Obituary: Nadine Berrini, 1973-2024 | Obituaries | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Obituary: Nadine Berrini, 1973-2024 

Waterbury Center woman realized her dream of designing and building her home, then filling it with friends and family

Published May 20, 2024 at 6:00 a.m. | Updated May 20, 2024 at 8:40 a.m.

click to enlarge Nadine Berrini - COURTESY
  • Courtesy
  • Nadine Berrini

Nadine Berrini died on May 10, 2024, in Waterbury Center, Vt., at age 51. Picture her at a table she built, in a home she designed, with a glass of Bordeaux wine in one hand, a cracker with goat cheese in the other. She has a point to make, so she's talking and gesturing a little broadly and the wine is threatening to spill. Sitting across from her is her husband, or one of her beloved family members or a friend. There are so many of us, friends and family, who sat at her table.

Her parents met hitchhiking at a Massachusetts Turnpike on-ramp. Her father had been dropped off by a police officer after being picked up for attempting the same activity in a neighboring town. Her mother was returning to ballet school. Any suggestion that ties Nadine’s lifelong skepticism of authority and obsession with travel to her origin story is both implausible and probably true.

Accompanied by a new-wave soundtrack, she grew up in western Massachusetts, within the sphere of influence of the five colleges’ radio stations and their ambient activism. That she convinced her high school to discontinue the tradition of having female graduates wear pink graduation gowns is a matter of record. The incident with the flag on the town common is now only a matter of conjecture.

She majored in labor studies at the University of Massachusetts while working the evening shift in a gas station. She volunteered at the college feminist newsletter, worked on political and labor campaigns, marched and read and argued. After being tear-gassed one too many times, she focused on less stressful pursuits. She obtained a master’s degree in creative writing and spent a summer abroad in Cambridge, England, reading Joyce’s Ulysses.

In 2007 she came to Vermont with two dreams: to design and build a house, her home, and to flee the winter months to warmer climes. She got a job with the Vermont Land Trust, where she would work for the next 17 years. There she met her husband, Chris Moore, who aided and abetted her in home building, winter fleeing and the leisurely enjoyment of meals. She was proud of her Italian heritage and treasured her visits to southern Europe, especially Italy and Greece, where she felt very much at home. She loved snorkeling and clear water and rocky beaches.

The home was built, slowly, over a decade. It sits on a hill, surrounded by gardens she created. Nadine's family and friends would come to be with her, and they filled the home with talk and gestures, the preparation of meals, and the eating of so much food, and they would hug and part and promise to do it again. In colder months the home would sit quiet while Nadine and Chris would trek through the Mediterranean or across the American South and West. Years filled in this way, and not enough of them.

Nadine was predeceased by her birth father, James Berrini.

In addition to her husband, Nadine’s loved ones include her parents, Patricia and Simon James; sister Gwen D’Angelo and Gwen’s husband, Michael, and their children, Bowie and Luna; sister Angela James and Angela’s fiancé, Kevin Gardiner; and numerous extended family members. She also leaves behind enough close friends to fill several large Italian villas. She wished she could have taken them all on a trip.

In lieu of flowers, please tell a friend or family member that you love them. Please also consider a contribution to Central Vermont Home Health & Hospice, 600 Granger Rd., Barre, VT 05641, or to the hospice organization in your area.

A memorial service will be announced at a later date. If you would like email updates as they become available, please sign up at nadinememorial.com.

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