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• Marlene Ola Bills, 81, of West Wardsboro. Died peacefully on Jan. 18, 2021 at her home. She was born at home in Londonderry on Oct. 19, 1939 to Roland Westine and Ola (Robbins) Westine. She grew up between Londonderry and Dummerston, where she attended local schools. She graduated from Leland & Gray Seminary in 1958. She also married Leon Bills Jr. that year and they settled in Newfane. For 30 years, she co-owned and operated Leon Bills Auto Repair Garage on Route 30 in Newfane. She also was employed by many local businesses in the area. With her husband, she enjoyed square dancing and was a member of the Green Mountain Squares and the Honey Bee Square Dance Club of Deland, Fla. She preferred warm weather and, for many years, wintered in Central Florida with her husband. She was a longtime member of the Newfane Congregational Church, where she had served as vice president of the morning circle, on the board of Christian Education Board and a substitute Sunday School teacher. She was vice president of the American Legion Auxiliary, honorary member of the VFW, and a volunteer for NewBrook Fire & Rescue. She enjoyed sewing, needlepoint, crocheting, and watching Red Sox and Patriots games. She was very devoted to her family and she cherished time spent with them, especially her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She was predeceased by her faithful and loving husband of 54 years, Leon, in November 2012. She leaves four sons, Bruce and Margaret Bills of Townshend, Craig Bills of Townshend, Brett and Vickie Bills of Newfane and Randy and Tina Bills of Brookline; two daughters, Darlene Dougherty of Florida and Kelley and Christopher Pluff of West Wardsboro; 14 grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren, and many nieces, nephews, grandnieces, and grandnephews. She was predeceased by one grandson, Connor Barry. Memorial information: A celebration of her life will be conducted at a later date. Donations to Wardsboro Fire & Rescue, 49 Main St., Wardsboro, VT, 05355; or Windham County Humane Society, P.O. Box 397, Brattleboro, VT 05302. To send condolences to the family, visit www.atamaniuk.com.

• David Edward D’Agostino, 67, of South Newfane. Died unexpectedly Jan. 17, 2021 at his home. David was born in Norwalk, Conn., on Jan. 7, 1954, the son of Albert and Arlene (Parkington) D’Agostino. He attended elementary school in Norwalk and was a graduate of Ridgefield (Conn.) High School, Class of 1972. Prior to moving to the West River Valley, he was employed by the Danbury Electric Company. Locally, David worked as a retail sales associate for Alcan Power Equipment in Marlboro, where he retired early due to a health-related disability. Previously, he worked at Riverbend Market in Townshend and WW Building Supply in Newfane. With his wife, he was a communicant of the former St. John Birchman Parish in West Dummerston. David enjoyed watching British comedies, loved music, and watching basketball and soccer. He was an avid reader, mostly of British mysteries. He also cherished time spent with his family. In 1974, he married Linda M. Previs, who survives. Besides his faithful and devoted wife of 46 years, he leaves a daughter, Christie D’Agostino of South Newfane; two sisters, Debra Miller and her husband, Keith, of Mineral Bluff, Ga., and Sharon La Delfa of Newtown, Conn.; many nieces, nephews and his beloved Pomeranian, Wolfie. He was predeceased by his parents and one brother, Dennis D’Agostino. Memorial information: A memorial gathering in celebration of his life in the late spring or early summer. Donations to NewBrook Fire & Rescue, P.O. Box 77, Newfane, VT 05345; Grace Cottage Hospital, P.O. Box 216, Townshend, VT 05353; or Rescue Inc., P.O. Box 593, Brattleboro, VT 05302. To send condolences to the family, visit www.atamaniuk.com.

• Amber Jean (Lyon) Dwinell, 33, of Bellows Falls. Died unexpectedly on Jan. 11, 2021. Born on June 9, 1987, Amber was a very talented young woman with a heart of gold. She could brighten up the darkest of days with her brilliant personality and humor. Amber leaves behind her father, Roland Lyon and companion Ellen of Bellows Falls; her mother, Darlene Hobbs and husband Bobby of Walpole, N.H.; her siblings, Velma Lyon and her family of North Walpole, N.H., Bertrand Lyon of Bellows Falls, Sheena Lyon and her family of Bellows Falls, and Shaena Lyon and her family of Springfield, Vt. Amber also leaves behind her six children, Jayden, Kyleigh, Matthew, Josiah, Keagyn, and Lila; and numerous aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews; and a great number of extended family and friends. Memorial information: There will be no calling hours. A celebration of life will be held at a later date at the convenience of the family.

