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Home » Alumni » Obituaries


Orman B. Ovitt, AG ’39, passed away the day before his 98th birthday on Sunday, March 31, 2013 at Franklin County Rehab in St. Albans, VT. Orman was born April 1, 1915 in Fairfield, VT, son of the late Silas and Rhoda (Chadwick) Ovitt. He graduated from BFA-Fairfax Class of 1936 and as valedictorian from Randolph Agricultural College, now Vermont Technical College. Orman married Ivy Webb in Fairfax on Nov. 3, 1940. After graduating from College he was head Herdsman at Fairlee Farms in Conn: providing milk to local hospitals and Yale College. Moving his family back to Vermont in 1942 and bought his first dairy farm. He built his life with Ivy in Fairfax raising their family and celebrating 65 years of marriage together before her death on June 22, 2006. Orman loved fishing with his sons, grandchildren and friends. He enjoyed auctions and auctioneering for fund raising events in the community. Orman and Ivy loved to travel and were able to take several trips. Orman was very proud of his many flowers and gardens, sharing his produce with friends and neighbors. Orman was a charter member of the Fairfax Volunteer Fire Dept. A member of the Lamoille Lodge #6 F and A.M., Mount Sinai Shriners and a member of the Lodge Council Chapter Scottish Rite Bodies in The Valley of Burlington; Fairfax United Church and the Fairfax Senior Citizens. He also served as a past president for both the Franklin County Board of Realtors and the National Farm & Land Institute. 

Chester Armstrong Damon, AG’45, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, October 23, 2012 at his residence surrounded by his loving family. He was born July 11, 1928 in Wakefield, RI, the son of Albert Willard and Barbara (Armstrong) Damon. Chester graduated with an Associate’s degree from both Vermont Technical College in Randolph Center, VT and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. With his son, Chester A. Damon, Jr., he owned and operated Damon’s Ridgely Farm in Stone Ridge, NY from 1978 to 1999. On October 1, 1949 in Sycamore, IL, he married Bonnie Irene Landon. Mrs. Damon survives him at home. Mr. Damon was a fifty year member and past master of the Hendrick Hudson Lodge #875 F.&A. Masons. For many years, he was a leader of the Dutchess County 4-H Baby Beef Club. Chester loved gardening, enjoyed the outdoors, and loved spending time with his family. The Hendrick Hudson Masonic Lodge conducted Masonic services at 7. A time of remembrance will follow and the interment will be private and at the convenience of the family.

Martin L. Harrington, AG ’51, died Monday, April 29, 2013, at his residence. He was born June 22, 1929, in Bennington, VT, the son of Silas and Doris (Briggs) Harrington. He was raised on the family farm and later moved to White Creek, NY, when his parents purchased a farm there. He received his early education in a one-room school in Shaftsbury, and later attended North Bennington High School. In 1951, he graduated from Vermont Technical College in Randolph. He married the former Mildred Ostrander on July 28, 1961. When the family farm was sold, he and his wife purchased Harrington's Country Store in Shaftsbury, VT, which they operated for 20 years. Following the sale of the store, he worked with his son to establish Marty's Sporting Goods Store in Bennington, VT. He served as the Shaftsbury representative in the Vermont State Legislature for three terms. He was a long-time member and Past Master of Tucker Lodge #38, F&AM in North Bennington, VT. In the early 1990's, he and his wife established the Southern Vermont Chapter of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, where he served as chairman for many years. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, and working on his property. Memorial services were held Saturday, May 4, 2013 at the North Bennington Baptist Church, with the Rev. David Jinno, pastor, officiating. 

Francis Tenney, AG ‘54, of Tenney Road, passed away Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012, at the Rowan Court Health and Rehabilitation Center in Barre, VT, with his family at his bedside. Born in Barre, VT on Nov. 8, 1935, he was the son of the late Fred M. and Doris Y. (LeClair) Tenney. Francis attended elementary school, Spaulding High School in Barre, Vt and Vermont Technical College. After his schooling, he served his country in the U.S. Army from 1957 to 1959. After the service, he resided in Enosburg, VT and later moved to Barre, VT, where he was employed at Northfield Wood Products, and then Ethan Allen Wood Products in Randolph, VT, where he retired in 2002. In 1962, he married Joan Jerry. The couple made their home in East Roxbury, where they raised their family. He was a member of Our Lady of the Angels Catholic Church in Randolph and the Knights of Columbus, third degree. A Mass of Christian burial was celebrated Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2012, in St. Monica Catholic Church in Barre, VT. Burial with military honors was held Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2012, in the Vermont Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Randolph Center, VT. 

