Life Stories: Remembering Vermonters Who Died in 2023 | Life Stories | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Life Stories: Remembering Vermonters Who Died in 2023 

Published December 27, 2023 at 10:00 a.m.

I n Vermont, six degrees of separation is really more like one or two. Aside from the occasional annoyances of living in such a small, close-knit community — say, running into exes at the co-op — that unique interconnectedness is part of why so many of us choose to be here. We get to know our neighbors and share in their triumphs and tragedies. Vermont is a place where one person can make a difference with their life — and leave a profound void when they die.

Seven Days has been highlighting some of those Vermonters since 2014 with a year-end package called "Life Stories." In it, we profile a handful of locals who died that year and made impacts, large and small, on those around them. Other than looking for a range of ages, ethnicities and backgrounds, we don't have any set criteria for whom we choose — though we do generally opt to tell the stories of people whose lives, or deaths, might not have made headlines.

Speaking about the lives of the recently deceased is an emotional yet rewarding endeavor, for survivors and reporters alike. And it often provides reminders of what — and who — make our little corner of the world so special.

This year's collection features two Burlington women, Janet Carscadden and Mary Manghis, who died a few months apart. Carscadden founded Evolution Physical Therapy & Yoga; Manghis was the produce manager at City Market, Onion River Co-op — though as you'll see in the following pages, both were much more than their job titles.

In learning about the lives of Carscadden and Manghis, our reporters also learned that the two women, and their respective partners, Patrick Johnson and Glenn Eames, were close friends — because Burlington. Eames even suggested Johnson as a primary source for Melissa Pasanen's profile of Manghis.

Throughout Carscadden's and Manghis' illnesses, the couples leaned on each other for support, often visiting when one or both women were in the hospital. When they died — Carscadden in March, Manghis in May — their partners grew even closer in their shared losses.

"It is both an odd and interesting experience," Johnson told Pasanen. "And I don't shirk its uniqueness and the benefit of it." But, he added, "The irony sucks."

For the first couple of months, Johnson said, he and Eames spent a lot of time together, "processing and healing."

Johnson said Eames' support gave his grief depth. "It's one thing to go through your own stuff, but then to listen to how someone else processes the same thing allows you to both grieve and have empathy for someone else," he said. It was, he said, "an elevated sense of grieving."

"He was there like a rock when I was filled with self-doubt and guilt about whether I was doing or had done the right things for Mary's care," Eames said of Johnson in an email. "He, like no one else could, understood what Mary and I were going through. He was and is, in the truest definition, a friend. He was a blessing."

Certainly, the two men have been a blessing for each other, much as their partners were in life — not only for them, but for so many others in Burlington and beyond.

Read on for their stories and those of other Vermonters who died this year. Deepest gratitude to their families and friends for sharing them with us.

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About The Author

Dan Bolles

Dan Bolles

Bio:
Dan Bolles is Seven Days' assistant arts editor and also edits What's Good, the annual city guide to Burlington. He has received numerous state, regional and national awards for his coverage of the arts, music, sports and culture. He loves dogs, dark beer and the Boston Red Sox.

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    Janet Carscadden knew how to throw a party. For years during the annual South End Art Hop in Burlington, she hosted a Friday night shindig at Evolution Physical Therapy & Yoga, on Kilburn Street, bringing in music and a big spread of food that drew crowds. In the Old North End, she oversaw the popular community dinners for the Wards 2 and 3 Neighborhood Planning Assemblies, marshaling teams of inexperienced volunteers to serve close to 150 people on some occasions.
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