College news

• Craig Worden, a finance major from West Dummerston, graduated in December from Coastal Carolina University in Conway, S.C.

• Tyler Millerick, a business major from Vernon, was named to the Fall 2020 Dean's List at Western New England University in Springfield, Mass.

• Abigail Dryden of Londonderry was named to the Gettysburg (Pa.) College Dean's Honor list for outstanding academic achievement in the fall 2020 semester.


• Jon David Bellstrom, 74, of Townshend. Died peacefully, surrounded by family, on Feb. 15, 2021 at Grace Cottage Hospital. He had lived with a blood cancer for more than seven years. Jon was born in 1946 in Oberlin, Ohio to Donald and Ruth Bellstrom. As a child, his family spent summers in Vermont where he developed a lifelong love of nature while learning to fish and exploring the woods of Dover. He began his interest in travel as a young man. That interest continued all his life where he spent time in Morocco, Mexico's Yucatan peninsula, and many Caribbean islands. Later in life, he fell in love with the north shore of Maui, but Vermont was always home. By trade, Jon was a woodworker, carpenter, and builder who contributed to many homes in southern Vermont. His beautiful work remains a daily part of the lives of his family and friends. In 1976, Jon and his then-wife, Regina Luerson, had Kristen. Jon and Regina divorced but remained friends and co-parents. Patricia Burleson and Jon were married in 1985 and produced Tyler a year later. Jon and Patricia shared many adventures and a lot of love for 38 years. A fixture in Townshend, Jon had a quick smile and an unmatched sunny cynicism, maintaining relationships with all the folks he encountered in daily life. An athlete at heart, he played basketball and volleyball. As his body aged, he became a swimmer and particularly enjoyed swimming at Lowell Lake with his dog, surrounded by the beauty of Vermont. He passed on his love for sports by coaching youth baseball and basketball. Jon preferred to be assistant coach so he could use his ability to bond with the kids as he patiently taught a bounce pass or throwing a curve ball. Family was the most important part of Jon's life. He was a devoted son, a loving husband, a doting father, an enraptured grandfather, a loyal brother, a favorite uncle, and a welcoming father-in-law. He was unfailingly generous with his attention, humor, and affection. Jon will be greatly loved and missed. He is survived by his wife Patricia; daughter Kristen and son-in law J.L., his son Tyler and daughter-in law Sara; his granddaughter Charlotte, his brother Steve, his nieces Lisa, Laura, and Tanya and their families; his sister-in-law Donna and his dog, Tucker. His last instructions were: “Do not be sad, I have had a wonderful life” and “Go home and tell your family you love them.” Memorial information: The family hopes to gather this summer to remember Jon and share stories. Condolences can be sent to P.O. Box 306, Townshend, VT 05353.

• William “Billy” Blanchard, 71, of Bellows Falls. Died Jan. 23, 2021 after a long illness. He was born April 28, 1949 in Bellows Falls, the son of Adrian and Margaret (Dee) Blanchard. He was a graduate of Bellows Falls High School. He was the owner of Michael Dee's Pub in Bellows Falls for many years, and was employed at Jones & Lamson in Springfield for a number of years as a machinist. He worked as an electrician for several years, with his later years spent with Interstate Electrical. Bill was a former member of the Polish American Club, the Loyal Order of the Moose ,and the B.P.O. Elks, all of Bellows Falls. Bill enjoyed cooking and creating tasty variations to recipes and entertaining friends and family at cookouts with his delicious creations. Gatherings of friends and family were a joy for Bill. Oftentimes, he would find joy in driving around the countryside with his family, taking any and all scenic routes just to see what's there. Bill is survived by his son, Michael W. Blanchard of Bellows Falls; his two sisters, Sheila Pateneaude (William “Pat") of West Chesterfield, N.H., and Kathleen Colburn (Nelson) of Rockingham; and his many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his parents; a brother, Michael Dee; a sister, Maureen Hennessey, and her son, Shawn Hennessey. Memorial information: There will be a graveside burial service in the spring at St. Charles Cemetery in Westminster.

