Obituaries

Obituaries 6.9.21

• Bookmarks: 8


 

Gilbert E. Testut

Gilbert E. Testut died peacefully on Friday, May 21, 2021, at the age of 90 in his Brooksville, Florida, home.

Gilbert was born February 8, 1931, in Providence, Rhode Island, son of the late Gustave and Mary (Korona) Testut.  He grew up in Island Pond and joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1950.  Gil married Monica Close of Branford, Connecticut, in 1959 and they had three sons.  Monica predeceased him in 1994.

He spent 32 years working at the Southern Connecticut Gas Company before retiring in 1994.  Gilbert is survived by his three sons:  Jeffrey (Tammy) of Branford, Gary (Sandra) of Gainesville, Virginia, and Brian (Socorro) of Norwich, Connecticut; along with seven grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; and his longtime companion, Joan Lozier.

He was predeceased by his only sibling, George Testut, and is survived by George’s widow, Barbara Testut.

Gilbert enjoyed playing bocci at Branford Point and swimming in the Walsh Intermediate School with the group from the Branford Senior Center.  Gilbert was also active in Florida where he played poker and shuffleboard.

Relatives and friends are invited to a graveside service Friday, June 11, at 11 a.m. in Branford Center Cemetery.  In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be sent to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society at lls.org.  For directions and an online memorial, see www.wsclancy.com.

 

Ruth A. Sweeney

Ruth A. Sweeney, 78, of Derby, died on Monday, May 17, 2021, in Burlington after a hard fought battle with a sudden illness.

Ruth was born on March 23, 1943, to George and Evelyn Sweeney in Vershire.  After graduating from high school in East Haven, Connecticut, in 1961, she moved to Florida with her best friend Gail Sheltra (Beach) where they both worked for Pratt and Whitney.

A short time later, Ruth moved back to Vermont, which she would call home.  She met her husband, Dean, at Don’s Restaurant in Orleans.  They wed on September 24, 1966, and had two daughters, Tammy and Tracey, who were Ruth’s pride and joy.  Ruth was not only a devoted and loving wife and mother, she was also an incredibly hard worker, taking great pride in her over 50-year career as a legal secretary.  She was extremely skilled in her profession and was loyal to a fault until retiring at the age of 77.

Ruth worked full-time while raising her children to be strong, independent women, like her, and managed not only her household but also her husband’s trucking business.

She enjoyed running the roads, visiting with family, and playing cards, even if it was late on a work night.  She was a voracious reader who passed on the importance of education and intellectual curiosity to her children, grandchildren, and godchildren.  Ruth was a devoted Catholic who recently wrote down this quote:  “When the fever of life is over and our work is done … may He give us a safe lodging and a holy rest and peace at the last.”

She was intelligent and sharp as a tack until the day she died.  She never forgot a birthday and always sent the perfect card to her friends and family.  Ruth (Bunny) loved Disney World and took her family on many trips there over the course of 45 years.  She loved spoiling her grandchildren Chloe, Jasper, and Mikayla and never missed an opportunity to spend time with them or show her support at their many ballet recitals, basketball games, and horse shows.

Ruth was a little lady with a big personality.  She was a force of nature and beloved by her extended family and many friends to whom she gave generously of her time and support.  She was brutally honest, excessively thoughtful, and a fierce protector of those she loved, especially her children and grandchildren.

She will be greatly missed and fondly remembered.  In the blink of an eye we had to say goodbye, like a shooting star flying across the room, so fast so far, you were gone too soon.

Ruth is survived by her husband, Dean Sweeney; her two daughters Tammy Johnson and her husband, Eric, of Fairfield, and Tracey Sweeney and her husband, Greg Rainville, of Georgia; as well as by her three adored grandchildren:  Chloe, Jasper, and Mikayla.  She is also survived by many extended family, the Sheltra clan, and her chosen family Nancy Carter and her children Chasity and Jamie, Jody and Brian Tweed and their children Zachary and Erica, and Ricky and Lynda Carter and their daughter Melissa; as well as lifelong friends Laurette Cote and Louis Carter.

Ruth was predeceased by her dear friends Gail Beach, godmother to Tammy, Lucille Carter, godmother to Tracey, and Randy and Scott Carter.

There will be a private celebration of her life at the convenience of the family.  Donations in Ruth’s memory may be made to the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Vermont and online condolences can be made at curtis-britch.com.  Please send memorial contributions to:  Make-A-Wish Vermont, Vermont Teddy Bear Factory, 6655 Shelburne Road, Shelburne, Vermont 05482.

