College news

The following local students graduated from St. Lawrence University in Canton, N.Y., on April 18: Emma E. Griffith of Halifax, graduated Cum Laude with a B.S. in psychology and business in the liberal arts, and Mikayla G. Lathrop of South Londonderry graduated Cum Laude with a B.S. in environmental studies-mathematics.

• Dominic Italia, a 2012 graduate of Brattleboro Union High School, earned his White Coat as he completed year two of his four year Creighton University School of Dentistry program in Omaha, Neb. The White Coat symbolizes the transformation from a student to one of a clinical health care professional who will continue to learn the dental profession while treating patients in a responsible, respectful, and compassionate manner.

• Kari Sparks of Vernon earned an M.S. in environmental management from the University of Maryland Global Campus.

• Cassandra Dunn of Brattleboro, a theater major at the University of Evansville (Ind.), was named to the Dean's List for the spring 2021 semester.

The following local students were honored for academic achievement at Southern New Hampshire University during the winter 2021 semester: Marissa Betit of Vernon, Megan Shanks of Westminster, Thomas Salmon of Bellows Falls, Carina Gillet De St Christ of Brattleboro, Justin Dougherty of Whitingham, and Cassandra Viado of Putney were all named to the President's List. Rebecca Best of Bellows Falls was named to the Dean's List.

• Erin Morrison, a design major from Londonderry, was named to the University of Utah's spring 2021 Dean's List.


• The Brattleboro Museum & Art Center (BMAC) has hired Kirsten Swartz as its new Manager of Education & Community Engagement Programs. Swartz holds a master's degree in Museum Studies from the Cooperstown Graduate Program and worked previously at Cambridge Arts, Tower Hill Botanic Garden, and Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute. In addition to her work in arts education, events, and outreach, Swartz is a fiber artist, teaches fiber arts classes, and works with watercolors and pen and ink illustration. She began her career in the disability field, which she says helped to shape her belief that the arts should be accessible to everyone.


• Jacob J. “Jack” DeSalvo, 88, of Keene, N.H. Died peacefully May 17, 2021 at the Jack Byrne Center in Lebanon, N.H., following a period of declining health. He was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Aug. 13, 1932, the son of Francis and Frances (Montagino) DeSalvo, and was raised and educated in Brooklyn, graduating from Samuel J. Tilden High School with the Class of 1948. Following high school, he went on to serve in the Air Force, stationed in San Antonio, Texas. In 1954, he married Emily M. Pitagno who survives. While residing in Merrick, L.I., he worked in the flight cargo department at Kennedy International Airport and later established his own commercial maintenance business on Long Island before moving to Keene. After settling in Keene, he went to work as a service technician for Fairfield Motors, which he retired from following more than 30 years of faithful service. He thoroughly enjoyed working at Fairfield's and the relationships he built with the staff and many customers. With his wife, Jack went on to establish Covered Bridge Carwash in Keene, which the couple successfully operated for several years. He was a member of Lodge 478, Loyal Order of Moose, in Keene and B.P.O. Elks, Lodge 1296, in Greenfield, Mass. Jack loved the outdoors and enjoyed fishing, boating, snowmobiling, puttering around his home and gardening. He was an avid and lifelong New York Yankees fan. A devout Catholic, he was a communicant of St. Michael's Roman Catholic Church in Brattleboro. Besides his faithful and devoted wife of 67 years, he leaves a son, Jack DeSalvo (Eva) of Gainesville, Fla; a daughter, Francine (Clark) DeSalvo of Milford, NH; two brothers, Frank DeSalvo of Bluepoint, L.I., and Joseph DeSalvo of Kingman, Ariz.; seven grandchildren, five great-grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by one brother, Peter DeSalvo. Memorial information: A funeral will be held Wednesday, May 26, at 2 p.m., at St. Michael's Catholic Church. Friends are invited to call at the church from 1 p.m. until the start of the Mass. Committal rites and burial will follow in Morningside Cemetery in Brattleboro. A reception at the Chesterfield Inn, 20 Cross Rd. in West Chesterfield, N.H., will immediately follow the committal service. Donations to St. Michael's School, 46 Walnut St., Brattleboro, VT 05301, in care of Elaine Beam, principal. To send condolences to the family, visit

