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Melvin Stuart

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BENNINGTON -- Melvin Frederick Stuart, 66, died at his home on Margaret Lane in Bennington, Saturday, April 7, following a short illness.

He was born in Greenwich, Conn., on Sept. 2, 1940, and was the son of the late Charles Melvin and Alice (Johnston) Stuart. Mr. Stuart was a graduate of Colonie Central High School in Colonie, N.Y., and he attended Fairfield Preparatory School in Fairfield, Conn. Melvin served with the Army in Budingen, Germany.

He married the former Rena Lionetti in Stamford, Conn., on Aug. 9, 1975. Mrs. Stuart survives.

Melvin first worked as a purchasing agent for Pitney-Bowes. He left their employment and took a year off to travel the country.

Forty-three years ago, with the help of his lifelong friend, Anthony B. Reynaud, Mr. Stuart began his career in the theater business in Stamford, Conn. He then moved on to become the manager of the famous Rivoli Theater in New York City. From there Mel then became the division manager for all United Artists Theaters in New York City and Connecticut. Years later, his greatest career leap occurred when his wife’s uncle, Mario Ottaviano, requested him to run the Cinema 1 & 2 in Bristol, Conn. Mel’s expertise and knowledge of the theater business along with Mario’s strong business sense led to great financial success of the theater. This career break afforded him the opportunity to purchase the Cinema 1- 2- 3 in Bennington in 1988.

Mel operated the Cinema 1-2-3 until 1995, when he purchased the vacant St. Johnsbury Truck Terminal on Phyllis Lane in Bennington and built the Cinema 7, the first and only multiplex in Bennington County.

An avid skier, Mr. Stuart was a season ticket holder at Stratton Mountain Resort for 18 years. He was also a member of the Mount Anthony Country Club in Bennington, and the Glen Eagles Golf Course at the Equinox Resort in Manchester. He was a member of the Benn-Shaft Investment Club. He and his wife Rena enjoyed traveling, and were “snowbirds” in Naples, Fla., for the last three years. He enjoyed his “Black and Blue” steaks and Irish Mist.

Survivors besides his wife, Rena, include one daughter, Tiffany Stuart, a speech-language pathologist of Colchester; his sister Mary Alice Stuart of Sterling, Va.; and his brother Robert Stuart of Westport, Conn. He also leaves his father-in-law, Carmine Lionetti of Conn.; and nephews Joshua and Taylor Stuart.

A prayer service will be held at the Mahar & Son Funeral Home, 628 Main St. in Bennington on Thursday, April 12, at 10:30 a.m., followed by a Mass of Resurrection at Sacred Heart St. Francis de Sales Church in Bennington at 11 a.m.

Interment will follow in the family lot in Park Lawn Cemetery in Bennington.

Friends may call at the funeral home on Wednesday evening, April 11, from 6 to 8 p.m.

Contributions in his memory may be made to the Southwestern Vermont Regional Cancer Center, through the Mahar & Son Funeral Home 628 Main St. Bennington, VT 05201.

Information provided by the funeral home.
Published in Bennington Banner on Apr. 9, 2007
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