• Norman J. Amidon, 47, of Putney. Died unexpectedly on May 14, 2024. Norman was born in Brattleboro on May 21, 1976, to Dennis Amidon and Susan (Moffit) Johnson. A graduate of Brattleboro Union High School, Norman worked at Putney Paper Co. for more than 20 years, most recently as mill manager. Norman also served with the Putney Fire Department and Rescue Inc. of Brattleboro. On July 17, 1999, he married his high school sweetheart, Jacklynn (Stockwell) Amidon. Norman was an avid fisherman and hunter. He enjoyed spending time with his family and loved working on his family homestead. He loved everyone and had a huge heart. Norman is survived by his wife and their children Ethan and his fiancée Briauna, Logan, and Kevyn Amidon, all of Putney. He is also survived by his grandsons Easton, Jaxson and Kyson, his mother Susan, his Aunt Patty Gilbert (his other mother), brothers Dennis and Scott Amidon, and his sister Chrissana Winters. Norman was predeceased by his father, and brother Todd Amidon. Memorial information: Calling hours will be held on Saturday, May 25, from noon until 1 p.m., at Fenton & Hennessey Funeral Home in Bellows Falls, with a service starting at the funeral home at 1 p.m. Burial will follow at Williamsville Cemetery. A celebration of life will be held at American Legion Post 5 in Brattleboro from 3 to 7 p.m.

• Colleen Barrett, 79, formerly of Bellows Falls. Died on May 8, 2024. She was known as the woman who created the heart and culture of Southwest Airlines. Colleen grew up in Bellows Falls and graduated with highest honors from Becker Junior College in Worcester, Massachusetts, in 1964. She was a diligent student who thought briefly of becoming a nun. However, her path led her to a high calling of another sort, Southwest Airlines. In 1967, Colleen was a young military wife and mother seeking a job in San Antonio, Texas. She convinced a San Antonio law firm to allow her to work for free for two weeks under the agreement that if they did not like her work, they did not have to pay her. That "volunteer" role is how she came to work for Herb Kelleher, co-founder of Southwest Airlines, a hotshot attorney with a brilliant legal mind and an office in disarray. Colleen became an irreplaceable fixture as his valued executive assistant and supported him as he fought many court battles on behalf of Southwest Airlines. Though Herb died in 2019, they were a dynamic work duo for more than 50 years. Herb and Colleen initially focused on his law firm clients in San Antonio, which included Southwest Airlines even before it began flying. When Herb stepped in to serve as Southwest's acting CEO in 1978, Colleen assumed the role of Southwest's corporate secretary, a role she held for 40 years until 2008. As time went on, Colleen became an integral part in forming Southwest's dynamic employee culture and its relentless focus on customer service. She was honored to serve in several positions of leadership, including president of the airline from 2001 to July 2008, making her the highest-ranking woman in the commercial airline industry at that time. She also served on Southwest's board of directors from 2001 to 2008 as corporate secretary. Colleen dedicated herself to putting employees first and encouraging them to deliver "Positively Outrageous Customer Service," which became the very signature of Southwest. Colleen's fervent mantra was to treat people as they want to be treated, with kindness and respect, and the rest will follow, including profitability and shareholder satisfaction. To share this leadership philosophy, Colleen co-authored with Ken Blanchard the book, Lead with LUV: A Different Way to Create Success. She believed that Southwest was truly "a customer service organization, which just happened to fly airplanes." Colleen received high accolades including winning the Outstanding Woman in Aviation Award in 2007 and being named to Forbes' list of the 100 Most Powerful Women in business on more than one occasion, as well as being made an honorary lifetime member of the Transport Workers Union. In October 2007, she was the first female recipient of the Tony Jannus Award for distinguished achievement in commercial air transportation. Colleen was named to the Texas Business Hall of Fame (2011), received the Horatio Alger Award (2005), and received the Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy from the National Aeronautic Association (2016). She was also inducted in 2024 into the Texas Aviation Hall of Fame. Committed to giving back to the community, Colleen was active in numerous civic and charitable organizations in Dallas and served for many years on the board of directors for JCPenney and the Dallas Hearing Foundation. Colleen was also dedicated to her alma mater, Becker College, where she served on the Board of Trustees; and established the Colleen C. Barrett Center for Global Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which served as the epicenter of innovation, entrepreneurship, learning agility, leadership, and problem-solving on the Becker campus. Colleen will be remembered by her son Patrick Barrett; daughter-in-law, Melodie Bateman Barrett; her pride and joy grandson, Evan Daniel Barrett and his wife, Liz; brother, Pat Crotty, and his wife, Heidi; several nieces, nephews, and cousins; and, of course, her beloved Southwest Airlines family. Her mother, Barbara Crotty Blanchard; her father, Rich Crotty; her brother, Dick Crotty; and nephew, Joshua Druke all preceded Colleen in death. Memorial information: Colleen's family desires that memorial donations honoring her life, legacy, and love for people be made to the Southwest Airlines Employee Catastrophic Charity, Ronald McDonald House Charities, the Dallas Hearing Foundation, or the charity of your choice. Most of all, Colleen would encourage you to extend love and respect to one another and make a positive difference in the world.

