• Joel Fletcher Bengtson, 43, of Brattleboro. Died Oct. 9, 2023 at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, New HampShire, where he had been an inpatient since Aug. 19. He died peacefully following years of declining health that included diabetes which he was diagnosed with when he was four years old. He was born in Brattleboro on June 12, 1981, the son of the late Christopher and Carol (Stark) Bengtson. He was raised and educated in Brattleboro, attending Brattleboro Union High School. Joel went on to attend Academy of Design, a commercial arts college, in Tampa, Florida. Of his pastimes and interests, Joel enjoyed dirt biking, spending time socializing with his friends, cars, and sketching, which he was gifted at. Joel also had a deep love for nature and animals. Survivors include his sister, Trista Bengtson and her fiancé Shayne of Dummerston; several aunts and uncles that include Douglas and Billie Stark of West Brattleboro, Linda and Joseph Hill of Clifton Park, New York, and Craig Bengtson of Brattleboro; and many cousins. Additionally, he leaves several close friends. Memorial information: There are no formal funeral services planned. A memorial gathering will be held at a future date, to be announced by his family. A GoFundMe account has been set up in Joel's name to help with funeral and medical expenses at www.gofundme.com/f/final-funeral-home-expenses-for-joel-bengtson. To share a memory or offer condolences to the family, visit www.atamaniuk.com.
• Eugene Elmer Bills Jr., 64, of Wardsboro. Died Oct. 21, 2023 at his home, surrounded by his family. Eugene was born in Townshend on May 29, 1959, the son of the late Eugene Elmer Bills Sr. and Evelyn Karen (Vose). He attended Wardsboro schools and graduated from Leland & Gray Union High School. Eugene worked as a logger for many years, was a heavy equipment operator for area construction companies, and was on the road crew for the town of Athens. He was a member of the Wardsboro Selectboard for many years and was on the Cemetery Commission. His true passion was logging and running a skidder. He truly loved working, but also enjoyed traveling the back roads of southern Vermont (with a couple of vacation trips to Florida) and cherished times spent with his family, especially his children and grandchildren. Eugene is survived by his life partner, Julia A. Harrington of Wardsboro; children Alisha Milbeck (Robert) and Gordon Bills (Hannah), both of Leominster, Massachusetts; brothers Dennis Bills (Melissa) and Brent Bills and his sister Wendy Lackey, all of Wardsboro; stepchildren Kayla Barker of Jamaica and Kyle Barker of Granville, New York; and grandchildren Chaselynn, Kaydance, Everett, Ayden, Wyatt, and Kylie. Memorial information: At the request of the family, there are no formal funeral service. Donations to the American Cancer Society, in care of Covey Allen & Shea Funeral Home, P.O. Box 215, Wilmington, VT 05363. To send condolences, visit www.sheafuneralhomes.com.
• Faye L. "Midge" Bishop, 75, formerly of Guilford. Died Oct. 19, 2023 at Vernon Green Nursing Home, following an extended period of declining health. Affectionately known to everyone as "Midge", she was born in Bristol, Connecticut on June 1, 1948, the daughter of Olavi and Beverly (Berry) Nurmi. At an early age, with her family, she moved to Brattleboro, where she was raised and educated. She was a graduate of Brattleboro Union High School, Class of 1966. Midge worked several jobs that included driving a taxicab, working at several factories and Burger King, and for several small markets which included Gouger's Market and Deli on Canal Street. She enjoyed crocheting and needlework, watching Western movies and her favorite evening gameshows as well as playing Bingo. Midge was known for her wonderful sense of humor and spirit of friendship. During her earlier years, she attended West Brattleboro Baptist Church on Western Avenue. Midge is survived by the pride of her life, son Kristopher Bishop and his companion, Tracy, of Brimfield, Massachusetts; sisters Kathy Behnke and her husband, George, of Pensacola, Florida and Linda Boisvert and her husband Gerard of Canton, Georgia; granddaughter Korrin Bishop and great-granddaughter Charlie Porter; and many nieces, nephews, aunts, and uncles. Additionally, she leaves very close friends, Beverly Bly. Georgia Boyce, and Donna Bell. She was predeceased by one son, Leonard; brothers Keith and Ted; a sister, Carolyn; and a nephew, Matthew Nurmi. Memorial information: Graveside services will be conducted Saturday, Nov. 4, at 11 a.m., in Meetinghouse Hill Cemetery. A reception will follow the services to be held at the Elk's Home on Putney Road. Donations to Vernon Green Nursing Home Activities Fund, 61 Greenway Drive, Vernon, VT 05354. To offer condolences, visit www.atamaniuk.com.
