College news

• The following local students at the Community College of Vermont earned associate degrees at CCV's 2024 Commencement on Saturday, June 1: Laurel Es Salter-Dimma of Bellows Falls; Makayla Mae Aldrich, Joey Dwyer, Robert Lee Dykes, Emma Rose Ethier, Zebulon William Forchion, Brandon Christopher Gilbert, Colin Grube, Chelsea B. Lawson, Alexandra Janelle McLaughlin, Noah Morgan, Brooke Paquette, Jason Daniel Shatney, and Kiran Catelin Tyler of Brattleboro; Meghan M. Cole and Amy L. Wetzel of Londonderry; Roxanne M. Woodard of Newfane; Sophie Clementine Jones, Kenneth Clayton Shingler, and Martel Casey Scott of Putney; Jessica Burbridge of South Newfane; Savanna Dorothy Lee Aither, Madison Marie Anyan, Christopher J. Peck, and Nicholas C. Petronic of Townshend; Kayla Pendlebury and Cassie Marie Sailsman of Vernon; Megan Erin Carroll and Emily Ann Maturo of Wardsboro; Jessica Lynn Waldman of West Dover; Madisyn Kate Jessie Illingworth of Westminster; and Benjamin R. Greene of Wilmington.

• Samuel Franz of Saxtons River graduated with a B.A. in communication from the College of Charleston (South Carolina).

• Ruby Powers, a media arts and design major from Dummerston, was named to the Dean's List for the spring 2024 semester at James Madison University in Harrisburg, Virginia.

• Ansley Henderson of Brookline was named to the spring 2024 Dean's List at the University of Rhode Island.

• Lilah Verdi of Bellows Falls was named to the spring 2024 Dean's List at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

School news

The following local students were among the 193 students who graduated from Northfield Mount Hermon on May 19: Samuel Hall of Brattleboro, Eleanor Jellema-Harter of Brattleboro, Kali Taylor of Brattleboro, and Gillian Fletcher of Guilford.


• Charles Roger "Chuck" Ames, 86, of Putney. Died at the Springfield (Vt.) Health and Rehabilitation Center on June 1, 2024, from complications of Parkinson's'disease. Chuck responded to Parkinsons with determination and grit for many years at home, with the support and care of his loving wife Carol, until very recently. His son, Brian Ames, with his wife Sherry, and daughter Karin Ames are appreciative of so many in the community who provided friendship and assistance these last few years. Chuck felt a deep sense of gratitude for the many people who influenced his life and taught him the values of honesty, hard work, responsibility and most importantly, enjoying life to the fullest. As a very young boy in overalls and bare feet in Lake O'Meadows, Pennsylvania, a neighbor introduced Chuckie to horses by taking him along to auctions. Never asked if he could load up a horse, simply told to do it, Chuckie assumed he could and did. During an auction if someone asked, "Does that horse ride?" the auctioneer would say "Where's Chuckie? Let's see." Chuckie would hop on bareback to see. These experiences instilled a lifelong sense of competence and an affinity for horses. From the age of 9 to 17, Chuck lived with a series of foster farm families in rural Pennsylvania, providing farm labor in exchange for room and board. Chuck credited these families with teaching him many farm-related skills, from working with animals to fixing machinery, as well as providing abundant home-style cooking, especially breakfasts, that he would appreciate all his life. Remarkably, Chuck and his many Ames siblings remained connected throughout their lives, despite their childhood separation. Chuck was able to visit with his last remaining sister, Marion, just a month ago, a joy to them both. Chuck joined the Air Force after high school. The Air Force taught him discipline, not only in routine, but also in studying skills that he returned to many times later in life. While stationed at Westover Air Force Base in Chicopee Falls, Massachusetts, Chuck met his wife of 62 years, Carol. After leaving the Air Force, Chuck worked at Pratt & Whitney, manufacturer of jet engines, until the work became repetitive. By this time, Chuck longed for a return to rural living. In 1972, he moved his young family to an uninsulated three-room camp at the edge of a campground in Putney. Within a few years, "Scotty," the campground owner, offered to sell the camp and an acre or two. With an (insulated!) addition, the house became a secure family home until 1983, when Chuck and Carol bought a larger parcel of land and built a house down the road. Soon after moving to Putney, Chuck began to learn the trade of carpentry by working for a local builder until setting out on his own to establish Ames Custom Carpentry. In time, his son Brian joined and together they built many houses in the area. After Chuck retired, Brian continued to build up a thriving business. Chuck liked to visit and check out the newest job site. Many site visits came after a hearty breakfast or lunch at the Putney Diner amidst the generous spirit of the diner community. The move down the road in 1983 to land dubbed "Hidden Meadow Farm" enabled Chuck to begin to pursue his true passion, horses. He built a barn and began to buy and sell horses as a way to fund his adventures and find just the right horse. Early on, he was fortunate to find Doc, a well-bred American Quarter Horse. Chuck and Doc enjoyed many years together, riding for pleasure and in time, for competition in various Western-style equestrian events, including team penning. Chuck and Doc traveled all over New England and New York state to attend practice sessions and competitive events, accumulating a large circle of friends and willing team riders. At one event, a young rider needed to borrow a set of spurs, which Chuck just happened to have on hand. So began a long and cherished friendship with Roger Osinchuk and his family. Chuck delighted to receive calls from Roger with an offer to ride along for the day for large-animal vet calls. The stories Chuck spun from these days entertained many friends and family over the years. Listeners couldn't help but be infected by Chuck's enthusiasm and humor. He knew how to tell a good story. Last summer, despite late-stage Parkinson's, Chuck was able to complete a memoir, An Unusual Life, with the transcription help of his friend Laurie Bayer. The last line reads, "I'm curious what the future holds." This is emblematic of how Chuck greeted each day of his life - with curiosity, openness, and an eagerness for adventure. Died on June 1, 2024 in his 86th year. Memorial information: In lieu of services, the family invites donations to the Putney Fire Department, with gratitude to Tom Goddard and crew for their willing assistance and care provided in recent years. To offer condolences, visit

