College news

Vermont State University honored several local students for academic achievement in the fall 2023 semester. Named to the President's list were Claire Holmes of Wardsboro, Denny Hughes of Guilford, Trevor Kipp of Brattleboro, Christopher Leary of Saxtons River, Samantha Martin of Brattleboro, Amy Nelson of Putney, Rebecca Robinson of Saxtons River, and Adam Shard of Bellows Falls. Named to the Dean's List were Stacy Bryck of Dummerston, Rio Coursen of Putney, Sally Densmore of Wilmington, Damian Dierkes of Dummerston, Emma Dornburgh of Whitingham, William Drummey of West Halifax, Thaddeus Engstrom Keep of Guilford, Makayla Goetz of Townshend, Jason Guerino of Vernon, Johannah Parker of Grafton, Brianna Paul of Brattleboro, Fiona Perez Razzaque of Brattleboro, Marcus Pratt of Newfane, Jenna Robinson of East Dover, Leo Schnipper of Bellows Falls, Aaron Soskin of Wilmington, Kestrel Voulgarakis of Wilmington, Gabriel Wilkinson of Bellows Falls, and Aria Zarnoski of Vernon.

• Tyler Millerick, a general business major from Vernon; Devin Speno, a civil engineering major from Brattleboro; and Harrison Gleim, a mechanical engineering major from Bellows Falls, were all named to the Dean's List for the fall 2023 semester at Western New England University in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Riley Dionne of Wilmington was named to the Dean's List for the fall 2023 semester at Nichols College in Dudley, Massachusetts.

The University of Hartford honored the following local students for academic achievement in the fall 2023 semester: William Frank of South Londonderry was named to the President's List, and Caroline Mehner of West Wardsboro and Spencer Butynski of Brookline were named to the Dean's List.

• Ella Vilozny of Dummerston was named to the Dean's List for the fall 2023 semester at Emmanuel College in Boston.


• Joanne Sara Gorbey, 79, and Jimmy Lee Gorbey, 81, both of Vernon.

Joanne Gorbey died unexpectedly in her home on Jan. 31, 2024. Born Sept. 6, 1944, in Brookline, Massachusetts, she was the daughter of the late Dominic J. and Theresa M. (Caloggero) Dalicandro. She was raised and educated in Newton, Massachusetts, attending Newton High School. Joanne was a dedicated licensed nurse's aide employed for many years with the Milford (Mass.) Geriatric Authority, where she retired after many years of faithful service. Previously, she worked at Hopedale Gardens Nursing Facility. Prior to building a new home and moving to Pond Road in Vernon in 2019, she and her husband were residents of Chelsea, Vermont for 18 years. A devout Catholic and strong in her faith, she was a communicant of Our Lady of the Angels Roman Catholic Church in Randolph. Joanne enjoyed sewing, doing her puzzles on her iPad, and cooking. When she was outside, she loved to admire her flower gardens and watch her husband mow the lawn on his tractor. Most importantly, she cherished time spent with her family whom she loved dearly. Joanne's life centered around her family and, for the last few years, she devoted her time taking care of her husband. On Feb. 16, 1968, in Waltham, Massachusetts, she was married to Jimmy Lee Gorbey. Sadly, her husband of almost 56 years died on Feb. 2, 2024, less than 1½ days following her death,.

Jimmy Lee Gorbey died unexpectedly on Feb. 2, 2024, at Albany (N.Y.) Medical Center, following a period of declining health. Born Dec. 2, 1942, in Killarm, West Virginia, he was the son of the late John Henry and Emma Mae (Woods) Gorbey. He was raised and educated in Fairmont, West Virginia, where he attended local public schools. A proud veteran, he went on to serve his country during the Vietnam War in the Navy, on board the USS Wasp. Following his honorable discharge from active service, he returned home, relocating to Massachusetts. Jimmy worked as a mechanic for the Milford (Mass.) Highway Department, retiring from his position following many years of faithful service to the town. He had also worked at General Automotive, an auto supply store in Milford. During his earlier years in life, he was a milkman for H.P. Hood. Of his memberships, Jimmy was an active member with VFW Carl M. Dessaint Post 1034 in Brattleboro. An ardent outdoorsman, he enjoyed hunting, gardening, puttering around his home, and piloting his Coyote tractor. In his earlier years, Jimmy enjoyed archery, attending many competitions throughout the New England area. He won three state championships in Massachusetts.