• John Stanley "Jack" Cavolick, 82, of Colrain, Massachusetts. Died at home in Colrain on October 22, 2023. Jack came roaring into this lifetime on June 14, 1941, on the cusp of Father's Day, causing confusion about his actual birthday for the rest of his life - his mother claimed both dates of birth for him. He was the first-born son of John and Rose (Nizolek) Cavolick. Jack led a pack of 26 cousins in Stamford, Connecticut. The extended family gathered every Sunday at Nanny and Jaji's farm, where Jack lived his first nine years corralling Rhode Island Red chickens. The death of Jack's father when he was 14 left him in need of men who could guide him. At his Uncle Eddie's Bit 'N Bridle dude ranch in Stony Creek, New York, he rode broncos and courted fun and trouble until joining the Marine Corps at the age of 17. The Marines taught Jack honor, discipline, fidelity, and service, giving him a chance to see the world. At the end of his tour of duty, Jack moved to New York and studied at Columbia University in pursuit of a career as a veterinarian. A different path unfolded when he began a four-year apprenticeship as a master carpenter, leading to 30 years of work as a carpenter and builder of fine homes. His businesses included Cavolick & Petrillo Construction in Quechee, Vermont, and Cavolick Construction and Habitat Construction in Enfield, Connecticut, where he earned awards as a designer-builder. Jack's last career was as a gardener, while remodeling an 1892 parsonage and barn in Colrain, serving the town as a Selectboard member, animal control officer, emergency management director, and on many other boards. Always an adventurer and lover of nature, at 65 he worked as a whitewater raft guide at Zoar Outdoors. In his 70s, he studied art at Greenfield Community College for three years. At the age of 80, he planted an orchard of 30 fruit trees to bear fruit for another generation. Jack's curiosity and love of lifelong learning inspired his voracious and constant reading - often juggling 10 books at once and over 100 pages a day. He could teach himself almost any skill by reading and kinesthetic learning. A master chef and culinary wizard, Jack leaves a collection of hundreds of cookbooks and favorite recipes. He will always be remembered for sumptuous dinners around the dining room table and the fascinating and far-ranging conversations he led there. Jack's family includes his wife of 28 years, Leslie Fraser, his daughter Corinne Cavolick, sons Christopher and Dakota, grandsons Kentaro, Kota, and Kaito, his brother Wayne and wife Jenny and their three children, sister Kathy Dean, sister Judy and her husband Sonny Ruggiri, nieces Ashley and Kelsey and nephew Tucker, and niece Jaclyn and her husband Drake Hastings and their two children, along with many cousins, dear friends, and his beloved dogs Archie, Belle, and Tilly Rose. Memorial information: A celebration of Jack's life will be held Nov. 11, at 1 p.m., at the First Congregational Church of Ashfield His wish is for some of his ashes to be distributed near Brandon Gap in Vermont, and for some to remain with his wife and pets in Colrain. Esophageal cancer brought Jack's love of cooking and sharing meals to an end in June, but a potluck fundraiser in support of community meals and local food banks, made with Jack's favorite recipes, will be celebrated at a later date.
