ALTON — How do you write a eulogy for someone who is still larger than life? Whose face will no longer be seen at Robert's Cove Basin, but whose presence will always be there? And whose sudden passing on July 20th left family and friends unable and unwilling to believe it?
One need only say the family name "Roberts" and immediately there comes to mind the best of the American spirit: community service, commitment, ingenuity, humor and hard work. John Sewell Roberts included all of these qualities and then some. He started early. He began selling acorns by the roadside when he was four. Not too many years later he was already beginning to fix all things broken and make creative use of what others considered broken and tossed out. It was his love and genius to be creative and to be a fixer of things. It continued throughout John's life. Even his e-mail name was "Tinkerman". Among other things he was taught from his youth were volunteerism and community service. While it would normally be appropriate to list the organizations an individual volunteered for, it would literally fill an entire page of this newspaper to list the things John so generously helped with, and that's not to mention the constant calls from friends that began with "John, would you be free to come help us with ..." He was available to all—even when he wasn't available. The day of his passing he had been volunteering all morning at a clean up at the East Alton Fire Station. After that he went back to work at Robert's Cove Basin where, for four years, he steered the operations like a faithful and much loved sea captain.
Born and raised in Alton, NH, John Sewell Roberts, went through the Alton school system and then continued his studies one year at the University of New Hampshire. There he began volunteering for the fire department in Durham. That "spark" of helping in such a vital capacity grew. He devoted much of his life to the service of fire fighting. He worked several years as a full time professional fire fighter in Laconia. He then returned to school to get a degree from New Hampshire Technical Institute which eventually led him on to ever more interesting and demanding career opportunities, all of which involved fixing what others thought couldn't be fixed, solving problems others gave up on, and inventing ways to do everything better. At one time, when he was working as a technician for a German company that made embroidery machines, he was sent to South America on a service call! It was one of his most demanding service calls. He made sure he did the work well. He never had to return.
His overseas travels also included once visiting a fellow Alton High School classmate, an exchange student from Norway. But perhaps one of the most touching ways he reached out to the larger world was in 2009 when a group of Russian blacksmiths came to NH to dedicate the Russian Bench of Friendship to the Lakes Region. Working along side the Russian blacksmiths to install the bench did more than John ever realized. When his Russian friends learned of his passing, the e-mail that came back from the blacksmiths said, "We mourn with you. Not even an ocean separates us in this. We can honestly say that John's kindness and generosity left such a mark that he became the face of America to us in Russia." John, in fact, had a great love of blacksmithing. For several years he had been apprenticing as a blacksmith at the Musterfield Farm in Sutton, NH.
Despite his astonishing work load, John was a tireless son, brother, husband, and father. His beloved wife Barbara, who works an evening shift at the Wolfeboro Bay Care and Rehabilitation Center recalled how John would bring her dinner. On special occasions it would include hot fried onion rings ... with ketchup. The bottle of ketchup he kept in the glove compartment of their truck. "Doesn't every real man keep a bottle of ketchup in his glove compartment for his wife?" she said, smiling faintly through the tears.
John was indeed a real man, a real friend, and a blessing to this community. Like a true Roberts, his presence will not diminish but only be more and more recognized as the years go on. John leaves behind his wife, Barbara E. Roberts, his children, Christopher John Roberts, Daniel Edson Roberts, and stepson Scott Richard Moren, his parents Jean and Irving Roberts, and his brother and sister, Thomas Roberts and Barbara B. Roberts.
The family requests that any donations be sent to the Musterfield Farm, P.O. Box 118, North Sutton, NH 03260
Last Updated on Tuesday, 23 July 2013 07:01
MOULTONBOROUGH — George Page Burns, 93, of Moultonborough, NH, passed away peacefully on Saturday, July 20, 2013, at his home, surrounded by his loving family.
George was born in Springfield, MA on September 4, 1919, the son of Mark W. and Mary (O'Donnell) Burns. He was raised in Springfield, MA and graduated from the Technical High School there.
George's professional career included working for the Van Norman Machine Tool Co., in Springfield, MA., while he owned and operated a dairy farm in Somers, CT, where he was a long-time resident. He then went on to work for the Kingsbury Corp., in Keene, NH, as a general manager, until his retirement. Upon retirement he moved from Walpole, NH to his lake home in Moultonborough, NH.
George was a Shriner at the Melha Shrine, in Springfield, MA., a 32nd Degree Mason in Wilbraham, MA, a past patron of the Order of the Eastern Star, member/director of the Lakes Region Conservation Trust, past president of the Moultonborough Snowmobile Club, member of the Steamboat group and a member of the 50's Plus Club. His hobbies included steam boating and sailing on Lake Winnipesaukee.
He was predeceased by his beloved wife of 69 years, Elizabeth (Allen) Burns, in 2008, and his two brothers; Mark Burns and Robert James Burns.
George is survived by his three children, George C. "Chuck" Burns and wife Ellen, of Center Harbor, NH, Bruce A. Burns and wife Rita, of Odon, IN, and Robert "Bob" Burns and wife Betty, of Meredith, NH; six grandchildren, Scott Burns, Jennifer Burdick, Matthew Burns, Paige Burns-Daniels, Kasey Burns, and Kayla Burns; ten great-grandchildren, Victoria, Samantha, Cody, Lauren, Brett, Madison, Megan, Brenna, Caroline, and Nicholas; and numerous nieces and nephews.
