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


College news

The following local students graduated from the University of New Hampshire during a virtual commencement ceremony on May 16: Douglas Lazelle of Jacksonville, B.S. in neuroscience and behavior; Miranda Wilkins of Jamaica, B.S. in social work; and Nicholas Nilsen of Wilmington, B.A. in economics: public policy and sustainability.

• Cheickna Doucore of Brattleboro was one of eight Central Connecticut State University students selected to receive the 2020 President’s Citation Award. Doucore is an economics and finance major. He is a member of the Omicron Delta Epsilon International Honors Society of Economics and serves as president of the Economics Club, for which he previously served as vice president. Along with his academic honors, he earned athletic distinction as a lineman on the 2017 and 2019 Northeast Conference football champion teams. In May 2019 and 2020, Doucore was selected for the Athletic Directors All-Academic Team, which recognizes student-athletes who have posted a cumulative GPA above 3.50. He will be in the Financial Management Leadership Development Program at Travelers this summer.

The following local students have been named to the Dean’s List for the spring 2020 semester at the University of New England in Portland, Maine: Anthony Mueller of Bellows Falls, Bridget Duff, Mollie Patenaude, and Riley Patenaude of Brattleboro, and Kaleigh Orsucci of Grafton.

The following local students were recognized by professional societies at the 11th annual Vermont Technical College Honors Celebration on May 21: Tana Cutting, Iyla MacArthur, Rebecca Snow, and Matthew Wright, all of Brattleboro, were recognized for the Alpha Delta Nu honor society; Meghan Forrett of East Dummerston and Lucas Saunders of Saxtons River were recognized for the Phi Theta Kappa honor society; and Mary Gregg of Putney was recognized for the Sigma Theta Tau honor society.

• Bradie Harris of Bellows Falls has been named to the Dean’s List for the spring 2020 semester at Nazareth College in Rochester, N.Y.

• Liam Johnson, a theater major from Wardsboro, was named to the spring 2020 Dean’s List at the University of Evansville (Ind.)


Vermont Student Assistance Corp. recently announced it has awarded over $1.4 million in 800 scholarships to 583 graduating high school seniors to continue their education after high school, including 35 seniors in Windham County who will receive $91,700. VSAC has also awarded over $4.6 million in scholarships to college students returning to school this fall.

VSAC administers 150 scholarships on behalf of state organizations, the federal government, civic groups, and individuals. Scholarships range from $500 to $12,500 and many are renewable for up to four years. Scholarships — like grants — are financial aid that does not need to be paid back; however, scholarships, unlike grants, are competitive, meaning that eligible applicants vie for a limited number of awards. Each unique scholarship is based on factors that include residency, degree program or major, academic achievement, extracurricular activities, and in some cases, financial need. For more information, visit

• Bellows Falls Union High School: Faith Bemis, Stephanie Holland, Justin Pinette, Hunter Smith, and Grace Thompson.

• Brattleboro Union High School: Gale-Ann Allen, Edith Cay, Nichol Frost, Cassidy Gallivan, Amelia Glickman, Sarah Gordon-Macey, Caleb Hayes, Julie Hendricks, Sheridan Lewis, Mirra Macy, Maia McNeill, Zenia Muhammad, Lily Quintero, Olivia Romo, Alyssa Scherlin, Gus Williams, Samantha Winter, and Sara Wright.

• Compass School: Chandre Pero.

• Twin Valley Middle High School: Caylah Brewer.

• Leland & Gray Union High School: Sydney Hescock, Bay Holmes, and Elizabeth Longo.

Windham County seniors Kaylah Jacobs and Athena Fowler-Shaw also received scholarships, according to VSAC.


• Denise Carrara, 50, of Bellows Falls. Died May 19, 2020 at her home. Denise worked most of her life as a waitress and chef before becoming a homemaker. She was devoted to her children, her family, and her various pets. Her creative passions included painting, gardening, writing, and jewelry making. Her warm smile, contagious laughter, and generous and caring spirit will be missed by all who knew her. She is survived by her two children, Braedon and Angus Gunn; her enduring life partner, James Waryas; siblings Adam Carrara and Lisa Carrara; mother, Marie Willette; father, Donato S. Carrara; nephews Shawn Ramsey and Cameron Carrara; and niece Keira Carrara. She was predeceased by her brother, Donato E. Carrara. Memorial information: Final arrangements will be announced at a later date. Donations to Our Place Drop In Center in Bellows Falls.

