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Obituaries 3.17.21

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Louis Joseph Stare Jr.

Louis Joseph Stare Jr. died peacefully on Saturday, March 6, at the age of 90.

Known to all as Sandy, he was born May 27, 1930, in Worcester, Massachusetts. He lived with his parents in the Boston area until they moved to Cape Cod when he was young.  Until settling in Vermont, he lived in South Yarmouth and attended Barnstable High School where he took agriculture courses. He worked in farming, construction, maintenance, and caretaking vacation properties, and was employed full time at the Yarmouth Water Department where he tested and repaired water meters.

Sandy always liked the outdoors — swimming in the ocean and roaming the woods. Although Sandy was born with a deformity from a difficult birth, he was very active. He enjoyed clamming and oystering on the cape.

Sandy and his parents visited Vermont every fall starting in the ‘70s. They stayed at the Long Trail Lodge in the Killington area. At that time, he became interested in hiking and the Green Mountain Club.

In 1966, he decided to build a lean-to in Yarmouth, disassembled it into prefabricated pieces, then trucked it to the Wallingford section of the Long Trail.  The process of actually getting the structure up the trail three miles and reassembled was documented by the Green Mountain Club. For years, before it burned, it bore a sign with Sandy’s name. Sandy became a life-long member of the club and valued that membership.

Sandy visited Vermont several summers, camping in various state parks and hiking the Long Trail on day trips. Because he wasn’t able to carry a heavy pack, he would walk a section of the trail at a time. Upon completion of the entire trail, he was awarded an End-to-Ender certificate.

Sandy purchased his land at the end of Wylie Hill the very day he ventured into Craftsbury in 1972, knowing that it was where he wanted to settle.  In 1975, he started building his log cabin and moved in the following year. In his basement shop, he built wooden toys which he sold — on the common at Antiques & Uniques — and gifted many, including annual gifts to the Boston Childrens’ Hospital where he had often been a patient. He wanted the young patients to have enough toys to play with while they were there and to take home with them when discharged.

Sandy enjoyed living in the woods, snowshoeing, and going for rides around the area, including visits to the Old Stone House Museum. He worked with the Village Improvement Society’s work crew replacing the entire common fence. With an avid interest in railroading history, his long-term hobby was model trains and he was a member of the Vermont Garden Railway Society.

Sandy loved animals, both wild and domestic.  He kept his bird feeders full and enjoyed watching the birds and the occasional bear that came up on his porch!

Although seeing himself as hermit-like, he truly enjoyed many community events: his membership in the Horse and Buggy Club, the Lamoille County Players performances, model train shows, restaurant meals, community dinners, and, especially, the Craftsbury Farmers’ Market which he visited in his golf cart.

Sandy had many friends and cherished visits with them. In his last years he was supported by a volunteer group of neighbors who enabled him to remain living in his beloved log cabin in his woods.  Gratitude goes out to the Craftsbury Fire Department and Hardwick Rescue Squad for their kind services.

Sandy’s interment will be on Cape Cod.  There will be no formal service.  Online condolences may be made at curtis-britch.com.


Pauline J. (Daniels) Sinon

Pauline J. (Daniels) Sinon, 87, of East Albany and Lecanto, Florida, died peacefully at her Florida home on February 24 after a brief illness.

She was born on June 5, 1933, in East Albany to Victor and Albina Daniels.  She married John Sinon on June 26, 1952.  They were blessed with four children.

Pauline is survived by her daughters: Donna Willoughby; Kathy Lay and her husband, Doug; Madelyn Sinon and her partner, Mike Manning; her grandchildren: Steven Martineau, Ann Willoughby, Heidi Willoughby, Devin Lay, Derick Lay; and by six great-grandchildren.  She also leaves behind two brothers and one sister: Paul Daniels, Alfred “Chum” Daniels, and Marie Ferguson, as well as many, many wonderful friends and family.

Pauline was predeceased by her husband, John; her daughter Beverly Duchesneau; her brother Harold Daniels; and by her parents, Victor and Albina Daniels.

Pauline attended primary schools in East Albany, graduated from Orleans High School in 1951, and later received her associate degree.  She retired from Citizens Utilities as executive secretary after 35 years.  She lived a life believing in professional and personal growth, mentoring and assisting many others to achieve their dreams and goals.

