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  • Yolande Marshall
  • Boyce I. Greer
  • Veronica "Sis" Williams
  • Peter Davis
  • Sgt. Everett Costa
  • Alderman Richard Flynn
  • Russell Marcoux
  • Minnie Carswell
  • Christian Jackson
  • Dean Michael Andrews
  • Kathryn Wilkins Rios
  • Deirdre Elise Hall
  • Maurice Dichard


  • Adam Aries
  • Rodney Mansfield
  • Raymond Simoneau
  • Virginia Alcox
  • Marguerite "Greta" Woodbury
  • Michele Dudash
  • Jamie Hughes-Reed
  • Alexandria “Lexi” Kittle
  • Louis Adamakos
  • Raymond C. Brooks
  • Dr. John Crisp
  • Adam Carl “ZiD” Aries
  • Jessica Lynne Giuffrida
  • Alisha Faye Zibolis
  • Kathleen “Katie” Gilmore
  • Timothy Boughter
  • Paul Frontiero
Saturday, December 31, 2011

Pausing to reflect on Nashua-area personalities who died in 2011

In just hours, Father Time will relieve Old Man 2011 of the symbolic torch and hand it off to Newborn Baby 2012, to whom we entrust our hopes and dreams for the coming year. If nothing else, 2012 promises to be interesting at least in the prognostication department, where you can expect an almost presidential primary-type series of back-and-forths between wide-eyed doomsday theorists and our more grounded, pragmatic friends who will assure us, despite what the Mayan calendar says, that the world won’t in fact come to an end in 2012.

Regardless, today’s the day to pause and reflect a bit on the past year, and it’s in that spirit I ask you, as you toast the memory of your loved ones, to include in your thoughts the following notable personalities who also passed this year.

First, we remember those who passed in the waning days of 2010 but didn’t make last year’s column.

Roscoe H. Powers, of Nashua, known for his customized bike and surviving gunshots in an attempted downtown robbery years ago, was 57 when he passed the day before Christmas.

Prolific Nashua High athlete Jim Neville was 61 when he passed Dec. 27. Active Legionnaire and Marine Corps veteran Gary Johnson, 57, passed Dec. 30. Also that day, pneumonia claimed Master Varun S. Kancharla, of Hudson, who was just 18 months old.

Now on to 2011.

Accident victims

Avid ice fisherman Willie Miles, of Milford, died a week into the new year when his snowmobile broke through the ice on Nubanusit Lake in Hancock. He was 35. Another Milford resident, Alisha F. Zibolis, 20, died when her car and a tractor-trailer collided on Elm Street on Jan. 20. Army veteran and 2005 Milford High graduate Ryan J. Wilmot, 24, died in a March 27 accident in Milford.

An Easter morning fire on Hemlock Street in Londonderry turned tragic, claiming the lives of Fran Gehling, 64, and Rebecca Gehling, 23. Later in April, Pelham police looked into whether speed and alcohol may have led to the Balcom Road crash that killed Daniel Quintiliani, 31, of Pelham, and Kristen Lindt, 26, of Derry.

Bedford resident Tim Boughter, 31, died in a Route 101 motorcycle accident May 17, leaving behind wife Amy and their two toddler sons.

Steven Alvin Choate, of Tyngsborough, a 1990 Bishop Guertin graduate, accountant and Manchester Monarchs goal judge, passed of injuries sustained in a May 26 crash. On the same day, Alvirne High graduate and rising rap artist Jamison Ryan Kaplan, 24, died in a Laconia accident.

A kayaking accident in Idaho claimed the life of Fidelity executive Boyce I. Greer, 55, of Amherst. Merrimack resident Dean J. Burgess died in Orlando, Fla., of injuries from a Sept. 22 motorcycle accident. And Joshua K. Weiser, 29, of Milford, lost his life in a Nov. 16 crash on Whitten Road.

