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WOODSTOCK

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Youth hockey 10u team falls to Essex in semifinals

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Woodstock considers new sick-day policy

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Mary Drew Fraser

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Richard Clifton Leonard Jr

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Alpine team racers come out on top at Okemo

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School board chair announces resignation

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Daniel P. Richardson, 1941-2020 -- service Saturday 2/22

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Camille Ann Thill -- service and reception on Sunday 2/23

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Jeffrey S. (Jeff) Bendis

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David H. Darakjy

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News

Woodstock considers new sick-day policy

Woodstock municipal employees spoke out Tuesday against a proposed change in personnel policy that would do away with payouts for unused sick days.

Current policy allows full-time employees an unlimited amount of accrued sick days for which they receive a payment in lump sum upon retirement or separation of employment with the town or village.

Woodstock Police Officer Joe Swanson said the policy change was conceived in “bad faith” and would create dissent among municipal workers if adopted.

The meeting was convened by the Select Board and Village Trustees to garner input from employees while the personnel rules are being crafted.

Read more in the Feb. 27 issue of the Vermont Standard.

School board chair announces resignation

On Friday, Feb. 14, Windsor Central Modified Unified Union School District Board Chair Paige Hiller announced she has submitted her resignation, effective immediately. She is stepping down for health reasons.

Windsor Central Union District Superintendent Mary Beth Banios confirmed the news.

“She has worked tirelessly on behalf of the students of all of our towns and she should leave secure in the knowledge that she has had a strong, positive impact on the education that is offered to all of our district students,” said Banios in a statement.

Co-Chair Jennifer Iannantuoni will facilitate the remaining meeting before the board reorganizes and elects new officers at their March 9 meeting, according to Banios.

Hiller and Iannantuoni had previously announced they would be stepping down from their roles as co-chairs when the board reorganizes in March.

Read more in the Feb. 20 issue of the Vermont Standard.

Sports

Youth hockey 10u team falls to Essex in semifinals

The Woodstock Youth Hockey 10u Wasps stared down their toughest test yet this season, Essex. Having successfully navigated the play downs a week earlier to advance in the state tournament, they now faced the number one seed from the North bracket in the semifinals.

Essex struck first in the first period. A shot from a seemingly impossible angle hit Jones in the shoulder dribbled over his back and into the net. 0-1. Goalie Charlie Jones and his defense continued their strong defensive play until Woodstock could even the score. In the second period, Oliver Graves carried the puck into the Essex zone and the offense was on attack. Marshall Somerville grabbed a loose puck in the high slot, turned and shot. The goalie seemed to know where the shot was going moving to the right, but a deflection off an Essex player redirected the puck to the left and into the open goal. 1-1.

This game was as even as the Wasps had faced all season. Woodstock’s offense was creating opportunities and the defense, led by Vasco Malik’s stand out play, were stymieing Essex’s offense at every turn. Overtime was the likely outcome despite numerous opportunities to close out the game for both teams.

Barely a minute into overtime, luck (or bad luck) would continue its grip on this game. An Essex defenseman took the puck from deep in their zone skated the puck up the ice only to meet Vasco Malik. Instead of trying to beat Malik, the Essex player used him as a screen and let a shot rip. It was a hard and a well placed shot. The screen did its job catching Jones off guard and the puck hit a small space below his pad inches away from the post. A game of inches ended in a space of inches.

A heartbreak for sure, but a valiant effort indeed. The team should be nothing but proud to know they moved up from Tier 4 to Tier 3 and ended their regular Vermont season among the top teams in the state.

Alpine team racers come out on top at Okemo

Great weather arrived in time for the Woodstock Union High School’s Alpine team to race at Okemo on Wednesday. With great weather came some great results. This was the first time in five years since racing at Okemo when they regularly held regular season races. Coincidentally, five years ago Okemo hosted the State Giant slalom (GS) just as it will early next month.

Like most races this season, the top of the standings, for both girls and boys, was dominated by Woodstock racers. On the girls side, Alice Sperber won for the fourth time this season while on the boys side, Aaron Wilson also won for the fourth time.  In Wilson’s case, he won both runs walking away with a nearly 0.6 second victory. Sperbr took a different path, placing third after the first run and winning the second run, but like Aaron, Alice walked away with a 0.6 victory.