Anyone who served on a board of any kind or volunteered in Orleans County, chances are knew Pauline.  From her roles as secretary of the Orleans County Fair to board member of Coutts-Moriarty 4-H Camp, and numerous church dinners, her service to her community was exemplary.

A celebration of her life will be held on June 5, 2021, at 10 a.m. at the home farm now known as the Creek Hill Barn in East Albany where Pauline spent most of her life.  All are welcome (COVID permitting).  A private burial will follow at St. John of the Cross Cemetery on the Creek Road.

In lieu of flowers, please do a good deed for someone or volunteer in honor of Pauline.  Donations can be made to St. Paul’s Catholic School, 54 Eastern Avenue, Barton, Vermont 05822.  Online condolences at curtis-britch.com.


Roger Francois Nicol

Roger Francois Nicol of Westmore died on March 8, in Newport, at the age of 65.

Born on August 25,1955, at Otis Air Force Base in Bourne, Massachusetts, Roger was the son of Marianne (Laflamme) Nicol and the late J.R. Rene Nicol.

Roger’s work ethic was unsurpassed.

Starting as a young boy, he delivered papers in the early mornings on his bicycle, then spent many years in the grocery industry — retiring after 30 years from Shaw’s supermarket.

Roger spent much of his free time gardening and living off the land. He loved the water, his canoe, and fishing. He was an enthusiastic skier.  He skied the Alps in his younger years and took annual trips to ski the headwall of Mount Washington. Roger enjoyed the solitude of nature, and spent many nights camping in the wilderness of Maine.

Roger relished reading, particularly about military history. His knowledge across all subjects led him to easily debate issues, always with a jovial intelligence that got his message across.  Roger played the devil’s advocate in a teasing manner, loving to laugh with others and keeping the discussion long and lively.

He had an easy smile and a kind, caring demeanor and was always ready to lend a helping hand.

Through his adventures Roger remained independent in life, living always with a gentle, humble, and open soul. He was loved by all and will be truly missed.

He is survived by his mother Marianne Nicol of East Kingston, New Hampshire, and his siblings: Roland Nicol and Sharon Munson of Kensington, New Hampshire, Elaine Cashin and her husband, Bill, of Westmore, Marie-Sue Connolly and her husband, Michael, of Windham, New Hampshire, and Marianne Curry and her husband, Michael, of East Kingston, New Hampshire. He is also survived by several aunts, uncles, nieces, and nephews.

Roger was predeceased by his father, United States Air Force retired Master Sergeant J.R. Rene Nicol; and his nephews Army Ranger Sergeant Andrew C. Nicol and Norman R. Woolard.

Private services will be held at the convenience of the family. Online condolences at curtis-britch.com.

Ralph David Krantz

“I was lucky to learn early on to be content with what I have.  And then I was blessed with much more than ever expected.” — Ralph David Krantz

Ralph David Krantz, also known as “Gumbie,” was born in Clinton, Massachusetts, to Albert and Elsie (Keiger) Krantz on August 28, 1927.  He died peacefully in Vermont on March 3, at the age of 93.

In the 11th grade, Ralph dropped out of school and tried to join the army, but because he was 16 years old at the time, he was rejected. Instead, he enlisted in the Merchant Marines (and later, the Army) and served his country proudly until he was honorably discharged in 1946. He was a proud disabled veteran and was recently honored in an archived interview as part of the Veterans History Project with the National Military Library of Congress.

Ralph was a true servant of the Lord in both his deeds and his heart. In 1948, he married the love of his life, Delight Adeline Schornbeck, and together they loved God, one another, and their family and friends. They built a special home in Bolton, Massachusetts, and lived there for over 40 years, later moving to Charlton, Massachusetts, for 17 years with their son Karl and his family.

The couple enjoyed, and split their time between, Charlton, their family home on Lake Parker in West Glover, their son David’s and his wife, Cathy’s, home in Florida, and their friends’ places at the Ferndale Lodge in Sebastian, Florida.

Ralph’s first professional career was as a master printer for Colonial Press in Clinton, Massachusetss, until he changed his career mid-life to become a counselor/salesperson for the Aid Association for Lutherans (AAL), a job that combined his vocation with his desire to serve the Lord. He worked with AAL for 27 years, receiving many awards and recognitions.  He retired in 1988, after which he and Del traveled and explored the world.

