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Milestones

Milestones

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• Sarah Day has joined Berkley & Veller Greenwood Country Realtors of Brattleboro as a licensed Vermont Realtor. Day comes from a long career in sales and customer service. Her most recent job was with New Chapter, a division of Proctor & Gamble, handling international business development projects in Europe, the Middle East, and in Asia.

Obituaries

• Karl Decker, 88, of Monroe, Conn., and Townshend. Died March 18, 2021 at his home in Monroe. Karl was a teacher, photographer, writer, husband, father, and grandfather. He was born Nov. 14, 1932 in Boston, son of Dr. Briant L. Decker and Anna Marie Eggertson. He lived in Brookline, Mass., and on the extended family farm in Townshend. His claim to a small place in American history was that two of his great-great-great aunts, Clara Decker and Lucy Decker, were two of the Mormon prophet Brigham Young’s wives and the only ones to accompany Young in 1847 on the Mormon immigration to what is now Salt Lake City. Karl graduated from Milton Academy in 1950, Colby College in 1954, and Columbia University in 1960. During his military service, he married Merrillyn Anne Healey of West Hartford, Conn. They were married for 65 years. In the 1960s, he and Merrillyn founded and edited the local newspaper, the Monroe Courier. He was also a supervisor in the Fairfield County Soil and Water Conservation District. An avid lifelong photographer, in 1987, he studied photography as a fine art with a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. He also began a documentary project, photographing and writing stories about the people of Townshend which culminated in a 2012 book, The People of Townshend, Vermont. He taught at Staples High School in Westport, Conn., from 1960 to 1999. He then worked for Vermont Magazine for six years, traveling throughout the state writing and photographing stories of life, mainly in the very small, back country towns. His observations on the critical social and declining economic conditions in these towns culminated in a lecture presentation, “The Tour Buses Don’t Stop Here Anymore,” at Colby College and three Vermont Colleges. After writing some dozen short stories, and two brief residencies at the Vermont College of Fine Art in Montpelier, Karl began work on a novel, Seeing Emily Home, set in the Depression years in a small, dying Vermont town. He leaves his wife, Merrillyn; daughter Christine Lowry and her children, Brian Jeffries and Danielle Marenholz, with their spouses; son Lawrence Decker and his wife Holly and their children Bryce, Silas, and Carly; and daughter Karen Decker and her sons, Matthew and Jonathan. He also leaves two sisters, Julie Anne Goetze and Lynne DeJong Decker. Memorial information: A celebration of Karl’s life will be held at a later date. Messages may be sent to merrdeck@aol.com. Donations to the American Civil Liberties Union, Doctors Without Borders, and Grace Cottage Hospital in Townshend. Karl’s last words were, reportedly, “Don’t mourn for me, I’ll be close by whenever I hear your laughter.”

• Margery Clark Evans, 103, of Guilford. Died peacefully on March 1, 2021 at Pine Heights Nursing Home in Brattleboro. Margery was born at the Springs Farm in Guilford, Vermont on July 20, 1917. Her parents were Merton and Maude Clark. Margery was predeceased by her sisters, Elizabeth Clark Newton and Barbara Clark Dauphin, along with her brothers, Kenneth, Rodney, and John Clark. Margery was predeceased by her husband, Emery Evans, in 2005. Margery graduated from Brattleboro High School in 1936. She married Emery Evans in 1942 and they resided at the Evans Farm on Guilford Center Road for the rest of their lives. Margery often recalled one story of Emery Evans, who was the love of her life. She remembers when she and many friends were all skating on the Evans Pond across the street from Evans’ farm in Guildford and were “doing the whip.” Margery was on the end of the “whip,” flew off, and fell down on the ice. At that moment, Emery skated over, picked her up, and kissed her on the lips. It was that wonderful moment when she knew Emery was interested in her, and the Evans Farm would soon be her lifetime home. As part of their lives together, Emery and Margery took many trips, including journeys to Nova Scotia, to New York City to the World’s Fair, and many other places. They never stopped being in love. The Evans were friends to all in Guilford and were active members of the community. In the 1960s and 1970s, she and Emery became good and stalwart friends with all the young people who moved into town and formed the Packers Corner’s commune and Total Loss Farm. Margery was a fabulous baker and she loved to sew. Her favorite time of the year was Thanksgiving, because she loved cooking and seeing everyone. She made everyone’s favorite pie at Thanksgiving and, since everyone had different “favorites,” this meant making up to eight or nine different types of pies. Oftentimes, Margery would reminisce fondly about the Clark Family Reunion and Potluck that her sister Elizabeth and husband Harold would have each year. This family event became so large that, at one point, the reunions were held at the Kiwanis Park in Vernon. In her later years, Margery loved to be visited by her many friends and family and would share her lifetime of stories — from the time her father’s new car (the first one in Guilford) fell through the barn floor, to stories of her brother Kenneth bending wooden boards into skis over the sugaring arch so he could navigate the local ski jump (of course, his bindings were made of mason jar rubbers!) Emery and Margery prospered at the family farm together for many decades raising their three children, Marcia (husband Henry Kempf), Chester (wife Pam), and Charles. They also raised two of their beloved grandchildren, Tami Evans Napolitano and Ronald Evans. Their son Chester had five children: Tami Evans Napolitano (husband Anthony Napolitano), Ronald Evans, Chad Evans (son Kyle Evans), Jason Evans (daughter Malana Evans) and Nicole Evans (daughter Aliza Mahoney). Marcia Evans Kempf had one son Daniel L. Brush (wife Maureen Hall) with three more grandchildren: Aurora, Emery, and Alex Brush. Memorial information: Graveside services will be conducted Saturday, May 1, at 11 a.m. in Christ Church Cemetery. A memorial service in celebration of her life will be held Tuesday, July 20, at 3 p.m., in Guilford Community Church. Due to the pandemic, masks and social distancing are required. To share a memory or send condolences to the family, visit www.atamaniuk.com.

