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• Susan and Martin Brennan-Sawyer of Putney, recently welcomed the birth of their first grandchild. Linli (林丽) Brennan-Chen, son of Yabei Chen and Logan Brennan-Sawyer, was born on July 21, 2021 in Beijing, China at 9 a.m. local time. Logan Brennan-Sawyer is a 2003 graduate of The Putney School, and a 2011 graduate of the SIT Graduate Institute.

College news

• Peter Carvell, Vice President and Senior Commercial Banking Officer of Brattleboro Savings & Loan, recently graduated from the American Bankers Association Stonier Graduate School of Banking, held at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. The Stonier School is an intensive three-year graduate-level program that focuses on preparing students to be future leaders in the banking industry.

• Lilianna Houston of Putney recently graduated from Tufts University in Medford, Mass., with a B.S. in astrophysics. Named to the Dean’s List at Tufts for the spring 2021 semester were Eve Ogdon of Windham, Zoee Blossom of Saxtons River, Lia Clark of Saxtons River, and Emilia Dick Fiora Del Fabro of Brattleboro.

The following local students have been named to the President’s Honors List and/or the Dean’s List for spring 2021 at the University of Hartford (Conn.): Silas Holmes of Wardsboro was named to the Dean’s List and Adam Culver of Grafton, William Frank of South Londonderry, Morgen Janovsky of Wilmington, Owen Rounds of Westminster, Samuel Thibault of Williamsville were all named to the President’s Honors List and the Dean’s List.


• Lissa Harris has joined Food Connects as its new Development Director. Previously, Harris held positions at Strolling of the Heifers and Windham & Windsor Housing Trust, and was responsible for marketing, fundraising, and more. Food Connects describes itself as “an entrepreneurial non-profit that delivers locally produced food as well as educational and consulting services aimed at transforming local food systems.” In her new role, Harris will strengthen fundraising efforts and create and execute the organization’s annual development plan and capital campaigns.

• Dr. Kristan Outwater, Tom Franks, and Carla Lineback are the newest members of the Winston Prouty Center for Child and Family Development Board of Trustees. Outwater has been a pediatrician for 39 years and is currently practicing at Brattleboro Primary Care Pediatrics. Franks is an energy sector researcher and consultant who was previously Executive Director for Building a Better Brattleboro and worked as an Energy Efficiency Specialist for the state of Vermont. Lineback is the Director of Alumni & External Engagement at World Learning. Her career has encompassed various educational settings with children of all ages, both locally and abroad. She has served as the past-president of the Brattleboro Rotary Club and as the first president of Groundworks Collaborative.


• Donna Ann Chickering, 64, of Saxtons River. Died peacefully at home, surrounded by family, after her long battle with brain cancer. She was born on Jan. 1, 1957, in Claremont, N.H., the daughter of Kenneth and Ann (Grenier) Lee. She attended schools in Claremont, graduating from Stevens High School and received an associate’s degree in nursing from River Valley Tech Center. Donna spent her life serving as a nurse, committed to the health and wellness of her community. She was an avid gardener and had an exceptional green thumb. Donna also enjoyed sewing and crafting, always gifting her pieces to family and friends. Antiquing and turning junk furniture into functional pieces was a passion for Donna. However, she most cherished spending her time with the ones she loved. She is survived by her beloved husband of 18 years, James Chickering; daughters Jessica Akusis and her husband, Tim Akusis, of Claremont, Rachel Greenberg, of Watertown, Mass., and Jennifer Chambers and her husband, Phon Chambers, of Baltimore, Vt.; sons Shawn Bartlett and his fiancée, Mary Ann Gloss, of Springfield, Vt., Joshua Bartlett and his wife, Sheena Bartlett, of Grafton, and Shane Bartlett and his partner, Nicole Ducharme, of Clinton, Conn.; stepson Patrick Chickering and her wife, Michelle Chickering, of Saxtons River; 18 grandchildren and siblings Kenneth, Robert, Percy, Diane, and and Scott Lee. Memorial information: A funeral service will be held at the Community Christian Church in Athens, on Sunday, Aug. 8, at 2 p.m. Donations to Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, VNA/Hospice for Vermont and New Hampshire, and Grace Cottage Hospital in Townshend, all of which have been vital in Donna’s care over the past 18 months.

