COLCHESTER - Kermit Blaisdell’s last laugh was brought on by a video clip of a child whizzing down a slide and, upon missing the puddle at the bottom, diving back in. Nurses rushed into his room at the UVM Medical Center with alarm. But when Kermit laughed, they laughed, you laughed. He died a few days later on Saturday, July 29th.
Kermit was born February 19th, 1945, at home in Enosburg and, after many years of mischief there (rockets, BB guns, fishing and swimming in the Missisquoi), he became an Eagle Scout before graduating from Enosburg High School in 1963. He went on to study humanities at Muskingum University in New Concord, Ohio, while serving in the Naval Reserve. Once back in Vermont, Kermit volunteered for the Army, serving in Vietnam with the 2nd battalion 506th parachute infantry regiment 101st Airborne Division in 1969. He was awarded the bronze star and was both forever proud to be a Screaming Eagle and scarred from his wartime experience. But the laugh never went away.
As a way, perhaps, to reassimilate into civilian life, Kermit earned a Master’s Degree in Higher Education Administration at UVM. Service always called him, and he went on to stints in the Vermont Tax Department’s Property Valuation and Review division, and the Department of the Blind and Visually Impaired. It was his time in the Tax Department that inspired him to cofound the Vermont Appraisal Company which took him to Enosburg, Sheldon, Underhill, Huntington, Bolton, South Hero, Addison, Shoreham, Orwell, Brownington, Coventry, Bridport, Charlotte, Winooski, New Haven, and Jericho just to name a few over the past 40 years. These towns were close to his heart, and he remained dedicated to serving them until the end.
He met Lois Wright in 1976 and the couple married a year later. It was on her ancestral farm’s “West Meadow” on East Road in Colchester, where Kermit found some of his greatest peace. His joys included the birth of his two daughters Rebekah and Sarah. For 40-plus years he curated a specimen collection of trees and shrubs which he tended with great care. He would also spend hours mowing his 12-acre lawn which expanded year after year to encompass most of the property.
Those who worked with him and those who loved him will remember not just his booming laugh that both startled and warmed all those who were engulfed by his joy, but his compassion (“he was a softy”), his wit (at church he once threatened to try out for the worship team), his equanimity, and his well informed opinions on all things Vermont; state and local. He’d remember the properties he appraised everywhere more than the people who owned them to whom—and apparently this is an Enosburg thing—he’d apply nicknames: Sluggo, Sparky, Kitty, Bad-Mouth Betty, Old Yeller, and Cookie Doug to name a few.
He sang and whistled a lot, the former to the enduring delight (or chagrin) of his girls and, later, his grandchildren. Common tunes would get custom lyrics to suit every occasion and, of course, he’d make himself laugh: “Oh, that was a good one.” He traded extensively in “dad jokes” and when you didn’t laugh, he’d tell them again. “His laugh was an invitation to laugh yourself,” Lois says. And so, they did.
Kermit is survived by his wife of 46 years, Lois (Wright) of Colchester; daughters Rebekah Blaisdell Simays, husband Christopher Simays, and their children Michayla, Eleanor, and Ari (Milton), Sarah Blaisdell and children Aiden and Silas (Williston), Sandra Lemnah and husband Robert of Jericho; (Beth Hu and husband Stephen); Patricia Ross of Swanton (Alisha and Michael Adams, Anissa and Christopher Seguin, Alexa Ross, Aneda Ross); Deborah Grandshaw and husband Alan of Enosburg Falls (Jesse Grandshaw); Norma (Wright) Pullen and husband Ken of Gainesville Georgia (Christa and Michael Tomlin, Jeremy and Amy Pullen); Martha (Wright) Howard and husband Duane of Cambridge (Adam and Holly Howard, Courtney and Thomas Leitz, Kei Tsuda and Mikiko Takahashi); Seth Wright and wife Irene of Huntsville Alabama, and Wendy Rother Wright of South Carolina (Katie and Max Howard, and Michael); and many grand nieces, and nephews. He was predeceased by parents Willard and Izola (Spaulding) Blaisdell, his brothers Dean and Emerson Blaisdell, brother-in-law Ernest Ross, and in-laws Douglas and Thelma (Monta) Wright.
Friends and family are invited to Kermit’s Life Celebration to include visitation on Monday, August 14th, 2023, from 4-7:00PM, with Military honors taking place at 6:00PM at the Goss-Spears Life Celebration Home, 96 Dickenson Ave. Enosburg Falls, VT 05450. A Memorial Service will be held on Tuesday, August 15th, 2023, at 10:00AM at the Essex Alliance Church, 37 Old Stage Road, Essex, VT.
Condolences, photos and favorite memories may be shared through www.gossfs.com
Monday, August 14, 2023
4:00 - 7:00pm (Eastern time)
The Goss-Spears Life Celebration Home