The Gorbeys are survived by their three children: a son, Joseph Gorbey and wife, Amy, of Hanover, Massachusetts, and two daughters, Loraine M. Gorbey of Milford and Cynthia Kinahan and her husband, Gregory, of Northbridge, Massachusetts; grandchildren Theresa, Tyler, Henry, and Thomas; great-grandson Benjamin; and many cherished nieces and nephews. Mrs. Gorbey was predeceased by her only brother, Frederick Dalicandro, while Mr. Gorbey is also survived by his sister, Opal Price, of Wadestown, West Virginia. Memorial information: A funeral Mass for Mr. & Mrs. Gorbey was held Feb. 9 at St. Michael's Roman Catholic Church in Brattleboro. Burial will take place in the springtime in the family lot in Tyler Cemetery in Vernon. Donations to the VFW, Carl M. Dessaint Post 1034, 40 Black Mountain Rd., Brattleboro, VT 05301. To offer condolences, visit

• Ellen Marie "Ellie" Lascore, 86, of Brattleboro. Died peacefully, surrounded by her loving family, on Jan. 14, 2024, at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital following a period of declining health. Born Ellen Marie Feeney on Oct. 27, 1937, in Hartford, Connecticut, she was one of two children of Patrick Feeney and Rita Bilodeau. She was the eldest of her brother (pre-deceased) William "Billy" Feeney and her half-siblings Thomas, James, Brian, Madeline (Gallagher), and Angela (Patriquin), all children of Patrick and Carmella Feeney. Ellen's spirited journey in the hospitality industry began at age 16, gliding on roller skates as a waitress at the Hamburger Den in Connecticut. She later met her future spouse Leo Joseph Xavier Lascore Jr and they wed on July 6, 1963. From this union came the role of mother to her daughters Judith Ann and Lena Marie. Unfortunately, their differences - Leo wanting a homemaker and Ellen's passion to work outside of the home - ultimately led to divorce. After her divorce from Leo, Ellen embraced her independence, immersing herself in various restaurants throughout Vermont. Most notably, she became a fixture at the Railroad Diner in Brattleboro, which after it sadly burnt down, later became the Riverview Diner. She was employed there for 20 years. She tried her hand at business ownership and opened Ellie's, her own restaurant in West Brattleboro, but running a business and raising two teenage daughters proved to be too much, so she closed the doors just one short year later. She later worked at Jad's Restaurant and, finally, landed at The Putney Diner, where she spent the last 30 years of her diner days until retiring at the age of 80. As much as she didn't want to, her body said it was time. Renowned for her quick-witted comebacks or as her customers called them "Ellie-isms," she effortlessly blended sweetness with sass, leaving an indelible mark on those she served. She may not have remembered your name and called you "toots," but she would remember what your order was even if a long time had passed. Her claim to fame was that she never, no matter how big a table she got, wrote down an order. In the off chance she made a mistake she would say, "You'll eat it anyways, won't you toots?" If a customer didn't know what they wanted to eat, she'd playfully reply, "Take your time, I'm here until 10!" These witty remarks delighted her customers and exemplified her quick-witted nature, making her a beloved figure in the local dining scene. As a well-loved figure in the Putney community, she was nominated and chosen as Putney's Person of the Year for 2001 and had several articles written about her over the years in the Brattleboro Reformer. Beyond her bustling work life, Ellie found solace in simple pleasures - reading, watching television, and cherishing moments with her family and friends. Her final chapter was spent in the loving care of her daughter Lena and son-in-law Mike, where she found comfort during her declining health. Ellen was raised as a Roman Catholic. She went to a Catholic school and attended church throughout her life. She had a strong faith in God. Ellen leaves behind a legacy of independence, laughter, and hard work. Ellie will forever be remembered for her unwavering strength, infectious laughter, and the enduring impact she made on all who were fortunate enough to know her. She is survived by her daughters Judy Pike and Lena Lascore; granddaughters Amy Lascore (whom she adopted when Amy was 1), Heather Pike, and Shayla Pike; great-granddaughter Taylyn Anderson; and sons-in-law Doug Pike and Michael Grover. Memorial information: In honoring Ellen's wishes, there will be no formal funeral services. Instead, a celebration of her vibrant life will be held on leap day, Feb. 29, from 3 to 7 p.m., at the Brattleboro VFW. Donations to a charity of one's choice in honor of Ellie's enduring spirit of generosity and compassion. To offer condolences, visit