The couple especially loved Germany and their trips across Canada with their best friends: Frannie and Gene and Bob and Eva.

A self-made man in many ways, Ralph never stopped learning and growing.  He earned his GED in his forties, studied at Purdue University, earned numerous insurance certifications, and even began watercolor painting at the age of 81.  He also learned how to fly an authentic biplane and actively piloted flights into his nineties.

Ralph served as a lay minister (as well as president, Sunday school superintendent, and on the board of directors) at his long-term home church of Trinity Lutheran in Clinton, Massachussets.

His favorite things in life were giving and helping others, having fun and throwing family parties, animals and nature, fishing, hunting, traveling, good music, serving his country, anything Civil War, and his family.

You could often catch him whistling a tune or humming the words to Waltzing Matilda, the Tennessee Waltz, Patsy Cline, or a favorite hymn.

After living in West Glover throughout his eighties, Ralph spent his last two years at the Craftsbury Community Center.  He enjoyed his stay there prior to COVID, which sadly limited access to family and friends in his last year of life.

Ralph joins many of his friends and family members in heaven, including his three siblings: Albert, Wilma, and Robert; his beloved wife, Del, who he lost in 2010 after 63 years of marriage; as well as two children, Ralph David Jr. and a stillborn son, Timothy.

Ralph is survived by two children: Karl Krantz of West Glover, and Heidi Krantz and her husband, Corey Jones, of Craftsbury; his five grandchildren: Ralph David Krantz III, Jeffrey Krantz, Kara Krantz, Govan Baird, and Joel Krantz; and seven great-grandchildren. He also leaves behind a very special friend from the sixth grade, Eugene Colburn, of Clinton, Massachussetts. And let’s not forget Ramone, Ralph’s needy, yet affectionate, cat.

Ralph always had a snarky one-liner ready to go and was the life of any happy hour, party, or room. He was grateful for every day granted to him on this earth, and was always willing and ready for “when the good Lord” wanted him by His side.

Cashier: “Hey, Ralph! Are you behaving yourself?”

Ralph: “Well, it’s too late in life to start something new.”

A public burial service will take place on Saturday, March 20 at Woodlawn Cemetery (2 Woodlawn Street, Clinton, Massachusetts) at 10:45 a.m., under the care and direction of McNally & Watson Funeral Home, Clinton, Massachusstss. Pastor Ed Voosen will officiate. Please follow social distancing and mask protocols. In addition, a celebration of life will be held later in the spring in West Glover.

Donations welcome in Ralph’s name to New Hope Bible Church, Shepherd’s Care Program, 309 High Street, Barton, Vermont 05822.

Pauline R. (LeMay) Hodgdon

Pauline R. (LeMay) Hodgdon, 63, of Waterbury, died at home on March 5 surrounded by her loving family. She fought a valiant year-long battle against melanoma before finally succumbing. In typical selfless fashion, her concerns were only of those she loved during this difficult time.

Pauline was born on July 2, 1957, to Albert and Josephine LeMay, in Newport. She graduated from North Country Union High School in 1975 and was married to Bradley Hodgdon on June 24, 1978. She and Brad moved to the Stowe/Waterbury area in 1983.

Pauline was a committed and hardworking employee at businesses including the Brown Cow Restaurant, Stowe Pottery and Craft Gallery, Karl Suss America, Palmer Creative, Reina Trust, Bridgeside Books, and the Proud Flower. She was also instrumental in organizing the St. Andrew’s Craft Fair for many years.

Pauline’s effervescent personality and boundless energy was ever-present at home and in the various jobs she assumed. She was an intelligent, organized individual who employed a healthy dose of common sense to the tasks at hand. The most important things she took from each job were the lasting friendships she held dear to her heart long after her employment had ended.

Pauline was a voracious reader, enjoyed kayaking, loved estate sales, woven baskets, snowmen, anything kitchen (especially bowls), and walking Blush Hill with her husband.

Her strong spirit is embodied in other things she loved: geese winging their way south, a summer week with family and friends at Caspian Lake, Maine ocean waves crashing on the beach, Maine diner breakfasts, Sunday church services, and walks through the Rachel Carson wildlife refuge.

Pauline is survived by her husband, soulmate, and best friend of 42 years, Bradley Hodgdon; her daughter Kayla Mellen and her husband, Christian, of Essex Junction; her son Andrew Hodgdon and his wife, Maureen, of Medway, Massachusetts; and her precious grandson Patrick Hodgdon.

