Thomas C. Bluto
BENNINGTON Surrounded by his loving family, Thomas Cyril Bluto, 68, died peacefully Wednesday, April 7, 2010, at home following a short but courageous battle with cancer.The youngest child of Cyril and Eileen Bluto, Tom spent his earliest years in Grand Isle, Vt. The family moved to North Bennington in 1951, when he was nine.
After graduating from North Bennington High School in 1960, he enlisted in the Navy. Tom met Barbara Marden, his wife of 44 years, while stationed at Quonset Point in Rhode Island, where he served for four years as Petty Officer 3rd Class.
In 1964, the couple moved back to Bennington. Together, they raised three sons while Tom was Resident Manager at The New Englander Motor Inn, where he was employed for eight years.
He graduated from St. Joseph's College with an Associate's Degree in Business in 1966. Tom's long time dream of becoming an Innkeeper was realized in 1972, when he and Barbara purchased The Knotty Pine Motel. Their daughter was born two years later.
While they ran the motel together, Tom was employed from 1979-1986 as the first Town of Bennington Community Development Director. He later worked as the Director for the Southern Vermont Development Council, and was instrumental in obtaining and administrating a grant for the renovation of the Holden Leonard Mill.
All who knew Tom would attest to his commitment to community and his devotion to volunteerism. He was very active in civic affairs, both on the town and state level. He was a Life Member and Melvin Jones Award recipient of the International Organization of Lions, and served as President of the NorShaft Lions and then Governor of District 45 Vermont Lions.
Tom volunteered for the Bennington Area Chamber of Commerce in many capacities, including President, long time Executive board member, chairman of many committees, and most recently Administrator of the Bennington Car Show. He was the recipient of the Chamber's D. Ed Moore Award and the President's Award. He served on the Bennington Selectboard from 1995 to 1998.
Tom was instrumental in bringing the USS Bennington Ship's Bell back to its home where it now rests on the front lawn of the Town Offices. He proudly participated twice in the transporting of the Capital Christmas Tree from Bennington to Washington D.C., most recently in 2007.
He continued as a community volunteer until his death, and was an integral part of many events sponsored by area non-profits.
As his business card states, Tom was a self proclaimed, "Jack of all trades, Master of none". His passing is not only a loss to the loved ones he leaves, but to the greater Bennington area as a whole.
Although he was a Green Mountain boy at heart, Tom's true passion was boating and being on the open water. In 2005, after 33 years, he and Barb sold the motel and embarked on their 42ft. Chris Craft "Knotty Lady" for a year's journey navigating the waterways surrounding the eastern half of the United States, commonly called The Great Loop.
Tom's hospitality was legendary. Some of his happiest moments were spent gathering with family and friends at the Bluto Camp in Wilmington.
Besides Barbara, Tom is survived by his father, Cy; son, Christopher and his wife, Steph, of Westfield, Ind.; son, Michael and his wife, Marsha, of Stateline, Nev.; son, Timothy of New York, N.Y.; daughter, Elizabeth "Betsy" Bluto Woods and her husband, Ed, of Bennington; grandchildren, Larison, Cole, Marijke, Lily, Lucianna and Victoria; a brother, David and his wife, Barbara Jean, of Marsh Harbor, Bahamas and North Carolina; a sister, Nancy Jarrett and her husband, Michael, of Williston; a sister, Susan Moore of North Bennington; sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Marcia and Bill Rogers, of Bennington, as well as several aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins.
FUNERAL NOTICE: Friends are invited to pay their respects to the Bluto family at the MAHAR AND SON FUNERAL HOME in Bennington on Friday, Apr. 9, from 4-7 p.m. All members of the Norshaft Lions are asked to meet at the funeral home at 5:30 p.m. At Tom's request, funeral services will be private. A Celebration of Tom's life will be held at a later date to be announced.
Memorial contributions in Thomas C. Bluto's memory may be made to the Memorial Park Development Committee, to be used for the improvement of the Bennington Memorial Park, future home of the Bennington Graded School Fountain, or to the Norshaft Lions for use in the Norshaft Lions Memorial Park, through Mahar & Son Funeral Home, 628 Main Street, Bennington, VT 05201.
Guest book condolences may be made at www.maharandsonfuneralhome.net.
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