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Milestones

Milestones

College news

• Marie S. Dennis of Marlboro graduated, with honors, from Johnson and Wales University in Rhode Island at the end of February. She will walk with her class in the graduation ceremony on May 18. Dennis majored in liberal studies with a minor in business, and has been accepted to the MBA program, which she will begin in September.

• Celia Feal-Staub of Putney participated in the fall 2018 Bates College Junior Semester Abroad program. Feal-Staub, who is majoring in art and visual culture and anthropology at Bates, studied in Indonesia through the School for International Training in Bali.

Transitions

Brattleboro Memorial Hospital (BMH) recently welcomed Jessica Pivero, RN as the new Manager of Inpatient Services Pivero joins the hospital with a B.A. in marketing from Western New England University, a B.S. in nursing from Quinnipiac University, and an M.S. in nursing from Sacred Heart University. Pivero previously worked at several hospitals including Hartford Hospital, Veteran Affairs, and Baystate Franklin Medical Center.

Obituaries

• Justin Philip Blum, 26, of Northborough, Mass., formerly of Byram, N.J. Died Feb. 12, 2019 at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center in Worcester, following a brief illness. Justin was born in Miami, Fla., on March 21, 1992, the son of Philip and Carrie (Markgraf) Blum. He was raised and educated in Cincinnati, Ohio, Sugarland, Texas, and Byram, graduating from Lenape Valley Regional High School, Class of 2010. While attending high school he played trumpet in the high school band and sang in the choir. He went on to graduate from Lycoming College in Williamsport, Pa., where he received his B.A. in Sociology and Philosophy in 2014. At the time of his death, Justin was an honor student attending the Funeral Institute of the Northeast Mortuary College in Norwood, Mass. It was his goal to become a caregiver and funeral director and to help those in need. Although quiet and unassuming, he was known for his sense of humor, his gentle, giving, and kindly spirit. Prior to enrolling at F.I.N.E., he was the produce Manager at the Target Store in Hackettstown, N.J., and worked in the deli at the local ShopRite. He enjoyed music, video games, playing cards, and games of all sorts and traveling. Survivors include his parents of Northborough, his paternal grandmother, Arlene Blum of Guilford; several aunts and uncles that include Craig Blum and Cameron Blum of Guilford, Sheila Pollica of Brattleboro, and Sarah Markgraf of Weehawken, N.J.; and three nephews, Eric and Kyle Pollica and Trevor Blum. Memorial information: A celebration of his life will be held at the Morgan Funeral Home in Netcong, N.J., on March 22. He will be laid to rest in the Blum family lot in Baker Cemetery in Guilford in the springtime at a date and time to be announced by the funeral home. Memorial contributions may be made to a special scholarship in Justin’s name, to be established at Lycoming College. Anyone interesting in contributing can reach out to Philip or Carrie Blum for details. To sign an online guestbook with messages of condolence, visit www.atamaniuk.com.

• Robyn Lynn Dunham, 35, of Townshend. Died Feb. 27 2019 at home after a long illness. She is survived by her husband of 17 years, Jeremy Dunham, and her three beautiful boys who were her entire world — Connor, Dakota, and Bayley Dunham. She is also survived by her mother, Caroline Smith, and her stepfather, John West, of Winchester N.H.; siblings, Kyrie Davison, Casey Smith, and Logan West; stepsister Ashley Moriarty; grandparents Allen and Betty Colburn of Norwich, Conn.; her in-laws Cindy and Eric Susee and Jerry Dunham; and several other relatives. Robyn graduated from Brattleboro Union High School with the love of her life, Jeremy. She worked at Bickford’s in Brattleboro until it closed. Robyn loved the ocean and had an avid love for animals. Memorial information: Ker-Phaneuf Funeral Home and Crematorium in Brattleboro is assisting the family with arrangements. To view an online memorial, leave condolences, or for more information, go to www.phaneuf.net.