• Judith Palmer "Judy" Amidon, 83, of Brattleboro. Died peacefully at home on April 9, 2024. She was born in Patten, Maine on Feb. 17, 1941, the daughter of Frank and Irene (Thomas) Palmer. While still an infant, the new family moved to Stratton, where she was raised and attended local schools. Judy was the oldest sibling of eight. In July 1958, Judy married Reginald "Reggie" Amidon, who died in March 2019. One of her greatest joys in life was spending time with family. Judy was known for hosting extended family holiday meals. Both Reggie and Judy shared their love of the outdoors - camping, fishing, and hunting -with their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Judy worked at The Book Press in Brattleboro for more than 30 years until its closing in 2000. She then worked a short stint at GS Precision, before moving over to work at the L'eggs-Hanes-Bali outlet at The Outlet Center on Canal Street until her retirement in 2003. She was a member of the West Brattleboro Baptist Church and attended services until mobility became a struggle. A very kindhearted woman, she tried to find the good in every person and situation. She enjoyed the simple things life holds: sand in her toes, sounds of wind chimes blowing in the warm summer breeze, her collection of uniquely shaped tea pots, and the laughter of small children and babies. Babies lit up her spirit, right to the very end. Judy leaves behind a legacy of memories and love that will forever be etched into the hearts of those who loved her. She leaves three daughters, Regina M. Amidon of Bellows Falls, and Deborah L. Phelps and Wanda J. Chapman, both of Brattleboro; a son, Reginald F. Amidon Jr. of Brattleboro; a sister, Elizabeth Sabolevski of Jamaica; brothers Ronald Palmer of Dummerston, Frank Palmer of Brattleboro, Jerry Palmer of Westminster, and Dennis Palmer of Jamaica; 14 grandchildren, 25 great-grandchildren and seven great-great grandchildren, five of them new in the last eight months; and many nieces and nephews. In addition to her husband, she was predeceased by an infant daughter (1959), her parents Frank and Irene Palmer, sister Rita Smith, brother Ernest Palmer, and an infant great-granddaughter (2010). Memorial information: On Saturday, June 22, a burial ceremony will be held in the Meeting House Hill Cemetery off Orchard Street at 11 a.m., with a Celebration of Life reception immediately following at the Elks Club in Brattleboro.

• Douglas Brigham "Doug" Bassett, 50, of Brattleboro. Died on May 28, 2024, of natural causes. The son of the late William and Diane Bassett, Doug was born in Boston on May 30, 1973. Doug attended schools in Massachusetts and Vermont, ultimately receiving his GED. Doug was an amazing artist and took classes at River Gallery School in Brattleboro. His favorite drawing tools were Cray-Pas pastels. From a young age, Doug was always interested in the way things work. He could take apart a television, put it back together and have leftover parts that he claimed weren't needed. He loved to read The World Almanac for fun. Doug's love of radio began in high school. Later in life he got his first job at WKVT in Brattleboro, and then moved on to WTSA in Brattleboro. He had an amazing radio voice. After years in radio, he then worked at Hannaford Supermarket in Brattleboro in the produce department and had become assistant produce manager. If you didn't catch Doug in the produce department, then you might see him flying around town on his beloved electric bike. Doug enjoyed simple joys and had a sweet, gentle soul. He leaves behind his son, Daniel McCauley-Bassett of Chesapeake, Virginia, and his sister, Elisabeth Bassett of Brattleboro, along with many extended family members and friends. Memorial information: There will be a memorial service at a later date. Donations to Windham County Humane Society, P.O. Box 397, Brattleboro, VT 05302. Doug was always very fond of animals, but especially cats. To offer condolences, visit

