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Christine Zeller Dunleavy

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Standard launches its first Annual Appeal

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Ottauquechee Pharmacy now open in Woodstock

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Woodstock Town Hall renovation approved to get cost estimates

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Barnard scopes out new solutions for village center

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Bridgewater exhibit celebrates the iconic Vermont Camp

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Woodstock Dog Club hosts its annual show

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Anne Louise Marder

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David Earl Files

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Donna Jean (Wood) Jones

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News

Standard launches its first Annual Appeal

For 168 years, the town of Woodstock and its surrounding communities have relied upon the Vermont Standard to report the local news.

The paper’s mission each week has been to keep residents abreast of the latest happenings; let readers know what’s going on; give them something to talk about; tell them when someone is born or when someone dies, and everything in-between. We tell you who won, who lost; whether there’s reason to celebrate or to mourn; whether there is cause to be skeptical or reason to go all in; whether to be optimistic or cautious. Good news or bad, the Standard’s audience simply wants to know, “What’s new around here, what’s the latest?”

No other news media covers this particular slice of Vermont. Sure, regional news providers, such as TV stations, online sites, or daily papers from other towns, touch on our area and report some of the bigger stories that occur, but our communities aren’t their main focus or primary concern. At the Standard, though, our own communities are our only concern.

And the “little” stories are often just as important as the “big” ones to those who call this place home. Like we do.

We think ours is a noble mission. We’re proud to be entrusted to keep our communities informed and connected. We tell residents about local subjects that may interest them, affect them, entertain or inspire them. Independently owned, we work on behalf of the people, businesses and organizations of this area.

And readers look forward to the paper each week. Whether in print or digital, they read it, they trust it, and they have conversations with family and friends about the information they find in it.

That’s the way it was so many years ago when the Standard began and throughout all those decades since. That’s the way it remains to this very day.

Since 1853, the communities we serve have needed us. Right now, we need them.

Today the Standard is launching its first Annual Appeal.

TO READ THE FULL STORY CLICK HERE

TO MAKE A GIFT TO THE VERMONT STANDARD ANNUAL APPEAL CLICK HERE

Ottauquechee Pharmacy now open in Woodstock

Woodstock

The community was all abuzz earlier this week as a venerable retail tradition — an independent, family-run, locally-owned-and-operated, full-service pharmacy — returned to Woodstock Village. The new Ottauquechee Pharmacy, located on the lower level of the Ottauquechee Health Center (OHC) at 32 Pleasant Street, opened to the public at 9 a.m. Monday morning, filling a vital niche formerly occupied by the Woodstock Pharmacy, which shuttered its landmark store on Central Street last year after more than 170 years of service to the community. The new pharmacy at the OHC will provide prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, and health products of all kinds to the community. It will not, however, offer sundries, everyday staples, newspapers, and greeting cards like a traditional drug store.

Read more in the July 22 edition of the Vermont Standard.

Woodstock Town Hall renovation approved to get cost estimates

Woodstock

As the Town Hall Rejuvenation Project received it’s go-ahead from the Woodstock Selectboard to proceed to cost estimates, one thing was perfectly clear — Woodstock Town Hall is not just the center of this undertaking, it is the center of the community. In the presentation given to the Woodstock Selectboard on Tuesday, John Hemmelgarn, Black River Design’s lead architect for the project, made a point to emphasize that sense of community. Town Hall is more than just a building. The presentation to the selectboard was intended as an opportunity to advise the board, and the public, about the potential options for Town Hall. With the selectboard’s approval, which came unanimously at Tuesday’s meeting, the project now has permission to seek a cost estimate for the proposed changes.

Read more in the July 22 edition of the Vermont Standard.

