College news

The following students were named to the summer 2021 President's List at Southern New Hampshire University: Rebecca Best of Bellows Falls, Rachael Morse of Brattleboro, Megan Shanks of Westminster and Thomas Salmon of Bellows Falls.


• Frederick W. Bacon Jr., 93, of Williamsville. Died at home on Sept. 12, 2021, after a period of declining health. He was born on Jan. 29, 1928 in Newton, Mass. He grew up in Belmont, Mass., graduated from Belmont High School in 1945, and left home at the age of 17 to enlist in the Army Air Forces as World War II was ending. After his honorable discharge, he was eternally grateful for the GI Bill that allowed him to pursue a college education. He worked his way through university, and received his Bachelor of Science from Boston University in 1952. He married Rosalie Mumford in 1952 and they had four children together. During that time, his business career included positions at Goodyear Tire and Rubber, General Motors, Raytheon and, finally, MITRE Corporation, where he was a human resources manager and compensation specialist for 30 years. After MITRE, he “retired” to launch his own consulting business, Bacon and Associates. His first marriage ended in divorce. Fred loved the outdoors and was active in the Appalachian Mountain Club and the American Youth Hostels, as a leader and sweep on hikes and bike rides in the region. He “swept” Laura Wallingford on one of those rides and they married in 1993. After Fred's retirement from his own business, he and Laura moved to Williamsville and started a small organic vegetable farm together - raking in hundreds of dollars during their farming career selling garlic. Fred was active in his community and served on the Newfane Selectboard, as a Justice of the Peace, and on the Board of Civil Authority. He and Laura volunteered together as water quality monitors for the West River Watershed Alliance, and he served as the Board's President as well. Active throughout his life, he ran the Boston Marathon at the age of 62, completed numerous century bike rides, took up skiing in his 60s and then sculling at the Putney Rowing Club when he was 75. Friends would describe him as a kind man, outgoing, nonjudgmental and positive. His wit and sense of humor were especially appreciated. But Fred is probably most widely known for his “light poetry” readings out of his collection, Chipmunk Chicken, at the Williamsville Talent Show. Friends and acquaintances often say, “I always think of Fred whenever I see a chipmunk running across the road.” Aside from his beloved wife, Laura, he leaves three daughters: Brooke Bamford of Acton, Mass., Drew Menne (Allan) of New Gloucester, Maine, and Victoria Choiniere (Jay) of Wrentham, Mass.; and one son, Benjamin (Ann) of Helsinki, Finland. He also leaves his four grandchildren, Matthew Menne, Lexie Lankiewicz, Noah Bacon, and Louisa Bacon. Memorial information: Services have not been determined at this time. Donations in Fred's memory may be made to the charity of your choice. To share a memory or send condolences to the family, visit

