• Leon Alfred Boyd, 64, of West Dover. Died April 9, 2020 at Cheshire Medical Center in Keene, N.H., from complications of the COVID-19 virus. His death came just six days after his twin brother, Cleon, died of the same virus. They were both born at Putnam Memorial Hospital in Bennington on March 13, 1956, the twin sons of John Boyd and Janice Batchelder. Leon grew up on the family farm and attended schools in Wilmington and Mount Anthony Union High School in Bennington, where he studied forestry and auto mechanics. He married the former Pamela Phelps in 1979; they had been together for 47 years and celebrated their 4oth wedding anniversary this past year. Leon enjoyed operating equipment and had worked 15 years for the Vermont Agency of Transportation. He also worked for Fitzpatrick Construction and the Hermitage Club. One of his most recent jobs, which he thoroughly enjoyed, was mowing the roadsides for the town of Dover. He had also worked as the custodian at Whitingham School for 15 years. Much like his twin brother, he loved to groom the trails at Mount Snow Ski Area. Leon always kept busy and had many interests including hunting, fishing, snowmobiling, being at the sugar house with family, and grooming the snowmobile trails for the Deerfield Valley Stumpjumpers. He loved nothing more than to sing and play guitar, he performed for many special occasions over the years such as weddings, funerals, anniversaries, and birthday parties. For many years, he sent Whitingham graduates off with his special songs. A devoted family man, he enjoyed working with his son Justin on his vehicle projects and was very proud of his daughter Jenny's accomplishments with the horses she trained and rode in competition. He was always willing to help with the horses whenever asked. In addition to being a family man, he will be remembered for his outgoing personality and a man who was loving and caring. He loved life in general and would strike up a conversation with just about anyone. Leon also loved volunteering for the Deerfield Valley Farmers' Day Fair every year. He dedicated over 30 years to the fair, as a loader operator and pinner for the horse draw, performing in the Country Jam Session, and any other tasks that helped make the fair run. He also participated in the horse draw and ox pull at the Guilford Fair. Although his contributions to the fairs were on a volunteer basis, he took it very seriously and cherished the camaraderie and pride of putting on such a community oriented event. He leaves his mother, Janice Batchelder of Brattleboro; his wife, Pamela Boyd of West Dover, his son, Justin Boyd and his girlfriend Leah Greene of Wilmington, his daughter, Jenny Boyd of West Dover; siblings Bucky Boyd and his wife Janet of Wilmington, Theresa Clare of New York, Carol Boyd Johnson of Burlington, and Tammy Snow of West Dover; as well as many nieces, nephews, and cousins. Memorial information: A service to celebrate the life of Leon A. Boyd will be held in Readsboro at a later date and will be announced at that time. He will be buried in the Readsboro Village Cemetery. Donations to the Deerfield Valley Stump Jumpers in care of the Covey Allen & Shea Funeral Home, P.O. Box 215, Wilmington, VT 05363.
• Alton Leroy “Benny” Cushman, 73, of West Brattleboro. Died unexpectedly April 7, 2020 at his home. Benny was born in Brattleboro on February 17, 1947, the son of Donald and Amy (Plumb) Cushman. He was raised and educated in Brattleboro attending public schools, including Brattleboro Union High School. He had been employed for several years at Cersosimo Lumber Company in Vernon and at the former Ashuelot (N.H.) Paper Mill. During his younger years, Benny worked for the late George Coulumbe at the former Vermont Cleaning Service. Benny was known for his spirit of friendship and gift of gab, always engaging whoever he met in conversation. A man of faith, he was a member of the Church of Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He enjoyed eating out, especially at his favorite restaurant, The Four-Leaf Clover in Bernardston, Mass. Benny enjoyed the outdoors and loved taking walks with his late father. He also enjoyed hunting, fishing, listening to country music, and sporty cars. Years ago, he was the proud owner of a dark red 1965 Oldsmobile 442, a car he thoroughly enjoyed. Survivors include many cousins, among them Clarence Tenney and his wife, Wanda, of Northfield, Mass, several second cousins and a host of friends and acquaintances. Memorial information: Burial in the Cushman family lot in Tyler Cemetery in Vernon was private. Benny was interred beside his father. A gathering at the cemetery for prayers will take place at a later date to be announced. Donations to Rescue, Inc., P.O. Box 593, Brattleboro, VT 05302. To send messages of condolence to the Cushman family, visit www.atamaniuk.com.