• Nancy Lee (Bell) Bobee, 80, died on Saturday, June 1, at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center in Bennington, with her daughter Kelly by her side. Nancy was born on Feb. 2, 1944, in Guilford to the late Frank and Ethel (Aldrich) Bell. She married the late Louis Bobee in Brattleboro on Nov. 11, 1964. Nancy was a Christian who enjoyed going to church, as well as going for walks, trips, and car rides. She loved singing and listening to music, sitting on the porch relaxing and, most of all, loved being with her family. She had the most beautiful smile. In addition to her husband and parents, Nancy was predeceased by her granddaughter Tanya, great-grandson Ricky, five brothers, and one sister. Nancy is survived by and will be missed by her five children, Ronald, Rebecca, Jamie, Kelly, and Louie; 14 grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren. Nancy also leaves her brother David, her sisters Betty and Dorothy, and many nieces and nephews. Memorial information: No formal services will be held at this time. The Cremation Society of New Hampshire has been entrusted with arrangements. For more information, visit

• Philip Eric "Phil" Holmquist, 86, of Brattleboro. Died peacefully on May 24, 2024, with his loving family surrounding him in his final days. He was a beloved partner, father, and grandfather, and his kind and gentle nature will be remembered by all who knew and loved him. Phil, the son of the late Carl and Beatrice Holmquist, was born and raised in Brattleboro. He graduated from Brattleboro Union High School with the Class of 1956, where he was known for his sportsmanship, especially in football, earning the nickname of "the little guy who was always there." Phil attended Lyndon State Teachers College and, despite a brief interruption in his studies due to his service in the Army, earned a degree in education and began his career as an elementary school teacher. He developed a true passion for gardening and working outdoors and transitioned his work to residential property management, and later became the grounds manager at the Brattleboro Retreat. Phil found solace and joy in tending to gardens and grounds and generously sharing his green thumb with family and friends. Phil's familial bonds were strong, evident in the joyous card games with his brothers, Ken and Stanley, brother-in-law Zeb, and cousin Donny. The laughter and deep sense of family during these gatherings left an imprint for generations to follow. Cribbage and poker with friends and family were serious highlights of Phil's leisure. Fishing trips, particularly at Holland Pond during the Martel family's annual Fourth of July celebration, held a special place in his heart. As an avid reader, he never had just one book open and always shared and passed along stories with loved ones. In addition, Phil celebrated 44 years of sobriety and humbly offered his experience, strength, and hope in his life story to many. Phil leaves behind his devoted partner of 36 years, Dora Martel Sprague; his daughters Macy Holmquist (Chris Parker) and Heather Holmquist (Michael Marvin); stepson Michael Sprague (Caitlin), and stepdaughter Amanda Dyess (Ron Dyess). He was a proud grandfather to seven grandchildren: Carrie, Emily, Kyle, Aleigh, Ella, Mackenzie, and Xander, as well as six great-grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews who will continue to carry his legacy of love and kindness forward. Memorial information: A graveside service will be held at Meeting House Hill Cemetery for immediate family. Donations to Windham County Humane Society, P.O. Box 397, Brattleboro, VT 05302, to honor Phil's love and connection to all animals. To offer condolences, visit

• Carol (Cousino) Johnson of Winchester, New Hampshire, died unexpectedly on May 17, 2024, at Cheshire Medical Center in Keene, New Hampshire. She was born in Turners Falls, Massachusetts to the late Walter and Esther Cousino, and she attended schools in Turners Falls. On Jan. 10, 1959, she married David Johnson. Carol worked at Emerson's in Brattleboro for more than 26 years, then worked in the accounts payable department at C&S Wholesale Grocers in Brattleboro, leaving in 2001 due to medical problems. She was the mother of three sons and one daughter. After living in the Brattleboro area, she moved with David in 1962 to Hinsdale, New Hampshire. Carol and David built two homes in Hinsdale. She was a Girl Scout and Boy Scout leader. She and David enjoyed traveling in their RV and was a snowbird splitting time between Hinsdale and Polk City, Florida, from 2002 until 2009, when they moved to Warwick Meadow Senior Housing in Winchester. She was predeceased by her son Ronald Johnson, her daughter Lisa M. Johnson, and her parents. She is survived by her husband; sons Dennis and Edward Johnson; as well as grandchildren, nieces, and nephews. Memorial information: No formal services will be held at this time. A private burial will take place at Pine Grove Cemetery in Hinsdale.