Jan Olson Floyd, MEC ’65, peacefully passed away on Monday, July 1, 2013 at her home following a courageous battle with cancer. To many Jan was known as an avid horsewoman and a storekeeper. She was also a gifted artist, painting the sign in front of the store and illustrating a book about side-saddle riding for beginners. She also loved sewing special hunting vests for her grandsons, including a special matching vest for a beloved stuffed bear. During her 15-year battle with breast cancer, Jan also became the first person many sought out when they or a family member was diagnosed. It was her strength, grace and courage in facing this disease head-on that so many drew strength from and even more stood in awe of. She will be remembered by everyone who ever met her as the sparkling eyes and genuine smile behind the counter, the welcoming laugh rocking on the front porch, and one of the first people to arrive to help when a family was facing a crisis. Born to Albert and Laura Olson in Vergennes, VT on August 27, 1945, Jan was known around town as a talented artist and a horse obsessed girl who would gladly do barn chores for the privilege of riding a horse. Jan graduated in 1963 from Vergennes Union High School and went on to Vermont Technical College that fall, where she was one of the first 3 women to attend the college. After graduating in 1965 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering Jan worked for several engineering firms, the final being Webster-Martin in South Burlington, VT. On June 28, 1969, Jan married Albert Floyd, who she met and fell in love with while at VTC. Jan realized her true life’s dream when she and Al made their home at the U.V.M Morgan Horse Farm in Weybridge, Vermont. During their years at the horse farm Jan rode almost daily, taking a little time off to have her two daughters Bridget and Jill. While at the farm, Jan was filmed by Disney for the opening sequence of the movie Justin Morgan Had a Horse. She even learned to ride side-saddle, eventually becoming a world-renowned side-saddle rider, instructor and judge. In 1979 Al and Jan moved their family to Randolph Center to take over the family general store from Al’s parents. Jan continued to ride almost daily, using the horses of family friends. She even continued to ride side-saddle, which she did for many, many years in the annual Randolph Fourth of July parade. Jan is survived by her husband, Albert J. Floyd, AG’65, of Randolph Center; her daughters Bridget (Calacci) and Jill (O’Connor); Sons-in-law Matt Calacci and Joe O’Connor; and the two lights of her life, grandsons Brennan and Skylar Calacci. Jan is also survived by her brother Stan Olson of Newport, RI, and sister Kristina Kilburn, and brother in law Robert Kilburn, of Fair Haven, VT. Jan was predeceased by her parents, Albert and Laura Olson, and her brother James Olson. A celebration of Jan’s life will be held on Saturday, July 13 from 11-2 pm at Vermont Technical College in Randolph Center in the Campus Center. Jan loved to be comfortable, so in her honor this is a casual attire event. Please come, share your stories, laughter and tears. Burial will be held at a later date, privately, at the family’s convenience. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to Visiting Nurse & Hospice of VT & NH; PO Box 976; White River Jct., VT 05001, those wonderful nurses were a gift at our greatest time of need.

David Nelson, MEC ’66, died January 8 at Central Vermont Medical Center. Born on Dec. 11, 1957, in Columbus, Ga., he was the son of Theodore Roosevelt and Sandra Jean (Colombo) Nelson. He attended elementary school in North Walpole. NH, and graduated from Spaulding High School in Barre in 1975. He went on to attend Vermont Technical College in Randolph Center. On Dec. 15, 1979, David and Darleen married in East Barre. Following their marriage, they made their home in Orange, MA, and later returned to South Barre, VT. In 1997, they moved to their present home on Overland Avenue in Barre. For over 30 years, David worked for Huntington Homes Inc. in Berlin and East Montpelier, first as a draftsman and later as an engineering manager. A member of St. Monica Catholic Church in Barre, VT, he taught catechism classes for several years and ran the religious store in the basement of the church on Sundays. David enjoyed riding his Harley-Davidson motorcycle and tinkering on classic sports cars and was an auto enthusiast. He also liked to travel. 

