• Stephen Sanford Anderson, 91, of Putney. Died at his home on Nov. 6, 2023. He was a beloved husband, father, uncle, grandfather, teacher, mentor, and friend to many. He was born June 19, 1932 in West Orange, New Jersey to Harold Sanford and Dorothy Josephine (Holland) Anderson, when the world was on the cusp of modern transformation, Steve's life journey was marked by his enduring passion for education and knowledge, his unwavering curiosity about the world and its citizens, and his deep commitment to his growing and extended family and community. Steve's early years were influenced in part by his stoic, intellectual parents, his two creative and much older brothers, Henry and Richard, and his love of nature in the woods around him, which was further fostered when he was sent to the Farm & Wilderness Camp in Vermont at age 11 by his parents. It was life-changing. Years later, Steve studied botany and forestry at the University of Michigan, planting trees out West with the Forest Service as a summer job. While at Michigan, he discovered the Russian studies program and lived in an "International Dorm," which sparked his curiosity. Steve served in the Army in Germany as a medic for a psychiatric ward, an experience that left him humbled by the experiences of others. His time there took him across Europe (primarily by bicycle) and also shaped his lifelong approach to challenges with thoughtfulness, curiosity, and a readiness to explore new paths, including languages, knitting, and the harmonica and violin. Returning to the States led him to Harvard University, where he delved into Russian studies. While leading a student group to Germany, he met and later married Peggy (Bennett), with whom he raised their three children. A dedicated educator, Steve spent years teaching, first at Boston University, then at The Experiement in International Living, Marlboro College and, finally, Windham College, where his impact on his students was as profound as his passion for learning, promoting cultural exchanges for peace and sharing a greater understanding of different cultures and people. His role as a teacher extended outside the traditional classroom. It included teaching shop at the Community School and involvement in 4-H in Westminster West. Though quietly modest, his students continue to remark on his lifelong impact, many of whom still view him as a friend. When Windham College folded in 1978, Steve embarked on an unexpected but fulfilling career as a chimney sweep as The Chimney Doctor, creating a business that brought him closer to the broader community and grounded him in the simple pleasures of hard work and service. He loved working with his hands, meeting people from all walks of life, and finding ways to help others. Around this time, his marriage to Peggy was reaching an end. He was fortunate to rekindle a childhood romance with Jacquie (Sovulewski) Walker, who moved to Vermont in 1981 and joined him as his life partner. Steve and Jacquie married in 1986 and moved into Hickory Ridge House in Putney, where they became innkeepers, a career they enjoyed for 16 years. They made many new and lasting friendships. They also volunteered for Putney Central School's after-school program to bring nature, learning, and fun to life in the abutting School Forest. He also found great joy in supporting and participating in the school's orchestra program. His commitment to the community was reflected in years of volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, the Windmill Hill Pinnacle Association, Putney Mountain Association, area literacy programs, helping people register to vote, Yellow Barn and area music and arts programs, Landmark College's research on invasive plants, community suppers, and Vermont rainfall reports. Steve and Jacquie were also enthusiastic members of the River Valley Singers for two decades, traveling to many countries, including Bosnia, where they used music and culture to connect people to each other and peace. They also found great joy in regular visits with their large, blended family. He shared his love of cooking, baking, gardening, and local food; he loved to sit on his deck with a good dark beer and chat about the happenings of the area and the world; he never shyed away from toast for breakfast or ice cream for dessert; and a cozy fire in the fireplace was one of his life's greatest pleasures. Steve's life was rich with the tapestry of a life fully lived. Steve was someone who never stopped learning and embracing change (he recently mastered texting and FaceTime). He stayed humble (begrudgingly deflecting compliments), worked hard and tirelessly (never complaining or acknowledging the stress to his tall and aging body), and brought joy to his family and friends through hugs, songs, stories, hikes, "getting things done," and showing curiosity about their lives. He was a lifelong sketcher and doodler, a prolific reader (in French, too), and was passionate about sharing music with friends and family. His inventive nature included creating wooden toys and exploring science with kids. He was an avid hiker and participated in the bi-weekly Strong Living sessions in Putney, outdoors, all year long. He was sharp and practical