College news

• Noah Hirchi of Brookline recently received his Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

• Alejandro Toledo Cornman of Brattleboro and Michele Hartje of Wilmington were recently initiated into The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, the nation's oldest and most selective all-discipline collegiate honor society. Toledo Cornman was initiated at the University of Massachusetts, while Hartje was initiated at Sacred Heart University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

The following local students were honored for academic achievement in the fall 2023 semester at Champlain College in Burlington: Zachary Condon and Janelle Fisher, both of Whitingham, were named to the Trustees' List, for maintaining a 4.0 or higher grade point average for two or more semesters. Condon, Fisher, and Melissa French of Bellows Falls were all named to the President's List for achieving a 4.0 GPA, while John Clark of Brattleboro, Jayden Crawford of Wilmington, Mark Hunnewell of South Londonderry, Ritter Redfield of South Newfane, Nicholas Stratton of Putney, and Sasha Tschernisch of Brattleboro were all named to the Dean's List for achieving a 3.5 or higher GPA.

• Nieve Whitehouse of Marlboro was named to the fall 2023 Dean's List at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington.

• Liina Koch of South Londonderry was named to the fall 2023 Dean's List at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine.

• Annmarie Mulkey of Stratton was named to the fall 2023 Dean's List at the Albany (N.Y.) College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.

• Grace Wilkinson of Bellows Falls, Lucy Day of Jamaica, Annabelle Gray of Londonderry, and Althea Holzaphel of Marlboro were named to the fall 2023 Dean's List at Endicott College in Beverly, Massachusetts.

• Jessica Tatro of Brattleboro was named to the fall 2023 Dean's List at St. Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire.

• Cassidy A. Fusco of West Wardsboro and Emiline L. Stewart of Wilmington were named to the fall 2023 Dean's List at Fairfield (Conn.) University.


• Samuel Bergman, 79, of Hancock, Maine. Died on April 2, 2024, at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor, following a long illness. Sam was born on April 26, 1944, in Burlington, Vermont, the son of George and Molly Bergman. He grew up in Burlington, but moved to Boston to attend MIT. He graduated from MIT in 1967. Political action was very important to Sam. He was actively involved in the anti-war movement of the 1960s. He was pictured in The Walker Report, "Rights in Conflict," during the riots at 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago, as a "Hippie Medic." This experience solidified his decision to attend medical school. Sam worked for a year as a substitute geometry teacher in Chelsea, Massachusetts, while preparing to apply to med school. While in Chelsea, he became involved in the Chelsea Organization to Improve Community Education (CHOICE). It was there he met the love of his life, Irene Melamed, a recent graduate of the University of Massachusetts at Boston. They quickly fell in love after meeting in July 1969, were engaged by Thanksgiving, and married in February 1970. Sam enrolled in Boston University School of Medicine in September 1970. Despite the difficulties of medical school, he and Irene continued their political activities. They lived communally in Allston, Massachusetts, during the four years of med school - moving to Worcester, Massachusetts, for internships and residency in family practice at UMass Medical School. After residency, Sam and Irene moved to Cavendish, Vermont, to serve in the U.S. Public Health Service. They moved to Duxbury, Vermont to allow Irene to go to graduate school for her MSW degree. There, Sam began his career as an emergency room doctor in small community hospitals throughout New England. Sam and Irene lived briefly in Connecticut where their eldest child, Robert was born in 1982. The family then moved to Brattleboro, where their youngest child, Alli, was born in 1989. While there, Sam worked in the ER at Cheshire Medical Center in Keene, New Hampshire, Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield, Massachusetts, and Brattleboro Memorial Hospital. The family loved life in Brattleboro. It was a wonderful community to raise their children and follow their political passions. Sam was an avid hockey dad, traipsing all over New England and New York to Rob's hockey games and supporting him in his endeavors. He also served as the team doctor. One of Rob's fondest memories later in life was his dad being able to see Rob come full circle in his hockey run, sitting front row watching him win a state title as a high school hockey coach in the state of Maine. He will always remember his dad's selflessness and ability to put everyone above himself for the greater good of humanity. Alli said that she and her dad were "like father, like daughter," often appearing unemotional to the world but big softies to those that knew their hearts. Both were masters of researching any topic on the internet and they were two people that were "never wrong" because they had already done the study to back up their points. Sam instilled peace and fairness in Alli, amongst his other beliefs such as Healthcare for All. Alli will honor his legacy by spreading information about her dad's desire for a more peaceful earth. She is proud to have given Sam his first grandchild, Aaliyah, in 2009 and will cherish the memories of her father for the rest of her life. Irene said that, to her amazement, Sam showed a totally different side of himself in his later years as he joined the Gilbert & Sullivan Society of Maine and performed in The Pirates of Penzance, HMS Pinafore, and Iolanthe. Seeing him on stage and watching his passion for performance warmed her heart. Sam was predeceased by his parents and his sister Betty Levin. He leaves behind to cherish his memory his wife Irene (Melamed) Bergman; son Robert Bergman and fiancé Hannah Cook of Sarasota, Florida; daughter Alexandra (Alli) Bergman of Fredericksburg, Virginia; and granddaughter Aaliyah Williams of Fort Worth, Texas. Also surviving are his brother and sister-in-law David & Kathy Melamed of Gilbert, Arizona, brother-in-law Amos Levin of Newton, Massachusetts, and many cousins, nieces and nephews, and grand-nieces and nephews. Memorial information: Sam requested a Green Burial. He was dressed in a simple shroud in a pine box at Cedar Grove Burial Ground in Limington, Maine on April 8, before the historic solar eclipse, surrounded by his immediate family. There will be no funeral, but the family will have a celebration of his life later in the spring. Donations to a progressive cause of your choice.