• Jeffrey Scott Jordan, 57, of Bellows Falls. Died January 11, 2021 at his home. He was born July 1, 1963, in Keene, N.H., the son of Kenneth and Marcia (McDonald) Jordan. Jeff attended school in Keene. Following school, he worked as a trailer mechanic for C&S Wholesale Grocers. Everyone was always comfortable around Jeff. He was an intelligent man who loved to read and was a really good cook. Jeff was very funny, possessing a dry sense of humor and a love for kids and all animals. He also loved backcountry road riding. Jeff is survived by his mother, Marcia McDonald; his sisters Penny Spano and Denise Jordan; and several cousins. Memorial information: Services will be at the convenience of the family. Fenton & Hennessey Funeral Home of Bellows Falls is handling arrangements.

• Doris Louise Meadowcroft, 74, of Wilmington. Died Jan. 8, 2021. Doris was born in Philadelphia, Pa. and spent her childhood in Audubon, N.J. She was predeceased by her parents, Joseph and Lutheria Meadowcroft, and her brother, Robert Meadowcroft. She leaves several cousins and many devoted friends. Doris was the owner of Darcroft Kennels in Wilmington. She dedicated her life to protecting and preserving the purebred dog breed, the Keeshond. She had more than 25 champions under the “Darcroft Kennel” name and enjoyed showing and breeding her dogs. Doris was a great ambassador for the breed for more than 40 years. She trained her Keeshonden as therapy dogs, visiting nursing homes on a regular basis. She also created a magazine dedicated to the breed, The Keeshond Review. She was quoted several years ago for a book about the history of the Keeshond stating, “I am alive and well doing what I love most — raising and showing the most wonderful dogs in the world — Keeshonden.” Memorial information: Per her request, services will be private. Donations to Keeshond Affiliated Rescuers of the Mid-Atlantic (K.A.R.M.A.) at www.karmakees.org. To send the family condolences, visit www.sheafuneralhomes.com.

• Mary Minerva Dunkelberger Ratcliffe, 103, of Brattleboro. Died peacefully on Jan. 11, 2021. Mary was born Jan. 8, 1918 in Bernville, Pa., the third of six children, to John William Dunkelberger and Jennie Bingaman Carpenter. Mary loved her early years on the farm in Bernville and told many stories about those years. When she was in her teens, the family moved to Westchester, Pa., where she attended high school. Mary wanted to be a nurse from the time she was quite young and, as soon as she was 18, she enrolled in the Reading (Pa.) Hospital School of Nursing and graduated in 1939. In 1942, Mary joined the Navy Nurse Corps. She was very proud of her service at several different stateside hospitals, caring for wounded soldiers. In August 1944, she married Arthur Vernon “Art” Ratcliffe Jr., who predeceased her in 1991. Upon her marriage, she was required to resign her commission in the Navy and she then pursued her first love, raising a family. Mary and Art began their marriage in Maryland, then moved to the outskirts of Chicago where they remained for 15 years before moving to the suburbs of St. Louis where they lived for 35 years. Mary and Art had five children: Mary, Laura, Zachariah (nee John), Martha, and Jeffrey. She was predeceased by her daughter Mary in 2019. After her youngest was in his teens she returned to nursing, working in newborn nurseries at local hospitals and providing in-home end of life care for patients. Mary came to live in Brattleboro in 1997. She loved being in a smaller town and in the green hills and valleys that reminded her of her native Pennsylvania. Mary loved spending time with her family, and to her, family included many who were not related but had a place in her heart. She had a wide sense of humor and loved jokes, puns and to tease and be teased. She loved words: she wrote poetry, did crossword puzzles, cryptograms, and was a consistent winner at Scrabble. Mary took up drawing and painting in her 60s and completed many works. Her favorite themes were flowers and rustic barns. Mary is survived by her daughters Laura Ratcliffe and Martha Ratcliffe; her sons Zachariah Ratcliffe and Jeffrey Ratcliffe and his wife Christine; her former sons-in-law Kim Boressoff and Lewis Ashcliffe; two grandsons Chad Hall and Thaddeus Ashcliffe, two great grandsons Bradley Stewart and Seth Stewart and nieces and nephews. Memorial information: The family will hold a memorial gathering this coming summer. Donations to Thompson House Activities Fund, 80 Maple St., Brattleboro, VT 05301; The Reading Hospital School of Heath Sciences Scholarship Fund c/o Berks County Community Foundation 237 Court St., Reading, PA 19601; or the Windham County Heat Fund 679 Weatherhead Hollow Rd., Guilford, VT 05301.