• Beverly Graham Bates, 92, of Newfane. Died on Dec. 30, 2023. Beverly was born in Quantico, Virginia, the daughter of Isabel Myer Graham and Chester Baird Graham. Beverly was a longtime resident of Newfane, having lived there since 1963 with her recently deceased husband, Ray. Beverly is survived by her son, Philip Graham Bates and his wife, Susie, and children Isabel and Emma of Melrose, Massachusetts; son, Iain Ramsey Bates of San Francisco; and son, Richard Elliott Bates and his wife Stephanie, and children Hannah and Ella of Keene, New Hampshire; sisters Adele Graham Vaculik of Newfane and Jean Graham Allbee of Brookline; and several nieces and nephews. In 1950, she was one of the first women to attend Marlboro College. She continued her education at Emerson College before ultimately receiving both her bachelor's and master's degrees from Boston University. She went on to a lifelong career in special education. She was a clinical speech pathologist and worked with many stroke patients over the years. She established the Bates Learning Center and taught Special Education classes at Keene State College. Beverly was an avid gardener, taking pride in expanding the perennial beds that encircled her home. She had a great love of theater and dance and was in the cast of many amateur productions into her 50s. She was also an accomplished amateur photographer. Beverly shared a passion for travel and photography with Ray, documenting their regular trips to Britain, France, and Puerto Rico. After retiring, she established a shop out of the barn called Photographic Discovery to sell photographs and photography books. She served on the board of the Brattleboro Center for Photography. She and Ray were indefatigably gregarious hosts. Their formal New Year's and casual July Fourth parties with dozens of guests livened West Street over a span of five decades. Into her late 80s, she and Ray welcomed friends and family to dinner several times a week. Memorial information: There will be a celebration of her life at her home in Newfane on Saturday, June 1, at 2 p.m. Donations to the Moore Free Library in Newfane.

• Judy Ann Lazelle Hill Brown, 77, of Marlboro. Died peacefully on April 29, 2024, surrounded by her family, at the Jack Byrne Center for Palliative & Hospice Care in Lebanon, New Hampshire. Judy was born in Wilmington on March 2, 1947, the daughter of Nellie (Parsons) and Ray Lazelle Sr. At a young age, Judy developed a passion for baking for her friends and family. She enjoyed babysitting young children and caring for the elderly. Her compassion for others is how many will affectionately remember Judy. As a child, Judy also took pleasure in fishing with her family, and bike riding with her cousin, Kenny. Additionally, she loved caring for her animals (including her family's pet monkey), and hanging out with her friends at school. Judy was a proud graduate of Wilmington High School, the first in her family to accomplish this status. Following graduation, she married Stephen Sumner Hill Sr., and they had two children together. Their marriage dissolved a few years later; however Judy always allowed her children to continue a relationship with their father and stayed in touch with his side of the family. Judy later met Theodore Brown and was married to him for nearly 47 years, and together for 51 years. They raised two daughters in their humble home in Marlboro. Over the years, Judy worked as a dishwasher at the Horizon Inn, a cashier at Marlboro Country Gift Shop and Store, and various short-term jobs along the way to pay the bills. Most recently, before her retirement, Judy worked as a cashier at Ames Department Store. She especially cherished working with her daughters at the Horizon Inn and visits from her family at the Marlboro Country Gift Shop and Store. Her dachshund particularly loved eating cheese samples from her. Judy was a passionate birdwatcher and loved all animals. She raised and cared for many farm animals on her little plot of land in Marlboro. She warmly welcomed all of God's creatures in her home with love, although she never did overcome her fear of big, black bears and had a few close encounters with these furry beasts during her lifetime. Judy was well known for her pancakes and she cooked many on a cast iron frying pan for family and friends. Her home was the gathering place for many pancake breakfasts and coffee breaks. People came to visit Judy for her company and hospitality. She had an exceptional way of welcoming you with open arms and listened to you without judgment. She lived simply and shared completely. Her kindred spirit will forever live on in the lives of those she touched. Judy is survived by her husband, Theodore Brown, of Marlboro; daughters Esther Brown, Ethel (Brown) Elkins, and Melissa (Hill) Hrabovsky, all of Brattleboro; a son Stephen Hill Jr. and his wife Ginger of Swanzey, New Hampshire; brother Ray Lazelle Jr. and his wife Emma of Halifax; sister-in-law Mary Lazelle of Wilmington; grandchildren Elizabeth Elkins, Alex (Hailey) Hrabovsky, Arianna Hrabovsky of Shelburne, Jesse Clodius of Brattleboro, Justin (Kayla) Hill of Halifax, and Jocelyn Hill; as well as great-grandchildren, cousins, nieces, nephews, and friends. Judy was predeceased by her parents, her brother Steven John Lazelle, and Aunt June Parsons. Memorial information: Per Judy's wishes, there are no services. Her family warmly welcomes and encourages all who knew her to share a cherished memory, saying, poem, special song, favorite recipe, photograph, letter, card, drawing, or any other way Judy brought joy to your life. These can be sent to her home or electronically via Facebook to one of her children. Together, Judy's family will create a scrapbook and the finished product will be shared online. Donations to Marlboro Cares, P.O. Box 222, Marlboro, VT 05344-0222.

