College news

• Haley Frechette of Dummerston received a Doctor of Pharmacy degree and Jamie Mulkey of Stratton received a B.S. in clinical laboratory sciences last month from Albany (N.Y.) College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.

The following local students were honored for academic achievement in the spring 2024 semester at Community College of Vermont. Named to the President's List were Alejandra Morcillo Franco and James Tarvit of Bellows Falls, Chiasa S. Brooke of Brattleboro, Hannah P. Gouin of Guilford, Julie M. Cermola of Saxtons River, Isabella M. Lynch of Townshend, Alyssa V. Batts, Nadine R. Kissell, and Garrette M. Shanks of Vernon, and Jasmine O. Cavanaugh of Westminster West. Named to the Dean's List were Denine H. French of Bellows Falls, Clay A. Barcelos, Jonathan F. Kelley, and Gabriel I. Sistare of Brattleboro, Sierra L. Lane of East Dummerston, Bryanna M. Finnell of Guilford, Morgan E.M. Higley, Alysa R. Morse, and Emma N. Paris of Putney, Austin B. Mallan of Saxtons River, Noah E. Dornburgh, Marissa J. Kingsley, Catherine A. Thomas, and Noah J. Walker of Whitingham, and Garrison S. King and Cody R. Magnant of Wilmington. Named to the Student Honors List were Jacob A. Harrelson, Marissa Jones, and Kaitlyn Whitaker of Bellows Falls; Riley P. Barker, Jessica M. Goulas, Chelsea R. Hallock, Monica A. Kellar, Daniele M. LaValley, Seth A. Putnam, Joann L. Ricci, Shawna E. Robinson, Hailey E. Taylor, and Alexandria Tupper of Brattleboro; Aubrey M. Bourne of Brookline, Tyler C. McNary of East Dummerston, Deborah A. Jacobs, Ann M. Jones, and Lily M. Quintero of Guilford; Tolkien J. Wraga of Jamaica, Rachael A. Edgar, Avarie M. Fitzpatrick, and Michele Meulendyk of Newfane; Patricia A. Bills, Sarahann F. Byler, Maela S. Chatal, Alexander Margolies, and Shane W. Martin of Putney; Alexander D. Kemp and Maria C. Tevolini of Vernon, Anthony R. Samani of West Dover, Shelly M. Hollywood of Wilmington, and Rheanna G. Pare of Windham.

• Keigan Illingworth, a dance major from Westminster, was named to the Dean's List for the spring 2024 semester at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York.

• Ava Cutler of Brattleboro and Abigail Towle of Newfane were named to the spring 2024 Dean's List at Stonehill College in Easton, Massachusetts.

• Jessica Tatro, a biology major from Brattleboro, was named to the Dean's List for the spring 2024 semester at St. Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire.

• Lucas Forthofer of Dummerston was named to the Dean's List for the spring 2024 semester at Quincy (Ill.) University.

• Caden Haskell of Bellows Falls and Jake Moore of Saxtons River were named to the spring 2024 Dean's List at Salve Regina University in Newport, Rhode Island.

• Jaia Caron of Bellows Falls, Leah Madore of Williamsville, and Kylie Reed of Jacksonville were all named to the spring 2024 Dean's List at Russell Sage College in Troy, New York.

• Meagan Kelly of Westminster was named to the spring 2024 Dean's List at Bryant University in Smithfield, Rhode Island.


• Benjamin D. Wood of Guilford graduated from the New Hampshire Police Standards and Training Council Academy on May 31 after completing the 16-week course. He was also honored with the Edward B. Garone Leadership Award. Wood is a member of the Guilford Volunteer Fire Department and is on the board of Sportsmens Inc. in Guilford, where he is an instructor in their Hunter Safety Course program.

• Peter Blackmer, former human resources administrator at Southern Connecticut State University, has been named chief human resources officer at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital. Prior to his tenure at SCSU, Blackmer served for many years at the University of Vermont, where he held a variety of positions, including human resources and labor relations liaison; director of labor and employee relations; and associate chief human relations officer. Blackmer holds a bachelor's degree in sociology and history, a Master of Public Administration in organizational management, a master's in American history and a Doctor of Education in educational administration, all from the University of Vermont.