• Mia Gannon, 75, of Brattleboro. Died May 14, 2021, leaving this world to zoom across the universe with her brother, Joe, who died in February 2020, and her dog, Diva. She also leaves behind her large, chaotic, and loving family which includes her granddaughters, Lotte and Dolma, her daughter Solveig, and about 14 million sisters, nieces, nephews, and cousins. Mia was born on Oct. 22, 1944 to Joseph Gannon and Mary Elizabeth Blake Gannon and was christened Mary Anne. She grew up in their home on Hawes Street in Brookline, Mass., with her sisters Betsy, Barbara, and Jan, and her brother, Joe. She attended Newton Country Day School of the Sacred Heart in Newton, Mass., Class of 1962, and may or may not have stolen wine from the rectory. The jury's still out on that one. She then attended Manhattanville College in Purchase, N.Y., Class of 1966, where she didn't sleep at all for a few years. She did, however, make some dear friends, Jo Anne Bennett and Susan Ackley Cabell. They all went on to have baby girls at about the same time. Mia traveled over much of Western Europe with her family as a child and young woman (in Spain, a handsome elevator boy gave her the name she took for the rest of her life), and then to Ghana with her friend Jo Anne, across the United States by herself with a camera and eventually living in Hammerfest, Norway, where she gave birth to her daughter. She was living in Norway so that she could learn about the Sami people in Northern Norway. They then traveled to Cambridge where they stayed with her friend Jo Anne upon returning to the United States. In the U.S., Mia traveled with her daughter and lived on a commune in Colorado with her friend Peter Rabbit and then around Colorado and on to Portland, Maine, and back to the Boston area where they eventually lived with her father in the family home on Hawes Street. After the death of her father, Mia gave her daughter the choice of a few places to live (because she was philosophically dedicated to the idea of democracy and wanted her daughter to be able to make decisions). Solveig chose Tamworth N.H., where they would live on a dead end road near her friends, Susan and Will, and their daughter Hannah. Mia would live in that house for about 30 years and wrote and gardened and had many wonderful animals, including her cats Alphonse, Amadeus, Dublin, and Sasquatch, and her beloved dog, Diva. She also had a small herd of sheep that often escaped the barn and, as herd animals do, chase the dogs who chased the cars, much to the joy of lost New Yorkers. In the summer, Mia took her daughter camping nearly every other weekend and in the winter took the kids from their dead-end road on expeditions up the frozen river, the Bearcamp. She worked for 25 years at Thorne Surveys in North Conway, N.H., as a septic surveyor. She dubbed herself the Septic Queen of the North and particularly loved digging test pits, heavy machinery, and three-dimensional mapping systems. Basically, she was a huge dork. When her daughter gave birth to her first child, Lotte, Mia moved to Brattleboro, where she had an apartment on Prospect Street. It was small but she loved it. She was an adoring grandmother. She spent much of her spare time playing with her grandchildren. Both Dolma and Lotte adored their “Mamie” and would have magical sleepovers at her house. In Brattleboro, Mia first worked at the Groundworks Drop-In Center on South Main Street and then went on to work as office manager at The Commons, where she loved the people she worked with. Mia loved music and attending concerts with her friends Diana Bingham and Wendy Redlinger. Diana and Mia once took a fateful trip to New York where they were so raucous that the train conductor yelled at them, much to their delight. She was also an avid seamstress. She created stunning costumes for Off-Broadway shows when she was in New York, for the Barnstormers Theater in Tamworth, and then for her grandchildren. She also made her daughter's wedding dress and knitted beautiful creations as well. Of her interests, writing was the most important to Mia. She was a lifelong writer. She began writing in her journal when she was 11 and continued for the rest of her life. Her true love was adolescent fiction, which she both read and wrote avidly. Her daily practice was to wake up early and write and do some yoga. She wrote several unpublished books including Banana, Madge, Bone (a book for, and about, her grandaughters), and Words That Start With “A,” among others. Her family will miss her and her often-inappropriate sense of humor, and take solace in the fact that they all share it. They will hold her in their hearts and take great joy in her memory and all her good chaos. Memorial information: Per Mia's wishes, she was cremated and her ashes spread at the family home. A memorial service that reflects her spirit will be held at a later date in the Brattleboro area.