• Leah Bonnette, 87, of Hinsdale, New Hampshire. Died April 5, 2024, at Maplewood Nursing Home in Westmoreland, New Hampshire, where she was a resident for the past five months. Born in Lowell, Vermont, on Oct. 4, 1936, she was the daughter of Clinton and Elizabeth (Mason) Peters. She was raised and educated in Lowell, attending Lowell Elementary School and Richford High School. She continued her education later in life by taking bank courses through Vermont National Bank. On August 8, 1953, at St. Isadore Parish in Montgomery Center, Vermont, she married Royal Bonnette. Her faithful and devoted husband of 57 years predeceased her on Oct. 7, 2010. Leah worked at the Book Press for many years. She left the Book Press to start her own business. Leah ran the Double Header Restaurant in Hinsdale with two of her sons, Bruce and Terry. She then ran a catering business before starting work at Vermont National Bank. She went on to work for Brattleboro Savings & Loan as a receptionist for 14 years until her retirement in 1996. While working at the Book Press, she also completed hairdressing school. She and her husband, Royal, spent many years living in the Algiers section of Guilford before moving to Hinsdale in 1964. With her husband, she was a member of St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Hinsdale. Leah was a loving wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. Her greatest pleasure in life was spending time with her family, whether it was at family gatherings or at sporting events for her children, grandchildren, or great-grandchildren. She spent much time at baseball/softball fields, soccer fields and basketball courts. She was their biggest fan. She also loved working in her gardens and tending to her lawn. Prior to her husband's death, they enjoyed traveling together, spending time in Florida, South Carolina and Tennessee. Those were her favorite places. Leah leaves behind three sons, Bruce (wife, Maryann), Steve (partner, Claire) and Terry (wife, Kim) Bonnette, all of Hinsdale; one daughter, Diane (husband, John) Butler of Virginia Beach, Virginia; two brothers, Dennis Peters of West Dover and Robert Peters of Enosburg Center; 11 grandchildren, 18 great-grandchildren and several nieces and nephews. Besides her husband, she was predeceased by her parents; her sister, Flora Gilbeau; and two brothers, Clinton Peters Jr. and Artie Peters. Memorial information: A funeral Mass was held on April 12 at St. Michael's Catholic Church in Brattleboro, followed by committal rites and burial in St. Joseph's Cemetery in Hinsdale, where she was laid to rest beside her husband. Donations to the Hinsdale Education Foundation, P.O. Box 837, Hinsdale, NH 03451. To offer condolences to the family, visit