• Bernard Denton "Bernie" Harty, 75, of North Walpole, New Hampshire. Died on Oct. 25, 2023. He said his last goodbye, surrounded by family, comforted with the thoughts and prayers of lifelong friends, nieces and nephews, and many others who knew him and with the exceptional end of life care and caring of the Springfield Hospital staff. Born on March 21, 1948, the fifth son of six to Lt. Colonel James and Rosemary (Bixby) Harty of North Walpole, Bernie was proud to hail from North Walpole where he resided for much of his life and most recently for many years at the three-generation family home on 3 Birch St. He was predeceased by brothers Jimmy, Eddy, Bobby and Billy. He is survived by his daughter Lindsey and granddaughter Hanne of Weston, brother Moe and wife Diane of North Walpole, their daughters Maura Fletcher and family of Keene, New Hampshire, and Erin White and family of North Walpole, and many nieces, nephews, and great-nieces and nephews. Family, family traditions and his lifelong friends were very important to Bernie. He graduated from Bellows Falls High School in 1966; attended Vesper George School of Art in Boston, the University of Vermont, and Bowman Technical School in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where he learned the craft of watch and jewelry making. He worked in retail sales for most of his career, first at Dexter's Clothing in Bellows Falls; co-owned the Thomas-Denton clothing store with his brother, Jimmy in Newport, Vermont; worked for Cote's Jewelers in Bellows Falls; and owned and operated Harty Jewelers of Bellows Falls and Brattleboro. Bernie was very creative and artistically talented, employing those talents in many ways throughout his life yet most notably creating and building floats with the Class of 1966 for the annual Bellows Falls High School Alumni Parade. The Class of '66 was the class to beat for many years and the annual float building experience and the camaraderie of that experience was a lifelong passion! A dream for Bernie was to attend the Rose Bowl Parade, which he realized in 1990. The family is sure that Bernie is now thinking that just maybe the Class of '66 has one last big win in the coming years. Memorial information: A funeral Mass was held on Oct. 28 at St. Peter's Church in North Walpole, with burial to follow at St. Peter's Cemetery. Donations to the Bellows Falls High School Alumni Association ABC Fund, to support float building, at P.O. Box 172, Bellows Falls, VT 05101.
• Jean Marie Joslin, 84, of Wardsboro. Died peacefully on Sept. 24, 2023. She was born Nov. 19, 1938, the daughter of Roy and Ruth (Pierson) Garland. She was raised in Guilford and Whitingham, and educated in Whitingham schools. On April 20 1956, she married Donald Joslin. She was employed at Browns Store in West Wardsboro, drove a school bus, and then eventually started her own cleaning business, J+M Cleaning. She was active in her community, and her door was open to all. She was known for her love of horses, her strong work ethic, and her infectious smile. She is predeceased by her parents, her brother Clifford Garland, her beloved husband Donald Joslin, and her daughter Kathy Joslin. She is survived by her brother Stuart Garland and his wife Rita of Jacksonville, nephew Rusty Garland and his daughter (great-niece) Chelsea Garland, and niece Cindy Barkus and her husband Craig; sister-in-law Christine and her husband David Rafus; sons Robert Joslin and his wife Yvonne of Wardsboro, Kenneth Joslin of Wardsboro, and Daniel Joslin of Wilmington; grandchildren Thomas Carleton, Candie Bernard and her husband Paul, Shirley Butler and her husband Dan, Crystal Joslin, Robert Jr., Samantha and Robin Joslin; great-grandchildren Elizabeth Lopilato and Melody Colburn, Will and Sophie Valet, Abigail Carleton, Peyton and Talyah Robey; and great-great-grandchildren Mason, Marek and Zaylee Colburn, and a lifetime of friends. Memorial information: She was a devout Jehovah's Witness. Services will be held at a later date, announced by the family. She would not have asked for donations, however you can make one in her memory to the Windham County Humane Society.
• Alexander Seamus McCann, 37, of Brattleboro. Died on Sept. 21, 2023. Alex was born on June 24, 1986, in Hanover, New Hampshire, and was the beloved son of Palma Lord. He was a kind and gentle soul who had a deep love for his family, pets, and friends. Alex attended Academy School and Brattleboro Middle School before graduating from BUHS in 2004. He furthered his education at the Motorcycle Mechanics Institute in Orlando, Florida, graduating in 2006. Professionally, Alex served as the manager at the AT&T store in Brattleboro. Prior to that, he worked at the Brattleboro Retreat and Walmart, showcasing his dedication and work ethic. Alex had an extraordinary ability to make friends effortlessly, often without saying a word. His infectious smile had the power to brighten even the darkest of days. He possessed a compassionate heart and was always there for those he cared about. Passionate about learning, Alex referred to himself as the "King of Useless Knowledge," although his vast knowledge was never truly useless. He spent countless hours immersed in books about the Romanoffs, medieval times, and various religious beliefs. Alex had a genuine love for art, including oil painting, music, and writing. His sense of humor was infectious, and he had a knack for making others laugh. His catchphrase, "That's what she said," was not only a favorite game but also a testament to his quick wit. Alex treated everyone with kindness, compassion, and respect, always striving to create a world where people were kind to one another and withheld judgment, as he understood that everyone carries their own burdens. Alex worshiped at home, studying various religions and their beliefs, ranging from Catholicism to Judaism. His curiosity and open-mindedness allowed him to explore different faiths. In his free time, Alex indulged in his hobbies, which included art, music, and writing. He was particularly passionate about his ongoing book project on medieval times. Additionally, Alex was an avid gamer, enjoying online gaming sessions with his friends, particularly playing World of Warcraft. He will be remembered for his unwavering friendship, which lasted a lifetime. In addition to his mother, Alex is survived by his sister, Chrystal (Roberts) Lester and brother-in-law, Roy Lester of Newfane; his niece Jasmine Smith of Newfane; his brother, Michael Roberts of Newfane; and two nephews, Austin Nichols of Vernon and Drake Smith from Brattleboro. He was preceded in death by his maternal grandmother, Alma Lord, his father, Stephen Tracy, and paternal grandparents Lionel and Martha Tracy. In addition, Alex is survived by several aunts, uncles and cousins. Memorial information: A celebration of his life will take place on Sunday, Nov. 5, at 1:30 p.m., at the Community Bible Chapel,107 Atwood St., Brattleboro.