On the memo line, please note:  “in honor of Ruth Sweeney.”

“She was fierce, she was strong, she wasn’t simple.  She was crazy and sometimes she barely slept.  She always had something to say.  She had flaws and that was ok.  And when she was down, she got right back up.  She was a beast in her own way, but one idea described her best.  She was unstoppable.” — R.M. Drake

 

Betty T. Peck

Betty Louise Taylor Peck, 94, of Westmore died at her home during the early morning hours of November 30, 2020.

She was born on April 12, 1926, in Barton, to the late Howard Ezra Taylor and Mary Emma Wheeler Taylor.  The family built a small house and barn in Westmore in 1932, and Betty started school in the one-room schoolhouse that is now the town clerk’s office.  During her childhood she often accompanied her father on his hunting, fishing, and trapping exploits throughout the Northeast Kingdom.  Her mother instilled in her a love of education and also taught her how to bake, cook, knit, and sew.

She graduated from Orleans High School in 1944.  She always told us that she graduated on D-Day.  Betty knew that she wanted to become a teacher, and she became the first person in her family to graduate from college when she completed her bachelor of education degree at Lyndon State Normal School (now Northern Vermont University — Lyndon) in 1947.  Her first job was teaching fifth grade at Peacham Academy.

After one year at Peacham she moved to Burlington to teach at the Champlain School and attend the University of Vermont where she would begin graduate studies.

While living in Burlington, she met a young man on a blind date.  He had returned from World War II and was attending UVM on the GI Bill.  He was also the cadet colonel and cadet regimental commander of the ROTC at UVM.  But he didn’t have a car so Betty had to drive.

Betty and Michael would be married in a lovely winter wedding (in a snowstorm) held at St. Patrick’s Chapel of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on January 16, 1951.  On their honeymoon they spent one night at the Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City and that night Service de la Police Bureau de la circulation wrote them a ticket for “Night Parking in Front of Chateau Frontenac on St. Louis Street for more than 2 hours.”  The fine was $2!

That was the beginning of a marriage that would last for 67 years until Mike’s death in 2018.  When Mike graduated from UVM in 1951, he was appointed a second lieutenant in the regular Army, and that was the beginning of Betty’s second career as an officer’s wife in the U.S. Army.  Military life involved moving many times from one assignment to the next.  Mike was sent overseas to the Korean War in 1952 and 1953.  Betty’s most memorable assignment was when the family was stationed overseas in West Germany.  It was during that time that Betty and Mike vacationed on a drive throughout Europe in their red Oldsmobile convertible.  During those military years, six sons were born, and raising those six boys helped to prepare Betty for the day that she would resume her teaching career.

In 1964 and 1965 Mike was sent back to Korea for a year-long tour of duty.  Betty moved to Barton with the six boys to be closer to her parents.  She survived the year with the help of her next-door neighbors, Pauline Montague and Melvin and Shirley Lyon.  She had fond memories of the days on Roaring Brook Road.

After Mike retired from the Army, Betty rekindled her teaching career at Lake Region Union High School where she taught remedial reading and created the reading center.  Her care for the students ran deep.  During the summer months she would resume her graduate work and was finally awarded a master of education degree from the University of Vermont in 1976.  She taught at Lake Region until her retirement in 1983.

During retirement, Betty and Mike spent the summer months at their cottage on Shadow Lake where they had many friends.  They traveled south to Florida during the winter months.  In the mid 1990s they returned to Vermont permanently and settled in the homestead overlooking Willoughby Lake.

Betty was a sports fan.  She loved March Madness and making her picks on the playoff bracket.  Betty was a New York Yankees fan for life but she had respect for Terry Francona.  The New York Giants was her favorite football team, and Lawrence Taylor was her favorite player.  Eli Manning to Plaxico Burress was her favorite play.  She listened closely to John Madden’s game commentary.

She was a Cub Scout den mother, a member of the American Legion Auxiliary Barton Post #76, a member of the National Rifle Association, and she attended all four churches in the Most Holy Trinity Parish — St. Paul’s, St. Theresa’s, St. John of the Cross, and St. John Vianney.  She was a member of Orleans Country Club and a member of the 251 Club.  Betty and Mike were only a few towns short of visiting all 251 towns in the state of Vermont.  An expedition with Mike and her college classmate Barbara Walling into the town of Lewis in search of Lewis Pond was especially adventurous.