• Robert “Bob” Cray, 70, of Newfane. Died peacefully on July 26, 2021. He was born Nov. 29, 1950 in Bridgeport Conn., youngest child of Mildred (Lovell) and Howard Cray. Bob is survived by his wife of 50 years, Nadine; children Randy and Kristina Patten of Ft. Myers, Fla., Navy Warrant Officer (ret.) Jason and Christina Cray of Virginia Beach, Va.; and Andrea and Jason Gilpatrick of Front Branch, Ind.; sisters Ellen Williams of Bridgeport and Norma Klepacki of Idaho; and seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, sisters Jeanette Allen and Susanne Osmond, and his brothers Billy and Richard Cray. Bob loved the outdoors and was passionate about wildlife and preservation of natural habitats. He enjoyed hunting and fishing, most of all deer hunting. He had a special bond with wildlife as deer, wild turkeys, and bears came into the yard to graze on special treats he put out for them daily. Bob and Nadine enjoyed watching the wildlife, sitting on the porch in the morning with a cup of coffee. Bob loved to share his expertise and knowledge with anyone and passed his love for outdoors along to children, grandchildren, and many friends. Bob supported wounded and disabled military veterans, inviting them to come hunt in Ohio with him. Bob never met a stranger he couldn’t strike up a conversation with. If you went to an outdoors event with Bob, you could expect to be there for hours. He would help anyone, even a small gesture of a cup of coffee and conversation. He will truly be missed. Memorial information: In honor of Bob, donations can be made to The Wounded Warrior Project at

• Brian Peter Deneault, 77, of Vancouver Island, B.C. Died July 14, 2021. The son of Frances and George Deneault, he was born in Brattleboro, and graduated from St. Michael’s High School. He received his bachelor’s degree from Seton Hall and completed his Master’s degree in English Literature at Purdue University. In 1972, Brian moved to British Columbia where he worked as a stone mason, tree planter, gardener, and small business owner in the Kootenay Lake area and then on Vancouver Island where he lived for the last 31 years. Throughout his life, Brian thoroughly enjoyed being an athlete; playing basketball, weight lifting, swimming and, in his later years, became an avid hiker. He was also an intellectual, pursuing his love of reading, movies, and music and always ready to dialogue about the state of the world or a new piece of literature, film, or music. Brian is survived, and will be sorely missed, by his wife and best friend of 35 years, Caitlyn Sassaman, and his five children: Michelle Keadle-Taylor, Nicole Fletcher, Gabrielle Jangula, Keith Deneault and Zoë Deneault, as well as his children’s spouses, his four surviving sisters: Kaye Cassidy, Christine Wilson, Mary Jane Bibeau, and Elaine Millerick, and his eight grandchildren: Harrison and Alyssa Fletcher; Benjamin and Hannah Jangula; Hannah, Karsten, and Hayley Taylor; and Matias Zaragoza-Deneault. Keep on dancing and singing off key, Bri, you are loved by so many! Memorial information: A celebration of Brian’s life will be held on Vancouver Island in September 2021. A celebration in New England will also be held in the future when cross-border travel is again allowed.

