Vermont lost one of its last mountain men on Wednesday, March 9, 2016. Kenneth Earl Gaudette Jr., more commonly known as Kenny G, or Grampy, took his last walk onto his beloved Shelburne Pond a day too late in the season. Born January 17, 1949 to Kenneth and Lily (Greer) Gaudette, Kenny spent his childhood and teen years relishing the beauty of Vermont’s great outdoors. Known in his youth to raise a little hell with some of Shelburne’s finest young men (you know who you are), it did take a little while for Kenny to grow up. He actively served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. He turned a childhood hobby (at Giroux’s Shop) into a career as an iron welder and was employed by CCS for many years. With Linda (Hance) he became the proud father of Dorilee (Gaudette) LeBlanc and Lyman Gaudette, the joys of his life. It wasn’t until he gained his sobriety that life’s value became clear. His sobriety was a source of pride for him and he recently celebrated his 25-year chip.
An avid fisherman, Kenny fished every lake, pond, river and creek he could find, but Shelburne Pond was his second home. He loved the freedom of being on the water and was always hungry for one more bite. Walleye was his favorite fish to catch; Kenny was honored to win 1st place in this division in the 2012 L.C.I Derby. Kenny made friends with as many people on water as he did on land and was known to leave a lasting impression. He had a zest and appreciation for life that was both rare and commendable. Unafraid to be his unique self, he inspired everyone around him to be who they are (while sometimes embarrassing his kids). The last six years of his life you could see were his happiest. He was living his retired life fully immersed in the wilderness and the lives of his grandchildren.
Kenny began hunting and trapping before most kids these days are potty trained. He finally dropped the Phantom, his elusive trophy buck after years of close encounters. He never let a part of an animal go without use. His creativity flourished when he began to create handmade hide hunting wear and accessories, which he sported during biathlons. His garb was so impressive he was featured in the Boston Globe and Chicago Tribune wearing it. He knew how to survive off the land and enjoyed sharing the knowledge with anyone who wanted to shoot the breeze.
His life was devoted to his children, Lyman and Dorilee, and her husband Brett. His grandchildren Anderson, Weston, and Adelyn, were the lights of his life. He was eager to take them aboard the Misfit and share with them his knowledge of the waters. He always took the time to get down on their level and play. No one will ever compare to Grampy in their eyes. His appreciation for the outdoors will forever live on in their hearts. He is survived by his siblings Larry (Marlies), Gloria (Fuller), Maurice (Mud) and Sharon, Mary Anne (Duell), Joe, and nieces and nephews Marianne, Eddie and Todd Charbonneau and Jen Huante, Maurice Gaudette, Ryan Duell, Danielle Carey and Nicole and an army of cousins. Some of his best days were hunting and fishing with his brothers. His partner in crime Clyde Bovat was a brother to him and was his rock, confidant; his best friend in every way. Ronnie Bovat was like a second son who he enjoyed many hunting adventures with. Tim Tenney worked hard to keep Kenny road worthy. Jamie Bissonette was a source of strength for Kenny during his road to sobriety. The bond between Doug and George Lavalette and Kenny lasted his lifetime. Doug Therrian, Brian LaBell, Brian Fillion, the Datillio family, Wayne Bar, Mike Giroux, the Carol Brothers, the Levines, the Boisvert family, the Casewells, his fishing partner from afar, Gill, and so many more, you enriched our father’s life, and we thank you.
A special thanks to Dana Joyal for risking his life for Kenny. Dana was a man Kenny respected and admired. His family is glad he is recovering from his selfless act of heroism.
Living in Shelburne nearly all his life, his passing is a loss the whole community will feel. Join us for a Celebration of Life on Friday, March 18, 2016 from 4-8pm at Shelburne United Methodist Church. Formal prayer at 7:30. Please bring a hand-written or typed story about Kenny to leave with his children. A man will live on as long as stories of him are shared. We already miss his infamous story telling. Food graciously provided by Dutch Mill Catering. Services provided by Steven Gregory and Son Cremation.
Donations for services welcomed to Lyman Gaudette or Dorilee LeBlanc P.O. Box 14, Shelburne, VT 05482.
May your bait be fresh and your powder be dry. We miss you already dad, love Bucky and Stinkbug.