• Marilyn (Austin) Loomis, 90, of Putney. Died on May 27, 2024, 20 days after her 90th birthday. Marilyn was born on May 7, 1934, to the late Robert and Margaret (Simmons) Austin in Putney. She was well-loved as a mother, grandmother, friend, and community volunteer. In addition to her parents, Marilyn was predeceased by her husband Carroll Kathan "Pete" Loomis Jr., brother Glenn Austin, sisters Joyce (Austin) Loomis and Shirley (Austin) Walsh, and her beloved grandson Samuel Loomis Cariddi. She is survived by her daughters Tracee Brewer (David), Terri Ziter (Mark), and Tamara Loomis (Steve Cariddi), and son Peter Loomis (Kate). She is also survived by her sisters Phyllis Graham and Gail Petruska, and brothers Robert (Bob) Austin and Lyle Austin. She additionally leaves grandchildren Christopher Ziter, Nicholas (Erin) Ziter, Jasmine Ziter, Clarice Brewer Pfalzer (Ian), Lea Loomis, Peter Alan Loomis (Morgan), Malcolm Cariddi, and Robby and Greta Ramdin; and great-grandchildren Smith and Augustus Pfalzer, Elsie Ziter, Payton Loomis, and Austin Smith. Marilyn was a devout Christian and loved a good hymn sing. She also enjoyed baking and was known for her apple pies. She had a love of all things purple, knitting, reading, jigsaw puzzles, and the Red Sox. Memorial information: A full obituary is forthcoming. Calling hours for Marilyn will be held on Thursday, June 20, from 5 to 7 p.m., at Ker Phaneuf Funeral Home on High Street in Brattleboro. A memorial service will be held at Next Stage Arts in Putney on Friday, June 21, at 11 a.m. Burial will be private. Donations to Rescue Inc, 541 Canal St., Brattleboro, VT 05301. To offer condolences, visit

• Donald H. "Don" May, 96, formerly of Brattleboro. Died May 12, 2024, in Winter Haven, Florida. He was born Sept. 21, 1927, the son of Dwight and Lila May of Vernon. He owned and operated Don May's Mobil in Brattleboro. Don is survived by his wife Polly E. (Streeter) May, whom he married on April 14, 1949. They had just celebrated 75 years of marriage. He also leaves two sons, Winston and his wife Deborah of Brattleboro and Mitchell and his wife Laurie of South Carolina, as well as four grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. Memorial information: Graveside services will be held Thursday, June 20, at 11 a.m., in West Brattleboro Cemetery on Mather Road. To offer condolences to Don's family, visit

• Lester D. "Sonny" Rink, 90, of Brookline. Died on Feb. 21, 2024. Sonny was the full definition of a country boy. His heart was in Brookline, as he lived there his entire life. Sonny was the town's oldest resident. He raised his family with his wife, Donna T. Rink, whom he was married to for 66 years. His legacy of living a simple hard-working life should be admired. As a young fireball, Sonny helped run his family's farm. Later, he ran his family's small lumber mill, fit to deliver to local customers that became his friends. He was a trusted neighbor because of his chipper personality and jolly chuckle. Sonny's spry personality allowed him to split wood until he was 86. Sonny's sincere presence in Brookline progressed in many ways. He was a lister in the town and was on the Selectboard for many years. It was only natural that this seasoned woodcutter would become the Forest Fire Warden for 50 years. He "flamed to please," that's for sure. This backwoods boy enjoyed everything outdoors. He had a love for hunting with family and friends and the day's end of each hunt was celebrated with Sonny's jokes and tales. All the hunters would gather at the back of someone's pick-up truck with the sun setting over his grand mountainous property that he shared with his fellow bucks. Sonny also thoroughly enjoyed maple sugaring for many years. Gathering with his sap sidekicks to make maple syrup was pure joy. Sonny's heritage will leave a long lasting impact in the lives of his fellow bucks and does. Memorial information: The family requests those who wish to express sympathy to consider making a donation to Grace Cottage Hospital, 185 Grafton Rd, Townshend, VT 05345 or NewBrook Fire Department, Route 30, Newfane, VT 05345.