• Colleen (Caccivio) Murphy, 88, of Brattleboro. Died suddenly on Oct. 24, 2023. Born in Plainfield, Vermont, she lived her early years in Barre before moving to Brattleboro with her family in 1951, where she graduated from St. Michael's High School in 1953. She will be remembered as a loving wife, wonderful mother, doting grandmother, and all around generous and thoughtful person. After high school, Colleen worked at the Grand Union where she met the love of her life, Sylvester Murphy, who was a recent emigrant from Ireland. After their wedding in the summer of 1958, Colleen began married life as a military wife. While her husband was stationed in New London, Connecticut, she stayed in Brattleboro and attended Thompson School for Practical Nursing, obtaining her LPN and working in pediatrics at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital. Beginning in 1961, their Navy travels took them to South Carolina, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Jersey, and ultimately back to Brattleboro. Her husband Sylvester remembers her being a strong and capable person -a real "trouper" - raising three children, taking care of the household, finances, and managing their family life alone while he would be out to sea for up to three months at a time. After settling back in Brattleboro, Colleen worked for Chomerics, the Putney Nursery, and the Brattleboro Retreat where she worked for more than 25 years and was known for being a joyful co-worker, always upbeat and positive, decorating her office for every holiday and celebration during the year. On Easter in 2015, Colleen and Sylvester renewed their vows at home with their children and grandchildren bearing witness and their daughter Sharon officiating. She enjoyed spending time with her family, especially supporting her grandchildren in all their endeavors from school sporting events, music concerts and plays, to ballet performances. She loved doing Crosswords and jigsaw puzzles, listening to jazz (Louis Armstrong being her favorite) and. gardening. She was a avid Red Sox fan, supporting her favorite player David "Big Papi" Ortiz. She had fun on her trips to the casino with her husband and other family members, especially her sister-in-law, June. Colleen loved doing little things for people, and would always greet you with a smile and handshake or hug. She will be missed by neighbors with whom she would share newspapers and magazines with, or make rhubarb pies and breads for, or corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick's day. She always had dog biscuits on hand for her furry friends. Her friends at the bank remember her fondly for her Irish Soda Bread and cards on St. Patrick's Day, and always greeting them by name as she insisted on doing all her business face-to-face. Her parents, Iglio and Pauline (Wright) Caccivio, along with two of her children - Michael, her infant son who died at birth, and her daughter Kerry, who died at the age of 26 --are buried in St. Michael's Cemetery up the street from her home, where she often took walks to visit loved ones. She is survived by her husband of 65 years, Sylvester Murphy; two daughters, Sharon Lessard of Framingham, Massachusetts, and Kelli Harrison and her husband Ken of Zachary, Louisiana; granddaughters Samantha (Harrison) Arriaga and her husband Rob, Kasey Harrison, Nia Lessard, and Kaitlin Pouliot (daughter of Kerry); and her two sisters, Veglia Derosia and Karen Larose and her husband, Henry. Memorial information: A celebration of life will be held at the VFW in Brattleboro on Sunday, Nov. 12, from noon to 4 p.m. Graveside services will be conducted in the spring. Donations to the Women's Freedom Center in Brattleboro (womensfreedomcenter.net).
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