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Wallace Blake Traendly


Tuesday, April 17, 2018

South Strafford, Vt. — A contractor who built over 50 custom homes in the Upper Valley, Wallace Blake Traendly, Blake, was most proud of his loving family of five children and his wonderful wife, Aletta. In his final years, he would remark to most anyone he came in contact with that his wife and children had made his life immeasurably rich.

Born Nov. 15, 1947, in Orange, N.J., Blake and his sister Joy were raised by their brilliant mother Betty and their hard-charging father, Wally, who was a publishing executive for McGraw-Hill in Manhattan. Blake was a formidable athlete, who made the Miami University of Ohio’s football team as a walk-on. After he graduated from Miami in the spring of 1969, he enlisted in the Army National Guard, where he served until May of 1972.

Upon leaving the Army, Blake took a job as a door-to-door salesman in New York City, which proved to be unfulfilling work. Seeking a more meaningful existence, Blake forged a radically different path than the corporate one his father had so successfully taken. An awe-inspiring visit to an old friend in Strafford and an offhand comment that he was “good with his hands” led him to a carpentry job at Huntington Farm. He would apprentice under the farm’s foreman, Richard Moses, before starting his own contracting business in 1975.

By the age of 26, Blake had bought a modest piece of property and built a house from trees he harvested off the land. He was enamored with the humble and unpretentious attitude of the neighbors he met, and was all too happy to lay roots in the Green Mountains. He would frequently remark that his ability to create a good life in Vermont was due to the generosity of its people. Whether it was simply borrowing a tool or getting advice on how to log a hillside, build a pond, or raise children, the community on Miller Pond Road and beyond enabled him to thrive.

Naturally, he would fall in love with a Vermont woman, Aletta Chapman, and promptly propose to her twelve days after she first asked him to dance. Their tremendous love blessed them with five children over the course of nine years, and forty years of marriage. Blake loved Aletta more than anyone in the world, and his children were a close second (she did not write this). He would become a fatherly figure to many children in the community through coaching baseball and providing guidance and presence for kids who gravitated toward him.

Blake loved fishing the lakes and rivers of the valley with loved ones, often coming home with fresh rainbow trout for the family (never bass—too bony). He was a voracious reader of mysteries and historical fiction and was known to blaze through a book on a quiet afternoon. His old friends knew him as a rhythmic, unhinged dancer, which somehow persisted even after his hips gave out. He loved long motorcycle rides through winding country roads and escaping the winter to the warm climes of Mexico or Brazil with Aletta. Blake also enjoyed golf and watching any sort of ball game, especially with one of his kids or grandkids at his side. He made lasting memories through long hikes with his kids and trips to New York to give them a glimpse of the wider world. Particularly precious for him was to sit quietly on his porch, listening to the sound of the brook that ran through the lush little Eden where he and Aletta had created their home.

Blake passed Friday, April 13, 2018, with his family at his side in his bed at home. He died in the place he loved the most, surrounded by the people he loved the most. He will be missed dearly by his family and friends, who will always treasure the memories, wisdom, love, and laughter he graced them with. Blake is survived by his wife, Aletta; his five children, Berne, Keefe, Brooks, Rachael, and Natalie; his sister, Joy Traendly; three grandchildren, Austin, Harper, Eden; and Lua Blake; and an extended family and community who love him.

A service to celebrate Blake’s life will be held on Saturday, April 21, at 1 p.m. at the Town House in Strafford. In lieu of donations or flowers, Blake has requested that people donate blood to their local blood bank, as a way to honor his life and help others to heal.