Norwich University

1994 Obituaries

If you would like more information regarding a name on this list, please contact the Alumni Office at 802.485.2100 or Please note that we do not have a detailed obituary for all names listed, but those we do are clickable links to the full obituary below. Obituaries that appear below were provided by the family or friends of the deceased to inform the Norwich community.

Lillian Brintnall, 11/11/2004
Jo Ann F. Chavre(Vermont College), 5/8/2015
Ian R. Dodgson, 7/21/2010
Michael P. Hamelin, 12/28/2014
Joshua P. Norton, 8/6/2012
Brian John Recesso, 3/19/2009
CPT Lynn A. Reister, USA, 5/24/2001
Deanna Joy Smith

Jo Ann F. Chavre

Jo Ann Robinson Freed Chavré, a woman who loved life and lived it fully, died May 8, 2015 in Salt Lake City, UT, surrounded by her family. She was 83.

Jo Ann had a passion for the arts, a fierce commitment to social justice and equal rights for women, an unwavering loyalty to family and friends, and an insatiable curiosity about the world around her and the people in it.Jo Ann's rural Utah roots figured prominently in the remarkable woman she would become. She was born in Farmington, UT on May 23, 1931 to L.W. "Hap" and Jannetta Knowlton Robinson, into a family proud of its pioneer heritage. She grew up with four brothers-she was the middle child-in her ancestor's farmhouse on historic Clark Alley. Both she and her father were born there. Her Depression-era childhood was short on money but long on love and thoughtful guidance. Between her father's dawn-to-dark work ethic and her mother's careful and creative juggling of the family budget, somehow money was always "found" to support the children's personal development. For Jo Ann that meant lessons in piano, speech, dance and drama-skills that she honed in her many extracurricular activities at Davis High School.The Robinson family farm abutted Lagoon Amusement Park, so close that merry-go-round music resonated through the home. It was almost inevitable, then, that Jo Ann's first job would be at Lagoon. She was hired by park manager Robert Freed, one of the four Freed brothers who owned the park. The two became friends over several summers, friendship blossomed into love, and they married on March 25, 1950.Jo Ann and Bob had a lot on their plate-and they savored all of it. They were busy with Lagoon and many community commitments. Bob was a major force in the Civil Rights Movement in Utah and Jo Ann played an important role in local theater as a founding member of the University of Utah Theatre Guild. But their #1 priority was parenting their four sons-Mark, John, Paul and Christopher. The young Freed family spent time camping and water-skiing at Lake Powell, skiing at Alta and Park City, fishing and riding horses at the family cabin on the Weber River. At the home they built on East Capitol Boulevard, Bob and Jo Ann entertained friends from the theater as well as many of the headliners who performed at Lagoon. The boys' friends still ask them about the time the Beach Boys came to dinner.The idyllic life Jo Ann and Bob shared for 24 years ended in 1974 when Bob died after a long battle with cancer. Widowed at just 43, grieving but determined to forge ahead, Jo Ann returned to college to finish her undergraduate degree at the University of Utah (1978). She later received a Distinguished Alumnus Award from the school. Through her involvement with the U of U Women's Resource Center she continued to expand her lifelong commitment to women's rights and equality. She co-chaired the center's 1975 conference where Gloria Steinem was the keynote speaker and she attended many international women's meetings-the First World Conference on Women in Mexico City (1975) and, as part of the UN Decade for women, conferences in Houston (1977) and in Nairobi, Kenya (1985). In 1977, Jo Ann served as staff coordinator of the United Nations-sponsored Utah International Women's Year conference in Salt Lake City, an event which would make national headlines. Jo Ann's contributions to the Utah arts community spanned many decades. As board chair of the Utah Arts Council she was a hands-on, involved leader who attended everything from art openings to cowboy poetry gatherings and, in the 1980's, represented the council at numerous regional and national meetings. She also was board chair of the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies.Even as her involvement in social and civic issues grew, she remained focused on furthering her own education. In 1980 she earned a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies degree at New York University and in the mid-80's she plunged enthusiastically into writing, the intellectual challenge and emotional outlet that would become the passion and joy of the rest of her life. She enrolled in writing workshops and retreats, wrote nonfiction pieces for Network and Rodeo Zone and, in 1994, earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in writing from Vermont College. That same year one of her short stories was selected for inclusion in the anthology "Walking the Twilight: Women Writers of the Southwest." She was delighted and flattered to find herself in the company of Barbara Kingsolver, Terry Tempest Williams, Sandra Cisneros, Pam Houston and other writers she'd long admired.Meanwhile, Jo Ann made time to get to know her neighbor two doors down, real estate broker Kumar Chavré. They married on August 7, 1980, and, while boating in the Pacific Northwest, fell in love at first sight with Lummi Island, WA. In 1985 they bought property on the water and designed and built a gorgeous sanctuary, spending spring, summer and fall in the San Juan Islands and returning to Salt Lake for the winter holidays. Kumar became the gentleman farmer, taming the pasture, growing lush vegetable crops, shepherding successive small menageries of sheep, chickens, ducks and other farm creatures. Jo Ann tended the flowers, harvested the crab pots, enjoyed weekly tennis matches and monthly writers' group meetings with friends in Bellingham. And she wrote, every day, from her loft overlooking Sunrise Cove. They had enjoyed 28 years together when, in 2008, Kumar collapsed and died while walking their beloved dog Chuck. Ironically Jo Ann's novel, "Blessings from Bombay," researched in part on a trip to India the couple took in search of Kumar's father's birthplace, was published just a few months after Kumar's death.Widowed again at 76, and terribly lonely without Kumar, Jo Ann continued to return annually to Lummi with Chuck, but for shorter periods as she began to experience serious balance issues and dementia. Still she remained optimistic and resilient, continuing work on her memoir, published in 2012. Her last year was spent at Sunrise Senior Living center, where she formed an immediate connection with a woman who would become her constant companion and dear friend, Woody Renzetti. The two women were inseparable until a fast-growing lymphoma, diagnosed two weeks ago, took Jo Ann's life.Jo Ann is preceded in death by her parents, her husband Robert E. Freed and their son who was born prematurely, husband Kumar Chavré, and brother Rick and his wife (Gwen Larkins).

