Jerald L. Stevens
CHESTER Jerald L. Stevens, 73, died at his home in Chester, Vermont, on Sept. 5, 2014. Jerry loved ideas, people, and community. Active as a volunteer in the neighboring town of Grafton, he expressed his love of books and learning as a trustee of the Grafton Library, his enjoyment of a good party through his promotion of the Grafton Day Celebration, and his willingness to cause a ruckus in passions like his alternative plan for the abandoned Red Church building. Although variously describing himself as an atheist and a Buddhist, he was active at and a deacon of the Grafton Church. Swimming and his keen intellect led him from Bloomington, Illinois, to Yale. He graduated from Yale College in 1963, from the Harvard Business School in 1967, and worked in private finance. Jerry was appointed at age 33 as Welfare Commissioner and then as Secretary of Human Services by Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis. Five years later he became the Vice President of Finance and Administration at Yale University. Jerry returned to the private sector as President of Vanguard Investments in 1983. He retired to Vermont in 1994. Always an athlete and lover of things physical, Jerry played rugby in college, ran the Boston marathon in the 1970s, biked to work before it was cool, and became a master club rower in his 50s. Last year he was still bench-pressing 200 lbs. Jerry was ever curious about and generous with others, and appreciative of their individual perspectives, insights, and strengths. He was a confidante and catalyst for many, including his partner, Michelle Dufort, four siblings, children (Jake, Peter, Will, and Kate), his former wife, Barbara, and their six grandchildren (Louisa, Dashiell, Katharine, Maggie, Sally and Sabina). He was predeceased by his parents, Louis Schenck Stevens and Mary Frances Dunne Stevens. SERVICES: A memorial service will be held at the Grafton Church in Grafton, VT on September 27, 2014 at 11 a.m. Donations in his memory may be made to the Jerald L. Stevens Memorial Fund c/o Grafton Library, P.O. Box 129 Grafton, Vermont 0514
Published in Brattleboro Reformer on Sep. 10, 2014.