College news

The following local students were recognized at the 12th annual Vermont Technical College Honors Celebration in Randolph Center: Jenna Ross of Brattleboro with the BSN Nurse Leadership Award and Sigma Theta Tau, Leanna Mager of Westminster with the Veterinary Technology Department Greatest All-Around Academic Development award, Kaitlin Haskins of Brattleboro for Alpha Delta Nu; and Theron Wilkinson of Bellows Falls for Phi Theta Kappa.

• Emily Armstrong of Marlboro was one of 38 students selected to present an original academic research project at the 27th annual Undergraduate Symposium, held virtually on April 19 at Assumption University in Worcester, Mass. Armstrong, a member of the Class of 2023, presented “Row Reduction Algorithm in Python.”

• Olivia Renee Ortlieb of Dummerston made the spring 2021 Dean's List at the University of North Georgia in Dahlonega, Ga.


• Farren Bratton, 74, of Brattleboro, Died at home on March 24, 2021, of malignant melanoma cancer. Born in Williamstown, Mass., he was raised in the country and spent most of his youth reading or building things. He graduated from Buxton School, received a B.A. in music from Wesleyan University, and studied architecture at Tulane University. A musician by nature and training, an educator and accomplished software engineer, an inventor with a penchant for all things electric, an aficionado of circuitry and engines, and a silvery choral singer, Farren was a genuine Renaissance man, a wizard, and a proud and loving father and grandfather. His lifelong passion and pursuit of learning led him to solve problems - to create and develop powerful software for his clients, from court systems to school systems, both local and international; to sing in his fine tenor voice as a member of the Blanche Moyse Chorale, twice performing Bach oratorios at Carnegie Hall; and to craft some of the best croissants and brioche, always at home in his kitchen. Farren is cherished by his wife, Leah; sons, Sascha and Cory; grandson, Dillon; sisters, Linda of New York City and Jessica of Townshend; and his favorite aunt, Pat Boothby of New Orleans. Memorial information: A celebration of Farren's life will take place this summer. Farren always said it should be a party, quoting Joanne Harris from the film, Chocolat: “Life is what you celebrate. All of it. Even its end.”

• Clarence John “Johnny” Carson, 47, of Brattleboro. Died April 15, 2021. A local baker, pastry chef, and a friendly face on Main Street, John attended BUHS and began baking at the former Hammelman's Bakery, and then at Amy's Bakery Arts Cafe. He had a true affinity for baking and understood and reveled in the craft. Many knew John as an animal lover, an avid outdoorsman, and a man with a terrific sense of humor, as he was the proud owner and caregiver of the famous Brattleboro Alligator. John's canine family was his pride and joy, and was rarely far from them. His calm demeanor will be missed and he will be forever in the hearts of who knew him. To view his online tribute, send a message of condolence, or for more information, visit

• Arthur Sykes Ellor, 88, of Dummerston. Died at his home on May 9, 2021. He was born on April 15, 1933 in Newark, N.J. to Arthur B., and Wilma Sykes Ellor. He was raised in Bloomfield, N.J., where he graduated from Bloomfield High School in 1950. He obtained his undergraduate degree in dairy husbandry from the University of Maine at Orono in 1955. At that time, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army Reserve. He served as an artillery officer, achieving the rank of captain. He married Eileen Gropler in 1957, and moved to Dummerston in 1958, where he resided until his death. He worked as a computer programmer at Holstein-Friesian Association in Brattleboro, retiring after 33 years. He also had a variety of other jobs: farm hand at a local chicken farm, bartender, convenience store clerk, and crossing guard. He was a member of the West Dummerston Volunteer Fire Department for many years, serving as captain. He was instrumental in starting the firefighting school at the Windham Regional Career Center in Brattleboro. He was predeceased by his wife, Eileen Gropler Ellor; his sister Wilma (Sandy) Vonderhorst; and an infant daughter. He leaves behind his three daughters, Kathy Ellor, Karen Bledsoe (Duke Bledsoe), and Tina Ellor (Joe Cordivano), and four grandchildren. Memorial information: A memorial gathering will be announced at a later date. Donations to Brattleboro Area Hospice, Dummerston Cares, the West Dummerston Volunteer Fire Department, or the Evening Star Grange in Dummerston Center.

• Kenneth C. Gilbert, 60, of Brattleboro. Died May 1, 2021 after suffering a sudden heart attack while out for a walk in his neighborhood. He was preceded in death by his wife, Pamela Wilcox, and his mother, Dixie Mae Binford, whom he lost when he was only 17. He is survived by his mother-in-law, Verna Perkins of Marshfield, Mass. He leaves behind his sister in law, Paula Sombronsky and her husband, Don, of Marshfield, and brothers-in-law Robert Perkins and his wife, Susan of Billerica, Mass., and Kenneth Perkins-Gough and his wife, Deborah, of Alexandria, Va., in addition to seven nieces and nephews. Ken was born in Philadelphia, Pa., on Nov. 13, 1960. He grew up in Virginia Beach, Va. He spent many years in Florida before settling with his wife, Pam, in Brattleboro. He created his business, Scentastics, and passionately ran the company for nearly 30 years. Ken was a great story teller and enjoyed sharing anecdotes about his past. He had an infectious smile and many endearing qualities. Ken was an animal lover and had cats for most of his life. He also enjoyed boating with Pam and hosting family and friends. Ken loved Pam dearly and supported her through her illness, saying that “Pam is my whole world.” Memorial information: A Celebration of Life service will be held on June 17 in memory of Ken and Pam.

