John C. Healy

Norwich, Vt. — John C. Healy, 61, longtime resident of Norwich, died on Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013, at his home.

John was born in Natick, Mass. on March l, 1951, the fifth of seven children of Jeremiah and Doris Macaulay Healy. He grew up in an era when the snowplow was drawn by two horses and would wake him up in the morning with the sound of their bells. One of his neighbors, Mr. Ward, taught him to work on engines and, to this day, he could take apart and put back together almost anything that needed repair.

John moved to Vermont in the early 1970’s with his long time friend, “Dunnz” Dunn. Together with Dunnz’s wife, Ceci Tseng, they bought land on Ladeau Road from their friend and mentor, Hannah Croasdale, who soon dubbed them her Manure Boys for their deliveries to her garden. Thus began his adventure in off the grid homesteading in the woods of Norwich, an adventure that would last his lifetime and give him great joy and contentment.

John composed his life deliberately, filtering out what did not matter and creating ample space for what did: his many friends, his family, working and playing outdoors, reading history, having meaningful work. He had a true moral compass. John never raised his voice or spoke disparagingly of others.

John found employment doing a variety of jobs: caring for children at the Child Care Center in Norwich, managing the Upper Valley Food Coop in its early days, building fine homes with Bruce Keller and, finally, working as a carpentry mentor and partner with Jason Loomis. John flourished in his chosen profession as a skilled finish carpenter, inspired by his great-grandfather’s work at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, Mass.

For the past 30 plus years, John has been a part of the Thursday Boys with his dear friends and brothers-in-life, Dunnz Dunn, Bruce Keller, Lama Lettow and Andy Rowles. They shared many adventures and hearty laughs while skiing, clearing trails, playing hockey, hiking, bicycling, and kayaking together throughout Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. John also treasured his long friendship with Michael Binder, with whom he shared an insatiable curiosity about how all things work and a love of cooking and eating.

John married his love and companion of the last seven years, Pamelia Smith, in August of 2011. Neither had married before and both were exhilarated to find a kindred spirit in one another. He was the love of her life and brought her tremendous joy. Together, they were building a house and a life.

John was preceded in death by his parents, Jeremiah J. Healy and Doris Macaulay Healy of Natick, Mass., and his brother, Jeremiah “Jed” Healy. He is remembered with great love by his beloved wife, Pamelia Smith of Norwich; his sisters, Anne D. McGee of Franklin, Mass., Jean E. Quatrale of Natick, Mass., Ellen L. Healy of Holliston, Mass., Elizabeth Casavant and her husband, Richard, of Holliston, Mass., and Margaret “Maggie” Arena and her husband, Anthony, of Marlborough, Mass.; by his many nephews, nieces, grand-nephews and grand-nieces; by Pamelia’s family, and by his many dear friends.

There will be a celebration of John’s life on Wednesday, March 2, 2013, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Wilder Center in Wilder, Vt. Please join us for a potluck dinner with his family and friends.