She is also survived by her sister Claire Wagner; her brother Raymond and his wife, Pat LeMay; her sister Mary Desjarlais and her husband, Gilles; her brother John and his wife, Gigi LeMay; her sister Marguerite Cross and her husband, Randall; her sister Shirley Cross; and her numerous nieces, nephews and friends. She was predeceased by her parents; her sisters Rachel and Patricia LeMay; and her brother Roger LeMay.

Pauline’s indelible spirit will be forever cherished by her family and friends.  Their hearts are empty now but will hopefully recover when recalling memories of times together with beloved Pauline.

A service to celebrate Pauline’s life will be held in the future as conditions allow.

Funeral arrangements are being handled by Perkins-Parker Funeral Home of Waterbury.

Donations in Pauline’s memory may be mailed to Central Vermont Home Health and Hospice, 600 Granger Road, Barre, Vermont 05641-5369 or can be made online at www.cvhhh.org.


Ann Helena Miller Hauman

Ann Helena Miller Hauman of Beaufort, North Carolina, died at home Thursday, February 18, at the age of 89.

A private memorial service will be held at a later date.

Ann was born in Hartford, Connecticut, the only child of Otis Maynard and Ruth Hilliard Miller.  She was raised in Wethersfield, Connecticut, among aunts, uncles, and cousins.

Many summers were spent on Crystal Lake in Barton, where the extended family enjoyed the summer cottage that remains in their family today. She would tell wonderful stories about the way it was at the lake when she was growing up — stories that instilled a strong sense of family history.

Ann Miller married Frank J. Hauman in 1951 while attending the Crouse College of Art at Syracuse University.  They proceeded to produce a large family of seven children: Lisa, Carla, Krista, Scott, Melinda, Andrew, and Stephen over the next 17 years.  We enjoyed a lively and diverse, yet traditional, childhood.  Mom motivated us to pursue our individual interests in reading, art, music, animals, and sports.  She insisted on all of us learning to swim. She also insisted on a certain high standard of behavior which she continued to expect from her 14 grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren, who held her in awe.

Ann and Frank moved many times throughout their nearly 70 years of marriage.  They started out in Manchester and South Glastonbury, Connecticut, then continued to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Groton, Massachusetts; Edmond, Oklahoma; and Mount Sterling, Kentucky, until they finally retired in Beaufort, North Carolina. They made countless friends along the way.

With each move to a new town, we would always be the new kids.  Mom would tell us that even when we had no other friends, we would always have each other.  Ann had a marvelous talent for creating an inviting environment, and every new house became a wonderful new family gathering place: home.

In each town, Ann would seek out the local community of fellow artists and get involved with art shows, town fairs, or fund-raising events.  At the same time, she would be busy creating works of her own that reflected the local history, landmarks, and wildlife.  She was a talented, versatile, and prolific artist in a wide variety of media and styles. Most notable were her intricate and detailed pen and ink works of wildlife and Indian lore.

She had a whimsical side as well and inserted her wit into many cartoons and satirical drawings.

Her work has been published in newspapers, magazines, medical texts, and museum displays.  Two of her prints are in the permanent print collection at the Western Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

Upon arriving in Beaufort, Ann became an active member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. She contributed graphic art and a wonderful soup recipe to the church women’s cookbook Let Us Keep the Feast. Several of her larger works adorn the church rooms.  She enjoyed singing in the choir along with her youngest son, Stephen, who has helped to care for her throughout her lengthy illness.

Special thanks from the family to Tammy Dorantich for her kind support at the house throughout this difficult time.  Thanks also to Munden Funeral Home for their professional services.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 215 Ann Street, Beaufort, North Carolina 28516.

Family and friends are welcome to submit online condolences at www.mundenfuneralhome.net.


Ruth Reid Gjessing

Ruth Reid Gjessing — nurse, businesswoman, conservationist, matriarch, advocate for homeless animals, and indefatigable champion of worthy causes —died at her home in Westmore on March 9, following a year of declining health.  She was 96.

At different times during her long and active life, Ruth lived in Tennessee, New York, New Jersey, and Cali, Colombia; but she was a Vermonter through and through. In her independence and directness, she epitomized Yankee pluck. One of her favorite pastimes was shoveling snow.

