August 27, 2014

Obituaries

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VIRGINIA P. CLARK

Virginia Louise Prescott Clark, 82, died peacefully on March 31, 2012, after a mercifully brief illness. She was born on Dec. 24, 1929, in Boston, the only child of Frank and Phyllis (Whyte) Prescott. Raised in Chevy Chase, Md., she attended St. Johnsbury Academy where she met and married St. Johnsbury native, Harry L. Clark. They lived in the Washington D.C. area, St. Johnsbury, and Burlington, and settled in Shelburne in 1966. Virginia spent 36 fulfilling years there, and retired to Williston in 2002. With a lifelong passion for reading and language, Virginia worked as an executive secretary while launching an academic career that would become her life. She held a BA (University of Vermont, 1961, magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa), M.A. (UVM, 1963), and Ph.D. (University of Connecticut, 1968). She taught English and linguistics at UVM throughout her career, beginning as an assistant professor in 1968 and, by 1976, becoming one of the university’s youngest full professors. She was appointed to the Graduate College faculty in 1969. She was the author or coauthor of several influential textbooks including, Language: Introductory Readings and Language Awareness, as well as many academic articles and conference presentations. Courses taught included, Structure and History of the English Language and British Literature. She was the first faculty member at UVM to teach a course on Women in Literature. Her academic pursuits were so unusual for a young mother in the 1960s, that the Free Press sent a reporter to photograph her sitting with her three children on the swing set in her cap and gown. An early feminist, Virginia prevailed against the “glass ceiling” many women hit in academia, and became a role model for many female academics and students. She served as Chair of the UVM English Department for many years. Her early interest in technology, unusual among English professors, helped bring the department into the computer age. She chaired the UVM Faculty Senate from 1979-1981. She and her husband were passionate skiers. Harry volunteered on the ski patrol at Smuggler’s Notch, and Virginia took pride in the number of days they skied, regardless of the weather. They enjoyed summers at their home on Lake Champlain, including swimming and Harry’s gourmet cooking. She was predeceased by her husband, Harry, in 1990. She is survived by her three children, daughter, Delia (formerly Deborah) Clark and her husband, Timothy Traver, of Taftsville, son, David Clark of Shelburne, and daughter, Susan Clark and her husband, Mark Bushnell, of Middlesex; six grandchildren, Annakalmia Traver of Brooklyn, Mollie Traver of Brooklyn, Toben Traver of Burlington, Alexander Clark of Manhattan, Miranda Clark of Shelburne, and Harrison Bushnell of Middlesex. She is also survived by her brother-in-law, Richard Clark, and his wife, Joyce, of Green Valley, AZ. A memorial service is being planned for mid-May. For details, call Susan at: 802-223-5824. In lieu of flowers, her children suggest making a donation to Williston Fire and Rescue, 645 Talcott Road, Williston, VT 05495 or to the academic or women’s charity of your choice.

CLAIR E. PHILLIPS

On April 10, 2012, the golden heart of Clair E. Phillips stopped beating and won the battle over death and entered paradise surrounded by her family. She was born in Winooski on July 5, 1934, to Austin and Lillian (Langlais) Feeney. Her love for her children, James Phillips, Lynn (Jim) Hill, Sally Parker and partner, John Paul, and son, Alan Phillips, knew no boundaries. She leaves behind beloved grand- children, Jennifer Parizo, Samantha and Allison Parker, Fallon Fitzgerald, and James Morrissette; and great-grandson, Logan Morrissette. Also left behind, deeply saddened sisters, Rita Gauthier and husband, Robert, Sue Merchant and husband, Vernon, along with their children who included Clair in all holidays and special occasions in their homes with open arms. She leaves devoted in-laws, Donald and Monique Phillips, Theresa Myers, Andre and Pauline Bouchard, and all of their children. She will be missed by her many cousins, who she felt were more like brothers and sisters to her. All who live at Falcon Manor will miss her, along with close friends, Joyce, Katherine, Gerry, Dolly, Blanka, Gilberta, Gail and Roger. She was predeceased by her husband, Bernard, son, Thomas, mother and father, Austin and Lillian Feeney, and mother- and father-in-law, Eugene and Florence Phillips. All of our lives without Clair will never be the same. Her family especially wishes to acknowledge a special niece, Judy Senesac, who was able to stay by Clair’s side a great deal of the time and made her passing more comfortable and joyous. Our thanks go out to Green Mountain Nursing Home staff and ex-daughter-in-law, Jeanne, who made Clair’s stay there more comfortable, and last but not least, the nursing staff at Fletcher Allen Health Care on Shephardson 4 Oncology, whose constant caring and professionalism came through to all and will always be remembered. Visiting hours were held  on Monday, April 16, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at LaVigne Funeral Home and Cremation Services, 132 Main St., Winooski. A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on Monday, April 16 at noon in St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Winooski. Interment followed in St. Francis Xavier Cemetery.

