Milestones, Obituaries


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MORRISVILLE – Gene M. Blake, 89, of Morrisville, passed away quietly at Copley Hospital in the early hours on Saturday, May 25, with family by his side.
Gene was a lifetime resident of Lamoille County. He was born in Morrisville on April 1, 1935, and always shared a special bond with his mother, Olive (Spaulding) Blake. On the third of April 1954 Gene married Marlene Jones and they spent 56 loving years together prior to her death in 2010, raising three children in Morristown.
Gene had a full and varied work life. Beginning in the late 1940s he began working for area farmers cutting hay using a scythe and by the age of 15 he was logging in Sterling as a tree feller with his father and other family members. After marrying he cut meat, hauled grain for Blue Seal and made wood products at Stowe Ware before settling into a long career at the asbestos mines as an equipment operator and mechanic. Finally, after the mine’s closure, he built fly rods for the Diamondback Fly Rod Company.
Gene was locally famous as a deer hunter and storyteller. Between the ages of 10 and 80 he shot more deer than most people would believe. He also hunted partridge, turkey, woodchuck, rabbit, bear and all other game available, along with being an avid fisherman and trapper. He was always most happy hunting, doing so with his sons, daughter, brother and grandchildren. When not hunting he could often be found fishing both on local lakes and fly fishing in local rivers, often with his grandsons Adam and Lindley.
His storytelling prowess was well known, He could recall every minute detail of every deer story whether it was five years ago or 80. However, his stories were not limited to those of the hunt, his remarkable memory extended to all branches of his life, and he had a great talent for making anything, even the seemingly mundane, captivating in his stories. His stories will continue to live on within his grandson, Lindley.
For many years Gene had a small family farm, with a couple of milk cows, chickens, beef cattle, an occasional pig and a few chickens. He grew vegetables, apple trees, raspberries and blueberries and Marlene spent many hours canning and freezing the harvest. They lived a near self-sufficient lifestyle.
Gene had the extraordinary ability to teach himself skills that interested him. These passions include handloading ammunition / target shooting, gunsmithing, outstanding leather work, fly fishing, hunting and building all manner of crafts.
Gene is survived by his children, Gene Jr. (Donna) of Maine; Amanda Barrett (Bruce) of Hyde Park; Aaron (Audrey) of Morrisville; granddaughters Jennifer (Barb) and Jessica Blake; grandsons Adam, Lindley and Austin Barrett; one great-granddaughter, Caitlyn Mayo; sisters, Fonda Whittemore (Dean) and Mary Baker; brother-in-law Hugh Jones (Gloria); sisters-in-law Audrey Barrows, Donna Morse, Jackie Burns, Ginny and Linda Jones; along with his dear friend and companion, Darlene Manning and numerous nieces and nephews.
He was predeceased by his wife, Marlene; parents, Olive E. Spaulding, Hugh H. Allen; brothers Phil and Harold Blake and Manley Allen; sisters and brothers-in-law Ramona (Earl) Van Gilder, Kay (Leonard) Ryan, Reta (Willis) Whitaker, Norma (Edward) Massey and Charlene (Steven) Mossey; brothers-in-law Steve Baker, Lloyd and Rodney Jones, Dexter Morse, Roger Burns, Lee Barrows; and sister-in-law Marilyn Cobb.
Graveside services will be held at 1 p.m., Wednesday, June 5, at the Mountain View Cemetery at Morristown Corners. Following the service, friends and family are invited for refreshments and reminiscing at the Morrisville VFW on Pleasant Street. In lieu of flowers, contributions in his memory may be made to: Meals on Wheels of Lamoille County, P.O. Box 1427, Morrisville, VT 05661. Arrangements are with the des Groseilliers Funeral Home. Online condolences and memories of Gene may be shared with his family at

Hardwick Gazette

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