Obituary: Bud Kassel, 1928-2019 | Obituaries | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Obituary: Bud Kassel, 1928-2019 

Longtime Stowe Mountain “host” also volunteered at Burlington’s ECHO and Flynn centers

Published December 30, 2019 at 8:00 a.m.

click to enlarge Bud Kassel
  • Bud Kassel

Bud Kassel, a kind and gentle man who lived a full life with an open heart, died on December 25, 2019, after a brief decline. He was 91.

Joseph Lewis Kassel was born on July 4, 1928, and his mother promptly nicknamed him Buddy, a name that stuck for his entire life. Raised in Middletown, New York, he returned there in the late 1950s to join his father, Murray, in the family retail clothing business and raise, with his beloved wife, Ruth Bettman, their sons David, John and Peter. He and Ruth became respected community leaders over four decades, involved in civic life and public and charitable institutions that are stronger, better and make a bigger difference in people’s lives as a result of their efforts.

But the call of the north country was strong for Bud. He spent time in childhood camping, canoeing, skiing and ice-fishing in the Adirondacks where his father was raised (Port Henry). Vermont became Bud’s home-away-from-home by the 1970’s, visiting his sons at college in New England and feeding his other lifelong passion, skiing. In retirement, he and Ruth moved to Burlington in 2002 to be near Peter and John and their families, and to spend more time at their cabin in Nebraska Valley, known as LeBarge, where much fun and relaxation were had and many memories were made.

Bud and Ruth dove into community life in Burlington from their home at 40 College Street, a building they often described as a college dorm for retired folks. Bud spent over 20 years as a Host at Stowe Mountain Resort, happily sharing his deep knowledge of and love for Mount Mansfield in winter with newcomers and veterans alike. When grandchildren accompanied him on days like that he was at the peak of happiness. He also volunteered at ECHO and the Flynn Theatre, was a regular at the YMCA and all over downtown, and was beloved by all who came to know him, which could happen in the course of a 5-minute conversation and the wink of an eye.

He spent the last few years at Wake Robin in Shelburne with Ruth, and was cared for lovingly by many wonderful people. He thought deeply about how a long life, well-lived, should best conclude. His life ended as he wished, peacefully, in the ripe fullness of time, and with a minimum of medical intervention.

Bud is survived by his dear wife of 67 years, Ruth; his sister, Betsy Brown, of Kenosha, WI; David Kassel and Magda Farag, of Tempe, AZ; John Kassel and Julie Campoli, of Burlington; Peter Kassel and Carol Irish of Shelburne; his cherished grandchildren Yasmin, Misha, Kareem, Clara, Simon, Thomas, Sara, Sami and Eben; and 6 beloved great-grandchildren and many beloved nieces, nephews and great-nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his parents, Murray and Muriel Kassel; his brothers-in-law, Ralph Bettman and Howard Brown; and his much-loved grandson, Zeke.

There will be a gathering to remember Bud on Tuesday, January 7, 2020, at ECHO, at 3:30 pm. In lieu of flowers, please consider a contribution to ECHO ( or the charity of your choice.

Arrangements have been entrusted to the care of the Cremation Society of Chittenden County, a division of the Ready Funeral Home, 261 Shelburne Rd in Burlington. Please visit

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