• Kendall Gifford, 75, of Westminster West. Died May 7, 2021, in the company of his wife, Liz, and children Michael, Molly, and Josh, at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H., after two months of battling lung disease and 74 years of apparent good health. Kendall was born in Alabama, the son of Fran and Malcolm Gifford. He and his brother Russ grew up in Barrington, R.I., often returning to Alabama for summers. Kendall attended and graduated from Providence Country Day, where his father taught classics. He attended Marlboro College, graduating in 1972. Kendall thrived in Marlboro's eclectic community, studying literature, theater, mythology, and making lifelong friendships. At Marlboro, he met and married Justyn Moulds; they had a daughter, Guenever, and the marriage ended in divorce and friendship. After completing college, Kendall began a building company, Colloquial Design. This led to a career and love of building, fine carpentry, and skilled woodwork. In 1980, Kendall married Trudy Putnam in Westminster West, at their home known as “Chateau Debris.” Here they lived with son Michael, stepson Josh Buell, and had weekends with daughter Guen. The Chateau was also home to numerous dogs, cats, long and short-term tenants, and a few sheep. When Trudy was stricken with multiple sclerosis, Kendall committed to caring for his wife during her 16-year illness, all the while supporting their children, and working for the Brattleboro Area Community Land Trust. He later moved to the Windham Regional Commission where he continued work on affordable housing, as well as bike-pedestrian issues and assisting town governments. Kendall enjoyed playing and teaching bridge, writing, reading, appreciating stories, words, and people. A true wordsmith, Kendall loved a turn-of-phase or an obscure literary reference. He had an affinity for sports and the outdoors, cycling, cross-country skiing, boating or walking. These interests brought Kendall together with Liz Bourne. They married in 2010, renovating the Chateau to become the gathering place for their extended family. Kendall's retirement years were filled with rowing, boat building, continued home improvements, and being Grampa to Logan and Myles. He will be remembered for Kendall-ese quips and resilient love in the face of tragedy. Kendall is survived by his wife, Liz, son Michael of Colchester, stepchildren Josh Buell of Athol, Mass., and Molly Bruce Patterson of Providence, daughter Lena Guest of Buffalo, N.Y., brother Russell, stepfather Richard Bidwell, many loving in-laws, grandchildren, and friends. He was predeceased by his parents and daughter, Guen. Memorial information: A memorial service is planned for the summer. Memorial contributions may be made to The Putney Rowing Club, PO Box 90, Putney, VT 05346, or the Southern Poverty Law Center, Montgomery, AL 36104.

