Not-for-Profit, Award-Winning Community News and Views for Windham County, Vermont • Since 2006


College news

The team of Brennen Zolnoski of Brattleboro and Emily Fernschild, of Milford, Conn., representing Western New England University of Springfield, Mass., took first place honors in the Senior Design Competition at the 45th annual Northeast Bioengineering Conference, held March 20-22 at Rutgers University. Their project titled “Bioreactor for Mechanical Stimulation of 3D Scaffolds for Tendon Tissue Engineering” earned the team $150 and a 3D printer. The duo were also selected as finalists from over 50 entriess to give a podium presentation of their Senior Design Project.


• Francis Clement “Clem” Coburn, 71, of West Wardsboro. Died May 7, 2019 at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H., following a brief illness. Born in Springfield, Vt., on Oct. 15, 1947, the son of Donald and Jean (Ingraham) Coburn of Windham, he was raised and educated in Windham and was a graduate of Chester High School, Class of 1966. In 1967, he married the love of his life, Cheryl Ballantine, who survives. Clem went on to complete coursework for his CDL license at Community College of Vermont, and worked as a truck driver and heavy equipment operator throughout his adult life. Known for his strong work ethic, he was employed at Brattleboro Haulage, the town of Wardsboro, and Cersosimo Lumber Company. He also operated his own logging truck for several years. He liked to fish and hunt and was a proud member of the National Rifle Association. Clem also enjoyed camping, traveling the back roads of Vermont (he had visited every town in the state). He loved listening to music, especially “The Oldies.” A devoted family man, he cherished time spent with his family and close friends. He was also a very social person who enjoyed drumming up a conversation with anyone he met up with from an acquaintance to a complete stranger. In addition to his spirit of friendship, he was generous and giving, lending assistance to anyone in need. Besides his faithful and devoted wife of 51 years, he leaves one son, Clement Coburn of Stratton; two daughters, Carrie Coburn of West Wardsboro and Colleen Boutin and husband, Gary, of Middlebury; four brothers, Roy Coburn, Butch Coburn, Rick Ballantine, and Roy Ballantine; two sisters, Dolly Osterman and Tracy DeCell, and two grandsons and many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by a sister, Donna Beers. Memorial information: A memorial service will be conducted Saturday, May 25, at 1 p.m., at the Stratton Town Hall with a reception to follow. Donations to Rescue Inc., P.O. Box 593, Brattleboro, VT 05302. To send messages of condolence to the Coburn family, visit

• Roberta Jeannette (Gregoire) Dugas, 92, formerly of Claremont, N.H. Died May 10, 2019 after a 10-year battle with Lewy Body dementia. She was born in Claremont on Feb. 16, 1927, the daughter of the late Annie (Lizotte) Gregoire and Fred I. Gregoire. She attended St. Mary’s schools and was a graduate of Keene Beauty Academy. She owned and operated her own business in Claremont for over 40 years, Roberta’s Beauty Salon on Maple Avenue. She was a former member of the Claremont Lioness Club and was active in many charities. She loved gardening and was proud of her vegetable garden and her many flowerbeds. She loved playing cards, her many pets over the years, and traveling with her husband. She made the best fig squares and date-filled cookies anyone ever tasted. She married Joseph G. Dugas in 1947, whodied in 2004. The surviving family includes her sons: Norman G. Dugas of Brattleboro and Gary L. Dugas and his wife, Laura, of Hooksett, N.H.; her brother, Earl F. Gregoire; one grandson, two great-granddaughters, and many nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by siblings Anna Helene Gregoire, Anita Waylor, Yvonne Burke, Israel A.Gregoire, Calix A. Gregoire, Arthur Gregoire, Donald Gregoire, and her twin brother, Robert J. Gregoire. Memorial information: A funeral Mass was held May 15 at St. Mary Church in Claremont, followed by interment at St. Mary Cemetery. Donations to (for SIDS research in memory of Roberta’s late great-granddaughter) or to the Alzheimer’s Association, 1 Bedford Farms Drive, Bedford, NH 03110.

• Taylor Bradley Horn, 25, of Townshend. Died April 28, 2019 in a hiking accident during a weekend trip touring and hiking in Garmish-Partenkirchen in the Bavarian Alps. At the time of his death, he was deployed in Stuttgart, Germany, as an intelligence analyst with the U.S. Department of Defense. He was born at Grace Cottage Hospital in Townshend on Sept. 6, 1993. At a very young age (after 9/11), Taylor focused his efforts on a career in international politics and conflict resolution. Some of his early related achievements include winning the Vermont GeoBee (sponsored by the National Geographic Society), resulting in a trip to Washington, D.C., to compete at the national level; a U.S. State Department appointment to the Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program; and studies in multilateral diplomacy with the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. He matriculated at Bard College at Simon’s Rock at age 15, graduating with a B.A. (summa cum laude) with a concentration in political economy, followed by graduate studies at the Heinz College at Carnegie Mellon University, graduating with an M.S. in public policy (highest distinction) at age 21. Subsequently, he held positions with the International Trade Commission, Booz Allen Hamilton, and finally, the Defense Department. In addition to his professional interests, Taylor had a passion for nature and the environment, spending much of his spare time hiking, skiing, photographing nature and volunteering at the Baltimore Zoo as an animal handler. In addition, he avidly supported various nonprofit organizations including the U.N. High Commission for Refugees, Southern Poverty Law Center, Amnesty International, and the Natural Resources Defense Council. Taylor had a confidence, determination, and positive attitude that his friends, family and co-workers found contagious and inspiring. He is survived by his parents, Bradley and Pamela Horn of Townshend; his older brother, Colby Ansel Horn; maternal grandparents Pat and Gene Hall of Sunapee, N.H.; paternal grandmother Edith Horn of Doylestown, Pa., and many aunts, uncles, and cousins. Memorial information: A scholarship fund is being established at Bard College at Simon’s Rock to help students aspiring to follow Taylor’s example in pursuing the advancement of multilateral diplomacy and international conflict resolution. Donations to Taylor Horn Scholarship Fund, Bard College at Simon’s Rock, 84 Alford Rd., Great Barrington, MA 01230. His remains will be returning home via Dover Air Force Base in Delaware within weeks. The family is planning a memorial service soon thereafter, with the date and location to be announced.

