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Norton Cushman

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WILLISTON -- Norton Cushman, who in the 1960s held various senior management positions with the Sprague Electric Company of North Adams, Mass., died at the Vermont Respite House on Nov. 9. He was 84.

Born in Bennington, he was the son of Frederick and Isabel Norton Cushman. During WWII, he joined the Army Air Force, serving in the Pacific as an airborne radio operator for the 2nd Combat Cargo Group. After the war, he attended Williams College, where he played varsity football, belonged to the DKE House and the flying club, and was the chief technician for the radio station. He graduated from Williams in 1949 and returned to earn a master’s in physics in 1953.

In 1952, Mr. Cushman married Lucia (Lupine) Howard of Bennington. They settled in Williamstown, Mass., and Sprague Electric hired him as a development engineer. In 1960, the company sent him to Belgium, where he established and managed a new plant manufacturing computer components for the European market. Upon his return to the U.S., he directed a program to develop and manufacture silicon microcircuits. He left Sprague in 1970, moved his family to South Hero, on Lake Champlain, and was employed by the Vermont Department of Economic Development, recruiting new industry to the state.

In 1984, he and his wife sold their home, bought a 44-foot, double-ended sailboat which they christened “Gypsy,” and spent the next four years living aboard, cruising the Maine coast, Chesapeake Bay and the Bahamas.

Mr. Cushman believed in not only working but playing hard. As a young man, his pastimes were skiing, fishing and aerobatic flying, while in his forties he took up water-skiing, sailing and running. He also enjoyed using his ham radio, practicing French and Chinese cooking, and savoring fine wines in the company of family and friends. He possessed a dry sense of humor and a lively wit, and delighted in a good caper.

Mr. Cushman liked to say that his family was his proudest achievement. He is survived by his wife, Lupine, of Burlington; his sons, Michael, of Williamstown, and Kim, of North Bennington; his daughter, Andrea Ferguson, of Berkeley, Calif.; a brother, John Hall, of Santa Rosa, Calif.; and five grandchildren.

There will be no service; interment will be private. Memorial contributions may be sent to the Vermont Respite House, 99 Allen Brook Lane, Williston, VT 05495, and the Visiting Nurse Association, 1110 Prim Road, Colchester, VT 05446.
Published in Bennington Banner on Nov. 13, 2007
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