• Mary Alice “Mal” Herbert, 86, formerly of Putney. Died May 13, 2021 at Applewood Rehabilitation Center in Winchester, N.H., where she had been a resident for the past three years. She graduated from Henry C. Conrad High School in Wilmington, Del., then went on to High Point College, where she was cast in the role of Laura Wingfield in a campus theater production of Tennessee Williams's The Glass Menagerie. In the play, the delicate, compassionate Laura has to be carried by her brother Tom Wingfield, who is fired from his factory job for writing poetry on a shoebox. Classmate Walter Frederick Herbert portrayed the character of Tom. During successive performances, she noticed that Fred carried her with more than brotherly affection. The two were married in 1956 in a ceremony conducted by their fathers, who were both Methodist ministers. By 1960, the couple had settled in Reidsville, N.C., where they attended church in Greensboro, the setting of the sit-ins. Her exposure to this movement kindled in her a lifelong passion for racial equality in particular and for social justice in general. She and her husband got the idea of moving to Vermont while passing through the state en route from North Carolina to a vacation in the Laurentians in Quebec. They bought a house on Kimball Hill in Putney, where she pursued a M.Ed. degree at Antioch. As a part of her studies, she carried out the project of founding the Putney Daycare to aid the town's working mothers. She taught elementary students briefly at Putney Central School before joining the Brattleboro school system for a career spanning some three decades. During those years, she taught in many of the elementary schools in Brattleboro, and, before her retirement in 1996, it became increasingly common for her to have played a role in the education of students from three generations within a single family. “Sweet, good, and gentle, a model of caring and kindness,” are the words which typify the memories that her students keep of her. As a young woman, she had learned much about music from the classical records of the then-popular Van Cliburn. Her students benefited from her vast repertoire of folk and children's songs, as did her own children, who would gather around the piano in Putney and sing with her as she played. On Saturdays, her two younger sons used to accompany her to school, carry in educational materials from the car, and feed the classroom pets as she set up for the coming week. While assigned to Canal Street School, she rewarded her sons for their help by letting them mount the belfry and toll the bell for all of Brattleboro to hear. Though teaching steadily all of her life, she devoted time to scholarship of her own. In 1979, she completed a course of study in the French language at the Alliance Française in Paris. A decade later, she could be found in Cuernavaca, diligently acquiring the Spanish tongue. In 1982, Mrs. Herbert came up with a plan to promote friendship and understanding between Vermont and Tunisia. Her concept involved collecting cultural items to go into study kits to be used by schoolchildren in both regions for an exchange of ideas and lifeways. In a competition with 70 teachers around the world, her proposal won the William G. Carr scholarship and an NEA stipend to defray living and project expenses in Tunisia. In addition, the Brattleboro Town School Board awarded her a one-year sabbatical from her teaching duties. After that year of anthropological field study abroad, she resumed life as a Brattleboro educator. Dear to her heart was the Centennial Haymarket Committee, of which she was the founder. The Committee established the tradition of a yearly event held on May Day on the Brattleboro Common in memory of those hanged or imprisoned during the eight-hour workday movement of the 1880s. The event, which she led from 1986 until she suffered a stroke in the year 2014, also incorporated the ancient spring rite of dancing round the Maypole. During the 1980s and 1990s, Mrs. Herbert was a frequent candidate for state office under the banner of the Liberty Union Party. While in her 70s, she was arrested in a protest against the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Vernon. The officer who had the task of booking her at the Brattleboro police station happened to be a former student of hers. Their reunion was a cordial one, and they both found humor in the circumstances of it. In the vacuum left by her husband's death in 2002, she threw her energies into politics on a grand scale. In 2004, she was nominated as the vice-presidential candidate for the Socialist Party. She ran on a platform of democratic socialism and socialist feminism. On Memorial Day 2004, she appeared on C-SPAN's Washington Journal program. When the newscaster asked why she was running for vice-president, she replied: “I'm running because I believe that the one thing we lack in this country is economic democracy,” which she defined as a system “where we won't have working poor, where anyone who has a job will be able to make an adequate living, and where nobody will be excluded from the economy.” She and her running mate, Walt Brown, garnered 10,837 votes, more than any socialist presidential ticket since 1952. In addition to her sister Sally Milbury-Steen of Newark, Del., she is survived by numerous nieces and nephews; by four children, Leslie Read of Brattleboro, Michael Herbert of Greenfield, Mass., Kyle Herbert of Hoboken, N.J., and Anton Herbert of San Francisco; as well as by three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Memorial information: A celebration of her life will be held at a time and place to be announced. To send condolences to the family, visit

