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John W. Wesley


1925 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
John W. Wesley Obituary
Life is real and life is earnest, and the grave is not its goal/ Dust thou art, to dust returneth, was not spoken of the soul.

John Willard Wesley, "JDub", 91, died Saturday morning March 4, 2017 at Helen Porter Healthcare & Rehabilitation Center, with Margaret Putnam Wesley at his side, his wife and sweetheart of more than 70 years.

He was born August 17, 1925 in St. Johnsbury, VT the son of Dr. John and Emma (Frost) Wesley. His memories of his boyhood days, particularly escapades on "the Knob" with his friend Ned, and summer trips to York Beach, ME with his Aunt Grace and Uncle Jones, remained vivid throughout his life, the subject of endless lovingly recounted stories. Each of his grandchildren learned to recite "Old Widow Mulligan" from Grandpa John, just as he learned it from Aunt Grace; " and only the bones are left for Jones!"

John was one of the last living members of the class of 1942 at St. Johnsbury Academy, continuing to maintain his ties to classmates at regular luncheons until he could no longer drive.

He enlisted after high school in the United States Navy Airs Corps, almost completing pilot's training when World War II ended. He later joined the Vermont National Guard, becoming captain of Middlebury's A Battery, an anti-aircraft artillery unit, where he forged lasting friendships with the men with whom he served, and their families.

John graduated from the University of Vermont in 1949. After meeting her in chemistry class, John married Margaret Putnam of Bethel on December 27, 1947. The honeymoon never ended, despite a storied disastrous ski trip to Quebec at its beginning.

John began teaching at Black River Academy in Ludlow, where he was also enlisted as a ski coach. In 1955, he took a position at Middlebury Union High School where he taught algebra, chemistry, physics and computer science until the end of his career. After summer training with the National Guard ended, he obtained a fellowship at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY as a graduate research assistant studying molecular spectroscopy. He was awarded a Masters of Science in 1961.

He had a passion for teaching, although always insisting "never suffer under the illusion that you can teach anyone anything...you can only present them with the opportunity to learn."

Many of his students, including his own children, proclaimed him "the best teacher they ever had." For many years, he also enjoyed coaching skiing, and his teams regularly placed high in the interscholastic standings, winning the state title twice.

John was a member of the United Methodist Church and sang in the church choir with Margaret for many years. Like his namesake, the original founder of Methodism, John was never hesitant to proclaim his faith.

Following his love of the outdoors, John hiked the Long Trail from end-to-end, completing every section at least twice. Family activities revolved around camping, hiking and canoeing. Inspired by his beloved daughter, Barbara, John for years rode a motorcycle, traveling to many Vermont towns as a member of the 251 Club. Although he and Margaret traveled by camper across country several times, and made one memorable trip to Alaska with their dear friends George and Margaret Klohck, John avoided airplanes after his own flying days had ended. He was fond of remarking, "you know, there are places in Vermont I haven't seen yet."

John and Margaret loved to dance. They were longtime members of Green Mountain Squares, and both became proficient dancers and callers. After John taught himself to pick a guitar, a skill he passed on to two of his sons, Wesley family gatherings were renowned for music - a hootenanny had to be happening.

John was predeceased by his parents, a daughter Barbara L. Wesley who died July 1, 1975, a brother Edward Frost Wesley who died in 1923 and a sister Marian Danforth Vanderheyden who died in 2008.

He is survived by his wife Margaret of Middlebury, by his sister-in-law Loraine Putnam of Bethel, by his daughter Patricia J. Wesley and husband Garry Schaedel of Burlington, by his sons, John P. Wesley and wife Julie Peterson of Brattleboro, VT , Charles S. Wesley and wife Jennifer of Loudon, NH, Edward F. Wesley and wife Jean Stilley of Lincoln, VT and Richard P. Wesley and his girlfriend Robin Higginbotham of West New York, NJ, by his nine grandchildren and five great-grandchildren, with another great grandchild due in June, and by numerous nieces and nephews.

Dancer, caller, teacher, preacher, picker, grinner, all time winner. He loved his family, children, grand and great. They loved him back and learned his lessons well. March forth from March 4th, JDub. Thanks for showing us the way. We will carry on.

SERVICES: A memorial service will be held on Sunday, March 12 at 1:00 p.m. at the United Methodist Church of Middlebury. The Rev. Jill Robinson will officiate.

Memorial contributions may be made to Middlebury Methodist Church at 47 North Pleasant Street, Middlebury, Vt 05753 or Addison County Home Health and Hospice at P.O. Box 754 Middlebury, VT 05753.

Arrangements are under the direction of the Sanderson-Ducharme Funeral Home. Online condolences at www.sandersonfuneralservice.com
Published in Brattleboro Reformer on Mar. 8, 2017
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