to the end with a zest for life. Sadly, cancer and Covid had other plans. He is survived by his children: Judy Anderson and her husband Jerry Cosgrove of Kinderhook, New York, Teja Anderson and her husband Frank Dicopoulos of Los Angeles, and Daniel Anderson and his wife Lauren Schwartz of Queens, New York; stepchildren Linda Penn and her husband Lee Penn of Guilford, Connecticut, Sharon Walker and her husband Ed of Bothell, Washington, and Keith Walker of Las Vegas, Nevada; grandchildren Megan Cosgrove, Jaden and Olivia Dicopoulos, Jesse and Luke Anderson, Whitney (Penn) Medeiros and her husband Jesse, Zach and Drew Penn, and Cora, Courtney, and Kaitlyn Walker; great-grandson Carter Medeirios; and nieces and nephews Bonnie, Heidi, Jenn, John, Jill, Wendy, Don, Sue, Sally, Bev, Sara, and Doug. He was predeceased by a stepson, Steven Walker, and a niece, Mel. Memorial information: A celebration of life will be held next year. Donations may be made to one of the following organizations: Putney Mountain Association (putneymountain.org), Bellows Falls Community Bike Project (bfbike.org), and Putney Fire and Rescue (putneyvt.govoffice3.com/firedepartment). To share a memory or offer condolences to Steve's family, visit www.atamanuik.com.
• Barbara Anne "Barb" Baker, 76, of Guilford. Died peacefully on Nov. 14, 2023 at the Jack Byrne Hospice Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire, following an extended period of declining health. Barbara had been a resident of Guilford since 1983. She was born in Brattleboro on Dec. 15, 1946, the daughter of Geno and Alice (Hallgren) Grassi. Barbara was raised and educated in Brattleboro, graduating from Brattleboro Union High School, Class of 1965. She had been employed as a registry clerk for the Holstein Association USA, which she retired from in 2009 following more than 35 faithful and dedicated years with the Association. Previously, she worked at the former F.W. Woolworth Department Store on Main Street. For many years, Barbara was a member of the American Legion Post 5 Auxiliary. Her life centered around her family. Barbara enjoyed shopping for special gifts for all of her loved ones. She especially enjoyed the holidays and special times when she was surrounded by her family. Barbara spent much of her summers camping with her husband and other family members on their land in northern Vermont. Another summer favorite of Barbara's was going out for an ice cream cone. On Dec. 30, 1967, at Centre Congregational Church, she was married to Dennis S. Baker. who survives. Besides her faithful and devoted husband of almost 56 years, she leaves a daughter, Denise Laakso and her husband Todd of Swanzey, New Hampshire; a son, Michael Baker and his fiancée Dee of Guilford; a brother, Richard Grassi and his wife Marilyn of White River Junction; a sister, Martha Kabaniec; grandchildren Megan Laakso, Savanah Baker, and Nathan Hurley; and three great-grandchildren and several nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by siblings Phillip Grassi and Jean Baker. Memorial information: Graveside committal services were conducted on Nov. 20 in the family lot in Baker Cemetery in Guilford. Donations to the Windham County Humane Society, P.O. Box 397, Brattleboro, VT 05302. To offer condolences, visit www.atamaniuk.com.
• Dorothy Elizabeth "Dot" Leclaire, 93, of Brattleboro. Died Nov. 14, 2023 at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital following a period of declining health. Dorothy was born in Luzerne Township, Fayette County, Pennsylvania on July 10, 1930, the daughter of Edward R. and Ruth E. (Zombro) Fuller. She was raised and educated in Berryville, Virginia, where she attended local public schools including Berryville High School. She eventually relocated to Brattleboro and on May 7, 1955, in Brattleboro, she was married to Marcel H. Leclaire Sr. Her husband of 67 years predeceased her on April 25, 2022. Dorothy was a devoted mother and wife raising her five children. She worked as a sales associate at the former Galanes Sport Shop, which she retired from in 1992. On a part-time basis, Dorothy served as a crossing guard for several years. In 1996, Marcel and Dorothy moved to Zephyrhills, Florida and, in July 2021, they returned to Vermont, residing at Vernon Hall in Vernon. She enjoyed arts and crafts and a good card game. She was an avid Bingo player. She was most happy spending time with her family. Dot is survived by her four children, Deborah Tillinghast (Ken), Edward (Sheri), Brian (Roxann), and Monica Davison (Scott); a sister, Carole Tryee; and nine grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren, and many nieces, nephews, great-nieces, and great-nephews. In addition to her husband and parents, she was predeceased by a son, Marcel Leclaire Jr., sisters Ada Jean Leclaire and Audrey BiaRossi, and brothers Robert and Herbert Fuller. Memorial information: A funeral Mass was held on Nov. 21 at St. Michael's Roman Catholic Church, with committal rites and burial in St. Michael's Parish Cemetery, where she was laid to rest next to her beloved husband. Donations to Brattleboro Area Hospice, 191 Canal St., Brattleboro, VT 05301. To offer condolences, visit www.atamaniuk.com.
