Potash Hill

In Memoriam

Tom Sisson, former trustee
A resident of Concord, Massachusetts, former trustee Tom Sisson died in October at the age of 95. He served in the US Naval Air Corps and US Coast Guard during World War II, flying patrols for German submarines and sailors in distress. He attended Harvard University, Oxford University, and Boston University where he received his Master’s of Education degree. He worked in television, starting in commercial television then pioneering in public service programs at the Lowell Institute Cooperative and Broadcasting Council (now known as WGBH-TV) where he was the producer-director. He continued his career as a teacher and dean at both Boston and Harvard Universities, ending as associate dean for the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University. He thrived on being both an intellectual and an outdoorsman, always reading, beekeeping, gardening, collecting and selling eggs, hiking, sailing, and cross-country and alpine skiing. Tom (pictured above with longtime trustee Paul Olson), was a trustee of Marlboro College during the 1970s, owing to his longstanding friendship with then-president Tom Ragle, with whom he had grown up. During that time he went on several mountain hikes with students. He also established the Warren R. Sisson Scholarship, in his father’s memory, to which contributions may be made.

Michael Stafford ’72
A resident of Hinsdale, New Hampshire, Michael Stafford died in December at the age of 76, due to injuries suffered in a motor vehicle accident. Michael was born in Queens, New York, and grew up in Westchester County. Soon after starting college at Westchester Community College, he began part-time work at Barlow Chemical Company, rising quickly into management and to the position of plant manager. He returned to college at Marlboro, taking classes in art and design and math, then completed his bachelor’s degree in biology from Keene State College. Michael loved the outdoors, including walking, skiing, and mountain climbing, and is remembered by friends and family for his kindness. He is survived by his five siblings and their families.

Barbara Jennings ’79
Barbara Jennings died in July, in Atlanta, Georgia, at the age of 70. She was born in Galveston, Texas, and grew up moving from Texas to Georgia, New Jersey, and Michigan. She moved to Brattleboro, Vermont, with her first husband, then returned to Conyers, Georgia. Barbara became known for her artistic talents, including handcrafted necklaces and decorated folk-art eggs, one of which was chosen to represent Georgia for Easter 1998 at the White House. Later in life she took up painting, a favorite subject being birds. A high point in her life was her marriage to Shirl Jennings, who had been blind from childhood and whom Barb encouraged to have an operation that partially restored his vision. Their story became the subject of an essay by Oliver Sacks and then the movie At First Sight. Barbara is survived by three brothers and two nephews, and her first husband, Wayne Randall of Brattleboro, Vermont.

Margaret Barletta ’94
A resident of Brattleboro, Vermont, Margaret Barletta died in September at the age of 53, after living with cancer for 13 years. Margaret grew up in South Orange, New Jersey. She attended Kean College in New Jersey before moving to Keene, New Hampshire, in 1987. Shortly thereafter she moved to Brattleboro where she has resided ever since. Margaret studied at Marlboro College and later at Vermont Technical College. She earned a degree in nursing, a profession that suited her caring and empathetic nature, and worked as a medical-surgical nurse at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital. Margaret’s greatest thrill in life was being a loving mother to her son, Curtis. She enjoyed music and going to concerts—she sang with the Brattleboro Women’s Chorus—and she loved nature. She is survived by her son, Curtis; her siblings, Tony, Gina, and Robert Barletta; her partner, Margaret Holtje; and many other dear family members.

Lisa Charkey ’97
Lisa Charkey died peacefully at home in October after bravely cheating death numerous times in her five-year-long battle with cancer. The daughter of Stan Charkey, music professor emeritus, and sister of current adjunct music professor Jacob Charkey, Lisa grew up in Brattleboro and graduated from Brattleboro Union High School. She attended Hampshire College, and received her bachelor’s from Marlboro College, where she did a Plan in visual arts and anthropology, specifically a visual exploration of the theme “invisible family” and a study of art and tourism. She did graduate work in art and education at Parsons School of Design and Bank Street College of Education in New York City. Lisa returned to Brattleboro with her daughter, Lily, in 2007 after living and working in Jamaica, St. John, Miami, New York City, and Paris, France. Those who knew and loved her will remember her as a talented artist, extraordinary educator, and devoted parent. She is survived by her parents, Stan and Barbara Charkey; her daughter, Lily Charkey Buren; her brother, Jacob Charkey; her sister-in-law, Veronica Simas de Souza Rosas; and her favorite aunt, Betty Smith of Portland, Oregon.

Jane Nesbit MSM’14
In August, Jane Nesbitt died at the University of Vermont Medical Center, with her family by her side. Jane was born in Trenton, New Jersey, and graduated from Goddard College. She earned a master’s in nonprofit management from Marlboro College, where she was a bright light for the graduate school community, and also a beloved member of a Women’s Leadership Circle in Chittenden County. She was also committed to helping her community, both through her choice of working for local nonprofits and through volunteering. Her brave heart and sense of adventure were most evident on her many travels across the United States, Canada, Ireland, France, and most recently England. At the age of 56, Jane spent several months living in Rwanda. She enjoyed gardening, playing the fiddle in the Vermont Fiddle Orchestra, and being with friends. She is survived by her long-time partner, John Fleischer; daughter Dreolin Fleischer, son-in-law Travis Coan, and her two granddaughters, Riley Olivia and Gwendolyn Jane of Exeter, England; and other beloved family.