Obituaries April 3, 2013

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obit Converse
Pauline Converse

Pauline D. Converse

Pauline D. Converse, 83, of Newport died on March 27, 2013, in Newport.

She was born on December 24, 1929, in Claremont, New Hampshire, a daughter of David and Ruth (Martin) Donaldson.  On May 27, 1951, she married Mack Converse, who predeceased her on April 21, 2004.

She was a member of the United Church of Newport and the North Country Hospital Auxiliary, where she volunteered and was co-chairman for ten years.

She enjoyed baking, cooking, playing bingo, knitting, family gatherings and spending time with her grandchildren, the loves of her life.

She is survived by her children:  Sandra Wing and her husband, David, of Essex Junction, and David Converse and his wife, Kathy, of Derby; and by her grandchildren:  Kelli Converse and her companion, David McKinnon, of Newbury, New Hampshire, Kristin Wright and her husband, Mike, of West Lebanon, New Hampshire, Hazen Converse and his wife, Holly, of Thetford, Emily Wing of Colchester, Derek Wing of North Troy, Austin Wright of West Lebanon, New Hampshire, and Harlow Converse of Thetford.  She is also survived by her sisters-in-law Betty Donaldson of Florida, and Margie Donaldson of California; and by numerous nieces and nephews.

She was predeceased by her brothers:  David and Harvey Donaldson; and by her sisters:  Jeannette Miller and Arlene Foster.

Funeral services were held on March 30 in Newport.  Spring interment will be in Pleasantview Cemetery in Orleans.

Should friends desire, contributions in her memory may be made to the North Country Hospital Auxiliary, 189 Prouty Drive, Newport, Vermont 05855.

Online condolences may be sent to the family through the funeral home website at

obit Cook
Rosalyn V. Cook

Rosalyn V. Cook, 59, of Newport died on March 26, 2013, in Newport.

She was born on March 28, 1953, in Newport, a daughter of Leon and Lorraine (Gray) Gage.

She enjoyed spending time with her family.  She also enjoyed keeping in touch with friends from Texas, caring for animals, sewing, and knitting.

She is survived by her daughter Corinna Lancaster and her husband, Royce, of Newport; her son Cory Spaulding and his wife, Nancy, of Derby; her grandchildren:  Hannah, Mallory, Royce Jr., Alex, Kamryn, Jordan, and Tara; her mother Lorraine and Herbert Blake of Newport; her brothers and sisters:  Harold Gage and his wife, Jocelyn, of Derby, Larry Gage and his wife, Pauline, of Derby, Lisa Desroches and her husband, Alan, of Coventry, and Donna Laplume and her companion, Joe, of Newport Center; her nieces and nephews; her stepsister Linda Hahn; and by her stepbrother Bobby Blake.

She was predeceased by her father Leon Gage.

A private graveside service will be held in the spring at the Hillside Cemetery in East Charleston.

Should friends desire, contributions in her memory may be made to the American Cancer Society, Vermont Division Inc., 55 Day Lane, Williston, Vermont 05495; or to the Pope Memorial Frontier Animal Shelter, 502 Strawberry Acres, Newport, Vermont 05855.

Online condolences may be sent to the family through the funeral home website at

John Curtis
John Curtis

John Walter Curtis

John Walter Curtis, 84, of Brownington died on March 30, 2013, after a battle with cancer.

His family stood by him throughout his battle, and they were at his side as he headed out on his journey to join his beloved wife, Ruth, who died on October 11, 1998, and his son Lee, who died on August 29, 2004, and his son Robin, who died at birth.

A child of the Great Depression, he was born on August 4, 1928, in Derby, to Lee and Margaret Thelma Curtis.

He was a logger, a carpenter, a hunter and a fisherman — an all-around outdoorsman.  He found his greatest joy in his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.  Blessed with a true Vermont wit and a twinkle in his eye, he loved spending time with his family, telling stories and creating memories.  He continued to laugh with them in his final days as they reminisced about some of their escapades they pulled throughout the years, and there certainly were many of them.

Mr. Curtis served in the Army during the Korean War.  Once his tour of duty was up he high-tailed it back to the land he loved, Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom.  He married his wife, Ruth (Barrup) Curtis, on March 27, 1954.  He never stopped missing her after she died almost 15 years ago.

While some people yearn for retirement, Mr. Curtis had no desire to retire.  Even when battling cancer, he’d try to get out to the logging operations as often as he could.  A big deer hunter all of his life, he bagged his last buck, an eight-pointer, in November.

There is no doubt that he will be missed by many people, but he will live on in our memories and in his family.