Ruth was born on October 3, 1924, in Burlington, to Joanna (Croft) Reid — an educator and leading Vermont suffragette — and Edward H. Reid — a local businessman, who was himself a strong supporter of women’s rights and population control.  Ruth received her elementary and secondary education in Burlington’s public schools, graduating from Burlington High School (BHS) at the age of 16. At BHS, she excelled not only academically but also athletically.  She was an excellent swimmer and a mainstay on the girls basketball team.

After a year at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, she transferred to Skidmore College in Saratoga, New York, and subsequently entered the college’s nurses training program in New York City.  While living in Manhattan, she experienced the dim-outs that were in effect due to WWII and the threat of attack by German U-boats. One of her most vivid memories was of going to a movie in Times Square in the late afternoon on Victory in Europe Day — May 8, 1945 —and emerging from the theater after nightfall to find that the district’s colorful lights, advertisements, and billboards were all blazing again.

While completing her nursing training in New York, Ruth struck up a correspondence with Edward William Steele Jr., a soldier in Europe with the 156th Field Artillery Battalion. They met when he returned to the United States after Germany’s surrender and married on July 28, 1945, in Burlington at Starr Farm Beach, on a bluff overlooking Lake Champlain.  After his honorable discharge from the Army in November of that year, and after her graduation with a Bachelor of Science (BS) and registered nurse (RN) degree from Skidmore the following spring, they settled in Burlington.  Edward finished his undergraduate studies at the University of Vermont on the G.I. Bill, and for some years taught political science at Middlebury College and the University of Vermont (UVM).  The couple had three children: Timothy, Bradley, and Martha.  They divorced in 1961.

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Ruth worked as an RN at the Bishop DeGoesbriand Hospital (now the University Health Center) and the Mary Fletcher Hospital (now the Medical Center Hospital of Vermont), but after her divorce, she took a job as a nurse for the Burlington School Department, moving to this position because its hours, holidays, and vacation schedules coincided with those of her children, who were by then all attending the city’s public schools. Ruth also increasingly assumed responsibility for the business affairs of her father, who was in failing health.

As a school nurse, she devoted as much time and energy to providing counseling to troubled students as she did to diagnosing and caring for illnesses. With a number of students, she maintained relationships and supplied emotional support for decades after their graduations.  She managed to do this, while collecting, on evenings and weekends, rents for properties owned by her father, and raising, as a single parent, three well-adjusted children, who throughout their lives have embraced the self-reliant, resilient spirit she consistently modeled.

On July 27, 1969, she married Erland Gjessing, a professor of biochemistry in the UVM medical school and a fellow member of the Unitarian Church in Burlington.  Shortly afterwards, they moved to Cali, Colombia, where, under the auspices of the Rockefeller Foundation, he taught and conducted research in enzymology at the medical school at the Universidad del Valle in Cali.  He and Ruth learned Spanish and travelled widely and adventurously during what became a seven-year sojourn in South America.

Ruth put her business acumen and energy to good use when she volunteered to help organize a cooperative for indigent women in Cali’s Bellevista barrio. Members of the co-operative learned to make macramé handbags, and after assuming leadership of the enterprise, she guided its expansion.  In the process, she turned her home into a warehouse for the purses the women produced. She made a connection with a buyer for Pappagallo, a hip brand of clothing and accessories whose products were carried by high-end department stores. Soon, hundreds of the macramé bags were being sold to fashionable consumers in United States.

Mary Jane Eberhard, a friend of hers in Cali, would later write: “Why do they give Nobel peace prizes to politicians? Why not to a stubborn, determined, ingenious, tough gringa with a warm heart, who, when suddenly transplanted amidst the seemingly hopeless poverty of her Latin American counterparts actually did something about it?

“With virtually no money and through sheer force of wit and will Ruth organized, trained, and acted as marketing advisor for a large number of women, enabling them to turn their spare moments and manual skill into cash. The Gjessing house overflowed with raw materials and finished goods, and these women coming and going as if it was their own (in a way, it was).

“Ruth overcame obstacles of organization, bureaucracy, and rivalries among the women themselves to make the thing work so well that it was self-perpetuating long after she left.”