Read more about the race in the Feb. 20 issue of the Vermont Standard.

Obituaries

Mary Drew Fraser

Chester VT

Mary Drew Fraser, 87, passed away Dec 31, 2019 at Cheshire Medical Center after a brief illness. Born Sept 26, 1932, the only child of Frank and Alice (Ingerson) Drew, Mary grew up in Wilton and Milford NH. After graduation from UNH in 1954, she married the love of her life, George Robert Fraser.

Mary was intelligent and spirited. She ran a kindergarten, was a Social Worker, was the first elected Library Trustee Chairperson in Springfield, VT, and a Unitarian Universalist Church member. She and Bob restored several historic houses, started an antiques business and created and managed several successful antique shows. She wrote the VADA News for “Maine Antique Digest”, a Taftsville, VT news column, and was an avid reader.

Mary lived a long and happy life, loving her family, pets, and countless friends, and being much loved in return. Mary leaves behind children Lissa Fernandez (David), Stephen Fraser (Anita), Donna Fraser-Leary (Dean), Kate Fraser, and AFS daughter Sandra Fankhauser Azam and family in Switzerland; grandchildren Nathan Fraser (Angela), Alexander (Brittany) and Benjamin Fernandez (Stephanie), and Leon and Robyn Leary; great-grandchildren Kelsie, Kya and Skye Fraser, and Penelope Fernandez. She was predeceased by her husband Bob and a grandson Jason Fraser.

A Celebration of Life Service will be held at 1 pm, Saturday June 13, 2020 at the Unitarian Universalist Meetinghouse, 21 Fairground Road, Springfield, Vermont. Burial will be private. Donations in Mary’s memory may be made to: Community Cares Network (CCN) of Chester/Andover, PO Box 64, Chester VT 05143, or Whiting Library, 117 Main St., Chester, VT 05143.

Richard Clifton Leonard Jr

Richard C. Leonard Jr, age 93, died on Saturday, February 15 at The Terrace in Woodstock, Vermont.  He was born at home in North Pomfret, Vermont,  on June 22, 1926, the eldest son of Richard and Marietta (Billings) Leonard.

Richard was predeceased by his loving wife of more than 70 years, Jane Barnett Leonard; by an infant son, Steven Harvey Leonard; by his grandson Samuel Barnett Leonard, and by his brothers Gordon, Wendall, and Ronald.  He is survived by his brothers Everett and Rodney; by his six children:  Janice (Leonard) Morrow of Winter Haven, Fl;  Thomas Leonard of Hartland, Vt;  Wayne Leonard of Woodstock, Vt; Douglas Leonard of Woodstock; Marshall Leonard of Jeffersonville, Vt; and Susan (Leonard) Toll of Harvard, Ma.; and by his 14 grandchildren and 17 great grandchildren.

Richard attended the North Pomfret Elementary School, and was taught by his mother there for several years.  He attended Woodstock High School, and was the pitcher for the Woodstock Wasps Baseball team, batting .500 his senior year.  He was also a member of the Cadet Army Air Corps during his high school years.  Following his graduation, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps and was sent to Denver, Colorado to work on B-29 Bombers.  His next duty assignment took him to Pratt, Kansas where he met Jane Barnett.  Following his release from active duty, he took the train back to Kansas to propose to the girl who had promised to “wait for him.”  A few months later, Jane came to Vermont and they were married in Woodstock on May 14, 1947.

After working for the Woodstock Electric Company for several years, Richard went into business for himself.  He then hired two other men to help him.  Within a few more years, he and Jane established Leonard’s Gas and Electric Service on Elm Street in Woodstock.  The company grew and moved to West Woodstock where it was in business for more than 40 years.

When entertaining their family and friends, Richard was often found manning the grill while Jane supervised everything else.  Richard always had several large gardens in the summer. In the fall, he was an avid deer hunter. He had his pilot’s license and owned a small plane for many years.  He also enjoyed woodworking. Winter months found him making maple syrup, reading or playing cards. Richard and Jane especially enjoyed traveling together and saw much of the world, from Greece, Italy, and Hawaii to RV trips that took them to Alaska, Central America, and across the US.  For many years they enjoyed being “snowbirds”, as they divided their time between their home in Woodstock and their home in Lake Hamilton, Florida.