• Dan Lerner, associate director and chair of University of Vermont Extension, has been named executive director of the Windham Foundation. He will succeed Bob Donald, who will retire this summer after 14 years as CEO and chief financial officer. Lerner, who has worked at UVM Extension since 2013, is a graduate of Duke University and holds master's and doctoral degrees in U.S. history from Michigan State University. Under Lerner's leadership, the foundation says it aims to continue its work in grantmaking, community development, and fostering connections among rural areas to ensure their sustainability and growth.


• Deborah Estey "Debbie" Barber, 83, formerly of Brattleboro. Died on June 4, 2024, after enduring almost a decade of Alzheimer's disease. For the last nine months, she lived together with her husband, Frank, in Bozeman, Montana. Deborah Chase Estey was born April 11, 1941, to Paul Chase Estey and Ruth Margaret Hebb in Brattleboro. She was the great-great-granddaughter of Jacob Estey, founder of the Estey Organ Company. After losing a year of school to rheumatic fever, Debbie graduated from Brattleboro Union High School in 1960. During her senior year, she was the Queen of the Brattleboro Winter Carnival, a distinction which led to a career in modeling. Following graduation, she moved to New York City and found early success with the Frances Gill Modeling Agency. She was featured in many national advertising campaigns by companies such as Pepsi Cola (7-Up) and Metropolitan Life Insurance. Her work could be seen in prominent magazines such as Seventeen, Mademoiselle and Parade, and she appeared on the cover of Bride's Magazine in 1963. In 1962, she married Douglas Deforest and the couple settled down in Wilton, Connecticut. Four years later, having retired from her modeling career to raise a family. Debbie, with Doug and their first two (out of three) offspring, re-settled to his hometown, Seattle, Washington. Part of that upbringing was done on a farm where the family became deeply involved with showing Arabian horses. Herself a lifetime lover of animals, Debbie supported her children in all their 4-H endeavors and helped them attain recognition leading to participation in equestrian national championship events. After divorcing in 1980, Debbie embarked on a professional life, first working and volunteering in the health care industry, then taking a 10-year progression of administrative positions with the Materials Research Division of the Boeing Airplane Company in Redmond, Washington. In 1988 she married Frank Elliott Barber, a childhood friend from Brattleboro who had been her escort for the Carnival Queen events. Their journey together took them to many cities, including Brattleboro, where they ran a printing and publishing company for a decade. Debbie was publisher of New England Showcase, the leading real estate magazine in the region. They lived in a family home next door to where she grew up on Eaton Avenue. In this backyard, as with all of them, there were ample bird feeders. On retirement in 2005, the couple moved to Colorado. When her disease became more severe, they moved finally to an assisted living residence in Bozeman, Montana to be near her daughter, Chase. Debbie was loving and elegant until the end. When she had lost the power of speech, she still projected so much joy with smiles and exuberance that she was a favorite among fellow residents of her community. It was said more than once that "her smile would light up a room." Her character is best illustrated by an anecdote often told by her husband, Frank. She loved thrift stores and, outside her favorite, there frequently sat, as sort of a greeter, a young, disheveled woman helplessly confined and slumped back in a wheelchair. Passersby generally ignored her, but whenever Debbie saw her, she would go and greet the greeter with her smile, and do the best she could to comfort her. She is survived by her husband, Frank; her children Eleanor, David, and Chase; and grandchildren Benjamin, Madeleine, Aidan, and Dorathea. Memorial information: A memorial service in Brattleboro is planned for Sept. 29, 2024, at a time and place to be announced. Donations to the Alzheimer's Association, 225 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 1700, Chicago, IL 60601-7633 or

