College news

• The following local students were honored for academic achievement in the fall 2015 semester at Castleton University: McKenzie Bover of Brattleboro, Ryan Haselton of South Londonderry, Colby Hescock of Brattleboro, Soren Pelz-Walsh of Brattleboro, and Kayla Wood of Dummerston were all named to the President's List; Keira Capponcelli of Brookline, Kamelia Crawford of Saxtons River, Alex Derosia of Brattleboro, Matthieu Fortier of South Londonderry, Patrick Gilligan of Vernon, Callie Ginter of Townshend, Eric Ginter of Townshend, Casey Gould of Brattleboro, Rebecca Hall of Vernon, Tyler Higley of Vernon, Molly O'Callaghan of Brookline, Meghan Powell of Vernon, Grandon Smith of Londonderry, and Nicole Wershoven of Whitingham were all named to the Dean's List.

• Brandi Butler of Halifax, Joseph Dutton of Brookline, and Greta Larson of Williamsville were all named to the Dean's List for the fall 2015 semester at Lyndon State College.

• Rachel Spence of Newfane, a freshman at Kent State (Ohio) University, was named to the fall 2015 Dean's List.

• William C. Bourque, an economics major from East Dover, and Isaiah A. Hopkins, a finance major from Putney, were both named to the fall 2015 Dean's List at Western New England University in Springfield, Mass.

• Madison Derosia and Megan Walker of Brattleboro and Katherine Nopper of Newfane were all named to the fall 2015 Dean's List at the University of New Haven (Conn.)

• Carly Emond of Guilford, Quinn Lawrence of Saxtons River, and Jessica Kane and Loralee Miller of Vernon were all named to the fall 2015 Dean's List at the University of New England in Biddeford, Maine.

• Jennifer A. Spero of Londonderry and Beau Doucette of Wilmington were named to the fall 2015 Dean's List at the University of Rhode Island.

• Lindsay Martin of Brattleboro was named to the Dean's List for the fall 2015 semester at Becker College in Worcester, Mass.

• Jacqueline Elliott of Brattleboro earned the distinction of Faculty Honors for the fall 2015 semester at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. This designation is awarded to undergraduate students who have a 4.0 academic average for the semester.

• Forrest Lisle, an adventure education major from Grafton, was named to Dean's List for the fall 2015 semester at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colo.


• River Valley Credit Union recently promoted Crystal Collins to the position of Operations Analyst II. She began at River Valley Credit Union in September 2012 and worked as a teller in the Brattleboro, Putney, and Townshend offices. She transferred from the Townshend branch to the Operations Center in August 2015, beginning her position as a receptionist.

• Pauline Dean of Brattleboro recently joined 16 other community members in serving on Youth Services' board of directors. Dean has served before in similar capacities in the region, including presently on the board of BCTV and on numerous committees within The Brattleboro Retreat. She has 16 years of experience as an educator, five of which have been working with young people at the Meadows Educational Center, a therapeutic alternative school located within the Retreat where she is a case manager and intensive special education elementary teacher.


• Harris Gordon Coomes, 82, of Putney. Died Jan. 28 at the VA hospital in White River Junction, following a period of declining health. Husband of Anita Miller Coomes for 55 years. Father of Vicki Goodrich and her husband, Peter, of Lebanon, N.H., Brian Coomes of Putney, and Lori Coomes of Chicago. Brother of Edith Rounds and her husband, Wilfred, of Vernon. Also survived by one niece, two nephews, a great niece, and several great nephews. Born in Putney, the son of the late Gordon and Minnie (Sampson) Coomes, he attended grammar school in Putney and St. Michael's High School in Brattleboro and completed his GED while serving in the Army. He served his country in the Army as a mail clerk in Germany from 1954 to 1956. After his honorable discharge from active duty, he served another six years in the Army Reserve. Harris and Anita had known each other virtually their entire lives, as they both grew up in Putney and their mothers were great friends. On Nov. 26, 1960, they were married at Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church in Putney. He worked at West River Basket Company, first as a laborer and later as traffic manager and purchasing agent. In 1965, he became an electrician apprentice for Frank T. Coty in Hanover, N.H. After completing his electrical license, he started three electrical contracting companies; first Bright Light Electric with Ken Miller, then Putney Electric Company with Larry Cassidy, and finally running his own company for 25 years. He retired in 1995. Harris loved sports from a young age. He played basketball regularly at the Putney Community Center and in the Brattleboro Men's League. He continued his support of the sport by becoming an on-court official and, later, as the men's basketball coach at Windham College in the 1970s. As head coach, Harris made friendships with his players that lasted until his death. Another of his pursuits was baseball. Harris was a founding member of the Putney Athletic Club, playing, organizing, and traveling in the West River Valley Baseball League, playing for the Putney Polecats. He was a long-time softball and baseball umpire and had the opportunity to umpire several state high school baseball and softball championships. He also umpired adult league softball and was invited to umpire several state and New England championships. He dedicated a great deal of time in improving Cooper's Field, owned by the Putney Community Center, and he was instrumental in building dugouts and the snack bar, maintaining the field, and installing fencing. He was an avid deer and moose hunter. He was a member of the Lions Club, the VFW, and the American Legion, and founded the Junior Police in Putney. Memorial information: Graveside committal services and burial with full military honors will be in Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Putney; the date will be announced by the funeral home. Memorial contributions can be sent to the Putney Community Center, 10 Christian Square, Putney, VT 05346; or the Putney Fire Department, 21 Carl Snyder Drive, Putney, VT 05346. To sign an online guestbook with messages of condolence, visit