She enjoyed bird watching, working in her flower garden, picking blueberries, and reading a good book.

She is survived by her six sons:  Christopher, David, Jonathan, Kevin and his wife, Virginia, Stephen and his wife, Nina, and Jeffrey and his wife, Denise; 13 grandchildren:  Ryan and his fiancé Katie, Alexandria and her husband, Doug, Austin and his fiancé, Kylie, Cassidy, Madison, Bradley, Ashley, Jake, Ezra, Julie, Brandon, Morgan, and Crystal; and nine great-grandchildren:  Taylor, Brooklyn, Maverick, Hinman, Maxwell, Emilia, River, Alyce, and Rainn.  Betty loved her three cocker spaniels:  Muggins, Willoughby, and Pepper.

Remember Betty by encouraging children to read.  Stand up and read out loud.  Read a bedtime story to a child.  Read the newspaper to your mother when her vision fails.

Funeral services will be held sometime in the future.

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

 

Phyllis Pauline Ming

Phyllis Pauline Ming, 67, of Island Pond died unexpectedly on May 27, 2021.  After almost eight weeks of grief, she is now reunited with her beloved husband, Gary, to whom she would have been married for 30 years this August.

She was born on December 6, 1953, to Gerald and Pauline Latouche in Claremont, New Hampshire.  The Latouche family moved to Island Pond in 1971 after Phyllis graduated from St. Mary’s Catholic High School in Claremont.  Phyllis enjoyed life in the North Country all of her adult years, also living in Colebrook and Groveton, New Hampshire, before returning to Island Pond.

Phyllis was a fun-loving spirit with a bright smile who enjoyed spending time with friends and family.  She welcomed all to her home, which was often filled with music.  She cherished any time spent with her grandchildren and introduced them to her love of games and outdoor sports like snowshoeing, snowmobiling, ATV-ing, and camping.

Phyllis was a longstanding member of the Brighton American Legion Auxiliary Post #80 and volunteered many years selling snowmobile TMAs (trail pass) at the welcome center.  She was a great supporter of her husband’s volunteer work on the Brighton Volunteer Fire Department and as a trail groomer operator with the Brighton Snowmobile Club.

She is survived by her children:  Jennifer Yahyia of Chandler Arizona, Nicholas Ming of Island Pond, and Jenny Ming of East Nassau, New York; by her sisters and their families:  Joan and Lorne LeClaire of Pittsburg, New Hampshire, Jean and Duane Graveline of Derby, Rena and Mark Ellingwood of Newark, Rita and Gary Major of Zion, Illinois; her mother-in-law Beth Ming of Island Pond; her brother-in-law Larry Ming and his wife, Sylvie; as well as several grandchildren:  Ahmed, Myah, Chase, Madison, and Morgan.

Phyllis was predeceased by her husband, Gary Ming, on April 3, 2021; her parents; and her granddaughter Courtney.

Calling hours will be held at Curtis-Britch and Bouffard Funeral Home in Island Pond on June 25 from 4 to 7 p.m.  A dual graveside service for Phyllis and Gary will be held at Lake Side Cemetery on June 26 at 2 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Vermont Food Bank online or by mail to Vermont Food Bank at 33 Parker Road, Barre, Vermont 05641. Condolences may be mailed to the estate.

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

 

Johnny Maher

Friends and family honored the life and last wishes of local legend Johnny Maher, who died on June 2, 2021, in West Glover.

Many knew him as a stone mason and wild character who traveled on his horse Ace from West Glover to the Oregon coast.  He lived out his life the way he wanted, peacefully spending the days in his shack with no connection to modern luxuries, such as running water, surrounded by so much natural beauty, and walking distance from the neighborhood he loved so much.

John was one of three sons, born on December 4, 1951, to Bernie and Millie (Schofield) Maher.  He grew up in a military family and spent his young years in Oceanside, California.  He went to live on Maui with his wife, Mary (Woessener) Maher.  They joined family who were living on the then difficult to access Hana side of the island who were seeking an existence outside of the constraints of mainstream and military life.  Their oldest son, Keone, was born there in 1972, and their second son, Bernie Makaio, was on the way when they had to head back to the mainland.  The family made their way to the Mullen Hill community in West Glover in 1976 and has called the area home ever since.

He survived many shenanigans, to say the least.  Many would say his loving mother’s years of prayers to St. Jude, the patron saint of lost causes, on his behalf protected him, as did his horse and many close friends.  Another feat we were all grateful for was that he was finally able to completely stop drinking in 2016.