• David William Edson, 71, formerly of Dummerston. Died peacefully on May 17, 2020 in Cape Coral, Fla., after a courageous five-year battle with multiple myeloma. David was born on July 31, 1948 and raised in Vernon by his parents, Arthur and Evelyn (Bell) Edson. On June 2, 1973, he married Rebecca (Haskins), and they eventually moved to Dummerston where they resided until 2014. Together, they had two children, Emily and Thomas. After he graduated from Brattleboro Union High School in 1967, he served in the U.S. Coast Guard from 1967 to 1971. He later worked for several years at Agway, and then later at Brown & Roberts. He retired from Janos Technology, Inc. after more than twenty years. During those working years, he played in the local softball league, chaperoned all of his children’s school field trips, helped found the East Dummerston Cable Company (which he also later led as president), and faithfully served in many positions at the West Brattleboro Baptist Church. He was renowned for his expertise with repairs and his hazmat knowledge. He truly could build or fix anything. He also had a great love for the outdoors, which he embraced through gardening, ice-skating, skiing, snowmobiling, hiking, swimming, and most recently, biking with his son. He loved vacationing at Moody Beach, Maine, where he rode many waves and built sand sculptures for his children and grandchildren. When his family surrounded him, he was always at his happiest. When David moved to Cape Coral, he bravely kept his cancer at bay for a few years, during which time he volunteered with Habitat for Humanity via his new church, Faith Presbyterian. A few days per week, he spent his retirement doing what he did best, problem solving, improvising, and helping struggling families to finally have a home. David is survived by his wife, Rebecca; his children, Emily (Sean) Boucher and Thomas Edson; grandchildren Dylan and Claire Boucher; sisters Evelyn Harris, Joyce Reischuck, and Phyllis (Douglas) Teeson; and many nieces and nephews. David was preceded in death by his parents, his brother, Richard, and his brother-in-law, Wallace Harris. Memorial information: A celebration of life will be held at a later date. Donations to Habitat for Humanity, 1288 North Tamiami Trail, North Fort Myers, FL 33903 or Also, please consider giving blood through the American Red Cross, because David regularly donated this gift of life prior to his illness.

• Shawn Paul Guerin, 52, of Wilmington. Died May 14, 2020 at the Jack Byrne Center in Lebanon, N.H. Born in Springfield, Mass., on May 2, 1968, the son of Ethel “Pinky” LaFleur and Reggie Guerin, he was an honors graduate of Chicopee (Mass.) High School. He joined the Marine Corps shortly after graduation and, after his service ended, he moved to Vermont. During his working life, he was a skilled tradesman in painting, drywall, welding, and many other areas. Refurbishing the Paul Bunyan statue at Mountain Paul’s General Store in Putney was a job he was particularly proud of. He was an avid outdoorsman who loved camping, fishing and spending time in nature. He could imitate the call of a Mourning Dove exceptionally well. He loved all animals, especially his kitty, Sam. He was an enthusiastic believer in Bigfoot and the unknown. He was a jokester and a child at heart and loved playing pranks on his girlfriend. He also enjoyed playing cribbage with her. He loved all kids and shared a special bond with two little boys that he considered to be his grandsons, Benjamin and Benson. He loved watching movies, especially war or history-related, and loved to get together with friends and have a good time. He also helped out at local soup kitchens and drop-in centers when he could. He was predeceased by his parents and a brother, Danny. He is survived by his girlfriend of 11 years, Michele Amsden; a son, Shane Paul Guerin; two brothers, Paul and Gary; and three sisters, Michele, Suzette, and Shari. He is also survived by his longtime best friend and “cousin” Kenny Jimmo. Memorial information: Plans for a celebration of his life are to be announced. Donations to St. Brigid’s Kitchen, 38 Walnut St., Brattleboro, VT 05301, or Loaves and Fishes, 193 Main St., Brattleboro, VT 05301.

• Mark Robert Kneeland, 64, of Brattleboro. Died at his home on Monday May 25, 2020. He was born on June 11, 1955 in Brattleboro, to Dean and Charlena (Pearson) Kneeland of Dummerston. Mark was raised and educated in Dummerston and moved on to graduate from Brattleboro Union High School, where he was a member of Future Farmers of America. Mark worked most of his life as a truck driver. He established a small company, Kneeland Trucking, with his childhood friend, Donald Elliott. He went on to haul for Stub Inc., and later worked for Cersosimo Industries as a rock crusher operator. Mark loved animals and stayed busy taking care of his small dogs. He also enjoyed attending vehicle and antique auctions. Mark is survived by his four children from his first marriage: Trisha Kneeland of Westminster, Trina Bowen and granddaughter, Nora Bowen, of Townshend, Jeffrey Kneeland and fiance, Amanda Sabo, of Westminster, and Tracy (Kneeland) Forrett and son-in-law, Timothy Forrett Jr., of Vernon; Also his wife, Teri (Benoit) Kneeland, of Hinsdale N.H.; sister Kandace (Kneeland) Bisbee and brother-in-law, Spaulding Bisbee III, of Westminster; and several nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his parents and his sister, Kimith (Kneeland) Hickin. Memorial information: There are no calling hours. Donations to Windham County Humane Society, 916 West River Rd. #9089, Brattleboro, VT 05301.

