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Obituaries 03/27/08

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John C. Sylvestri

LEICESTER — John C. Sylvestri, formerly of Mahopac, N.Y., died peacefully on March 24, 2008, of congestive heart failure at age 86.

He was born June 29, 1921, in Ossining, N.Y., the son of Donato and Jenny (Fasciani) Sylvestri. He graduated from Ossining High School at age 16. During World War II he was an Army stenographer, stationed in the central and southern part of the country. He later worked as a sales representative and retired from General Foods Corp.

It was during his travels on the job that he met his future wife, Vera T. “Pat” Shook, owner of Pat’s General Store in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. They married in 1952 and raised a family in Mahopac, N.Y. He resided there for 50 years prior to moving near his daughter Chris Sylvestri and her family in Vermont.

Famous for his golf game, he started as a caddy in his young teens, and in his prime he was a scratch player with three holes-in-one. He loved people of all ages, and he liked to have fun, especially with his children. Even in his 80s, he could be seen pitching a game of softball with his grandkids. Family said that many people recognized that his quick smile, sense of humor and twinkling blue eyes stayed with him to the end of his life.

John is survived by his son, John Sylvestri Jr., and his partner Becky Daddazio of La Grange, N.Y.; his daughter Chrisandra Sylvestri and her husband, Scott Totten, of Salisbury; his daughter Michele and her husband, Russ Day, of La Grangeville, N.Y., his stepdaughter-in law Patricia Meade; sisters Clara Beninati and Joan Mattson; brothers Henry Sylvestri and George Sylvestri; and 15 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

He was predeceased by his wife, stepson Harold Meade and sister Florence Perry.

Funeral services were held at the Sanderson Funeral Services on the morning of Thursday, March 27, with burial on Friday, March 28, at 2 p.m. at Barret Cemetery in Mahopac, N.Y., where he will be interred beside Vera.

Contributions can be sent to Project Independence, P.O. Box 581, Middlebury, VT 05753.




Christine Winona (Rock) Swinton

BRISTOL — Christine Winona (Rock) Swinton, 92, formerly of Lincoln, passed away Monday, March 24, 2008, at home. She was born in Charlotte on July 21, 1915, to Abby (Hogaboom) and Frank Rock.

She was married at 18 to Loyal Crane Swinton of Burlington. She raised her three daughters in Vermont (Charlotte, Vergennes and Burlington) before moving to Stratford, Conn., where she and her husband worked until retirement.

Upon retirement, she moved back to Vermont with her husband to their land in Lincoln, where they built for themselves first a camp and then a home. She greatly enjoyed hunting, fishing, snowmobiling, berry-picking, outdoor life and the steady stream of visitors.

A very special woman of strength, humor, generosity, energy and faith, she loved and took care of her neighbors, friends, family and strangers. Admired by all, she lived independently until she was nearly 90 years old. She died at home, at peace, in the arms of her caregiver Tasha (Tanner) Stalcup.

The family wishes to thank Tasha and her extended family of caregivers who tended to Christine — including Tasha’s husband, Richard; her children, Josh, Jeffrey, Ricky and Jasmine; her parents, Dale and Charlie Fleming of Bristol; her aunt, Gert Baldwin of Bristol; and her grandparents, Caroline and Lester Delisle, also of Bristol.

Christine was predeceased by her husband, Loyal; her daughters, Diana Bodington of Bristol and Carol Swinton of Lincoln; her twin-brother, Carl Rock; and her son-in-law, Donald Creller.

She leaves a daughter, Nancy J. (Swinton) Creller, in Connecticut, and her three children, Randy Creller, Sheila Creller and Craig Creller. Surviving her daughter Diana are six more grandchildren, Paul Bodington, Laurie (Bodington) LaFountain, Judy (Bodington) Marcelle, Jeff Bodington, Janice Bodington and Joseph Bodington. She also leaves a sister-in-law, Eleanor Rock (wife of Carl) in Burlington.

In all, nine grandchildren, 26 great-grandchildren, and one great-great-granddaughter, and numerous nieces, nephews, friends and loved ones survive her.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 29, at St. Ambrose Catholic Church in Bristol. Interment will be in Lakeview Cemetery in Burlington.

