Obituary: Jeffrey G. Hagedorn, 1949-2023 | Obituaries | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Obituary: Jeffrey G. Hagedorn, 1949-2023 

Writer's professional life reflected the diversity of his life’s interests

Published January 16, 2023 at 6:00 a.m. | Updated January 16, 2023 at 3:13 p.m.

click to enlarge Jeffrey G. Hagedorn - COURTESY
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  • Jeffrey G. Hagedorn
Jeffrey died on January 5, in New London, Conn., after a brief illness. Jeff lived a large, adventurous life — much like Ernest Hemingway — with a love of words and language, weaving grand and funny tales and traveling the high seas. He grew up in a large raucous family in New Britain, Conn., with six brothers and a sister, where he was the chief instigator of mischief and mayhem. He graduated from St. Thomas Aquinas High School and Hobart and William Smith College, where he studied creative writing and played lacrosse. He received his MFA from the prestigious Creative Writing Program at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. His writing focused on poetry and playwriting.

Jeff’s professional life reflected the diversity of his life’s interests. This included working in the Social Affairs Office of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., editing a medical magazine, becoming an arborist in Vermont and taking to the high seas as a member of the Merchant Marines. He loved the solitude and the vastness of life at sea, where his convoy visited many exotic places but also assisted during times of conflict. Jeff especially loved Diego Garcia, a military atoll that is part of the Chagos Islands in the Indian Ocean.

His passion for the natural world around him was equaled only by a fervent desire to engage directly with it. There was always another cross-country bicycle trip planned, a bird count for the Audubon Society or a body of water to swim. As a lifeguard in Charleston, S.C., his experience in water rescue was invaluable to the community. In retirement, Jeff became an avid teacher of the constellations at nearby observatories and aided in the care of his aging mother. His final years were spent close to the ocean he loved in Westerly, R.I.
Jeff is predeceased by his beloved son, William Cameron Hagedorn, of Charlotte, Vt., and his parents, Dr. Maxwell and Marie Hagedorn, of Connecticut. Remaining to grieve his loss are his immediate family: Mark and Ann Hagedorn of Clinton, Conn.; Joel and Cate Hagedorn of Hollywood, Fla.; James and Ana Hagedorn of Bend, Ore.; Mary Hagedorn and Ned Busch of Kaneohe, Hawaii; Keith Hagedorn of Maggie Valley, N.C.; Steve Hagedorn of Delray Beach, Fla.; and Glenn and Rebecca Hagedorn of Apex, N.C.; along with 10 nieces and nephews and four grandnieces and nephews.
A service is planned for springtime 2023 at St. John’s Church in Old Saybrook, Conn., followed by an oceanside celebration.

Should anyone wish to honor Jeff’s life with a gift, please consider the Mt. Philo Forever Fund (, created by Jeff and his family to honor his son Will.
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