Around Town – Jan. 9, 2019

Congratulations to Kathryn Blume who shared her writing with patrons at the Old Meeting House in East Montpelier three days before Christmas. She was part of what Mark Nash, the former artistic director of Vermont Stage, began seven years ago and calls “Stories for a Winter’s Eve.” It features songs by local musicians as well as stories from local writers.

Congratulations to Zach Williamson who, as production manager of Burlington City Arts, directed the first-night event, Highlight, that replaced First Night in Burlington on New Year’s Eve. Zach worked in conjunction with Signal Kitchen to organize Highlight, and the turnout seemed to be worth their efforts.

Congratulations to Stephen Kiernan and the CVU Madrigal Singers who read stories and sang songs on the Polar Express train that boarded 3,600 passengers at Burlington’s Union Station. The riders contributed over $160,000 through the Vermont Children’s Trust Foundation and National Life Group to support children’s programs throughout the state. This is the most raised from the 17-year event.

Congratulations to Susan Ohanian whose letter appeared in The New York Times Metropolitan Diary on Dec. 17. In it she describes her experiences in 1965 shortly after arriving in the city from her life on a small farm in northern California. She happened to be walking along 42nd Street when all city lights went out, including those in her apartment complex. Unable to get up to her floor because the elevator was juiceless as well, she had to wait in the lobby until it could be started. It eventually arrived but could not go back up. A tenant with a flashlight finally led them upstairs. He turned out to be Susan’s next-door neighbor, and they became “strangers no longer.”

Sympathy is extended to family and friends of Jacquelyn Kennedy Baker of North Carolina who passed away Dec. 11 at the age of 82. Her second husband, Clement Baker, was a member of the Baker family who owned a farm near Mt. Philo in Charlotte.

Sympathy is extended to family and friends of Elsa Carpenter of Charlotte who passed away Dec. 17 at the age of 88. She and her family moved to Charlotte in 1985, and she had worked in the benefits office of the University of Vermont. Her husband, Robert, who still resides in Charlotte, survives her. The family asks that those wishing to make memorial contributions do so to the Paul N. Carpenter ’33 Scholarship Fund at Bates College, Attn: Gift Processing, 2 Andrews Rd., Lewiston, ME 04240 or to the First United Methodist Church of Burlington.

Sympathy is extended to family and friends of R. Avery Hall who passed away at Burlington Health and Rehab Dec. 20 at the age of 86. Avery grew up in the manse of the Charlotte Congregational Church where his father was pastor. The family moved to Burlington later on, and Avery earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from UVM. He worked for the state, then Northern Engineering and finally consulted privately. While in Burlington he was active in saving the Flynn Theatre and the Fletcher Free Library. He remained interested in preserving Lake Champlain’s water quality, and as part of this interest he developed a wastewater system for the 95 camps on Charlotte’s Thompson’s Point. His wife, Andrea Rogers Hall, survives him. Donations in his memory may be made to the College Street Church, 265 College Street, Burlington 05401, the Vermont Automobile Enthusiasts Scholarship Fund or to an organization of the donor’s choice.

Sympathy is extended to family and friends of Norman J. Marcotte of Shelburne who passed away Dec. 11 at the age of 87. Norman was born to Edmund and Laura (Bedard) Marcotte in Charlotte where as a teenager he helped build a barn on the family’s property. He later headed the family business, Marcotte Appliance in Shelburne. The family asks that, in lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the VNA Hospice team at VNA Hospice, attention: Development Office, 1110 Prim Road, Colchester, VT 05446.

Tom and Bethany. Photo credit Casey O’Brien.

Sympathy is extended to family and friends of Tom O’Brien who passed away at home on December 31 surrounded by his loved ones. He leaves behind his beloved wife, Bethany Myrick, sons Brodie and Casey, their partners, and his dear extended family.

Tom came to Vermont to attend UVM in the 60s, where he fell in love with the mountains, the lake and the people. He was an accomplished woodworker, inventor and an entrepreneur. Tom gave generously of his time to serve on several boards and in his children’s classrooms. He was graceful skiing the mountains’ snow and skating the valleys’ frozen lakes, and loved sharing summer afternoons—and the occasional November gale—with friends and family on the sailboat Intuition.

Tom was a man full of warmth and heart, which he extended to his family and his many friends—an ever-expanding group, as he found connection wherever he went. His warmth, generosity of spirit, creativity, and kindness will be remembered by those who knew him. May Tom’s life inspire us to live our days fully and with gratitude and kindness.

With joy, his family will continue to do the things Tom loved; they invite you to join them:

Howling at the full moon
Watching for the glimmer of spiders’ eyes at night
Diving into the lake joyfully with Tom in our arms and our hearts
Remembering to turn over the rake
Watching over our children and grandchildren
Watching for all the small miracles in the woods and hillsides
Seeing Tom in the snow sparkles
Feeling his love, light, and presence in us
Sharing and remembering our stories.

Tom’s life will be celebrated by family and friends in a gathering planned for the spring.

Tom served on the board of The Charlotte News from 2008 to 2016 and was co-president of the board from 2012 to 2016. The family wishes to express their gratitude to Dr. Steven Ades and the staff at the UVM Cancer Center. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to UVMMC Home Health & Hospice.