• Sharon Julia (Johnson) Caples, 80, of Newfane. Died May 10, 2024 at her home, surrounded by family, after a brief illness. Sharon was born in Guilford on Dec. 6, 1943, the daughter of Cedric and Beatrice (Wright) Johnson. She attended regional schools and worked at local nursing homes. At the time of her retirement, she worked at the Riverview restaurant in Brattleboro. She was a talented artist and skilled quilter, and most people who knew Sharon likely have a handmade item crafted by her. Her loving family includes daughters Lori Caples of Greenfield, Massachusetts and Jennifer O'Connell of Colrain, Massachusetts; sons Clayton of Newfane and Joseph (Rebecca) of Brattleboro; grandchildren,Kyle (Stephanie), Jay, Jasmine, Nelly, Lydia, Devyn, Autumn Rose, Caleb, and D'Artagnon; and great-grandchildren Elliot and Theo, who will remember nature walks and have memories to share forever. She also leaves siblings Yvonne Serrell, Elaine Kies, James Johnson, and Pam Amidon, as well as several nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by siblings Pauline Johnson, Barbara Powling, and Jackie Johnson. Additionally, she leaves her longtime friends, Louise Lenois and Lenna Caples. A lifetime animal lover, she leaves her dog Dew and her chicken, Ida. Memorial information: A memorial gathering was held on May 19 at the Bernardston (Mass.) Veterans Club.

• Nancy Jane (Cross) Hoover, 83, formerly of Brattleboro. Died May 15, 2024, at the hospice unit of Jaffrey (N.H.) Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, where she had been a patient for about three years. She had previously lived for a few years in Keene and Hinsdale, New Hampshire. Nancy was born in Brattleboro on Nov. 26, 1940, to G. Albert and Helen L. Cross. Growing up in West Brattleboro, she attended Brattleboro schools, graduating from Brattleboro Union High School in 1957. Later in life, she graduated from Greenfield Community College. Nancy leaves three older brothers, George (Dorothy) of Winooski, Warren of Springfield, Vermont, and Peter of Putney. Besides her parents, she was predeceased by three sisters-in-law, Beverly (George) Cross, Louise (Peter) Cross, and Alice (Warren) Cross; her niece Karen Cross, and Peter's long-time partner Barbara Jadlowski. Nancy leaves many nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends. She was married to Norman Hoover for a number of years, living in Speculator, New York. Prior to marrying, she lived in Brattleboro and worked at Vermont National Bank and American Optical. She furthered her work as a bookkeeper at Kingsbury Tool in Keene, and Stow Mills in West Chesterfield, New Hampshire. Nancy enjoyed many crafts, including scrapbooking and eramics and was an excellent seamstress. Memorial information: A graveside service will be held at a later date.