Richard served on the Woodstock School Board, including a term as President.  He also served on the board of the Health Center and in that capacity, helped to facilitate the creation of the Merton’s House.  Richard and Jane were also strong supporters of the Thompson Senior Center.  He will be remembered for his wonderful storytelling.  His greatest joy came from presiding over large family parties, where he was Pop to his grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Funeral services will be held on Saturday, April 4 at 11 am at the North Pomfret Congregational Church.  A reception will follow at the Thompson Senior Center.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the North Pomfret Congregational Church, 7767 Pomfret Road, North Pomfret, Vt 05053 or to the ABLE Library, Vermont Department of Libraries, 60 Washington St, Suite 2,  Barre, Vt 05641.

The Cabot Funeral Home is assisting the Leonard family. An on line guest book can be found at cabotfh.com

Daniel P. Richardson, 1941-2020 — service Saturday 2/22

Daniel Putnam Richardson, known to all as Dan, died peacefully at home on the afternoon of February 12, surrounded by his loving partner, Margaret Hiatt, his children and extended family. He was 78. In early 2018 Dan was diagnosed with MDS (myelodysplastic syndrome), a rare bone marrow failure for which there is treatment but no cure. Dan confronted this new reality directly and openly, including writing “Surprised: A Richardson Story,” an autobiography that begins:

“As I sit in my office a week after my 77th birthday, I am wondering ‘Who am I?’ Or perhaps better said: ‘What am I?’ What I am is a man with a terminal disease, and I feel compelled to evaluate my life. Beyond that, I can give you specifics. I can say I was born on Sept. 17, 1941. I can tell you my parents came from Boston Blue Blood families. I can add that I had a passive and not very happy childhood…And then I can tell you about the evolution of my remarkable family.”

Dan Richardson was a student at the University of Denver in 1960 when he met Patricia Randle from Goodsprings, Alabama. She had come to Denver to work after graduating from the University of Alabama as a history major. Dan was only 20 and needed parental permission to marry Pat in 1962. Dan worked three jobs while attending Denver University as sons Danny and Randy were born in quick succession. Soon after moving to Massachusetts and starting a job at Gillette, their daughter Betsy arrived. During their 51-year marriage they added other, surrogate, children and a total of nine grandchildren, even as Dan’s peripatetic career path took them to eight states and one foreign country before they finally settled in Woodstock in 2009.

Dan spent a year at Boston University Law School before taking a job as business manager at the Woodstock Country School in 1970. After three years there, the family moved to Costa Rica where Dan ran a family business. Among his projects in Costa Rica was developing a school for learning disabled kids. Returning to the United States in 1976, Dan spent a year as assistant dean at the Vermont Law School and another year as assistant headmaster at the Barlow School in Amenia, NY, before being hired as the headmaster at the all-girls school Wykeham Rise in Washington, CT. He was there four years, helping the school to close gracefully when its finances gave out. That was followed by a year when Dan was headmaster of a K-8 school in Newport, RI, and Pat was his assistant head.

Dan enrolled in the Harvard Graduate School of Education in the fall of 1981, graduating with a masters degree the following spring. He later wrote: “It had become clear to me that in the snotty world of private schools, my University of Denver degree carried no clout – but a master’s from Harvard solved everything.”

The Tatnall School in Wilmington, DE, hired Dan as head of the Upper School in 1982. He stayed there five years, before being hired as headmaster of the Cape Henry Collegiate School in Virginia Beach, VA, a K-12 school that was in somewhat shaky shape when Dan arrived. He wrote: “I’d never worked at a school with so many trailers – and on top of that the physical plant was in subpar shape” – and only the lower school was academically strong.  During his 16-year tenure, Dan brought the school to a high level of cultural and educational excellence, increasing the size and diversity of the faculty and student body. In 1993, only six years after Dan arrived, Cape Henry was designated a Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education. During this time Dan took great pride in his commitment to the Hampton Roads community where he served as president of the Urban League and an officer of the National Association of Independent Schools.