Homicide/murder

A May 30 act of violence on Auburn Street claimed the life of 51-year-old Mark Stephan Anthony Vallee, a gifted athlete and a kindhearted soul known for his politeness. A tragic family dispute led to the violent death of 91-year-old Lyndeborough resident Noel R. St. Laurent Sr., who was bludgeoned in his driveway.

Twenty-seven-year-old emergency medical technician Paul Frontiero, of Nashua, died of stab wounds after he was attacked during an Oct. 9 confrontation on Spruce Street.

And on Dec. 2, Donald St. Laurent, 29, of Hudson, was killed, allegedly at the hands of his friend and roommate, in their Windham Road home.

We knew them well

Louis G. Adamakos, 87, for years the familiar face of the former Morey’s on Main Street, passed Jan. 2. The “four-leaf clover lady,” Naomi Lyon, who’d cared for her ailing husband for years, passed at 91 on Jan. 11.

Veronica T. (Hickey) Williams, whom everyone called “Sis,” was surrounded by her eight daughters when she passed Jan. 27 at age 82. Philip J. Currier, founder in 1952 of Amherst’s P.J. Currier Lumber Co., was 85 when he passed Jan. 29.

Hudson builder and developer G. Philip Rodgers, half of well-known company Rodgers Brothers, was 82 when he passed March 10. Sue Stitt, a lifelong Girl Scout and former Amherst school board member, passed March 28 at 62. Stanley E. Bogdan, a Nashua resident known worldwide for his famed S.E. Bogdan fly-fishing reels, died March 27 at age 92.

Peter Davis, the towering, widely respected and successful administrator of Nashua’s St. Joseph Hospital, lost his battle with cancer in March. Former police officer, Ward 7 alderman and lifelong Crown Hill resident Paul J. Roussel was 79 when he passed April 5.

Nashua lost an icon in April with the passing of 61-year-old Michael J. Dix, downtown’s beloved “Silver Dollar Mike.” Librarian, alderman, school board member and Democratic activist Pauline E. Anderson passed May 11. And well-known longtime downtown jeweler Richard A. “Dick” Cardin died June 6 at 85.

Former Hollis Times publisher, community advocate and conservation activist Lynne C. Simonfy passed June 7. A month later, the city mourned the passing of Ward 7 alderman and lifetime youth baseball coach Richard P. Flynn Jr., who was 63.

In Wilton, iconic Frye’s Measure Mill owner Harland Savage passed July 13 at age 89.

Lifelong media and newspaper magnate William L. McLean III, who headed The Telegraph parent company, Independent Publications Inc., and its affiliates, died Aug. 27 after what family called “a brief but typically stubborn battle” with leukemia.

Nationally known nonprofit organizer David A. Larlee, who founded the cystic fibrosis awareness and advocacy foundation “Karen’s Climb” in honor of his niece, was 74 when he passed Aug. 29. Three days later, Nashua lost its “Downtown Cobbler,” Stanley L. Kazlouskas, who was 64.

Pancreatic cancer claimed 80-year-old Raymond L. Simoneau, Nashua’s “Father of Candlepin Bowling” and founder of Leda Lanes, on Sept. 17. And legendary high school football referee Ed Dichard Jr. was 82 when he passed Sept. 23.

Also that week, Milford lost popular businessman George P. Chappell, 85, who founded Chappell Tractor Sales back in 1955. A month later, city banker and venerable Montreal Canadiens fan Ernest D. Berube passed at age 85.

The Nov. 8 unexpected death of “Brooksie,” the colorful city native, avid golfer, high school basketball official and former Volkswagen salesman Raymond C. Brooks, saddened a wide circle of friends. Also unexpected was the sudden loss of former Nashua alderman and Bedford Town Manager Russell R. Marcoux, who was 64 when he passed Nov. 10.

Former state legislator Minnie Carswell, who represented Merrimack for five terms and went on to become District 9 state senator, was 89 when she passed Nov. 13. WBZ-TV film department legend Ralph Saya, a 15-year Nashua resident, passed at 94 on Thanksgiving Day.

A day later, former Milford town clerk and tax collector Wilfred “Willie” Leduc died at age 78. And on Nov. 29, longtime city lawyer and mesmerizing storyteller Joseph M. Kerrigan passed two months after his 92nd birthday.

