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Obituaries 04/30/09

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Nancy Louise (Black) Valko

PORTLAND, Ore. — Nancy Louise (Black) Valko passed away peacefully on her own terms, surrounded by her family, flowers, sunshine and love, on the afternoon of Sunday, April 19, 2009, in Portland, Ore.

A third-generation California native born and raised in San Diego, Nancy and her family spent every summer at the family cottage in Mission Beach. Nancy graduated from San Diego’s Point Loma High School in 1969; she attended college in northern California.

After her marriage to Christopher Madruga dissolved, she moved to San Francisco where she worked at the University of California Medical Center. In 1980, Nancy married Edward Valko in San Diego. With a desire to discover more about the small Vermont town they had heard much about from a friendship with Marna Mraz, they soon crossed the country in their VW van and chose to settle in Middlebury where Ed worked as an accountant, eventually setting up his own practice.

Their children were both born at Porter Hospital; son Winter was born in 1980 and daughter Asylan in 1983. Nancy was primarily a homemaker but was always involved with some other business relating to a healthier lifestyle and alternatives to Western medicine. She was a knowledgeable resource for nutrition and massage, always sharing her energy to help ease one’s difficulties. Nancy and Ed relocated the family to Santa Fe, N.M., in 1989, and then on to Crestone, Colo., where they made numerous new friends and built a custom home.

When the marriage ended in the late ’90s, Nancy and her children headed for Oregon where Ashland became their home. After selling her home in Oregon and taking a trip to Europe and then China to learn to teach Qigong, she chose to live in Santa Barbara, Calif.

During her lifetime she made many friends and touched many more lives. The past three-and-a-half years Nancy fought a valiant and courageous fight against ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease. She had not been conclusively diagnosed until about a year ago. In August of 2007, Nancy’s sister Marnie brought her to live with her in Middlebury.

Nancy had an amazing opportunity to travel to Brazil to spend three months with John of God. She experienced great happiness and was at peace with herself during those months. In mid-July through the fall of 2008, Nancy returned to live in Crestone, Colo., enjoying a reconnection with old friends and new. She was able to travel with her children to San Diego in August for a family reunion to celebrate her mother’s 88th birthday. Last November she decided to be closer to her children and made her final move back to the Portland area.

Nancy inspired every person she knew, including those newly met and/or just getting to know her. Nancy’s children, family and many friends will forever miss the bright light she was for all of us. She left this world with a message of eternal hope and everlasting peace.

She is survived by her son, Winter Valko and his partner Stephanie Bobbitt and her daughter Asylan Valko, both of Portland, Ore.; her mother, Ellen Gay Black, and her brother, Robert Black Jr., both of San Diego, Calif.; her sisters, Marnie Wood of Middlebury, Debbie Hayes of St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Betty Cruz and her husband John of Molokai, Hawaii; her nephew, Christian Chase of Austin, Texas; her niece Erika Black and husband Roddy Thompson and great-niece Olivia of Albuquerque, N.M.; as well as numerous cousins and second cousins.

She was preceded in death by her father, Robert Black Sr., a prominent San Diego businessman who died in 1997.

Nancy and her family would especially like to thank the many friends, old and new, who assisted with her care in Middlebury. Her life in Portland was made better through the efforts of the staffs at Serenity Hospice, the ALS Society, and Compassion and Choices organizations. Their compassion, skill and support have been generously shared with Nancy and the family during the final months of her life. Donations may be made to any of these organizations in Nancy’s memory.

A celebration of her life will be held in San Diego and the scattering of her ashes will be in the warm waters of Hawaii; both will be scheduled at a later date.


Joseph T. Steventon

ROCHESTER — Joseph T. Steventon, 89, former Vermont state legislator, of Rochester, died Sunday, April 26, 2009, at Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington.

He was born June 17, 1919, in Bridgeport, Conn., the son of Joseph and Anna (Raabe) Steventon. He moved with his family to Rochester in October 1923. He attended Rochester Village School and one year at Rochester High School.