• Whitney T. "Whitty" Hamilton, 39, of Marlboro. Died unexpectedly on April 5, 2024. He was born on Nov. 14, 1984, in Brattleboro and grew up on his grandfather's dairy farm. He graduated from Brattleboro Union High School in 2003. Whitty worked at the Retreat Farm, Feed Commodities in Bernardston, Wayne C. Corse Excavation , the town of Whitingham Roadworks, and Whetstone Valley Excavating. He was a member of the Marlboro Volunteer Fire Department. Whitty enjoyed working on dairy farms and operating equipment. He was a sensitive, loving father and thoughtful friend and neighbor who was happy sitting on a log skidder with a chainsaw by his side. He leaves behind his significant other, Carrie Billings, and their son, Bennett; his parents, Kevin and Jean Hamilton of Brattleboro; his sister, Katrina of Westminister; his brother, Jacob, of Brattleboro; his good friend, Andrew Rockwell of Dover; and many aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends. Memorial information: A celebration of his life will be held at the field off of Levi Howard Road on Saturday, April 27, at 1 p.m. To send condolences, visit

• Merry Belle Haskell, 74, died April 8, 2024 at Pine Heights, in Brattleboro, surrounded by her family, following a courageous battle with cancer. A beloved mother, grandmother, aunt, and sister,Merry was born in Goffstown, New Hampshire on December 20, 1949, the daughter of Edwin and Ruby (Stevens) Haskell, Jr. She was raised and educated in Hooksett, New Hampshire, graduating from Mashoba High School with the Class of 1967. Merry went on to attend the former Thompson School for Practical Nursing, earning her LPN license, was a graduate of Southern Vermont College in Bennington, where she received her RN Degree, and later graduated from the University of New Hampshire where she earned her Bachelor's Degree (BSN) in Nursing. She worked her entire career in healthcare, starting her career as a nurse's aide at Thompson House. She later worked at Applewood Healthcare Center in Winchester, New Hampshire[ Cheshire Medical Center in Keene, New Hampshire; and Brattleboro Memorial Hospital, where she was employed as a nursing shift supervisor. A devout Catholic, Merry was a communicant of St. Joseph's Church in Hinsdale and was a member of the Catholic Daughters. She enjoyed quilting, travel, riding motorcycles, baking and tending to her plants. Merry was known for her positive outlook on life, her desire to always keep learning, her wonderful spirit of friendship, and the love she had for her family. Survivors include her sons Eric Graham (Sharon) of Ormond Beach, Florida, and Wesley Graham (Alice) of Westminster; a sister, Jacqueline House of Green Cove Springs, Florida; a brother, Harold Haskell of Lubbock, Texas; and 11 grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren, and several nieces, nephews, and cousins. Merry was predeceased by her daughter, Laura Graham; her brother, Edwin Haskell III; a niece, Tammy Jo Linececum; and her parents. Memorial information: A funeral Mass will held on Saturday, April 20, 2024, at 10 a.m., at St. Joseph's Church in Hinsdale with a reception to follow in the church fellowship hall. She will be laid to rest in St. Joseph's Cemetery on Plain Road. Donations to St. Joseph Catholic Church, in care of the Parish of the Holy Spirit, 173 Main St., Keene, NH 03431. To offer condolences, visit

• Frederick W. "Fred" Houston, 81, of Wilmington. Died peacefully at his home on April 5, 2024, after a night of watching footie (soccer for the rest of us) and chatting with dear friends. Born on Dec. 19, 1942, Fred lived a full life that took him around the world more than once. "For the sins of his youth," he went into law and practiced in Brattleboro, Londonderry and, finally, Wilmington before retiring into curmudgeonhood at his apartment at 6 South Main St. Prior to practicing law, he was a member of Putney Folk at Windham College, then toured across the country as a roadie with Dawson Sound Company, hauling gear for bands such as Steely Dan and the Mahavishnu Orchestra. He is predeceased by his moustache, and his best friend of many years, Eileen Greber. He is survived by his sister Molly Savard, and his two children Clay and Justin Houston. Memorial information: Services were held April 13 at St. Mary's In the Mountains Episcopal Church in Wilmington. In lieu of cut flowers, go outside and plant some. And remember,"It's all Rock and Roll!"