• Kenneth Alan "Kenny" Cook, 68, died unexpectedly on May 28, 2024, at the VA Hospital in White River Junction. Born in Rockingham on March 31, 1956, to Lester and Bernice Cook, Kenny lived in Westminster most of his life. A graduate of Bellows Falls Union High School, Class of 1975, he thoroughly enjoyed playing football and was selected for the Vermont Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl team. Kenny joined the Army after high school. He was a member of the Vermont Army National Guard's 131st Engineers and served in the Persian Gulf War. Kenny was very proud of his service to his country. Kenny worked in a few different fields, starting at Santa's Land as a teenager. He worked for many years at Bazin Brothers and was known to many as one of the best drivers around. Besides his children, his pride and joy was his granddaughter, Paisley. Kenny enjoyed hunting, fishing, and trapping. He was very talented in many areas. Kenny particularly enjoyed "dubbing" in his garage where he loved making birdhouses with Paisley. He was also a great mechanic who could fix most anything. Kenny was always willing to lend a hand to anyone in need. He will surely be missed by many people he touched. He leaves his wife of 45 years, Christine (Kiniry) Cook; his son, Matthew Cook, his daughter, Allison Lansberry; and his precious granddaughter, Paisley Lansberry; brothers Michael (Ginger) and Andrew; and many cousins and friends who became very important to Kenny these last few years. Memorial information: Calling hours are Saturday, June 22 , at Fenton & Hennessey Funeral Home in Bellows Falls, from 10 a.m. to noon, with a service starting at noon. Burial will follow the services at Westminster Cemetery. A reception will be held at American Legion Post 37 in Bellows Falls. Donations to Ruck-up, 43 Upper Knight St., Keene, NH 03431, or The Veterans Place, 220 Vine Street, Northfield, VT 05613.

• Alexander Chaffee "Alex" Freeman, 49, beloved son of Castle and Alice Freeman of Newfane, died unexpectedly on Saturday, May 31, 2024, at his family's home. Alex was born Sept. 30, 1974, in Brattleboro, and lived in East Putney for almost a year until his family moved to Newfane. He attended Kindergarten in Newfane and grades 1 though 8 at The Grammar School in Putney. He was an alumnus of Buxton School in Williamstown, Massachusetts, and received his B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College in 1997. After college, Alex returned to the Brattleboro area and was employed in the food service industry, most notably at The Mole's Eye, the Weathervane, and Kipling's Restaurant. At the time of his death, he was working at River Bend Market in Townshend. Alex leaves his parents; a sister, Sarah Freeman and brother-in-law Daniel Quipp of Brattleboro; as well as his aunt, Franny Taliaferro of New York City, and many cousins. He was predeceased by grandparents, Janet and Castle Freeman Sr. of Chicago, and Frances and Clarence "Chafe" Chaffee of Williamstown, and an uncle, Roger Chaffee, of Palo Alto, California. Alex was an intelligent, charming and eccentric fellow known for his sartorial flair. He had a large collection of hats, often favoring a fedora for his excursions into town. He was an enthusiastic reader and student of film, as well as a talented author of prose, poetry and memoir. He delighted in a well-crafted sentence. He had strong opinions on politics, culture and current events, and a keen wit, with which he kept his family entertained. He enjoyed cooking, usually spicy Mexican and Middle Eastern cuisine. He was an animal lover, especially of the long succession of cats and dogs his family kept, and particularly of Freddy the longhaired dachshund, who was devoted to him. Alex was a kind, loving, sensitive soul who will be sorely missed by his family and friends and all who knew him. Memorial information: Services will be private. Donations to the Windham County Humane Society, P.O. Box 397, Brattleboro, VT 05302. To leave a message of condolence, visit

• Robert Michael "Bob" Hedderman, 84, of Vernon. Died on June 29, 2023, in Brattleboro, after a year-long decline in health. Bob was born on Dec. 6, 1938, in Elmhurst, Queens, New York, to Margaret (Walsh) Hedderman and Martin Hedderman. He was the youngest of their three children. He attended St. Bartholomew's Catholic Academy in Elmhurst, Most Holy Trinity High School in Brooklyn, and several semesters at St. Francis College in Brooklyn, before enlisting in the Air Force in 1958. He was trained as a radio intercept operator and assigned to Hokkaido Air Force Base in Japan where he served for five years. Upon his honorable discharge from the Air Force, he returned to New York where he enrolled in Columbia University to formally study the Japanese language, calligraphy, and culture. He worked for several years with his father at the the Frick Art Reference Library. He then took a job at Bell Security where he had a long career, retiring as an account manager in the mid 2000s. He had a lifelong love of baseball, a sport he played in high school, college, and the Air Force. He enjoyed watching the New York Mets, as well as college and professional basketball. He was an avid swimmer, loved music (especially classical), and enjoyed writing, including limericks in his later years. He was a great storyteller with a wonderful sense of humor. In 2016, Bob and his wife moved to Brattleboro and, in 2021, to Vernon. He was predeceased by his parents, his sister Margaret (Hedderman) Canal, and his brother Martin "Buddy" Hedderman. He is survived by his wife of almost 39 years, Grace (Shankland) Hedderman, and many beloved nieces and nephews. Memorial information: Cremation was arranged by Atamaniuk Funeral Home in Brattleboro. There was no funeral or burial planned. Donations to a charity of your choice can be made to honor his memory.