• Robert L. Davis, 88, formerly of Londonderry, Ferrisburgh and, most recently, Shelburne, Died Jan. 19. Husband of the late Charlotte W. Davis. Father of Robert L. Davis Jr. and his wife, Monica Sargent. Brother of the late Fred S. Davis Jr. He was born in Warren, Pa., the son of the late Alice Lipp Davis and Frederick S. Davis. Known as “Mellow Bob,” he lived a full and diverse life of optimism, thoughtfulness and always time for others, young and old. He attended Lower Merion High School in Pennsylvania, graduating in 1946. Enlisting in the U.S. Army, he served during World War II, guarding the Golden Gate Bridge, and during the Korean War, stationed in Japan. In 1950, he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business, where he met his future wife at a DKE fraternity “tea party.” In summers, he was a lifeguard in Stone Harbor, N.J. He began working for AT&T in sales and management, first in Philadelphia and, eventually, in New York City, for more than 20 years. A lifelong learner, he was a gifted craftsman and tinkerer. He taught himself to sail, building a Rhodes Bantam from a kit, taking family and friends adventuring on the Delaware River. In good cheer, he traded the Rhodes to a good friend for property in Charlestown, R.I., a family summer spot. But soon, the skiing bug hit and he taught the family to ski, discovering Vermont in the 1960s. An ad in Yankee magazine resulted in swapping the Rhode Island property for land in Londonderry with the Fosters of Weston, putting down roots in Vermont. He enjoyed skiing well into his 80s, both alpine and nordic, at Stratton, Bromley, and the Viking Ski Touring Center. He fished and hunted birds in the fall. Eventually, he took up sailing again on Lake Champlain, completing the circle of adventure started long ago. A great believer in community, he served on the Londonderry Planning Commission for over 10 years and was a member of the Windham Regional Commission. A Little League umpire in good weather, winters saw him and Charlotte both mentoring kids skiing at Okemo. Not one to sit still, he applied his woodworking skills to post and beam construction, building their wonderful and warm house on Boyton Road, a wonderful gathering place for family and friends. With requests from neighbors, he set out on yet another course, eventually building over 10 custom post and beam houses, repairing barns and Vermont's vernacular homes. They stand as a tribute to his skills, and ability to guide others to do their best. In their 70s, he and Charlotte purchased and cared for the original 1792 Dakin Homestead in Ferrisburgh in 2002 to be closer to family, especially his granddaughter, Alice. Memorial information: A memorial service will be held in the spring. Details will be announced at that time. The family invites everyone to share your memories and condolences by visiting Donations may be made to a local Red Cross chapter, veterans organization, or the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum.

• Katherine R. Frazer, 92, of Saxtons River. Died Jan. 28. Wife of the late Grant Frazer. Mother of Dr. James E. Frazer and his wife, Sharon, of Mishawaka, Ind., and Susan R. Frazer-Stebbins of Saxtons River. Sister of the late Allen Webster. Also survived by five grandchildren and seven great-grand-children. Born in Hazlet, N.J., daughter of the late Angelo M. and Madeline R. (Young) Webster, after her local education, she actively pursued her higher education in medicine and divinity. She graduated from Temple University and Methodist Teaching Hospital in Philadelphia. It was while she was in Philadelphia that she met the love of her life and equal, Grant, and they were married there in 1954. His teaching career brought the family to Saxtons River in 1960, where they would make their permanent home. She would always say how lucky she was to live in the beauty of Vermont. In 1965, seeing a need in the community for seniors and shut-ins to have a social outlet, Kay formed “Club 39.” The Christmas parties she would host for the club were the talk of the town and highly anticipated. Also during the 1960s, she worked at the local hospital and for a local physician. She would hear complaints that patients could not be released for the simple reason of monitoring vitals or changing dressings. She proposed to a doctor that “there was no reason a nurse couldn't go into a home and do these things.” Hence was born the Visiting Nurse Association out of a tiny office in Charlestown, N.H. In retirement, she was instrumental in the founding of Our Place Drop In Center, and volunteered at Parks Place Community Resource. She was a very devoted and active member of Putney Friends Meeting, including herself on committees concerning her Quaker Community as well as the community at large. One of her richest late life friendships was with Hattie Reeves Forsythe. The two of them were inseparable as they traveled the globe in their 70s and 80s. Her most important love was that of her family, that they remain close and looked after each other, and that traditions were continued. Memorial information: There will be a memorial gathering at the Putney Friends Meeting House on Saturday, Feb. 20, at 1 p.m. Donations to the Putney Friends Meeting, in care of Treasurer, Putney, VT 05346.