Angela Susanne Berkfield, 44, of Putney. Left our world Sept. 14, 2021. “In her final years, Angela lived with cancer, turning to face it fiercely, all the while using the experience as an opportunity to grow and heal herself, her family and her community. Her magnificent life brought joy, light, accountability, compassion, healing, and most of all, love, to those who knew her,” her family and friends write. Born on June 27, 1977 in Davenport, Iowa, she lived in Knoxville, Iowa and Des Moines, Iowa before moving to Woodbury, Minn., where she graduated high school. She attended Bethel College in St. Paul, Minn., where she was a sociology major and where in her final year she launched Jeremiah House in the inner city, practicing real, grassroots advocacy and community building. In San José, Puerto Rico, she worked and organized for and with people living in poverty and homelessness and there met Richard Berkfield, who became her lifelong partner. They traveled to the border of Thailand and Burma, where they lived and organized for four years amongst displaced Burmese refugees. Her skills as a social worker were invaluable in the camps, and their home was a frequent meeting place for friends and allies. After marrying on Lake Michigan in 2005, the Berkfields moved to Putney to advance their formal education at the School for International Training in Brattleboro. Angela got her master's degree in social justice and intercultural relations, learning about and working toward food justice. She wove the work of parenting Birch (born in 2009) and River (in 2011) naturally with her social justice work, leading discussion groups and co-authoring the book Parenting 4 Social Justice: Tips, Tools, and Inspiration for Conversations and Actions with Kids. Angela's family life and her treasured time with her children was rooted in community, close friendships, and time in the natural world-- potlucks, gardening, picking blueberries, homemade applesauce, baking, hiking, swimming and camping. In 2013, she co-founded The Root Social Justice Center, with a vision to provide a financially- and physically-accessible organizing space for social justice groups, with a focus on finding equity-based solutions to social justice issues and taking an anti-racist stance. From 2013 to 2020, her paid consulting and training was rooted in dismantling white supremacy and building up more equitable and just cultures and systems. Her business, ACT (Advocacy Consulting & Training) 4 Social Justice, led to the creation of Parenting for Social Justice workshops. She co-created Equity Solutions, a cooperative of cross-class facilitators that focused on building racial and socioeconomic equity with organizations, businesses and agencies. Many engaged with Angela through her work with Cross Class Dialogue Circles, which supported hundreds in collaborating across class in their personal work for justice. In her final year and a half, Angela was transformed by her healing journey with cancer, which she shared publicly through her writing on CaringBridge. During her final month, she expressed profound joy that she would soon meet her ancestors, who she knew were waiting to greet and welcome her to the spirit world. In addition to her husband and sons, she leaves her parents, Rosemary and Frank Nelson; her brothers, Paul (and Kaz) Nelson and Joel (and Ann) Nelson; her parents-in-law, Susan and Jack Hayes and Richard and Karen Berkfield; her siblings-in-law Eileen Hayes (and Jon Manheim), Erin (and Drew) Tuomey, John Hayes (and fiancée Beckey Morikawa), Katie (and Jim) Vieceli, Tara Hayes, Todd Sensoli and Toni Erskine, and a host of nieces and nephews. Memorial information: A celebration of life will be held on Saturday, Sept. 25 at 2 p.m. at Amazing Planet Farm in Williamsville. Details: In lieu of gifts or flowers, donations may be made in Angela Berkfield's honor to SUSU Healing Collective of Brattleboro, The Root Social Justice Center of Brattleboro, Out in the Open of Brattleboro, Migrant Justice of Burlington, VT, and Grassroots International, all organizations that she supported in her lifetime.

• Suzanne (Astley) Barlow, 86, formerly of Brattleboro. Died at home, surrounded by her loving family, on Sept. 12, 2021. The eldest of six children of the late Joseph and Jennie (Salmon) Astley, she was born in Holyoke, Mass., on Aug. 20, 1935. She was educated in South Hadley and Keene, N.H. schools, and graduated from Brattleboro Union High School in 1953. She worked as a customer service representative and as a purchasing agent for several companies in New England, including the former Dunham Bros. in Brattleboro, the former Tecnifax in Holyoke, Tambrands in Palmer, Mass., and NTP/RCT in Holyoke. She was a member of the Purchasing Management Association of Western New England for more than 30 years, serving as president for several terms and semi-retired as president-emeritus. She especially enjoyed reading books and solving crossword puzzles in ink. She was an avid supporter of the Red Sox, Celtics, Patriots, and Bruins. She loved to travel and, lately, spent summers in Maine and Cape Cod with her family. She was predeceased by brothers Joseph (Jobie) in 1958 and David in 1967. Suzanne is survived by her four children, Cathy Groux of Chicopee, Mass., Diane Foisy and husband Steven of Templeton, Mass., Robert Barlow Jr. and partner, Sharon Chouinard,of Ludlow, Mass., and Scott Barlow and his wife, Sheila of Hampton, N.H. She also leaves grandchildren Alyson Foisy, Evan Foisy and his wife, Felisha, Nathan Foisy, Jessica Barlow and her partner, Sean Caron, and Jonathan Groux and his fiancé, Bailey Jones; great-grandchildren Carter, Jedidiah, Asher, and Vivian; and siblings Don and his wife, Sandra, of Putney; Rosemary (Mimi) Helman and her husband, David, of South Hadley, Mass., and Bette Dupont of Chicopee; and her lifelong friend Phyllis Keller of Modesto, Calif. Memorial information: Funeral services will be private and a celebration of her life will be held by her family at a later date. Donations to Reading Is Fundamental, Attn: Development Dept., 1255 23rd St., NW - Suite 300 Washington, DC 20037.