A memorial gathering and celebration of his life will be held at his home in Moultonborough on Sunday, August 25, 2013 at 11:00 am. The Rev. Edward J. Charest will officiate.
In lieu of flowers, donations in George's memory may be made to the Winnipesaukee Wellness Center, C/O Debbie Emerton, PO Box 184, Center Harbor, NH 03226.
Mayhew Funeral Homes & Crematorium of Meredith and Plymouth are assisting the family with the arrangements. For George's Book of Memories: www.mayhewfuneralhomes.com.
Last Updated on Monday, 22 July 2013 06:28
WOLFEBORO — Charles F. Johnson, 86, of 39 Clipper Drive, formerly of Sanbornton, died Saturday, July 20, 2013 at the Wolfeboro Bay Center in Wolfeboro.
Charles was born on June 19, 1927 in South Boston, Mass., the son of Edward and Mary (Gill) Johnson. He served in the US Navy during WWII and Korea. He worked for 28 years as a truck driver.
Mr. Johnson was a communicant of St. Joseph Church.
Survivors include three sons, Mark Johnson of Florida, Charles Johnson Jr. and Edward Johnson, five daughters, Lisa N. Johnson, of Rochester, Judy Johnson, Patricia Davidson, Michelle Johnson and Jeane O'Brien; a grandson, Joseph C. Ford-Johnson; a sister, Edna Hopkins of Arizona and several nephews and nieces.
In addition to his parents, Mr. Johnson was predeceased by his wife, Claire Johnson, two sons, Jeffrey Johnson and Christopher Johnson and a sister, Helen Quigley.
There will be no calling hours.
A Memorial Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11AM on Thursday, July 25, 2013 at St. Andre Bessette Parish, St. Joseph Church, 30 Church Street, Laconia, N.H. Burial will follow in the New Hampshire State Veterans Cemetery, Boscawen, N.H. at 2:30 PM.
Wilkinson-Beane-Simoneau-Paquette Funeral Home & Cremation Services, 164 Pleasant Street, Laconia, N.H. is assisting the family with the arrangements. For more information and to view an online memorial go to www.wilkinsonbeane.com.
Last Updated on Monday, 22 July 2013 06:25
HILL —Dean C. Wheeler, 64, a lifelong resident of Hill died at his home, Wednesday, July 17, 2013, following a short illness, with his wife of 32 years and family at his side. Dean was born in Franklin, December 28, 1948, son of the late Clifford M. and Frances P. (Braley) Wheeler. He served during the Vietnam War with the U. S. Army. Grampa, Dean, Dad, Pa, as he was lovingly known, was characterized by his diligent care, steadfast love, and loyalty to his family, friends, and the Town of Hill. He updated and forwarded the Hill Village's videos, photos, and history for town wide events and dedications. Dean served as Hill's road agent for over 25 years with his brother Dale Wheeler. He was the "go to" guy for all necessities and knowledge pertaining to the community. Dean loved his family taking time to teach, play, and gather his loved ones together. He taught every one of his children and grandchildren to hunt, fish, and take pride in their gardens and homes.
Dean loved the back yard fires and cookouts with family and friends. A lover of country music, Dean kept the dance floor occupied. In his earlier days Dean was "The Mayor" in "The Mayor and His Councilmen" Band, a group of young Hillbillies bringing fun and talent to the Community. He enjoyed his Harley Sportster every moment that presented itself. He joined charity rides, group rides, yearly rendezvous with lifelong friends, or rides alone. He loved the world he was part of. Grampa's express desire was to have his family around him and be at home when he left this world. His desires were met; in his final days he blessed each one of us individually with his words and guidance. He was at peace when he left us and is now at rest in Heaven with our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ.
He leaves his wife Dorothy E. (Hanson) Wheeler of Hill; son Justin Dean Wheeler of Hill; daughters Wendy Fuller Rosa of Bristol and Brenda Fuller Voydatch of Meredith; five grandchildren: Cassie Medynski, Damian, Marcus and Sophia Rosa, and Amanda Kurowski; great-grandchild Evan Medynski; brother Dale S. Wheeler of New Hampton; sisters Pamela L. Drapeau of West Franklin, Bonnie A. Mardin of Campton and Lori J. Hackett of Bristol; many nieces and nephews.
A calling hour will be held Saturday, July 20 from 10 to 11 a.m. at the William F. Smart Sr. Memorial Home, Franklin-Tilton Road in Tilton. A funeral service will follow at 11 in the Memorial Home. Burial with honors will follow in Pleasant Hill Cemetery in Hill. A gathering of friends and family to follow after services at the Hill Village Fire Department.
Dean's family requests in lieu of flowers, making memorial donations in his name to the Hill Fire Department, P. O. Box 226, Hill, NH 03243.
For more information go to www.smartfuneralhome.com
Last Updated on Thursday, 18 July 2013 07:40