• Harvey Frank “Harv” Howard, 77, of Guilford. Died Jan. 29 at his home, following a courageous battle with cancer. Husband of Nancy (Watson) Buckley for nearly seven years and the late Patricia Thomas for 31 years. Father of Tyson Howard and his wife, JoAnne Deady of Colrain, Mass.; Joseph Howard and his wife, Samantha Aquino of Greenfield, Mass.; and the late Lisa Howard Brothers. Stepfather of Eric Buckley and his wife, Rebecca, of West Brattleboro; Steven Buckley and his wife, Brenda, of Enfield, Conn.; Warren Buckley, also of Enfield; Wayne Buckley of Springfield, Mass.; Bruce Buckley, Sr. of Berlin, N.H.; Glenn Buckley of Windsor, Conn.; Gail Buckley of North Swanzey, N.H.; and the late Ginger Buckley. Brother of Dixie Conant and her husband, Rodney, of Bernardston, Mass. Half-brother Robert Pietraszek of Turners Falls, Mass. Stepbrother of Eugene, Kenneth, and Richard Bartlett, all of Greenfield, and Thomas Bartlett of Gill, Mass. Also survived by 32 grandchildren and 16 great grandchildren. Born in Dummerston, the son of Merritt and Helen (Danforth) Howard, he attended schools in Putney and Hinsdale, N.H., and was a graduate of Greenfield High School, Class of 1956. He went on to proudly serve his country in the Army, as well as the Army Reserve and National Guard, from 1961 until his honorable discharge in 1967. He was a cab driver for Brattleboro Taxi and had also worked at Eden Park Nursing Home as head of the housekeeping department. Previously, he worked at the former Northfield Texaco and for the former Bolster Movers in Brattleboro. During his earlier years, he worked at Basketville in Putney. He was a member of American Legion Post 5 and a former member of the Fraternal Order of Eagles, Aerie #2445, both of Brattleboro. He loved music and dancing and was fondly known on the dance floor as “Rubber Legs.” He also enjoyed playing pitch and cribbage and loved socializing with his many friends, as well as gardening and deep-sea fishing. Memorial information: A funeral services was held Feb. 4 at Green Mountain Chapel in Brattleboro, with burial with full military honors in Mount Pleasant Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to a special fund to help pay for funeral costs. Donations can be sent to the Atamaniuk Funeral Home, 40 Terrace St, Brattleboro, VT 05301.

• Joan B. Larson, 80, of Londonderry. Died Jan. 26 at her home. The daughter of the late Roy and Maude (McGinn) Mathews, she was born in Williamstown, Mass., while her mom was visiting her Aunt Alice. She graduated from Leland & Gray Seminary in 1954 and spent many years cleaning for various local residents. She worked for Harriet and Abner Sisson of Weston for some 30 years. She took great pride in her cleaning and was known as the “Queen of Clean.” Her last cleaning job was for Annie and Noble Fujii; her cleaning skills at age 77 were far superior to any other much younger. Her first marriage was with Jack Moore in April 1958. He worked construction, so they traveled with their mobile home to Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Maine. They moved 14 times but she said she was always happy to come home to Vermont. In 1987, she married Robert Larson, the true love of her life. He died in 2008 and she often said their marriage was the happiest 26 years of her life. Her extensive network of family and friends is so vast it would require a zip code of its own. She was loved deeply by each one of them. She was a high-spirited soul and, without any effort, made people feel special and welcome when they visited her in her mobile home, where she resided until the end of her life. Her home was her castle and she wore her crown with pride. She is survived by her sister, Jean Williams, and her husband, Pat; her brother, Stephen Mathews, and his wife, Joyce, both of Londonderry; a sister-in-law, Brenda Mathews, of Westminster, as well as eight nieces and nephews, 13 great-nieces and nephews, four great-great-nieces and nephews, and her beloved Yorkie, Coco. She was predeceased by her brother, Lawrence “Lonnie” Mathews. Memorial information: A celebration of her life was held at Jake's Marketplace Café in Londonderry on Feb. 6. A private burial will be held at the convenience of the family. Donations to Springfield Humane Society or other local charity or choice.