Johnny built many chimneys and other masonry works of art.  He worked alongside his sons and sometimes grandchildren, and taught masonry skills to a few others.  Sometimes projects took him a long time, but people knew it was worth the wait.  He logged and sugared with horses, loved growing flowers, especially morning glories, rode his bicycle many, many miles, worked in the wreath business, read books, helped out at timber frame raisings, played softball, enjoyed watching sports live and on TV, and only cut his hair once in the last several decades.  His eclectic way of being could be challenging to some of us at times, but also served to remind us that there are extraordinary choices we can make about how we want to live, and that the rules don’t necessarily apply to everyone.

Many good friends were left behind, including Dennis and Peggy Gibson, and Davey Young and their families.  Johnny is also survived by his son Keone and his wife, Issa, of West Glover, and his son Makaio and his wife, Tina, of South Glover.  He will be always remembered by his beloved five grandchildren:  Anaka Maher, Malakai Jay Maher, Aiden Burke Maher, Nuri Kai Maher, and Nila Rosemarie Maher.

 

Bobby Gene Inman

Bobby Gene Inman, 80, of Marshfield, Missouri, (formerly of Barton) died on April 18, 2021, surround by his family.

He was born May 20, 1940, to Gerald and Nancy (Billingsley) Inman in Burlington, Arkansas.

Bobby proudly served his country during the Vietnam War in the U.S. Navy and was also a member of the Army National Guard.  He was a longtime member of American Legion Post #30 in Lyndonville.

He was a 1958 graduate of Chadwick High School in Chadwick, Missouri, and later attended college at Southwest Missouri State University.  He enjoyed the history of the Ozarks and his hometown, helping compile a history of Chadwick for the Christian County history book while in high school.  He moved to central Vermont in the 1960s and worked many years as a gardener and in various other capacities.

Bobby was proud of being a master gardener and was a charter member of the Evelyn Hampton Garden Club of Marshfield and a member of the Elkland Independent Methodist Church.

He is survived by his sister Mary Nickel of Idaho; sister-in-law Joyce Inman of Fordland, Missouri; and by many nephews, nieces, cousins and friends.  He is also survived by his longtime special friend, Rhonda Poole, of Vermont.

He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Cathy Inman; his daughter Audrey Clydette Inman; his brothers Junior Inman and Milburn Winslow; and his sister Leota Davis.

 

Robert (Bob) A. Foster

Robert A. Foster, 90, died suddenly and unexpectedly on May 16, 2021, at North Country Hospital in Newport.

Bob was born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in 1931, and upon graduation from High School, attended General Motors Technical School in Flint, Michigan.  Bob served honorably in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War.

Bob lived most of his life in Buffalo, New York, married Erma Gerhart, who predeceased him, and had two daughters, Laura and Pamela.  Bob received a master’s in English from the University of Buffalo.  He became the headmaster of the Buffalo Seminary where he stayed for 25 years.   He also worked in the grant office at Buffalo State College, and taught part time at the Elmwood Franklin School.

Bob and Erma moved to Holland in 2007. He enjoyed reading, riding his motorcycle, pets, and worked out at a local gym on a daily basis.

In lieu of a service or flowers, Bob had wished a donation in his memory be made to Pope Memorial Frontier Animal Society, 502 Strawberry Acres Road, Newport, Vermont 05855.

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

 

Corwyn D. Fagan

 

Corwyn D. Fagan, 83, of Beebe Plain, died peacefully on May 31, 2021, at her home surrounded by her loving family.

She was born in Beebe, Quebec, on September 21, 1937, to the late Arthur J. Lorimer and Florence A. (McCoy) Lorimer.  Corwyn’s family moved to Beebe Plain when she was young, and she graduated from Derby Academy in 1955.

Mrs. Fagan enlisted in the United States Air Force with her twin brother, Collyn Lorimer, in 1955.  Corwyn was stationed at Kelly Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, where she met and married her husband, Peter Fagan.  They were married on her birthday, making it an easy anniversary to remember.   They were happily married for nearly 61 years.

In 1957 she moved from Texas to Massachusetts with her husband and infant daughter.  In 1965 the family built a new home in Middleboro, Massachusetts, where they lived for eight years.  Corwyn raised their three daughters and was a Girl Scout leader in Middleboro for several years.