• Pauline Brennan "Paulie" Kissell, 94, of Saxtons River. Died June 10, 2024, at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire, after a brief illness. Paulie was born in Bellows Falls on Jan. 11, 1930, the daughter of Constine and Jadwiga (Piluski) Sileski. She attended schools in Bellows Falls, graduating from Bellows Falls High School in 1948. On July 2,1949, Pauline married Austin Brennan and together they raised a large family in Bellows Falls and Westminster. Paulie was a gentle, caring woman who loved her children deeply. A woman of uncommon resilience, she persevered through some very hard times and relished the best of times in the company of her family and friends. She enjoyed a good book, loved the beach and fireworks and had a great laugh. Her interests included sewing, knitting, cake decorating, gardening, skiing, golfing, hosting family gatherings and, later in life, traveling throughout the country with her partner, Jim McGuirk. An accomplished home cook and baker, in mid-life Paulie began cooking for Fitz Vogt and Associates and worked for some years at several residential facilities in the region. For many years she was a parishioner at St. Charles Church, a proud member of the "Old Terrace Knitting Club" in Bellows Falls, and an active member of the Westminster Red Hatters. She spent the last years of her life happily ensconced at The Bradley House in Brattleboro. A classy and stylish lady, she was strong-willed and determined to make the most of every day with poise and grace. She is survived by her children, John Brennan (Lynn) of Colchester, Martin Brennan-Sawyer (Susan) of Walpole, New Hampshire, Beth Callan (Jim) of Rutland, Carol Brennan Johnson (Richard) of Bellows Falls, Matthew Brennan (Kelley) of Saxtons River, and Dempsey Brennan of Saxtons River. She also is survived by one brother, Richard Sileski, sisters Amelia Clark, Mary Davis, and Alexandria LaFlam, and 13 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. She was predeceased by her daughter, Katherine; her first husband, Austin Brennan; her second husband, Tony Kissell; her late-life partner, Jim McGuirk; brothers Wallace and James Sileski, and a sister, Helen Cray. Memorial information: A funeral Mass was held June 14 at St. Charles Church, with burial on June 15 at St. Charles Cemetery. Donations to Westminster Cares, 3532 US 5, Westminster, VT 05158.

• 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 in West Brattleboro. To send condolences, visit

• Gordon Huff Schofield, 81, of Hinsdale, New Hampshire. Died June 9, 2024, after a brief battle with pancreatic cancer. He was born in Bellows Falls on Jan. 11, 1943, the oldest child of Norman and Eleanor (Harris) Schofield. He was raised in Walpole, New Hampshire, where he attended school. He was employed for many years at American Optical in Keene, New Hampshire, until the company relocated. He retired from Echo Farm in 2007. He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Sandra Schofield; three children: Shelley Coombs and her husband Michael of Hinsdale; Deborah Griffin and her husband Bill of Shawnee, Kansas; and Gordon Schofield Jr., and his wife, Jessica, of Chesterfield, New Hampshire; and grandchildren Owen and Willow Coombs, Ava Bernas, and Carlina, Jack, and Gordon Hunter Schofield. He is survived by his brother, Peter Schofield and his wife, Cathy, of Brattleboro; his sister, Lois Carter of Florida; his brother-in-law, Norman Dean of Spofford, New Hampshire; his sister-in-law Cynthia Guiltinan and her husband, Matthew, of Spofford; his brother-in-law Edward Scott and his wife, Judith, of Greenfield, Massachusetts; as well as numerous nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his sister, Lucy Dean. Gordon was a devoted father and grandfather. When his children joined a dairy 4-H club, he built a barn to house their animals and became a 4-H leader. He was always willing to provide his children and grandchildren with transportation to and from their activities. He enthusiastically attended their sporting events. He was always willing to help them assemble or repair their bicycles, models, and toys. He was active in the community and quick to help someone in need. He was knowledgeable about New Hampshire history and trivia and was a valuable resource. He was a member of the Hinsdale Historical Society and Conservation Commission. He had been a member of the Hinsdale Planning Board and the Joint River Commission. Memorial information: A Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, June 29, from 2 to 4 p.m., at Gene's Place at Hickory Hill Farm, 608 Plain Rd., Hinsdale. Donations to the Hinsdale Historical Society, P.O. Box 194, Hinsdale, NH 03451.

