Tag Archives: Williston Academy

P. Douglas Watkins ’70

Paul Douglas Watkins, 70, of Marmora, NJ was taken from his loved ones unexpectedly on 4/21/2021. Doug was a loving and supportive husband to his soulmate and late wife, Suzanne, of 45 years. Doug was born in Coatesville, PA, grew up in Centerport, NY and graduated from The Williston Northampton School in MA. Doug was a proud Bucknell University alum as well as having many degrees from many other universities. He is dedicated to, and survived by, his two children Doug and Christine. His true meaning in life, however, was to be a grandfather. He was survived by four grandchildren: Breanna, Leah, Patrick and Carley, who he loved with his entire heart. He is survived by his sister, Lynn and preceded by his parents Paul and Nancy. Doug worked as a paramedic, firefighter, lifeguard, engineer, and just recently started as a substitute teacher. He believed in saving many lives before his own, a true hero. Doug had a big heart with a love language that consisted of giving everything he could to those he loved. He loved his days tanning on the OCNJ beach, taking his boat out, lifeguarding on Surf Road, and spending his time on many different tropical islands where he truly belonged. Living by the shore was his true calling, and it is where he met his very special loved one, Roisin Keough. His love for the beach and the ocean will comfort his loved ones, where we know he will be spending the rest of his eternity. His legacy will live on with all of his family and friends, whom he loved dearly. A memorial will be scheduled for a later date. Donations in his name can be made to the American Cancer Association, which are truly appreciated.

Rex Aubrey ’53

February 4, 1935 – April 20, 2021
Detroit, Michigan

Rex was born in Parkes, Australia in February 1935. During his childhood he excelled as a multisport athlete winning 3 first & 1 second place medals in the Eastern Track & Field championships, 2 first places in the Swimming championships as well as 2 Gold medals in the Australian National High School Swimming Championships. He also won 22 New South Wales State Championship medals as well as numerous other awards. Rex moved to the United States at the age of 16 and attended Williston Academy prep school in Easthampton, MA and then Yale University as a Political Science major. While at Yale Rex became a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity and a member of the Book and Snake Society. Here Rex continued his excellence in swimming setting multiple AAU & NCAA records earning a spot on the 1952 Olympic team participating in 2 events and taking 6th place in the 100-yard freestyle. In 1954 he participated in the British Commonwealth Games where he won a Gold and a Bronze medal and in 1956 set a world record in the 100-yard freestyle. Rex was admitted into the Parkes Roll of Excellence and also had a street named after him, Rex Aubrey Place. He was recently admitted to the Williston Academy Athletic Hall of Fame. While working at the DAC he won multiple National titles as a Squash player, hobbies included tennis, scuba diving, and golf where he had 3 holes in one! Rex is survived by his wife, 3 children, 6 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren. Due to the current situation with Covid the family has decided not to hold any type of memorial.