• June Janis, 96, of Michigan. Died peacefully, with family by her side, on March 6, 2021 in Traverse City, Mich. June loved her Elk Lake home and the outdoors, sailing, art, travel, and simply getting to know people. She was fiercely intelligent, outspoken, funny, and passionate about making the world a better place. Her greatest joy was in the growth and accomplishments of her extended family. June was born in Chicago on Aug. 22, 1924, the wedding anniversary date of her parents, Abe Schainis and Pearl Wilk Schainis. After attending Chicago public schools, she commuted to Northwestern University, where she met her future husband, Harry, during World War II. They were married on Feb. 11, 1945, two months before she received her bachelor’s degree and six months before Harry was shipped overseas to Guam. Upon Harry’s return, Harry and June lived in Chicago and then Highland Park, Ill., for close to 20 years, where they raised their three sons. While in Illinois, June was very active with the League of Women Voters. She served as President of the Board of the local League, which had over 500 members. After spending nine summers in a log cabin on Lake Skegemog in Williamsburg, Mich., the Janis family moved full-time to a new Elk Lake home in 1966. June quickly became involved in her adopted state, including heading the Natural Resources Committee for the Michigan State Board of the League of Women Voters. June was one of the founders of the Elk River Watershed Council, and was appointed by Governor William Milliken to serve on the State’s Natural Inventory Committee. In 1973, June and Harry navigated their 32-foot trawler from Elk Rapids down the Intercoastal Waterway to Florida. Once there, they traded up to a 37-foot ketch and spent nine months each year through 1978 sailing in the Florida Keys and the Bahamas. In later years they spent weeks each summer cruising in the North Channel on Lake Huron in Canada. In the mid-1970’s, June and Harry led a group of concerned citizens in creating the Skegemog Lake Wildlife area. This trailblazing effort created what is now recognized as one of the most ecologically important protected lands in the state of Michigan. Seven miles of shoreline combine with 3,300 acres of natural area to form a huge filter that safeguards water quality in the lower Chain of Lakes. June received many awards for her work on this project, including The Nature Conservancy’s Oak Leaf award, the Chevron Conservation Award, and the Sol Feinstone Environmental Award. The Wildlife Division of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources named a previously unnamed creek and point in the Wildlife area as “Janis Creek” and “Janis Point,” honoring the work of June and Harry. June was preceded in death by her husband of 72 years, Harry G. Janis, in 2017; her brother, Dr. Melvin E. Schainis; and her sister, Harriet Schainis Rubin. She is survived by her three sons, Mark Janis and his wife Janet of West Hartford, Conn.; James Janis and his wife Hillary of Silver Spring, Maryland; Russell Janis and his wife, Connie Snow, of Brattleboro; by seven grandsons (including Benjamin, formerly of Brattleboro); and by seven great-grandchildren. Memorial information: Contributions in her memory should go to The Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy, for Skegemog area projects, 3860 N. Long Lake Rd., Traverse City, MI 49684. www.gtrlc.org.

• Jeannine A. Saunders of Brattleboro died peacefully at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital on March 24, 2021, following a brief illness. Jeannine was born in Guilford to the late Cyrus and Eva (Cook) Merrifield. She worked as a binder for The Book Press in Brattleboro for many years. She enjoyed spending time with her grandchildren, family, and friends at special gatherings. She loved to take rides along the back roads of New Hampshire and Vermont. She will be dearly missed and forever remembered. Jeannine was preceded in death by her husband, Melvin E, Saunders Sr.; her longtime companion, Frank Witkowski; and her sons Melvin E. Saunders Jr. and Eric Saunders Sr. She is survived by her children and their spouses, Catherine Coulombe and Wayne of Greenfield, Mass, Gary Saunders and Kimberly of Hinsdale N.H., Neal Saunders and Janice of Vernon, and Keith Saunders and Annette of Brattleboro and California. She leaves 17 grandchildren and 27 great-grandchildren, and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, and dear friends. Memorial information: There will be a private graveside service at a later date.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #607 (Wednesday, April 7, 2021). This story appeared on page B2.

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