• George Anthony DeFeo, 88, of Brattleboro. Died peacefully at home on April 10, 2020, with his loving wife Beatrice at his side. George was born February 22, 1932 in Ardsley, N.Y., to Orazio and Florence DeFeo. George graduated from Ardsley High School in 1952 and joined the Army. He was honorably discharged in July 1955. On March 2, 1958, he married Beatrice Norine Branche. George retired from the U.S. Postal Service after 33 years of dedicated service. He and Beatrice moved from Ardsley to Brattleboro in 1970. They owned and operated Poor Richards bar on South Main Street; they later sold that and opened Alice's Restaurant on Elliot Street. George was an active member of the American Legion, the Elks Club and the VFW in Brattleboro. He was also a member of the Brattleboro Country Club, where he loved to play golf with his wife and friends. When he finally gave up the game he loved, he became an avid golf ball hunter and many friends and family benefited from his pastime. George is survived by his sons, George O. DeFeo of Texas and Kenneth J. (Lori) DeFeo of Washington, D.C. He was stepfather to Renita (Kerry) McGuinness of New York and Deborah (Rodney) Jackson of New Hampshire. He will be greatly missed by his beloved grandchildren: Keller McGuinness, Kate McGuinness Wright, Stephanie Jackson Gero, Brittany Jackson Cammett, and Megan, Samantha, and Jacqueline DeFeo. He has seven great-grandchildren. George was preceded in death by his sisters, Ruth (Ralph) Perrigiano, Molly (Vincent) Renaldi, and Florence (Joe) Concannon and brother, Christopher (Delores) DeFeo. He is survived by sisters, Mary (Joe) Jonas and Betty (John) Cobb. Memorial information: There will be no services at this time. A celebration of life will be held at a time and place to be determined. Donations to either St. Jude Children's Hospital, P.O. Box 1000, Memphis, TN 38148 or the Wounded Worrier Project, P.O. Box 758541, Topeka, KS 66675. To send messages of condolence to George's family, visit www.atamaniuk.com.
• Nicole Leanne “Nikkie” Covey Gerbasi, 29, of Wilmington. Died at her home on Ray Hill on April 12, 2020, with her sister Danielle holding her hand. She was brave to the end and had fought a hard fight against the cancer that eventually overcame her. Born in Bennington on Jan. 28, 1991, Nikkie was one of two girls born to Richard and Monique (Holland) Covey. She grew up in Wilmington where she attended Deerfield Valley Elementary and was a 2009 graduate of Wilmington High School. She then attended Lyndon State College, where she made lifelong friends. She fulfilled a longtime dream this past December when she was able to take her oldest daughter Gracelyn and other family members to Disney World, where they shared in the joy of being there together and created lasting memories. Nikkie had worked at Community Bank and, for many years, at Shaw's Supermarket, where she would greet customers with her warm smile. She enjoyed reading, journaling, arts and crafts, and time spent with her daughters and nieces. Besides her parents, she leaves her husband, Cody Gerbasi; daughters Gracelyn and Jacqueline; sister Danielle Covey of Putney, her close friend who was like a sister, Katherine Green of Bennington; grandparents Mildred Holland of Jacksonville and Robert Covey Sr. and his wife Sheila of Wilmington; nieces Aaryanna, Jaylin, and Kaydin; and many aunts, uncles, and cousins. Memorial information: A service to celebrate the life of Nikkie will be held at a later date. Burial will take place in the Riverview Cemetery. Memorial gifts in Nikkie's name can be made to CBNA (Community Bank), in care of the Covey Allen & Shea Funeral Home, P.O. Box 215, Wilmington, VT 05363. To send personal condolences to the family, visit www.sheafuneralhomes.com.