He is survived by two sons, a daughter, and their families:  Benny and Karol Curtis of Brownington, and their children:  Cory and his wife, Ryan-Anne Curtis, and Casey and her husband, Andy Rowell; Lyle and Becky Curtis of Newport Center, and their children:  Kelly and her husband, Josh Randall, Karissa and her husband, Chris Vinal, and Marissa; and Penny and Scott Wheeler of Derby, and their children:  Curtis and his fiancée, Gabrielle, Nicholas and his girlfriend, Abigail, and Emily.  He is also survived by ten great-grandchildren.  He is also survived by his brothers and sisters, along with their spouses:  Dallas and Betty Curtis of Alabama, June Williams of New York, Dick and Anna Curtis of New York and Vermont, Margaret and Donald Plantier of New York, Robert and Gerri Curtis of Florida, and Sherrill and Judy Curtis of New York.  He is also survived by a special friend, Billy Dyer, and his family, of Massachusetts; Mr. Curtis thought of Billy as a son.  He took it as a mission to attempt to transform Billy from a city boy into a Vermont country boy.

Friends may call from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, April 4, at the Curtis-Britch-Converse-Rushford Funeral Home, 4670 Darling Hill Road in Newport, where funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, April 5, with the Reverends Fred and Carol Ann Barker officiating.  Friends may also call at the funeral home on April 5, from 10 a.m. until the hour of the funeral.

People wishing to donate in his name may either contribute to the United Church of Derby at P.O. Box 294, Derby, Vermont 05829; or to the Dr. Leslie C. Lockridge Cancer Caring Fund at P.O. Box 838, Newport, Vermont 05855.

Online condolences may be sent to the family through the funeral home website at

obit dewitt
Janet DeWitt

 Janet Taplin DeWitt

Janet Taplin DeWitt, 57, died on March 26, 2013, at Fletcher-Allen Healthcare in Burlington, with her loving family by her side, after a three-year battle with cancer.

She was born on October 21, 1955, in Newport, the daughter of Robert and Marilyn Taplin.  She graduated from North Country Union High School in 1973 and attended Champlain College.

She found it a true honor to work for United States Senator Robert T. Stafford from 1978 until 1986, both on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., and in his Vermont office in Burlington.  She then worked for Governor Richard Snelling on his U.S. Senate Campaign in 1986.  She also worked as an administrative assistant to Elbert “Al” Moulton when he was secretary of the Vermont Agency of Development and Community Affairs.

She was very fortunate to be a stay-at-home mom for several years after the birth of her second child.  She spent many days volunteering her time at Rick Marcotte Central School both in the classroom, on field trips, fund-raising, for book fairs and for many other activities.  When both children were in middle school, she returned to work.  She worked for five years for Dr. Wendy Everhart and Dr. Audra Pinto in their dental practice in South Burlington until her illness prevented her from continuing.

Her life was centered on her family and friends.  She and her partner, Bob, enjoyed spending weekends together in their yard, listening to music and talking for hours.  She enjoyed weekly Sunday night dinners with her family, summer trips to Peaks Island, Maine, bike riding and shopping trips with Katie and Emmy.  She also enjoyed yearly camping with friends Pat, Jeanne and Denise, and time spent with friends Cindy, Holly and Sue.

She is survived by her loving and supportive partner of 22 years, Bob Lafont; her daughters:  Katherine “Katie” DeWitt, and Emily “Emmy” DeWitt and her fiancé, Nick Fredette, all of Burlington; her stepson Jason Lafont and his fiancée, Michelle, and their son, Jackson, of Barton; her mother Marilyn Taplin, her brother Brian Taplin, and her sister-in-law Kathy Taplin, all of Derby; and by her many aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins.  She is also survived by her brother-in-law Peter Dewitt of Maine; and by her sister-in-law Sarah DeWitt of Virginia.  Also important in her life, was Bob’s family:  Richard and Rachel Lafont, and Raymond and Jean Lafont, of West Glover; Ken and Marcia Therrien of East Burke; and Randy and Margaret Viens of Newport.

She was predeceased by her grandparents; her father Robert Taplin; her brother David Taplin; her stepson Robin Lafont; and by her sister-in-law Donna DeWitt.

A memorial service was held on March 30 in Burlington.

Per her wishes, a springtime interment will take place in Derby.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in her honor to the Breast Care Center, Medical Center Campus, Main Pavilion, Level 2, 111 Colchester Avenue, Burlington, Vermont 05401.

To send online condolences to the family, visit

Marguerite Bean Fiske
Marguerite Bean Fiske

 Marguerite B. Fiske

Marguerite Bean Fiske, 97, of Dover, New Hampshire, died on March 24, 2013, at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital in Dover.

She was born in Glover on March 4, 1916, the youngest child of the late Samuel and Mamie (Hall) Bean.

A deep believer in education, she started school at the age of five on her own and her mother didn’t find out until three weeks later when the teacher complimented her mom about how well she was doing in school.