• Beatrice (Shine) MacFarland, 88, of Newfane. Died May 7, 2019 at her home. She was born Aug. 19, 1920 in Wardsboro, the fifth child of Ethel May (Putnam) Shine and Charles Lyman Shine. She was predeceased by her parents; her siblings Claude Shine, Gerald Shine, Pauline “Polly” Shine, and Brinton Shine; her husband Douglas MacFarland, whom she married in Wardsboro on July 4th 1947; her children Andrew MacFarland and Dawn MacFarland; and great-grandson Francis Nieves. She is survived by her children Mary Jane Williams of Naples, Fla. , Gail Turner of Springfield, Mass., Kay Stringer of Rochester, Vt., Charles MacFarland of Pawtucket R.I., as well as daughters-in-law Nancy Polseno and Jane MacFarland; son-in-law William Stringer; 12 grandchildren, 16 great-grandchildren, and 5 great-great-grandchildren; and Maude Polo, of Newfane (ask her the story). Bea graduated from Leland & Gray at age 16, and then attended the University of Vermont, where she graduated in the class of 1941. She began her teaching career that fall in Poultney and later taught for more than 20 years at Brattleboro Union High School. She was a lifelong educator; teaching was her dream and her passion, and she shared her love of learning with all she met. She lived in Newfane Village from 1947 until her death and was a prominent member of both the town and the village of Newfane. She spearheaded the initiative to redo the sidewalks in the Village, she was a longtime Village trustee, and contributed in countless other ways throughout her time there. Bea and Doug shared their love of Newfane with others via “D & B Real Estate” after she retired from teaching. Bea was also instrumental in the years-long success of the Heritage Festival Super Raffle, and active in many other capacities in support of the Newfane Congregational Church. She was famous among family and friends for her homemade doughnuts, pies, and pickles. As a young girl in Wardsboro, she could not wait to see more of the world. When she had a family of her own, she took them on road trips across the country and traveled to such far flung locations as Hawaii and through the Panama Canal. But she always returned home to her beloved Vermont, treasuring her home in Newfane and her family homestead in Wardsboro. She was a true New Englander. Bea was a formidable Scrabble player and a night owl, often suggesting a game begin after a late dinner, happy to play into the wee hours, usually winning the game. She also enjoyed berry picking, baking, and spending time with friends and family. Bea lived a full, beautiful life and she’ll be dearly missed by those who loved her. Memorial information: A celebration of her life will take place at the Newfane Congregational Church on May 19 at 2 p.m. In her honor, the family encourages everyone to pick up a game of Scrabble, wander through a berry patch, or just connect with an old friend. Donations to Grace Cottage Hospital in Townshend, NewBrook Fire and Rescue in Newfane, Rescue Inc., or the Newfane Congregational Church. To send messages of condolence, visit


A Celebration of Life service for Wendell D. Switzer will be held Saturday, May 18, at 2 p.m., at Immanuel Episcopal Church in Bellows Falls. A Masonic Service will follow at Immanuel Cemetery. The family invites all to join them for a time of fellowship at the Masonic Temple on Westminster Street in Bellows Falls following the services.

Graveside committal services for Dennis Agallianos will be conducted Saturday, May 18, at 10 a.m., in Dummerston Center Cemetery. Mr. Agallianos, formerly of Brattleboro, died Jan. 29, 2019 in Urbana, Ill. To view his full obituary, visit

A graveside service for Paul Eugene “Gene” Guthrie of Brattleboro will be held Saturday, May 25, at 11 a.m., in St. Michael’s Parish Cemetery in Brattleboro. Mr. Guthrie died Feb. 16, 2019, following a period of declining health.

Like what we do? Help us keep doing it!

We rely on the donations and financial support of our readers to help make The Commons available to all. Please join us today.

What do you think? Leave us a comment

Editor’s note: Our terms of service require you to use your real names. We will remove anonymous or pseudonymous comments that come to our attention. We rely on our readers’ personal integrity to stand behind what they say; please do not write anything to someone that you wouldn’t say to his or her face without your needing to wear a ski mask while saying it. Thanks for doing your part to make your responses forceful, thoughtful, provocative, and civil. We also consider your comments for the letters column in the print newspaper.


We are currently reconfiguring our comments software. Please check back if you’d like to read or leave comments on this story. —The editors

Originally published in The Commons issue #510 (Wednesday, May 15, 2019). This story appeared on page C2.

Related stories