• Nancy Riley Childs, 74, of West Brattleboro. Died Feb. 18, 2021 at Grace Cottage Hospital in Townshend, following a brief illness. The daughter of Captain Herbert C. and Isabel (Riley) Childs, she was born in New Haven, Conn., on Nov. 22, 1946. Nancy graduated from Roger Ludlowe High School in Fairfield, Conn., and continued her studies, graduating with a B.A. from Lake Erie College in Ohio. In earlier years, she worked for Polaroid in Boston. Nancy was an avid reader and a skilled wordsmith. She loved being with her family and enjoyed visiting Vermont, where several family members reside. She was the “favorite aunt,” always giving just the right gift and praise to her siblings, nieces and nephews. Nancy leaves her brother Andrew R. Childs and his wife Mindy of West Dover; and sister Sarah C. Gagnon and her husband, John, of Brattleboro, Rebecca C. Miller of Montpelier, and Karen C. LaVelle and her husband, Michael, of Fairfield, Conn. She also leaves several nieces and nephews, and a grandniece. Many family members remember visiting Nancy while she lived in Boston. She always found great restaurants and was a wonderful host. She had a keen eye for clothing and shoes. She loved ballet and held a love for culture which she shared by offering tickets to live performances. Nancy was a caregiver for her mother, Isabel, and drove her to appointments and operations or medical procedures as she did for her friends Dotty and Margo. Nancy was predeceased by her parents and a brother, Herbert C. Childs Jr. Memorial information: Services for Nancy will be held this summer, where she will be laid to rest in the family lot in Intervale Cemetery in Wilmington. Donations to the S.D. Ireland Cancer Research Center at the University of Vermont, in care of Covey Allen & Shea Funeral Home, P.O. Box 215, Wilmington, VT 05363.

• Joan Hill Cunningham, 88, of Washington, D.C. Died of COVID-19 on Dec. 10, 2020 at the Hebrew Home of Greater Washington. Although her partner, Cynthia Melman, her son, Ralph Cunningham, her daughter, Julie Cunningham; and their families couldn't be with her in person, they were able to be with her virtually to thank her for a lifetime of constant and endless love. Born on May 14, 1932, this lifelong Washingtonian was cherished by her parents, Joseph Archer Hill and Julia (Dulany) Hill; and her younger brother William Dulany Hill. As a child, she took a loving interest in the babies and toddlers in the neighborhood and volunteered at Miss Howards Pre-School in Dupont Circle, forging relationships that lasted decades. Joan attended segregated schools in the District, graduating from Dunbar High School in 1950. Joan attended Boston University and received her Master's in French from Middlebury College, and she studied at the Sorbonne in Paris. This began a lifelong immersion into the French language, French culture, and many visits to France where she had friends she adored. She often slipped into French when she spoke to people, especially exclaiming “Mon Dieu” when something surprised her. Not surprisingly, this aptitude determined her vocation and she taught French in in public schools in the District for 40 years, 35 of these at Woodrow Wilson High School. She was a born teacher and delighted in her students' development and mastery of foreign language. She was the recipient of the Foreign Language Teacher of the Year award, and many of her students say she was the best teacher they had during their high school years. She was married in 1955, but that marriage became difficult as her husband descended into alcoholism and depression. When he died in 1976, she officially became a single parent, but had done the majority of parenting from day one. She put the education and welfare of her children above and beyond everything else, and she would do the same for her six grandchildren. Joan courageously came out as lesbian in the mid 1980s, long before there was societal acceptance for LGBTQ people. She was able to negotiate the different social circles she moved in, while being true to herself. She met Cynthia at a support group for women and they would spend 30 wonderful years together. Joan loved Washington and Paris, but the other place that was a big part of her life was Brattleboro, where her daughter lives. She came up regularly to visit her grandchildren, and made her presence felt here. She loved the beauty of Vermont, especially during foliage season. She leaves her dear partner, Cynthia; her son Ralph, his wife, Maria Casarella, and their two sons Henry and Julian; her daughter Julie, her husband, Jay Cook, and their children Matthew, Antoine, Matteo, and Zoe; her brother William Dulany Hill, his wife Rikki, and their two sons; and her cousin Carnot's children Monica, Carnot III, and Barrett Evans, along with all their partners and children.