• Mary Ellen Lewis, 80, formerly of Brattleboro. Died May 11, 2021, in the comfort of her daughter's home in Vernon, following an extended illness. She was born in Peterborough, N.H., on Dec. 27, 1940, the daughter of Homer and Pauline (Cote) Charlonne. She was raised in Jaffrey, N.H., where she attended public schools. Mary was a devoted homemaker whose life centered around her family. Of her leisure time activities, she enjoyed listening to country music and her Sunday morning swap shop time. She also enjoyed taking walks and spending time with family and friends. Her favorite flowers were carnations and May flowers and she loved watching everything bloom and come alive in the springtime. For several years, she attended Putney Federated Church before the church closed. Although she had not found another venue, her strong faith in God never wavered. She was first married to Harry Smith, who died in 2019. She later married Nelson Lewis, who predeceased her in 2012. Survivors include her daughter, Karen Wilson of Vernon; her son, Wayne Smith of Bellows Falls; her brother, Vern Charlonne (Anita) of Jaffrey; three sisters, Janice Hurd of Gardner, Mass., and Carolyn Haselton (Stan) and Marcia Charlonne (Scott), both of Brattleboro; as well as a sister-in-law, Loretta Charlonne of Winchendon, Mass. She is also survived by her eight grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren whom she loved dearly, as well as many nieces, nephews, great-nieces, and great-nephews. She was predeceased by two daughters, Sharon Garry and Tina Sinclair, and a granddaughter, Bethany Sinclair; as well as sisters Sheila Charlonne, Joan Ladeau, Patricia Dyer, and Colleen Hardy and brothers Gerald Charlonne, Francis (Bob) Charlonne. and Edward Charlonne. Memorial information: In keeping with her final wishes, there are no formal funeral services scheduled. Bayada Hospice of Brattleboro, 1222 Putney Rd., Brattleboro, VT 05301. To send condolences to the family, visit

• Richard George Mossey, 69, of Vernon. Died peacefully at home, with his children by his side, on Aug. 17, 2020 after an incredible battle with cancer. Rick was born Sept. 15, 1951, in Worcester, Mass., the second of seven children to George and Beverly Jean (Hanam) Mossey. Richard leaves behind his children, Alexandra and Timothy Mossey, his wife, Apple; his stepdaughter, Yi-Lin; his sister and caretaker Linda Cooley; his brothers Robert, Randall, Rory, and Rayne; and many beloved relatives and several lifelong friends. He was predeceased by his parents and by his sister, Bonnie Mossey. Rick was a caretaker first and foremost. He was indescribably generous with his love and time and knew how to make those around him feel protected, comfortable, and appreciated. He will also always be known for his stories, especially from his younger years, his passion for mechanics, history, and reading, and his unmatched meticulous nature. His sense of humor and adventure made for a lot of fun and terrific memories. During his younger years, Rick loved to work on everything from bicycles to cars, play hockey and baseball, competitively box, go camping with his friends, and occasionally push the boundaries of physics and safety despite his mother's dismay. In his adult life, Rick loved skiing, fishing off the coast of Cape Cod, working on his house in Vermont, traveling with his kids, and spending quality time with his family and friends. As a talented mechanical engineer, Rick was the father of a myriad of clever inventions, for use both in his work and his daily life. He had an open mind that could see all the possibilities, both obvious and obscured, and with a discerning mind. He loved learning and engineering, and never met a challenge he couldn't improve or solve. His skill set allowed him to pioneer developments in nuclear energy, work all over the world, fix endless things at home, and assist his family with even the most complicated toy assemblies during Christmastime. Rick worked for many years as a construction and project manager in nuclear energy. His work took him all over the country and eventually, to China, where he met his beloved wife and stepdaughter. His time with them was the highlight of his time in China and the last six years. Their love and his wonderful relationship with them is a great example of how Rick made friends into family wherever he went. Memorial information: Due to the pandemic, and the need to grieve. Rick's family postponed his private celebration of life until this summer. Donations to Bayada Hospice of Brattleboro, 1222 Putney Rd., Brattleboro, VT 05301. To view Rick's online tribute, send condolences to the family, or simply for more information, visit