• Ronald William “Ron” Lyman, 77, of Townshend. Died with his family at his side on May 25, 2020 at Jack Byrne Hospice Center in Hanover, N.H., after a long battle with illness. He was the husband of Audrey Sawyer Lyman. Born in Brattleboro on Sept. 22, 1942, he was the son of the late William Kenneth Lyman and Elizabeth “Bessie” Boyden Lyman. A 1961 graduate of Leland & Gray Seminary, he joined the National Guard after graduation. He married Audrey on July 24, 1965. He lived in Townshend for the majority of his life until moving to the Vernon Homes for the past seven years. Ron was a member of the Valley Bible Church, served on the Townshend School Board for several years, and was a former member of the West River Lions Club. He was a committed and well-respected television repairman and cable technician. Ron was particularly proud of his role in the development of many of the local cable television clubs in the West River Valley. He loved working for Southern Vermont Cable, the successor of those TV clubs. He took great pleasure in local history, knowing many details both of his own family and that of many in Windham County. Throughout his life, Ron was well known for his kindness and love to all those he encountered. His ability to take each day and declare it “the best day ever” will inspire and motivate those who loved him for years to come. He is survived by wife, Audrey; their three children, Cynthia “Cindy” Lyman Matthew (Julian) of York, Pa., Keith Ronald Lyman (Jessica) of Vernon, and Patricia “Trish” Lyman Skeffington (Aaron) of Townshend; and nine grandchildren and several nieces and nephews. Ron was predeceased by his sister, Kay (Lyman) Shaw. Memorial information: Ronald was buried beside his parents in Oakwood Cemetery in Townshend on May 29. A memorial service will be held at a later date. To share a memory of Ronald, visit

• Dr. John “Jack” Russell Mann Jr., 90, of Brattleboro. Died peacefully of natural causes on May 21, 2020 at his home in Florida. A longtime Brattleboro dentist and community leader, Dr. Mann’s dental career spanned more than 40 years. Born March 26, 1930 in Brattleboro, o John R. and Pauline Shaw Mann at their home on Washington Street, his mother recalled hearing the noontime whistle at the Estey Organ Factory announcing his arrival. Soon after his birth, his family moved to his childhood home on the corner of Spruce Street, next to his Grandmother Mann’s home on Western Avenue. He attended Green Street School and enjoyed playing in and around the neighborhood with his “Spruce Street Gang” of friends. He also had fond memories from that time of being at his Gram’s house, sitting in the rocking chair in her kitchen. A proud seventh-generation Vermonter, he graduated from Brattleboro High School in 1948. He then attended Middlebury College, where he excelled in mathematics and physics, completing his undergraduate degree in three years, going on to dental school at the University of Pennsylvania, and concluding a surgical internship at Episcopal Hospital in Philadelphia. In 1955, he joined the Army Dental Corps. Upon his return from service in Korea, he began his dental career in Brattleboro, founding his practice on High Street in 1958. He was well respected as a skilled dentist with a gentle chairside manner. He often put his patients at ease with his sense of humor. During this time, Dr. Mann was very active in professional associations, serving as treasurer and then president of the Vermont Dental Society, secretary and then president of the New England Dental Society, president of the New England Foundation for Continuing Education, president of the Vermont Chapter of the Academy of General Dentistry, as well as additional leadership roles and memberships in several other professional societies. He also served as a member and chairman of the board of Delta Dental of Vermont and Northeast Delta for more than 20 years. He was widely recognized for his work, including the first-ever fellowship to the Academy of General Dentistry earned in Vermont. He received the Distinguished Service Award by the Vermont Dental Society, was elected to the Pierre Fauchard Society, and was a fellow of the American College of Dentists and the International College of Dentists. Dr. Mann served as a member of the board of directors of First Vermont Bank for 25 years, and chaired its audit committee for 15 years. He was also active in local organizations as president of the Community Chest, chair of the March of Dimes, a member of the Brattleboro Memorial Hospital finance committee, a Cub Scout leader, and as an enthusiastic member of his BHS alumni class. He was a life member of the Brattleboro Lodge No. 102 of the Free and Accepted Masons and a past Grand Master and District Grand Master. He was first initiated in 1951, became a Master Mason, and earned the degrees of all York Rite Bodies. A lifelong member of Centre Congregational Church, at the time of his death, he was its longest-term parishioner, as were his parents and grandparents before him. As a young man, he learned to sail on Spofford Lake, and he and his brother Kim went on to race Lightnings with Fred Harris, an experience that he recalled fondly. He was an avid skier, from his early days on the BHS ski team to later ski adventures that included heliskiing in the Bugaboos and numerous trips to the Alps. In 1963, he married Mary Wheeler of Brattleboro, with whom he had three children, Melissa, Christopher and Jessica. A loving father, his children were a priority in his life, and he took them for annual trips to the seacoast in Maine, where they climbed on the rocks, and to The Balsams in New Hampshire, where they skied to their hearts’ content. He developed an interest in scuba diving, earning numerous certifications and enjoying dive trips throughout the Caribbean. Underwater photography became a new aspect of his lifelong passion for photography. He shared his love of the underwater world with his children, inviting them to join him on dive trips. He relished the pursuit of knowledge. He enjoyed reading vast numbers of history books and was also fascinated by astronomy and space technology. He cherished his home state of Vermont, his Vermont ancestry, and the lives of his family members before him. Later in life, he married Bea Ziegler; the two shared a deep love and mutual admiration. Together they enjoyed worldwide travel, jazz music, and lifelong learning. They became involved with the Brattleboro Sunrise Rotary and Rotary International, and hosted students from Russia and Japan. They delighted in entertaining at their home on Laurel Ledges in Vernon, and also enjoyed spending time in St. Martin and Florida. Following the death of his wife Bea in 2007, his travels and adventures slowed a bit. His vision declined, presenting additional challenges to the natural aging process. Yet he handled these with grace, maintaining his positive attitude and great sense of humor, as well as his kindness and generosity of spirit. These characteristics will be greatly missed by his family and friends. He is predeceased by his younger brother Kim, and survived by his three children, Melissa Mann Scholz of Halver, Germany, Christopher Mann of Stratton, and Jessica Mann of Delray Beach, Fla.; stepsons Ward Mann of Leicester, Vt., and Philip Mann of South Newfane; stepdaughter Christine Ziegler Ulsh of Fleetwood, Pa., and 10 grandchildren. Memorial information: A private graveside service will take place on May 28 at Morningside Cemetery. A memorial service is anticipated at a later date. Donations for the benefit of the local community may be made to “The Book of Remembrance,” Centre Congregational Church, 193 Main St., Brattleboro, VT 05301. Arrangements are under the direction of Ataminiuk Funeral Home.