Donald M. Barnard ’58

Donald M. Barnard, 81, of East Hartford, CT, beloved husband of the late Joanne (Rogers) Barnard passed away on Thursday, April 1, 2021 at St. Francis Hospital, Hartford. He was born on May 31, 1939 in Hartford, son of the late Leon and Mary (Miller) Barnard. Don grew up in Bloomfield, attended Bloomfield High, graduated from Williston Academy in 1958, served in the US Army from 1962 to 1965 stationed at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, graduated cum laude with an Associates Degree in Engineering from Ward Tech (UHART), attending classes while working for Pratt & Whitney full time. Don lived in East Hartford, working at Pratt both before the army and from 1965 to 1999, biking to work as a young father. When not at work, he could often be found attending to the yard, listening to music, working on the house or enjoying the shade of a pine tree in the side yard. Although Don retired from Pratt in 1999, he continued as a consultant for another 2 years. Don tested aircraft engines and aircraft engine parts and, in the process, forged close friendships lasting a lifetime. Don played the piano by ear, having had a few years of lessons as a young boy, continuing to enjoy playing for his own pleasure throughout his life, and for family and friends, such as at Worcester Poly Tech as a TEKE (Tau Kappa Epsilon, Zeta-Mu Chapter, circa 1959). For over 40 years, Don and his family spent their vacations tent camping at Acadia National Park in Maine, where he enjoyed hiking, canoeing, stargazing, cooking and eating meals by the campfire. Don and his wife Joanne continued to tent camp in Acadia for years after their children had grown, often with close friends Doug and Karen or Bob and Ellen. Don and Joanne shared their lives and many interests including nature, photography, cooking and beautifying and maintaining their yard and gardens and home, and did so together for 47 years until her passing in 2009. In his later years from his home in East Hartford, Don continued to study and appreciate the stars and planets through his telescope and music through his Hi-Fi stereo system; and the natural world, UCONN girl’s basketball and golf through television and his many maps. Don kept a journal, kept track of dates and took precise measurements at work and in the kitchen. After Joanne’s passing, Don would keep in close contact with old friends and family through many phone conversations. Don was always deeply dedicated to his family and leaves behind his son, Donald M. Barnard Jr. and his wife, Brenda of Colchester, his daughter, Christine Neal and her husband, Timothy of Harwinton. He leaves behind his sister, Barbara Douglas and her husband, Craig and three grandchildren, Andrew, Justin and Daniel Neal. He is predeceased by his brother, Leon “Peter” Barnard and leaves many nieces, nephews and cousins. His family will receive friends and family Saturday, May 15, 2021 from 2-3 PM followed by funeral services at 3:00 PM at Carmon Funeral Home, 807 Bloomfield Ave., Windsor. Flowers and sharing of memories are appreciated. Tribute donations may be made in Don’s (and Joanne’s) memory to Friends of Acadia at https://friendsofacadia.org/tribute-gift/ or by calling 207-288-3340.

Robert W. Searles ’38

Robert Wallace Searles passed away on Monday morning, April 26, 2021 surrounded by his family. He was one hundred and one years old. Born September 4, 1919, he grew up in Pomfret, Connecticut and resided in Brooklyn, Connecticut for most of his life. Mr. Searles was a graduate of Williston Academy, class of ’38 and received a BS degree in Civil Engineering from Worcester Polytech Institute in 1942. He served in the U.S. Navy as a Lieutenant J.G. during WWII and he was a serving member of the Mystic Flotilla Coast Guard Auxiliary for over 55 years. Active as a patrol coxswain early on, Bob was also an instructor, teaching boating safety classes for many years. He was honored in 2019 by the Auxiliary District Commodore celebrating his many years of service. He founded and operated Searles Ready Mix Concrete in Wauregan, Connecticut until retiring in 1983. Bob was an avid boater and boat builder. He spent every summer cruising Long Island Sound with Audrey, his wife of 56 years. Bob was predeceased by Audrey in 2007. He leaves a son, John Searles with wife Lynne and grandson Jonathan; daughter Janet Gill with husband Jeremiah; and daughter Judith Baker with husband Ralph, grandson Robert Baker, granddaughter Megina Baker with husband Johannes Mark, and great grandchildren Tova and Carl Mark. He lived a very long and active life. In lieu of flowers, donations in Bob’s memory may be made to The Coast Guard Foundation at coastguardfoundation.org. A private memorial service for family members will be held at a later date.

Brewster H. Staples ’59

Brewster Holman Staples, 81 of Pownal, ME passed away at his home on December 23, 2020 with his wife by his side.

He was born in Malden, MA, April 29, 1939 to Dr. Clark and Frances (Hall) Staples. After graduation from Williston Academy, he proudly served in the U.S. Navy from 1958-1964. He was a medical technologist during his years of study at Bryant and Stratton and Suffolk University in Boston. Brewster worked in the insurance and financial service industries; earning the LUTCF designation in 1988. He retired from Metropolitan Insurance Company and belonged to the Southern Maine Association of Life Underwriters; serving as its president and winning four National awards.

Bruce enjoyed his years of boating, camping, traveling to Nova Scotia and Key West many times with his loving wife of 51 years. He was an avid fisherman and looked forward each year to his week at Moosehead Lake in Rockwood. He was most happy at his home on the farm, always working the land and enjoying nature; talking with all who stopped by.

Brewster was a long-time member of South Freeport Church UCC, member of the Acacia Lodge #21 AF & AM in Durham, ME, Grand Organist of the State of Maine for many years and also a member of the AMVETS Post 2 in Yarmouth, ME.

Throughout his life, Brewster was recognized for his volunteer service to youth, including handicap children at the YMCA in Woburn, MA; raising rabbits for 4H in Massachusetts and Cumberland associations. Whether working seasonally at LL Bean for 15 years or participating in community activities, Brewster was respected and highly thought of by all who knew him.