With the onset of Pat’s eventually fatal kidney disease, Dan retired in 2003 and the Richardsons moved to New London, NH.

In the final section of his book, Dan wrote: “But for what it’s worth, this is how it feels to live while dying…. You can still walk and talk and drive and go see movies and drink. You can still live while you’re coping. But you start slowing down, and then you wind up giving up time each week to getting blood transfusions to keep you going…. [And then] you make a decision to stop…. I want the family to continue…. Ultimately, that’s all I want – I want them to come together and laugh. I’m about to leave, so listen to me, please. This is what matters to me. Do you hear what I’m saying? I want you to laugh.”

Dan continued to laugh after meeting Margaret Hiatt with whom they shared many discussions, various classes, books and trips around the country – including a week in Key West just before Dan died. Margaret was a wonderful partner to Dan, and is now a vital member of the Richardson family.

Dan Richardson is survived by three children and three others considered children, as well as nine grandchildren: Danny Richardson and partner Katie, and his three sons, Tanner and his partner Sarah, Cooper and his wife Olivia, and Walker; Randy and wife Susi, and their son Josh and daughter Liza, and her husband Nick;  Betsy Richardson; Nils Haaland and his wife Sherri; Amy Biancolli Ringwald (Arts Writer for the Hearst newspaper Albany Times Union, who edited Surprised), and her two daughters, Madeleine and Jeanne, and son Mitchell; Constance Royster, and her daughter Avery. Betty Hatch and her daughter, Lesley. Dan is survived by his partner, Margaret Hiatt.

Well beyond that extended family, Dan touched countless others with his enormous heart. He was loving and loved, a mentor to many and a guiding force in the lives of friends and former students – an “indelible human being,” as Amy called him on her blog. Walking his dog Sally, relaxing with a martini, playing bridge in his living room or emailing his “daily drivel” from his busy, sunny office each morning, he lived every moment of every day with passion, generosity and joy. He will be missed.

Dan Richardson was predeceased by his wife, both parents and both brothers, one of whom also suffered from MDS and whose life was prolonged by a stem cell transplant from Dan.

There is a service Saturday February 22 at 12:30pm at the Little Theater 54 River St, Woodstock, VT 05091.  If you are interested in attending, please send an email to dprmemorialservice@gmail.com. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to:

Camille Ann Thill — service and reception on Sunday 2/23

Killington, Vermont

Camille Ann Thill, born in Hackensack, NJ on August 10, 1937 passed away peacefully on February 13, 2020 at age 82. Camille battled pancreatic cancer for 10 years. She was the wife of her beloved husband of 58 years, Ray Thill, devoted mother to her two sons Raymond and Tom, blessed grandmother of Gavin, Mason, Sabrina and Brooke, sister to Carlo Augusto and daughter of Carlo and Avril Augusto.

A memorial service will be held at the Church of Our Savior (316 Mission Farm Rd, Killington, VT) on Sunday, February 23rd at 3:00 PM, reception immediately following.

The Cabot Funeral Home in Woodstock is assisting in arrangements. An on line guest book can be found at cabotfh.com

Jeffrey S. (Jeff) Bendis

“I gave life my best shot.”

If you’re reading this, I have passed away or died, if you will, since I actually wrote this obituary and, in order to avoid confusion, I requested that it not be published while I was still alive.

If this paragraph is included in this obituary, then I went out on my own terms as they say in obituaries here in Vermont. I certainly didn’t come here because that avenue was available – ‘cuz it wasn’t when I first got here. But Act 39 became the law and, given my medical situation, I thought it wise to take advantage of it. A shout out to the oncology teams at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston and The Foley Cancer Center in Rutland for their medical care, knowledge, and support. That said, please become a strong advocate for your health care issues. Demand that your medical team listens to you and takes appropriate action. If you’re going to take charge of any aspect of your life make it your health care.

