Obituaries & Services 6.22.22

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Milton A. Willis Jr.

Milton A. Willis Jr., 74 of Chester died peacefully, June 1, 2022, at home with his loving wife and family by his side.

Milton was born March 17, 1948, in Newport to Milton and Margaret (Cota) Willis.  Milt graduated from North Troy High School in 1966 and immediately started to work for his Uncle Floyd.  Floyd taught Milt the carpentry trade for many years and eventually Milt went on to own and operate his own business in the North Troy area for several years.  Milt  believed in giving back to the community and became a member of the North Troy Volunteer Fire Dept, and was one of the founders of the Missisquoi Valley Ambulance Service.

Milt joined the North Troy American Legion, Post #28, serving as commander for many years It was here that  Milt discovered his true life passion of advocating for fellow veterans.  Milt held many positions in the American Legion from the local post, department of Vermont, and national level. During his tenure as department commander, he appointed himself as department service officer, a position he held for the next 37 years, until his retirement in 2021.  During those 37 years Milt helped thousands of veterans at the VA and quickly gained the chairmanship of the department’s legislative committee.  While in this position he lobbied endlessly for U.S. veterans and his colleagues nationwide. Milt became the “go-to service officer” for colleagues across the nation.  He was elected president of the department service officers for two years.

Milt chaired many committees at the department level, but was most proud of his department legislative chairmanship.  During that time he tirelessly lobbied and was instrumental in the creation of national legislation allowing veterans throughout the United States to be better served. Milt collaborated with many dignitaries, including U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, whom Milt considered close and personal friends.

Milt also held chairmanships at the national level of the American Legion,consisting of Alt. National Executive Committee, Naval Affairs Committee, National Executive Committee, member of the Commission on Children and Youth Liaison Committee, vice chair of the Distinguished Guests Committee, Region 1 member on the Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation Commission, Region 1 member, vice chairman, and chairman on the Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation Commission, and a member of the Veterans Benefits Committee.

Family meant everything to Junior (as known by the family).  He was only a phone call away if his parents, siblings, children, or grandchildren were in need.  He relished being an uncle, and grandchildren were an added joy to his life.

Fishing, celebrating birthdays holidays with his family, camping, and barbecuing, dancing, country music, playing the spoons, hunting, snowmobiling, and listening to the Red Sox on the radio or watching the New England Patriots were his favorite passtimes, but he was happiest when all of his family was around.  Milt made it known that he felt blessed to have three families, in the Northeast Kingdom, Chester, and, of course, the American Legion.

Milton is survived by his wife, Sue, of Chester, his children:  Penny Martin and her husband, Scott, Tim Willis, and his wife, Donna, of Derby,  Beth-Anne Willis of North Troy, Meaghan Willis of Colchester, and her husband, Ryan, Samantha Willis; stepchildren:  Shannon, Kyle, and Sierra Kemp and Lindsey Sturtevant, all of Chester; grandchildren:  Rodney, Macy, Greg and his wife, Mya, Tim Jr., Emily, Lily, Samuel, Maddox, Halley and Owen; three great-grandchildren:  Weston, Hailee, and Beckett; his sister Linda Driver and her husband, Everett, of Newport Center, brother Danny Willis of Tucson, Arizona, mother-in-law, Carol Ploof, of Lehigh Acres, Florida, and many special nieces and nephews.

Milt was predeceased by his parents Milton Sr., and Margaret Willis, brother Neil, father-in-law Bob Ploof, and two grandchildren Brianna and Michael, who surely were waiting for him to come home.

A celebration of life will be hosted by the  Chester American Legion, Post #67, on Sunday, July 31, at 2 p.m.  Milt loved his cowboy boots. Please feel free to wear favorite western duds, in his memory. A private burial will be held at the Troy Cemetery at the convenience of the family.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Missisquoi Valley Ambulance Service, 1375 Cross Road, Jay, Vermont 05859  in Milt’s memory.

Anyone who wishes to may also send funds directly to Sue Willis 110 Marcs Drive, Chester, Vermont 05143, earmarked for a memorial fund that is being created to continue to serve veterans in need throughout Vermont.


