Around Town: Oct. 5

Celebrating cousins

Linda née Gault Gilbert, far left, and her Gault first cousins at Shelburne Farms. She tried to get her cousins to sing ‘Moonlight in Vermont,’ but the group decided singing talent wasn’t in their genes.
Linda née Gault Gilbert, far left, and her Gault first cousins at Shelburne Farms. She tried to get her cousins to sing ‘Moonlight in Vermont,’ but the group decided singing talent wasn’t in their genes.

The Gaults hold a first cousin reunion every four or five years at various locations around the United States. This year the reunion was held in Charlotte Sept. 18-23.

The plan had been to see the fall leaves, but the leaves weren’t showing yet. However, the first cousins wore T-shirts in different fall colors.

The Gault first cousins were all born in Oklahoma with Cherokee heritage, but now live all over in such places as Port Angeles (Washington), San Francisco, Oklahoma, Florida, New York City, Oregon, Arizona and of course Vermont.

The cousins were treated to trips to such sites as Shelburne Farms, Shelburne Museum, the Charlotte Ferry, Mt. Philo and Burlington.


Jordan Fondacaro Weith, a graduate of both Charlotte Central School and Champlain Valley High, was awarded her PhD in clinical psychology from Kent State University, with a specialization in children and adolescence, in August. She previously graduated Phi Betta Kappa from the University of Vermont Honors College in 2016 and has recently begun a fellowship at Akron Children’s Hospital.


John Paul Lavigne, a lifelong Vermonter and resident of Charlotte since 1968, passed away at the University of Vermont Medical Center on Sept. 28, 2023, surrounded by his family, due to a sudden illness.

John Paul Lavigne

John was born Nov. 27, 1945, fourth child of Germaine (Begin) Lavigne and Eugene Lavigne of Burlington, formerly of Quebec. He grew up on Hayward Street in Burlington, graduated from Burlington High School in 1965, then went on to serve six years in the Vermont National Guard.

John loved driving and found a career getting to do just that. He was a driver for several local oil companies. His favorite part, in addition to getting to spend time driving, was getting to know his customers. He then went on to drive for Nabisco, where he enjoyed sampling and sharing the products with family and friends. After retiring from Nabisco, he went on to work for Country Home Products where he again, enjoyed meeting and connecting with people. After finally retiring from work, he then went on to become a long-time volunteer with the Charlotte Food Shelf which brought him great purpose and great friends.

Married in 1980 to Susan Harvey, they built a life together at their home in Charlotte, and their beloved camp on Monkton Pond. In 1983 they welcomed their first child (Kristine) and began their adventure together as parents, welcoming their second child in 1986 (Josh). Family life was full of togetherness, nature, silliness, exploring, and time spent together.

In 2011 John became a pepere for the first time with the arrival of his first grandchild, which gave him a new role in life that he lovingly embraced. He was blessed to have a total of four grandchildren with him on earth, Kinsey, Sawyer, Rowen and Abel, and two grandchildren that we know he is getting to hug in heaven, Ryker and Baby Lavigne.

His hobbies have included gardening, canoeing, horseshoes, tinkering and puttering in his garage on repair projects, feeding the birds, trying to keep the squirrels out of his feeders, baking sweet treats and being a good landlord to his growing flock of purple martins.

John is survived by his wife Susan Lavigne, his children: Kristine Reynolds (Nicholas Reynolds), and Josh Lavigne (Dawn Duell); his grandchildren Kinsey and Rowen Reynolds, and Sawyer and Abel Lavigne; his sisters Jane (Lavigne), Guerin (his twin) (Armand Guerin) and Theresa Neilsen, all of Largo, FL. He is predeceased by his sister, Louise Ragis and her husband Ronald Ragis, and two grandchildren Ryker Reynolds and Baby Lavigne.
Visiting hours will be held Friday, Oct. 13, 2023, 4-7 p.m., at the Corbin and Palmer Shelburne Funeral Home, 209 Falls Road, Shelburne, VT. Funeral Services will be held at St. Catherine of Sienna Catholic Church, 72 Church St., Shelburne, VT, on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023, at 11 a.m., followed immediately by lunch in the church hall.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to the Charlotte Food Shelf, PO Box 83, Charlotte, VT 05445 or online.

Nancy J. Preston Sabin, a remarkable woman of determination, compassion and unwavering dedication, passed away on Sept. 27, 2023, at the age of 84. Born in Santurce, Puerto Rico, on April 9, 1939, to Roger and Doris Preston, Nancy’s life was a testament to her heart, resilience, and commitment to serving her community.