I can proudly say that I gave life my best shot – except for not learning how to speak Spanish and driving along the edge of mountain roads with or without guardrails. I really did. What else can be expected of us? Whether it was my corporate life wherein I rose to a senior position in a very large and successful international company and got to enjoy the “fruits of my labor” (actually what I enjoyed were the dollars in my paycheck as well as my accomplishments) or in my civic, cultural, and social volunteer life wherein I most often rose to positions of leadership whether I wanted to or not because I was blessed with the ability to clearly express myself and my ideas verbally and in writing – thanks for that gene pool thing dad – and the ability to rally the troops to get stuff done. Not to mention my sense of humor which often served to keep things on track and in a lighter vein.

So I joined a gaggle – or maybe it was a slew – of boards and commissions to share with these organizations whatever talents I had acquired over the years. I served as a volunteer counselor with the Service Corp of Retired Executives (SCORE) to help small businesses get started or achieve their goals.  I was a member of the Woodstock Rotary Club where my most important achievement as I saw it was managing the process of bringing into Woodstock and sending out to a bunch of foreign countries high school students on a very rewarding youth exchange program. I served for years first as a regular member and then as chair of the Village Design Review Board. I was a volunteer driver for the American Cancer Society Road to Recovery Program providing rides for area cancer patients who needed transportation for their medical appointments.  I was chair of the Mertens House Board of Directors. I served on the Board of the Thompson Senior Center.  For several years I served on the Osher@Dartmouth Leadership Council and chaired the Marketing and Communications Committee. I was a volunteer mentor in the Shining Light Mentoring Program.  I was a member of the Board of Directors of the Woodstock Area Chamber of Commerce. And so on and so on. I hope I made a difference.

I must devote some serious space to Barbara. Although we met rather late in life (at ages 63 and 57) after we both had numerous relationships and worldly experiences, and we clashed every now and then over things that weren’t terribly important, although they seemed so at the time, she was a most surprising and wonderful companion. A “foodie” of the highest order, I always marveled at how she would stare into the refrigerator and into the cupboards, pull out various packages and containers, and voila, a meal fit for those with far more discerning pallets than mine came forth. She was also a superb travel companion and much more adventurous than I. Yet we made that difference work as well. She gardened like a demon creating a glorious yard with stunning views out of every window in our home. She was one with nature. It made her very special. And, she was the smartest person that I ever met. We challenged each other’s intellect constantly. And, finally, she laughed a lot – a robust and hearty laugh. What a joy.

I need to thank all of my friends for all of the wonderful dinners, parties, excursions, concerts, and laughs we shared over the years. I also want to thank everybody I served and worked with on various boards, commissions, and committees. Collectively, we did some really good work and we accomplished a lot. There are way too many to mention individually and, of course, if I tried I’d inadvertently leave somebody out and I’d never be forgiven. You all know who you are.

Finally, I am survived by approximately 7.15 billion people, but I’ll only mention my sons Jared Bendis of Cleveland, OH, Brian Bendis of Portland, OR, my brothers Robert Bendis of Cleveland, OH and Jonathan Bendis of New York, NY.

My full obituary and a guest book can be found at cabotfh.com. Family and friends will be invited to gather to celebrate my life at a later date to be announced.

David H. Darakjy

Woodstock

David H. Darakjy died at home on Friday evening, Feb 7, surrounded by his family.

Dave was born on January 28th, 1935 to George and Clara Darakjy in Floral Park, NY.  At the age of 17 Dave joined the U.S. Navy and traveled all over the world. In 1963 Dave became a member of the New York City Fire Department, a job he enjoyed immensely for 23 years. Dave moved to Vermont in 1985 and became an active member of Our Lady of Snows Church, Pentangle Council of the Arts, the American Legion and the Woodstock community until his health prevented his continued participation. He enjoyed reading, golfing, cooking, and was a terrific poker player.  Dave always had a kind word  to give and a hand to lend, and his humor never missed a beat. He will be sorely missed.

He is survived by his wife Bernadette of 44 years; his sister Phyllis; his great aunt Helen; his five children Brian, Dawn, David, Kate and Meg; as well as three grandchildren.

A Mass of Christian burial will be held on Saturday February 15th at 11:00am at Our Lady of the Snows Catholic Church in Woodstock. A Reception to follow. Burial will be at a later date.