In 1973 Corwyn and her family moved to Beebe Plain, where she enjoyed monthly birthday club bingo parties held at each neighbor’s home. She had known many of the older residents  since she was a child.  Corwyn worked at the Newport Health Care Center for two years and later worked for Donald and Elsie Kilborn in Derby, performing healthcare and taking care of their home. Several years later she provided home care for Mrs. Amadon.

Corwyn and Peter rented a camp on Seymour Lake for many years.  Their daughters and grandchildren would stay and enjoy swimming, canoe rides, long walks, board games on rainy days, and campfires at night.  Corwyn always looked forward to this special time with her family.

For several years, Corwyn and Peter would visit her twin brother and his wife, Josie, in Florida and would always come back well rested, tanned, and always seeming younger!

Corwyn always had a love for literature and was an avid reader.  She encouraged her family to read and appreciate nature.  She was a birdwatcher and could identify any birds in the area.  Her bird book was always close by in case a new bird showed up at her feeder.  Corwyn loved music and dancing.  Corwyn and Peter were always the first ones on the dance floor and the last to leave.  She loved to socialize with friends and family.  She was known as Grammy and Great-Grammy to seven grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

Corwyn was an active member of the Derby Community Church, the Derby Historical Society, and was a member of the Derby Academy Board for many years.

Corwyn was the heart of her home and family.  She always told her loved ones how much they meant to her and always ended her phone calls by saying that she loved them.  She loved her home and her Beebe Plain community and spent her last few years sitting on her front porch reading and visiting with her neighbors.  Corwyn was always quick to offer help with anything that was asked of her.  She was a very special woman and will be missed by many people.

She is survived by her daughters: Laurie Locke and her husband, Jeff, of East Albany, Mona Rapini and husband, Mark, of Bellows Falls, and Melanie Farrow and her husband, Mike, of Holland; her grandchildren: Amanda Sargent and her husband, Ryan, of Lowell, Shannon Hamblett and her husband, Jordan, of Brookline, and Iris Butterfield and her husband, David, of Irasburg; and by Christopher Rapini and his companion, Colby Chapman, Nicholas Rapini and his fiancé, Kirianna Howard, Benjamin Farrow and his companion, Sheena Brown, and Tristan Farrow; by her sister in-law Josie Lorimer; and by numerous nieces and nephews.

She was predeceased by her parents; her great-grandson Cole Rapini; her siblings: Stella McCormick, Audrey Webb and her husband, Henry, Rodney Lorimer and his wife, Joanne, Wendell Lorimer and his wife, Betty, twin brother Collyn Lorimer, Leah Kittredge and her husband, David, and Bruce Lorimer.

Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, June 9, at the Derby Community Church in Derby.

Should friends desire, contributions in her memory may be made to the Derby Historical Society, 913 Bridge Street, Derby, Vermont 05829 care of Alan Yale or Derby Community Church, Vermont 3064 Route 5, Derby, 05829 care of Michael Haddad, or Derby Academy Alumni Association, 1 South Avenue, Newport, Vermont 05855 care of Pat Charland.

Online condolences at curtis-britch.com.

 

Rachel Duquette

We are saddened to say that Rachel (Jean, Jeenie) Duquette died peacefully in Hanover, New Hampshire, on May 18, 2021.  She was only 53 years old.

Jean is survived by her mother, Nancy; by her siblings: Jim and Beth, and her husband, Jim, and Ryan; nephews Matt and Hunter; and niece Mara.

She was predeceased by her father, Duke, and the love of her life, Michael.

Jean spent her last years devoted to the in-home care of her parents.  We will be forever grateful for this and recognize that had she not been there, things would have certainly looked different for our parents.

She was happiest when her hands were in the dirt and working the small farm she built with Michael.   They made maple syrup, raised cows, horses, pigs and chickens.  Jean loved animals.  She raised and loved many dogs over the years and they sure loved her back.  She liked to draw, paint, write poetry and garden.  She loved the outdoors.  She was a creative landscaper.  She was a free spirit.  Jean should have been the best of us.  She was the smartest, prettiest, and most talented.  But addiction…addiction.  It robs you of yourself.

We are thankful for the care provided by the medical team at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, and offer our sympathy to Jean’s many friends and supporters.  We pray she is at peace with Michael and arguing with Duke.

Services will be held at the convenience of the family.  Memorial donations may be sent to Frontier Animal Society, 4473 Barton Orleans Road, Orleans, Vermont 05860.

