College news

• Alexander Hrabchak of Putney and Hunter Smith of Westminster were both named to the Honors List for the fall 2023 semester at Husson University in Bangor, Maine.

• Ella Bursky of Westminster was named to the Dean's List for the fall 2023 semester at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee.

• Jonathan Griffin, a business administration major from West Townshend, was named to the President's List for the fall 2023 semester at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina.


• Hope L. Belair, 73, of Brattleboro. Died on Dec. 3, 2023, surrounded by loved ones, after a 14-year battle with lymphoma. Hope was born in Brattleboro Memorial Hospital, the second child of a set of twins. Her mother, Ruth Barnes. did not know she was carrying twins. As the family tells it, "the doctor delivered Faith [Hope's sister] and thought he was all done but Annie Bedard, the nurse, called him back in when Hope decided it was time to make her presence known. They were identical, so they needed to wear their ID beads home. On the way home, Hope's father, Stuart, panicked and asked Mom how they were going to know which one was which. Mom told him to make sure the beads stay on until they were comfortable telling them apart. Hope was very close to Faith as only twins could be, but were so different, too." Hope grew up in Vernon, and raised her girls there as well until 20 years ago, when she moved to Brattleboro. She graduated from Brattleboro Union High School and continued her education in Waterbury, where she earned a Paralegal degree. She worked for years at The Book Press, the Vernon Town Clerk's office, and the Brattleboro Retreat. She loved horses; Hope was a 4-H member and belonged to the West River Valley Horse Association. She loved her plants, creating and maintaining her gardens, and canning often. She loved motorcycle and beach vacations with family and friends. Hope was a baptized Seventh Day Adventist. She was preceded in death by her husband of 40 years, Ernest J. Belair Jr. She is survived by her daughters, Jackie Belair Lee, and her husband, Robert, and Tonia and Jolene R. Belair; a stepdaughter, Alison Moore; a nephew/son, Robert Gleason; grandchildren Darrell Belair Miller, Chelsea Lee, Devon Monegro, Hunter Dingman, Clayton Dingman, Ronnie Lee, and Syndale Tremblay and her husband, Eric; and great-grandchild Hailey Tremblay. She is also survived by her partner of 10 years, Chris Chapman; Diane Buzby, her best friend of many years; sisters Donna Fecto and Lynda Tirrell, and many nieces and nephews. Memorial information: The family is planning a graveside service in the spring and a reception to follow.

• Nancy L. Cavanagh, 83, of Brattleboro. Died just before midnight on Dec. 31, 2023 at Vernon Green Nursing Home, where she had been a resident since September 2021. Nancy was born in Brattleboro on Aug. 1, 1940, the daughter of John and Ruth (Hawkins) Thrower. She attended Brattleboro public schools and was a graduate of Brattleboro Union High School, Class of 1958. She went on to attend Keene (N.H.) Teacher's College. Nancy worked most of her career in finance, employed by various area businesses until her retirement as bookkeeper for GRACE Cares, an international nonprofit. A woman of faith, Nancy was a lifetime member of First Congregational Church in West Brattleboro where she served as treasurer and sang in the church choir. She was known for her pleasant personality and spirit of friendship, fondly known by her family and friends as "Fancy Nancy." On June 20, 1959, at First Congregational Church, she was married to Earl E. Cavanagh, who predeceased her on March 12, 2018. Survivors include her three daughters, Cheryl Cavanagh (Rick) and Julie Houle (Jeff), all of Brattleboro, and Melinda Baronoski (Tim) of Marlborough, New Hampshire; a daughter-in-law, Ginger Cavanagh, of Saxtons River; a brother, John Thrower (Johanna), of Williamsville; a sister, Susan Arnold, of Brattleboro; grandchildren John, Heather, Trevor, Tyler, Lynzee, Israe,l and Grace; eight great-grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews. Nancy was predeceased by a son, John E. Cavanagh, in 2003. Memorial information: Committal services and burial will take place in the springtime in Williamsville Cemetery, where she will be laid to rest besides her beloved husband. Donations to The Earl Cavanagh Memorial Scholarship Fund, in care of BPO Elks, Brattleboro Lodge #1499, P.O. Box 8051, Brattleboro, VT 05304. To offer condolences, visit

• Richard Walter "Dick" Gauthier Sr., 89, died on Aug. 9, 2023 at Cheshire Medical Center in Keene, New Hampshire. He is survived by a son, Richard W. Gauthier Jr. (Christine) of West Chesterfield, and daughters Sherrie Gauthier of Brattleboro and Heidi Stanclift (James) of Keene. He was predeceased by his parents, siblings Elizabeth Smith and Bruce Gauthier, and daughter Michele Lemnah. Memorial information: At his request, no services were held.