• Jerome “Jerry” Marcel, 78, of Ashfield, Mass. Died in the home he loved on July 28, 2021, from the effects of Alzheimer’s Disease. A kind, creative, gentle, generous, and loving man, Jerry loved, respected, and adored women. He married three strong-minded, free-thinking women, one after the other, and raised two stunning and creative daughters. That he later became a loving grandfather to two granddaughters was just icing on the carrot cake — made with lots of carrots that he and his third wife, Barbara Marcel, probably grew themselves. Jerry was born Dec. 27, 1942 in Brooklyn, N.Y., the only child of Paul and Rae Marcel. The story of the family’s last name — the truth now lost in time — goes that when Paul escaped from Poland ahead of the Nazis, his last name was Sludt. While crossing Belgium on foot, he saw the name Marcel on the side of a bakery truck and took it for his own. Paul died young, at the age of 42, and Rae married again to Ernie Knispell; they had a daughter, Marilyn. Marilyn and Jerry were very close. A gifted artist, Jerry majored in theatrical scenic design at Brooklyn College. He met his first wife, Joyce, a costume design student, while he was there. When Jerry was offered a full three-year scholarship for an MFA in theater arts at Stanford University, he told Joyce she could come with him only if she married him. So in 1965, she did. The couple spent three years in Palo Alto, Calif., and, what years they were! The Grateful Dead played for free in the parks of San Francisco, they went to the first Be In and were told by Timothy Leary to tune in and drop out, (which they had already done), they danced at the Fillmore, and designed sets and costumes for a variety of Shakespeare Festivals and underground theater groups. After Jerry got his MFA, the couple bought a car in Germany and spent a year visiting art museums in Europe. They were living on a Greek island when Brooklyn College reached out to Jerry with a teaching offer, so they packed up and moved to New York City. There Jerry taught stagecraft and he and Joyce designed sets and costumes for Off-Off-Broadway plays. Although they remained lifelong friends, Jerry and Joyce’s marriage ended in 1973. Jerry moved to London, where he found and married his great love, Tessa Davies, who was soon pregnant with his first child. Rima was born in 1974 and Gerlan followed in 1976. In 1977, the Marcel family returned to the United States, where both Jerry and Tessa found work at Oberlin College. When Rima and Gerlan went to private school in England, Jerry took a Masters in Social Work and became a therapist. Tessa died, too young, at the age of 54. Soon Jerry and his daughters were living in Cambridge, Mass. It was there that Jerry started learning the art of making knishes, and soon was writing a book called The Knish Chronicles, which, sadly, he never finished. He also took up the art of stained glass. Since Joyce was in nearby Vermont, they reconnected. Soon she introduced him to her neighbor, Barbara Stenz, and the couple fell in love. They were soon married. Jerry worked in the health care field in Vermont and New Hampshire, and the couple then retired to Ashfield, where they could grow their own food, and where Jerry could focus on his stained glass work. The couple made good friends in Ashfield and enjoyed many years together, doing organic gardening and working with stained glass, before, sadly, Alzheimer’s Disease began taking its terrible toll. In his last days, Jerry was surrounded by love and light. Although he had lost his ability to speak, he never lost the ability to say “I love you.” He leaves behind his wife of 24 years, Barbara Marcel; his daughter Rima Marcel and her husband, Marcus Leon, and their two daughters, Olivia and Poppy, of Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y.; his daughter Gerlan of Brooklyn, N.Y.; his sister Marilyn Hoffman and her husband, Barry Hoffman, of Florida; his ex-wife Joyce Marcel of Dummerston; plus many devoted friends. Memorial information: A celebration of his life will be held in early September.

• Duane A. Murphy, 78, of Wardsboro. Died at home on July 13, 2021, after a long and courageous battle with cancer. He was born in Ripley, Maine on Jan. 7, 1943 to the late George and Irene (Cyr) Murphy. In 1966, he married Linda Stanhope, who predeceased him in 2006, two months shy of their 40th wedding anniversary. He worked several jobs in Connecticut before moving to Vermont in 1972. He later made Wardsboro his home in 1976, where he has resided ever since. He worked for Cersosimo Lumber Industries for 33 years, retiring in November 2007 after suffering a stroke while operating the rock crusher in the Jamaica Pit. He was the crusher operator in the various Cersosimo gravel pits for over 15 years, a job he loved and spoke highly of. He loved to hunt. Hunting, going for joyrides on the back roads, and spending time with his daughter, Carrie, and his grandkids brought him the utmost joy. Meeting and spending time with his three great-grandkids over the past year brought a new found smile to his face. He lovingly dubbed these three “The Wrecking Crew.” Everyone who knew him, also knew he loved his beer! You could always find him with a cold can of Genesee in his hand. He also enjoyed fishing, playing cards, and sitting outside in nice weather, especially by the brook looking for wildlife to pass by. He is survived by his caregiver/daughter, Carrie Hart and her husband, Toby of Wardsboro; daughter, Barbara Murphy of Townshend; grandchildren Kayla Hart of Wardsboro, Heather Privee of Townshend, and Chris Privee of Brattleboro; as well as great-grandchildren Kaytlin, Hayden, and Waylon Jillson of Townshend. Memorial information: A very private man, it was Mr. Murphy’s personal wish that no formal funeral service take place. Burial will be at the convenience of his family. To share a memory or send condolences, visit