• Helen Louise Gammon, 67, of Newfane. Died Feb. 21, 2019 in Brattleboro after a period of declining health. She was born in Brattleboro on June 14, 1951, the daughter of the late Joyce and Percy A. Sprague. She loved animals, especially her dogs, playing cards, was an avid reader and loved watching movies. She also enjoyed antiquing, genealogy, and politics, and was always up for a good political debate. She loved the town of Newfane and enjoyed participating in civic duties which included serving as town treasurer for several years. As a young girl, Helen attended elementary schools in Greenfield, Mass., Townshend and, finally, Newfane, which is where she made her home for the next 60 years. She graduated from Brattleboro Union High School and received her A.A. from Vermont Technical College, focusing on business and accounting. Her first job as a teenager was working for the Chardain family as a hostess at the Newfane Inn. She later followed them to the Four Columns Inn. She admired the family and had the opportunity to meet many people there, including the Queen Mother, John Kenneth Galbraith, and Henry Kissinger. Shortly after, she embarked on her career as a legal secretary for Ralph Chapman, Esq. in Brattleboro. She worked for him for several years while Ralph served as a mentor and friend. She ultimately became a paralegal and worked for the Brattleboro Police Department and Janos Technology. She became close friends with the Esmays while working at E.G. Zac’s. Eventually, Helen opened her own successful business, West River Secretarial & Business Services. She later opened a storefront in Brattleboro called the West River Vintage Shop. This developed into a thriving online store, specializing in selling books and vintage items to collectors all over the world. Being a Sprague girl at heart, she enjoyed following the family tradition of buying, selling and collecting antiques, as well as vintage items and books. Helen was a curious and intelligent woman who valued knowledge and her family. That sparked her interest in genealogy, which became a passion. Upon researching her family’s genealogy, she discovered ancestors who aided in achieving American Independence during the Revolutionary War. With that heritage, she proudly joined the Daughters of the American Revolution. After completing her own family’s genealogy, she enthusiastically researched the genealogy of extended family and friends. Helen married Gordon Gammon in 1967. While they were only married for a short time, this brought Helen her biggest love and joy in life, her son Sean. She gave birth to Sean at Grace Cottage Hospital in 1969. One of the things she treasured was their yearly trip to Hampton Beach, which became a family tradition. She also cherished their annual summer trip to the Weston Playhouse. Helen enjoyed her role as Grandmother and loved being “Grammie Honey” to Cooper, Tyler and Cameron. She was very proud of her son and grandchildren and always glowed when showing pictures or sharing news about them to others. She also had a special love and bond with her daughter-in-law, Kim. The five of them were the light in her life. Not only was Helen a terrific mother and grandmother, she was also a wonderful sister. She was always welcoming, kind, generous, providing advice, a great listener, and extremely loyal. She is survived by her beloved son, Sean Gammon, daughter-in-law Kim (Farrand) and her grandsons, Cooper, Tyler, Cameron, of South Burlington; sisters Brenda Joyce Sprague-Kent (Chris Kent) of Northampton, Mass., and Susan Lee Fisher, (Paul Fisher) of Hinsdale, N.H., and numerous nieces, nephews, grandnieces, grandnephews, and other relatives. She also leaves behind her dearest friend, Vicki Wood. Memorial information: A celebration of Helen’s life will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, March 20, the first day of spring, at the Fraternal Order of the Eagles, 54 Chickering Drive, Brattleboro. At 6 p.m., the family will pay their respects to Helen with their thoughts and memories. The family encourages and welcomes all to attend. A private burial will be held at a later time. Donations to Windham County Humane Society, 916 West River Dr. Brattleboro, VT 05301. To sign an online guestbook with messages of condolence, visit www.atamaniuk.com.

• Claude “Cherie” Manley, 91, of Brattleboro, a native of Porcheville, France. Died March 6, 2019 at Thompson House Nursing Home, surrounded by her loving family and friends. She was born in Porcheville on Aug. 6, 1927, the daughter of Claude and Eugenie (Moron) Creach. She was raised and educated in Porcheville and met her husband, Harold Manley, while he was serving in Europe during World War II. The couple were married in Porcheville in 1946. Her husband of 68 years predeceased her in 2014. For many years, she owned and operated Cherie’s Knitting Shop, originally located in the Brooks House and, later, on lower Main Street in the Brattleboro Shopping Plaza. Previously, she had been employed at several Brattleboro-area retail businesses that included J.C. Penney, W.T. Grant, and the Dollar Store. She was also a volunteer at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital for many years. She enjoyed knitting, games and puzzles, candlepin bowling, growing roses, travel, and spending time with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Cherie also loved animals, especially her beloved cat, “Missy.” Survivors include one son, Paul Manley (Kathy Oryell) of Ft. Pierce, Fla., and Rocky Hill, Conn.; two daughters, Lillian Manley and Judith Manley, both of Brattleboro; a close friend, Wendy Scott of Brattleboro; two grandchildren, Elaine Sullivan of Wellington, Fla. and Eric Manley of Vero Beach, Fla., and great grandchildren Kyle and Alyssa Sullivan. Additionally, she leaves family in France that includes her sisters, Louisette, Paulette, Marcelle, Madeleine, and Josephine, and many nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews. Memorial information: Graveside committal services in Meetinghouse Hill Cemetery will be conducted in the springtime at a date and time to be announced by the funeral home. Donations to the Thompson House Activities Fund, 80 Maple St., Brattleboro, VT 05301. To sign an online register book or send messages of condolence to her family, visit www.atamaniuk.com.