• Richard William "Dick" Tenney, 89, of Clermont, Florida. Died peacefully on Dec. 28, 2023 at the Superior Residences of Clermont, following a period of declining health. He was born in Woburn, Massachusetts on May 5, 1934, the son of Daniel and Margaret (Connelly) Tenney. He was raised and educated in Woburn, attending St. Charles Parochial School and graduated from Boston College High School, Class of 1952. Dick attended Boston College before proudly serving his country in the Navy in 1954-55 as a hospital corpsman. After he was honorably discharged from active service, he worked his entire career in retail sales employed by Seaman's Furniture Co. and Caldor Department Stores, where for 16 years he was manager of Caldor's Riverhead, Long Island, New York location. Previously Dick worked for F.W. Woolworth Company for 26 years, employed at several locations that included Brattleboro, Belfast, Maine, Cohasset and Worcester, Massachusetts, New Haven, Connecticut, and Lake Ronkonkoma, New York. He retired in 1999. A devout Catholic, Dick served as a Eucharistic minister for 20 years at Saint Louis de Montfort Parish in Sound Beach, New York. His ministry included helping the bereaved. He enjoyed camping, gardening, puttering in his yard, and spending time with his family. He was a faithful and devoted husband and loving father, grandfather, and great grandfather. On June 23, 1962, at St. John Berchman Catholic Church in West Dummerston, he was married to Virginia A. Worden, who survives. Besides his wife of 61 years, he leaves two sons, Andrew Tenney (Christine) of Punta Gorda, Florida, and John Tenney (Jodiann) of Litchfield, Connecticut; two daughters, Margaret Coveney (Kevin) of Clermont and Jennifer Francis (Elwood) of Lexington, Kentucky; two sisters, Margaret Callahan of North Reading, Massachusetts and Dolores Levesque of Methuen, Massachusetts; and nine grandchildren, one great-granddaughter, and many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by brothers Daniel, Hugh and John Tenney. Memorial information: A funeral Mass of Christian Burial was held Jan. 6 at St. Michael's Roman Catholic Church in Brattleboro, followed by burial in Taft Cemetery in Dummerston. Donations to Food For The Poor ( To offer condolences, visit

• Eleanor Louise "Ellie" Vanderpool, 86, formerly of Brattleboro. Died in West Orange, New Jersey on Dec. 30, 2023. Eleanor was born in Fall River, Massachusetts on May 20, 1937, the daughter of Kenneth Vanderpool and Clara (Stafford) Vanderpool. Her family moved to Brattleboro in 1943. She attended Green Street School and graduated from Brattleboro Union High School in 1955. She attended Bates College from 1955-59, where she majored in English and was active in the French Club and the Spofford Club. She taught English from 1966-1994 at Ponus Ridge Middle School in Norwalk, Connecticut. During that time, she was active in the local ski club and traveled with them to several ski resorts. In the warmer months, she loved to bike, taking many long bike trips. Always active, Ellie golfed, figure skated, cross-country skied, and swam regularly. An avid photographer, she enjoyed birding and loved to travel, with the Audobon Society, with friends or with her sister to the Panama Canal, Costa Rica, Netherlands, Belgium and Italy. She had dozens of carousels of slides of her travels and many photo albums which included beautiful photos of nature and many covered bridges. After retiring, Eleanor bought land in Langdon, New Hampshire and had a cedar clapboard cape house built, later adding a large garage and changing the original garage into a lovely sun room. She had a large pond on her property for wildlife and kept many bird feeders on her back deck. She enjoyed watching the birds and the deer in her yard. For several years, she was a substitute teacher at Fall Mountain Regional High School and was active on a citizens' committee to save two local covered bridges. Ellie loved music and took violin, clarinet and voice lessons. She sang solos for her church services and loved to sing with the Falls Chorus and Keene Pops Chorale. She regularly volunteered for the Alstead Friendly Meals. In 2018, she moved to Langdon Place of Keene Assisted Living, where she enjoyed the meals and walking on the grounds. She was moved to memory care in West Orange in 2022 to be near her niece. Eleanor is survived by her sister, Shirley Romoser and her husband Eric of Huron, Ohio; her nephew David Gould and wife Dawn of St. Augustine, Florida; and her niece Laura Greenwald Strom and husband David and their son Andrew of West Orange. Memorial information: A service was held at the First United Methodist Church in Brattleboro on Jan. 7, followed by burial in Meetinghouse Hill Cemetery. Donations to the First United Methodist Church, 18 Town Crier Drive, Brattleboro, VT, 05301. To offer condolences, visit

This Milestones item was submitted to The Commons.

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