and Darlene Loomins and his many friends.

Martha Lamb Montgomery Gordon

Martha Gordon, 74, a longtime resident of Barton, died peacefully on Wednesday, February 5, 2020, of complications from heart disease.

She had survived pancreatic cancer for more than five years and was a determined fighter to the end. 

Martha was the daughter of Robert Alexander Montgomery, an architect, and Frances (Peggy) Lamb Montgomery, an accomplished amateur violinist and pianist, of Montreal.  When her father died, her mother married Thomas Howarth Montgomery, a lawyer.  

She attended Montreal West High School, where she shone as a student and began her lifelong avocation as a naturalist and amateur biologist.  She was also a superb athlete, excelling in softball, track and field, badminton, gymnastics, and downhill skiing. 

She left Canada to attend Radcliffe College, where she studied anthropology and psychology and spent a semester establishing a Head Start program on the Ojibway reservation in Parry Island, Ontario.  She went on to the Harvard graduate school of education, where she trained to be a high school social studies teacher.

After marrying Robert Watson Gordon, she taught at Newton North High School in Massachusetts until they moved to Buffalo, New York, then Madison, Wisconsin, now with their two daughters in tow.  Though they divorced, they remained friends, and she maintained close friendships with her former in-laws for the rest of her life. 

In Madison, she served the community in her second career as a social worker, working mainly with elderly people and distributing food to families.  When she moved to Barton in 1989, she joined Northeast Kingdom Community Action, where she worked with children, seniors, and many other neighbors and community members, helping them get back on their feet. 

She spent childhood summers on Lake Memphremagog and achieved local feats including tree house building, waterskiing, and swimming across the lake.  She brought friends to the lake as years went on and had happy weeks there with her daughters for decades.  There, she taught her grandchildren to knit, showing them new tricks each summer with humor and patience. 

Music was a vital part of Martha’s life.  She had perfect pitch and could seemingly pick up any instrument without effort, including piano, mandolin, and recorder.  She knew a wide range of folk and old English songs and was an expert finger-picker, having learned by ear from Carter Family and Doc Watson records.

She was an expert craftsperson and made beautiful, quirky works of art — knitted lobsters and eggplants, an elegant wooden letter opener, a small box made from the reclaimed keys of a piano, and a miniature Adirondack chair.  

She was also a careful chronicler of the natural world in her photography of spiderwebs and snow, barns and hay bales, hummingbirds and woodpiles, monarch chrysalises and pond lilies.  She loved animals and insects alike and fostered caterpillars and tadpoles before releasing them back into the world. 

As for dogs, they were always front and center.  Nimos, the half-dog, half-wolf, was the permanent favorite.  But Bucky, Casey, and especially Judy were also comrades beyond companions. 

Along with nature, books (and magazines) were the great loves of her life.  She was a completest and relished reading her way through an entire oeuvre, school of thought, or century. Her favorite poem was “The Apple Tree” by Galway Kinnell, and she could recite many others.  

While in some ways Martha was a loner, she had numerous friends.  Friends from the book group at the library (for which she suggested countless books), friends for Scrabble, friends to kayak with on May Pond and other NEK lakes and ponds, and, closest of all, her freshman college roommates Jane and Helen, who were indefatigable correspondents and confidantes. 

She knew how, as the Carter Family sang, to keep on the sunny side of life. 

She is survived by her siblings Ann and Tom; her daughters Emily and Kate; her grandchildren Julia and Jacob; her niece and nephew Irene and Alex; her loving cousins; and her friends. 

Her family will host an informal gathering at the Barton Public Library on Saturday, March 7, at 2 p.m.  

Donations in her name are welcome to the library, the Vermont Center for Ecostudies, or Vermont Public Radio.

Funeral services will be held at the convenience of the family.

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

Ron Coutu

Ron Coutu, age 49, crossed over when he died on February 4, 2020. 

He leaves behind his lifetime partner, Donna Tiedeman. 

He was predeceased by his parents, Joseph and Braunda (Darling) Coutu.

He will be remembered by his close family members:  Dan and Cathi Coutu, Mike and Chieko Coutu, Charlie and Laurie Coutu, and Cathy and Charlie Buckland.  He also has many nieces and nephews in whose memory he will live on.  These include:  Chris, Matt, Dawn, Stephen Coutu, and Eric Ruff; Hayato, Ricky and Bobby Coutu; Corey Solitaire, Marc, and Bryea Coutu; and Gretchen Garrison.  He also has multiple great-nieces and great-nephews as well as cousins in Vermont, Washington, New York, Florida, and Tennessee.

Ron was born and raised in Newport, lived in North Troy and then moved to Willow, Alaska, to fulfill a lifelong dream.  An accomplished carpenter, he had a great eye for lines and symmetry.  He worked with his brother Charlie for 15 years doing carpentry and general construction.

He loved the outdoors and was an avid hunter and fisherman.  It was a disappointment to find that Willow had no whitetail deer, but it did have salmon and that was a good thing.  He had a greater love for animals than most humans.

He had a great wit and sense of humor, bringing smiles to those around him.  He loved to play pool and was a great teacher to his nieces and nephews.

A celebration of his life will be held at the family homestead on the bluffs, in August.

Dorothy Blake

Dorothy Blake, 86, died on Monday, January 27, 2020, at her home in Beebe surrounded by loved ones.

She was born in Beebe on November 18, 1933, to George W. Buckland and Helen Roy.

She married Edson W. Blake Jr. on June 9, 1956.  Together they raised three sons at their home on North Derby Road in Beebe.

Dorothy was able to be a stay-at-home mother, while her sons were young, and when they were all in school she became a substitute teacher.  Among other jobs, she worked at Petco Mini Mart in Newport.  The job for which she is mostly recognized was behind the service counter at Ames Department Store in Derby, from which she retired.

After retirement she and her husband spent more than 20 winters in Florida, where they met many lifelong friends from several areas of the United States.

She was predeceased by an infant daughter in 1956; by her husband, Edson Blake Jr., in October 2015; and by her youngest son Greg Blake in May 2019.

She is survived by her sons Steve Blake of Stanstead and his companion, France Morin, and Mike Blake of Derby Line; her stepsons Wilbur Blake and his wife, Robin, of Vermont and Bill Blake and his wife Penny of Upstate New York.  She is survived by her grandchildren:  Brandon Blake of Ohio, Joe Blake of Derby Line, Jessie Blake of Derby, Chelsea Blake of Sherbrooke, Quebec, and Shawn Blake of St. Hyacinthe, Quebec; and his five great-grandchildren.  She is also survived by Greg’s companion, Darlene Tanner of Sheffield; her several grandchildren and great-grandchildren from her extended family; and many friends with whom she frequently spoke by phone.

The family would like to thank Dr. Josiane Menard of the Centre-Sante and Services (CLSC) in Stanstead and the Magog hospital; her nurse Lise Perron; her social worker Sandra Tarkpea, and everyone at the CLSC for the excellent care they gave their mother.

Pre-arrangements were made through Cass Funeral Homes in Stanstead.

There will be a graveside service at Woodside Cemetery in the spring.

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