• Ronald Minges "Ron" DeLonge, 73, of Cambridgeport. Died of natural causes at his home on March 10, 2024. He was born Jan. 28, 1951, the third of four children of Ken and Rachel DeLonge, and grew up in Cranford, New Jersey. A naturally gifted athlete, Ron attended Michigan State University on a sports scholarship where he played varsity baseball and club rugby. After changing his major at least three times, he graduated in 1974. Ron's father was senior vice president of INCO, a large international nickel mining company, and Ron spent an early post-college year living and working for INCO in Manitoba. Ron's love of ice hockey and the time he spent "500 miles north of Winnipeg" developed into a lifelong fondness for Canada. Ron was a member of the Saxtons River community since he moved to Vermont in the late 1970s. He worked at Vermont Academy, where he lived on campus, taught math, and coached baseball, football, and hockey. He was instrumental in building the VA hockey rink, which, largely thanks to Ron, now has walls. He was a talented coach, and while he eventually left teaching for carpentry, he continued to coach youth hockey for decades. Young hockey players of the Pleasant Valley Association loved him for his patience, laid-back demeanor, and his casual disregard for rules. As rink manager, he loved to share ice time rather than charge for it, and took every opportunity to let members of the community use the ice when it would otherwise be sitting empty. Ron only believed in rules that made playing sports fun and fair. One year, his team of 13- year-old Bantams didn't have a goalie, so he recruited his petite 16-year old daughter who happened to play that position. She was no bigger or more skilled than her teammates, but would have been disqualified from the team solely due to age. Ron trusted his young players to understand the nuance; teaching them in his own quiet way to see the meaning and essence of rules, but not to let them inhibit a good-hearted game. Ron's rule-bending was never for the pursuit of winning, and his own athletic achievements were no different; never about ego, but truly about sportsmanship and for the love of the game. Ron met his first wife Melanie Anderson in southern Vermont, both having moved to the area from neighboring towns in New Jersey. Mel had unknowingly cheered against her future husband during high school football games. They had two children together, Emily and Austin. Ron eventually re-married to Judith Ferraro, who already had two children of her own, Sean and Gemma, and together they raised their blended family and had another son, Gaetano. Ron's approach to life was reflected in his family: welcoming, nonjudgmental, and not adherent to anyone else's rules. His nuclear family's atypical structure was a source of pride. A carpenter by trade, Ron had an innate comfort with building and problem solving, although, like many carpenters, his own homestead was brimming with partially-completed projects. He worked hard, but he also knew the value of play, and instilled in his children the importance of learning from every experience not just formal education. He ignored most markers of external success, and demonstrated to those around him the value of pursuing goodness over greatness. Ron suffered from a dichotomy of philosophy, believing both in the power of manual labor and the importance of leisure. He loved the ocean, fishing, and eating seafood. His sunny disposition allowed him to befriend everyone, including lobstermen neighbors on family trips to Maine with whom he would strike deals for wholesale pricing, or barter maple syrup. He would get lobsters by the dozens and eat them at least once a day for the duration of the trip. However, with some regularity, Ron also chose to do things "the hard way." He was known to shovel his own driveway and chop his wood by hand. He sought a simple life, and most of the time he achieved it. Yet his longtime interest in raising goats seemed to result in more time building fences and retrieving animals from the neighbor's flower beds than the initial purpose of reducing his reliance on his lawn mower. While he often scorned modern conveniences, he remained open-minded to technology, and his own curiosity would battle his Luddite tendencies. Ultimately he succumbed to the lure of a riding lawnmower, although he kept a token goat for the enjoyment of his grandchildren. Comedic nuance was not one of Ron's strong suits. He had an appreciation for it in other people, but had no real talent for it himself, guffawing instead at humor that can only be described as "dad-joke" material. Off the sports field, Ron was not a man who ever hurried. He was patient and thoughtful. He was the type of man who liked to play Bridge, or who might answer the phone on the 15th ring. Over the 73 years he walked on earth, his joints started to ache and his posture began to stoop and, in his later years, his movements became almost glacial. Yet he remained dedicated to a large group of friends with whom he spent many joyous hours playing pond-hockey, and his arthritis would vanish as he began to glide. Ron is predeceased by his parents, his brother Gary, and ex-wife Melanie Anderson DeLonge. He leaves behind his children Sean (Yoon Jung Hwang) Pentland, Emily (Toby) Haggerty, Austin (Samantha) DeLonge, Gemma (Connor Killigrew) Pentland, and Gaetano DeLonge; grandchildren Adelaide and J. Archer Haggerty, Annabelle Macleod-DeLonge, and Cal DeLonge; siblings Diane (James "Jay") French, and David (Meng) DeLonge; ex-wife Judith Ferraro; numerous cousins, nieces, and nephews; and countless dear friends. Memorial information: His family and friends welcome all who knew Ron to join them in a Celebration of Life on Saturday, June 8, at 1 p.m., at the Saxtons River Rec Area. A potluck will follow at 4 p.m. Bring a dish to share; a hot grill will be available from 4 to 6 p.m.