She graduated from the University of Vermont and taught grade school for four years.  In 1939, she married Lloyd W. Fiske, a dashing barnstorming pilot.  They raised four children.  Mrs. Fiske was a plane spotter during World War Two, a den mother until her first Cub Scouts graduated from high school, a Sunday school teacher, and she served two terms in the New Hampshire House of Representatives, representing Hampton Falls.

She helped form the Seacoast Anti-Pollution League (SAPL), served many years for the FISH organization and was active in the communities she resided in.  Most recently, she was a resident of Saint Ann’s Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Dover.  She also had lived in North Hampton, Hampton Falls, and Salisbury, all in New Hampshire; and Zephyrhills, Florida, and Burlington.

She had a light touch with people’s feelings and with pastry.  She was widely read, the family touchstone, was a tour guide in Zephyrhills, and was an elegant hostess for her sumptuous family meals.

Family members include her daughter Sherril Driscoll and her husband, Steven, of Hampton; two sons:  Dana Fiske and his wife, Nancy, of Dover, and Eric Fiske and his wife, Nancy, of Bow, New Hampshire; and 33 grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

She was predeceased by her husband Lloyd in 2001; and by her son Peter in 1970.

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Donald Funk

 Donald Malcolm Funk

Donald Malcolm Funk, 71, died unexpectedly on March 24, 2013, in his home.

He was born in Catskill, New York, on March 26, 1941.

He lived and worked in Massachusetts most of his life.  For a while, he worked for a carnival driving a motorcycle in the “sphere death” and ran stock cars for fun.  He joined the U.S. Navy in the 1960s and was honorably discharged in 1969.  He loved music from the 1950s, westerns, and action movies.  He played guitar and sang with friends at parties and small events.  His mother- and father-in-law, Frenchie and Rhoda Bedard, owned a cottage on Echo Lake, and this is how he found the place to which he wanted to retire.

He and his wife, Wendy, moved to Vermont in 2004, where he met some great friends.  He met his friend Ted Taft and started working for him during chopping season.  He worked for Mr. Taft for many years.  He joined the Charleston Volunteer Fire Department in 2004 and found his “niche.”  He lived and breathed for the action and camaraderie that it brought.  He became especially close to the fire chief, Duane Moulton, and his family.  They basically adopted him into their family.  They were very special to him.  Not a day went by that the Moulton family wasn’t mentioned.  Mr. Funk looked forward to card night at Kenny and Linda Jillsons’ camp on Saturday nights.  There was always a lot of laughter and hi-jinx.

He leaves his loving wife of 24 years, Wendy; his daughter Tara LaTraverse; and his grandchildren:  Garrett Michael, Cambre Danielle, and Jaqueline Sofia Colon, all of whom he thought the world of.  He also leaves his children from previous marriages:  Charleen Funk Sheets of Texas, and her four sons, and Tyson Funk of Westboro, Massachusetts.  He also leaves his sisters- and brothers-in-law:  Sandra Hodges of Derby, Leon Bedard of Brownington, Ethelinda “Nina” Thomas of Holden, Massachusetts, Edmond Bedard and his wife, Kaye, of Newport, and Rhoda Battey of Bolton, Massachusetts; as well as many nieces and nephews.

Donald, you are missed already, but I know you are not alone.  You were loved even when there was only silence.

There will be a memorial service held in Charleston in the near future.  Notification will be sent out.

In lieu of flowers, he would have liked contributions made to the Charleston Fire Department.

Online condolences may be sent to the family through the funeral home website at

Reed J. Lagasse

Reed J. Lagasse, 72, of Derby died on March 10, 2013, at Mary Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire.

He leaves a brother, Percy Lagasse; and his sisters:  Irene Riendeau, Ernestine St. Jarre, Jacqueline Frugale, Theresa Dumond, Bernice Deschaine, Verna Leblanc, and Omerine Clavette.

He was predeceased by a bother, Wilfred Lagasse.

Burial will be at the family’s convenience.

 Esther M. Lamothe

Esther M. Lamothe, 89, died peacefully on March 27, 2013, in Newport, surrounded by her family.

She was born in Derby, the daughter of the late Tom and Minnie (Shannon) Powers.  She attended Derby schools and graduated from Derby Academy in 1942.  After graduation, she worked for five years as assistant manager at the Endicott Shoe Store in Newport.

On June 24, 1946, she married Rudy Lamothe, who predeceased her in 1995.  They lived their whole married life in Derby, where they owned and operated a television sales and service business.

She is survived by two daughters:  Sue Pulver and her husband, Pete, of Newport, and Gail Barry and her husband, Kyle, of Derby; a brother, Gerald, of East Hampton, Massachusetts; six grandchildren; and by two great-grandchildren.