Nancy’s life journey was marked by her unrelenting pursuit of perseverance, independence, education and service. She chose a unique path by not completing high school, opting instead to obtain her GED later in life, driven by her deep desire to pursue a career in social services. Her mother once offered her a tempting trip to Europe with a best friend as an incentive to finish high school, but Nancy’s heart was already taken by love, and she chose the path of marriage.

Nancy J. Preston Sabin

Nancy’s life was intertwined with the military, as she proudly served as an Air Force wife to the late SSGT Robert Quenneville, traveling the world alongside her family. Her family background was equally impressive, with her father holding the prestigious position of vice president of GE International.

Nancy made the difficult decision to return to Vermont as a divorced mom with her four children to be closer to her family, facing the challenges of raising them on a chambermaid’s salary. Undeterred by the obstacles, she returned to school to further her education, taking classes at the University of Vermont. She encountered a hurdle when she felt that some of the required religion classes did not relate to her degree and chose not to earn her last three credits to finish. Yet, her determination and drive led to her work as the parent coordinator of Burlington Day Care (because she was “real,” with no words held back with parents, Dr. Julie Lepeschicin encouraged her to further her education) and director of Ceta for OEO, where she forged a close friendship with the late Sandra Dragon, who served as her mentor.

Nancy’s remarkable career culminated at the Joyal Training Center, where she tirelessly assisted individuals facing challenges in finding employment. It was at the Joyal Training Center that she met her late husband, Jim Sabin, finding love amid her dedicated service.

Proud of her heritage, Nancy celebrated her family’s legacy as fifth-generation original settlers of Charlotte. She cherished the knowledge that her grandchildren will continue to call this area home.

In her later years, Nancy immersed herself within the fabric of Charlotte, owning a Needlework’s, a craft supply store, and actively participating in local governance. She filled her calendar with selectboard meetings, diligently ensuring that procedures and “Robert’s Rules” were followed. She was known to drive to private meetings, making certain that no decisions were made without her or the townspeople’s knowledge. Her dedication extended to her involvement with the Charlotte Grange, and she once held town auditor position.

“Mamma” Nancy’s commitment to her community earned her recognition in the Burlington Free Press where she was featured multiple times as their Super Senior of the week. Her tireless efforts on behalf of migrant farmers in Vermont, who she affectionately referred to as “Her Boys,” left an indelible mark on those she served. She went above and beyond, often driving hundreds of miles to ensure everyone had access to medical appointments, livable wages, delivered groceries and clothing, and found numerous employment opportunities for those who sought her help, even at the most inconvenient hours of the night.

In her final years, Nancy was fortunate to receive the best, in-home loving care and companionship of her devoted longtime friend and caregiver, Norma Guzman, along with the support of Doris Brace. Their unwavering dedication and friendship provided Nancy with comfort, companionship, and a sense of security during her later stages of life.

Nancy’s life was a testament to the enduring power of not taking no for an answer, speaking her mind in circumstances when no one else would, not afraid to challenge the rule when she thought it was for the good of others, standing up for those who couldn’t or wouldn’t speak for themselves and love of a clearance rack. She will continue to shine brightly in the hearts of those she leaves behind.

Nancy leaves behind a legacy of love and service through her loving family, including Valerie and Rob Mullin, Neil and Karen Quenneville, Nina Badger and partner Bob Wahl, Victor Quenneville and Shelly Cyr; grandchildren Derek and Chelsea Coombs, their children Henry and Holden; Ryan Coombs and fiancé Andrea; Bryce Mullin; Jeremy and Laura Quenneville, their children Lilly and Sophi. Danielle Murray; Jenn and Chris Bergeron, their children Eelin and Rao; Crystal Kinsman, partner Leon with children Milo and Theo; Todd and Jess Badger, their daughter Ruby; Mat Badger and partner Hailey; Cobi Badger, partner Alysia and Father Todd Badger Sr., Sheena Goyette, daughter Nevaeh; Lance Quenneville; Monica Quenneville, children Olivia and Dominic; Hailey Quenneville, fiancée Dave.

Nancy’s life will be celebrated on Friday, Oct. 6, 2023, 4-7 p.m., Ready Funeral Home in Burlington and a funeral service on Saturday, Oct. 7, at 11 a.m., Charlotte Congregational Church.

In lieu of flowers: Amy’s Armoire 114 North Main Street Suite 2, Barre, VT 05641.