Robert M. Pietryka, MEC ’67, died at home, on Friday, December 14, 2012 after a long battle with cancer. Bob was born in Rutland, VT, to John and Eva (Pentkowski) Pietryka. He married Esther Carlson on May 17, 1969, in West Rutland, VT. Bob graduated from West Rutland High, and Vermont Technical College, where he played basketball on a State Championship high school team and two championships at VTC, scoring over 1,000. Bob is a veteran, serving in the USAF for four years from 1967-1971 He spent 18 months in Okinawa and Thailand and was awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal. He worked for Tambrands Inc. in Three Rivers, MA from 1971 to 1998. From 1998 to 2004 Bob worked at First Quality Products Inc. in McElhatten, PA. Bob enjoyed hunting, golfing and fishing. He belonged to the American Legion Post 87, West Rutland, VT for 39 years, and Vietnam Veterans of America, of Rutland, VT. He also was a member of the Knights of Columbus. The Funeral Service was held on Monday, December 17 at 10 a.m. from the funeral home followed by a Mass at St. Cecilia's Church at 11:00 a.m. Burial followed at the Gate of Heaven Cemetery, Springfield, MA.

William C. Ryan, AG ’70, a lifelong resident of Craftsbury Common, VT, died peacefully Friday, Oct. 5, 2012, in Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington, VT, with his beloved family at his side. He is survived by his wife, Carolyn Ryan of Craftsbury Common,VT; daughters, Alison Blaney and husband, Thomas, of Craftsbury, VT, and Jenapher Hipkiss and husband, Seneca, of Exeter, NH; grandchildren, Mackenzie and Ryan Blaney; and brothers and sisters. The funeral services were held on Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012, with the Rev. Alan Parker officiating. 

Anthony Lafayette, ABT ‘71, passed away peacefully on Friday, Dec. 7, 2012, surrounded by his family, after participating in one final game of cribbage. He fought a courageous battle with cancer. Tony was a graduate of Rice Memorial High School and Vermont Technical College. He loved sports, playing baseball and basketball in high school and collegiately. He passed on this knowledge, coaching countless youth teams through Little League, CYO and Parks and Rec. Additional accomplishments include, retiring as the career leader in assists at VTC, pitching a no-hitter in men's softball, hitting a hole-in-one at Williston Country Club, and induction into the Vermont Softball Hall of Fame. He remained a lifelong Burlingtonian, a city in which he took great pride and started a family. Tony will be remembered for his incredible devotion to his family and the local community. He was an active board member at The Boys and Girls Club and The Burlington International Games. As founder of Lafayette Real Estate, he enjoyed nothing more than managing his apartments, meeting new people and discussing the next business deal. Never one to forget a face or without a moment to stop and chat, he rarely left home without brightening someone else's day. In later years, he was a self-proclaimed fishing addict, always discussing "the one that got away." A perfect night would be spent with friends and family playing cards, pool and ping pong. A Mass a Christian Burial was celebrated on Monday, Dec. 10, 2012, at 10 a.m. at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Burlington, VT, with burial at a later date. 

Michael D. Carpenter, CET ‘74, of Harvest Road died suddenly on Tuesday, Jan. 22, at Concord Hospital. He was born in Barre, VT, son of the late Walter and Dorothy (Farnham) Carpenter. He was a graduate of Northfield, VT, High School and Vermont Tech. Michael worked as an engineer for Scanada in Bow for several years. He enjoyed hunting, NASCAR, and was an avid collector. Most of all, he enjoyed spending time with his wife, daughters and granddaughter. Funeral services were held on Tuesday, Jan. 29, at 10 a.m. in the Chapel of the Waters Funeral Home. Also a celebration of his life was held at Grace Capital Church in February. 
Michael Garofano, CET ’77, was 55 years old when he died on August 28, 2011 protecting the integrity of his water treatment facility in Rutland City, VT. He was a hometown boy; born in Rutland, grew up in Rutland and went to college at Vermont Technical College (VTC) in Randolph, VT and went back to Rutland after graduation. He started work for the City of Rutland in 1981 and worked his way up to through the Public Works Department and became the Water Treatment and Resource Manager. Michael was self-directed and conscientious. Close enough was not good enough. He was dedicated to his family and to his treatment facility. He was practical and could fix anything. Michael was part operator, part mechanic, part electrician, and part instrumentation engineer. He had a great sense of humor. He was called out at all times of the night and on weekends to do whatever was necessary to insure safe drinking water reached his customers. Michael performed heroic tasks that no one else ever knew about. Why did he perform these tasks? Because they had to be done. Michael is survived by his wife Sally and his son Tom as well as his two brothers and three sisters. 