An example of Jean’s poetry.  She wrote this in high school and I’ve carried it with me for years:

I am the sand on the coastline, you are a crashing wave.  At high tide you came to meet me, coming and going you left treasures.  These treasures were called friendship.  You made it so the sun would not dry me up and wind would not come and toss me whimsically about to some other place that met not the ocean.  But you are cascading farther away, minute by minute you are receding, but you carry back with you ever so many of my shimmering grains.  But I have hopes, hopes that know you will be back some other time, but not before you have met other shores, and the sparkling tiny grains you will always carry with you are my love.

 

Philip M. Dukett

Philip M. Dukett, 69, died at his home in Newport, on May 21, 2021, with his loving family by his side.

Phil was born in Newport, to Harry and Margaret Dukett, who predeceased him.

He worked for Pike Industries for 47 years. He retired in 2019.

He had a charm and smile that were contagious.

He loved spending time fishing with his grandson and best friend, Aiden.  He also loved playing darts.

Phil is survived by his loving wife and best friend Sharon of 48 years; by his daughters: Tracy Dukett-Turner of Berlin, Connecticut, Lisa Dukett and her partner, Star O’Keefe of Newport; by his granddaughter Cady Clark and her husband, James, of Walden, and Aiden Dukett of Newport; four great grandchildren: Emma, Macy, Addy, and Parker, all of Walden; sister Darlene Rever and her husband Gary of Florida; niece Cathy Rice and her husband, Donnie, of Charleston; nephew Scott Rever also of Charleston; and several extended family and friends.

Phil was also predeceased by brothers Tommy and Leon.

A celebration of life was held on Friday, May 28.  Online condolences at curtis-britch.com

 

Robert John Calhoun

This is a tribute to Robert Calhoun of East Charleston, a man with a strong sense of independence, a remarkable work ethic, and an enduring commitment to the land he loved.  He understood the importance of conserving wild spaces for animals and humans alike.

Robert died peacefully at home on May 30, 2021, as a result of renal failure.  Robert was born in Dover, New Jersey, on February 6, 1933, the second of five children, to George and Belle Calhoun.  He enjoyed rural life and happily cut firewood and hunted and fished, taking pride in using humane hunting practices to put food on the table for his family.  Being out of doors was important to him, regardless of his hunting prowess, and he was a keen observer of native habitat and wildlife.

Robert married a Vermonter, Gloria Daniels, in 1955.  They lived in New Jersey where he worked at the Oakside Dairy Farm in Rockaway.  He enjoyed working at the farm alongside his uncle Bob.  Robert had great respect both for his uncle and for Tom Oaks, the owner of the farm and an executive at Eastern Airlines.  After the birth of his three daughters, and at the urging of his wife, he searched for and found land and an old farmhouse that “suited him.”  The family moved to the new property in Vermont on Memorial Day weekend in 1971.  Robert and Gloria divorced in 1975.  Robert stayed in the farmhouse and was content to remain at 1199 Calhoun Road until his death this past Memorial Day weekend.  Interestingly, a period of almost exactly 50 years.

Elizabeth Williams, “Lizzie,” became Robert’s “significant other” after his divorce and the couple enjoyed more than 45 years of companionship.  Robert became fond of her three children, and he loved to brag about Liz’s wonderful cooking skills.  Until his appetite declined, he thoroughly enjoyed her carefully prepared and delicious meals.

Robert held a succession of jobs after moving to Vermont.  The last and most rewarding of which was working at the Bald Hill Fish Hatchery in Newark, for the Fish and Wildlife Department.  In retirement Robert continued to hunt and fish, made some maple syrup in his quaint little sugarhouse, and even attached a small greenhouse to the side of his kitchen so he could garden year-round.  He especially loved tending his organic gardens and apple trees, disdaining the use of pesticides.  His family often benefited from the harvest.  Tragedy struck in 2011 when his house was struck by lightning and destroyed by fire.  He rebuilt, but mourned the loss of his old farmhouse.

Robert is survived by his loving companion, Elizabeth Williams; and three daughters:  Ruthanne Little (John) of Montgomery Center, Patricia Ovitt (Kean) of Holland, and Betsy Calhoun (Christopher Royer) of Coventry.  Eight grandchildren survive him:  Nicholas Ming, Tiffany Ovitt, Jessica Sicotte, Jenny Ming, Crystal O’Keefe, Jake Ovitt, Brian Tetreault, and Kerrianne Durivage; as well as 14 great-grandchildren.  Robert leaves one brother, James Calhoun, of Pennsylvania.