Friends may call at Brown McClay Funeral Home in Bristol on Friday, March 28, from 3 to 6 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Project Independence, 112 Exchange St., Middlebury, VT, or Addison County Home Health and Hospice, P.O. Box 754, Middlebury, VT 05753.


Isabelle Allen Swain

NEW HAVEN — Isabelle Allen Swain, 84, died Sunday March 23, 2008, at home surrounded by her family. She was born Dec. 4, 1923, in West Ferrisburgh, the daughter of Martin and Dorothy (Yattaw) Allen.

 She married her husband on July 30, 1942. She was a member of New Haven Congregational Church, where she belonged to the Ladies’ Union. She was also a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

 She is survived by her husband of 65 years, Winston Swain of New Haven; three children, Candace Swain and her partner Bernie Noble of New Haven, Chrystal Armell and her husband Clyde of Charlotte, and Allen Swain and wife Susan of New Haven; nine grandchildren; 18 great-grandchildren; and several cousins.

 A celebration of her life will take place at a later date.

Memorial contributions may be made to Addison County Home Health and Hospice, P.O. Box 754, Middlebury, VT 05753, or New Haven Fire Department, Attn. Mike Dystra, New Haven, VT 05472.


Bill Shimel

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Bill Shimel, 85, died on March 9, 2008. He was born Jan. 27, 1923, in Pennsylvania, the youngest of six siblings.

He was a World War II veteran and a chemical plant worker in Niagara Falls, N.Y. Then he moved to Bridport to own and operate a small dairy farm. From there he went on to being a union laborer and worked on many buildings throughout Vermont, including the Middlebury College, before moving to Florida to continue working and enjoying his love of warm weather, fishing and gambling.

He is survived by his special friend Dorothy( Dottie) Harwood of St. Petersburg, Fla.; his four children and their spouses, Odessa and Dean Wood of Chaparral, N.M., Richard and Angel Shimel of San Diego ,Calif., Mark and Sherri Shimel of Bridport, and Lynn and Brent Jerger of Ferrisburgh; eight grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

He was predeceased by all of his siblings.


Adelaide Cross Raymond

WEST ADDISON — Adelaide Cross Raymond, 86, died Saturday, March 22, 2008, at Helen Porter Nursing Home in Middlebury.  She was born Sept. 13, 1921, in Sanford, Maine, the daughter of Archie and Muriel Lillian (Noble) Bennett.

 She graduated from Spaulding High School in 1939, and then worked as a bookkeeper at Fellows Gear Shaper in Springfield during World War II. She worked as a waitress at the Hartness House Inn and as a cashier at Springfield High School. She married her husband on Dec. 27, 1943.

She was a member of St. Peter’s Church of Vergennes.

She is survived by her husband, Lloyd Hewitt Raymond; two sons, Lloyd Bennett Raymond and his wife Peggy, and David Alan Raymond and his wife Lori; three grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; and nieces and nephews.

She was predeceased by a son, Kenneth Paul Raymond, in 1987; her brother, Gilbert, and her two sisters, Cora and Minnie.

Interment will be at Lakeview Cemetery in West Addison in the spring.

Memorial contributions may be made to Addison County Home Health and Hospice, P.O. Box 754, Middlebury, VT 05753.


Percy Atherton Mack

WEST ADDISON — On a clear, starry Vermont night, Percy Atherton Mack of West Addison, Vermont, passed away March 22, 2008.

He was born in Charlotte, Vt., on August 1, 1924 son of the late Percy Mack and M. Esther (Atherton) Mack.

He grew up in Addison County on various farms, attending local schools. He was particularly proud of his years at the Weybridge two-room schoolhouse where he tended the stoves in seventh and eighth grades earning $25 per year, which enabled him to buy clothing and supplies needed when he entered Middlebury High School. He greatly valued his high school years, academic and sports, yet chose to enlist in the Air Force before graduation as part of that “Greatest Generation.” Through the intercession of Principal Seaver, he was allowed to graduate with the class of 1943.