She was predeceased by a daughter, Linda, in 1995; by a son, Jim, in 1993; by her sister Phyllis; and by a brother, Dale.

In respect of her wishes, there will be no calling hours.  Committal services will be held on May 3, at 3 p.m. at the Derby Center Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory may be made to the Orleans-Essex V.N.A. and Hospice Inc., 46 Lakemont Road, Newport, Vermont 05855.

Online condolences may be sent to the family through the funeral home website at

 Nancy Lee (Durgin) Mathieu

Nancy Lee (Durgin) Mathieu, 76, of Coventry died on March 28, 2013, in Derby.

She was born on April 17, 1936, in Westmore, a daughter of Earl and Marion (Moulton) Durgin.  On August 4, 1956, she married Andre Mathieu.  They were married 49 years when he predeceased her on September 9, 2004.

Mrs. Mathieu was a past Boy and Girl Scout leader and a past member as a parent advocate with family in the court system.  She was a kindergarten through first grade teacher for Kinder School in Newport Center.  She also worked in the sewing industry for 35 years for Slalom, Sel Bar and Bogner, and she was past president of NEKCA for low-income groups.

She enjoyed camping with her husband, flower gardening, she was an avid reader, and she especially loved her pugs, Shellie and Hope.  She loved being with the family at many gatherings held throughout the years.

She is survived by her children:  Marion Robillard and her husband, Real, of Brunswick, Georgia, Rose Royer and her husband, Danny, of Newport Center, Tina Matten and her husband, Allen, of Newport Center, Andre Mathieu and his wife, Laurie, of Derby, and Philip Mathieu Sr. and his wife, Sylvie, of Coventry; her grandchildren:  David and Tracy Robillard, Megan and Joel Brown, Rachel and Greg Allen, AJ and Courtney Staples, Robert and Chelsea Staples, Jarid and Noah Mathieu, Philip Mathieu Jr. and his fiancée, Brittany Eldred, Nathan and Erin Mathieu, Abbie Matten, Tabitha and Brian Jones, and Devin Matten; her great-grandchildren:  Hailey Wegner, Yvon Robillard, Evan Mathieu, Benjamin Jones, and Tristan Desroches; her siblings:  Rachel Williams and her husband, Ronald, of Florida, Raymond Durgin of West Charleston, Carla Chadburn and her husband, Wayne, of Irasburg,  Gail Cook and her husband, Charlie, of Irasburg, Dorothy Mason of Albany, Marjorie Annis of West Charleston, and Joyce Little and her husband, Rudy, of Irasburg; and by numerous nieces and nephews.

She was predeceased by a granddaughter, Charity Staples; and by her siblings:  Durward Durgin, Doris Haddock and Norma Mathieu.

Funeral services will be held on April 3, at 11 a.m., at the Curtis-Britch-Converse-Rushford Funeral Home, 4670 Darling Hill Road in Newport, with the Reverend Richard Whitehill officiating.  Interment will take place on May 6, at 11 a.m., at the Newport Center Cemetery.

Should friends desire, contributions in her memory may be made to the Vermont Make A Wish Foundation, 100 Dorset Street, Suite 4, South Burlington, Vermont 05403.

Online condolences may be sent to the family through the funeral home website at

Service:  Tammy Jean Simpson

A celebration of the life of Tammy Jean Simpson of Newport will be held at 1 p.m. on Sunday, April 7, at the Coventry Community Center with Pastor George Lawson officiating.

Following the service, there will be a potluck dinner and dishes are welcome.

obit Waldron
Arline Waldron

Arline F. Waldron, 91, of Barton died on March 28, 2013, in Lebanon, New Hampshire.

She was born on January 20, 1922, in Haverhill, Massachusetts, a daughter of Omar and Lena (Prescott) Bryant.  On January 13, 1947, she married Ralph W. Waldron, who predeceased her on April 1, 2004.

When she lived in Haverhill, she was a teller for the Haverhill Bank.  She was a receptionist at Ophthalmology Associates in St. Johnsbury from 1980 until 1995.  Among her hobbies, she enjoyed knitting, rug hooking, and spending time with her family and granddaughters.  She was a people person and loved to talk to people.  She also enjoyed traveling to Pennsylvania to visit the Amish Country.

She is survived by her children:  Donald Waldron of Helena, Montana, and Valerie Barczak and her husband, Michael, of Haverhill; and by her grandchildren:  Michaela Barczak of Haverhill, and Amanda Waldron of Bozeman, Montana.

Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, April 3, at the Barton United Church, with the Reverend Evelyn Coupe officiating.  Interment will take place on Friday, April 5, at 1 p.m., at the Elmwood Cemetery in Bradford, Massachusetts.

Online condolences may be sent to the family through the funeral home website at

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