The family is being assisted by the Cabot Funeral Home in Woodstock. An on line guest book can be found at cabotfh.com

Ted Martin Williamson

Barnard

After festive mid-month January trips to Montreal and NYC, enjoying theater and the joyful, loving company of his wife, Ted Martin Williamson passed away peacefully in his sleep in the early morning hours on January 27, 2020 at his home in Barnard, Vermont. Ted devoted his entire professional life to serving his nation. He devoted his retired life to serving the local community of Barnard and beyond. While his passing is a great loss for his friends, loved ones and community, his life is one to be celebrated.  Ted enjoyed the riches of life amid the laughter of friends.

Ted was born on June 3, 1945, son of Wendell Williamson and Gwendolyn Martin Williamson (Gwen McDaniel).  He grew up in Portland, Indiana, and graduated as valedictorian of Portland High School in 1963, and from Wabash College, Crawfordsville, Indiana, in 1967, where he was a member of Delta Tau Delta fraternity, and Concert Band. Ted served with distinction in the US Army with the 77th Armored Cavalry during the Vietnam War. After his return from Vietnam he finished and graduated Cum Laude from Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law, Chicago, Illinois. He was admitted to the Supreme Court of the United States of America.

Ted married Fadia Fayad in 1977.  He and Fadia served in overseas postings with the U.S Army, first in Iran, and, after the Iranian Revolution in 1979, they went on to serve together in Saudi Arabia for the remainder of Ted’s career.

In 1978, he took an attorney position as Director of Contracts for the Iranian Aircraft Program in Tehran, Iran. In the fall of 1979, Ted became Chief Counsel for the Engineer Logistics Command in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.  In March 1981 he became Chief Counsel for the OPM-SANG (Office of the Program Manager for the Saudi Arabian National Guard), then in 1991, along with being Chief Counsel, he became Chief of Staff of OPM‑SANG. In addition to his distinguished uniform service, Ted was a U.S. Army Civil Servant for over 30 years.

Ted and Fadia retired in Barnard, Vermont which Ted described as “absolutely bucolic in its setting and natural beauty.” Ted had been a leader in Saudi Arabia’s large expatriate community, applying his interest and skills in community organizations, and he and Fadia quickly immersed themselves in their local Vermont community. Ted helped establish and develop BarnArts Center of the Arts in Barnard, serving on the board until his death and as Board Chair for several years.  Ted took great pleasure in enhancing cultural opportunities locally. His work with BarnArts was rewarding and what he considered “great fun!”

Ted loved music, which spoke to him deeply.  He spent much of his life listening to music and seeking out great performances in diverse genres. He loved the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, the Grateful Dead, also jazz, cabaret and more.  Ted loved books from an early age and had an extensive collection of books and music. Theater was another great passion of his. In recent years he and Fadia frequented the Williamstown Theater Festival each summer, where he enjoyed seeing new and developing productions.

Ted is survived by his wife, Fadia Fayad Williamson of Barnard, VT. He will be greatly missed by his relatives and many friends all around the world.  He is also survived by his brother-in-law, Saiid Y. Fayad (wife, Melissa), nephew, Rumzie S. Fayad (wife, Sarah), nephew, Joseph S. Fayad and nephew, Samuel S. Fayad, grandniece, Sofia Fayad, grandnephew, Sam Fayad, and his many cousins and aunt. Ted was predeceased by his father, Wendell Williamson, in 1972 and his mother, Gwen McDaniel in 2018.

A Celebration of Life for Ted M. Williamson will be held on Sunday, April 26, 2020 starting at 12:00 noon at the First Universalist Church and Society of Barnard, 6211 VT Rt 12, Barnard, VT 05031.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to BarnArts for the Ted Williamson Fund (“BarnArts”) BarnArts Center for the Arts, PO Box 41, Barnard, VT 05031 (www.barnarts.org), or ArtsPlace, 131 E. Walnut St, PO Box 804, Portland, IN 47371(www.artsland.org).

The Cabot Funeral Home in Woodstock, VT is assisting the family. An on line guest book can be found at cabotfh.com