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

Milestones

College news

• Emma Li of Brattleboro was named to the fall 2019 semester Dean’s List at Simmons University in Boston.

Marriages

• Despite the current pandemic, Richard Davis of Guilford and Roberta Levy of Lynn, Mass., were married on the beach on St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands on March 20. Rabbi Marcy Delbick officiated and a traditional Jewish wedding chuppa was constructed on the beach. Eight people were in attendance, so no public health mandates were ignored.

Obituaries

• Edith C. Fenton, 88, of West Halifax. Died March 14, 2020 at her home. Edith was born in Medford, Mass. on April 14, 1931, the daughter of the late Edward F. Fenton Sr. and Margaret Pearl (Cafrella) Fenton. She attended local schools, and graduated Medford High School in 1949. Edith worked in the banking industry in both Medford and in Vermont for many years. She was a huge gardener and enjoyed wood carving and blueberry picking. She also volunteered at the Jacksonville Library and many other places. Edith is survived by her siblings Edward F. Fenton, Jr. of West Dummerston, Luella Thompson of Scottsdale, Ariz., and Charles H. Fenton of Medford; and many nieces, nephews and cousins. She was preceded in death by her brother John O. Fenton and sister Mildred J. Shaffer. Memorial information: A celebration of Edith’s life will be held and announced later in the summer. To send the family personal condolences, visit www.sheafuneralhomes.com.

• Mary M. Forrett, 88, of West Dummerston. Died peacefully March 17, 2020 at Vernon Green Nursing Home. Born in West Rupert on April 22, 1931, the daughter of Claude and Dora (Woodard) Matteson, Mary’s mother passed away two days following her birth and subsequently she was raised by William and Henrietta Jackson-Snow. Mary attended West Rupert Grammar School in Salem (N.Y.) High School and later Brattleboro High School. She had been employed at the former BookPress in Brattleboro, which she retired from as a foreman following over 35 years of faithful service. Previously, she worked at the former United Murray Heel Company in Brattleboro, where she met her future husband, Sylvio “Shorty” Forrett. In 1952, they were married. Her husband predeceased her on Oct. 24, 2019. She loved the outdoors, working in her yard and garden and walking the roads of Dummerston. Survivors include two half-sisters, Ruth Carey and Geraldine Sherman, and many nieces, nephews, great nieces and great-nephews. She was predeceased by two brothers, Claude and Almond Matteson; three half-brothers, Donald, William and Robert Matteson; and a half-sister, Patricia Greene. Memorial information: Graveside committal services will be private for the immediate family only. Donations to Vernon Green Activities Fund, 61 Greenway Drive, Vernon, VT 05354-9474. To send messages of condolence to the family, visit www.atamaniuk.com.

• Eliot Frank Kimble Sr., 93, formerly of Dummerston and, more recently, a resident at Holton Home in Brattleboro. Died March 18, 2020 at Springfield (Vt.) Health & Rehabilitation Center. Born in Lebanon, Ind., on May 14, 1926, the son of Gus and Lucille (Borges) Kimble, he was raised and educated in New London, Conn., and was a graduate of the Chapman Technical High School in New London. He proudly served his country in the Marine Corps during World War II. He enlisted in 1944, serving with the 4th Division as a machine gun crewman replacement. He was honorably discharged from active service in 1947, and married to Phyllis Tudor, who survives. He worked his entire career in the printing industry and worked for several area printing companies before establishing his own company, Publishers Composition Services (1959-1978). He eventually sold the business and went to work for Irving Perkins Associates, which he retired from in 1989. With his wife, he was a member of the First Congregational Church in West Brattleboro and held membership in American Legion Post 5. First and foremost, he was a faithful and devoted husband and loving father and grandfather. With his wife, they built a home on Sunset Lake Road in West Brattleboro and raised four children. Later, the couple built a second home in East Dummerston. He enjoyed dancing, bowling, and spending time with his many friends. He was an aviation enthusiast who built many remote-control airplanes over the course of his lifetime and was the first president of the Ashuelot Valley Flyers Club. When he retired, he built an ultralight that he flew often. Eliot had a funny dry sense of humor that will be sorely missed by all. Besides his wife of 72 years he leaves: his four children, Eliot II (Rhoda) of Johnson; Lynn McAloney (Bill) of Milton Township, Maine; Mitchell (Sue Durant) of Killington and Ann (Cheryl Bedard) of Dummerston; and his two granddaughters. Additionally, he is survived by several nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his mother; two brothers, Jim and Creighton; and a sister, Pat. Memorial information: Due to the global pandemic, services will be delayed until a future date to be announced by the funeral home. Committal services with military honors will be in the family lot in Locust Ridge Cemetery on Black Mountain Road. Donations to Holton Home Activities Fund, 158 Western Ave., Brattleboro, VT 05301 or Rescue, Inc., P.O. Box 593, Brattleboro, VT 05302. To send messages of condolence to the family, visit www.atamaniuk.com.