• Mary Ellen (Childs) Tier, 76, of Brattleboro. Died peacefully, surrounded by family, on Nov. 15, 2023, at Pine Heights Nursing Home. She was born on March 14, 1947, in Townshend to the late Everett and Florence (Puffer) Childs. After graduating from Leland & Gray Seminary, Mary went on to get her degree in nursing from the Thompson School of Nursing and spent her career as a nurse at various nursing homes in northern and southern Vermont. She was a volunteer EMT at Richmond Rescue for many years. Later in her nursing career, she was a visiting nurse and cared for patients in their homes. Devoted to her faith, Mary was a longtime member of the West Townshend Seventh-day Adventist Church where she enjoyed fellowship and teaching Sabbath School to the children. Mary loved being around people, especially the time she spent with her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. She could easily make new friends wherever life led her. She will be remembered for her kind heart, compassion, and generosity. She was predeceased by her sons Joe and Eric Childs. She leaves behind her beloved children Seth Tier (Mandy) and Jerod Tier (Heather); grandchildren Kassie, Damon, Koree, Alexis, Kourtney, Selena, Grayden, Paige, Ryan, Kane, Austin, Olivia, and Serenity; nine great-grandchildren; brother Everett Childs Jr. "Sam" (Norma), nephew Tim Childs, niece Gina Goldade (Bryan), as well as many cousins. Memorial information: A celebration of life will be held at the Mountain View Seventh-day Adventist Church in Vernon on Sunday, Dec. 10, from 1 to 4 p.m. There will be a potluck afterward. Donations to the West Townshend Seventh-day Adventist Church, P.O. Box 1069, West Townshend VT 05359. To view Mary's online tribute or send a message of condolence, visit www.csnh.com.
• Shirley Jean (Byrd) Walsh, 77, of Bellows Falls. Died Nov. 9, 2023, after a short illness, at the Sullivan County Nursing Home in Unity, New Hampshire. The child of Morriswell Eugene Byrd and Anita Dehlia (Bousquet) Byrd, she was born Dec. 26, 1945 in Bellows Falls. She was raised in North Walpole, Bellows Falls, and Hialeah, Florida and graduated from Bellows Falls High School in 1963. She attended hair styling school in Burlington, and then worked as a hairdresser. After meeting Lawrence "Poody" Walsh while working at Aumand's Department Store, they married on June 26, 1969 in North Walpole. She then spent years providing childcare to many local children. But her greatest love of all was taking care of her grandchildren daily and making them big breakfasts after athletic practices. She also loved attending her grandchildren's dance recitals, and football, baseball, and hockey games. In her spare time, she knitted scarves and devoured books, particularly thrillers. She is survived by daughters Hillary Jean Walsh and Shauna Marie Walsh Friend and her husband, Bob; grandchildren Matthew Bean (Mimi Rhines), Brendan Bean (Ashlee Brown), Andrew Friend, and Alison Friend; and close cousins David, Theresa, Danny and Timothy Shaughnessey. Memorial information: A visitation and prayer service was held Nov. 14 at Stringer Funeral Home in Claremont, New Hampshire, followed by burial in Saint Mary Cemetery in Claremont. Donations to the Sullivan County Humane Society, 14 Tremont St., Claremont, NH 03743. To send condolences, visit www.stringerfh.com.
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