• Joan Ruth (Morton) Gratton, 89, of Winchester, N.H. Died peacefully March 10, 2021 at the home of her daughter, Susan Hernon, in Rockingham, Vt., where she had made her home the past few years. Joan was born in Norwalk, Conn., to the late Helen R. (Stabell) and James E. Morton. She graduated from Norwalk High School in 1949 and married Charles (Charlie) Gratton. Joan had met Charlie when they were both working at H.L. Green's in Norwalk. After marrying, Joan and Charlie moved to Georgia, Maine. She lived in Massachusetts while Charlie was in the Army, then they settled back in Norwalk, where they ran a successful heating business together. Joan liked to tell tales of answering calls, dispatching servicemen, and keeping the accounts straight, all while raising six children. After moving to Hinsdale, N.H., Joan worked for many years at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital and Prospect Park Press in West Chesterfield, N.H. In later years, they made their home in Winchester, N.H. in her beloved log cabin. A true patriot, Joan enjoyed visiting much of the United States while traveling with Charlie in their RV. Joan was a Boy Scout den mother as well as a Girl Scout leader. Joan enjoyed embroidery and reading. She loved watching Westerns and Perry Mason. Most of all, she loved spending time with family. In recent years, Joan volunteered many hours at the Thayer Public Library as well as the Winchester Historical Society. She was an active member of the United Church of Winchester and had many good friends there. Survivors include her children: Linda C. Burdo and her husband, Douglas, of Peru, Maine, Kathy A. Barnard and her husband, Edwin, of Pescadero, Calif., and Susan M. Hernon and her husband Thomas of Rockingham; daughters-in-law Joyce Gratton of Fremont, N.H.; Kathy Jean Gratton of Spofford, N.H.; Kimberley Gratton of Epping, N.H.; her sister Nancy Santella of South Norwalk; 13 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren; and many nieces, nephews, cousins, extended family, and numerous friends. She was predeceased by her husband, Charlie; sons Charles H. Gratton III, Richard J. Gratton, and David J. Gratton, grandchildren Jeffrey A. and Peter J. Gratton, and sister Mary Karahalios. Memorial information: Calling hours will be held on Saturday, May 22, from 2 to 5 p.m., at Cheshire Family Funeral Home, 44 Maple Ave., Keene, N.H. At her request, burial will be private. Donations to the Thayer Public Library in Ashuelot, N.H., or the Winchester Historical Society.

• Mildred “Mim” Green, 67, of Bellows Falls. Died May 9, 2021 at home, surrounded by family, after a brief illness. Mim was born in Barnet, Vt., on Jan. 22, 1954. She married Cecil Green Jr. in 1973 and enjoyed 24 years of marriage before his death in 1998. Over the years, she worked several jobs, including Northern Cross in Brattleboro and HCP in Hinsdale, N.H. She retired after working at Northeast Family Institute in Brattleboro. While Mim lived in Rockingham for the last 10 years, she always considered Whitingham as her true home. While in Whitingham, she was on the Volunteer Rescue Squad and the Ladies Auxiliary. Her favorite times were spent with family and friends or getting her hands dirty in the gardens. She is survived by her children, Bernard Green and April Green of Rockingham; sister Hazel LaValley and brother-in-law James LaValley of Webster, Fla., brother Greg Achilles and sister-in-law Linda Achilles of Lyman, N.H., sisters-in-law Elizabeth Achilles of South Ryegate, Auralie Achilles of Lyman, NH, and Patty Denny of Whitingham; brother-in-law Kenny Green of Wilmington; her two best friends and soul sisters, Denise Carrier and Nancy Janovsky; and a number of nieces and nephews. Memorial information: Funeral services for Mim were held May 15 at Covey-Allen & Shea Funeral Home, with interment in Gates Cemetery in Whitingham. Donations to Bayada Hospice, in care of Covey-Allen & Shea Funeral Home, P.O. Box 215, Wilmington, VT 05363.