• Robert Schnare King, 95, of Brattleboro. Died peacefully at Pine Heights nursing home on April 10, 2024. He was born in Brattleboro on October 15, 1928, the son of Atkins H. King Sr. and Priscilla Schnare King. Robert graduated from Brattleboro High School in 1947. He served in the Vermont National Guard for four years in the U.S. and in Germany. On February 11, 1956, Robert married Shirley Blodgett. Survivors besides his wife, Shirley, of 68 years, include his children Gary, of Brattleboro, Brian (Lynn), of Guilford, and Steven (Cindy) of Vernon; his sister, Nancy, of Florida, granddaughter Theresa Nicole King, and great-grandchildren Ryker, Willow, and Waylynn. Robert was predeceased by a brother, Atkins King Jr., a son, Jeffrey King, and a great-granddaughter, Ashley King. Robert worked at Brattleboro Trust and Vermont Bank and Trust for 20 years. Robert and Shirley owned and operated Gunzingers grocery store for 16 years. After retirement, Robert and Shirley traveled by RV for 20 years. He also enjoyed trap shooting, woodworking, and gardening. Memorial information: There will be no visiting hours or memorial service. Friends and family are invited to meet at American Legion Post 5 on Saturday, May 11, from 1 to 4 p.m., for a Celebration of Life.

• Barbara (Rudolph) Pofcher, 100, of Newton, Massachusetts, and West Brattleboro, passed away on April 5, 2024. She was born on Jan. 12, 1924. For 59 years, she was the beloved wife of the late Harvey Pofcher. She was the loving mother of Steven, Eric (Wendy) and Amy (Enrique). She was also devoted to her seven grandchildren and was a dear sister to the late James Rudolph (Adrienne). Barbara was an exceptional woman and, being 100 years old, was a role model for many of her younger friends. She graduated from Wellesley College in 1945, where she became an avid bridge card player. After college, she played bridge three times a week and she achieved Life Master status. Memorial information: She was buried at the Roxbury Lodge Cemetery in West Roxbury, Massachusetts. Donations to the Fanny Pofcher-Golda Griefman Scholarship Fund at Hebrew Senior Life, 1200 Centre St., Boston, MA 02131.