Predeceasing him were his parents; his sister Kate; brothers George and Dave; and great-grandchild Courtney.

In keeping with Robert’s wishes, his ashes will be laid to rest at the site of the Calhoun family memorial stone located on his property at a date convenient to the family.

For those who wish, contributions in his memory may be made to the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Trust Fund, Fish and Wildlife Department, 1 National Life Drive, Dewey Building, Montpelier, Vermont 05620-3208.

 

Susan Burns

Susan (Sperry) Burns, 88, of Manchester, New Hampshire, died peacefully, surrounded by her family, on May 7, 2021, in Londonderry, New Hampshire, after a prolonged battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

She was born in 1932 in Boston, Massachusetts, to Newbery Medal winning author and illustrator Armstrong Wells Sperry and Margaret (Robertson) Sperry, M.D. of New Canaan, Connecticut, later of Hanover, New Hampshire.  Her husband of 67 years is William A. Burns.  Her uncle Paul A. Sperry was the inventor of the original sole of Sperry topsider shoes.

Sue graduated from Hanover High School in 1950 where she was the head cheerleader, editor of the yearbook, and captain of the varsity field hockey team.  She graduated from Pembroke, the women’s college at Brown University, in 1954.  She majored in art, taking her studio art classes at the Rhode Island School of Design, specializing in fabric design and weaving.

After college she married Bill, her high school sweetheart and love of her life.  His first job at Brighton High School in Island Pond introduced her to the Northeast Kingdom, a region of Vermont she came to love.  Their daughter Margo was born while they lived there.  For a few years they lived in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, where their son Stephen was born, but the family soon returned to Vermont when Bill became the principal of Derby Academy.  In 1967, they moved again, this time to Manchester, New Hampshire, when he became principal of Central High School, and she was affectionately known as “Mrs. Burns.”  Her family continued to summer at the one-room schoolhouse she loved so much in Morgan Center.

Susan was a prolific potter, taking classes in Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada, and at the Manchester Institute of Arts and Sciences (now the New England College Institute of Art and Design), selling her hand-thrown mugs and bowls.  Ever interested in beautiful things, when her attention turned to antiques, she started her own company, New England Antiquities, specializing in early American pressed glass.  The whole family would set up at flea markets and antiques shows with her just about every Sunday until she began renting booth space at group shops on “antiques alley” in Northwood, New Hampshire, primarily at the Parker-French Antique Center.  Even when Bill retired, she did not.  They were a staple at antiques and estate auctions across New Hampshire and Vermont, typically with a pair of reserved seats up front, where Sue never so much as dropped a stitch knitting to bid on all manner of interesting things.

Sue was an avid knitter, learning it at the age of eight from her grandmother.  She could knit anywhere while doing just about anything:  watching TV, reading, and cheering on the Central High School girls and boys basketball teams in the stands.  Her lifelong hobby turned more passionate and creative when she learned to spin and dye all kinds of fiber to make her own yarn, designing and knitting exquisite one-of-a-kind sweaters and elaborate shawls.  She was an active member of the New Hampshire Knitters and Dyers Guild for many decades.

In her antiques business, she began trading in old spinning wheels, not for decorative purposes, but to put them back in working shape for other spinners in search of authentic traditional equipment to use.  She traveled to many sheep and wool festivals to sell them, as far away as Maryland, filling her booth with an impressive row of ten to 12 five-foot-high great wheels, always drawing a crowd when she taught people how to spin with one. There was barely a room in the house that did not have a spinning wheel in it.  The one line she never crossed, however, was to own any sheep or alpacas, but she was known for occasionally spinning dog fur.  She loved dogs, from Jiggs, her childhood spaniel, and Kringle, her St. Bernard in high school, to a half a dozen rescues over the years, including golden retriever, Noah.

Susan was predeceased by her parents and her younger brother John A. Sperry of Florida.

She is survived by her husband, William A. Burns; her children:  Margo Burns of Manchester and Stephen H. Burns and his wife, Debra (Stevens) Burns, of York, Maine; her two granddaughters, Cassie Burns of Maine and Courtney Burns of New Zealand; and nine nieces and nephews:  Cynthia (Burns) Martin of New Hampshire, Andrew R. Burns of Ohio, James B. Walk of Arizona, William A. Walk of Maryland, Robert D. Walk of Virginia, Susan (Sperry) Koopman of Massachusetts, John A. Sperry Jr. of Australia, Scott Sperry, and Kristen (Sperry) Burns of Colorado.