Barnard scopes out new solutions for village center

Barnard

Residents of Barnard met at Town Hall on July 12 to discuss the latest round of design proposals for the busy intersection at the village center. The Barnard Scoping Study’s goal is to find a solution to improve connectivity along Route 12 and North Road. An engineering firm and the local committee came up with three possible solutions to the issue. The number one stated objective of the firm’s proposal is to evaluate design alternatives that will improve safety and mobility for all users — pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists — while maintaining the village aesthetic. Second to that is improving traffic circulation. Among the solutions the firm proposed is an advisory shoulder with five-foot pathways on either side of the roadway for pedestrians, an eight-foot shared use path alongside the road for bikers and walkers alike, a refuge island in front of the general store, and more defined parking and crosswalks. Most of these options will involve a widening of North Road and Route 12 at some juncture. 

Read more in the July 22 edition of the Vermont Standard.

Bridgewater exhibit celebrates the iconic Vermont Camp

Bridgewater

There’s no more iconic example of the culture and lifestyle of rural Vermont than the family camp. Rugged and utilitarian, clapboard-wrapped or asphalt-shingled, it’s the cherished locus of family lore where generations of Vermonters have gathered to hunt and fish, picnic, enjoy summertime retreats from everyday life, and reunite with friends and loved ones. The Bridgewater Historical Society is honoring this revered Vermont tradition with a new exhibit, entitled simply “Camp,” that celebrates the rough-hewn camps, hunting and fishing gear, outdoor clothing, photographs, and memorabilia of several longtime Bridgewater families. The exhibit captures a slice of life in the rural community that remains extant, though, as some local historians speculate, seemingly destined to recede into memory.

Read more in the July 22 edition of the Vermont Standard.

Woodstock Dog Club hosts its annual show

When the Woodstock Dog Club (WDC) held the 61st edition of its annual, American Kennel Club (AKC)-sanctioned, pure-bred dog show at the Tunbridge Fairgrounds last week, it provided the perfect opportunity to connect with dog lovers from throughout the country, state, and Upper Valley region to explore the special connection that exists between people and their four-legged “best friends.”

This year’s dog show held special significance for the WDC, not only because it marked the resumption of the Vermont Scenic Circuit gathering after a one-year COVID-mandated layoff, but also because a longtime member and leader of the Woodstock club returned to the area to judge in the competition for the first time after spending the last 13 years living in Vancouver, Wash.

Read more in the July 22 edition of the Vermont Standard.

Features

Newspapers Are In a Race Against the Clock

Woodstock

Throughout the country newspapers are in a fight for their lives.          Here too.

Race Against The Clock VT Standard Front Page

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Obituaries

Christine Zeller Dunleavy

Christine Zeller Dunleavy, 74, passed away on July 5th in Scarborough after a battle with bile duct cancer.  Born on May 17, 1947, Christine was the second of six children for Irene Sampson Zeller from Newton, MA, and George William Zeller from Patchogue, NY.  She was born in Scarborough and moved with her family to Sayville, Long Island, NY when she was eight.  She graduated from Mount Holyoke College with a major in economics and subsequently worked on Wall Street for about twenty years.  Taking full advantage of the restaurants, plays, and museums, she loved her time in NYC.  She also joined a gourmet club and pursued her love of photography.

She frequently traveled to Europe for her last Wall Street job.  It was there that she and her partner John discovered that the paint on many of the doors seemed superior to that in the US.  They researched and then started the paint import business Fine Paints of Europe in Woodstock, VT.   During this time, Christine studied colors and further developed her good eye for design.

Christine left the paint business after about ten years to pursue a career in kitchen design for Crown Point Cabinetry in Claremont, NH.  She worked there about ten years and retired in 2013.

After moving to Vermont, Christine adopted a Mastiff named Shamrock and quickly fell in love with the breed.  Shamrock was the first, followed sequentially by Clover and then Piper.

She also took up drawing and painting and became an accomplished amateur water-painter.

Christine loved to travel and frequently toured Europe, with a special love for southern France and Italy.  She spent a few weeks each year in Aruba with dear friends and enjoyed a few trips to St Martin with her sister.

Christine left Vermont in 2019 to build a house in Eastern Village in Scarborough, Maine that she moved into in the late spring of 2020.  Her diagnosis of cancer was made within a couple of months of moving to her beautiful new home.