• Byron Stookey, 90, of Brattleboro. Died peacefully at home on April 12, 2024. During the last months of his life, he was cared for by his three daughters and his wife of almost 64 years, Lee. She was holding his hand when he died. Byron was born and raised in Manhattan with two brothers, John and Lyman, to whom he was devoted throughout his life. He was thoughtful and soft-spoken. He lived with quiet integrity and dedicated his life to taking care of others. He worked harder than most, though that was not always the case. During his first two years at Harvard, he prioritized driving (and hitchhiking) around the Northeast, returning rental cars to Boston (night driving, backroads, and diners became a lifelong pleasure). The college "suggested" he take some time off. He enlisted in the Army as an infantryman and served for three years as a paratrooper and officer in the 82nd Airborne Division. He credited the Army with giving him opportunities to work with purpose, to lead, and to learn from and with people from very different backgrounds. It also left him with a permanent affection for olive green. When he returned to Harvard, he earned his B.A. and a Master of Arts in Teaching (History) while continuing to serve in the Army Reserve. He wrote about Jack London and the socialist movement and became committed to education as a motor for social and personal transformation. He met Lee in Cambridge. After numerous proposals, she finally said "yes," and they were married in 1960. They had four daughters in five years: Sarah, Anna, Kate, and Joan. Always close, their family of "originals" held each other more tightly during the year and a half after Joan was diagnosed with ALS and through her death last year. Byron described his career as "checkered" but there was a consistent throughline. He always worked to strengthen the voice and capacity of people with less power. As an administrator at Harvard, he started the Freshman Seminar Program, connecting young students with senior professors, directed the initial Peace Corps training program, and founded the first student housing cooperative. In 1963, he was recruited as part of a small team to develop the University of California at Santa Cruz. When he and Lee arrived from Cambridge with two toddlers, UCSC was a 3,000-acre ranch with a padlocked gate. Byron soon became the first Director of Academic Planning. He was a moral and intellectual force in shaping the culture and programs of the campus. He advocated for student voice, academic creativity, and connections between campus and the community. Byron and Lee returned East in 1968, settling in Brooklyn. Together they worked to end segregation and improve the quality of public schools. Byron helped create an alternative public high school in East Harlem (Park East) and a social services organization in Queens (Sunnyside Community Services). Both of these organizations continue to thrive. Beginning as a senior center in a church basement, SCS now offers programs for all members of the community and is one of the largest home care agencies in the city. He was the extraordinary combination of an expert administrator and a wildly creative visionary. Whether students or old people, he believed in and worked to build people's capacity for managing and owning their organizations. Byron was most drawn to the work of starting organizations and shied away from accumulating power. At 50, he returned to education. He became a New York City public school teacher and taught world history to high school students in East Harlem for a decade. He was dedicated to helping his students connect their lives and concerns to larger histories and ideas. Byron and Lee moved to Brattleboro in 1994. They had built a cabin in Westminster West in 1970 and felt a strong connection to this area. He was happiest when he was at the cabin with family, engineering drainage channels, and making trails. Byron was often teased by his children and nine grandchildren for "vacuuming the woods." He helped found Brattleboro Area Affordable Housing, worked with the residents of the Westgate community in West Brattleboro to establish tenant control, and fought the exploitative rent-to-own industry. Byron liked to be at his desk when the world was quiet and asleep. He and Lee often stayed up working together into the wee hours. They were partners in ways well beyond family. Tireless activists and advocates for a more just world, they rode school buses to Washington D.C. for war and justice protests and joined Occupy Wall Street in 2011. Byron became particularly dedicated to the fight to address climate change. In October 2022, at 90, he led a family delegation in the March to End Fossil Fuels to the United Nations. A prolific writer, he used words to make unassailable arguments, convey white hot outrage and express love. His handwriting was beautiful; there should've been a font called "Byron." Whether a letter to the editor about the life cycle of ladybugs or the horrors of war or climate change, an essay on careers, or advice to a grandchild, he took care with everything he wrote. He wrote extraordinary toasts and delivered them so beautifully that, no matter how large the room or gathering, you could hear a pin drop. Though Byron worked hard, he was a master snoozer, ice cream eater, novice woodworker, wannabe surveyor, and a lover of music and hardware stores (especially Brown & Roberts). He liked exploring - places, people, and the way things worked. Byron acted with integrity and humility. Small gestures mattered. It was always "more important to be interested, than interesting." He leaves a hole in the lives of his wife, Lee, his daughters Sarah Stookey, Anna Clancy (Tom), Kate Haviland (Sandy), his son-in-law Jeff Harring, and nine grandchildren Holly, Quitzé (Melissa), Adam (Sarah), Kate, Elena (Sam), Emma, Charlie (Julia), Laura, and Grace, and his first great-grandchild, Arthur. He was predeceased in 2023 by his youngest daughter, Joan Harring. Memorial information: All who knew Byron are welcome at a memorial gathering with light refreshments at The Stone Church, 210 Main St., Brattleboro, on Saturday, May 4, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., with a brief program at 11 a.m. A livestream of the program will be available; email [email protected] for details. Donations in Byron's memory may be made to Brattleboro Area Affordable Housing (, Groundworks Collaborative (, and/or Sunnyside Community Services (