• Ellen Whitney Howe Hamilton, 97, of West Brattleboro. Died on April 12, 2020 at Vernon Green Nursing Home. Ellen, the daughter of James Kenworthy Howe and Sena Marion (Whitney) Howe, was born on Sept. 2, 1922 in Tunbridge. She attended Tunbridge Village Grade School and was a graduate of South Royalton High School in 1940. She attended the University of Vermont for a year, then went to Bay Path Institute of Commerce in Springfield, Mass., where she graduated in 1943. Ellen was a high school secretary in Springfield, Vt., for one year before her marriage to Joseph Eli Hamilton in 1944. Ellen was a member of the Windham County Farm Bureau and the Marlboro Meetinghouse, where she was treasurer, played the organ for many years, and worked with the youth choir. She was an associate member of the First Congregational Church in West Brattleboro, where she was assistant organist starting in 1965. She was in the choir and served on many church committees. Her love for playing the piano or organ was shown by playing for many weddings, funerals, and sing-a-longs at local nursing homes. She also was organist at several annual Vermont State Farm Bureau Conferences and Vermont FFA State Conventions. Ellen was a real Vermont farm wife. When she wasn't chasing seven kids, making bread, patching jeans or cooking for all the hungry mouths, she was keeping the cows out of her huge garden, helping with harvesting forage for the cows, and keeping the farm business's books. All meals were home-cooked and shared as a family around the table at each meal time. She was a terrific cook and honored as cook of the week by the Brattleboro Reformer in the late 1950s. Fresh homemade doughnuts were a treat. Ellen was extremely artistic. She designed a Christmas greeting each year and sent them to numerous recipients. She made and sold specialty cakes, including wedding cakes. She was a 4-H leader. She was honored in the book Vermont Farm Women by photographer Peter Miller. She is survived by their seven children: Eric J. (Barbara Kundel) of Clifton Park, N.Y, Elwin R. of Brattleboro, Ross N. (Ursula Hummer) of Munich, Germany, Dennis J. (L. Jolene Paquette), Lynette E., and Kevin H. (Jean Shumway), all of Brattleboro, and Andrea Hamilton Howe (Philip D.) of Marlboro; 13 grandchildren, and 18 great grandchildren. She was predeceased by her husband of 68 years, Joseph Hamilton. Memorial information: A memorial service is planned for Sept. 5. Donations to The Gathering Place, 30 Terrace St., Brattleboro, VT 05301; Marlboro Meeting House, P.O. Box 64, Marlboro, VT 05344; or First Congregational Church/Organ Fund, P.O. Box 2398, Brattleboro, VT 05303. To send messages of condolence, visit www.atamaniuk.com.
• Wendy Frances Ingraham, 70, of Brattleboro. Died at home on Jan 29, 2020 with a great big smile on her face. Wendy was born in Newton, Mass., on April 6, 1949, to William and Mimi (Burns) Ingraham. She was the second youngest of five girls, and was bullied a lot by her older sisters. The family briefly moved to Southern California before moving back east to Connecticut. In her youth, she loved to ride horses, and worked at a stable in exchange for riding lessons. She was always happiest in the forest and out in nature. In her early 20s, she made many trips to Vermont, camping and staying in communes near Brattleboro and Putney with friends, and getting to know the area. She fell in love with the Green Mountain State, and moved here in 1973 after having her first daughter, Juniper. She felt that this is where her soul truly belonged. In 1979, she had her second daughter, Melody, and together the two girls solidified her true love in life: being a mom. Despite the many hardships of being a poverty-stricken single mother living on the extensively potholed dirt roads in the woods of Dover Hills, Wendy was somehow always able to keep a positive attitude and keep going in order to provide for her daughters. She made them do their homework immediately upon returning home from school, so they wouldn't grow up to be procrastinators. With her own hands, she built a simple but really cool tree house for her daughters that stood for many years. She cultivated a large vegetable garden and was a great cook. Swedish meatballs and Spanikopita were two of her specialties. Her only flaw was that she worried so much that her daughters gave her a copy of the Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbook. Wendy was an incredible artist who made beautiful woodburnings on both bracket fungi and pieces of wood, delicately burning intricate nature scenes with horses, trees, rivers, and recognizable plants, onto the large dried mushrooms, light-switch covers, and coat racks. In addition to passing on her love of arts and crafts, she took her kids on many hiking and fishing outings. The happiest days of her life were spent immersed in the wilderness. Her kids happily spent their childhood playing in the woods of Vermont, thanks to her. When her daughters were just about grown, she went back to school part-time at Community College of Vermont, taking classes while juggling low-wage jobs, determined that she would somehow find better paying and more fulfilling work. After taking classes at CCV for several years in the mid-1990s, she decided to return to school full-time and, at age 50, Wendy earned her Bachelor's degree in Native American History and Anthropology, from Norwich University in 2000. It was the culmination of a lifetime of research, knowledge, and passion for the natural world and its original inhabitants and their history. It was in the pursuit of this degree that she found true happiness and her place in the world. She loved tracking, finding feathers, collecting stones, geology, Native American history and anthropology, and nature photography. She also loved working in her flower garden. Wendy's ancestors were of Scottish descent and she loved to listen to the bagpipes, and dreamed of someday visiting Scotland. She traveled to Northampton each summer, even sick with stage 4 colon cancer that had spread throughout her liver, to hear and dance to her favorite Scottish band, Albannach, play live at the Highland Games. She looked forward to this every year. Like an iron fist in a velvet glove, Wendy was the definition of strength, beauty, and perseverance and she is and always will be missed tremendously. She kept a positive attitude no matter what the cancer threw at her, she was determined to beat it. No matter how hard things got, she kept looking at the bright side. “Hold Fast!” she liked to say. Memorial information: A Celebration of Life party for Wendy will be held soon, after the current events subside and gatherings are again permitted. Contact [email protected] or Melody at [email protected].