• Alice Elaine (Rhoades) Cobb Rogers, 82, of Westminster. Died July 22, 2021, surrounded by her family and her best friend and companion, her dog Kipper, after a courageous battle with leukemia. Alice was born on Feb. 18, 1939 in Windsor, the daughter of Hollis and Evelyn Rhoades. She grew up in Gageville, Vt., where she attended grade school. She graduated in 1957 from Bellows Falls High School. Alice trained to be a nurse’s aide shortly after the age of 15 at Rockingham Memorial Hospital in Bellows Falls. She continued to work there through high school. After graduation she moved to Keene, N.H., where she was employed for several years at Peerless Insurance. In 1958, she married Hollis Cobb, and together they raised their four children and became foster parents to several children over many years. Alice also started a day care program in their home and nurtured many children. She became an advocate for the elderly, which led her back to her love for nursing. She soon became a medical assistant at Charlestown (N.H.) Medical Center and eventually began working at Rockingham Medical Center in Bellows Falls. Alice was an advocate for her family, friends and her community whenever they needed her. She was strong and determined and her faith allowed her to get through many challenges in her lifetime. She was always there for anyone who needed a helping hand. She had a large circle of friends whom she enjoyed spending time. She had a lifelong love for horses and was a founding member of the Trinity Riders Horse Club. Alice was an original member of Westminster Cares, where she continued to volunteer until recent months. She was a member of the Red Hatters Club, where she served as the Queen for the state of Vermont. Several years after Hollis’s passing in 2005, Alice developed a relationship with a longtime friend of the family, Jon Rogers of Charlestown. They were united in marriage in 2014 and together they shared a few short years before Jon was stricken with cancer and died in 2017. Surviving are her children Gary (Jean) of Westminster, Joel (Tammy) of Claremont, N.H., James (Carol) of North Hero, Michael (Margery) of Claremont, N.H., and Cindi Haskell of Bellows Falls, as well as many nieces, nephews, cousins, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. She is also survived by stepchildren Jon Rogers Jr., Janet Swain, Patty Sweeney, and their families; and her sister Ellen Aron of Westminster. Alice was predeceased by both of her husbands and her daughter, Kimberly Sue Cobb. Memorial information: A memorial service was held July 31 at Community Christian Church in Athens, followed by a burial service at the New Westminster Cemetery. Donations to Westminster Cares, P.O. Box 312, Westminster, VT. 05158.

• Joanne Marie Waite, 82, of Hinsdale, N.H. Died July 22, 2021 in the comfort of her home, with her family at her side, following a courageous battle with cancer. Joanne was born in Brattleboro on May 19, 1939, the daughter of Edward M. and Helen M. (Schlattner) Bennett, Jr. Raised and educated in Hinsdale, she graduated from Hinsdale High School with the Class of 1957. She was well-known at the Thicket Hill Park and Campground, where she worked on a part-time basis for several years, a position she thoroughly enjoyed. She also was employed by Café Services at Brattleboro Union High School. For many years, Joanne was employed at the Hinsdale Walmart where she worked as a sales associate. Steadfast in her faith, she was a member of the Green Mountain Chapel of the Christian & Missionary Alliance in Brattleboro. Joanne also held membership in the American Legion Post 5 Auxiliary and VFW Post 1034 Auxiliary in Brattleboro. She enjoyed bowling and loved time spent at the ocean, but her greatest joy was time shared with her family and friends. She enjoyed life to the fullest and will be remembered for her energetic and pleasant personality. Joanne was formerly married to Arnold Briggs. She later exchanged wedding vows with Alan H. Waite in 1977. Her husband of 26 years predeceased her in 2003. Survivors include a son, David Briggs and his wife, Helen, of Hinsdale; daughters Kathy Bean and her husband, Jay, and Kimberly Bonnette and her husband, Terry, all of Hinsdale; siblings J. Sandra “Sandy” Bennett of Hinsdale and Thomas Bennett of Lubbock, Texas; and 11 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren. Additionally, she leaves many nieces and nephews, several cousins, and her beloved Shih Tzu, “CoCo.” Memorial information: Funeral services will be conducted Friday, Aug. 6, at 10 a.m., at the Green Mountain Chapel on Western Avenue. A reception will follow the services. Burial will be in Oaklawn Cemetery in North Hinsdale. To share a memory or send condolences to the family, visit