• Albert H. Hunker Jr., 77, formerly of Westminster. Died Jan. 20, 2021. He was born Oct. 8, 1943, in Jacksonville, Fla., to his parents Edith (Abeel) Warga and Albert H. Hunker Sr. He grew up in Cranberry, N.J., alongside his younger sisters, Susan and Linda. Al attended Lawrenceville (N.J.) School, where he excelled outside the classroom in both sports and extra-curriculars. He became the captain of the golf team in 10th grade and held that honor through his senior year. Many classmates remember him as a friend to all and as someone who always lent a hand. His graduation yearbook lists two pages of accomplishments and activities. Many of his classmates refer to him as “Mr. Lawrenceville.” Upon graduation, Al attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and then moved further north to attend Windham College. This move set him upon a path to make Vermont his home for the next 52 years. While attending Windham College, he was invited by his sister, Sue, to attend a dance at Wheaton College where he met his future wife, Marcia. Al and Marcia embarked on a romance that would last the rest of his life. With a stop at the altar in front of friends and family, they were married in 1968. The couple settled in Westminster, and Al began selling real estate before launching Computer Associates, a software company. In 1980, he founded New England Municipal Resource Center which developed fund accounting software for towns and municipalities. He grew the business from one municipal client to hundreds of clients across the country, even serving the Havisupai tribe at the base of the Grand Canyon. The business continues to this day. He also served on many boards and nonprofits over the years, as well as holding positions in the town of Westminster. His steady demeanor, humility, thoughtfulness, and generosity were positive influences on the people he worked alongside. In 1974, the family began summering at Pine Point in Maine where they built a community still dear to the family today. Al's dry wit, boating shenanigans and humor will be missed by many. Upon retirement, Al declared he was never shoveling snow again. He and Marcia began wintering in Arizona. Quick to introduce himself as “Al Hunker from Westminster, Vermont,” he made good friends easily and soon began meeting his buddies on the first tee where he carried on his lifetime love of golf. He and Marcia also traveled the world, helping to establish a school for girls in Tanzania as well as supporting the education of many boys in other African countries. For years, Al made annual golf pilgrimages to Ireland where he enjoyed the challenge of playing in the wind and rain. He spent many an occasion celebrating life with his friends. Al even went as far as joining an Irish golf club as an overseas member. Al was the person you could always call, no matter what or when. His empathy was quietly displayed through capacity and kindness. He worked hard to honor his family and friends, always lending an ear, and offering support. He was a loving and patient husband, parent, and grandparent, long tending to the needs of many often at the expense of his own. He is survived by his wife, his sons Jaye and Kyle and their spouses, his two sisters, and three grandchildren. Memorial information: None provided.

• Elizabeth H. Suppo, 94, of Vernon. Died peacefully at Vernon Hall on Sept. 10, 2021, after a period of declining health. She was born on Feb. 15, 1927 to Bessie (Kuiken) and Charles Elsner in Little Falls, N.J. She was employed by the 3M company in West Caldwell, N.J., where she worked as executive secretary to the office manager for 25 years. In her younger years, she enjoyed traveling and had taken trips to England, Scotland, the Grand Canyon, Florida, the Rocky Mountains, and Grand Tetons. She enjoyed gardening, birdwatching and keeping up with current events. She also had a great love of books and reading. She got her first job at the age of 14 at the Little Falls Public Library and was the librarian at Vernon Hall. She loved animals and enjoyed spending time with her beloved Golden Retrievers, “The Maggies,” and her chocolate Lab, Bonnie. Elizabeth was predeceased by her first husband, John DeYoung, and her second husband, Andrew Suppo. She leaves a daughter, Betsy Cox, and her husband, Loren, of Dummerston; three granddaughters, Lindsay, Kristin and Kyra Cox; and five great grandchildren, Martin, Jasmine, Cassandra, Kalina and Skylar. She is also survived by a stepdaughter, Susan Vankan, and her husband, Rudi, of Pennsylvania; and dear friends Ann and Tom Durkin of Massachusetts and Nancy Wimmer and Shirley Snyder, both of New Jersey. Memorial information: Due to COVID-19, there will be no remembrance of life at this time. Donations may be made in her memory to the Windham County Humane Society, P.O. Box 397, Brattleboro, VT 05302. To share a memory or send condolences to the family, visit