• Antoine Jordan “AJ” Cunningham-Cook, 31, of Brattleboro. Died at home on Jan. 25, 2021 at the age of 31. Originally from Albany, N.Y., the spunky, smart, loving, and athletic nine-year-old AJ was adopted in 1998 by Julie Cunningham and Jay Cook and their children, Matthew and Zoe, into their Brattleboro home. The immediate and large extended Cunningham-Cook family, friends throughout the Brattleboro community, and families and staff from Neighborhood Schoolhouse (NSH) embraced AJ with open arms and unconditional love. Upon graduating from NSH, Antoine attended Brattleboro Union High School and, later, the Compass School, which he graduated from in 2007. During Antoine's junior year, Antoine befriended Matthew Cook (formerly Matthew Spahr-Blazej), who was homeless in Brattleboro at the time. Antoine and Matt developed a deep friendship, one that ultimately led to an increase of family members in the Cunningham-Cook clan. Matt was adopted by the family later that year, and he credits “his big bro” with “saving his life.” After Compass School, Antoine held various jobs in the Brattleboro area, including landscaping with Bill Keefe Landscaping and delivering packages for UPS. He was most proud of his work at the former North End Butchers on Putney Road; there he was employed by a compassionate boss who understood the struggles Antoine was going through with his sobriety. In 2013, Antoine met his loving partner, Stephanie Dougherty, who was an active advocate of her significant other during their eight years as a couple. Together they had one child, Quentin, who is now 5. He loved to take Quentin on “adventures” - swimming at swimming holes, hiking on Wantastiquet and other nearby mountains, bike rides, and long walks around their house on Hunt Street (which sometimes included the Pokemon Go app). Antoine understood his son's need for physical activity, and was happy to oblige. Sometimes Quentin's behavior brought up feelings that reminded Antoine of himself, but he took pride in his ability to be a stronger, better parent than what he had in his early childhood. Antoine came to Brattleboro with severe trauma. He struggled with being a Black man in a mostly white community, and with racist actions directed at him. He had addiction issues from the age of 18 on. He went through periods of being sober, and was proud of himself during those periods. His beautiful being when sober was secure, committed, peaceful and loving. Memorial information: The family hopes to have an in-person memorial service for Antoine this summer. A GoFundMe campaign has begun for Antoine and Stephanie's son, one that supports Quentin as he grows into a strong and social being, at

• Cyndi Frederick, 66, of Brookline. Died unexpectedly at her home on Feb. 11, 2021. She was born July 26, 1954, daughter of Carl and Nancy Warner. Cyndi had a heart of gold and a love of many things, especially nature and family. She had many hobbies and talents. Cyndi is survived by her mother, Nancy Warner of Bradenton, Fla., brothers Carl Warner Jr. of Idaho, Bob Warner and his wife, Sue, of Bradenton; her children Trina Kinney and her husband, Mark, of Tennessee and Shannon Unwin and her husband, Kenneth, of Brookline; seven grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, several nieces and nephews, and many cousins. She was predeceased by her father Carl Warner and brother Joseph Warner. Memorial information: None provided.

