In Memoriam

A Celebration of Life for Steve Clayton will be held on Saturday, Dec. 6 at UVM’s Dudley Davis Center, Grand Maple Ballroom, from 9-11am. Light breakfast fare and a selection of beverages will be served. Those planning to attend are encouraged to bring a favorite memory of Steve to share.


Terrance Robert McKnight – Shelburne

D-1-MIlestones-McKnight-STerrance Robert McKnight, husband of Jane Osborne McKnight, passed away unexpectedly of a heart attack on Nov. 29, 2014.  Terry was born on July 28, 1950, in Altoona, Pennsylvania, one of thirteen children to the late William J. McKnight and the late Eleanor Hughes McKnight. He graduated with a B.A. in English Literature, magna cum laude, from Canisius College in Buffalo, N.Y., where he was a member of its championship debate team.  In 1972, Terry was awarded first speaker at the National Debate Tournament and the La Salle Medal, for the most illustrious member of the Canisius College community. It was last awarded to an undergraduate in 1933. In 1975, he received his J.D. cum laude from Harvard Law School, where he was a finalist in the Ames Moot Court competition. Terry practiced law for over 20 years, during which time he received pro bono awards for his representation of indigents.  He then began a career in business and non-profit work. In 1996, he relocated, with his family, to Shelburne from Southern California.  Most recently, he served for 12 years as Executive Director of the Addison County Community Trust, which creates and manages affordable housing. While at ACCT, he oversaw the development of numerous affordable apartments, single family homes, and senior housing in Addison County. Terry loved his adopted home of Shelburne and was active in many community and philanthropic efforts.  He was an active member of the St. Catherine of Siena parish in Shelburne, where he was a lector and enjoyed cooking for the Salvation Army dinners. He also served for six years as a member of the Board of Directors of Anew Place, formerly the Burlington Emergency Shelter, which provides emergency and transitional housing and employment services to the homeless. He was a member of the school funding committee for Shelburne following Act 60 and secured additional grant monies for the Community School.  He enjoyed local politics and, in 2012, was elected to represent Vermont at the Republican National Convention.  He was involved for many years in Boy Scout Troop 602.  Terry had recently joined the Shelburne Historical Society and was a patron of the Shelburne Museum. Terry and Jane recently celebrated 28 years of marriage and their special life partnership. In addition to his spouse, he leaves three daughters, Caitlin Williams, her husband Craig, and their two sons, Cole and Curran, of Encinitas, Calif.; Maura Fallon-McKnight of Oakland, Calif.; and Gillian Bergeron, and her wife, Jennifer, of Essex Junction.  He also leaves two sons, Patrick McKnight and Brendan McKnight, both of Monkton. He is also survived by 10 siblings, and numerous nieces and nephews. Terry was a lover of poetry and an accomplished poet. He recently published a volume of poetry written with his daughter, Maura, titled, “Fortunate Journey.” He could be counted on at any dinner party or family celebration to recite a poem from memory or to read one of his recent compositions. He also enjoyed golf, tennis, sailing, and spending time with family. His wit, energy, smile, and hearty laugh will be missed by all who knew him. Viewing and visiting hours will be from 4 to 7pm. on Thursday, Dec. 4, at the Ready Funeral & Cremation Service South Chapel, 261 Shelburne Road. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. Catherine of Siena Church in Shelburne at 11am on Friday, Dec. 5, with burial to follow in Shelburne Village Cemetery.


Robert Cowles – Shelburne

Robert Cowles, born William Robinson Cowles, died in the quiet, early morning hours of Friday, the 21st of November, 2014. He died peacefully, in comfort, surrounded by many who loved and cared for him. He died fearlessly and with no regrets. Those who were with him in his final hours were blessed by the depth of his courage, his humility and his humanity. Throughout his formative years, Robert’s accomplishments reflected his quiet, strong, independent spirit. He often rode his bicycle long distances across Vermont and beyond. While others his age were learning to drive a car, Robert was more focused on learning to fly. One of the many great moments in his life was flying solo in a single engine Cessna from the landing strip at Shelburne Orchards, his family home. He had a natural gift for music and painting. He played flute, oboe and recorder in small ensembles at the Mountain School and later with friends at Marlboro College, often adding minutes of improvisation that could bring tears to your eyes. He was able to navigate the high seas of his medical challenges while still focusing on the call of his humanity… with the assistance of one of his closest friends, David Winters. With encouragement and guidance from his father, William S. Cowles, Robert established a foundation to assist children with disabilities in India and Ethiopia, with a special emphasis on access to education and medical care. He succeeded in designing an all-terrain wheelchair for children to get to school on rough dirt roads in rural village settings. Robert had a remarkable ability to see so much of what is good in this world… and an absolute belief that it would prevail. He had an irrepressible spirit, a one-of-a-kind mixture of humor and mischief that expressed itself in so many ways. He leaves behind his father, William S. Cowles; four siblings, Tim, Tory, Nick and Evan; nine nieces and nephews; and one great-nephew. His mother, Virginia Cowles; his sister, Cedar; and his niece, Jessie, predeceased him. He also leaves behind a devoted group of dear friends and caregivers who became his extended family. They deserve our highest gratitude and thanks. Services and celebrations to honor Robert’s life will be held throughout the world, and at his family home where he spent his early years, Shelburne Orchards in Vermont. Instead of sending flowers, please make donations to Mobility Without Barriers Foundation, PO Box 423, Burlington, VT 05401.


Mary Elizabeth Stewart

– Sebring, Fla.

Mary Elizabeth Stewart, formerly of Shelburne, Vt., passed away in Sebring, Fla., on Nov. 25, 2014, at the age of 88. Known by her friends and business associates as “M.E.,” she was born in Schenectady, N.Y., to Henry Wellington and Mary Curtis Stewart. With a B.A. degree from the University of Rochester and a M.S. degree from Indiana University, M.E. pursued a career path that centered on services to people and communities. After starting out as the Executive Director of the University of Rochester Alumnae Association, she spent several years in Girl Scout professional positions. A highlight of that time was spent as a member of the National Girl Scout staff assigned to Europe to work with military families. In 1966, M.E. became a life insurance agent with the Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company. She settled in Shelburne with an office in Burlington. As a Chartered Life Underwriter, she sold more than $14 million worth of insurance on many lives. In 1980, M.E. had the opportunity to become a Financial Consultant with Marks and Lundy, Inc., a leading fund raising company for charitable organizations. She traveled and worked in many areas around the country, serving colleges, hospitals, museums, and other community organizations. Returning to Shelburne in 1986, she became associated with Shelburne Farms as Director of the Farm’s Capital Campaign program. Ultimately M.E. retired and settled in Florida. She is survived by numerous nieces and nephews; long-time friend, Rosalie Lombard, formerly of the Burlington area; and Carol Hornbeck, a close friend for 76 years. M.E. was preceded in death by her four brothers and their wives: Henry and Sally, Curtis and Janet, Edward and Elizabeth, and Van and Margaret Ann. Gifts in memory of M.E. may be made to Shelburne Farms, 1611 Harbor Rd., Shelburne, VT 05482.