• Kenneth N. "Kenny" Toney, 82, of Brattleboro. Died on April 10, 2024, surrounded by his loving family. Kenny was born in Brattleboro on Feb. 3, 1942, son of the late Nathan and Deanna Toney. Kenny was a loving brother, father, grandfather, uncle, and friend to all who knew him. Growing up in Brattleboro as one of four siblings, he worked to develop and maintain the family-run business known as Toney's Market and Deli with his brother Robert as co-owners, when their father and uncle Thomas Toney could no longer continue. Kenny was a proud member of the Brattleboro community until he was drafted into the Coast Guard in the fall of 1962. He served in the Vietnam War as a Powder Keg man onboard the Coast Guard cutter Duane ("loading the 5-inch guns," as he would say.) After his honorable discharge in 1966, he returned to Brattleboro and worked for Pepsi-Cola and then Toney's Market for several years. He and his brother sold the family business to pursue other interests. Kenny went into the printing field, first working at Kwick Copy in the Harmony Lot (at that time) and then going on to work for The Book Press on Putney Road, from which he retired. In retirement, he kept busy working part-time as a food service specialist and janitor at Brattleboro Union High School and as a fill-in painter for his nephew, Martin. He was always helping neighbors and friends whenever he could. He loved sports at an early age and played for the St. Michael's basketball team throughout his school years. He also played in the local basketball and softball leagues. During his family years, he coached his son and daughters' Little League teams. If he wasn't on the sports field, he would be in the auditoriums with a big smile on his face, listening to his girls sing or play instruments in the school concerts. As his children grew older and left school, he continued to help coach other teams through the years. He was also an umpire and referee at many of the Brattleboro area games. He hung up his whistle in 2015 as he said, "he just couldn't keep up with how fast these kids have gotten today" or perhaps he had just slowed down. His love for activity never stopped. He was a proud member of the American Legion. He was affiliated with a singing group in Keene, New Hampshire called the "Swingers," who held dances and put on talent shows. He was an avid bowler and belonged to several leagues. Those left to cherish his memories include his devoted partner of several years Mary Craig, of Marlborough, New Hampshire; brother Robert (Marie) Toney of Graham, North Carolina; his five children: Brian (Elizabeth) Toney of Long Island, New York, Amy (Kevin) Bolduc of Saco, Maine, Serena Toney (Robbin Scully) of Hoosick Falls, New York, Deanna Toney (Don Brittenham) of Chantilly, Virginia, and Jaclyn (Raymond) Penson of Etters, Pennsylvania; grandchildren Bethany, Jacob, Benjamin, Matthew, Lillian, Robbin, Graham, Randy, Luke, Aiden, and Layla; and several nieces and nephews. In additon to his parents, he was predeceased by siblings Raymond and Theresa Toney. Memorial information: There will be calling hours at St. Michael's Church, 47 Walnut St, Brattleboro, on Saturday, April 20, at 10 a.m., followed by a funeral Mass at 11 a.m. Graveside cmmittal rites and burial will follow at St. Michael's Cemetery in Brattleboro. Donations to Disabled American Veterans (DAV), in care of Jeff Snow, VA Hospital, 215 North Main St., White River Junction, VT 05009. To offer condolences, visit


A celebration of life service for Richard R. Emond will be conducted Saturday, April 27, at 11 a.m., at First United Methodist Church on Town Crier Drive. Richard will then be escorted by motorcycle to Meetinghouse Hill Cemetery on Orchard Street where he will be laid to rest beside his parents. Anyone wishing to join the escort with their motorcycles is welcome. A reception will follow the services in the church reception hall. Mr. Emond died on Oct. 26, 2023, at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. To view his full obituary, visit

A memorial service for Stanley Mack of Grafton will take place on Saturday, May 4, at 11 a.m., at the White Church in Grafton. A celebration will follow. The Cremation Society of New Hampshire has been entrusted with arrangements. For more information, visit

This Milestones item was submitted to The Commons.

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