He was predeceased by his parents and brothers, David and Clarke Staples. His is survived by his beloved wife and soulmate, Judith (Hayes) Staples; daughters, Deborah Staples Ferrara and husband Jim of Rangeley, Jennifer Staples LeClair and husband Robert of Key West; son Jay (John B.) Staples and wife Bonnie of Topsham; his dear sister, Anne Staples Dixon of Essex, CT and many loving grandchildren and special nieces and nephews. He is also survived by daughters, Tracie Staples Thomas and husband Dan and Kendall Staples and their families in Virginia.

A small graveside memorial will be held in June in Pownal, ME.

Richard T. Potsubay ’59

Richard T. Potsubay, age 79, of Clearwater, Florida passed away on Wednesday, February 10, 2021. Richard was born July 4, 1941 in Brooklyn, New York to Samuel F. Potsubay and Virginia Taylor. Richard lived a devoted life to his career and family. He enjoyed reading, writing, and traveling. There will be a graveside service at 2:00 pm, Saturday, March 6, 2021 at Sylvan Abbey Memorial Park.

Stephan M. Heider ’58

Stephan Moore Heider was born in Northampton, Massachusetts on March 24, 1940, and was raised in Lawrence, Kansas. His parents, Fritz and Grace Heider, taught psychology at the University of Kansas for many years. The family also included oldest brother Karl, middle brother John, and the English Springer Spaniel Tony.

Steve was always fascinated with electricity, and according to his mother, explored the electrical plugs at an early age. At Pinkney grammar school he built an intercom and then a lighting board for the high school theatre. As he grew up, he bought World War II surplus parts and built his own radios and other devices. He got his Ham radio license (WØLUB) when was he was 12. (In later years, he was very proud to be a member of the Quarter Century Wireless Association.)

After high school, Steve selected physics as career path, and did his undergraduate work both domestically and abroad, in Durham, England. Along with his course work, he continued his independent exploration of applied technology, and at the University of Minnesota, he worked at the same radio station as Garrison Keillor.

Steve first came to Buffalo when he was accepted to the University at Buffalo (UB) doctorate program in physics in 1966. He dreamed of having computer analytics when memory was 4 kilowords in a Data General early computer. Building his equipment from scratch took time but resulted in several papers in atomic physics. After graduating in 1976, he left to go to Pittsburgh to work on computerizing mass spectrometers.

When Steve returned to Buffalo in 1978, he worked at the UB Physics Department and then choose to be an Independent consultant. He helped a number of businesses, including General Electric, computerize their equipment for data analytics. Steve felt strongly about keeping people employed using technology and not taking jobs away through automation.

Steve met future wife Arvela at the UB Flint loop bus stop in 1979. After getting their marriage license in Niagara Falls, they went to a Chinese restaurant and fortunately found out their zodiac signs were compatible. Steve married Arvela on May 7, 1983. They bought a “fixer upper” house in 1984 and enjoyed working on making it into a wonderful home.

Steve and Arvela’s 37-year marriage was a joyful partnership founded on intellectual curiosity and exploration. They built a business, Holark Systems—a collaboration from the name to the work itself. Their life together was also filled with many trips to science museums in the US, England, Europe, and even Australia. At home, their bookcases were lined with books on all subjects, and Steve remarked how he would read the titles and the books would reach out and grab him. Breakfasts were often delayed by a delightful read.

He was much beloved by his nieces and nephews. They (and their children) also brought great joy into his life. At almost two, the very youngest great-niece shows a desire to explore the world around her much the way Steve did all of his life.

Steve loved parties and we are planning on bringing family and friends together in the summer to share memories.

