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Phillip R. Viereck

1925 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Phillip R. Viereck Obituary
Phillip R. Viereck, 91, educator, longtime principal of the North Bennington Graded School, and World War Two Navy veteran who watched the American flag rise on Iwo Jima in 1945, died May 26 of Alzheimer's disease at the Vermont Veterans Home. He had been in residence there for the past four years.

Phil was a lover of the outdoors - from the Dartmouth Outing Club to his bountiful flower and vegetable gardens to the reforestation of his 50-acre Cold Spring Farm in Shaftsbury to canoeing in Canada to the annual deer hunt to his regular climb with sixth graders up Mount Monadnock in New Hampshire.

He was born June 2, 1925, to Raymond L. and Marian (Neagus) Viereck and grew up in Padanaram Village near New Bedford, Mass. He attended schools in South Dartmouth, graduated from Dartmouth High School (Mass.), and after the war graduated from Dartmouth College (NH), class of 1948, on the GI Bill.

He and Ellen Kingsbury were married at her home in Rowayton, Conn., on Dec. 28, 1948, and they resided at Vassar College while he took courses there until Ellen graduated in 1949. Then they set off for Alaska, where Phil had previously worked for the U.S. Geodetic Survey. For two years they lived on remote King Island, population 150, in the Bering Sea, as teachers employed by the Alaska Native Service.

Both earned master's degrees in education at Plymouth State, N.H., then they spent two years in Cordova, Alaska. They moved to Bennington in 1954. Phil first taught sixth grade at Bennington Elementary School, then became principal at Beech Street and Molly Stark schools. Phil was southwest Vermont curriculum supervisor for eight years, and for the next 17 years was principal at North Bennington.

He was the author of five books for children: "Eskimo Island," a story of Bering Sea hunters; "Independence Must Be Won," about Revolutionary War action on Lake Champlain; "The Summer I Was Lost," "Let Me Tell You About My Dad," and "Sue's Second Hand Horse;" and one non-fiction book, "The New Land," which traced pre-Mayflower coastal explorations of New England.

Phil was a master story-teller. Many of his tales were tape-recorded and replayed often on WBTN-AM. These included the time he was rescued after two hours in the Pacific Ocean when his ship, the escort carrier USS Bismarck Sea, was sunk by a Japanese Kamikaze attack on February 21, 1945; and an episode when he had been declared dead after an accident in which he broke his jaw at an Alaskan coal mine.

Survivors besides his wife are daughters Jennifer O. Viereck of Santa Fe, N.M., and Pamela Viereck Bates and her husband Richard of Durango, Colo.; son Timothy D. Viereck and his wife Tamara of Ojo Caliente, N.M.; sisters-in-law Ann K. Resch of Shaftsbury and Teri Viereck of Fairbanks, Alaska; nephews Jonathan Moreland of Vancouver, Wash., Captain Daniel Moreland of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, Rodney Viereck of Black Hawk, Colo., and Walter Viereck of Bethell, Wash.; nieces Catharine Resch of Savannah, Ga., Elizabeth Petersen of Lynn, Mass., and Sharon Tobias of Eagle River, Alaska; nine grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by his youngest daughter, Meg, who was a registered nurse at SVMC.

SERVICES: A celebration of his life will be held at a later date at the family farm in Shaftsbury.

Published in Bennington Banner from May 31 to June 1, 2017
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