Catherine Colt Yandell, 92, died peacefully on Sunday, Dec. 22, 2013 at her home on Oak Hill Road surrounded by her family. Her passing followed a long and spirited battle with dementia.
Born on Sept. 17, 1921 to Samuel Sloan and Margaret Van Buren Colt, Cathy grew up in Tuxedo Park, N.Y. She attended the Shipley School and the New York College of Art before marrying David W. Yandell in 1940. She and David lived in New York City, where he practiced law until his deployment overseas during World War II. Cathy worked for three years at Halloran Hospital in New York City, helping to rehabilitate severely wounded soldiers while David served with the 8th Air Force in Europe. Following WWII, Cathy and David searched New England for a green and peaceful place to settle, landing on the farm on Oak Hill Road in Williston, where they raised their family of five children and countless animals large and small over the next 68 years.
Cathy was an active and respected member of her community, donating her time and talents to a long list of community projects and causes in Williston and serving on numerous committees and boards of nonprofit organizations in Vermont, notably the Lund Home, the Vermont Red Cross, the Audubon Nature Center in Huntington and the Vermont chapter of the National Audubon Society. Although raised by her mother to be a Christian Scientist, she attended the Williston Federated Church for many years and was a proud member of the choir. She was a passionate naturalist, sharing her knowledge as a teacher and nature guide for young students at the Audubon Nature Center and writing a “Nature Notes” column for the local paper for years. She was active in land conservation efforts and nonprofits across Vermont, and a driving force behind Williston’s conservation of the Mud Pond area. She spent countless hours there, observing birds and documenting the mysterious and wonderful bog plants in a legacy of artwork and writing. Cathy was also a driving force behind creation of the Williston Memorial Garden, and the restoration and conservation of the Old Brick Church in Williston Village, an important architectural landmark and historic site that was on the verge of collapse before a small group of determined residents made it their cause for more than 15 years.
A passionate and lifelong artist, gardener, naturalist and athlete, Cathy was an extraordinary woman who leaves a legacy of generosity, kindness to all living things and reverence for beauty. She found beauty in every sunrise, and never failed to stop what she was doing to watch a full moon come up over the mountains—often phoning her children or grandchildren to make sure they were looking, too. She is survived by her children and their families: Hope; Christine Rother and son Sloan; Katherine Daily and son Matthew; Robin; and David, his wife Lauren, and their sons Evan, Duncan and Wilson. She was predeceased by her siblings Richard Colt and Marion Williamson; by her husband David; and by an infant daughter. The family wishes to express their deepest thanks to Heidi Karic, Christa Lyman, Christine Johnson, Carol Peters, Jessica Marrier, Jamie Broomfield and Dr. Hannah Rabin for their compassionate care of Cathy during her illness.
Cathy will be remembered publicly at a memorial service at the Old Brick Church in Williston in May. Contributions in her memory may be sent to the Audubon Nature Center, 255 Sherman Hollow Road, Huntington, Vt. 05462.
Steven David LaClair
Steven David LaClair, 45, of Williston passed away peacefully on Saturday, Dec. 28, 2013, surrounded by his loving family at the Vermont Respite House in Williston.
Steve was born on Jan. 11, 1968, the son of Kermit and Diane LaClair of Williston. He grew up in Williston with his siblings, Randy, Sharon and Michael, and graduated from Champlain Valley Union High School in 1986. He worked in the car business for many years, starting out as a technician and working his way up to service manager. He spent most of his career working for Freedom Partners, and enjoyed working with coworkers and customers alike.
Steve was always ready to lend a hand to someone in need. He loved his family, especially enjoying spending time with his sons, Nick and Keenan. In healthier times, Steve loved to golf, fish, hunt, play cards and ride his four wheeler. Some of his best times were spent at his family’s camp on Lake Champlain, where he was always happy to take the boat out so the kids could go tubing.
Despite declining health, Steve was fortunate enough to form a beautiful relationship with his girlfriend, Jennifer Martell, who stayed by his side through it all, and has been a tremendous source of comfort to both Steve and his family. Steve is survived by his two sons, Nicholas and Keenan LaClair, his parents, Kermit and Diane LaClair, brother Randy LaClair, sister Sharon LaClair, brother Michael and sister-in-law Jessica LaClair, niece and nephew Ava and Elias LaClair, nephew Liam Maxwell, and devoted girlfriend, Jennifer Martell.
The family will hold a service for Steve in the late Spring. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the Children’s Miracle Network at Fletcher Allen Hospital or to the Vermont Respite House in Williston. If you would like to share memories or condolences online with the family, please visit gregorycremation.com.
PETER ERLE BATTELLE
Peter Erle Battelle, 75, of Oak Hill Road in Williston, died of a stroke on Sunday, Dec. 15, 2013, in Fletcher Allen Health Care. Peter was born on Oct. 7, 1938, in Kingston, N.Y., the son of Erle and Virginia Smith Battelle. He was a graduate of Blair Academy, Class of 1956; Middlebury College, Class of 1960; and Columbia University, Class of 1963. Peter began his career in accounting with Price Waterhouse in New York City and in 1970 joined the business faculty at the University of Vermont. In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Peter served the University on many committees and worked to develop relationships between the School of Business and overseas universities through visiting appointments at Wirtschafts-Universitat in Vienna, Austria, efforts to develop partner schools in Australia, and as advisor of Study Abroad students. His interest in educating led him to serve the CVU School District for 16 years as a member and chairman of the CVU School Board. Peter was an avid gardener. He loved a pick-up game of basketball or soccer, and a long bicycle ride. Peter is survived by Jean, his wife of 52 years; their four children, Torey (Don) Semi of Denver, Colo., Tom (Leanne) of Kentfield, Calif., Ann (Sascha) Ayad of Louisville, Colo., and Claire Battelle of Sydney, Australia; grandchildren, Kaitlyn and Nick Battelle of Kentfield, Calif., and Emmy and Anabel Ayad of Louisville, Colo.; brother, Tony Battelle (Taya) of Brookline, Mass.; sisters-in-law, Dorie Battelle of White Stone, Va., Donna Sethi of New York City, and Susan Bobilin of Orange, Mass.; brother-inlaw, William Emrich of Oldsmar, Fla.; and several nieces and nephews. Peter was predeceased by his parents and brother, Nick. Peter’s family wishes to thank the many professionals at Burlington Health and Rehab, Fanny Allen Rehab, and Fletcher Allen Health Care who provided such excellent care and support during the past several months. A celebration of Peter’s life was held on Friday, Dec. 20, 2013 at the Williston Federated Church.