After military training he served overseas with the 457th squadron of the Eighth Air Corps based in Peterborough, England, as a tail gunner. He completed 25 missions earning medals with four oak leaf clusters or Bronze Stars, among others. He found great joy in finally meeting long unseen crewmates and other veterans at the three reunions of the bomb group that he attended. His dear friend pilot Willard Reese died March 13, 2008. They were the last of their crew.

Upon returning from the service he helped at the family farm in Cornwall before enrolling at Middlebury College. During college he and Bill Cunningham supervised a Saturday sports program in the Middlebury Municipal Building. While at the college he met, then married H. Barbara Harvan on June 19, 1949. After the birth of their first child and Percy’s graduation in 1951, they moved to New Jersey where he was employed for 16 years. He was very involved in the town’s athletic program.

In June 1967, the family, now consisting of eight children, took over the Atherton Brothers (his uncles’) farm, naming it “Hel-Per” Farm. In 1983 they ceased farming and moved “Down the Road” where he indulged his love of Morgan Horses.

In Addison, Percy was a volunteer fireman, an auditor and the town representative to the Solid Waste District Board for many years. He was also very active in the MHS-MUHS Alumni Organization. He was extremely proud of his military service and was a member of the American Legion and the VFW.

He is survived by his wife, Barbara, his wonderful, loving children: Patrick (Deborah) of Hillsdale, N.Y.; William (Leslie) of Columbus, Ohio; Peter of West Addison; Thomas (Linda) of Boring, Oregon; Michael of Columbus, Ohio; Daniel of Clancy, Montana and Paula of East Dover, Vt.; a special dear sister-in-law, Mary Harvan of Shelburne, Vt.; a daughter-in-law, Barbara Mack of Vancouver, Wash.; grandchildren are Jacy, Christopher (Alissa), Sterling (Lindsay), Marshall, Shawna (Nick), Aaron (April), Joseph (Mardel), Andrea and his “old sweetheart,” Maxine; there are also nine great grandchildren.

Percy’s siblings are June and Anthony Trono of Burlington, Joyce Murray of South Burlington, William and Jean Mack of Louisville, Tenn. There are also nieces, nephews, and cousins, especially the Mack cousins’ lunch group.

He was predeceased by a daughter, Kathleen in 1978, his sister Geraldine in 1998 and his brother-in-law Andrew Harvan in 1995.

We, his family, are deeply grateful to The WAGS Morning Koffee Klatch group, whose sometimes heated discussions were a source of pleasure and camaraderie, for their endless cards and for their caring; to Dr. Robert LaFiandra for over 27 years of care and to Addison County Home Health & Hospice for enabling us to care for him at home where he wanted to be.

At Percy’s request, he will he cremated, there will be no public viewing hours. A military service will he held at a later date to be announced for family and friends. The ashes will be interred in Lakeview Cemetery in West Addison.

In lieu of flowers, please consider contributions to the MHS-MUHS Alumni General Fund, Addison County Home Health & Hospice, Helen Porter Healthcare Rehab Center, Addison Volunteer Fire Department, or Vergennes Area Rescue Squad.

Please remember to honor any and all Veterans.


Marjorie Cast Danforth

MIDDLEBURY — Marjorie Cast Danforth, 91, daughter of the late J. Frederick Cast and the late Amy (Motz) Cast of Cleveland, Ohio, potter, beloved wife, mother, grandmother and inspiring friend to many, died March 12, 2008, in Middlebury, Vt., surrounded by her family.

A passionate love of art was a dominant theme in Marj’s life. She was born and raised in Cleveland, where she attended Laurel School. Upon graduation in 1935, she enrolled in the Boston School of Fine Arts, majoring in sculpture, also studying liberal arts at the Stuart School.

In the fall of 1937, she enrolled in the Cranbrook Academy of Art. There, she encountered some of the most influential artists of the 20th Century: Eero and Eliel Saarinen, Charles and Ray Eames, Maija Grotell, among others. She admired the brilliance of her teachers intensely, setting up an inner dynamic that animated her spirit for much of her life.

After Cranbrook, Marj returned to Cleveland where she opened her own studio and was instrumental in developing the ceramics department at Karamu House in Cleveland, a pioneering integrated settlement.