• Maude (Rawson) Gabert, 85, formerly of Weston. Died Feb. 19, 2021 at Springfield Rivers Health and Rehab in Springfield, Vt. She was born March 27, 1935, in South Londonderry, the daughter of Ethelbert and Cecil Mae (Capen) Rawson. In 1955, she married Edmond R. Gabert Jr. They were married nearly 51 years before his death in 2006. Maude was the storekeeper at the Vermont Country Store in Weston for 34 years, where she was well-known for commanding the cheese wheel. She loved baking, entertaining and having dinner parties. Maude also was very well-known for her baked beans. She enjoyed playing Bingo and Pokeno. Maude was the sweetest lady and was loved by all who knew her. She lived most of her adult life in Weston and was one of original founders of the Weston Rec Club. She was a Justice of the Peace, a Cub Scout leader, and served on many local committees. In 2012, she sold her home in Weston and moved to Springfield to be closer to her sons. Maude said her favorite thing about Springfield was she now had pizza delivery available to her. She is survived by her sons, John Gabert and Joel Gabert, both of Springfield; her four siblings, Ralph Rawson and his wife, Shannon, of The Villages, Fla., Hugh Rawson of Merrimack, N.H., Ruth LaFogg of Turners Falls, Mass., and Robert Rawson of Windham; her grandson, Logan Gabert of Andover; two step-granddaughters, three step-great-grandchildren, and many nieces, nephews and cousins. Memorial information: A celebration of life service will be held at a later date. Donations to the Londonderry Rescue Squad or a charity of one's choice.

• Roland James “Jim” Godfrey Jr., 96, formerly of Wellesley, Mass. Died peacefully on Feb. 18, 2021 at Vernon Green Nursing Home in Vernon, where he had been a resident for the past two years. Born in Worcester, Mass. on May 13, 1924, the son of Roland and Gertrude (Townsend) Godfrey, he was raised and educated in Wellesley. He graduated from Wellesley High School, Class of 1943, and went on to attend Burdett College of Business in Boston where he earned an associate's degree in business. He worked most of his career in banking, employed as a trust officer for State Street Bank in Boston. He retired in 1989 following many years of faithful service to the bank. Previously, he was an accountant for Mystic Steamship Company in the Boston area. Active fraternally, he was a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Wellesley Sincerity Lodge for 70 years and was a 50-year member of the Wellesley Masonic Lodge. Jim was well known for his spirit of friendship and love of life. He enjoyed music (especially Jazz), travel, and sailing. Prior to relocating to southern Vermont to be close to family, he resided in his childhood home for most of his life. Survivors include: one niece, Mary G. Godfrey of Granville, Mass.; a nephew, James M. Godfrey and his wife, Kim, of San Antonio, Texas; two grandnephews, John and Timothy Short of Granville; and a special sister-in-law, Wanda Godfrey, of Vernon Hall in Vernon. He was predeceased by a brother, John T. Godfrey, and a nephew, John T. Godfrey Jr. Memorial information: Graveside committal services at Woodlawn Cemetery in Wellesley will be conducted later in the springtime, where he will be laid to rest next to his parents in the Godfrey family plot. Donations to The Jimmy Fund, 10 Brookline Place West, 6th Floor, Brookline, MA 02445-7226, or to Vernon Green Nursing Home Activities Fund, 61 Greenway Drive, Vernon, VT 05354. To share a memory or send messages of condolence to the Godfrey family, visit

• Grace Harris, 95, of Townshend. Died Feb. 15, 2021, following a brief period of declining health. Born in Cos Cob, Conn., to Andrew and Dorothy Young, Grace was the eldest of four sisters growing up in Lamoine, Maine. In 1946, she married Donald Harris and they settled down in Woburn, Mass., to raise their two daughters. Eventually, they migrated south to Florida to enjoy some warmth and sunshine. Don died in 2002 after 56 years of marriage and, shortly after, Grace moved north from Florida to Plymouth, Mass. to be close to her family. When her daughter Sandra died in 2013, Grace continued north one last time to Vermont to be near her daughter, Barbara. Since then, Grace has been a resident at Valley Cares Assisted Living in Townshend where she met new friends, traveled around Vermont and enjoyed visits from friends and family. Grace leaves behind her daughter Barbara Harris (Woody); grandchildren Stacey Brown (Kevin), Kenny Manuel (Lannie), Scott Manuel (Julie) and Kevin Manuel (Heather); son-in-law Ken Manuel; and several nieces and nephews, as well as great- and great-great-grandchildren. Grace's family is spread out between Florida, Texas, Washington, Georgia, Massachusetts, Vermont and Maine. She will be missed by them all. Memorial information: Due to COVID-19 concerns, there will be no services in Vermont. When safely allowed, the family will travel to Maine to celebrate her life. Donations to Valley Cares Assisted Living, P O Box 341, Townshend, VT 05353, or Bayada Hospice, 1222 Putney Rd. Suite 107, Brattleboro VT 05301. Arrangements are being handled by Atamaniuk Funeral Home.