• Thomas Paul (Burger) McGovern, 77, of West Dover. Died on Dec. 20, 2023. Born in Bridgeport, Connnectcut on Dec. 26, 1945, Paul was the fifth son of six boys to the late James Lawrence McGovern Jr. and Helen Deegan McGovern of the Long Hill section of Trumbull, Connecticut. Thomas Paul grew up in Trumbull and attended Sacred Heart University when he was drafted into the Army during the Vietnam War. Upon his return, he worked as a Capitol Police officer in Washington, D.C. He attended the New England School of Photography in Boston. Like literature, art, and music, Paul's love of photography was his way of telling stories and getting his viewers to ask questions. Paul engaged his audience with his probing eye to see the inside and outside of his subjects. Paul spent many summers with his family on Cape Cod where he furthered his photography skills and worked at a camera shop in Hyannis, Massachusetts. In the late 1970s, Paul moved to Wilmington to help out his eldest brother, Jim, who was running the Hermitage inn. Paul mowed lawns, cut ski trails, made maple syrup, and worked as the appetizer, salad. and dessert cook at the Hermitage where he perfected the Ozark Mountain Cake and Caesar salad. He also worked at several restaurants including Deacon's Den, TC's, and the Roadhouse during his 40 years in the valley. Paul loved to play chess, cribbage, backgammon, Risk, and Monopoly. He was a fierce but kind competitor. Paul is survived by his brothers Frank David McGovern (Karen) of Shelton, Connecticut, Brian McGovern (Katherine) of Dallas, Texas, Roger McGovern of Trumbull, and Patrick McGovern of Los Angeles, as well as several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his eldest brother James (Peter) McGovern III. Memorial information: A funeral Mass will be held at Our Lady of Fatima Roman Catholic Church in Wilmington on May 22 at 11 a.m., followed by burial at Riverview Cemetery. To send condolences, visit

• John Merriam Rowley, 75, of Acworth, New Hampshire. Died May 6, 2024 at the Jack Byrne Center for Palliative & Hospice Care in Lebanon, New Hampshire. John was born in Springfield, Massachusetts on Dec. 10, 1948 to Freda Canterbury and Douglas Rowley. He graduated from Suffield (Conn.) High School and attended Akron University on a soccer scholarship. He later studied photography at Paier School of Art. John was a conscientious objector during the Vietnam War era and performed two years of alternative service as an orderly at Deaconess Hospital in Boston. During his high school years, John was a three-sport star, playing soccer, basketball and track, and in 1967 as soccer goalie, he had 14 shutouts. He was selected to tour six European countries with the American-European Soccer & Cultural Seminar Team, one of only three high school students so honored. In track, he set a school record in the 800 and threw the javelin 171 feet, 2 inches to set a school record yet to be broken. After college, John played for the Ukranian Semi-Pro Soccer Team in Dedham, MA. for 2 years. In 2002, John was inducted into the Suffield High Athletic Hall of Fame. From 1986 to 1992 he founded and coached youth soccer in Saxtons River. John said he was a "Jack of all trades, master of none" He worked in many trades, including stone building, carpentry, and masonry, and worked many years as a plumber. He had great curiosity and was an avid collector of stamps, vintage kitchen gadgets, tools and many odd patented items with his favorite collection being American patented can openers. He was a member of KOOKS (Kollectors of Old Kitchen Stuff) and the Ephemera Society of America. John genuinely cared deeply for his friends and family and stayed closely in touch with them with phone calls, texts, and visits. He loved meeting new people and conversing endlessly. His favorite place was the Brimfield (Mass.) Antique Show where he was a friend to all, a great source of information, and where he enjoyed time spent with antique dealers, collectors, and old friends. John is survived by his wife, Loretta Meserve; son Seth Rowley and partner April Earthwood; grandsons, Grady and Cooper; stepsons Christopher Spita and Andrew Spita and his partner Tessa Bernstein, step-granddaughters Zoe, Calla, and Sadie; and his stepsister, Margie Bacon. Memorial information: Donations to the Jack Byrne Center for Palliative and Hospice Care, 154 Hitchcock Loop Rd., Lebanon, NH 03766.