At the onset of World War II, Marj joined the American Red Cross. She asked to be sent to a remote place and was assigned to be a service worker, first in Calcutta, India, then in Kunming, China. This experience was transformative for Marj, introducing her to East Asian culture. Her fascination with Eastern philosophy, sparked by this experience, inspired a life-long search for personal meaning.

Marj married Bill Danforth on Feb. 2, 1946, after a lifelong friendship and a whirlwind romance. Their marriage endured for 55 years, due in part to their shared sense of humor. In 1951, they moved to Hudson, Ohio, where Bill began his teaching career at Western Reserve Academy. The couple befriended many of the Academy’s students and faculty children, while concurrently raising four children of their own. Their home, once described as a haven of “creative clutter,” was also filled with music and laughter.

Marj taught pottery classes in her basement studio in the early days and continued to work with clay in her studio at “Little Maine” in Peninsula, Ohio.

She was an avid reader with eclectic interests. She had an inquisitive mind, and was equal part listener and raconteur. She continued these conversations in a lifetime of whimsical and affectionate correspondence.

In 1998 Bill and Marj moved to Middlebury to be near sons Fred and Woody, and their grandchildren. In 2005, after a fall and a serious flu, she entered into hospice care and was given several weeks to live. The love that was showered upon her at that time renewed her tenacious will to live. She opened her heart to this supportive community of wonderful new friends and caregivers. She was blessed with a sense of gratitude, and came to cherish each moment in a way that she had once envisioned.

When she finally allowed herself to let go, there were tears of relief and joy from those who loved her, followed by hugs and cheers of  “Marj, you DID it!”

Marj was predeceased by her husband, William H. Danforth, and her sister Katherine Cast Rose.

She is survived by her children Kate Danforth of San Francisco, Calif., Fred Danforth of Lincoln, Vt., Woody Danforth of Salisbury, Vt., Amy Danforth Stover of Sherman Oaks, Calif.; their spouses: and her nephew Jonathan C. Rose of Alexandria, Va. She is also survived by eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild. All will miss her greatly.

Donations may be made to Hospice Volunteer Services of Middlebury or Addison County Home Health and Hospice.


Ina Mae (Ranney) Wendland

MONKTON — Ina Mae (Ranney) Wendland, 73, died at home Saturday morning, March 22, 2008.

Ina Mae was born Oct. 12, 1934 in Concord, Vt. She was the daughter of Marjorie (Ranney) McLean and Henry Ranney.

She was a graduate of Lyndon Institute, and earned a Bachelors of Arts in Education at the University of Vermont; and she later graduated from Champlain College with an Associates Degree in Computer Programming and Accounting. She taught school at a variety of grade levels in several states and countries. She also did computer programming and accounting for several businesses throughout her life, including her own family business with farming and tower management.

Married for over 50 years, she met her husband, Peter E. Wendland, while at UVM and they were married on Aug. 24, 1957.

A long time resident of Monkton, where she and her husband built their stone house with dramatic views of Lake Champlain, Ina Mae was a long-time teacher, homemaker and beloved mother and wife. Family said she found tremendous enjoyment in singing, church, family and nature. She was a long-time member of the Friends Methodist Church in Monkton, where she played the organ, lead the church choir and taught Sunday School. She was also a member of the Champlain Echoes Barbershop Group. She and her family frequently went sailing on their boat on Lake Champlain and Maine. She enjoyed traveling extensively in North America and Europe.

She is survived by her husband, Peter; three daughters and their spouses; Wanda and Eric Conroy of Granby, Conn.; Tiana and John Grgurina of San Rafael, Calif.; and Marjorie and Bill Weeks of Newbury, N.H.; and six grandchildren.

Relatives and friends are invited to attend a funeral service at 10 a.m. on Saturday, March 29, 2008, at the Friends Methodist Church in Monkton. Interment service will be held later in the spring. Friends may call at Brown McClay Funeral Home in Bristol on Friday, March 28, from 6 to 8 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Heifer International, PO Box 8058, Little Rock, AR 72203-8058 or www.heifer.org.

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