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Milestones

Milestones

College news

• Kim Amidon, an environmental studies major from Vernon, was recently named to the President’s List at The State University of New York at Potsdam for the fall 2020 semester.

• Cassandra Dunn, a theater major from Brattleboro, was named to the Dean’s List at the University of Evansville (Indiana) for the fall 2020 semester.

Transitions

Youth Services announced that Lana Dever has joined the Youth Development team as the new Youth Homelessness Coordinator and Brattleboro Case Manager. Youth Development programming at Youth Services provides wrap services for youth ages 12-23 who are experiencing homelessness, housing instability, or are at risk for displacement from their families or homes. Dever, who was herself homeless for a time as a teen, has a B.A. in African American Studies with a minor in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She co-founded the Southern Vermont Chapter of Black Lives Matter, served on the board for The Root Social Justice Center, and was a mentor for Big Brothers Big Sisters and joined its board in 2009. Additionally, she was a driver for Meals on Wheels in Brattleboro, and served on the Allocations Committee of United Way of Windham County. Dever was employed as a dental technician and practice manager at a local practice from 2003-2009 as well as a volunteer dental technician at the Brattleboro Walk-in Clinic.

• Neil Goldberg has joined Berkley & Veller Greenwood Country Realtors of Brattleboro. Goldberg is a newly-licensed Realtor, was raised in Putney, graduated from Brattleboro Union High School, and after “seeing the world” and jobs in the hospitality industry, earned his degree in Applied Economics and Community Development at the University of Vermont. He then went into the Vermont craft spirits industry in sales & marketing roles, learning how to connect consumers with a brand and a product. The agency says Goldberg “brings computer fluency, strong customer service skills and his local knowledge of Windham County” to his new job.

• Joshua Rosenblum, a Grace Cottage Emergency Department Physician Assistant (PA), has been elected to the national Board of Directors of the Society of Emergency Medicine Physician Assistants (SEMPA). He holds a Master of Physician Assistant Studies from Franklin Pierce University and is board-certified in Emergency Medicine. In addition to working full-time at Grace Cottage, he works per diem in the Emergency Departments at Cheshire Medical Center, Brattleboro Memorial Hospital, and Mt. Ascutney Hospital. He is also a professional Ski Patroller at Stratton Mountain and a paramedic with Stratton Mountain Rescue, as well as a part-time police officer, paramedic, and EMS Coordinator for Winhall Police and Rescue. Previous to these positions, he was a PA at Springfield Hospital and a paramedic in Ontario, Canada, providing emergency medical care coverage for the Toronto Raptors, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Toronto Blue Jays.

Obituaries

• Hazel J. Anderson, 91, of Brattleboro. Died Jan. 1, 2021 at Pine Heights in Brattleboro, after a brief period of declining health. A lifelong resident of Brattleboro and truly independent and self-reliant Vermonter, she was born Oct. 6, 1929 to the late Emil Henning Anderson and Lilla May (Marden) Anderson. She attended local schools and graduated from Brattleboro High School in 1947. She was the last member still residing in the West Street neighborhood of the original Swedeville families who emigrated from Sweden in the late 19th century to work in the Estey Organ factories. After initially working for the Houghton & Simonds department store, Hazel worked at The Austine School, first as a secretary and then as a teacher, before matriculating to Lyndon Teachers College where she graduated with honors in 1962. Following graduation, she taught at Hinsdale Elementary School for almost 30 years, retiring in 1992. Hazel had many interests, especially in local history, and was an active volunteer with the Brattleboro, Windham County and Vermont historical societies. For years, she hosted visitors at the Brattleboro Historical Society’s Beal House and was also active in the BHS/BUHS Alumni Association. She marched in many annual alumni parades, sometimes as the sole representative of the Class of 1947. She served as a town meeting representative from 1981 to 2002 and as a volunteer poll worker. She maintained her interest in local politics until the end of her life, still tuning in to Selectboard meetings on BCTV. Hazel was an active walker, logging many miles around town, an excellent gardener, and an aficionado of 1,000-piece puzzles. She also volunteered for several years in the BMH coffee shop. Hazel was predeceased by her brother, Carl M. Anderson of Brattleboro, and is survived by her sister, Florence M. Robertson of Brattleboro, niece Heidi Meyer of Brattleboro, nephews Eric Anderson and Kurt Anderson of Spokane, Wash., David Egan-Robertson of Madison, Wis., and James Robertson of Glastonbury Conn., and their families. She always maintained great interest in the activities of her extended family, and showed thoughtfulness and generosity toward them all. Memorial information: Graveside services at Meeting House Hill Cemetery will be scheduled for a date sometime later in 2021. Donations to the Brattleboro Historical Society, 230 Main St., Room 301, Brattleboro, VT 05301.