• Stephen D. "Steve" "Stubby" Squires, 69, of Guilford. Died June 13, 2024, in the comfort of his home with his beloved wife, Tina, at his side holding his hand, after a courageous battle with cancer for the past four years. A lifelong resident of the area, Steve was born in Brattleboro on Nov. 20, 1954, the son of Maynard and Shirley (Searles) Squires. He was raised and educated in Guilford and graduated from Brattleboro Union High School with the Class of 1972. He owned and operated Steve's Auto Repair and Courthouse Gulf on Putney Road in Brattleboro for many years. In his business dealings, he had a reputation of being honest and fair with all customers. Steve was an accomplished skier and ski jumper during his youth and went on to coach ski jumping with the Brattleboro Outing Club's youth program with his dear friend Bernie Wells. He also played softball for many years in the Greater Brattleboro Men's Softball League. Additionally, Steve enjoyed golf and held membership in the Brattleboro Country Club. For many years, he assisted with organizing tournaments, outings and golfing fundraisers. Steve's greatest joy in life was time spent with his family and friends. He was known for his spirit of friendship and generosity, always willing to assist anyone in need. A devoted family man, loyal friend, and dedicated citizen, he was also kind and very thoughtful. On Jan. 14, 2002, in Brattleboro, he was married to Tina Goldsmith who survives. Besides his loving wife of 22 years, he leaves his mother of Guilford, brother Tim and wife Wendy; sisters Debbie and her partner Warren, Donna and husband Sven, and Diana and her partner JJ; and his brother of the heart, Paul Weatherhead, and his wife Lisa. He also leaves behind his son Brian and wife Alyson, stepson Ian Dyer, and stepdaughter Haley Sage and husband Jason. He will be missed dearly by the gems of his life, his four grandchildren, Bryer, Ryley, Hannah and Khole. Additionally, he is survived by many nieces' nephews, and cousins. Steve was predeceased by his father, brother Ronald "Ronnie," and his amazing son, Kevin. Memorial information: A funeral Mass will be held on Thursday, June 20, at 11 a.m., at St. Michael's Roman Catholic Church in Brattleboro. Committal rites and burial will follow in the Squires family lot in Baker Cemetery in Guilford. A reception will follow the services to be held at the Elk's Home on Putney Road. Donations to the Kevin Michael Squires Memorial Scholarship Fund, in care of Edward Jones, P.O. Box 8248, Brattleboro, VT 05304, Attn: Andrew George. To send condolences to the family, visit


Graveside committal rites and burial with full military honors for James Lawrence Wood will be conducted Saturday, June 22, at 10 a.m., in Evergreen Cemetery in Winchester, New Hampshire, where he will be laid to rest beside his beloved wife. Mr. Wood, 99, formerly of Clark Avenue in Brattleboro, died on Dec. 8, 2023, at the home of his daughter in Bartlett, Tennessee. To view his full obituary, visit

A committal service will be held for Nancy (Cross) Hoover at the family gravesite at Meeting House Hill Cemetery at 580 Orchard St., Brattleboro. on Saturday, June 22, at 11 a.m. Immediately following the service, a light luncheon will be served at the Eagles Club, 54 Chickering Dr., Brattleboro. All are welcome. Mrs. Hoover died on May 15 in Jaffrey, New Hampshire. To view her full obituary, visit

Memorial services for Donald M. Hazelton will be held Thursday, June 27, at 1 p.m., at Dummerston Congregational Church in Dummerston Center. A reception will follow at Evening Star Grange. Mr. Hazelton, 93, a lifelong resident of Dummerston, died on March 8, 2024. To view his full obituary, visit

A funeral Mass for John A. "Jack" Willette will be held Saturday, June 29, at 11 a.m, at St. Michael's Roman Catholic Church, 47 Walnut St., Brattleboro. Interment will follow in St. Michael's Catholic Cemetery. Mr. Willette, 80, of Spofford, New Hampshire, died March 1, 2024, in Keene, New Hampshire.

This Milestones item was submitted to The Commons.

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