The Burns family is grateful beyond words to the nurses and staff at the Rose Lane memory unit at All-American Assisted Living in Londonderry, New Hampshire, who cared for her in her difficult final years, and to the Brookhaven Hospice team at the end of her life.

In lieu of flowers, it would be appreciated if donations in her memory were made to the Old Stone House Museum in Brownington, Easter Seals of Vermont, or the Alzheimer’s Association.

 

Ruth Mary Bennett

Ruth Mary Bennett, 81, died peacefully on May 22, 2021, with loved ones by her side.  A celebration of life will be held at a later date.

Ruth was born on March 25, 1940, to Beulah (White) and Walter Bennett and was the youngest of four daughters.  She was predeceased by her parents and three sisters:  Bertha Cruz, Juanita Kocik, and Rebecca Dunster; and her favorite brother-in-law Alan “Winky” Dunster Sr.

As a child Ruth attended school in Duxbury then moved to the Northeast Kingdom for most of her adult life.  Ruth loved old westerns like “Bonanza” and “Gun Smoke.”  She enjoyed attending basketball games at Lake Region Union High School, Johnson State College, and even traveled as far as Boston.  She was a member of the Blue Devils AAU Club family, rarely missing a practice or a game.  Ruth knew everyone’s birthday, enjoyed singing in church without the need for a hymnal, and could never get enough ice cream.  She just loved her ice cream.  She ate it every single day and sometimes after every meal.

Ruth’s beautiful life will forever be cherished in the lives of her niece and guardian Tina Wilder (husband, Steve) of Duxbury, nieces Deanna Dunster (partner, Bill Smith) of Waterbury, Debra Tighe of South Carolina, Diane Dunster (husband, Ron, predeceased) of Graniteville, and Rebecca Ungaro of Waterbury; nephews Alan “Junie” Dunster Jr. (wife, Mary, predeceased) of Waterbury, James Milo (wife, Brenda) of Massachusetts; and countless extended family and friends who knew and loved her.

The family of Ruth Mary wishes to express its sincere thanks to two very special people: Suzanne and Mark Robarge of Orleans.  Their kindness, love, patience, generosity and tender loving care in the last years, months, days and moments of Ruth’s life were a true gift for which we are forever grateful.

Donations in Ruth’s memory may be made to Orleans/Essex Visiting Nurse Association and Hospice, 46 Lake Mont Road, Newport Vermont 05855.

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

 

Death notice

 

Kirby Chester-Ralph Chapman

Kirby Chester-Ralph Chapman, 62, a truck driver, died on Thursday, June 3, 2021.  He was the grandson of Chester and Ida Barney.

There was a memorial service on June 8 at the Cornerstone Funeral Home Chapel in Muskogee, Oklahoma.

Graveside and funeral services

Charles and Jeanne Burroughs

A graveside service for Charles and Jeanne Burroughs will be held at 3 p.m. on Friday, June 11, at Cargill Cemetery in Morgan with the Reverend Mike DeSena officiating.

 

Lorraine Blake

Funeral services for Lorraine Blake and her son, Terry Gage, will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 12, at the Free Will Baptist Church in West Charleston with the Reverend Scott Cianciolo officiating.  Interment will follow in West Village Cemetery, West Charleston, where military honors will be held for Terry.

 

Irene St. Laurent

Funeral services for Irene St. Laurent will be held on Monday June 14, at 11 a.m. at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Newport where a mass of Christian burial will be celebrated. Interment will follow in St. Mary’s Cemetery.

 

Jeanne Henry

Funeral services for Jeanne Henry will be held at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday June 12, at St. James Catholic Church in Island Pond where a mass of Christian burial will be celebrated.  Interment will follow in St. Bernard’s Cemetery in Norton.

 

Marueen Fountain

Funeral services for Maureen Fountain will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday June 17, at St. Edward’s Catholic Church in Derby Line where a mass of Christian burial will be celebrated.  Interment will follow in Pine Grove Cemetery.

 

Winston Charbonneau

A graveside service for Winston Carbonneau will be held on Saturday, June 12, at 11:30 a.m. at the Derby Center Cemetery.  Military honors will be held.

 

Lorraine Carter

A graveside service for Lorraine Carter who died January 11,2021, in Hernando, Florida, will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, June 12, at the Westlook Cemetery in Glover with the Rev. Nathan Strong officiating.

 

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