Upon returning to Vermont in 1976, Ruth and Erland occupied her home on South Willard Street in Burlington, but in 1980 they moved permanently up to a property he owned in Westmore on the west side of Lake Willoughby.  The property consisted of a ramshackled farmhouse surrounded by 120 acres of forest.  In honor of his Danish heritage, Erland called this place Elvehoj (Hill of the Elves).  Over the years, Ruth and he renovated the house and its environs. At different times, they kept geese, chickens, and two pigs. They also adopted in a succession of stray dogs and rescued cats. Each summer, they planted a large garden, the bounty of which they shared with neighbors and friends.

Erland had longstanding family connections in Orleans County, and Ruth came to love the region as much as he did. She committed herself wholeheartedly to preserving and promoting its natural beauty and its history. Together, the two of them brought a refreshing energy to Westmore, as was observed by David Stevens, a neighbor and friend and longtime member of the town’s Board of Selectmen.

In 1988, Ruth joined Westmore’s planning commission, on which she served for many years.  In addition, she was a dedicated volunteer for — and a driving force in the success of — the cat spay-and-neuter clinic at Frontier Animal Society (now the Pope Memorial Frontier Animal Shelter).

She also served as a volunteer guide for the Old Stone House Museum in Brownington, and delighted in sugaring for many years with Wyman and Grace Smith in Cabot and later with the Randall family in Barton.

For 20-some years, she coordinated the Fedco seed and potato orders for the local No-Name Co-op group.  She personally collected all the orders from co-op members around the Northeast Kingdom and placed a cumulative order with Fedco.  When the potatoes were ready, she drove to the Fedco center in Clinton, Maine, to pick them up. (Though Fedco mailed the seeds directly to her, shipping the potatoes was prohibitively expensive.) Upon returning home, she organized the seeds and potatoes according to the original individual orders, and then drove around the Kingdom, dropping them off to co-op members.

In the 1990s and early years of this century, Ruth served as a Justice of the Peace for Westmore. In that capacity, she testified in the State Legislature in favor of the landmark civil union legislation of 2000. In doing this, she echoed the activism of her mother, who in 1919, during the national debate over the 19th Amendment, had testified before the Legislature in favor of granting the franchise to women. As Justice of the Peace, Ruth officiated at some of the first civil union ceremonies in Vermont. Because the Civil Union legislation was highly controversial, she at times received harsh and even threatening criticism.  But she was egalitarian in principle and progressive in spirit — when she was a young woman her political heroes were Eleanor Roosevelt and Adlai Stevenson — and she believed that it was important to stand up for the legal rights and protections of all members of the human community.

Perhaps the happiest paradox of Ruth’s life involved her four decades of residence in Westmore. The Northeast Kingdom is the most rural and sparsely populated area of the state, and their nearest neighbors—their friends Lynda and Ben Kinsley and the Stevens family—lived roughly half a mile away to their south and north. Yet despite this geographical isolation, Ruth and Erland entertained a steady stream of visiting relatives, friends, and colleagues from all over the state, the country, and the world. Ruth became a legend as a hostess, cooking hearty meals for everybody and often leading them on hikes up Mounts Wheeler, Bald, Hor, and Pisgah and taking them afterward for a cooling swim in Lake Willoughby.  Her social genius, somewhat checked during her child-raising and working years, emerged fully. In her early days at Elvehoj, the house did not have a plentiful or reliable water supply, much less amenities like central heating; but even the most confirmed city-slickers among her friends were happy to journey to and lodge at Elvehoj to enjoy her hospitality.

Since Ruth could relate equally to people of all ages, her circle of acquaintance was not only broad but also transgenerational. She never stopped making new friends or maintaining the friendships she had made in the past.

If her death comes as a shock to those who knew her well and loved her, it is not because she seemed to possess the elixir of eternal life.  She faced many significant challenges, from raising and supporting three children as a single parent, to moving in middle age to a South American country where she knew no one and did not speak the language, to “restarting” life in retirement in accommodations an Eagle Scout might find intimidating.  She also suffered her share of health problems.  As a former basketball player, she lamented that the older she got the shorter she became.  But she absorbed the changes and disjunctions in her life, and stoically endured emotional and physical setbacks, always seemingly attuned to how she could bring joy and comfort to the wide orbit of friends and family members she stayed connected to and cared deeply about.