• Mary Liz Riddle, 85, formerly of Brattleboro. Died Dec. 30, 2020 in St. Johnsbury. She was born in Branford, Conn., in the winter of 1935. Her mother was an elementary school teacher and, much to her chagrin, Mary Liz was slow to learn to read. Little did her mother know that this would become Mary Liz’s gift as she learned to savor words, expressing herself through poetry and writing the rest of her life. She was named Mary Liz by her childhood friend, Susanna Joannidis, who said, “You’re not a Mary, you’re a Mary Liz!” Forevermore, Mary Liz insisted that she be called by that name. She could be a bit of a curmudgeon, as she would say, but was also just as quick with tears of sympathy for a friend’s troubles, or a ready laugh at the humor of life. Educated as a physical therapist in the early days of the discipline, she wholeheartedly loved this work. She had the attitude of a Vermonter even before she came to live in Vermont. Her first physical therapy job was in New York City, but the night before she was to start, a blizzard hit the city. Not to be deterred, she simply took out her skis and glided down the empty streets of the city to her new job. After she married, she moved to Brattleboro and began to raise her family. She became the first physical therapist employed at Grace Cottage Hospital in Townshend. After her divorce, she found a way as a single mother to keep working at Grace Cottage during the school year, as well as bring her children to a camp in the Adirondacks for the summer. Working as a camp counselor there, she led many canoe trips. Mary Liz favored the slower, less athletic children, and her hiking groups were known for always being the last off the mountain. She was one of the founding members of Manitou in Brattleboro. She could create a labyrinth from any found materials and always had her dowsing rods at the ready. With a love of music and singing, Mary Liz’s world expanded to include Sacred Circle dancing. The dances and their stories became a deeply spiritual expression to her. She danced and taught in Brattleboro at Parker Huber’s home, as well as other venues. Always drawn toward stories and the books that held them, she asked Ellen Becker, a master bookbinder in the area, to teach her bookbinding. By the end of her life, she had grown from a traditional bookbinder to a book artist, and many of her creations were displayed and sold at Memphremagog Arts and the Artisan’s Guild in Vermont. Mid-life, Mary Liz decided to travel out West and stopped in Missoula, Mont. for a visit. She stayed for 10 years and it was there that her writing was developed as she studied at the University of Montana. When she returned to Vermont in 2003, she and her former partner made their way to the Northeast Kingdom where they bought a house in the hills over Lake Willoughby and quickly became part of the community. She spent many days writing and contemplating as she looked out to the lake and mountains. Just as with book arts, her boundaries of expression continued to expand throughout her life, and her writing eventually began to include performance art. During her years in the Brattleboro area, Mary Liz became an enthusiastic member of Write Action and twice won the group’s annual prose contest. In the autumn of 2020, she underwent unexpected surgery. Ever a fighter, she strove to heal, enlisting the help of many friends, but sadly it was not meant to be. She is survived by her two beloved children, Susan Harrington and Paul Schmidt, her grandson Wyatt, her brother’s family, and many friends. Her son, Paul, was with her when she died. Her much loved “little brother,” William Riddle, predeceased her. Memorial information: A celebration of her life is planned for the spring.

• Margot L. Stone, J.D., 70, of Newfane. Died at home on Jan. 9, 2021, after a 31-year battle with multiple cancers. She died in the presence of her devoted daughter, Heather, who had been at her side for the last nine months. Margot was born Dec. 5, 1945 to S. Kenneth and Vera Stone in New York City. In her early education, she attended the Actors Studio with Lee Strasberg, and other private schools in New York and Pennsylvania, happily counting Henry Winkler among her classmates. Margot appeared in the pilot for the series That Girl, in her role as a double for Marlo Thomas, was in several commercials, and appeared as a regular character on Days of Our Lives until tragically killed off. She never lost her flair for drama. Margot’s homes were always filled with a great diversity of humans and rescued animals. As she would say, she loved to be with a full cast of characters. She especially loved helping to empower people, and was proud to graduate from Vermont Law School to become an attorney in her 50s. Her practice ranged from criminal defense to bankruptcy; always with a focus on how she could ease the distress of her clients. Margot was a voracious reader, a deadly Scrabble player and, in recent years, she got a lot of pleasure from volunteering at the Moore Free Library in Newfane. She was a lifelong, die-hard basketball fan and crowed about the time she was removed from courtside Celtics seats for yelling too loudly. Movies were a big part of her Trivial Pursuit knowledge, with Harold and Maude, King of Hearts, and La Cage aux Folles being some of her favorites. She is survived by the powerful magic she sent into the world, which took many forms. She is also survived by her daughter Heather Dieringer, brother Roger Stone of Winhall, her devoted dog Luna, and her companion of 43 years, James “Jimmy” Sinon of Newfane. She was predeceased by her parents and an infant son, Kenneth, who died in an accident. Memorial information: There will be a celebration of Margot’s life, with many stories to be told, conducted by her beloved Witches in the great stone circle at her home after the winter months. Donations to Moore Free Library in Newfane.