Michael J. Miller, EET ’80, of Sunset Road, passed away Sunday, May 26, 2013, at his home. Born July 10, 1960, in Barre, VT, he was the son of Osmond H. and Phyllis J. (Page) Miller. He attended Barre Town School and graduated from Spaulding High School in Barre, VT in 1978. Later, he received his associate degree in electrical engineering from Vermont Technical College in Randolph Center. Currently, he was working toward a business management degree from the University of Maryland. On July 23, 1983, Michael married Sherry L. Messier in Graniteville. They made their home in Graniteville for over 15 years before moving to Sunset Road. In his earlier years, he worked for Data General in Portsmouth, NH, and Mitel Semiconductors in South Burlington. For over 25 years, he worked for Suss MicroTec in Waterbury Center and was promoted to vice president of operations. Michael was a member of the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Barre, VT. For many years, he was involved with the Barre Youth Sports Association and helped in preparing and maintaining the North Barre ice skating rink. His goal every year was to try to have the rink ready for skating by Christmas morning. His other interests included hunting, fishing, gardening, building birdhouses and Adirondack chairs, caring for his home and property, landscaping and snowmobiling. He especially enjoyed time spent with his family. His funeral service was held Friday, May 31, 2013, at 1 p.m. in the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Barre, VT. 

Robert M. Walker, CET ’87, of Fairview Street, died Thursday night, March 21, 2013, at Central Vermont Medical Center in Berlin, VT. Born Aug. 17, 1939, in Barre, VT, he was the son of Gerald R. and Mary (Mur-ray) Walker. He attended Barre schools and graduated from Spaulding High School in 1957. He later attended Vermont Technical College in Randolph Center. On Sept. 10, 1966, he married Gail" Graham in Barre, VT, where they had since resided. Bob was a longtime employee as a civil technician in the right-of-way division of the state of Vermont Highway Department, especially in the formulation of the interstate highway system. He retired in 1997 because of his health, after more than 30 years of service. He was a longtime base-ball coach from Little League through the American Legion baseball pro-gram in the Barre area. Bob was an avid New York Yankees baseball fan and statistician for his children's various athletic teams and will be long remembered for his positive impact on Barre Youth Sports. His memberships included the Barre American Legion Post 10 and the Bane Elks Lodge 1535. Bob’s funeral was held Wednesday, March 27, 2013, at 11 a.m. in the Hooker and Whitcomb Funeral Home.

Kathryn M. (Russo) Yager, VET ‘94, of No. Fayston, VT, and Lancaster, died on Wednesday, March 6, with her family at her side in her childhood Lancaster, MA home after almost eight years battling brain cancer. Mrs. Yager leaves her husband of 16 years, Andrew H. Yager of North Fayston, VT. For her last seven months, Mrs. Yager resided in her parents' home in Lancaster, MA. Mrs. Yager was raised in Lancaster, MA, attended local schools and graduated from Nashoba Regional High School, Class of 1987. After graduation, she attended Nichols College until her path took her to Burlington, VT, (ski territory) with Tamar Lederman, a close friend and classmate. While residing in Vermont, she earned an associate's degree in veterinary technology from Vermont Technical College in 1994 and became a certified veterinary technician (CVT). She completed her bachelor's degree in animal science at the University of Vermont in May of 1996. She worked for several years as a veterinary technologist with the Office of Animal Care Management at UVM before being promoted to business manager. She completed all of the certifications offered by the American Association of Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) through "Registered Laboratory Animal Technologist" (RLATg). She was a member of the Vermont Association of Veterinary Technicians and was very active in the regional branch of AALAS, called the Northern Mountain Branch. Following cremation, a funeral Mass was held on Wednesday, March 13, at Immaculate Conception Church, 809 Main St., Lancaster, MA. 

Michael Garofano, LAH ’08, of Rutland, VT, died with his father Aug. 28, 2011, in Rutland, VT, as a tragic result of Hurricane Irene. He was born in Rutland, VT Oct. 5, 1986, the son of Michael J. and Celestine (Sitek) Garofano. He was a 2005 graduate of Rutland High School, attended Community College of Vermont for one year and graduated in 2008 from Vermont Technical College with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Landscape Development & Ornamental Horticulture. Mr. Garofano was employed at Proctor-Pittsford Country Club since 2002 and self-employed at M.G. Lawn & Landscape. He enjoyed playing golf, maple sugaring and country music. Survivors include his mother, a brother, Thomas Garofano, paternal grandparents, Patrick and Jacqueline Garofano, and maternal grandmother, Valeria Sitek, all of Rutland, aunts, uncles and cousins. The funeral service for Michael and his father was held Sept. 9, 2011, at St. Peter Church.

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