Survivors include four devoted sisters: Cheryl Cameron and husband Burns of Standish, ME; Pamela Zeller and partner James Siler of Saco, ME; Cynthia Hills and husband Jack of Los Alamos, NM; Marilynn Zeller and husband Ned James of Ashfield, MA, two loving nieces: Erica Hills and Clara James, and a nephew Russell James, as well as many cherished friends.  She was preceded in death by her mother, Irene Zeller, her father, George Zeller, and her brother, William Zeller.

The family would like to express their appreciation for the kindness and care Christine received at New England Cancer Specialists, Maine Medical Center, Hospice of Southern Maine, and the Dempsey Center.

A small, private burial took place in Lovell, Maine on July 8th.

Arrangements are in the care of Wood Funeral Home, 9 Warren St., Fryeburg.  Words of condolence and tribute may be shared with the family at: www.woodfuneralhome.org

Anne Louise Marder

Woodstock

Anne Louise Marder, age 100, of Woodstock, Vermont, passed away peacefully at her home on July 14th, 2021 where she lived for the past 25+ years (most recently with her gentle and attentive cat, Claude).

Anne was born on May 30th, 1921 in New York City. The daughter of Joel Marder and Amy Meinhold Marder, her family moved to Mt. Vernon, New York in 1923 and lived in the house that her father built. Anne began high school in Mt. Vernon then transferred to Fieldston School in Riverdale, New York where she graduated. She subsequently attended and, in 1944, graduated from Teachers College at Columbia University with a Bachelor of Science degree in early childhood education. Anne spent the majority of her first 68 years working/teaching in Mt. Vernon.

Anne was a supporter, staunch advocate, and accomplished practitioner of the fine arts. She taught and studied modern dance and ballet, and for several years was president of the Westchester Dance Council which she helped found. She was an avid sculptress, photographer, quilter, needleworker, gardener, and bird watcher. She traveled extensively with her sister Jean (formerly of Reading, Vermont) and spent many months studying art in Italy.

In 1968, she was a founding member of Future House — a service organization created by a small group of women from the Westchester Ethical Society. Over the ensuing years, Human Development Services of Westchester supported over 3,000 men and women in their recovery from periods of homelessness, mental illness, and substance abuse. They helped recipients gain confidence through job training, education, supported housing, and shelter care.

Anne moved to Woodstock in the early 1990s and lived in the home she had constructed on Roberts Road, directly across from Gilbert’s Hill. She was a lover of classical music, animals, and animal rights, and was an active member of both the Progressive Club and the Prosper Valley Homemakers Club — in May of this year, the Homemakers Club celebrated Anne’s 100th birthday and awarded her with a certificate as the longest-living member. Until recently, she loved swimming laps in the Woodstock Inn pool. Ann Marder will be remembered as a dear and kind soul to her many friends and neighbors here in Vermont. A most amazing and generous woman with her funds, and kind words about those she knew and loved, she left her mark on Woodstock and this world.

The Cabot Funeral Home will arrange for her burial in New York State with her parents and sister Jean.

An online guestbook can be found at cabotfh.com

David Earl Files

David Earl Files, 76, of Hartland, VT passed away July 14, 2021. Full of life, goals, and hopes to the very end, David walked an ambitious path throughout his entire life, never slowing down, never settling. An avid collector, David was never without a building to repair or a project to complete.

Born on September 10, 1944, David enlisted in the US Navy after high school. After his enlistment, he married Sheilla Jean Callahan, on June 11, 1966.

David was a ‘jack of all trades’.  He was a real estate agent, builder, electrician, plumber, and landlord.  But more importantly than what he did, he will be remembered for the people that he helped along the way. David made it a point to help others in the community that were less fortunate. As a mentor to many, he passed on a strong work ethic, valuable D-I-Y skills, and drive to everyone he met, and he took pride in teaching each of us how to ‘do the job right’.