REVEREND MARTIN P. DIENST 

The Reverend Martin P. Dienst, of Williston, was called home to be with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, on Tuesday, April 10, 2012, at age 92. He was born in Palms, Mich. on Dec. 7, 1919, to Walter and Ida Dienst. Martin Luther was his namesake and his parents instilled in him their Lutheran faith and encouraged him to become a minister. Martin’s family moved to Detroit when he was a boy and that is where he spent most of his primary school years, followed by prep school for the ministry in Fort Wayne, Ind. He met his future wife, Dorothy Oertel, in 1939 at Epiphany Lutheran Church in Detroit, and the couple married on Sept. 9, 1944, after Martin graduated from the seminary in St. Louis, Mo. He then received his first call to be a Missionary at Large in Groton, Conn., until December of 1946. During the years that followed, Martin and Dorothy had six children, and Martin was called to serve congregations in Ruth, Mich., Palms, Mich., Kingston, N.Y., finally ending up as the pastor of Community Lutheran Church in South Burlington in 1961, where he served until his retirement in 1985. In 1976, during his tenure in South Burlington, Martin was elected New England District President of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, serving 97 congregations throughout the region until 1984. He was also very active in Kiwanis Club. Martin and Dorothy enjoyed traveling together and spending time with their large family. All who knew Martin appreciated his caring gentle spirit, his interesting stories and his clever wit. Martin was predeceased by his parents, Walter and Ida Dienst; brothers, Laurence and Harold Dienst; daughter, Nina Carreira; daughter, Dorothy Dienst; and granddaughter, Janine Kuehn. He is survived by his wife of 67 years, Dorothy; their children, Martha Peace and husband, Stuart, of Germany, Timothy Dienst and wife, Sandra, of Williston, Daniel Dienst and wife, Michele, of Stowe, and Sarah Dienst of Bennington; grandchildren and their spouses and great-grandchildren, James and Kim Carreira, and their children, Alexis, Samuel and Matthew; Christine and Carl Williamson, and their children, Mark, Max, Logan, and Avery; Stuart and Deborah Peace, and their daughter, Sofia; Deanna and David Luce; Erik Peace; Douglas and Meredith Dienst; Darren Dienst; Haley Dienst; Hillary Dienst; Alex Dienst; Laura and Craig Smith; Michelle and Jeremy Pearson; Jeffrey Chao; Dorothy and C.O. Johnson, and their children, Robert and Reagan. He is also survived by his sister, Dorothy Mollon, and her husband, Jack, of Harrison Township, Mich. The family wishes to thank the Williston Rescue Squad and the Fletcher Allen Emergency Room and Intensive Care Unit staffs for the excellent care given to Martin during his final hours and for their compassionate consideration of the family. A funeral and celebration of Martin’s life was held on Friday, April 13 at 2 p.m. at Community Lutheran Church, 1560 Williston Road, South Burlington, followed by interment at East Cemetery in Williston. Visiting hours were held on Thursday, April 12 from 4 to 7 p.m. at Corbin & Palmer Funeral Home, 9 Pleasant St., Essex Junction. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Bethesda Lutheran Communities, 600 Hoffmann Drive, Watertown, Wis., 53094.

 

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