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Courtesy of the Glabach Family

Steve Glabach doing one of his favorite things — boiling sap at his sugarhouse to make maple syrup. A lifelong resident of Dummerston and a member of the Selectboard, Glabach died suddenly on Oct. 6.

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Dummerston board mourns a colleague

Glabach’s sudden death leaves Selectboard searching for a successor

DUMMERSTON—Steve Glabach, lifelong Dummerston resident, died Oct. 6 after a sudden illness.

At the time of his death, Glabach was one year into a three-year Selectboard term, was vice-chair, and had served on the Board since March 2012.

According to state statute, the Selectboard must post a notice within 10 days of a vacancy, then appoint an interim board member to serve until Town Meeting. Then, in March, voters will elect someone to complete the remaining two years of Glabach’s term.

The deadline for interested parties to declare their interest was Oct. 18.

At the Oct. 11 regular Selectboard meeting, the Board unanimously voted to approve the posting of the vacancy notice. Two days later, Board Chair Zeke Goodband told The Commons, “a couple of letters have come in, [and] I think we’ll have a good crew to choose from.”

The Selectboard appointed Hugh Worden as vice-chair.

At the beginning of the Oct. 11 meeting, all Selectboard members offered condolences to Glabach’s family, and offered kind words about his dedication to the town.

“If a healthy democracy is based on people stepping forward, Steve was a real model in that,” said Board member Jerelyn Wilson. “I appreciate the conversations I’ve had with Steve because they’ve broadened my perspective and I always felt heard,” she added.

“I will really miss him,” Wilson said.

“Steve was a very dedicated Selectboard member,” said Goodband, and added, “Steve was most [happy]” when the Board’s work “was actually helping people in the town.”

“He set a good example on how to do your homework and research things,” Worden said. “It’s going to become apparent how much he did for the Board and the town as we try to sort those things out,” he added.

“We’ve all been devastated by the suddenness of Steve’s passing,” said Board Clerk Joe Cook. “I did not always agree with Steve, but he always treated me with respect and I appreciate that.”

Cook pointed out that Glabach’s expertise and interest in matters concerning the fire department and law enforcement were helpful, “and that input will be sorely missed on this Board.”

“I always appreciated his sense of humor,” Goodband told The Commons. “While Steve worked hard and took his responsibilities seriously, he helped keep things light. We’re a convivial board [...] but things can get heated. He was able to step back and find a humorous aspect, which made it a lot easier working together. I valued that highly.”

Goodband also spoke of Glabach’s qualities away from the political arena.

The two were neighbors for many years, and Goodband remembers the Glabach family cutting and stacking wood to prepare for sugaring season every year.

“They’d be out in their yard — and this is Houghton Road, which isn’t that well-traveled — and he’d go and talk to every single car that went by. I’d be in my house and I’d hear the family working outside, and I’d hear their wood-splitter, and over that, I’d hear Steve laughing,” Goodband said.

“Every five minutes, another car would come by,” and Glabach would be out at the roadside again, talking and laughing with the driver and passengers, Goodband said.

“Dummerston isn’t zoned for drive-throughs, and if the zoning administrator had known what was happening on Houghton Road, he might have had a problem,” Goodband said.

“I wondered how he got any work done [...] but, by the end, all of the wood would be in stacks and ready to go,” he said.

Once sugaring season was underway, Glabach’s party continued indoors, Goodband said.

“Dummerston has no town center, no general store. But, during sugaring season, the sugarhouses serve that purpose, especially Steve’s. You could stop in there and talk about politics, sports, the weather,” he said.

“You’d meet everybody there. They’d pull over and stand by the fire,” Goodband said. “Steve was really in his element there. That was nice.”

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Originally published in The Commons issue #430 (Wednesday, October 18, 2017). This story appeared on page A1.

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