Dr. John E. “Jack” Crisp, the last of Nashua’s legendary Crisp family of physicians, was 80 when he passed Dec. 2. Two weeks later, another well-known city attorney, Chester H. “Chet” Lopez Jr., passed at age 75. Later that day, city officials and the many constituents of former city alderman and public works commissioner Donald J. Dyer mourned his passing. He was 77.

Too young to die

Honda car aficionado Joshua R. Grant, 28, of Nashua, passed unexpectedly Jan. 12 in Groton, Mass. The next day, Guy Michael Borsetti Heikila, 31, of Nashua, lost his battle with Niemann-Pick Type C disease in Milford. Nashua resident Kathleen “Katie” Gilmore was the same age when a longtime illness claimed her life Jan. 24.

Evan Holland Garcelon, of Merrimack, who loved animals, reptiles and tattoos, was 29 when he died Jan. 29. William “Billy” P. Duncanson Jr., also of Merrimack, was 26 when he passed Feb. 14. A week later, the tragic death of 3-year-old Nashua toddler Christian Lawrence Jackson would be investigated by police as a homicide.

Adam Carl “ZiD” Aries, 28, an accomplished body modification specialist and video DJ, died March 22 at his Cambridge, Mass., home. Litchfield resident Dean Michael Andrews, a 2009 Campbell High graduate, was only 19 when he lost a courageous, two-year battle with cancer.

A lifelong battle with cystic fibrosis ended April 10 for 31-year-old Sue Ellen Branchi, of Nashua. Navy veteran and 2005 Nashua High South graduate Adam S. Lewis passed unexpectedly at home April 28, the same day that little Rylie Hope Cruz, 3, of New Ipswich, lost her brave, 16-month fight against neuroblastoma.

On July 9, complications of lupus claimed 22-year-old Amherst resident Kathryn M. (Wilkins) Rios while she was studying sustainable development in Nicaragua. Brian M. Bizier, a clinical counselor whose motto, “It’s not about the parents, it’s about the children,” inspired the lives of hundreds of troubled teens and children across the region, died Aug. 12 from complications of Lyme disease. He was 33.

A brain aneurysm cut tragically short the life of 19-year-old Hudson native Deirdre Elise Hall on Aug. 22. Three days later, sudden illness claimed the life of Amber E. Jackson, a 14-year-old Milford girl about to start her freshman year of high school.

Nicholas Joseph Yanco, a star Nashua High North quarterback and 2009 graduate, was just 20 when he passed Aug. 27. Lifelong Hudson resident, 2003 Alvirne High honors graduate and would-be Harvard University student Jessica Lynne Giuffrida passed Sept. 7, just four days after her 26th birthday. Talented artist and musician Andrew N. Sybert died unexpectedly Sept. 11; the Nashua man was 27.

In Merrimack, Alexandria “Lexi” Joyce Kittle’s four-year battle with cancer ended Sept. 17; a student at South Merrimack Christian Academy, Lexi was just 10. Jamie L. Hughes-Reed, a Milford resident who loved fishing and riding Harley-Davidson motorcycles, was 23 when illness claimed her Oct. 24.

A week later, a massive asthma attack led to the death of Michael R. Weber, 21, who grew up in Litchfield and graduated from Campbell High in 2008. On the same day, Ryan T. Johnson, a Merrimack toddler who was just 1 year old, passed unexpectedly in a Nashua hospital.

Little Mia Evalyn Lee Yates, of New Ipswich, wasn’t yet a month old when she passed Nov. 17 at a Boston hospital. Nashua youth Jay Robert Dupont, a CVS employee and 2010 Alvirne High graduate, was 20 when he died Nov. 20.

Christopher R. Ciardelli, of Lyndeborough, was 21 when he passed in Milford on Nov. 24.

Nicole “Nikki” Salmon, a Hudson resident with a huge heart and beautiful smile who loved country music and camping, succumbed to a long illness Dec. 18. She was 28.