Walter G. Russell ’65

Walter Gardner Russell, age 73, of Biloxi, Miss., passed away on Friday, March 26, 2021. Walter was born on April 7, 1947, in Springfield, Mass. He obtained a bachelor degree from UMass Amherst. He was Chairman of the Zoning Board of Appeals for Peru, N.Y., and was a member of the Knight of Columbus. He was the Regional Director of the United Cerebral Palsy of the North Country. He was also the Director of Training at TW Express. He served in the U.S. Air Force as an Instructor Pilot, Squadron Commander and retired as Major. While serving in the Air Force he was awarded with Air Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, Combat Readiness Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Air Force Longevity Service Award Ribbon, Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon, Air Force Training Ribbon, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal and Meritorious Service Medal. Walter was an avid dog lover. He enjoyed golfing, swimming and loved the NY Giants. He attended Williston Academy in Easthampton, Mass., where he was a first-round inductee into their sports hall of fame for being a team member of the undefeated boy’s football team in 1963. He is preceded in death by his parents, Aldea Russell and Leo Russell. Survivors include his spouse, Janet Russell; daughter, Noelle Russell Sanger; son-in-law, Luke Sanger; grandchildren, Felicity and Morgan Sanger; and pet, Mr. Puggers. Funeral service will be held on Wednesday, March 31, 2021, at Bradford-O’Keefe Funeral Home, Howard Avenue in Biloxi at 1:30 p.m. Friends may visit from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. The funeral service will be livestreamed on Facebook under Bradford-O’Keefe Funeral Home at 1:30 p.m. Interment will follow at Biloxi National Cemetery at 2:30 p.m.

Sydney W. Russell ’54

Sydney W. “Syd” Russell, 84, a resident of Pine Circle, Bennington, VT, died Tuesday, March 23, 2021 at the Centers for Living and Rehabilitation following a lengthy illness.

Syd was born on July 16, 1936 and raised in Easthampton, MA where he graduated from Williston Academy before going on to Boston where he graduated from the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy.

Syd married the former Marilyn Simkins on November 25, 1967 in Dekalb, Illinois.

Syd began his long career as a pharmacist at Hillcrest Hospital in Pittsfield, MA before moving on to Putnam Memorial Hospital in Bennington where he served as Chief Pharmacist for 20 years. Syd served another 20 years as a friendly and recognizable face at The Pharmacy on North Street where he remained until his retirement.

Syd was a long time member of the Second Congregational Church in Bennington where he also served as a trustee. He was a former member of the Bennington Lions Club and also a member of both the Rattlesnakes and Gezzers coffee clubs. His passion was cheering for the Boston Red Sox and going to the races at Saratoga every August.

The family would especially like to thank the many members of the Second Congregational Church for their numerous acts of kindness during Syd’s long illness. They would also like to thank the staff at CLR, especially Brooke, and the caregivers who assisted him while he was living at home.

Survivors include his wife, Marilyn Russell of Bennington; three sons, Andrew Russell of Montclair, NJ, Todd Russell and his wife Jennifer of North Brookfield, MA and Eric Russell and his wife Leigh of Bennington; four grandchildren, Haley, Natalie, Lilly and Jacob Russell; his step-grandson, Jonathon Russell; a sister, Mary Russell of West Concord, MA and several nieces, nephews and cousins.

Graveside committal services will be held on Saturday, March 27, 2021 at 12 noon at the family lot in Park Lawn Cemetery in Bennington .

Should friends desire memorial contributions in Sydney Russell’s memory may be made to either the Second Congregational Church or the Parkinson’s Foundation through the office of the Mahar & Son Funeral Home, 628 Main Street, Bennington, VT 05201.

James C. Carlson ’67

James C. Carlson, 72, of Hyannis, MA and formerly of Harwich, passed away after a brief illness at Cape Cod Hospital on Friday, February 26, 2021. Born in Hartford, Connecticut, he was the son of the late Barbara (Cahoon) and Paul E. Carlson. James was a 1967 graduate of Williston Academy in Easthampton, MA and attended American University in Washington, D.C.
Known by his friends as “Jim” he was an avid amateur astronomer. He was the past Director of the Cape Cod Astronomical Society and helped to build and establish the Werner Schmidt Observatory at Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School in South Yarmouth, MA. His involvement included hosting star parties at various locations across the Cape and conducting classroom outreach in Cape school systems. Jim was an observer for The American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO) and regularly contributed data and technical information to that organization. He was recognized by AAVSO at their 1999 and 2011 Annual Meetings for his significant work in recording sunspot activity.
James is survived by his siblings, Joel Carlson of Holliston and Janet Newton and her husband, John of Carlsbad, CA. He also leaves behind many nieces and nephews. He is predeceased by his twin brother, Jon Carlson. Private family arrangements are being held and are under the care of the Chesmore Funeral Home of Holliston.