• Marshall F. Laundry Sr., 90, of Hinsdale, N.H. Died Feb. 10, 2021 at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital from complications of COVID-19. He was born on June 11, 1930 in Haverhill, N.H., the son of Peter and Myrtie (Young) Laundry. He was raised in the Woodsville, N.H., area where he attended public schools. He went on to proudly serve his country in the Army as a medic during the Korean War. He later served in the Vermont National Guard, where he was honorably discharged from active service at the rank of sergeant. He held membership in VFW Carl M. Dessaint Post 1034 in Brattleboro. He worked most of his career as a truck driver employed by Brattleboro Haulage, which he retired from in 2002 following many years with the company. Previously he worked in road construction as a ledge driller and, during his earlier years, drove a U.S. Mail truck in the Upper Connecticut Valley. Of his interests, he enjoyed cruising, camping, tinkering around his home,and time shared with his family. In 1991, he was married to Judith E. Smith who survives. Besides his wife of almost 30 years, he leaves two sons, Marshall Laundry, Jr. of Hardwick, Vt., and Richard Laundry of Enfield, N.H.; a daughter, Lisa Daggett of West Lebanon, N.H.; a stepson, Andrew Bird of Rockingham; and two stepdaughters, Melinda Bousquet of Hinsdale and Monica Larson of Hardwick, Mass. Additionally, he leaves one brother, Wendall Laundry of Plainfield, Vt., 16 grandchildren, several great grandchildren, two great-great-grandsons, and many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by a son, Douglas Wayne Laundry; three brothers, Carroll, Pat, and one who died in infancy; and two sisters, Louise Tillotson and Hazel Jewell. Memorial information: A service in celebration of his life will be conducted at a later date at a time and place to be announced. Donations to Rescue Inc., P.O. Box 593, Brattleboro, VT 05302. To send condolences to his family, visit

• Richard G. Phillips, 84, of Hinsdale, N.H. Died Feb. 16, 2021, at his home. He was born March 17, 1936, in Colebrook, N.H., the son of Burt and Evelyn (Holden) Phillips. Richard was a 1954 graduate of Colebrook Academy and served in the Army from 1958 to 1960. He worked as a logger for Currier and for Stow Mills, retiring in 2013. He was a member of American Legion Post 44 in Winchester, N.H. He enjoyed horse pulling, sugaring, gardening and cutting firewood. In 1987, he married Amy Wright, who survives. He is also survived by his son, Frank Phillips; stepsons Steven Fisher of Grafton, Sam Fisher of Brookline, and Stuart Fisher of Grafton; six brothers, Stuart, Harold, Carl, Derwood, Wayne, and Michael; seven sisters, Grace, Carlene, Nancy, Donna, Doris, Sue, and Nellie; three grandchildren and three great grandchildren. He was predeceased by two brothers, Roy, and John; and three sisters, Barbara, Ellen, and Dorothy. Memorial information: Services will be held at Houghtonville Cemetery in Grafton at a later date.

• Mary Agnes Ryan, 100, of Brattleboro. Died Feb. 17, 2021 at Thompson House nursing home. A longtime resident of Brattleboro, she was born in Springfield, Mass., on Nov. 8, 1920, the daughter of Thomas J. and Agnes (Garrity) Ryan. Raised and educated in Brattleboro, she attended St. Michael's Parochial School and was a graduate of St. Michael's High School, Class of 1939. She went on to attend Trinity College in Burlington, earning a B.A. in English. Ms. Ryan spent her professional career in Brattleboro. Mary had been a proofreader at the former American Stratford, which she retired from in 1982 following 17 years of faithful service with the company. She had also worked in the payroll department at the former American Optical plant in Brattleboro, and previously had been employed at The Book Press and John Stone Typesetting. A devout Catholic, Mary was a lifelong communicant of St. Michael's Roman Catholic Church, where she served as a eucharistic minister and taught religious education. Mary was an avid reader, loved music of all kinds and enjoyed crossword puzzles. Survivors includeone nephew, Stephen Greene; two nieces, Mary Martin and Carol Surface; four grandnephews, two grandnieces, one great-grandnephew, and a great-grandniece. She was predeceased by a brother, Thomas Ryan, and a sister, Frances Greene. Memorial information: A funeral Mass will be celebrated later in the springtime, with burial in the family lot in St. Michael's Parish Cemetery. Donations to St. Michael's School, 48 Walnut St., Brattleboro, VT 05301. To share a memory or send condolences to the family, visit