• Donald H. “Buster” Newcomb, 86, of Westminster West. Died May 17, 2021 at his home, surrounded by family. Rough and tough and straight from the hills of Vermont, Buster was born on Aug. 21, 1934, and lived the best part of his life in Westminster West on the land where he grew up and was taught the value of hard work from his dad. Buster was an accomplished mason whose talents are carried on by his son and grandsons. His passion was drawing fancy grade maple syrup from his arch as a second-generation sugarmaker. He loved his family, his pups, friends, humor, hunting, fishing, horse pulls, and stock car racing. He understood the value of “farm to table” as he lived, ate, and gardened with the seasons. He loved dandelion greens, fresh berries, corn, trout and venison, Verna's custard pies, and homemade banana ice cream. He was loved and will be missed by all who were fortunate enough to have known him. He was preceded in death by his parents, Dewey and Ethel Newcomb, and siblings Henry and Ann. He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Verna; his daughters Diana (Marvin), Heidi (Claude), and Kelley (Matthew); his son Donnie (Andrea), and eight grandchildren, four great grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews who loved him. Memorial information: A celebration of his life is planned for August. Donations to Westminster Cares, 3543 US-5, Putney, VT 05346 or Bayada Hospice of Brattleboro, 1222 Putney Rd., Brattleboro, VT 05301. In the words of Buster, “Nuf said!”

• Pamela Rebecca Workman, 80, of West Brattleboro. Died peacefully on May 4, 2021 at Thompson House Nursing Home in Brattleboro, where she had resided for most of the past year. She was born Oct. 4, 1940 in New York City. She was raised in Greenwich, Conn., and New York City by her grandparents, whom she loved dearly. She attended schools in Greenwich. After high school, she studied sewing in the fashion district of New York City, becoming a very accomplished seamstress for life. Pamela was interested in traveling and seeing the world and its people. In her younger days, she lived in metropolitan areas along the Eastern Seaboard, including Portland, Maine, Boston, New York City, Washington, D.C., and Miami. She also traveled to Senegal and India. She was married three times. She had a daughter, Courtneye Rose of New Haven, Conn. In later years, she lived in Portland, Maine, working as a housekeeper for several families. After retiring, she moved to Vermont, settling in Brattleboro. She really loved Vermont and the people in her new chosen home. She lived independently until the last year of her life. Pamela had a wonderful flare for decorating. She created colorful and beautiful homes wherever she lived. She was an extremely good, generous, honest, intelligent, friendly, and keenly intuitive person. She was an avid reader and lifelong learner. She appreciated music and art, and she spoke Spanish and French. She was a good neighbor. Pamela had a great sense of humor and a way with words. She enriched the lives of those who were lucky enough to be her friends. She got people thinking, with her insightful and interesting points of view. The world has lost a unique and unforgettable spirit. Memorial information: Visiting hours will be at Ker-Phaneuf Funeral Home, 57 High St., Brattleboro, on June 5, from 2 to 4 p.m. At Pamela's request, there will be no funeral. Her ashes will be scattered in the manner she desired.


Graveside committal services for Kathleen and David Gates will be conducted Saturday, June 5, at 11 a.m., in the Gates' family lot in Meetinghouse Hill Cemetery in Brattleboro. A celebration of their lives will follow from noon to 5 p.m. at the Gates' home, 770 South St., West Brattleboro. Kathleen died on Dec. 20, 2019 and David died on Jan. 13, 2020. To view their full obituaries, visit

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