• Nellie Thomas McColl Commager Lasch, 89, of South Newfane. Died on Feb. 6, 2024. She was born on Sept. 26, 1934, to Henry Steele Commager and Evan Commager. She is survived by her sister, Lisa Commager, her son Rob Lasch (and daughter-in-law Mikell), her daughter Elisabeth Lasch-Quinn (and son-in-law Ray), her daughter Kate Loomis (and son-in-law Peter), and her daughter-in-law Elizabeth Stovall. She is also survived by her grandchildren Robby Ramdin, Greta Ramdin, Grace Noe (husband Zack), Eleanor Lasch, Isabel Lasch-Quinn, Honoré Lasch-Quinn, Chris Lasch, and Rain Lasch, and great-grandson Gunnar Noe. Nell was preceded in death by her beloved husband Christopher "Kit" Lasch, her parents, her brother Steele Commager, and her son, her "blue-eyed boy," Chris Lasch. An alumna of Barnard College, Nell enjoyed crossword puzzles, reading, sitting outside in her beautiful valley in any weather, and writing. She was known for her sharp intellect and quick wit. Memorial information: There will be a service for Nell in Williamsville, where she was married at her family's summer home in 1956. It will be held at Williamsville Hall on Saturday, Feb. 17, at 3:30 p.m. (Zoom link:

• Peter R. Klein, 88, died Jan. 17, 2024 under hospice care in Lebanon, New Hampshire. He was born in Arlington, Massachusetts on July 24, 1935, son of Ruth (née Simmons) and Frank Klein. He grew up with his brother Fritz on a small dairy farm in Chester, New Hampshire. A childhood of hard physical labor spurred his later ideas of liberation from workplace drudgery. His hands were so strong from milking cows every morning that his father used to make him shake hands with the other men around town just to show off. He had powerful hands until his last days. Peter attended Pinkerton Academy where he was known as the "Chester Casanova." He was very popular and was elected class president for four years. He loved to folk dance, and even danced in a celebration for Eisenhower held at the University of New Hampshire. When he was 16, he met his life-long partner and best friend, Gloria Klein (née Abbott). In the mid-1950s, Peter was drafted into the Army, where he trained to become an expert marksman. Later, he would tell his kids about his minor acts of rebellion. (He was in the same battalion as Elvis Presley and yet never cared to meet the guy.) For a month, he was stationed in Germany, where he was joined by his wife Gloria. There she gave birth to their first child, Sandy. Following his discharge, he studied physics and computer science at the University of New Hampshire. During this time, Gloria gave birth to their second child, Eric. Peter's interest in workplace economics led him to find work as a computer programmer at Western Electric, and later at Digital Equipment Corp. He taught programming at the New Hampshire Technical Institute and, by the 1980s, had set out as a freelance programmer. Peter was a utopian who believed that many common and unpleasant workplace practices should be eliminated, and that our society would be a better place if people were allowed to associate free of the traditional restrictions of age, class, race, and gender. He and Gloria understood concepts of polyamory early in their relationship even before the free love movement of the 1960s. They settled and raised children in Canterbury, New Hampshire, and later lived in the Boston area before finally moving to Brattleboro. Beginning in the late 1970s, both he and Gloria were active in various alternative marriage support groups. Peter spent his 60s with another beloved partner, Jan Frazier, and then returned to live out the rest of his life with Gloria. While not a holiday gift-giver, for a span of time he gave his kids tools as gifts. When his oldest granddaughter was a toddler, her favorite game was to play in his toolbox. He wrote short stories, including some erotica, and completed a memoir, Fields and Islands. Peter enjoyed shooting, archery, fishing, boating, swimming, and camping - as well as some unusual hobbies like hang gliding, which he pursued intermittently until he was 80. He would often talk of flying a mile over Mount Ascutney sailing the wind alongside the hawks. Peter was an avowed atheist who loved to discuss religious ideas with all kinds of people. He read Gurdjieff, P. D. Ouspensky, Franklin Merrell Wolff, various philosophers, and anything about the origins of man, science, and the universe. The last book he read was The Dawn of Everything by Graeber and Wengrow. Peter was also really good at buying small parcels of land, islands, and peninsulas, back when the average person could do such things. Finally, he was particularly fond of his five grandchildren - Xavier, Rosa, Isaiah, Eliza, and Oliver - whom he taught how to have real fun with wild stories and his puppets (he was a double ventriloquist). Together, they tried roasting every possible thing on a fire (from Oreos to Certs), slightly dangerous things like trespassing, crossing trestle bridges, swimming across the Connecticut River, sneaking a sip of scotch, sliding down cliffs, and hang gliding. To his grown children, Eric and Sandy, he was not just a great dad and granddad - but a great friend too. When his health declined, Peter could be seen almost daily shooting pool at the bowling alley and the local pub, Bar 580, hitting great shots and unabashedly cheating, saying "Why waste your limited time on a bad shot?" He leaves behind many beloved family members both blood-related and chosen - Gloria, Sandy, Eric, Fritz, Melissa, Rosa, Isaiah, Xavier, Eliza, Oliver, Jan, Gino, Hayden, Nanci, Kristofer, Peter T., Nicole, Ross, Jerry, Judy, Bill D., Helene and Adwoa - as well as their respective partners who lent continual love and support: Laurie, Mary, Matt, Gracie, Prerna, Sue, Susan, James, Lisa, Brew, Fawn, and Susan. He is also survived by great-grandchildren Finley and Reed, and their parents Brit and Marissa. He was predeceased by many loved ones, most notably Dolphin, Stine, and Casey. Memorial information: The day after his death, family and friends buried Peter under an apple tree in Putney. A red tail hawk soared above the burial. There will be a memorial fire and gathering on March 15. If you would like to come, call Sandy at 802-579-3044.