He moved back to Connecticut in 1934, and in 1936 started working for General Electric’s new radio division, where he remained for four-and-a-half years. He graduated from Gilbert High School in Winsted, Conn.

He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1940, and attended Signal Corps Officer Candidate School in 1942. He was then assigned to radar school at Fort Monmouth, N.J., followed by radio school.  He was promoted to 1st lieutenant and was officer in charge of Morse code school. In 1943, he was assigned to the 989th Signal Service Company, where he became an executive and technical officer.

He married Margaret Roberts of Torrington, Conn., on Nov. 20, 1943, and they celebrated 65 years of marriage this past November. When his military service was completed in 1946, he and his wife moved back to the farm in Rochester.

He was elected to the Vermont Legislature in 1968, serving six terms through 1981. He worked for Weyerhauser Plant in Hancock for nine years, and for Omya in Florence from 1979 until retiring in January 2000 at the age of 80.

He held several town offices and was active in the American Legion, where he held several offices including post commander. He was active in the Masonic Order, holding several offices including master of the lodge and district deputy grand master for District One.

He was an amateur radio operator since 1937, and held an extra class license, handling messages in traffics nets most of the time. His family says he loved fishing and hunting with his children and grandchildren. Gardening on the farm with a beautiful greenhouse was a big love of his, and he proudly shared his fresh vegetables and fruits with his family and friends. He enjoyed playing keyboard at the Peavine and at Quintown Senior Center, and at numerous functions in the area. He liked to visit with everyone and always had a big smile.

He is survived by his wife, Margaret of Rochester; a daughter, Joan Steventon and her fiancé Roger Holland of North Carolina; four sons, Thomas Steventon and his wife Cindy, Charles Steventon and his wife Lisa, Robert Steventon and his wife Gloria and Bruce Steventon and his wife Elizabeth, all of Rochester; a sister, Ann Steventon Chandler and her husband George of Orange; 10 grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.

Calling hours will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, May 1, at the Day Funeral Home in Randolph, with a Masonic service starting at 7:30 p.m. Private burial at Woodlawn Cemetery in Rochester will be at the convenience of the family. Contributions in his memory may be made to the charity of one’s choice. Private online condolences may be left at www.dayfunerals.com.


Jeanette Elizabeth Osterhout

BRANDON — Jeanette Elizabeth Osterhout, 62, died early Tuesday morning, April 28, 2009, upon arrival at Rutland Regional Medical Center.

She was born in Rutland on October 22, 1946, the daughter of Guy and Gladys (Elliott) Wheeler. She grew up in Forest Dale and received her early education in local Forest Dale schools. She graduated from Otter Valley Union High School, class of 1964.

In her earlier years she did clerical work at the Ayrshire Breeders Association. She took time out to raise her two sons and returned to the work force in 1988. For the past 21 years she worked as a paraeducator at Neshobe Elementary School. She had planned to retire in June of this year. She was a member of the Forest Dale Wesleyan Church. Relatives say she enjoyed lawn sales.

She is survived by her husband, Kenneth M. Osterhout of Brandon, whom she married May 19, 1967, at Forest Dale Wesleyan Church; two sons, Jay Osterhout and his wife Christy of Lisbon, N.Y., and Mark Osterhout and his wife Amy of South Bend, Ind.; a sister, Janice A. Gearwar of Brandon; three grandchildren; an aunt, Shirley Matson of Glens Falls, N.Y.; and many nieces, nephews and cousins.

She was predeceased by her parents, Guy and Gladys Wheeler; a brother, Earl A. Wheeler; and a nephew.

The funeral service will be held Friday, May 1, at 10 a.m., at the Forest Dale Wesleyan Church. The Rev. John McDonald, pastor, will officiate. A graveside committal service and burial will follow, in the family lot, at Forest Dale Cemetery.

Friends may call at the Miller & Ketcham Funeral Home in Brandon on Thursday, April 30, from 6 to 8 p.m.