William Arthur Burns

William Arthur Burns, 91, of Manchester, New Hampshire, was lucid and alert in his final days.  He knew the end was near, accepted his fate calmly, and was in good humor.  An eagerly consumed nip of Jim Beam helped!  In the early hours of Saturday, April 16, 2022, Bill Burns muckied.  Bill preferred the term, “mucky,” a verb meaning to die. There is a unique language used by the people who help families as they deal with end-of-life matters.  They speak of “transitioning” to the next phase of the journey, or of passing.  Soft, comfortable words for grieving people.  Mucky, properly spelled “make” and pronounced MAH-kay, was a Hawaiian term picked up by his father-in-law during his travels in the South Pacific in the 1920s.  It was a way for Bill to interject a bit of humor in the family discussions about death.  A man who enjoyed humor all his life, he stayed the course right to the very end.

Born and raised in Hanover, New Hampshire, Bill was the youngest of three children of Ethel and Ralph Burns.  He grew up to marry his high school sweetheart and the love of his life, Susan Sperry.  Glued at the hip throughout their lives together, they were the perfect couple.  Raising children and dogs, attending Central High School basketball games, running an antiques business, traveling far and wide to auctions, summering in the Northeast Kingdom in an old schoolhouse, they lived an idyllic life.  Sue died last year after battling Alzheimer’s, and this was hardest on Bill.  After 74 years as a couple, it’s comforting to think they are together again now and forever.

Bill and Sue raised two children, Margo and Stephen, both of whom attended Manchester Memorial High School, the good school.  (Sorry Dad!)  Margo lives in Manchester and is a third-generation educator.  Steve lives in York, Maine, with his wife, Deb.  They have two adult children, Cas of Medford, Massachusetts, and Courtney and her boyfriend, Brandon, of Wellington, New Zealand.

Bill’s brother, Bob Burns, died a few years ago and his wife, Marilyn, now lives in Ohio.  Bill’s sister, Betty Walk, died more recently and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery alongside her husband, Jim.

Mr. Burns was a graduate of Dartmouth College (1953) and Tufts University (1956) with degrees in history and education.  Providing the highest quality public school education became his life’s calling.  He taught, coached, and was the principal of Brighton High from 1956 to 1960, taught social studies for three years on Cape Cod, and was Derby Academy’s last principal from 1963-1967 before taking on the challenge of the principalship of Manchester (New Hampshire) High School Central from 1967 to 1993.  Challenge?  He transitioned from the tiny Derby Academy to a downtown city high school that, at one time, had two campuses, five buildings, and as many as 3,000 students.  Culture shock defined!  Throughout his career, Mr. Burns remained student-focused.  How could he help? How could he encourage?  How could he clear obstacles?  How could he inspire?  He had a clear vision about his role, and that everything needed to be student-focused.   He never aspired to become a superintendent because it was a role too removed from the action, as he’d say. His career reached its zenith at Central High School, and he embraced this!

Later in life Bill became more open about his military service.  He attended Dartmouth in the Navy ROTC and upon graduation received a commission in the United States Navy.  He served two years of active duty late in the Korean War, and felt fortunate to have been assigned to duty in the Atlantic.  He was the anti-submarine warfare officer aboard the destroyer escort USS J. Douglas Blackwood.  After he left active service, he used benefits under the GI Bill to put himself through graduate school.  He always downplayed his service, though it benefited him greatly.  How he served in the Navy Reserve while living in Island Pond remains a mystery to this day!  After 9-11, Americans began to openly show appreciation of their veterans.  It was at that time he took to wearing a baseball cap with his ship’s silhouette embroidered on it.  He wore out three of these over the years.

Bill is buried next to Sue at the Pine Knoll Cemetery in Hanover, New Hampshire.  The family invites its parents’ friends from the Northeast Kingdom to informal calling hours on Saturday, July 16, 2022, between 2 and 5 p.m., at their beloved Old Schoolhouse at 93 Toad Pond Road, Morgan Center. In lieu of flowers, Bill would ask Seinfeld fans to donate to the Human Fund, but in all seriousness, please consider a donation in his name to any of the Morgan, Derby, Island Pond, or Orleans County Historical Societies or to the Seymour Lake Association.  To leave a message of condolence, please go to

In the end for us all, it comes down to living a good life to the best of our abilities, being kind and respectful to others, and hoping for the grace which Bill showed when he muckied.