• Michael Hoyt Blake, 60, formerly of Brattleboro. Died unexpectedly on Dec. 16, 2020 in Florida. He was born in Lebanon, N.H., on April 23, 1960. He grew up in Brattleboro and graduated from Brattleboro Union High School in 1978 and attended Castleton University in Vermont, where he studied computer engineering. In March 1986, Michael met Lori, the love of his life. Three short months later, they married and started a love story they knew would be forever. Michael’s greatest pride came from being a husband and father. His greatest joys were his wife and children. Mike was a loyal, selfless, hard-working man who often held multiple jobs to provide for his family. He was a skilled carpenter and roofer with an incredible work ethic. He had a magnetic, larger-than-life personality, and knew how to lighten up any situation. He would strike up a conversation with anyone around him, including strangers. He always had a smile on his face that left everyone around him with a smile, as well. Mike’s fondest memories were of building the hunting camp in Bradford, Vt., with his dad when he was younger, and the countless years hunting there. He also loved fishing, skiing, playing pool, classic rock, horseshoes, and weekly games of poker. He loved all sports and was a diehard Boston Red Sox, Boston Bruins, and Florida State University fan. Mike’s spirit will forever be with us. He is survived by his wife of 34 years, Lauri Ann Blake of Port St. Lucie Fla.; his daughter Sarah Dawn Mulder and her husband, Hiddo Mulder, of Pompano Beach, Fla.; sons Kruce Michael Blake and his wife Kayla Blake of Concord, Mass., and Jacob Michael Blake of Port St. Lucie, Fla.; mother Brenda H. (Blake) Maskell of Brattleboro; brother Mark Blake and his wife Kelly of Hockessin, Del., along with his sister Megan Maskell of Brattleboro and brother Jackson Kidder and his wife, Carolyn, of Raleigh, N.C. He was recently predeceased by his father, Wayne Blake, and is also survived by his father’s wife, Barbara Robinson Blake, and stepbrothers Jeffrey and Steven Robinson of Brattleboro. Memorial information: The family will hold a celebration of life at a later date. Donations to either the Make-A-Wish Foundation, or to the family’s GoFundMe account at www.gofundme.com/mikeblakefamily.

• Ethel Mae (Rousseau) Brosnahan, 93, of Brattleboro. Died Jan. 3, 2021 at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital from complications related to COVID-19. Ethel was born on July 1, 1927 in Keene, N.H., to Octave and Antoinette Rousseau. She was delivered by Dr. John J. Brosnahan Sr., her future father-in-law. Ethel was the ninth of 10 children and was predeceased by five brothers and four sisters. In 1952, Ethel married John J. Brosnahan Jr. Ethel and John met while golfing at the Keene Country Club. John died in 1996. For 31 years, Ethel performed many functions within the Vermont Judiciary. She was a part-time Deputy Sheriff for 19 years, working as a Court Officer in charge of jury management at Vermont District Court in Brattleboro. In November 1986, Ethel was the first woman to be elected Assistant Judge in Windham County, a position she held for 12 years. Ethel also served on the Board of Civil Authority and was a Justice of the Peace for 16 years. She was active as a member of the Brattleboro and Windham County Democratic Committees and served as a Town Meeting member for many years. Ethel so enjoyed telling stories of the trouble she sometimes found herself in while growing up with five brothers close in age. She is remembered by her daughters as an outgoing and sociable person who much loved her granddaughters and took pride in their accomplishments. She also loved music, especially the singing of Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra, Janis Joplin and Willie Nelson. If there was music in the air, she was moving. For the past nine years, Ethel was a resident at Holton Home in Brattleboro. Ethel is survived by two daughters, Patricia B. Watson (Bill) and Bette Laskowski (Michael); granddaughters Rebekka and Meghan Laskowski and Laura Watson, as well as several nieces and nephews. Memorial information: A funeral mass and burial in St. Michael’s Cemetery will be at a later date. Donations to Holton Home, 158 Western Ave., Brattleboro, VT 05301; Rescue Inc., 541 Canal St., Brattleboro, VT 05301; or St. Michael’s Catholic Church, 47 Walnut St., Brattleboro, VT 05301. To share a memory or send condolences, visit www.atamaniuk.com.

