November 23, 2014

Community rallying for one of its own

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Memorial race will honor life of Stephen Mount

Sept. 22, 2011

By Adam White

Observer staff

Stephen Mount, shown here competing in a Spartan race in 2010, died on July 2 while participating in a triathlon. The community will honor him with a 5k memorial walk/run/ride on Saturday. (Photo courtesy of Karen Mount)

There were many dimensions to the life of Stephen Mount: teacher, father, computer programmer, husband, athlete, writer, community leader and patriot.

Many of the people he connected with in each of those roles will join together for a 5-kilometer memorial walk/run/ride on Saturday, beginning at 2 p.m. at Williston Community Park.

“It’s a celebration and tribute to the life he lived,” said Mount’s wife, Karen. She said she was initially approached about the memorial run by race director Linda Poirer, and agreed that it was fitting.

“Anything in his memory, that would honor him, we’re in favor of,” she said.

Stephen Mount died unexpectedly while taking part in a triathlon in Shelburne on July 2. He had previously competed in several athletic competitions, including the Spartan race, Vermont City Marathon and Dynamic Duathlon.

Karen Mount said her husband’s interest in athletics and fitness stemmed in part from health issues he dealt with as a child.

“Stephen was a juvenile diabetic, so health was important to him,” she said. “A couple of years ago, he decided that he wanted to get healthy and physically fit.” She added that bicycling was her husband’s preferred form of exercise, but “he ran because he knew it worked.”

A 1989 graduate of the University of Vermont, Stephen Mount worked as a software engineer and taught programming classes at the Community College of Vermont. He was also active in the educations of his daughter, Brittany, and twin sons Jacob and Ryan; he served as head of the Family As Partners (FAP) program at Williston schools, and ran for a position on the town’s School Board in 2003.

“Stephen was a constant learner, and he wanted others to be as well,” Karen Mount said. “He wanted the best education for his kids, and for all the kids in Williston.”

Since Stephen Mount’s death, the community where he lived has joined together in strong support of his family, according to his father. Dave Mount said more than 700 people attended funeral services for his son, and an education fund set up for his children saw a flood of generosity.

“About 140 people made donations, ranging from $20 up to $10,000,” Dave Mount said. “I think we were all pretty overwhelmed with the level of support.”

An avid writer, Stephen Mount wrote a regular column for the Williston Observer and also penned a number of books — mostly novels for teenagers — that he had hoped to get published. His editorials focused largely on national issues.

“He was very patriotic,” Karen Mount said. “He cared a great deal about this country, and the constitution. It was very ironic that his passing was on Fourth of July weekend.”

Organizers are expecting a sizeable crowd of participants in the memorial race, including people from the various circles that Stephen Mount was a part of. Karen Mount said her husband would likely be surprised at just how much of an effect he had on the community.

“I don’t think Steve ever realized quite how many people he touched over the years here in Williston,” she said.

Karen Mount added that she and her children will take part in the race, as will a number of other extended family members. Dave Mount will toe the starting line with his own strategy for completing the 3.1-mile course.

“I’ll probably walk,” he said.

Organizers of the Stephen Mount Memorial 5K Fun Run/Ride are seeking volunteers to assist with day-of-event registration, course management, finish area and other general tasks. Anyone interested in volunteering is asked to contact Sue Scheer at [email protected] or 238-2474.

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