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JOAN PELTON - WATERBURY - Joan Pelton, a long time Waterbury resident, died in Morrisville on her 80th birthday, Feb. 15, 2012. Joan was born in Bristol, Penn., on Feb. 15, 1932, to William and Mary-Scott Mason. The family moved to Waterbury two years later, and Vermont was her heart's home for the rest of her life. She attended public schools in Waterbury, graduating in 1949. She then attended Pomona College in Claremont, Calif., and graduated cum laude with a degree in mathematics in 1953. While there, she met and married Clifford Pelton, the father of her four sons. Cliff's job took the family to Vermont, Tennessee, Virginia, and New York before the couple divorced in 1976, after which Joan returned to Waterbury for rest of her life. Music was a pleasure that was central to Joan's life. She sang in church choirs, musical plays, and folk music clubs. She played traditional New England contra dance music on a variety of instruments in bands such as Fennig's AllStars and the Pumpkin Hook Old-Time Orchestra, and then she founded and ran a record label (Alcazar) and an independent label distributor (Silo) to record, promote, and distribute music that she treasured. She loved the non-stop music and camaraderie of Fox Hollow, Old Songs, and other folk music festivals, and Alcazar's retail division provided a perfect reason to attend as many as possible. When she was not making music, Joan enjoyed taking a long walk on a country road or sailing on Lake Champlain in the company of family and friends. Joan suffered from a neurodegenerative disease that eventually took her life. She is survived by her brother, Peter Mason; sister, Ann Louise Courchaine; her sons, William, Jesse, and Aaron Pelton; her daughter-in-law, Alison Watt; her grandson, Alec Pelton; and cousins, nieces, and nephews across the country. Her brother, Benjamin Mason and son, Seth Pelton predeceased her. A memorial service and reception will be held at Waterbury Congregational Church on Saturday, June 9, 2012, at 2 p.m. In lieu of flowers and in memory of Joan's love for dance music, please consider a donation to the New England Folk Festival Association, either via mail (NEFFA, P.O. Box 2789, Acton, MA 01720) or via the donate button at

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Published in The Burlington Free Press on Feb. 29, 2012.
Memories & Condolences
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4 entries
March 5, 2012
I met Joan during my radio days when I would frequent the halls of the Silo/Alcazar complex. She helped me discover and meet a lot of amazing musicians and folkies, for which I remain eternally grateful. I will always remember her fondly.
Michael Levine
March 3, 2012
I worked with Joan for 10+ years as her CPA ending with her (forced) retirement due to illness in 1998. Joan was one of the strongest individuals I have ever known. She tolerated no fools and demanded painful honesty from herself and others. The music business is very difficult and Joan could have been more financially successful in other ventures. Her love of music and the independence of folk artists provided employment for locals and support for the artists. I feel fortunate to have known Joan and to have earned her confidence. I remember sweating at yearends bringing my adjusting entries for her to post in the ledgers (no rounding allowed) and I remember her and I on a pontoon boat on Lake Champlain admiring the fall foliage (after 5 years of entries balancing). I hope that her friends and family also will remember her in the best of light.
Steve Williams
February 29, 2012
My condolences go out to all of Joan's family. She is finally at rest. Ed Brown
February 29, 2012
Dear Bill,
So very sorry to learn of your mother's death. I met her many years ago and only recently made the connection that she was your mother. She was a wonderful down-to-earth yet creative person. I believe you have inherited her attention-to-detail. I the new actress learned much from you when we were in QuarryWorks production of "Measure for Measure." With much fondness, Carol Benson
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