David will be remembered for his sense of humor, and the twinkle in his blue eyes. He loved meeting new people, and had the ability to strike up a meaningful conversation even with a complete stranger. He loved nature, fishing, the Lake, and animals.

He is survived by his wife Sheilla, his daughters Tammie, Deb and Chris, granddaughters Rachel, Sarah, and Lily, and sons-in-law, Bruce, Andy, and Nate. He is survived by siblings Oren Files, Luella Poindexter, and Dawson Fifield. David was predeceased by siblings Dolton Fifield, Gordon Fifield, Nellie Banker, and Evelyn LaMontagne.

A Memorial Service will be held in his honor on July 24th, 2:00 PM at Knight Funeral Home in Windsor, VT. A Celebration of Life Party will be held afterward, rain or shine, at the North Hartland, VT Dam at the lower shelter. Online condolences are appreciated at www.knightfuneralhomes.com

Donna Jean (Wood) Jones

Donna Jean (Wood) Jones, 80, passed away peacefully on July 6, 2021.  Donna was born October 8, 1940, the daughter of Blanche (Fay) Wood and Ehrick J. Wood.  She grew up in South Pomfret, Vermont where she received her early education.  She graduated from Woodstock Union High School in 1958 and went on to obtain her Associate’s degree in Medical Technology from Carnegie Institute in Boston, MA.  Donna was an army wife and worked as a medical technician for several years in Alabama and Texas before going to Germany where she gave birth to her son, Jeffrey, in 1965.  In 1966, she settled in Brandon, VT where she was employed at the Brandon Training School as a medical/x-ray technician.  In 1970, she relocated to Meriden, Connecticut and worked at Bradley Hospital, then Masonic Home and Hospital until 1997, when she returned to her family home in South Pomfret, Vermont. Donna renovated the family home into the Rosewood Inn Bed & Breakfast where she loved getting to know her guests and hearing about their travels.  In her retirement years, she found a home in Woodstock and worked as a traveling lab technician for Staffing Solutions.

Family meant everything to Donna, especially her grandchildren, they were the light of her life.  She also loved her dogs. She was never without a furry companion.  Donna played a significant role in organizing the WUHS Alumni Weekend Parade for many years and cherished every minute of it.  Anyone who knew Donna knew how magical Christmas was to her. Her decorations would light up the neighborhood. She had a heart of gold, she always doing something for someone.

Donna is survived by her son Jeffrey Jones and his wife Anne, of Brandon, Vermont; her grandchildren, Tyler Jones of Tulsa, Oklahoma and Amy Jones of Brandon, Vermont; two sisters, Mary Rose of Windsor, Vermont and Betty Ann Lantz of Woodstock, Vermont; as well as many nieces and nephews.  She was predeceased by her sister, Frances Patenaude, and her brother, Lawrence (Larry) Wood.

A celebration of life for Donna will be held on Saturday, July 24th from 11:00 – 3:00 at the Thompson Senior Center, 99 Senior Lane in Woodstock.

Contributions, in memory of Donna, may be made to the WUHS Alumni Association, P.O. Box 755, Woodstock, VT 05091

An online guest book can be found at cabotfh.com

Frederick Earl Merriam Jr.

RANDOLPH

Frederick Earl Merriam Jr. passed away unexpectedly at this home Thursday, July 8th, 2021.

Fred was born to Frederick Earl Merriam and Sheila (Aubin) Merriam on September 22, 1970 in Rutland, Vermont.  He grew up in Bridgewater, VT attending Bridgewater Elementary and Woodstock Union High School.  After high school, he went on to Lyndon State College in Vermont and then Johnson and Wales in Rhode Island.