• Dorothy May (Pratt) Watrous, 99, of Greenfield, Mass. Died peacefully at home, surrounded by her family. She was born on June 6, 1922 in Dummerston, the daughter of Harold Pratt and Pauline (Whitney) Pratt. She spent the first part of her young life with her family on the Scott Farm, where her father worked as a mechanic. Dorothy attended Brattleboro High School and graduated in 1940. She married Robert H. Watrous Sr., whom she met in Brattleboro, on July 4, 1942. Dorothy was the beloved matriarch of her family and will be sorely missed. She loved to cook and bake for her family and friends who could often be found enjoying time at her home in Greenfield. She enjoyed camping with her husband and family, sewing, canning, gardening, crocheting, doing crafts of all kinds, and all forms of furniture restoration and home decorating. She always loved a good dessert. Dorothy held several jobs over the years but her very favorite was working in the School Lunch Program in Greenfield, which she managed. She was fondly known as “The Lunch Lady,” and was very proud of this title. Her love of children and helping others was a major part of her life. Dorothy was predeceased by her husband, and her son, Robert H. Watrous Jr. She is survived by her sister Patricia (Pratt) Richotte; her son Brian L. Watrous and his wife, Cheryl; her daughter, Pauline (Watrous) Barton and her husband Stephen; her daughter-in-law Beth Gildin Watrous; her granddaughters Heather Loveland Watrous and her husband, Michael Fishbach, Lauren Watrous, Stephanie (Barton) Ellison and her husband, Joshua, Naomi Watrous and her wife, Sydney Longfellow, and Breanna (Barton) Walsh and her husband, Todd. She is also survived by her great-grandchildren Sather Robinson Waters, Delphi Fishbach Waters, Galen Fishbach Waters, Justice Ellison, Quentin Ellison, Evie May Ellison, and Caden Walsh, and many nieces, nephews, and cousins. Memorial information: A private cemetery gathering will be held at Green River Cemetery in Greenfield at the convenience of the family. Donations to Pioneer Valley Hospice & Palliative Care, 29 Conway St., Suite 2, Greenfield, MA 01301. To view an online tribute, visit

• Mark Robert Wizansky, 77, of Brookline, Mass. Died July 23, 2021. Mark was preceded in death by his parents, Jack and Sarah Wizansky. He is survived by his siblings and their spouses David Wizansky (Margot), Cheryl Grau (Daniel), Richard Wizansky (Todd Mandell); nephews Ben (Meghan), Zakary (Mina),and Aaron; his niece Sasha (Daniel), as well as four grand-nephews and one grand-niece. Mark earned a B.S. in accounting at Bentley University and spent his career as a bookkeeper in private practice. Mark loved his family, jazz, concerts, and dining out. He often entered and won radio contests that required answers about jazz. He was an avid walker and habitually walked from his home in Brookline to downtown Boston. He enjoyed sailing on his sunfish, the beach at Nantasket, and visiting Todd and Richard in Guilford. He traveled often, including to Egypt, Israel, Europe, the Caribbean, and Bulgaria. His favorite place, however, was Boston’s West End, where he and his siblings were born. He will be profoundly missed by his family who loved him greatly. Memorial information: A graveside service was held July 27 at Kovner Cemetery in West Roxbury, Vt. Donations to the Amyloidosis Foundation, 7151 N. Main St., Suite 2, Clarkson, MI 48346 or


A memorial service for Lorraine Unwin will be conducted Saturday, Aug. 7, at 3 p.m., at the Green Mountain Chapel on Western Avenue with Pastor Bill Steele officiating. Mrs. Unwin died peacefully on June 15, 2021. To view her full obituary and send condolences, visit

A memorial celebration for Mary Alice “Mal” Herbert, scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 8, has been postponed due to COVID-19 concerns. The family will reschedule the service at a date and time to be announced. For more information, contact Leslie Reed at 802-257-4117.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #624 (Wednesday, August 4, 2021). This story appeared on page A4.

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