• Ruth Fletcher Struthers, 93, of West Brattleboro. Died Sept. 16, 2021 at Thompson House Nursing Home. Ruth was born in Brattleboro on May 21, 1928, the daughter of Guy B. and Marion (Wilson) Fletcher. She was raised and educated in town, graduating from Brattleboro High School with Silver B Honors, with the Class of 1946. In 1951, she married John Harvey Struthers, who predeceased her in 2006. She worked for Putnam Insurance Agency, retiring in 1991 following 34 years with the company. Upon her retirement, the Putnam Agency gifted her and her husband with a trip to England and France. Ruth was very active with St. Michael's Episcopal Church, serving on the church's Altar Guild. She enjoyed music, reading, needlepoint and community service. She was a volunteer at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital, served on the Board of Directors of the BMH Auxiliary, and volunteered for the Red Cross Blood Bank. In her earlier years, Ruth loved downhill skiing and was among the first women to join the Brattleboro Ski Patrol. She and her husband were also great fans of the Opera, making annual trips to the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City. Ruth is survived by one sister, Margaret Bemis, and many nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by a sister, Myrtle Stowell. Memorial information: Graveside committal services will be held Saturday, Sept. 25, at 10:30 a.m., in Christ Church Cemetery in Guilford. Donations to Thompson House Nursing Home, 80 Maple Street, Brattleboro, VT 05301; or St. Michael's Episcopal Church, 16 Bradley Ave., Brattleboro, VT 05301. To share a memory or send condolences to the family, visit

• Wanda Lee Wheelock, 76, of Brattleboro. Died peacefully on Sept. 11, 2021, surrounded by her family, following a period of declining health. Wanda was born in Milford, Mass., on July 24, 1945, the daughter of Lawrence and Cecile (Bessette) Gratton. She attended elementary school in Niagara Falls, N.Y., later moving to Brattleboro. She attended St. Michael's High School, graduating with the Class of 1964. Wanda worked most of her career as a typist, starting her career at the former Book Press and, later, for Irving Perkins Associates and for the Mercury Corp. at Vermont Yankee. Her last position was an independent typist working out of her home. She was a member of the American Legion Post 5 Auxiliary and was active with the Greater Brattleboro Bowling League, where she served as secretary. She also served as secretary and president of the VT 600 Bowling Club. An exceptional and accomplished bowler, Wanda was known as one of the best in the area. She was also the first female umpire for men's and women's softball in Brattleboro. A devout Catholic, Wanda always insured all of her children and grandchildren were baptized into the faith. She was a longtime communicant of St. Michael's Roman Catholic Church. In 1964, she married to David S. Wheelock, who survives. Besides her faithful and devoted husband of 57 years, she leaves four daughters: Ann Wheelock Byrd and wife Sandy of Clearwater, Fla., Christine Wheelock of Florence, Mass., Barbara Waitekus of Hinsdale, N.H., and Deborah Sivret and husband Matthew of Greensboro, N.C.; a sister, Jeanne Thomas of Huntsville, Ala.; three brothers, twins Tim and Tom Gratto of Niagara Falls and Al Olio of Colchester; and 10 grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by siblings Marie DeForge, Angie Nulty, Bill Gratton, and Larry Gratton. Memorial information: A funeral Mass will be held Saturday, Sept. 25, at 1 p.m., at St. Michael's Ronan Catholic Church, followed by a Celebration of Life reception at the Eagles Club on Chickering Drive. Friends may call at the Atamaniuk Funeral Home on Friday, Sept. 24, from 6 to 8 p.m. Donations to St. Michael's School, 48 Walnut St., Brattleboro, VT 05301, Attn: Elaine Beam, Principal.