• Marion W. Robinson, 87, of Newfane. Died peacefully in her sleep on Feb. 2, 2024, following a period of declining health. A lifelong resident of the West River Valley, Marion was born at home in Brookline on Oct. 17, 1936, the daughter of Arthur and Nola (Perry) White. She was raised and educated in Newfane and was a graduate of Leland & Gray Seminary, Class of 1954. She went on to attend the Sheldon Academy of Beauty Culture in Burlington, after which she received her license as a hairdresser. For many years, Marion owned and operated her own beauty shop, The Beauty Den, which she opened in 1962 at her home in Newfane. She served a large client base in the West River Valley and also offered her services to several local funeral homes. In her earlier years, she was a telephone operator working out of the Newfane office of New England Telephone, a position she started when she was 16. A woman of faith, she was a longtime member of the Newfane Congregational Church and was involved with many activities within the church. Marion served as a Girl Scout leader for seven years and was a member of the Stitch & Bitch Sewing Club in the Valley. With her husband she was a member of the Maple Leaf Square Dance Club, and Windham Wanderers Club, a local camping club organization. An excellent cook and baker, she made beautiful wedding cakes for three generations of brides. Marion enjoyed travel, camping, knitting, sewing, and time shared with her family. On Sept. 17, 1955, at Newfane Congregational Church, she was married to Oscar E. Robinson who predeceased her on April 26, 2004. Survivors include two daughters, Geri Feeder and her husband Michael of Hudson Falls, New York, and Jilene Robinson of West Chesterfield, New Hampshire; a son, Jeffrey Robinson and his wife Bev of Vernon; grandchildren Kieara, Evan (Kristina), Samuel (Catherine), Tyrel (Lauren), Logan (Jeff), and Levi (Vanessa); great-grandchildren Everett, Brett, and Astrid; and many nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by half-brothers Arthur, Harold and William White, and grandchildren Nichole and Jordan Souza. Memorial information: A memorial service in celebration of her life will be conducted Saturday, Feb. 17, at 11 a.m., at the Newfane Congregational Church, with a reception to follow. Friends are invited to call at the Atamaniuk Funeral Home on Terrace Street in Brattleboro on Friday, Feb. 16, from 4 to 6 p.m. Marion will be laid to rest with her beloved husband in the Robinson family lot in Woodlawn Cemetery in Newfane in the springtime when the cemetery reopens. Donations to Newbrook Fire & Rescue, P.O. Box 77, Newfane, VT 05345. To offer condolences, visit