Fred was a skilled craftsman and entrepreneur. He developed and ran ACME Carriage Works, Inc. in Bridgewater, VT. In these years he also established Vermont Bell Company. His great love for horses, especially Percherons, was reflected in his craftsmanship. His talent was showcased at numerous museums, including the Smithsonian and he was featured on Martha Stewart Living Show, sharing his bell-making craft and sleigh restoration. The business and family eventually moved to Braintree, VT where life just got sweeter. Together with his wife and children, a new adventure began, and what started as a hobby with five beehives, grew into West Meadow Apiary, a successful honeybee business that progressed to 2,000 hives over 12 years. He traveled coast to coast with the bees pollinating crops, all the while sharing experiences and adventures across the country with his family. Fred had incredible vision and positivity, he believed in and encouraged others that they could do anything if they put their mind to it. He found great joy in mentoring others and was always willing to lend a hand.

Fred leaves behind his wife and best friend Jackie (Larocque) and nine children: Aidan (20), Noah (18), Levi (17), Holly (15), Clover (12), Daisy (10), Jonah (8), Elijah (6), and Moses (4); his father Fred of Newfane, VT, mother Sheila of Rochester, NY, and brother Seth of Boston, MA along with numerous relatives and friends.

Fred was a beautiful soul, lived life to the fullest, enjoying every moment, pouring all of his love and faith in God into his whole family and all who he knew.

A graveside service will be held Friday, July 16th, 2021 at Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Bridgewater, VT at 1:00 pm, followed by a gathering at the Bridgewater Grange.

Arrangements are by Cabot Funeral Home in Woodstock, VT. An online guestbook can be found at cabotfh.com

Pia Stråhle Nichols

Woodstock

Pia Stråhle Nichols died Saturday, July 10, 2021 in her sleep at her home in Woodstock, VT. She was 77.

Siv Pia Gunilla Stråhle was born in Söderhamn, Sweden on September 23,1943, the daughter of Einar and Lilli (Björn) Stråhle and the twin sister of Gunnar Stråhle. Her father worked for the Swedish Postal Service and while the family moved several times, the majority of her childhood was spent in Orsa and Leksand, towns that ring Lake Siljan in the province of Darlarna. It was in the cold waters of Siljan that Pia started her career as a competitive swimmer, which culminated in a place on the Swedish Olympic swim team. She swam for Sweden in the 1960 Olympics in Rome, an accomplishment she rarely mentioned.

Following the Olympics, Pia lived in Switzerland and worked as a nanny before earning a scholarship to Colby Sawyer College in New London, NH. She arrived in the US in 1962 to study, and through friends in New London, was introduced to Joel Nichols, a Massachusetts native who was serving in the Army in Albuquerque, NM. They were married by a justice of the peace in Tijeras Canyon, NM in November 1963 in a hilarious set of circumstances that featured a dump truck and a room full of egg crates, which they laughed about for the fifty years of their marriage until Joel’s death in 2013.

After Joel was discharged from the service, they moved back to New England and settled in Woodstock where they raised their two children. For many years, Pia was the bookkeeper for Precision Concrete Foundations, Inc., her husband’s construction company. In 1976, she opened Lofty Ideas, an antique shop in West Woodstock, which she ran for almost twenty years. After closing the shop in the 1990s, she worked at Mertens House in Woodstock until her retirement.

She was an avid skier (both downhill and cross country) in her younger years, who thought nothing of taking on Tuckerman Ravine, and taught a generation of kids to ski at Killington and the Mount Tom ski area in Woodstock. She also took enormous pride in serving as a guide in the Ski for Light program, which provides opportunities for visually and mobility-impaired people to experience cross-country skiing. Pia loved to travel and she returned often to Sweden to visit friends and family. She was a born adventurer always planning her next trip, a determined genealogist constantly discovering new cousins in far-flung parts of the world, and an extraordinary mother and grandmother with a gift for making even the most mundane tasks silly and fun. Hers is a legacy of resilience, kindness, and laughter.

She will be fiercely missed by her daughter and son-in-law Kit Nichols and Duncan Kuhn of Boston, MA, grandchildren Isla and Ian Kuhn; her uncle Nils Stråhle of Stockholm, Sweden; her cousin Roger Johansson of Sveg, Sweden; cousins, nieces, and nephews in Sweden and the US; and her dearest friends, Carol Cunningham of Woodstock and Jörel Stadin of Skellefteå, Sweden. She was predeceased by her son Lars Nichols, her husband Joel Nichols, and her twin Gunnar Stråhle.