John J. Trocchi

John J. Trocchi, husband, father, grandfather, teacher, connoisseur of all things sweet, and dad-joke expert, died at his home in St. Johnsbury on June 15, 2022.

John was born in Fall River, Massachusetts, on July 13, 1945.  His parents were Albert and Mary Trocchi.  The family soon moved to Hyannis, Massachusetts, and John grew up there and graduated from Barnstable High School with the class of 1963.

He was a life-long learner and teacher.  He graduated from Cape Cod Community College in 1965, attended George Washington University in Washington, D.C. and earned his Bachelor of Arts in Education from the University of Miami in 1967.  Later in life, he went on to earn his Master of Arts in education in 2016.  On August 19, 1967, John married Martha Breault of Feeding Hills, Massachusetts, and brought her along with him to finish his education in Miami.

John first taught school at Centerville Elementary School in Centerville, Massachusetts, from 1967 to 1972 where he fought to become the first educator there to institute the Open Classroom concept, which encouraged collaboration and active learning for his students.

He then switched careers to become a firefighter for the city of Concord, New Hampshire.  Soon after, he became Chief of the Gilford Fire Department in Gilford, New Hampshire, for several years and then led the Harwich Fire Department as chief through most of the 1980s.

John returned to teaching in the ’90s and worked hard for students in various schools in western Massachusetts, then spent the rest of his life as a special educator in the Northeast Kingdom and in northern New Hampshire. The most recent school that was lucky enough to have him was the Riverside School in Lyndonville.

He never retired.

John was a friendly, caring, and generous man who spent his entire life in service to others.  He cared deeply for his family, his communities, and for every last one of his students.  Everything that he did in his life, he did for as long as he possibly could, and the best that he possibly could, always with tremendous effort.  He was a perfectionist, not for others, but for himself.  He never stopped trying to become a better person.

John leaves behind his wife of 55 years, Martha Trocchi, of St. Johnsbury, his son Christian Trocchi, and his wife, Deb, of Wells, Maine, and his daughter Andrea Poe and her husband, Isaac, of St. Johnsbury.  He was a proud grandfather to Johnny Trocchi of Belmont Massachusetts, and Ruby Poe of St. Johnsbury.  He also leaves a brother James Trocchi of Dennis, Massachusetts.  John had several nieces, nephews, friends, and colleagues as well as a large community of folks at Mad Brook Farm in East Charleston who loved and accepted him as family.

A potluck celebration of John will be held at Mad Brook Farm, in East Charleston on July 16, at 3 p.m.  Bring a dish to share, and all might just have dessert first!  That’s how John would have wanted it.


Gordon R. (Sonny) Kelley Jr.

Gordon R. (Sonny) Kelley Jr., 78, of Newport, died on June 11, 2022, in Burlington.  He was born on May 31, 1944, in Newport to Gordon R. Kelley Sr. and Leona (Jewett) Kelley.

He retired from Tivoli after 35 to 40 years.  He is survived by his partner, Brenda Turgeon, his brother David Kelley of Derby Line, and sister-in-law Brenda Kelley and friend Michael Perry of Derby; his stepsons David Turgeon and wife, Tracy, of Newport, and Jim Turgeon and friend, Angel, of Troy, stepdaughter Janet Black of Colorado and stepgrandkids Aaron, Trevor, Tanner, Ashley, Mark, and Keelen; by his nieces Tammy Fisher of Pennsylvania and Lorie Kelley and friend, Rob, of North Troy, and other nieces and nephews and great-nieces and -nephews.

He was predeceased by his mother, Leona, and father, Gordon, and his brother Ray (Skip) Kelley.

His favorite place was his garage when he was working on cars and his ’57 Chevy.  He enjoyed going to car shows and vacationing in Maine with family and friends.