• John V. James, 69, of Bellows Falls. Died May 8, 2021 at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H. He was born on Jan. 19, 1952 in Bellows Falls, son of Walter and Mary (Monte) James. John attended Saxtons River Grammar School and was a 1970 graduate of Bellows Falls High School. Following school, he worked at James Trucking, Whitcomb's, St. Johnsbury Trucking, and L&B Truck Service. He was also a member of the Knights of Columbus. He coached in the Connecticut Valley Football League for many years, as well as Bellows Falls Babe Ruth Baseball and CYO Basketball. He also umpired during tournaments for the Bellows Falls Little League. He enjoyed playing golf at the Bellows Falls Country Club and loved to go out to breakfast and lunch. He also enjoyed going to his sons' and grandchildren's events. In 1972, John married Linda Mack, who survives. He is also survived by son Jeffrey of North Attleboro, Mass., Jarrod of Bellows Falls, and Nicholas of Hawaii; brothers Paul of Wilmington and Robert of Jaffrey, N.H.; and seven grandchildren. Memorial information: A funeral Mass was held May 17 at St. Charles Church in Bellows Falls, followed by burial in St. Charles Cemetery.

• Louis Francis Lepporoli, Jr., 89, of Dummerston, Died peacefully in his sleep on Feb. 24, 2021. Louis was born to Rose and Louis Francis Lepporoli, Sr., on June 8, 1931 in Montague, Mass. He grew up in Brattleboro, attending Saint Michael's High School, graduating in the Class of 1951, and later received an Associate Degree in Business from Burdett College in Boston. As a young man, Louis enlisted in the Navy and served from 1951 to 1955 on the USS Midway. Lou married the love of his life, Virginia Brainard. As a businessman in the Brattleboro area, Louis operated Lepporoli's Market on the corner of Main and South Main streets, Lou's Country Store in West Dummerston Village, and Lou's Country Market on the new Route 30 in West Dummerston. He spent his retirement living at The Blue Roof Inn on Falls Brook Road, driving cars for local car dealerships, and caring for his wife Virginia.

• Virginia Ann “Ginny” Lepporoli, 84, of Dummerston. Died peacefully in her sleep on Feb. 21, 2021. She was born on Dec. 19, 1936 to Virginia and Ernest Brainard of New Britain, Connecticut. As a girl, Ginny attended Cushing Academy in Ashburnham, Mass., and later received a nursing degree from Simmons College in Boston in 1955. Virginia practiced nursing in Denver, Colo., which she loved very much. Ginny moved to Vermont and married Louis Lepporoli, where they raised their four children. Virginia always went out of her way to make her children happy. During her time in the Brattleboro area, she continued working as a nurse, volunteered with the Girl Scouts, and helped run the family businesses.

Louis and Virginia are survived by four children: Kristen Taylor of Jericho, Linda C. Lepporoli of Williston, Paula Lepporoli of Dummerston, and Mark Francis Lepporoli of Sydney, Australia. They are also survived by eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, and close family friends “Aunt” Judy and “Uncle” Ron Mills of Northfield, N.H. Ginny is also survived by siblings John Brainard of Somerset, Ky., and Mary Cargill of Derby, and many nieces and nephews. Memorial information: The family is planning a celebration of life for Louis and Virginia when the pandemic subsides.

• Douglas Wright “Doug” Saunders, 70, of Vernon, formerly of Wilmington. Died May 5, 2021. Doug was born on May 17, 1950 in Flushing, N.Y., to the late Phyllis and David Saunders. He graduated in 1968 from Orchard Park (N.Y.) High School, where he was fondly nicknamed “Gate.” After living at the Richmond Richie and the Dewey Dump in Buffalo, N.Y., Doug moved to southern Vermont around 1970 which he made his home. He worked as a chef at many local restaurants and later became a self-employed contractor. Doug had a passion for cooking and loved to cook for and spend time with his family and friends. He was a whiz at identifying the photo of the week in the local newspaper and enjoyed winning the free pizza. Doug loved to crack jokes, tell stories, and make people laugh. He was an avid Buffalo Bills fan, no matter the score. He played guitar, enjoyed boating, and spending many summers at the family cottage on Silver Lake, N.Y. He was predeceased by his parents and his twin brother, Donald Saunders. He is survived by his brother, Charles Saunders (Mary) of Buffalo, N.Y.; Donald's wife, Margaret Saunders of Hamburg, N.Y.; daughters Samantha Betit (Brad) of Vernon and Laural Colbert (Russell) of Whitingham; and stepsons James Knapp (Amy) and Ira John Knapp (Michelle), all of Wardsboro. He is also survived by his six grandchildren, a loving niece and eight nephews and many close friends. Memorial information: A service to celebrate his life will be held at a later date. Donations to the Cardiac & Pulmonary Rehab clinic at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital, in care of Covey-Allen & Shea Funeral Home, P.O. Box 215, Wilmington, VT 05363. To send the family condolences, visit


Committal rites and burial for Rita M. (Thomas) Call will be held in the family lot in Locust Ridge Cemetery in Brattleboro on Saturday, May 22, at 10 a.m., where she will be laid to rest next to her husband. Mrs. Call, 65, of Rockingham, died Feb. 25, 2021 at the Jack Byrne Center in Lebanon, N.H. To see her full obituary or send condolences to the family, visit

Subscribe to the newsletter for weekly updates