• Dorla June Rice, 90, of Grafton. Died Feb. 19, 2020 at Springfield (Vt.) Health & Rehab Center. She was to be there only for a two-week respite period while her son had hernia surgery. She was born Sept. 19, 1929, the daughter of Clarence and Evelyn Derby of Keene, N.H. She grew up in the Swanzey/Troy area, where she met and married Melvin B. Rice. Dorla worked for many years at Troy Woolen Mills then later worked at American Optical in Keene. In 1969, Melvin and Dorla, and their son, James, moved to Grafton. They established and built their new home on Wright Orchard Road. She loved working on their property, keeping it groomed, growing various beautiful gladiolas, and other flowers. A huge vegetable garden was always a plus. Dorla worked locally as a house cleaner for Dr. David Stewart, the Chapman Family, and Marge Hindel. She was incredibly skilled at crocheting and knitting. She made many presents for all her family and friends. She also took orders for her work. She loved her TV game shows, like Cash Cab and Jeopardy, and also doing crossword puzzles. She and her witty, bordering on sassy, personality will be missed by all. Dorla was predeceased by her husband Melvin Sr. in 1995 and her daughter, Donna Marie, in 1988. She leaves her son, James Elliot Rice and his wife, Dolores; stepson Melvin Rice Jr. of Rockingham; four grandchildren, a step-grandson, and five great-grandchildren. Memorial information: A graveside service will be held in the Houghtonville Cemetery at the convenience of the family. Arrangements are in the care of Fenton & Hennessey Funeral Home of Bellows Falls.

• Joan Shore, 92, of Westminster West. Died March 4, 2020 at the Converse Home in Burlington. Her daughter Hannah and two granddaughters, Roxanne and Madeline, were at her side. Born on May 21, 1927 to Grace and John Oliver in Highland Park, Ill., she earned her B.A. in English literature from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1949. There she met and married Edward A. Shore, with whom she raised four children. Ed predeceased her in 2001. In 1950, Joan and Ed traveled to New Zealand and Tonga, where they lived for a total of three years working as teachers. These years had a profound effect on their lives, sparking a love for both teaching and travel that took them to many foreign countries over the following years. Joan dedicated her professional life to teaching at the Putney Grammar School, the Green Street and Canal Street Schools in Brattleboro, the Westminster West School, and schools in New Zealand, Tonga, and China. She also taught many friends and relatives, young and old, to paint, play music, bake, knit, sew, and garden, sharing her enthusiasm with great patience. After retiring from teaching, Joan continued to pursue her lifelong love of music and the arts, playing violin and viola in the Windham Orchestra and in chamber groups, and singing in the Unitarian church choir at the West Village Meeting House. She took classes in drawing, painting and printmaking and enjoyed attending local theater, literary and classical music events. Joan continued to live in her own home, fully enjoying her beautiful flower gardens and wonderful neighbors until 2017, when her advancing dementia made it impossible to live independently. She then moved to the Converse home in Burlington to be closer to family. Joan is survived by her four children Hannah, Becky, Kaethe,and Giovanni; and five grandchildren Roxanne, Elizabeth, Madeline, Giulia and Leonardo. Memorial information: A memorial is being planned for the summer.