Emergency service professionals

The Jan. 26 death of retired Sgt. Everett Costa, one of Nashua’s most gregarious and respected police officers, saddened many back home when he passed unexpectedly in Florida at age 72. Retired Nashua firefighter Raymond V. Belanger, a native and lifelong resident, was 84 when he passed April 15.

Former military policeman and 27-year Nashua Police Department veteran Lt. Maurice Dichard passed May 11 at age 91. On Sept. 30, veteran U.S. Marine and former city firefighter Larry E. Tyler died at 55 after a period of declining health.

Cancer claimed veteran Merrimack emergency services dispatcher Michele Dudash on Nov. 2; she was 50 and had served nearly 30 years. And on Dec. 5, retired Nashua police Sgt. George C. Watts, 78, passed after a brief illness.

Educators

Claude H. Leavitt, an educator and athletic coach whose 37-year career included posts as principal and superintendent in Merrimack and Hudson, passed Jan. 12 in Florida. He was 82. In March, Sr. Marie Jeanne Ducharme, professor emerita for 38 years at Rivier College in Nashua, died in Manchester at 98.

Nationally acclaimed science and chemistry teacher, principal and superintendent Rodney F. Mansfield, a theater and music lover who founded the N.H. Gay Men’s Chorus and other music groups, died June 8 at age 80 in Wells, Maine.

The Rev. Martin T. Kelly, pastor of St. Patrick Church in Nashua, was called to his rest June 21 at the age of 66. Beloved artist Ruth Haven Stetson Pittman, a legendary arts teacher at High Mowing School in Wilton, passed suddenly and peacefully July 19, three weeks shy of her 83rd birthday.

Longtime Nashuan Berenice “Kay” Goranson, a pioneer in the field of reading disabilities who founded and directed programs to prepare teachers to educate dyslexic children, passed Aug. 13 in Florida. And Yolande (Durocher) Marshall, one of baby boomer-era Nashua’s favorite guidance counselors who raised her family as a single mother, passed Dec. 19 at age 86.

Centenarians

We pay extra-special tribute to a dozen centenarians this year, which we’re sure is a record. Here they are, from youngest to eldest, beginning with a pair of centenarian sisters:

Virginia (Fusi) Alcox, of Florida, died Sept. 17, two months short of her 101st birthday. Her older sister, Jennie (Fusi) Pransky, of Hudson, was 106½ when she died Sept. 3 at Fairview Nursing Home.

Nashua resident Helen R. Grady, 100, was six weeks from her 101st birthday when she passed Aug. 15. Fellow Nashuan Katherine (Watkins) Rooney, who passed in September two months shy of turning 102, had told family and friends, “After I’m gone, no tears – celebrate!”

Also passing at age 101 were Lawrence A. Powers Jr., who died Sept. 29 at Nashua’s Aynsley Place, and longtime Hudson resident and senior center volunteer Harriet W. (Holland) Murch, who passed in March.

George C. Latour Sr., Nashua native, lifelong resident and career truck driver and jokester who died in February, is one of four centenarians who passed at age 102 this year. The others are Ida (Scagliarini) Hill, formerly of Hudson, also in February; Helen (Watson) Lustig, who passed March 30 at Hudson’s Fairview Nursing Home; and Marjorie (Champney) Cook, the vice president of the Nashua High School class of 1927, who died May 29.

Our second-eldest centenarian this year is Eleanor Coffin Kittredge Marks, who with husband Winston Kittredge Sr. raised their family in Milford while running the Kittredge Granite Quarry. She was 104 when she passed July 5.

And topping this year’s field is Marguerite “Greta” Elizabeth Woodbury, a career YWCA official who was a remarkable 108 years and 4 months old when she died Dec. 17 in Pennsylvania.

Happy New Year to all, and may we carry our loved ones in our hearts as we set out in 2012.

Dean Shalhoup’s column appears Saturdays in The Telegraph. He can be reached at 673-3100, ext. 31, or dshalhoup@nashuatelegraph.com.