• Calvin L. Sherman, 93, of East Dover. Died May 10, 2024, at Thompson House in Brattleboro. Calvin was born Aug. 6, 1930, the son of Floyd & Ethel Sherman of East Dover. Calvin was self-employed for many years with Anderson and Sherman Builders. He enjoyed restoring cars and attending car shows. He was a devoted family man and active member of the East Dover Baptist Church. Calvin was predeceased by his loving wife of just over 70 years, Irene B. Sherman; a brother, Leslie Sherman; and a son, Calvin Timothy Sherman. He is survived by one brother, Sidney Sherman of East Dover; one sister Sylvia Jones of Virginia; and his four remaining children, David (Linda) Sherman, Judith (William) Barlow, Andrew (Lisa) Sherman, all of East Dover, and Pamela Syms of Concord, New Hampshire. Calvin is also survived by 10 grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild. Memorial information: An informal family celebration of Calvin's life will be held at a future date. If friends desire, memorial gifts may be made to the East Dover Baptist Church, PO Box 153, East Dover, VT 05341.

• Virginia Louella (Johnson) "Ginny" Stebbins, 87, of Brattleboro. Died peacefully at her home on May 16, 2024, in the company of her "life partner" (her words!) Bob, and her oldest daughter. Her cat Oreo was also there. Ginny, as she was often called, or "Ginger," as she was called by her family, lived a full and busy life. Ginny was born to James and Clydetta Johnson on Jan. 22, 1937, in Hartford, Connecticut. She graduated from Brattleboro Union High School in Brattleboro with the Class of 1955, and remained active every year after for reunions until her death. She moved to North Carolina in 1967 and retired from First Citizens Bank and Trust at Fort Bragg (now called Fort Liberty) in 1997. She was a tireless worker with a dedicated work ethic. Ginny married Larry Packard after high school, and they soon divorced, and he later died. In 1960, she married Charlie James, and he died in February, 1996. In December 1996, she married Bob Stebbins, and they enjoyed a great retired life in an RV, until his death in January 2010. She started dating Bob Huntley a couple of years later, and they have been together since. They originally split their time between Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, in the winters, and Maine in the summers, celebrating holidays in Vermont, but they eventually settled down and made Brattleboro their home. Ginny's older brother James ("Buzzy") died in 1947, and her oldest sister Beatrice died when she was a tiny baby. Her sister Priscilla Mather preceded her in death in 2010, and her sister Barbara Rau still lives in Brattleboro. Ginny loved to travel and visited Germany, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Italy, and Japan in her life, as well as 49 of all 50 United States (she never made it to Alaska). Most importantly, she wanted it written that she loved her children: Bonnie Lopez (Jim), Pam James, and Chuck James (Faye). Virginia leaves grandchildren Adam, Joey, Jessica, Andrew, Christopher, Molly, and Charlie; great-grandchildren Dustin and Rylee; great-great grandchildren Bradley and Sidney; and nieces and nephews and granddogs galore. Memorial information: Her family will hold a Celebration of Life at American Legion Post 5 in Brattleboro on May 28 from 2 to 5 p.m.