• Peggy Spencer, 83, of Guilford. Died peacefully at home on June 7, 2024, surrounded by family, friends, and devoted caregivers. Peggy suffered from dementia for 10 years. She was born Margaret Kittredge Spencer, in Norwalk, Connecticut on Jan. 6, 1941, to Abbott and Elizabeth Spencer. She grew up in New Canaan, Connecticut, the youngest of four children. Peggy first came to Vermont to attend The Putney School, following in the steps of her two older sisters. After graduation, she moved to New York City to pursue music studies and to start her career as violinist and chamber musician. Peggy moved to Guilford in 1967. A year later she purchased Yeaw Farm in Guilford, which she called home for six decades and where she raised her two sons, Ben and Tom. Peggy met Zon Eastes in the early 1980s. They married at Yeaw Farm in 1992. A widely respected violinist, teacher, and chamber music coach, Peggy served as soloist and concertmaster of the New England Bach Festival for 25 years. She played for audiences around the world, from New York to Seattle, Geneva to Hamburg, and Mexico to China. For three decades, she organized and operated Camp Andantino, a summer chamber music camp in southern Vermont for avid amateur string players. Peggy loved the gentle, fertile life she led among the hills of southern Vermont, and she cherished summers with family, often on Atlantic beaches in Cape Cod and Block Island. Her winning smile and incomparable wit delighted her many friends and admirers. Peggy was preceded in death by her parents; siblings Ben, Lee, and Sandy; and her first husband, Gerry. She is survived by her second husband Zon; her sons Ben (Tanya) and Tom (Rachel), and three grandsons, Zack, Owen, and Jack. Memorial information: A memorial service for Peggy will be held on Thursday, June 13, at 2 p.m. at the Brattleboro Music Center, 72 Blanche Moyse Way, Brattleboro. Contributions in Peggy's memory may be made to the Brattleboro Music Center, which has established a special fund in her name.

• Tina M. Tuttle, 62, of Bellows Falls. Died, surrounded by family, at Springfield Hospital on May 28, 2024, after a long illness. Tina was born Feb. 15, 1962, in Springfield, Vermont, to the late Philip and Winifred (Blodgett) Tuttle. Tina graduated high school and worked many years for the shipping department at Sonnax Industries in Rockingham. Tina was a member of the Polish American Club in Bellows Falls. Tina is survived by her siblings Terri Gantress, John Tuttle, Hank Poneck, and Pamela Stebbins (John Stebbins). She is also survived by her nieces Melissa Perry (Bobbyjoe Perry), Tina Roland, and Kimberly Roland; and nephew James Roland. She is also survived by her great-nieces McKayla Perry, Aubrey Perry, and great-nephews Corey Perry Sr. (Jessica Johnson), Corey Perry Jr., Andrew Stebbins, Damien Stebbins, Darious Stebbins, Brennan Roland, and Ja'rome Roland. Memorial information: A funeral service was held June 5 at Fenton & Hennessey Funeral Home in Bellows Falls, with burial in Houghtonville Cemetery.

• John A. "Jack" Willette, 80, of Spofford, New Hampshire. Died March 1, 2024, in Keene, New Hampshire. Born in Brattleboro on Aug. 21, 1943, he was the son of Bertha (O'Neil) and Edward (Buster) Willette of West Chesterfield, New Hampshire. He attended Chesterfield Elementary School and graduated in 1961 from St. Michael's High School in Brattleboro. Shortly after graduation, Jack joined the Marine Corps and served during the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Vietnam War. Jack spent most of his work career as a talented construction carpenter, including work at Vermont Yankee in Vernon, Northfield Mountain project in Massachusetts, and Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, during the Space Shuttle program. In later years he was self-employed, and enjoyed making various pieces of furniture for family members. When in better health, he enjoyed golfing, hunting, fishing, and gardening, taking special pride in his tomatoes and homemade tomato juice. In January 1967, he married Pamela Garland, who survives. In addition to his wife, he leaves two sons, Christopher Willette and his wife Katrina of Brattleboro, and Eric Willette of Keene; two sisters, Kathryn Wolfe and Christine Shakespeare and her husband William, two grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his parents, two sisters, a brother, a niece, and a nephew. Memorial information: There will be a funeral Mass at St. Michael's Roman Catholic Church, 47 Walnut St., Brattleboro, on Monday, June 29, at 11 a.m. Interment will follow in St. Michael's Catholic Cemetery. Donations to the Monadnock Humane Society, 101 West Swanzey Rd., Swanzey, NH 03446.


A Celebration of Life for Peter Ginter will be held Saturday, June 15, from 2 to 5 p.m., at Townshend Town Hall.

This Milestones item was submitted to The Commons.

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