Friends may call from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, June 24, at the Curtis-Britch & Bouffard Funeral Home, 4670 Darling Hill Road, Newport where funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 25, with the Reverend Laurence Wall officiating.  Interment will follow in Derby Line Cemetery.   Should friends desire, contributions in his memory may be made to the Mary Wright Halo Foundation, 1071 Upper Quarry Road, Newport, Vermont  05855 or to the charity of one’s choice.   Online condolences at


Jeannine deLaBruere

On May 3, 2022, Jeannine deLaBruere, age 83, died with her five daughters at her side and transitioned peacefully to join her Lord a few days after experiencing a massive stroke.  She was the daughter of Winfred and Yvonne Lavigne of St. Eldridge, Quebec, Canada.  She and her family loved music and dancing.

Even though she didn’t speak English, at the age of 20 she moved to northeastern Vermont where she raised her children.  Her strong work ethic, customer service, and bilingual skills were a valuable asset during her work in retail.  Later in life she became a home caregiver for special needs and aging adults.

People loved Jeannine’s joy of life, sense of humor, contagious laugh, and playful nature. Everyone looked forward to seeing her dress up attire at senior events.  She found joy in making people smile and saw beauty in everyone.  But nowhere was her unconditional love more evident than in the love she gave her children and grand-children.  She couldn’t have been more proud of them and took every opportunity to share stories, photos, and videos of each of them with both friends and strangers.

Jeannine was resilient, resourceful, and always learning new things.  After she got her first computer at age 50 she was hooked on technology; learning new ways to use her laptop, ipad, iphone, and Apple Watch and then teaching others.  Jeannine loved collecting and restoring gadgets that someone might need one day; especially when they were for “zero pennies.”

Her desire to be independent drove her to strive for a healthy lifestyle which included a daily dose of apple cider vinegar, walking, and often taking the stairs up to her eighth floor Cathedral Square apartment in Burlington.  However, she never passed up a maple creemee.

Jeannine was a spiritual and moral compass for her family and many people in her life.   Her strong faith resonated in every aspect of her life and allowed her to live life serving others as she never doubted God would take care of her, no matter what.

Jeannine is survived by her daughter Lucie deLaBruere and husband, Craig Lyndes, daughter Joanne deLaBruere and partner, Pat Smith, daughter Linda deLaBruere and husband, Keith Hults, daughter Chantal deLaBruere O’Connor and partner, Tom Costello,  daughter Kathy deLaBruere Jacobs and husband, Jon Jacobs; grandchildren Ryan Podd, Adam Podd, Matthew Podd, Shayne deLaBruere, Sean O’Connor, Michael O’Connor, Sierra Jacobs, Matthew Jacobs, Joel Jacobs; great grandchildren Simon, Cedar, Rosie, Oliver, Julian; sisters Dolores Lavigne and Aurore Lavoie, and sister-in-law Francine Lavigne.

Jeannine was predeceased by her granddaughter Alexandra deLaBruere, brothers Leopold Lavigne and Victor Lavigne, and sisters Marie-Paule Isabelle and Rita Lavigne.

The family invites everyone to join them to celebrate Jeannine’s life on July 31, at the Gateway Center in Newport.  The celebration will start with a time of worship that includes scripture, prayer, and song at 2 p.m. followed by a time of fellowship, stories, and refreshments with family and friends starting at 3 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Vermont Food Bank ( or to Age Well Vermont (


Harold (Hal) Richard Corkins Jr.

Harold (Hal) Richard Corkins Jr. died and went to be with his Heavenly Father on December 16, 2021, after a long illness. He was born in Newport, on December 6, 1947, the firstborn of eight chidren to Dorothy Riegel Corkins and Harold Richard Corkins Sr.

He spent his formative years in Long Island, New York, where he graduated from Lindenhurst High School.  He married and fathered two children:  Michelle and Adam.

He enlisted in the United States Air Force, serving from 1967 to 1971.  After an honorable discharge, he returned to his native Vermont, working at Kraft Foods.  In 1976, he relocated his young family to West Palm Beach, Florida.  There he was employed by the U.S. Postal Service for over forty years before he retired.

He was a lifetime member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and a member of the American Postal Workers Union.

Hal was an avid reader.  He was a student of chess and enjoyed playing craps.

He could strike up a conversation with anyone.

Hal was preceded in death by his parents, siblings Van, Alan, and Valerie, and friends Dennis Sartori and Ronald Graves.