• Anne Matuszewski, 91, of Hinsdale, N.H. Died peacefully on April 9, 2020 at her home with her family at her side. Memorial information: Graveside services in St. Mary's Cemetery in Northfield, Mass., will be private for the immediate family. Donations to the Hinsdale Volunteer Fire Department, 13 Depot St., Hinsdale, NH 03451, or to Rescue, Inc., P.O. Box 593, Brattleboro, VT 05302. To send messages of condolence, visit www.atamaniuk.com.
• Stephen Sanders, 92, of Halifax and Santa Fe, N.M. Died April 13, 2020. Steve was born to Ben and Frances Sokalner in New York City in 1928. He graduated from the City College of New York School of Engineering and was commissioned as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, stationed at the Frankford Arsenal in Philadelphia. Steve joined his brothers Albert and Murray in business, serving as president of Allen Stevens Conduit Fittings for 30 years. Upon his retirement, Steve pursued his lifetime love of history by enrolling in the anthropology and historic preservation graduate programs at Columbia University. He started a new career as an architectural historian/archaeologist, nominating numerous historical sites in Vermont, including the Brattleboro Retreat, for the National Register of Historic Places. Steve was a contributing author to Born in Controversy, the History of Halifax, Vermont. An accomplished photographer, Steve exhibited his work in galleries in Brattleboro. Steve married artist Mariette Tacké in NYC in 1957. They moved to Long Island and raised four children in Manhasset, N.Y. Steve loved to restore old things to their former beauty. It started with a wooden sailboat, which he traded in for a decrepit farm in Halifax in 1967. Many summers and school vacations were devoted to the painstaking work, by the entire family, of renovating the 1762 farmhouse and restoring the old apple orchard and the surrounding fields, gardens, and pond into an idyllic pastoral retreat. Every archaeological find, of which there were many, was duly noted and catalogued by Steve, leading to extensive research into the history of Benjamin Henry, one of the first colonists to build a home in Vermont. Steve and Mariette moved to Halifax full-time in 1982. Steve was also entranced by the Southwest. After years of shoveling snow, feeding sheep, and splitting firewood, he and Mariette renovated an old home on the historic East Side of Santa Fe, where they spent the winters enjoying music and art under blue skies. They made many memorable trips to national parks, historic sites, and pueblos. Steve was fascinated by people's stories, and was famous for “interrogating” new acquaintances. He always managed to find an area of shared interest with his friends and colleagues. He wanted to know everyone's opinion, whether it be that of his professor, Margaret Mead, or his youngest grandchild. Steve is predeceased by his brother Murray Sanders. He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Mariette; his children Chris Sanders (Nancy) of Virginia, Jennifer Stevens (Robert) of Vermont, Ben Sanders (Anne Marie) of California, and Carla Sanders Pope (Mike) of New Mexico; his grandchildren Sam, Jonathan, Julia, Emily, Nate, Theo, Etta, Makai ,and Avi; and his 100-year-old brother Albert Sanders. Memorial information: A memorial is planned for late summer when restrictions are lifted. Donations to the In-Sight Photography Project of Brattleboro. To send messages of condolence, visit www.atamaniuk.com.