• Devin Freed-Karns, 40, of Wilmington. Died unexpectedly at his home in Wilmington on Dec. 30, 2020. He was the author of The Pawn’s Game fantasy trilogy (Openings, Gambits, and Sacrifices) under the pen name Victor Nox, and the founder of The Karns Archive, a nonprofit created to catalog and preserve artifacts of cultural legends and mystical practices. Son of the late Bedford Karns and Erin Freed, Devin was born in Amherst, Mass., on Sept. 19, 1980. He was raised in Western Massachusetts and attended Drury High School in North Adams in the late 1990s where he played football and won the Rookie of the Year Award for wrestling in 1998. He also played football for Mohawk Regional High School in Buckland and graduated from there in 1999. He went on to earn an associate’s degree from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell. He moved to the Deerfield Valley in Vermont in 2013 to write his fantasy novels and build The Karns Archive. He will be remembered for his imaginative storytelling, his dedication to preserving artifacts of legends and mysticism, and for his wry sense of humor. He is survived by his mother Erin Freed and stepfather William Johnson, both of Longmeadow, Mass.; his brother Gandy Freed-Karns of Easthampton, Mass., his sister Caitlin Freed of Northampton, Mass., and many extended family members, Twitter followers and friends. Memorial information: A private online memorial service will take place on Saturday, January 17 from 10 a.m. to noon. To receive an invitation, contact Erin Freed, at ebfreed15@gmail.com. To send the family personal condolences, visit www.sheafuneralhomes.com.

• Mary Faneuil Hill, 81, of Newfane. Died at her home on Dec. 26, 2020. She had recently been diagnosed with systolic heart failure and had long-term pulmonary disease, which contributed to her death. Mary was born in St. Louis, Mo., on Feb. 7, 1939, and grew up in Dallas, Texas, and Manhattan and Topeka, Kansas. She attended Washburn University, where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree and met the man who would be her husband, Jack L. Hill. They married in 1960 and had two daughters, Molly and Sarah, before moving to California. They lived in San Francisco and then in Piedmont for 15 years. Mary was an accomplished pianist and lover of classical music. In her forties, she attended Mills College in Oakland, Calif., for a master’s degree in Music. She and Jack moved to Berkeley in 1987, settling into a welcoming community which they enjoyed for decades. They began spending summers in Vermont and, in 1993, Mary opened Olde and New England Books in Newfane — fulfilling a longtime dream of owning and operating a bookstore. Mary and Jack loved to travel and frequently visited the British Isles, France, and New Orleans. After her husband Jack died in 2006, Mary continued her bi-coastal living and continued to enjoy running the bookstore, becoming just as endeared in Newfane as she was in Berkeley. Mary was elegant, gracious, intelligent, interesting, funny, curious, resilient, and wise. She loved her family, reading, horses, her Maine Coon cats, crossword puzzles and Sudoku, and her mind was sharp right to the end. She was an expert on all things literary and always wanted to know what you were reading. Mary is survived by her daughters, Molly Boyd Hill, and her partner, Tom White, of Petaluma, Calif., and Sarah Elizabeth Hill and her husband, Luke Gosselin; granddaughters Adelaide Faneuil and Josephine Irene of Cotati, Calif.; a niece, two nephews, and other beloved friends and family. Though her family expected to enjoy Mary’s company for several more years at least, they are grateful that she died peacefully, in a beautiful place, surrounded by love. Memorial information: A private graveside service was held on Jan. 1 in Meeting House Hill Cemetery in Brattleboro. Memorial services in California and Vermont will be held on future dates.