• William M. “Bill” Reser, 73, formerly of Putney. Died May 17, 2020, after a brief illness and a period of declining health, at Pine Heights in Brattleboro. He was born in Durham, N.C., on Nov. 22, 1946, the son of Richard M. Reser and Sarah Margaret (Wingo) Reser. He grew up in the Atlanta, Ga., area and attended the Westminster School, graduating in 1964. As children, Bill and his brother Richard enjoyed summer camping trips with their parents. Bill attended Wesleyan College, and later served in the Army, stationed in Japan. He lived in Waldoboro, Maine, for a time, where he had many friends and a reputation as a great dinner party host. He was a fun-loving intellect and a regular at the Camden Conference, which fosters informed discourse on world issues. He also created a jazz venue that brought in jazz groups for residents to enjoy. Bill was a giver, a wonderful friend, and remains in the hearts and memories of many in the Waldoboro area. He later moved to Putney, where he was a member of the Genesis Church of the Brethren, and enjoyed serving as a volunteer worship leader. He worked for a number of years as classroom assistant teacher for the Windham Southeast Supervisory Union. Bill loved music and was an avid reader of nonfiction. He was always keenly attentive to the national political climate, and enjoyed discussing issues of the day. After moving to New England, he became a loyal Red Sox fan. He especially enjoyed getting together with friends to watch games. Bill was loved by residents and staff of Bradley House, where he lived for a time before a period of declining health. Bill was preceded in death by his parents, and his stepmother, Eleanor “Ellie” Reser. He is survived by a brother, Richard Reser (Carolyn), stepsisters Lisa May (Don), and Rachel Holloway (Robert E. Denton, Jr.); several cousins, and numerous nieces, nephews, and great-nieces and great-nephews. Memorial information: Bill’s family and a few close friends will be holding a celebration of his life via teleconference. Memorial donations can be made to Bradley House, 65 Harris Ave., Brattleboro, VT 05301. Bill’s ashes will be interred at the Glenwood Cemetery in Bristol, Tenn., the town where his father was born.

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 #564 (Wednesday, June 3, 2020). This story appeared on page A6.

Share this story


Related stories