Merritt S. "Bud" Hewitt, Jr.
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1919 - 2013 NORTH BENNINGTON
Merritt S. "Bud" Hewitt Jr., 93, a resident of Harvest Hills Drive, died peacefully at home in his favorite chair with family members by his side on Wednesday, May 22, 2013.
Merritt was born in Shaftsbury on Oct. 28, 1919, to Merritt and Mahala (Matteson) Hewitt and attended two different one-room schools as a child. He graduated from North Bennington High School. In 1939, he graduated from Green Mountain College in Poultney, with an Associate Degree and 46 years later earned his Bachelor's Degree in Environmental Studies (1985) from Southern Vermont College.
Following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Merritt proposed to and married Shirley Susan Smith of Lee, Mass., in June of 1942. Married for over 62 years, she passed away in December of 2004.
Together, they decided to start dairy farming in North Bennington (Town of Shaftsbury), and eventually purchased five farms in the area. Needing a name for the farm and prefix for registered cattle, they decided on Double TT Farm, incorporating the TT in Merritt and Hewitt.
As the dairy business became more challenging for small, family farms, he turned his attention to real estate and, in 1963, passed the Vermont real estate exams. Double TT Realty was formed and construction of what are now 40 homes on Harvest Hills and Hewitt Drive began. The real estate business proved successful; he decided to sell the dairy cattle and equipment in 1970. He and Shirley moved from the home adjacent to the farm to his current home, built in Harvest Hills in 1977.
Merritt enjoyed working in real estate enormously. He served as president of the Southwest Board of Realtors and, in 1971, was chosen "Realtor of the Year" for the state of Vermont. His success and experience gave him the knowledge to appraise properties accurately and he served on the Vermont Board of Appraisers for several years.
His ongoing interest in the local business community led him to spend 25 years of service as a bank director, starting with the First National Bank of North Bennington and later with Catamount National Bank, which eventually became Merchants Bank, where he last served. He was very pleased to hear that the former bank building was recently donated to local preservation groups.
When he wasn't busy with family, farm or real estate, he was occupied with civic life, holding the office of Town Representative from Shaftsbury and then Bennington County Senator for 18 years; ten of these years serving on the Appropriations Committee. Among his many contributions, the work on Act 250 and creation of the Green Mountain Passport gave him particular pleasure. Of special interest locally was his bill to make Lake Shaftsbury a State Park, introduced and passed while he was in the Senate.
In addition to civic work in Montpelier, he was a Life Member of the NorShaft Lions and the Bennington Elks Lodge 567, as well as a member of the Rutland Cairo Shrine for more than 50 years. He served on the boards of the Old First Church, the Bennington County Resource Conservation District, the Bennington Museum and the Bennington Chamber of Commerce.
Unable to attend college because of World War II, supporting higher education was a constant interest; he served 12 years as a trustee of the University of Vermont, 12 years as a trustee of Green Mountain College, and was a trustee of Southern Vermont College, retiring in 1995. His deep commitment to the town of North Bennington led him to become a founding member and past president of Sage City Syndicate.
To relax, he enjoyed golf and was a member of Manchester Golf Course for 17 years. More recently, his garden was a source of both pride and exquisite vegetables, and there was simply no chance of beating him at any card game, from bridge to pitch, even if a beer or two were on the table.
Survivors include four children, Sandra of California, Malcolm of Massachusetts and Karen and Brian, both of Vermont; five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, and a very close friend, June King of New York.
He was predeceased by a daughter, Joyce Hewitt.
FUNERAL NOTICE: Memorial services celebrating the life of Merritt S. Hewitt Jr. will be held from the Old First Church in Old Bennington on Tuesday, May 28, 2013, at 1 p.m. with the Rev. Kenneth Clark, pastor, officiating. Private committal services will take place at the convenience of the family at Grandview Cemetery in North Bennington.
Should friends desire, memorial contributions in his memory may be made to either the Old First Church or the NorShaft Lions Sight and Hearing Fund through the office of the Mahar & Son Funeral Home, 628 Main Street, Bennington, VT 05201.
Guest book condolences may be made at www.maharandsonfuneralhome.net.
Published in Bennington Banner on May 25, 2013