Memorial gifts in lieu of flowers may be made in her memory to the Forest Dale Wesleyan Church, Memorial Fund, 1895 Forest Dale Road, Brandon, VT 05733, or to the Brandon Area Rescue Squad, P.O. Box 232, Brandon, VT 05733.


George William McKeighan

BRANDON — George William McKeighan, 76, of Brandon, died Saturday, April 25, 2009, at Rutland Regional Medical Center.

He was born in Rupert on June 5, 1932, the son of George Henry and Pearl (King) McKeighan. He received his education in local Rupert schools. He was a veteran of the U.S. Army, having served during the Korean War. Following his honorable discharge he returned to Vermont.

In his earlier years he was employed as a building contractor in Rutland. He later went to work at Brandon Fuels. During his years at Brandon Fuels he attended courses in Rutland and graduated with honors as a licensed plumber. He continued working as a plumber and steam fitter at Brandon Fuels and later as a self-employed plumber and steam fitter contractor. He retired in April 1996.

Following retirement he and his wife moved to a home on Lake Hortonia, which relatives say they enjoyed very much. They afterwards returned to Brandon to be nearer their family. During his retirement years he enjoyed woodworking, gardening, hunting and fishing.

He is survived by his wife, Edith Alger McKeighan of Brandon, whom he married Aug. 1, 1952, in Brandon; three sons, Dennis and his wife Sarah of Leicester, Barry and his wife Nancy of Brandon, and Paul and his wife Ildiko of Phoenicia, N.Y.; two daughters, Wanda Perron and her husband Kevin, and Cathy Rawson and her husband Michael, all of Brandon; three sisters, Hazel Baron of West Hartford, Conn., Theresa Wilkins of Granville, N.Y., and Pearl Fales of Rutland; 11 grandchildren; nine great-grandchildren; and many nieces, nephews and cousins.

He was predeceased by three brothers, Floyd, Theodore and Daniel; and three sisters, Stella Allen, Winifred Croff and Mertie Hall Cafaro.

A funeral service will be held Thursday, April 30, at 2 p.m. at the Brandon Congregational Church. The Rev. Richard White, pastor, will officiate. A graveside committal service and burial, with military honors, will follow in the family lot at Pine Hill Cemetery in Brandon.

Following the service the family will receive friends at the church hall for a time of fellowship and remembrance.

Memorial gifts in lieu of flowers may be may be made in his memory to the Rutland Area Visiting Nurse and Hospice, 7 Albert Cree Drive, Rutland, VT 05701, or to the Brandon Area Rescue Squad, P.O. Box 232, Brandon, VT 05733.


Alice Evelyn Kvasnak

PONTE VEDRA, Fla. — Alice Evelyn Kvasnak, 89, a resident of Ponte Vedra, Fla., died April 26, 2009, at Earl B. Hadlow Center for Caring with her loved ones by her side.

She was born in South Bend, Ind., on July 22, 1919, daughter of Peter and Alfreda Pine. She graduated from high school in South Bend. During high school she worked after school at a gift shop developing her talents as a merchandiser that she would use later in life.

In 1940 she married Cornelius “Neil” J. Kvasnak, a graduate of Notre Dame. In addition to her beauty, intellect and charm, Neil was also attracted to Alice’s love for the outdoors. One of their first dates was Alice teaching Neil how to fish. When WW II broke out, Neil was commissioned as a naval intelligence officer. Alice traveled with Neil to various deployments including Cambridge, Mass., Charleston, S.C., Miami, Fla., San Diego, Calif., and Washington, D.C.

After the war, Alice and Neil raised three boys, Robert Neil, Andrew, and Neil. In 1966 Alice and Neil bought the retail shop Skihaus in Middlebury. Through Alice’s eye for fashion and her merchandising skills, the Kvasnak family helped establish the Geiger of Austria manufacturing facility in Middlebury.

Later she and her husband moved to St. Michaels, Md., establishing another retail store, Shaw Bay Classics, and then finally retired to Florida, first residing in St. Augustine at Camachee Cove Harbor and then moving to Sawgrass Village in Ponte Vedra, where they have been members of Our Lady Star of the Sea.