• Barbara Jean Smith, 83, of Chester. Died unexpectedly on March 12, 2020 at her home. She was born Dec. 12, 1936, in Bellows Falls, the daughter of Carl and Marion (Fair) Blake. On May 18, 1956, she married Herbert “Bud” Batchelder, he predeceased her. She later married Elmer Smith; he also predeceased her. Barbara was a homemaker and devoted mother to her four children. She loved maintaining her flower gardens and her yard. She enjoyed her 50-year career as a housekeeper to many properties in the area, retiring just four years ago and passing along her clients to her daughter-in-law, January. Barbara enjoyed many hobbies, including playing piano, writing poetry, painting ceramic figures, woodburning, needlepoint, embroidery, patchwork quilting baby blankets and handmade Halloween costumes. She enjoyed shopping trips to the local thrift stores in Chester and Londonderry. She loved to decorate for the holidays and enjoyed planning a yearly family gathering. She also enjoyed collecting Native American memorabilia, bald eagle memorabilia, and anything with an American flag. Most of all, she enjoyed spending time with her family. In her younger years, she enjoyed running, doing aerobics, ice skating and going out dancing. She was a lifelong, dedicated member of the American Legion Post 67 Women’s Auxiliary. Barbara is survived by her son, Roy Batchelder and wife Carol of Rockingham; her son, Jason Smith and his wife, January, of Chester; her daughter, Rohanda Batchelder; 13 grandchildren and many great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and cousins. She was predeceased by her parents; her oldest son, Rodney Batchelder; and her siblings, Opal, Peggy, Nancy, Alberta, Betty, Joanna, Gene, Herold, Raymond and Carl. Memorial information: Services are postponed at this time Davis Memorial Chapel is assisting with arrangements.

• Mary Van Iderstine, 92, of Newfane. Died peacefully with family by her side on March 1, 2020 at Grace Cottage Hospital in Townshend. Born on Dec. 15, 1927 to Martha (Howe) and Harry Sven Anderson of Brattleboro, Mary spent her early childhood years in a home on Greenhill Parkway with her parents and three siblings — Alice, Stanley, and Harry Jr. Mary attended Green Street Elementary School, then Brattleboro High School, graduating in 1945. She excelled in numerous subjects, including shorthand. She would use that skill in later years, most notably during her employment as a legal secretary for the late state Sen. Robert Gannett. Mary had a lifelong fascination for history, and she particularly appreciated Vermont’s richly textured narrative. She was a direct descendent of storied Revolutionary era Vernon homesteaders Jemima (Sartwell) and Caleb Howe, as well as grandniece to renowned coloratura soprano Mary Howe-Levin (a.k.a., Mary Burton), for whom she was named. Her early employment years were with the former Houghton & Simonds store in Brattleboro. Later, she worked at the Vermont Department for Children and Families, as well as Mary Meyer Toys in Townshend, and for Senator Gannett. She married Peter H. Van Iderstine in 1947, and the couple had four children. The family moved to Newfane in 1963, where Mary was active for many years in the Newfane Congregational Church, having previously taught Sunday School at the Second Congregational Church in Brattleboro. She was also an enthusiastic member of the Newfane Garden Club, the Ladies Aid, and a tribe of fabulous females that included Patricia Relyea, Fannie Mantel, Miriam Crispe, Bea MacFarland, and Evelyn Robinson. The latter group met regularly to create crafts and other items to cheer hospital patients, and to benefit other causes. Mary was a terrific cook and baker, avid gardener, animal lover, wry humorist and gifted writer. In addition to her parents, she was predeceased by her husband in 1976, and her son Carter in 2019. She is survived by her siblings, as well as three children, two grandchildren, two great-grandchildren and a great-great-grandchild. Memorial information: A private burial has been arranged, and a celebration of Mary’s life will be announced for some time next year, when travel is expected to be easier. Donations to Grace Cottage Hospital.

