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DAVID CLESSON ARMS SR.

DAVID CLESSON ARMS SR. - SHELBURNE - David Clesson Arms Sr. passed away on Feb. 18, 2013. He was born on Oct. 11, 1933, to Willard Crane Arms and Florence Cummings Arms. David was raised on his family's Intervale Jersey Farm on what is now the current site of Burlington High School. It was there that he developed a lifelong connection to Vermont's history and land. Always a gentleman, David adhered to the traditional belief that one must work hard, deal honestly and in a straightforward manner with everyone, be temperate in all aspects of life, respect all living creatures, and do unto others as you would have done unto you. David graduated from the old Burlington High School in 1952. From 1953 to 1956, he proudly served in the U.S. Army as a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne, and as their Chief Meteorologist. He returned to his agrarian roots by earning a bachelor of science degree with honors in Agricultural Economics from UVM in 1959, followed by a master's degree in the same field from Penn State University in 1961. David specialized in Dairy Economics all his working life, starting as an analyst for the U.S. Department of Agriculture in St. Louis, Mo., and Washington, D.C., during the Kennedy administration. Later, as an economist for several New England and Middle Atlantic dairy cooperatives and handlers, David earned a well-deserved reputation for excellence in dairy price forecasting, and came to be regarded as unparalleled in his field. The last 20 years of his career were spent as Senior Economist for Berkshire Dairy & Food Products of Wyomissing, Pa., and in partnership with his son, David Jr., as President of Naturally Better Products of Shelburne, retiring in December 2010. Those who had the good fortune to work with David, concluded that he had milk in his veins due to his tireless efforts to create a better marketplace for farmers and their milk. David was always active in community affairs. He was treasurer of the New England Dairy & Food Council in Boston and of the Berks County, Pa., Lion's Club; a mentor of Junior Achievement in Pa.; a member of the Burlington Elk's Club; and a "Tower Keyper" for the Ethan Allen Tower. He was also a member of the Vermont Historical Society; the Chittenden County Historical Society (past president); the Mayflower Society; Society of Colonial Wars; the Sons of the American Revolution; and the General Society of the War of 1812. He was a confirmed member of the Episcopal Church, and in recent years, a member of First Baptist Church in Burlington. At his core, David always had a deep love of the Green Mountains and Lake Champlain. In the last few years, Parkinson Disease robbed David of his ability to ride on the bike path along the lake and go out for his signature walks in the woods, but David's spirit will always remain amongst the trees, soil, and waters of Vermont. David is survived by his wife of 57 years, Antoinette "Ann" Arms; daughter, Elizabeth Arms Wirls and husband, Stephen H. Wirls, of Memphis, Tenn.; son, Steven Willard Arms and wife, Lisa, of Shelburne; son, David Clesson Arms Jr. and wife, Alison, of South Burlington; as well as seven grandchildren, Cyrus and John Wirls, Nicolas, Olivia, and Katherine Arms, and August and Aida Arms; and brother, Chadwick Cummings Arms of Maine. David was predeceased by his parents; and brothers, Robert and Willard Arms Jr. The family wishes to thank Dr. James Boyd and Dr. Richard Tonino, and the caring staff of the Lodge at Shelburne Bay. A memorial service will be held at Trinity Episcopal Church in Shelburne on Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013, at 4 p.m. A service with military honors and celebration of David's life will be held later in the spring. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the American Parkinson Disease Association.


Published in The Burlington Free Press on Feb. 21, 2013
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