Celebrations of Pia’s life will be held in Woodstock and in Sweden at a later date. Pia cared deeply about those in her community and her family asks that in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions be made to the Woodstock Food Shelf (http://woodstockfoodshelf.org/donate/) or the King’s Daughters, PO Box 765, Woodstock, VT 05091.

An online guestbook can be found at cabotfh.com

Gregory Carl Merriam

Gregory Carl Merriam, 63 — Mechanic, craftsman, father, and fun person

Gregory was hit by a car on July 4, 2021, while walking along Route 7 in Rutland and died from impact. He had been out to dinner and was on his way back to the Days Inn.

Greg was born on July 8, 1957 at Mary Hitchcock Hospital in Hanover, NH; the son of Ruth and Layton Merriam of Woodstock.

He attended elementary schools in Woodstock and Barstow in Chittenden, VT. Following his father’s promotion to Howe Richardson in Canada, the family moved to Beaconsfield, Quebec, where Greg attended Beaconsfield High School and went on to Dawson College in Westmont, Quebec.

His work experience included Howe Richardson Scale Company in Quebec. Later in life, he owned and operated a motorcycle repair business in Lebanon, NH. His last job was with Fuji Film Company in Lebanon, NH.

Greg’s hobbies included hunting, fishing, and golf. He was a terrific golfer and very likely, could have made golf a career option.

He is survived by a brother Todd Jon Merriam of Woodstock and Todd’s daughter and Greg’s niece Harlei (also of Woodstock), two sons; Ben of Claremont, NH, Lenny of Windsor, VT and three grandchildren; River, Lillian, and Wesley.

Burial will be at the Frizzell Family Cemetery in Hartland, VT, at a later date.

Oliver D. Wittasek

Woodstock

Oliver D. Wittasek, 95, of Woodstock VT, passed away at his home on Wednesday, June 30, 2021, where he lived with his family for the past 48 years.

Oliver was born in Rijeka of Italian and Croatian parents, he is predeceased by his father Carlo Dragutin Wittasek, and his mother Maria Kamalich. He was also predeceased by his brother Svebor, and his stepmother, Maria Wittasek. Oliver grew up under the care of his maternal grandmother, his Nonna. His first opportunity for an education was at an orphanage near Milano. His later education was overseen by his father, higher educational opportunities followed including the ones which brought him to the U.S.A., in the Department of Meteorology, University of Chicago, and then the school of the Art Institute of Chicago. One of his proudest accomplishments, however, was becoming a naturalized citizen of the U.S.A. in October 1969. His first job in Vermont was at the former “School of International Affairs” in South Royalton. After that, he was employed at the Woodstock Inn for many years as a sommelier, but the consuming passion of his life (after his family) was working in his pottery studio and offering free lessons and God’s love to all who would come.

Oliver is survived by his wife of 55 years Patricia of Woodstock, his two sons, Matthew of Colorado Springs CO, and Nathan of Los Angeles CA. As well as his four precious grandchildren, Elizabeth, Elija, and Sarah of Colorado and Zev of California. Also surviving are his two beloved “daughter’s in love”, Meshial Wittasek and Raven Kauffman. He is also survived by his loving brother-in-law, Robert Brinkley and Robert’s wife Brenda of Virginia. Nieces, Samantha Campisi and her family, Maria Wilcox and her husband Jeff, Nephews Brian and Kevin Moore, and many grandnieces and nephews.

Close family friends, neighbors, and church family will all bid him farewell on Saturday, July 17 at a memorial service at Crosspoint Church, 11 am, 45 Buckingham Place, Lebanon NH. A reception will follow.

Memorial Donation Suggestions; Compassion International, 12290 Voyager Pkwy, Colorado Springs, CO 80921

Arrangements are under the care of Cabot Funeral Home of Woodstock VT. An online guest book can be found at cabotfh.com