Alice is survived by her husband, Cornelius “Neil” J. Kvasnak; three sons, Robert Neil and his partner Edmar DaSilva, Andrew, and Neil and his partner Kathleen Duclos; seven grandchildren, Heather Lynch, Andrea Kvasnak, Leandra Jenkins, Chase Kvasnak, Lindsay Kvasnak, Ethan Kvasnak and Adam Kvasnak; her brother, John Pine; and her devoted friend and caregiver, Sandra Bowes.

A visitation was held at Ponte Vedra Valley on Wednesday, April 29, 2009, from 7 until 9 p.m. with a prayer vigil led by Father Dan DePascale at 7:30 p.m. A celebration for Alice will be held at Our Lady Star of the Sea on Thursday, April 30, at 11 a.m. with Father Dan DePascale as celebrant. Interment will follow in Ponte Vedra Valley. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Community Hospice of Northeast Florida at (904) 886-3883.

Please sign the family’s online guestbook at www.pontevedravalley.com. Arrangements are under the care of Ponte Vedra Valley (904) 285-1130.


Dorothy L. Gilman

VERGENNES — Graveside committal services for Dorothy L. Gilman will be held at 10 a.m., Saturday, May 2, at Fairway Cemetery in Bethel, with Rev. George Sweet officiating. A former resident of Braintree and Randolph, she died at her home in Vergennes on Feb. 6 at the age of 91.


Rachel Pearl Denis

CASTLETON — Rachel Pearl Denis, 78, of Castleton, died Friday, April 24, 2009, at the Pines of Rutland.

She was born in Sudbury on March 8, 1931. She was the daughter of Perley & Lula (Branch) Disorda Sr. She received her education in local Sudbury Schools. She was a resident of Castleton for the past 20 years, after moving from Rutland.

In her earlier years she worked as a waitress at several area restaurants. She also worked for several years as a nurse’s aide at area nursing homes. Relatives say she enjoyed yard sales, fishing and spending time with her family.

She is survived by two brothers, Perley Disorda Jr. and James Disorda, both of Brandon; two sisters, Viola Austin of Whiting and Phyllis Bailey of Brandon; and many nieces, nephews and cousins.

She was predeceased by her life partner, Abe “Bill” Ploof, in 2008; a brother, Albert Disorda; and a sister, Jane Gove.

A private graveside committal service and burial will take place at a later date in the family lot at Wallace Cemetery in Sudbury. The Rev. Richard White, pastor of the Brandon Congregational Church, will officiate.

Memorial gifts in lieu of flowers may be made, in her memory to the Recreation Fund for the residents at the Pines of Rutland, 99 Allen St., Rutland, VT 05701.


Ronald L. Cloutier

FORT SMITH, Ark. — Ronald L. Cloutier, 44, formerly of Whiting, died unexpectedly April 11, 2009, at his home in Fort Smith, Ark.

Born in Middlebury on Jan. 6, 1965, he was the son of Rolland L. and Judith A. (Desrocher) Cloutier. He was a 1983 graduate of Otter Valley Union High School.

He was a resident of Fort Smith since 1997, moving from Whiting. He was an employee of Fortis Plastics of Fort Smith. He was a member of National Rifle Association and relatives say he enjoyed karate.

He is survived by his son, Michael L. Cloutier of Fort Smith, Ark.; his parents, Rolland and Judith Cloutier of Whiting; a sister, Karen A. Cloutier of Nashua, N.H.; a brother, Paul R. Cloutier of Webster, Mass.; and numerous aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews.

Ron was predeceased by his paternal grandparents, Theophile and Flore (Richer) Cloutier and his maternal grandparents, Donald and Marion (Blaise) Desrocher.

There will be no calling hours.

A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 2, at St. Mary’s Church in Middlebury, with the Rev. William R. Beaudin, pastor, as celebrant. Burial will follow in St. Mary’s Cemetery.

The family suggests that memorial donations be made to the American Heart Association, 12 Hurricane Lane, Williston, VT 05495.

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