• Eleanor "Ellie" Tortolani, 105, of Brattleboro. Died peacefully at her home at Bradley House, surrounded by her family, on May 11, 2024, after a very long and wonderful life of giving to others. The oldest of five children, she was born on Dec. 16, 1918. Ellie was tasked with looking after her four younger siblings who were born every two years, starting in 1920, on their small family farm in rural Connecticut. After graduating from high school in Plainville, Connecticut, Ellie continued her work in Plainville as a dental assistant, a job that she had begun when she was still in high school. It was there that she met Aresto "Tut" Tortolani, a general practitioner who had recently moved to Plainville to begin his practice. The couple married on Dec. 26, 1939, and they began their life together in the same small town in which Ellie had grown up. Their only child, Robert, was born on May 29, 1941, on his dad's birthday. Life was very busy for the young couple with a new baby, a household to run, and a general practice in which the very low fees were paid for with eggs, vegetables, and other forms of barter which were common during the years of the Depression and World War II. The war years saw Ellie's three brothers all serve, two in the Navy and one in the Army. They all saw combat and miraculously, all returned home to the family farm. Her husband had a medical deferment and remained in Plainville to serve the community's many medical and obstetrical needs. It was about this time that Ellie's family had its first experience with a home/office medical practice in a rented house. In 1950, the couple bought their only house which continued to serve as a home (upstairs) and an office (downstairs). Ellie served as the secretary in her husband's practice. Ellie's husband died in 1974, and she remained a widow during the final 50 years of her life. She maintained an active social life with friends and family in Plainville for many years. Ellie took many trips, often with her sister Gladys, to southern Vermont to visit Bob and his wife, Karen, and particularly after the birth in 1976 of her only grandchild, Liz, with whom she shared a special bond, and remained very close over the next 48 years. Ellie moved to Brattleboro to be closer to her son and his family in November 2011, happily residing in Holton Home for 11 years, followed by Bradley House for the last 18 months. In those assisted living residences, she made many new friends and always did her best to make new residents feel at home. Ellie's life was filled with love for her family and service to others. She was always looking for ways to make life better for all with whom she engaged. Besides her husband, she was predeceased by her three brothers, George, Frank, and Howard and their wives, Florence, Barbara, and Joanne. Gladys, her only sister, died two days after Ellie, on May 13, 2024. She is survived by her son Bob, and his wife, Karen, and daughter Liz, as well as many loving nieces and nephews, many of whom made long distance visits to the matriarch of a large, clos, and loving family. Memorial information: Donations to Bradley House/Garden Path Elder Living, 65 Harris Ave., Brattleboro, VT 05301 or St. Brigid's Kitchen & Pantry, 47 Walnut St., Brattleboro, VT 05301. To share condolences, visit

• Robert Wright, 72, of Hinsdale, New Hampshire. Died Dec. 23, 2023. He was born in Stamford, Connecticut to Gordon and Ruth Wright, and moved to Vermont in 1974 and to Hinsdale in 1986. He leaves his wife of 50 years, Tania Wright; his three sons Jeremy, Jonathan, and Alex; and grandsons Sam, Logan, and Jordon, along with many nieces, nephews, and cousins. He was predeceased by his brother, John Wright. A diehard Red Sox fan, he was also an avid baseball player and played on teams in Putney and Brattleboro for 25 years. He was known for his skill at shortstop. After he hung up his cleats, he turned to playing golf with his brother John and his sons Jeremy and Jonathan. Spending time with his family was very important to him. His sons gave him much joy and his grandsons were a blessing to him. He enjoyed playing wiffle ball, basketball, and touch football with them, his nephews, and their friends, and skiing and ice hockey in the winter. He enjoyed watching his sons and grandsons play basketball and hockey on the school teams, and coached Little League for many years. Robert ran a small painting company for 40 years, and he was joined by his son Jeremy after he graduated high school. His son Alex started a painting company, and Robert would be asked to fill in as needed. Robert had a passion for music and played the drums, bass, and guitar with several bands over the years, and his sons Jeremy and Jonathan took up the guitar, bass, and drums to play along with him. He did volunteer work, most notably the "Men Who Cook" fundraiser. To humor his wife, he would take short vacation trips with her. Mostly, he loved having fun, was kind and had a great sense of humor, and was a great motivator. Memorial information: There will be a celebration of his life on Saturday, June 1, at 1 p.m., at 153 Meetinghouse Rd. in Hinsdale. For more information, call 603-256-8037


Graveside committal services for Faith Christine White will be conducted Saturday, May 25, at 1 p.m., in West Brattleboro Cemetery on Mather Road. Ms. White, 51, a lifelong resident of Brattleboro, died unexpectedly at her home on January 19, 2024. To view her complete obituary, visit

Graveside services for Keith S. Griswold of Wilmington will be held Saturday, June 1, at 1 p.m., at Baker Cemetery in Guilford. Contributions in his memory may be made to Brattleboro Memorial Hospital, 17 Belmont Ave., Brattleboro, VT 05301.

This Milestones item was submitted to The Commons.

Subscribe to the newsletter for weekly updates