• Jennifer Lynn “Jen” (Grous) McNary, 51, of Brookline. Died March 1, 2019, at her home. She was born on Oct. 26, 1967, to Nanette Dugan and Edward Grous, and was raised in Connecticut. She spent a number of years in the greater Boston area, where she earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Massachusetts at Boston. Jen had a 16-year career with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Vocational Rehabilitation Services, where she served as both a counselor and a supervisor, helping many people find their calling. She was an active volunteer firefighter, a deacon at West Dover Congregational Church, a member of Boston’s Moving Violations (an all-women’s motorcycle club), and past president of Deerfield Valley Sportsman Club. Jen sang with the Brattleboro Concert Choir and competed in a Tough Mudder. She founded and ran Sleeping Dog Farm in Whitingham. Jen was an avid hiker and loved her dogs and horses. She was an exceptional cook, dancer, and artist, and a dear friend to many. She loved shared sunrises, especially on Putney Mountain, Harriman Dam, Cape Cod, and Austin. Jen loved living and had boundless energy. She had a massive circle of friends who will miss her greatly. She is survived by Johnny Swing, her true love; her beloved sister, Elizabeth Grous, of Austin, Texas; her father, Edward, and her stepmother, Jane Isabelle of Windsor Locks, Conn., and Punta Gorda, Fla. She was predeceased by her mother, Nanette Dugan. Jen faced cancer with bravery, humor, and grace and demonstrated to all what it meant to “live while dying.” Memorial information: Her interment is private and a celebration of her life will be held on June 15, 2019, on Putney Mountain. Donations in Jennifer’s name may be made to Find The Cause Breast Cancer Foundation online at findthecausebcf.org/donate, or by mail at P.O. Box 2112, Framingham, MA 01703.

• James Martin Todd, MD, Ph.D., 85, of Bath, Maine. Died March 5, 2019 at his home. Born June 24, 1933 in Hull, in Yorkshire, England, to James and Elsie Todd, Jim attended schools in Halifax, Yorkshire and Buxton, Derbyshire. While attending Buxton Academy at the age of 17, he briefly met June Angela (Jill) Kirkaldy, but they fell out of touch. Six years later, while training as a physician at Leeds University Medical School, he again met up with Jill, who was training there as a registered nurse. They married the next year and went on to have three children together; Marie, Barry, and John. He interned at Leeds General Infirmary, then was a psychiatric resident at DeLaPole Psychiatric Hospital in Hull, where he served as registrar. After earning a Ph.D, in psychiatry while senior resident at the Ross Clinic in Aberdeen, Scotland, Jim accepted a position across the pond in The Bronx, New York City, at the Sound View Throgs Neck Clinic. The family lived in Cos Cob, Conn., during that time. Jim then looked to Vermont for a career in psychiatry in a less fast-paced environment. In Rutland, Jim was a member of the staff of The Rutland Mental Health Service. While there, he helped found Serenity House, an alcohol treatment center in Wallingford. Jim was also a partner in the founding of the Vermont Alcohol and Drug Counselors Association. Jim operated a successful private practice in Rutland while continuing to support local health care associations. Jim was offered and accepted a position at The Brattleboro Retreat. While at The Retreat, Jim founded a continuing education program that attracted physicians and mental health workers from all over New England. Living in Guilford, their three children all attended Brattleboro Union High School. He left The Retreat after many years to open a private practice in Brattleboro. He was always looking to expand his horizons or, as he wrote for this obituary, “he did not tolerate bureaucracy well, so tended to move from job to job.” In 1989, Jim was accepted for the position of director of psychiatric services with the Commonwealth of The Northern Marianas Islands on Saipan in the North Pacific. Jim subsequently returned to the United States and worked for the Veterans Administration in Vermont, Michigan, and Maine. While in Michigan, Jim and Jill enjoyed living on the Saginaw River, and traveling around the Great Lakes. After moving to Hallowell, Maine, and retiring from psychiatry while at the Togus Veterans Administration Hospital, Jim and Jill moved to Randolph on the Kennebec River. There, Jim maintained a boat to enjoy fishing and kept his gardens. He and Jill enjoyed time with their granddaughter, Hayley. They moved to Brunswick briefly, then Bath, Maine. Jim’s willingness to help and his creative solutions will be missed by many. Jim enjoyed doing fine woodworking, crafting stained glass, and volunteering at the Senior College and Bath Senior Activity Center where he was known as “Mr. Fix It” for his small item repair work. He is survived by his wife and his three children, and a sister, Nancy. Memorial information: There is no formal service planned. Donations to the Bath Maine Senior Activity Center, or to a charity of one’s choosing.