Ruth’s husband Erland predeceased her in 2003. She leaves her children: Timothy, Bradley, and Martha; Timothy’s wife, Victoria; Bradley’s wife, Margaret Lowry; Martha’s husband, Robert Stymeist; and Bradley and Margaret’s two children Peter and Laura. She is also survived by her one sibling, her older sister, Esther Reid Friedrichs of Livonia, Michigan; by her sister-in-law, Helen Gjessing of Shelburne; and by her beloved nieces and nephews: Thomas Friedrichs of Atlanta, Georgia;  David Friedrichs of Ann Arbor, Michigan, Anne Friedrichs of Middlebury; Mark Friedrichs of Bethesda, Maryland; Sarah Friedrichs Collins of Lake Forest, Illinois; Linda Friedrichs Nelson of Nashville, Tennessee; Catherine Gjessing of Duxbury; and Jonathan Gjessing of South Burlington.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Ruth’s memory to the Foundation Fighting Blindness (https://donate.fightingblindness.org/) or The Vermont Land Trust (https://join.vlt.org/).

A celebration of her life will be announced at a future date.

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


Bernard Andrew Burke

The death of Bernard Andrew Burke, 88, of Newport is regrettably announced.  On March 2, he lost his battle with heart failure, despite a lengthy and courageous struggle.

Bernard is survived by his wife of 68 years, Geneva (Pelkey) Burke; his sons Randy (Linda) Burke of Newport and Ricky (Lisa) Burke of Coventry; his sister, Jeannette Bell, and her three daughters; his extended family from Rutland and the surrounding area; his four devoted grandchildren: Reilly Burke, his fiancée, Ashley Aldrich, and daughter, Alyssa, of Coventry; Reid Burke of Newport; Connor Burke and his fiancée, Andreah Ovitt, of Lyndonville; Katelyn Burke and her partner, Sheamus Morrissey, of Hinesburg; and his two great-granddaughters Eva Dee Burke of Lyndonville, and Hailey Morgan Burke of Williamsburg, Virginia.  Additionally, he leaves behind many special nieces, nephews, and cousins, and his cherished lap companion, Munchkin (“Munchie”), the family cat.

Bernard was born on May 19, 1932, to the late Lester and Delia (Ratti) Burke in Hancock.  Later, his family relocated to the Newport area where he went to school and later graduated, from what was then Newport High School. He was an outstanding athlete and participated in baseball, basketball, and football, which led to his recent induction into the Northeast Kingdom Sports Hall of Fame.

Shortly after graduation, and after his marriage to Geneva, he began his military career. He served his country in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War as a military policeman.

Entering the workforce after his discharge, led him to the Cheese Factory in Troy for a short period of time.  He then started working for Bates and Murray Electric and began his career as an established electrician. Venturing out on his own, he created his own business, Burke Electric, which he ran until his retirement. Upon retirement, a chance venture transpired into Burke Enterprise from which he distributed break-open tickets and bingo supplies until just a couple years ago.

Bernard held a lifetime membership to Newport Post 21 American Legion and was a commander for many years.  He was also a lifetime member of the local VFW and a member of the local Elks lodge and Eagles club.

Bernard was a sports enthusiast, serving as former liaison for local American Legion baseball, and he played the position of pitcher for Newport’s slow-pitch softball teams.  When it came to professional sports, he rooted for the New York Giants and the Boston Red Sox.

He was an involved father and grandfather and tried to never miss any event his children and grandchildren participated in. He enjoyed hunting and brook trout fishing, and later on, golf.  One could find him on any given day at Newport Country Club with his pals Lester, Walt, and Ted.

One of Bernard’s finest attributes was his storytelling. He routinely started his day with a good cup of coffee at the former Miss Newport Diner, then at the Brown Cow, and more recently, at Little G’s. Seated with a family member or two, area folks, and an occasional passer-by, Bernard was with avid listeners. Conversations commonly entailed the latest sports statistics, memories of the Korean War, historical Newport, and most importantly, his family. Bernard Burke was one of the last of Newport’s “gentlemen.”

In staying with his deep-rooted love for sports and Newport’s history, and in lieu of flowers, please consider donating in the memory Bernard Burke to the Gardner Park Grandstand Preservation Association, Inc. Please send checks to Joel Collins, secretary, 398 Sias Avenue, Newport, Vermont 05855.

As were Bernard’s wishes, there will be no calling hours or funeral service.  A celebration barbecue for friends and family will be held at a later date when it will be safe to travel and get together.   The family also invites people to visit awrfh.com to share their memories and condolences.


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