She is survived by: her four sons, Mark (Robin Hughes), John (Karen Hanks), Paul (Kindra Roundy), and Christopher (Janie Anderson); stepdaughter Anne Chavré (Don Stevens) ; grandchildren Dylan, Alexis, Cameron (Amelya Witzel), Brandy (Andy Christensen), Tappia (Ray Infanger), Brittney (Jory Wright), Kailey (Kyler Mitton), Jasmine (Tyler Gust), Destry, Pace, Shelby (Nic Ellsworth), Robin and Reed; nine great-grandchildren; brothers Stephen (Marion Adams), Clark (Dee Ann Carling), and David (Leslie Bell); and many dear friends in Utah and the Pacific Northwest.

A celebration of Jo Ann's life will be held Friday, May 15 at 6 p.m. at the Tower at Rice-Eccles Stadium on the University of Utah campus (park in the lot west of the stadium and enter through the southwest door, Gate C). She has donated her body to the University of Utah Body Donor Program.

In lieu of flowers the family suggests contributions in Jo Ann's name to the University of Utah Women's Resource Center, 200 S. Central Campus Drive, SLC, UT 84112, to fund scholarships for non-traditional women students (women who have been away from their education and want to return to the classroom to earn a college degree).

Ian R. Dodgson

Ian R. Dodgson passed away on July 21, 2010. Services in celebration of his life were held on Wednesday, August 4 at noon at the Heritage Funeral Home in Peoria, AZ. He lived in Glendale, AZ, and is survived by his wife Victoria, and his daughters Emily, Gabriella, Jenna, and Alyssa. We have no further details at this time.

Michael P. Hamelin

It is with deep regret that I inform you of the death of Michael P. Hamelin, Class of 1994.

Michael Hamelin, 43, of Suwanee, Ga., passed away on December 28, 2014 as the result of a motor vehicle accident. He graduated from Norwich in 1994 with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry. During his time at Norwich he was a member of Pegasus Players.

A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, January 3, 2014 at Northside Christian Church - 20250 Kuykendahl Rd. Spring, TX 77379.

An official obituary is not available at this time, the online guestbook can be viewed at:

Joshua P. Norton

DECIN, Czech Republicâ, Joshua P. Norton, 40, unexpectedly went home to be with the Lord on Monday, August 6, 2012, at his home in Decin, Czech Republic.

He was born December 9, 1971, Hudson, NY, the son of Richard and Miriam Underhill Norton. He grew up in New Hampshire, attended Christian schools, and earned a degree in electrical engineering from Norwich University in Vermont. He proudly served in the Marine Corps for four years as an enlisted man and in a second tour as an officer. Joshua willingly left a promising career in the Marine Corp to attend Bible college where he met his wife and answered a call from his Savior to serve on the mission field. Joshua married Maelene Hinkley on June 10, 2000, and faithfully served in the Czech Republic since February 2005. Joshua lovingly devoted himself to his wife and children. His love for his family and friends and the people of the Czech Republic were evident. But foremost, Joshua was committed to the Lord Jesus Christ. His faith was real, and he truly desired to honor and glorify his Savior with his life. From numerous hikes through the woods to helping memorize spelling lists, he was a terrific daddy actively involved in his children's lives. He was an outstanding husband who not only loved but cherished his wife. He was a hopeless tightwad when spending on himself, yet very generous when giving to the needs of others.

Joshua is survived by his wife, Maelene: four sons, Ethan, Seth, Levi, and Grant and a daughter Candace; his parents; brothers Daniel and Paul; sisters Faith and Lois; and 28 nieces and nephews.