• Ernest Jackson Wilson, 94, of Walpole, N.H. He was born Nov. 5, 1924, in Athol, Mass., to Aldace and Mary (Holland) Wilson. They soon moved to Franklin, Mass., where Ernie attended local schools, graduating from Franklin High School. The family raised chickens and sold eggs, and he ate so much chicken during the Depression that his choice of entree later was always “anything but chicken.” He learned to drive at age 7, and his earliest jobs were delivering eggs on his bicycle and packing baby chicks for shipment around the country. As a teenager he drove a laundry truck and delivered groceries. Summertime found him on his grandfather’s farm in East Dover, riding the horses on back roads and spending time with cousins, aunts, and uncles. During his first semester at Boston University, he turned 18 and enlisted in the Army Air Forces during World War II. He was accepted to flight school, but just before he was to leave, his company shipped out for Europe. Rather than becoming a pilot as he had intended, he spent the majority of the war in England and France on air bases as a military policeman. After the war, he returned to Boston University, hurrying through his degree in three years, to earn a B.S. in business administration. His first job after graduating was selling farm equipment for General Mills. Weighing a scant 120 pounds himself, he had to spend part of the day unloading 100-lb bags of feed. Deciding that the employment opportunities in the Midwest would be better than in Boston, he lit out for Chicago. Shortly thereafter, he landed a job at the Hartford Insurance Company, where he would spend the next 33 years. In 1953, he was running a manager training program, and a young college graduate named Janet Charn came to work for him. Within a month they had their first date, within three months they were engaged, and within nine months they were married in 1954. His career with The Hartford took them to Dallas, back to the Chicago area, and then to the home office in Hartford, Conn. He rose to vice president of the company and they built a house in Simsbury, where they spent 19 years, before moving to Walpole, N.H., in 1989. Choosing early retirement from The Hartford in 1981, Ernie and Janet began their second career, launching retail stores specializing in cards, gifts, and fine chocolates. In time they had seven stores throughout New England, finally closing the last one, Wilson’s Ltd, in Brattleboro in 1995. He was a talented trumpeter and harmonica player, and loved jazz.. He was an outdoorsman who loved to camp in the woods as a child, and spent years camping with his wife and children throughout the country. He could eat more pancakes than people twice his size —always traveling with his own jug of real maple syrup, just in case —and he never said no to ice cream. An avid reader, he was considered an expert on European and U.S. history, devouring non-fiction books about American politics through the centuries. His interest in family genealogy took him to nearly every cemetery in Vermont, and even to Upholland, England, tracing his roots with his cousin, Mary Lou (Holland) Raymo. Ernie loved traveling with his wife throughout the world, but the place he loved most was the deck of their home in Walpole, looking out toward the Green Mountains in Vermont. Ernie was the kindest and most gentlemanly man most people ever met. He was also a shrewd investor, a wise advisor to his children and grandchildren, and a man of the utmost integrity. His sense of humor was a delight. His calm and loving presence will be dearly missed by his beloved wife of 64 years, Janet; son Scott Wilson and his wife, Deanna, of Grantham, N.H.; daughter Rennie Washburn and her husband, David, of West Chesterfield, N.H.; seven grandchildren, five great-grandchildren and numerous cousins and nephews. He was predeceased by his parents, and sisters Eleanor Wood and Nella Watson, sister-in-law Joyce Hawk, and son-in-law Morgan Randrup. Memorial information: A celebration of his life will be held at First Congregational Church, Walpole, on Saturday, March 16, at 10:30 a.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to First Congregational Church, P.O. Box 393, Walpole, NH, 03608, or to Kurn Hattin Homes, P.O. Box 127, Westminster, VT, 05158.

• David Wayne Worden, 74, of West Chesterfield, N.H. Died unexpectedly on Feb. 28, 2019 at his home. Born in Brattleboro on Sept. 27, 1944, the son of Bion and Ida (Scranton) Worden, he attended Brattleboro public schools and was a graduate of Brattleboro Union High School, Class of 1962. He went on to proudly serve his country in the Army, enlisting in 1964. He was stationed in Germany during the Vietnam War and was honorably discharged from active service in 1967. He was a member of American Legion Post 5 in Brattleboro. He worked at Smith Medical Supply in Keene, N.H., which he retired from in 2007. He enjoyed taking daytrips throughout the tri-state area, eating out at diners, and nature and all animals. In 1993, he married Darlene Sweeney who survives. He was formerly married to Barbara Wilson. Besides his wife of 25 years, he leaves one sister, Barbara King of Rhode Island; two grandchildren, Erik Worden and Anneke Worden; and many nieces, nephews, and several cousins. He was predeceased by one son, Peter Worden, two sisters, Ruth Ellis and Virginia Taylor, and a brother. John Worden. Memorial information: As per his final wishes, there are no funeral services scheduled. He will be laid to rest in the Worden family lot in Meetinghouse Hill Cemetery. Donations to Monadnock Kitty Rescue & Adoption, 11 Plantation Drive, Jaffrey, NH 03452. To sign an online register book or send messages of condolence to his family, visit www.atamaniuk.com.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #501 (Wednesday, March 13, 2019). This story appeared on page C2.

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