• Joy Wallens-Penford, 72, of Guilford. Died peacefully on March 8, 2020 at Cheshire Medical Center in Keene, N.H., after a brief and courageous battle with uterine cancer. Born Joy Carol Frelich on October 12, 1947 in Boston, she was the second child to the late Rita Miriam Radovsky Frelich (1974) and the late Paul Daniel Frelich (2012). In her earlier years Joy loved ballet, music lessons in piano, violin, and voice, the French language, reading, and sweets — all passions she shared with her own children. Joy attended schools in Wellesley, Cambridge, and Dover, Mass., graduated at the age of 16 from Dover-Sherborn High School, and completed coursework at Mass Bay Community College and the University of Massachusetts at Boston. She learned calligraphy under the renowned Sandi Dhooge-Quinn Vachon of the Boston School of Calligraphy and studied graphic and publishing design while residing in Los Angeles in 1972. In 1964, Joy married Phillip (Phill) Alan Wallens in Boston, with whom she had three daughters. They established homes in Brighton, Mass., and then Los Angeles, before returning to Brookline, Mass., but the promise of a more idyllic life for her family prompted a move to Brattleboro in 1978. Joy and Phill divorced in 1982, but they remained close until his death from congestive heart failure in 1985. In 1995, Joy married John S. Penford in Brattleboro. Three months after the wedding, Joy and John opened a Bed and Breakfast on Western Avenue for two years. In 2001, they moved to their home in Guilford. Joy loved the peace and tranquility of Guilford. John and Joy enjoyed hosting dinner with friends and opening their home to visiting artists and students. They shared a love of dogs, especially their rescue dog Lucy. Joy was an integral member of the local arts community, incorporating music and the arts into her daily life both personally and professionally. She was a member of many choruses and chamber groups around Boston and in Vermont, including the Wellesley Choral Society, the Blanche Moyse Chorale, and the All Souls UU Church choir. Joy directed her own Balkan quartet in the early 1990s and participated in musical productions with the Friends of Music at Guilford (FOMAG) for nearly 40 years. She curated multiple gallery shows featuring local artists at the All Souls Church, where she was a longstanding member. Joy served as Administrative Director of FOMAG from 2007 until her death. For 19 consecutive years, without fail, she recruited and promoted artists and businesses for Brattleboro’s monthly Gallery Walk, a project of the Art’s Council of Windham County. She lent her gift of design and calligraphy to countless number of posters, programs, mailings, ads and hand-crafted citations. She will be remembered for her dedication to her craft, exacting nature, generous spirit, and her signature chocolate carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. In addition to her husband, Joy is survived by her three daughters, Amy Wallens Green of Westborough, Mass., Laura Isabella of Brattleboro, and Andrea Powell of Brattleboro; two stepsons, Guy Penford of Grassmere, England and Gerry Penford of St. Petersburg, Fla.; four grandchildren, Grace Green of New York City, Kaidan Powell of Westerly, R.I., Isabel McCarthy of Brattleboro, and Ayiana Powell of Brattleboro. Joy also leaves her younger sister, Janna Maria Frelich (Kevin Foley), of Boston; nephew Shawn Brown of Naples, Fla., niece Róisín Foley of Boston, and nephew Ciarán Foley of Brooklyn, N.Y., and many beloved cousins and dear friends. She was predeceased by her brother, Daniel Paul Frelich in 2008. Memorial information: A celebration of Joy’s life will be held at All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church, 29 South St., West Brattleboro, at 2 p.m., on Saturday, May 9. Donations can be made to Friends of Music at Guilford, P.O. Box 6366, Brattleboro, VT 05302-6366, or the Remembrance Fund of All Souls Church.

• Mary Newton Western, 89, of West Windham. Died March 12, 2020 at her home surrounded by daffodils and family. Ella Fitzgerald and choral music serenaded her to the last. Complications related to Alzheimer’s caused her death. She was born on Dec. 16, 1930 in Hartford, Conn., and spent her youth in West Windham, where her parents ran the Newton School. She described her early life as idyllic, spending hours riding her Morgan, Mann, over fields and logging roads. She never lost her love of horses. Mary graduated from the Emma Willard School and Columbia University School of Nursing. She married David Western in 1955. For many years, Mary worked as a nurse at Grace Cottage Hospital. She also worked for Dr. Edward Mulhern at the end of her career. After she retired, she continued to volunteer at Grace Cottage Hospital Fair Day. Yet Mary was more than a professional caregiver. Kindness, generosity, and unconditional love ran deep in her bones. She was a beloved resident of the Cobb Brook Valley, her home a haven for all. Although they lived in various communities, including Melrose, Mass., and Benson, Vt., Dave and Mary eventually returned to their house in West Windham. The home, known as the Music House, was at the center of Mary’s world. She spent hours in various gardens, tending flowers and an assortment of berries. She gained renown for her bread, pickles, and fruit liqueurs. Music played a major role in her life. She embraced an eclectic approach, with tastes ranging from Schoenberg to Louis Armstrong, Bach to Brubeck. She loved to sing and was a member of choral societies in Brattleboro and Burlington. From her parents, she inherited a love of literature and made damned sure she raised a family of readers. After her husband Dave’s death in 2004, Mary moved to Burlington to be close to her children. She returned to the Music House whenever possible. Eventually, her affliction obligated a move to Ethan Allan Residence, an assisted living facility. As the end of Mary’s life drew near, her family moved her back to the Music House. Mary recognized she was home and died within two days. She is survived by an older sister, Margaret; a younger brother, Michael; five children, Samuel (Jessica), Matthew (Heidi), Margaret (John), Joanna, and Tony (Nell); and 10 grandchildren. Memorial information: A memorial service is scheduled for a later date. Donations to the Grace Cottage Foundation and Doctors Without Borders.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #554 (Wednesday, March 25, 2020). This story appeared on page A4.

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