• Bradford Arthur Pfenning, 85, of Vernon. Died Feb. 1 at Vernon Green Nursing Home, following a period of declining health. Husband of the late Joyce (Pelkey) Pfenning for 56 years. Father of Cheryl Deyo and her husband, Peter, of Vernon, and Gay Pfenning, also of Vernon. Brother of Bernard Pfenning and his wife, Chris, of Burlington; and Lucille Staples and Gladys Cameron, both of Woodstock. Also survived by five grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews. Born in Sherburne, the son of Frank and Anna (Austin) Pfenning, he was raised and educated there. He proudly served in the Navy from 1948 to 1950, stationed on an aircraft carrier in the European Theater. Following his honorable discharge, he enrolled at Castleton State College, graduating in 1954 with his B.S. in education. From 1954 to 1992, he taught at Brattleboro Union High School. He also taught seventh- and eighth-grade math and science at Brattleboro Area Middle School. He spent many years as the director of the Audio/Visual Department. During the summers, he ran his own Driver's Education program. He retired after 38 faithful years with the school system. He attended Vernon Advent Christian Church and was a member of the Vermont Teachers Association and American Legion Post 5 in Brattleboro. He enjoyed golfing, bowling, fishing, camping and deer hunting. He was also a regular attendee at BUHS sporting events. Memorial information: A funeral service will be conducted Saturday, Feb. 13, at 11 a.m. at Vernon Advent Christian Church. Burial will be in Tyler Cemetery. Donations to Vernon Green Nursing Home Activities Fund, 61 Greenway Drive, Vernon, VT 05354. To sign an online guestbook with messages of condolence, visit

• Richard T. Rochford, 64, of Brattleboro. Died Jan. 31 at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital. Born in Springfield, Mass., the son of the late Robert Rochford and Joyce (Feeley) Dragon, he grew up in Springfield, graduating from Holy Name Grammar School and Cathedral High School, both in Springfield, received his undergradate degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and later attended Western New England College in pursuit of his Masters in Business Administration. He worked for the Holstein Association in Brattleboro for more than 20 years before retiring in 2009. He was an avid New York Yankees fan and enjoyed lively discussions in anything dealing with politics, history, and sports. He is survived by children, Sara Lynn Rochford of Hinsdale, N.H., Danielle Marie Rochford of Burlington, and Patrick Rochford of Boulder, Colo.; his stepfather, Henry M. Dragon; his siblings, Robert E. Rochford, Gail Goodenow and her husband, John, all of West Springfield, Mass.; Timothy M. Rochford and his wife, Sevgi of Catonsville, Md., Peter J. Rochford and his wife, Leah, of Enfield, Conn.; Christopher M. Dragon and his wife, Tamara, of Wilbraham, Mass.; David E. Dragon and his wife, Carol, of Springfield; Susan M. Dragon and her husband, Frank Zakrzewski, of Enfield, Conn.; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins. Memorial information: Memorial contributions may be made to The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research, Donation Processing, P.O. Box 5014, Hagerstown, MD, 21741-5014.

• Chrissy Wright, 47, of Westminster West. Died February 2 at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H., after a short but courageous battle with cancer. Wife of Sean Long for 29 years. Mother of Tucker and Cooper Long. Daughter of Norman and the late Marie Wright of Westminster West and sister of Ann Wright of Brattleboro, MJ Bentley of Westminster, Debra Cobb of Bellows Falls, Michael Wright of Milton, Cheryl Gould of Saxtons River, and Jonathan Wright of Milton. She is also survived by 21 beloved nieces and nephews. She graduated from Bellows Falls Union High School in 1986 and attended Mount Ida College in Newton, Mass. She was a devoted wife and dedicated mother, a loving sister and daughter, and a friend you could count on. From her own boys to the children she took care of during her time at Landmark College, she made an impact on every child who crossed her path. To all who knew her, nurturing children was her most obvious gift. Her proudest moments were when someone complimented her on her sons and the men they were becoming. She had a love for life that was contagious, which seeped through everything she did. Her quick wit and straightforward approach to life was a refreshing and honest representation of who she was as a woman. She was an avid lover of the outdoors as well as a fantastic cook who enjoyed time spent in the kitchen. She also loved reading, good conversation, card games, playing Scrabble, and hosting numerous family gatherings. Vacations and outings to York Beach, Acadia and the Outer Banks with family and close friends held a special place in her heart. Memorial information: A memorial service was held Feb. 7, at 2 p.m. at the Westminster West Congregational Church. Donations to the Chrissy Wright Memorial Fund, c/o Chris Hackett, TD Bank N.A., 2 Church St., Bellows Falls, VT, 05101. Funds will be disbursed to honor her name and spirit at a later date.

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