FAIRFAX, Vt. formerly of ANDOVER - John Bachelder Chamberlin, 90, passed away Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013. He was born in a small red brick house on Portsmouth Street, in East Concord, on Dec. 3, 1923, the fourth of six children born to Harold Curtis Chamberlin and Ruth Marian Bachelder both of good yankee stock.
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He was the 8th great-grandson of Henry "the blacksmith" Chamberlin, who settled in Hingham, Mass. in the mid 1600's. Later the family moved to Strafford, Vt., to become successful farmers and respected members of the community. In the late 1800's Curtis Chamberlin followed his father-in-law, Doctor Edwin Annable to Concord, settling on Shawmut Street.
John was proud of his roots and never tired of recounting family stories and telling jokes about New England life. One tale was about Vermont's "side-hill cows" with one set of legs shorter than the other so they could only walk around the hill in one direction". He would say, "I was born in Concord. I remember it well, I was very young and my mother was there at the time".
The days of his youth were spent helping on the family farm. His mother was known to have remarked that, "He got more milk in the pail than his father". He claimed to have been able to squirt milk into your mouth from eight feet away.
During World War II, he enlisted in the Army Air corps after his graduation from high school and served in the Pacific Theater on Guam and Canton Islands. With the woodworking skills he learned from his father, he became a pattern maker and repaired damaged planes. Although he would tell stories meant to make you believe he was a rascal in the service, he managed to earn a good conduct medal.
He loved the outdoors. Many hours were spent fishing with his brothers and cousins and other local boys in the streams and ponds around East Concord. He was a collector of old things: American stamps, glass bottles, crockery and family genealogy.
After the War, he moved to Andover and worked selling insurance for Allan Thompson Agency and other agencies in Newport and Claremont. For John it was half work and half fun as he loved visiting with people and many of his customers became good friends. He served his community through membership in the VFW and Lions Club and was elected twice to the Andover Town Selectboard, which included a term as Head Selectman. After retiring, he moved with his wife Estella to the Denver area. John was proud of his Yankee roots and wore his New England Patriots colors proudly and defiantly even when living in Denver Broncos territory. After the death of his wife he moved back east to live with his son Stephen and his wife in Vermont. He loved living in Vermont .
He is survived by his sister, Margaret Whittier, of Concord; and his brother, Henry Chamberlin, of Contoocook.
He was predeceased by his sister, Mara Chamberlin; two brothers, William Chamberlin and David Chamberlin; and a step-daughter, Joy Chamberlin.
He leaves his children, Ruth Chamberlin of Greenfield, Mass, Stephen Chamberlin and his wife, Susannah, of Fairfax, Vt., Peter Chamberlin and his wife, Brenda, of Warner; and a step-son, Kenneth Hazen and his wife, Louise, of Warner. He also leaves six grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren as well as a large extended family.
John was married to Helen Tinker, Ruby Hazen (deceased) and Estella Beltz who passed away in 2009.
Although he was taken from us unexpectedly, it is a comfort to know that John passed away doing what he dearly loved, going out for his daily two mile walk in farm country, watching the cows and other wildlife and chatting with the neighbors. He will be remembered for his kindness and his gentle nature. He was an easy person to get to know and even easier to become fond of.
Friends and relatives may call Thursday, Oct. 3, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the H.L. Young & Company Memorial Home, 175 South Main St., Franklin.
A graveside funeral service with Military Honors will be held Friday, Oct. 4, at 11 a.m. in Proctor Cemetery, Rt. 4, Andover, with Rev. Preston Fuller officiating.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Fairfax Rescue, PO Box 428, Fairfax, Vt. 05454.
H.L. Young & Company
175 South Main Street
Franklin, NH 03235
Published in The Concord Monitor on Oct. 1, 2013