• Elsie L. Sharon, 89, of Windham. Died Feb. 12, 2021 at Springfield Rivers Health and Rehab. She was born July 16, 1931 in Plymouth, to Allen and Elsie (Kitchen) Wade. She graduated from Chester High School, Class of 1950. She worked at the National Survey in Chester, was a cook for the Charlestown (N.H.) Schools, and also worked at White Mountain Converting and Hubbard Farms. She was a member of Industrial Grange in Andover, as well as the Vermont and National Grange. She is survived by a son, Garry; two daughters, Darlene Kimball and Lisa Martell; and eight grandchildren and several nieces and nephews. Memorial information: There will be a service at the convenience of the family.

• Kent Straat, 86, of Jacksonville. Died on Feb. 18, 2021, after a long battle with cancer. He died in the place he most loved, the home he designed, surrounded by his adoring family. He often recalled his younger days of coming to Vermont in his little VW Bug whenever he could to ski. He loved everything about Vermont, especially the people. When he and his dear wife, Donna, finally settled in Jacksonville more than 30 years ago, it took eight years of “roughing it” in “the shed” before their dream of a house - with plumbing - was realized. He built deep friendships with his neighbors and people in the area through his love of tennis, painting, and cooking. When his daughter, Hilary, would jokingly comment that he'd done something like a true Vermonter, he would respond with the most joyful laugh for it was obvious that, for him, that was the greatest compliment. He was born in Norwalk, Conn., on Nov. 7, 1934, the only child of Kent and Margaret (Fish) Straat. Kent grew up in Norwalk where he graduated from Norwalk High School and received his B.A. from Lehigh University. He served his country in the Army from 1954-1957. He began his career at Bethlehem Steel, then worked for IBM. For many years, he was an executive recruiter at William H. Clark & Associates in New York. A direct descendent of Dirck Straatmaker, who emigrated from Holland in 1642, Kent was active in genealogical groups. He served as president of the Sons of the Revolution in New York, was president of the St. Nicholas Society, and was also an active member of the Holland Society. He and Donna loved ballroom dancing, where he served as president of the Dinner Dancers and the Waltz Series in New York. He loved to cook and entertain family and friends, and was a prolific painter. He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Donna Miller Straat; his son, Theodore Straat; his daughter, Hilary Rath; and his three grandchildren, Casey, Dylan, and Mattie Rath. Memorial information: A funeral Mass was held Feb. 25 at Our Lady of Fatima Church in Wilmington. Burial will take place at St. John's Cemetery in Norwalk in the spring. Donations to Deerfield Valley Health Center, in case of Covey Allen & Shea Funeral Home, P.O. Box 215, Wilmington, VT 05363.

• Stanley Wisell, 66, of Brattleboro. Died Feb. 21, 2021 at his home. He was born in Brattleboro on June 1, 1954, the son of Howard and Joyce Wisell. He served in the military and loved to work with his hands. He loved his family and being in the outdoors, including hunting, fishing, camping, and boating. He leaves behind two sons, Travis Winter and Jesse Wisell, daughter in-law Nicole Wisell, two grandchildren, brother James Wisell, and cousins, nieces, uncles, aunts, and lots of friends. Memorial information: A memorial service will be held March 13, from noon to 4 p.m., at the Winchester (N.H.) VFW. Wear a mask, and follow the COVID-19 guidelines.

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