• James Walter “Jim” Raymo, 80, of Dover. Died following a period of declining health on Jan. 3, 2021 at Cheshire Medical Center in Keene, N.H. He was born in Wilmington on April 26, 1940, the second child of Richard and Dorothy Day Raymo. He grew up on Beaver Street and attended Wilmington schools, graduating from Wilmington High School in 1959. While in high school, he excelled in sports and played the baritone horn for the high school band. His musical ability earned him much recognition, including all-state and New England honors. Also, while in high school, he met the love of his life, Mary Lou Holland. They were married in 1960, a marriage that lasted nearly 60 years until his death. During his early years, he worked for Stanley Carner in Wilmington, where he learned to love the land and animals. Later, he worked for the New England Box Company in Wilmington, and for Richard Holland as part of the Dover road crew. He also worked at Mount Snow cutting trails and building lifts when the ski area was being developed. He was a former member and officer of the East Dover Fire Department. After marrying, he and his wife built a house in Dover, where he resided until his death. He also continued his love of the land and farm animals, working at his wife’s family farm days while working swing shifts at Case Brothers paper mill in Brattleboro. He continued working in the mill through several ownerships, including Boise Cascade, Specialty Paperboard, and FiberMark. He retired in the mid-1990s after 30 years of service, due to health issues brought on by Crohn’s disease. After retiring, he began raising registered Holsteins and continued working the farm and fields until this past summer. He was an avid outdoorsman who had the love of outdoors instilled in him at an early age by his father and his mentors, Pete Riendeau and William “Bill” Pool. He enjoyed ice fishing, hunting, and deer camp with his father and the crew on Stratton Hill in Newfane. He could be found in the woods every fall scouting for deer and had more than his fair share of deer stories and trophies. He leaves behind countless deer racks and his lifelong friend and hunting companion Mark Sprague. He was well-known for his easygoing manner, affable personality, and positive attitude. When asked how he was doing, he would invariably reply “top shelf!” to all who inquired. He loved to talk with old friends and new acquaintances, and never hesitated to tell stories about hunting or life in earlier years. He shared his local knowledge as a source of history for “The Mill,” a book about the New England Box Company. He loved to dance, especially with his wife. Many friends and neighbors enjoyed watching them dance, especially at the Dover Town Hall. They also shared a love of travel and, in later years, traveled around the United States and across Europe. He had a passion for sports, including the Yankees, the UConn women’s basketball team, and local high school sports. He was an avid supporter of Wilmington and later Twin Valley teams. He would often be seen sitting on the top row of the bleachers for basketball games or “on the hill” for soccer matches, and always looked forward to the dinner specials at the booster booth. He also enjoyed watching his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren excel in sports, following them from grade school through college and rarely missing a game. His one regret in sports was never seeing a Wilmington or Twin Valley boys’ basketball state championship win, as that title has eluded the valley. Mr. Raymo is survived by his wife, Mary Lou Raymo; his daughters Victoria and her husband, Randy Capitani, of Dover, Michelle and husband, Larry Mann, of Wilmington, and Janet Sherman and partner, Richard Sprague, of Searsburg; three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren; sister Isabelle “Bunny” Rice and husband, Steve, of Portland, Maine; brother Bart Raymo and wife, Jane, of Wilmington; and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents and his brothers Richard and Michael. Memorial information: A celebration of life will be held at a later date. Donations to the Twin Valley Middle High School Booster Club, 4299 VT Route 100, Whitingham, VT 05361, or in support of the Old School Community Center to the Old School Enrichment Council, PO Box 204, Wilmington, VT 05356. To send the family condolences visit www.sheafuneralhomes.com.

• Judy G. (Montalto) Ruggiero, 78, of Saxtons River. Died Dec. 31, 2020. She was born on Oct. 15, 1942, in New Haven, Conn. She married Christy “Chris” Ruggiero and made a family of six quickly, bringing Joseph, Jeffrey, John, and James into the world. Her “boys” were her life and her grandkids and great-grandkids were her shining stars. Her family was her world; she dedicated herself and her love to them all. From the start of their lives together, Judy ran “behind the scenes” the multitude of family businesses with husband Chris, who died in 2015, and “her boys” in their business endeavors until recently. She was a busy lady, but would always stop and take a minute to say hello. Known to many as “Mrs. R,” Judy’s table, screen house, and office space always had extended family around for the holidays or no reason other than to visit. She was dedicated to her Catholic faith and volunteered and supported many causes. Judy leaves behind Joseph and Cheryl of Saxtons River, Jeffrey and Lisa of Westminster, John of Bellows Falls, James of Saxtons River, as well as eight grandchildren and many great-grandchildren and nieces and nephews. In addition to her husband, she was predeceased by her “fifth boy,” Vincenzo James. Memorial information: A memorial celebration will be held at St. Barnabas Church, 44 Washington Ave., North Haven, Conn., on Saturday, Jan. 23, at 10 a.m., with a graveside service to follow in Beaverdale Memorial Park, 90 Pine Rock Ave., New Haven. Donations to the Vincenzo James Memorial Fund, in care of River Valley Credit Union, 105 Westminster St., Bellows Falls, VT 05101.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #595 (Wednesday, January 13, 2021). This story appeared on page A4.

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