Online condolences may be shared with his family at

Funeral services will be held on Saturday, August 18 at 2 p.m. at the Calvary Baptist Church in Turner with a time of visitation from 1 to 2 p.m. prior to the service. Interment will be at the Maine Veterans Cemetery in Augusta on Monday, August 20 at 1 p.m. 

Brian John Recesso

Brian John Recesso, 37, of Land O'Lakes, Florida passed away on March 19, 2009 due to complications from diabetes.

A native of Johnstown, NY, he was the son of  Art and Jackie Recesso of Bishop, GA.  Brian was a 1990 graduate of Johnstown High School where he lettered in three sports: football, wrestling, and track. He was a part of the undefeated state champion football team in 1988 and 1989. He was also captain of the wrestling team, being voted the most outstanding wrestler and most dedicated. Brian also competed in the Empire State Games for two years in the Greco-Roman Wrestling venue. 

His love of sports followed him to Norwich where he continued to play football and wrestle. Due to a neck injury, he had to forego his sports career and instead took over coaching the Norwich J.V. football team, leading them to their first undefeated season. He was inducted into the National College Football Hall of Fame. During his time at Norwich he was inducted into the society of Skull and Swords. He graduated suma cum laude with a bachelor of science in business administration. He then went on to attend the College of Saint Rose to receive a master's in business administration.

Brian's career path took him all over the country, but his favorite time was the five years he spent with the New York Yankees. During this time, he developed a scouting program that is still used by major league baseball today.

In addition to his parents, Brian is survived by his daughter, Bella Donna, his brother, Artie, and nieces, Madelyn and Stella.  He is also survived by his grandfather, Linus Vosburgh, aunts and uncles Marie Recesso, Bill and Terry Brindle, Peter and Sandy Goderie, Bobbi and Nick Coupas, along with several cousins.

CPT Lynn Reister, USA

CPT Lynn (Armstrong) Reister grew up in Pensacola, Fla. She earned her commission after graduating from Norwich University with a Bachelor of Arts in International studies. She was currently working towards her MBA at Webster University.

CPT Reister was a graduate of the US Army Combined Arms and Services Staff School and the Air Defense Artillery Officer Basic and Advanced Courses. During her 19 month tenure as HHB/5-52 ADA Commander, the unit successfully deployed twice. The unit also successfully passed two EXEVALS, two Battalion Command Inspections, and met its re-enlistment mission each quarter.

Her awards and decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, The Army Commendation Medal, The Army Achievement Medal, The National Defense Service Ribbon, The Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, The Armed Forces Services Medal, The Army Service Ribbon, and the Overseas Service Ribbon.

Captain Reister was murdered in her home on May 24, 2001. At the time of her death she was about 6 months pregnant. She and her infant child are buried in the Ft. Bliss National Cemetery, El Paso, Texas.

She is survived by her son, Triston Noble, mother, Norma Armstrong, one brother, two sisters, a Grandmother, one Aunt and one Uncle, many friends and extended family.

Deanna Joy Smith

Deanna Joy Smith, age 38 – beloved daughter and sister, Navy veteran and nurse, spiritual and intuitive – died peacefully in her sleep at home in Monson MA on the evening of April 28.

Deanna was born on August 20, 1972 in Springfield MA to her adoring parents David and Ann (Menard) Smith of Monson MA. She is also survived by her devoted sister Debra Smith, loving brother-in-law Andy Podesta of Lakeville MA, and Pepere Paul Menard of Ludlow MA. She is predeceased by her loving Memere Anita (DuBois) Menard and her loving Grampy and Grammy Ted and Loretta (Dorval) Smith.

Deanna was a beloved member of a large, loving, and fun-filled family and leaves behind many aunts, uncles, and cousins, including her godparents Janice and Charlie Smith of Southern Shores NC and Peter and Diane Menard of Plantsville CT. Her large, loving French-Canadian family will forever miss her spirit.

Deanna graduated from Monson High School in 1990 and from Norwich University in Northfield VT with a BSN degree in nursing in 1994. She was the first nurse graduate in the NROTC program. She was a nurse by vocation and heart.

After graduation, Deanna was commissioned into the US Navy – to follow in the footsteps of her paternal grandfather - in 1994 as an ensign. Since she didn’t like ships and the open ocean, Deanna served “landside” as a military nurse in a variety of mostly Marine units, including the Balboa Naval Hospital in San Diego CA and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. She resigned her commission in 1998.

Deanna later worked in hospitals around the country in a variety of nursing capacities, including emergency room, intensive care, surgical, orthopedics and oncology units. In addition, she also cared for dialysis and dementia patients.

Deanna was a fun-loving and playful young woman, full of spunk and sass, quick with a smile and giggles. She developed a spiritual connection to the Earth’s energy, believing in the strength and wonder of things unseen and not understood. She was at times tough and vulnerable, commanding and delicate, joyful and struggling.

Deanna loved and was loved by those she leaves behind. She will be missed deeply by those of us who knew and loved her. 


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