• Mary Faith “Polly” Wilson, 101, of Marlboro. Died Sept. 13, 2021 at Jenckes Farm in Marlboro. She was born in New York City on Aug. 13, 1920 to James Dawes and Helen Butterfield Williams. Known to all as Polly, she grew up with her sister, Nancy, in New York City and North Adams, Mass. In 1930, her maternal grandmother, Amy Iola Butterfield, reclaimed and restored the farmhouse in Marlboro that had been built by ancestors. Though Polly would live in many other places, Jenckes Farm was to be her heart's home throughout her life. After attending Bryn Mawr College and the University of Wisconsin, she married young, had three children, and divorced. Then, in 1951, she married Roger Bliss Wilson. They had three more children, and together, they raised all six in Lexington, Mass., with summers at Jenckes Farm. One summer, when her youngest child was a toddler and her oldest wasn't yet old enough to drive, she took all six on a cross-country, bare-bones camping trip to visit her sister in San Francisco, then drove 400 miles a day through Canada to get back for a family wedding. When her children began leaving for college, Polly finished her B.A. at the University of Wisconsin and then earned a Master's in Rehabilitation Administration from Northeastern University. She administered a work-release program at a women's prison before settling into a career as the director of the drug and alcohol rehabilitation clinic at Emerson Hospital in Concord, Mass. Polly and Roger's marriage ended in divorce and, in 1975, Polly married the love of her life, Adelbert Ames III, a neurophysiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, and Professor of Neuroscience at Harvard Medical School. They settled in Lincoln until their retirement, then moved to Jenckes Farm, where they hosted frequent visits from the ever-expanding family of Polly's six kids and Del's three. Together, Polly and Del formed the Jenckes Foundation to conserve tracts of land in Marlboro and Halifax both for wildlife and for the enjoyment of all. Polly often quoted her grandmother's advice: “Take care of the land, and it will take care of you.” Polly was an avid gardener. She espoused organic practices long before they were widespread, and the garden at Jenckes Farm provided vegetables for the family through summer and winter for many years. She always grew a profusion of flowers and planted innumerable shrubs and trees. In retirement, she completed the Master Gardner program at the Arnold Arboretum in Boston. A devoted dog-lover from girlhood, Polly raised litters, trained puppies, and expanded the family pack to as many as four dogs at a time. Polly traveled with Del to Russia, New Zealand, and Japan. Her other interests included knitting, swimming, skiing, square dancing, and both ballroom and modern dance. At the age of 75, she returned to Russia in the cast of her daughter's dance production, instantly winning the hearts of the audience. Polly was ever aware of society's inequities and strove to mitigate them. As a young woman, she worked in an East Boston “settlement house,” and early in her married life, she took in foster children. Later, she was active on the Lexington Fair Housing Committee and in the League of Women Voters. At her initiative, the family hosted a foreign high school student through AFS for a year, city children through the Fresh Air program for several summers at Jenckes Farm, and high school students from Boston who were attending Lexington High School through the Metco program. She was also active in Unitarian congregations, including the West Village Meetinghouse in Brattleboro. In retirement, she served on the Brattleboro Area Diversion Board to help steer first-time nonviolent offenders toward constructive reparations instead of punishment. Quick to notice her own failings or shortcomings, Polly strove to keep learning and changing, especially when it enhanced her empathy for others. Polly was diagnosed with dementia in 2009, and for many years, Del was her primary caregiver. When he died in May of 2018, Polly was tenderly cared for at Jenckes Farm by her family and a team of exceptional caregivers. Polly was predeceased not only by Del, but by her ex-husband, Roger Wilson, and by her beloved sister Nancy Hope Koors. She is survived by all her children and their spouses: T. Hunter Wilson and Jill Hulme of Marlboro, Nora Wilson and Fred Bisbee, also of Marlboro; Nancy Wilson and Nick Simms of Amherst, Mass.; Roger and Marilyn Wilson of Winchester, Mass.; Dawes Wilson of Vail, Colo.; and Patricia Wilson and Shaun Deane of Brattleboro. She also leaves 11 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. She is also survived by her sister's and Del's children and their families. Memorial information: She was buried in the ancestral graveyard at Jenckes Farm, beside her beloved Del. A memorial service will be held at a later time. Donations to charity will best honor Polly's memory.

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