• Theodosia "Teddy" Swinyer, 94, of Brattleboro. Died at home, surrounded by her loving family, on Feb. 1, 2024. Teddy was born in Albany, New York, on Jan. 4, 1930 to Alberto and Maria Francesca Sacca (Pagliarulo). There she attended school and started her career as a waitress in the family business, Al's Italian Restaurant. Later in life, she cared for two families as a beloved nanny who was remembered with cards and letters for the rest of her life. She also provided end-of -life care to several family members. She lived in Galway, New York with her daughter, Elizabeth and her family for 10 years and moved to Vermont in 2007 where she lived with her daughter, Bernadette, and her family for the remainder of her life. She married the love of her life, Charles E. Swinyer, on Sept. 29, 1968, and together they raised four daughters: Patricia (Paul) Plante, Geraldine (Ralph) Sim, Elizabeth (Robert) Rue, and Bernadette (Jeffrey) Meyer. Her cherished family grew to include 14 grandchildren, 26 great-grandchildren, and five great-great grandchildren. Teddy was predeceased by her husband, Charles; brothers Giacomo, Nicholas, and Donald; and sisters Rosalie (Motta) and Antoinette (Motta). She is survived by four siblings: Alfred, Albert, Louis and Clementina (Salmeri); her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren as well as many nieces and nephews. She had so much love in her heart to give, and it continues to grow every day through her whole family and every life that she has touched. In addition to doting on her family, Teddy created many beautiful and intricate crocheted doilies as treasured gifts to her family. She was known for her delicious pizza, lasagna, rum cakes, struffoli, and large Christmas cookie platters. Her grandchildren fondly remember the many group sleepovers with Poppy serving popcorn in the evenings and Nonnie serving pizza fritte the next morning for breakfast. Later in life, she enjoyed reading and making puzzles. Memorial information: As she requested, there will be no calling hours or services. Teddy's family will gather in the spring to celebrate her life. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the charity of your choice. To offer condolences, visit

• Richard H. "Rick" Taylor, 72, of Newfane. Died peacefully, surrounded by his family, on Feb. 5, 2024. Born on May 20, 1951, Richard grew up in Feeding Hills, Massachusetts. He attended Agawam (Mass.) High School and went on to earn an associat degree in automotive technology from Hudson Valley Community College. He had a successful career as a customer relations manager at Wagner Ford in Simsbury, Connecticut for more than 30 years and later worked at Stratton Mountain Resort, before retiring. Rick was a genuinely kind individual who was always ready to lend a helping hand. He had a knack for fixing things, and enjoyed taking on various projects. He loved being outdoors and was a talented woodworker. He had a passion for antiques and enjoyed collecting them. Above all, Rick was a proud grandfather who cherished his family dearly. Rick is survived by his loving wife of 50 years, Laura (Hart) Taylor; his children, Richard and Jennifer (Lavariere) Taylor, and Jessica Taylor and Danny Silva, all of Southwick, Massachusetts, and Justin Taylor and Amanda Hescock of Newfane; grandchildren Sam, Sara, and Riley Taylor; siblings Gail Taylor (Paul) and Larry Taylor (Ruth); and many nieces, nephews, extended family, lifelong friends, and his trusty sidekick, Rosco. Richard was preceded in death by his father, Richard L. Taylor, his mother, Shirley (Morse) Taylor, his sister, Kathy Manley, nephew Brett Taylor, and grandson Owen Taylor. Memorial information: A service will be held on Feb. 18, at 12:30 p.m., at Newfane Congregational Church, 11 Church St. A celebration of his life will be held on Feb. 25, at 1 p.m., at American Legion Post 338, 46 Powder Mill Rd., Southwick. Donations to Grace Cottage Hospital, P.O. Box 1, Townshend, VT 05353.

This Milestones item was submitted to The Commons.

Subscribe to the newsletter for weekly updates