He is survived by his wife of 39 years, Donna, of West Palm Beach; sister-in-law Katrene Serrao and godson Andrew Serrao, of West Palm Beach; brothers Ronald (Marilyn) Corkins, of Newport, Craig (Mary) Corkins, of Derby, Randall, of Westfield, and Darren, of Derby; his children Michelle Simpson and Adam (Sarah) Corkins of Ripon, California, and six grandchildren:  Amber Simpson, of Orlando, Florida; Agustin, Lucia, Greger, Anneliese and Gian Corkins, of Ripon, California; and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday June 25, at St Mark’s Episcopal Church, 44 Second Street, Newport followed by internment at Pine Grove Cemetery.  Online condolences may be made at


Diane Collier

Diane Collier, 66, of Barton died at her home on June 12, 2022. She was born on January 8, 1956 in Newport to Francis and June (Petengill) Davignon.

Diane enjoyed painting and drawing such things as landscapes, animals, people, or random things that inspired her.  Art in general was something she enjoyed.  She was an avid reader of any topic that piqued her interest, especially anything historic which often led to some sort of adventure like going to a museum or taking hikes. She also loved cooking and was amazing at it.

Diane also had a warm smile that lit up a room and a beautiful heart.  Anyone who met her, would never forget her because she affected so many lives in a positive way.

She is survived by her daughter Mica Collier and her partner, Maurice Richardson, along with their children, Diane’s grandchildren, whom she loved very much, Nathaliee, Hailee, and James, from Barton, Michael Collier, her daughter’s father and best friend, as well as her father, Francis Davignon, her sister Nancy, five brothers and many aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins.

She was predeceased by her mother, June Davignon.

Funeral services will be held at 1 p.m. on Friday, June 24, at the Curtis-Britch & Bouffard Funeral Home, 12 Elm Street, Barton with her uncle Reverend Charles Davignon officiating. Online condolences may be made at


Robert L. Bousquet Jr.

Robert Lawrence Bousquet Jr., 66, of Greensboro Bend, died Sunday, June 12, 2022, at Copley Hospital, in Morrisville.

He was born October 5, 1955, in New Haven, Connecticut, the son of the late Robert L. Bousquet Sr., and Pearl (Wrightington) Bousquet. He attended North Haven High School in Connecticut and later entered the U.S. Navy.

On December 11, 2010 he married Sarah Jane Hill in Greensboro, where they have since made their home.

Robert was a long-time musician throughout northern Vermont.  He loved country music and Rock ’n’ Roll.  He often played at Blue Grass Festivals in Maine and Rock ’n’ Roll Festivals in Burlington.  Robert was a professional drummer.  He also played the guitar, fiddle, banjo, mandolin, and keyboards to name a few.  He wrote, published, and recorded many of his own songs along with recording with many other musicians.  Music was his life.  He was an avid reader and loved the time spent with his children.

Survivors include: three children:  Robert L. Bousquet III and his wife, Jillian Campbell, of Glover, Thomas Bousquet and his wife, Ayla, of Morrisville and Selina Thomsen and her husband, Kaj, of Templeton, Massachusetts; two step-children:  Hannah Bellavance, of Stannard, and Seth Bellavance of Greensboro Bend; five siblings:  Mark Bousquet, of Irasburg, Joe Bousquet, of Barton, Omer Bousquet and his wife, Donna, of Irasburg, Linda Claeys and her husband, David, of Barton,  and Tammy Moulton and her husband, Blair, of East Charleston; three grandchildren, many nieces, nephews, and cousins.

All services will be private at the convenience of his family.

In lieu of flowers, contributions in his memory may be made to the Hardwick Rescue Squad, P.O. Box 837, Hardwick, Vermont 05843.  Online condolences are welcomed at:



 Rudolph Percy

Services for Rudolph Percy will be held with full military honors at 1 p.m. on Saturday, June 25, at the Coventry Cemetery.  The Reverend Michel Richards will officiate.

Dr. Frank Fiermonte

A graveside service for Dr. Frank Fiermonte will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, June 26, at the Pine Hill Cemetery in Derby.

 Thomas Roy Sr.

A celebration of life for Thomas Roy Sr will be held on Saturday, June 25, from 1 to 3 p.m. at 1203 Route 105, Bloomfield, to remember his life.  Visit for further information.



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