• Barry Waxman of East Dummerston died on Jan. 16, 2021, although dementia had taken him long before. If Barry were writing or editing this piece, he would be sure to detail all of his remarkable educational and professional achievements, which were many (three separate degrees from Harvard!), as well as the various organizations of which he was a member. He was tremendously intelligent, committed, academic, well-read, and well-respected by his colleagues. He believed those were the important details of his life. His family thinks those achievements were great, but not his best works. His wife, Elsa, was the love of his life and he loved telling the story of how he met her and swept her off her feet, cutting in repeatedly on another suitor at a college mixer, until Elsa finally whispered, “why do you keep letting him cut back in?” He loved his children. He read to them every night and invented elaborate stories for the youngsters about “The Adventures of Pearl and Furl.” He loved school and was never happier than when he chaperoned his kids on trips to visit colleges. He loved golf, especially with his family, and the trips to Great Britain with his son, Michael, and grandson, Louis, were some of his happiest moments. He loved puns and all kinds of wordplay and clever silliness. He did not have a middle name “because [his] parents could not afford one.” He loved non sequiturs — “there were 16 men in a boat . . . and the oars started to leak.” He loved books, musicals, jazz, and classical music. He loved chewy candy, “the kind that puts up a good fight.” He did not like fish. He never tried lobster. “I don’t eat anything that scuttles sideways or which reduced in size resembles an insect.” It is not clear whether he knew what a tool was or how to hold or use one. He considered a remarkable number of things and situations dangerous, earning the nickname “TD” (“that’s dangerous.”) He capitulated to Elsa’s love of animals, and even came home with a puppy on his own once. There was no one who cared more about fairness and truth than Barry. He was a wonderful grandfather and made his grandkids laugh and feel special. He loved telling jokes, especially long-winded ones which required practice and memory. He was meticulous; he may have had a nail clipper on every set of keys and in every drawer of the house. Everyone laughed with him, and at him, a lot. He was a big, loud, kind, outgoing personality. The world is a little smaller, quieter, and less fun without him. Barry is survived by his wife, Elsa Joy (Finard) Waxman; daughters Amy, Eliza, Rebecca; son-in-law P.J. Hand; son Michael and daughter-in-law Kate Sabatine; surrogate daughter and son Kim and Rich Korson; and eight grandchildren and his sister, Elaine Waxman.

• Katharine Wylie, 77, of Brattleboro. Died at home on Jan. 15, 2021, after a brief battle with cancer. Kate was born on Aug. 23, 1943, daughter of Craig and Angela Wylie, and grew up in Sudbury, Mass. She was predeceased by her sister Charlotte and survived by siblings Moira, Meg, Andrew, and Jennifer. After graduating from the Winsor School, then Barnard College in 1965, she worked for the Department of Public Welfare in New York City, where she met her first husband, Roger Dalton. Soon after marrying, the couple joined the Peace Corps and, after training at the Experiment in International Living in Brattleboro, were posted to Brazil. There, Kate worked with Catholic priests to publicize first-hand accounts of the dictatorship’s acts of kidnapping and torture. Upon returning, she moved to Toronto, Canada, where she gave birth to two children Jacob and Anna Dalton. In 1971, the family moved to London, England, where Kate trained as a psychotherapist and remarried, also helping to found the Open Centre, a wholistic therapy center in Old Street. In 1980, she returned to Vermont, which had remained in her heart since her time at the Experiment. The family settled in Marlboro, where they built a post-and-beam house on Church Hollow Road, and Kate ran her psychotherapy practice out of Solar Hill on Western Avenue throughout the 1980s and early 90s. After divorcing her second husband in 1987, she moved first to Brattleboro, then Somerville, Mass., and ultimately, in 2008, back to Brattleboro where she felt most at home. An avid gardener and reader of novels and poetry, she lived her life with passion and honesty. A lifelong Buddhist, in her last years, she taught meditation at the Cheshire County Jail in Keene, N.H. She loved talking and playing with her family — her children and their partners, Alice Robinson and Jan Plug, and her four grandchildren, Naima, Isla, Ezra, and Sam. She will be deeply missed by her family and the many friends and clients whose lives she touched. Memorial information: A private burial took place at Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Mass. Donations to the Innocence Project at innocenceproject.org/donate.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #597 (Wednesday, January 27, 2021). This story appeared on page A4.

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