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Roy Betit

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Roy E. Betit 1937 - 2012 WHITINGHAM, VT Roy Eugene Betit, 75, a lifelong resident of Whitingham, died peacefully at his home in the early hours of Saturday, June 23, 2012, surrounded by his loving family. France is the Betit family's ancestral home. Charles François Betille was a seasonal fisherman who captained a cod fishing vessel off the coast of Nova Scotia in the mid-1700s. His ship was destroyed by the British during the Seven Years' War in the early 1760s, and Charles never returned to France, instead founding a prolific clan that scattered large Betille (later, Betil, then Betit) family groups throughout Canada, Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, New York, and many other states. Charles's direct descendant, Roy Betit, son of Joseph T. and Maisie (Busby) Betit, was born in the Betit homestead on School Street in Whitingham on Feb. 11, 1937. He received his education in Whitingham schools. Throughout his formative years and after finishing school, he worked in the extensive J.T. Betit family business for his father, which spanned a number of industries and related jobs: sawyer in the family sawmill; logger; maple syrup maker, working two family sugar lots; farmer, milking a small dairy herd, and haying. He later was an equipment operator and plow truck driver for the State of Vermont Highway Department and the Whitingham Highway Department. From 1983 until his retirement, Roy worked for the United States Postal Service as a rural mail carrier, faithfully delivering mail to customers in Whitingham, Wilmington, and surrounding towns, despite the most demanding Vermont weather. He retired from the Wilmington Post Office in 2002. Roy was an ardent outdoorsman and enthusiastic hunter and fisherman. The woods were both familiar and comfortable for him, and he loved spending entire days and sometimes weeks in the forest, where he became a keen observer of animal behavior, an expert tracker, and skilled survivalist, fully able to live solely off the land. Though he respected others' beliefs, his own life was built on the conviction that Americans possess the inalienable right to bear arms. Providing for a family of five children on a small salary meant that he and his boys often obtained food for the family by hunting and fishing, without which there might not have been meals every day. He therefore had little patience for those who eat shrink-wrapped meat but oppose hunting. And to anyone foolish enough to criticize the occasional chewiness of his venison, he delivered a deadpan response with a trademarked, steely gaze: "Tougher where there's none." He enjoyed hunting trips with friends and family to Montana, Canada and Maine, and most everywhere in Vermont, and he fished uncountable days by boat and on land or ice, often in early years with nephews Joel Betit, Larry Brown, and Jamie Brown, and lifelong friend Gordon Kingsley, and in later years with close friends Jim Kidney, Lee Kingsley or Wesley Howe, and of course, his sons and grandsons. He was a longtime member and past-president of the Deerfield Valley Sportsmen's Club, where he assumed the position of Secretary at age 16, later serving a decade as President. His leadership was characterized by his successful advocacy and lobbying to create the Sportsmen's Bill of Rights in Vermont, by his success in maintaining the historical rights of fishermen to use power boats on Vermont waterways, and by the founding and operation of such activities as the renowned Game Supper, the annual Kids Hooked on Fishing Derby, and the annual DVSC Ice Fishing Derby, which sustains the Club to this day. For 15 years he also served as Vice President of the Vermont Federation of Sportsmen. For this and many other signature accomplishments, Roy was named the DVSC Sportsman of the Year in 1999, a highlight of his life. Roy was one of the Founders of the Whitingham Ambulance Service where he was an EMT, and a past member of the Whitingham Volunteer Fire Department. In other civic service, he was a longtime member of the Whitingham Cemetery Commission and a Director of the Whitingham Historical Society. Roy had an extremely strong work ethic and was a jack-of-all trades, noting with pride that he rarely hired skilled tradesmen to work on his home, instead doing everything himself. With a deep love of reading, he was continually learning new things until his last days. He loved his large family, and enjoyed nothing more than getting the "whole fam damily" (his humorous appellation) together for frequent barbecues and bonfires. He was also quietly proud of his children's educational, career and life attainments. Roy leaves his wife, Antoinette (Stone) Betit, whom he married Aug. 27, 1954, and who never left his side during his lengthy illness, sons Hunter J. Betit, Dr. Brent Betit and wife Julie, all of Whitingham, daughter Teresa Betit and husband Howard Lurie of Brookline, MA, daughter Lisa and husband Ralph Buchanan of Whitingham, and daughter Christy Betit and fiance Aaron Shadwell of Jamaica Plains, MA. Roy's beloved grandchildren include Jeremy and wife Jessica Betit, Samantha Buchanan and friend Bob Salamone, Matthew and Nicholas Betit, Haley Weinreich, Gemma and Aliza Lurie, great-grandchildren Kimberly Betit and Daniel Roy Betit, as well as dozens of nieces, nephews and cousins. He was predeceased by his siblings, John, Raphael and Charlie Betit, Maisie Dockum and Mae Clough. FUNERAL NOTICE: Graveside services will be held on Sunday, July 1, at 1:00 pm at the family lot in Sadawga Cemetery, with the Rev. John Brigham, pastor of the Community Church of Whitingham, officiating. A gathering will follow at the family home. Friends may call at the COVEY ALLEN & SHEA FUNERAL HOME on Saturday, June 30, from 6-8 pm when the family will be present. Memorial gifts may be made to the Guy Hawkins Cancer Fund, Whitingham Community Church, or Southwestern Vermont Cancer Center in care of Covey Allen & Shea Funeral Home, P.O. Box 215, Wilmington, VT 05363. To send personal e-mail condolences to the family, please visit www.sheafuneralhomes.com.

Published in Bennington Banner on June 26, 2012
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