In Memoriam, News

The following message was sent to the campus community on June 20, 2019, from Cheryl Mullins, director of human resources.

Dear Colleagues,

It is with great sadness that I report that retiree and 25 Year Club Member Steve Weber passed away Tuesday, May 28, 2019, surrounded by his family.

Steve started his career with the College when he was hired as the College Forester in January of 1978. In this role, Steve researched and managed the College property taxes and land inventory, working with the Business Office. During his 31 years at the college, Steve oversaw leases of farmland, ran logging jobs, helped open up new slopes at the Middlebury College Snow Bowl and build bridges for Rikert Nordic Center trails, was involved with the College’s sustainable energy initiatives and advised students on ecology and land use issues. Steve was an advocate of multi-use forest stewardship: managed responsibly, forests are resilient and able to provide resources and recreational opportunities, as well as animal habitat. Steve continued in this capacity until his retirement in June of 2009. He was inducted into the 25 Year Club in 2003.

“Steve was serious, kind, funny, hardworking and very much a family man. He knew his trees, harvesting practices and enjoyed his time in the woods especially trying to find metes and bounds as described in old deeds. He kept meticulous records about his work and, once retired, would drop in to see what was going on with various parcels of land,” shared Pam Norton, BSG Operations Manager. “He dropped in to see me a week or two ago to give me a family update. He was thrilled that his daughter Lucy was moving to the city, but would be just a block or so away from her big sister, and he was looking forward to visiting them. I’ll truly miss his dropping in, his life updates and his sense of humor.”

Born in Brooklyn, NY, in 1940, the first of three siblings, his father was an obstetrician and his mother was a ballroom dance instructor. Steve graduated from Dartmouth College in 1962 with a B.S. in botany and went on to earn a master’s degree from Yale’s School of Forestry in 1964. In 1966, Steve landed a career forestry job with International Paper Company moving with his first wife, Margot, and their young family deep into the Maine woods, 75 miles from the nearest town. In 1969 they relocated to East Middlebury.

From an early age, Steve was drawn to the woods, mountains and hard work. He honed his backcountry skills as a camper and counselor at Camp Pinnacle in Lyme, NH, and in woodsmen’s competitions and backcountry activities at Dartmouth. During summers, he earned money to pay his college tuition logging in New Hampshire, Alaska and Vermont. As a forester, he preferred to be in the trenches – not managing loggers, but working side by side, chainsaw in hand. For years, Steve sold firewood on the side, cutting and splitting two or three cords by hand in a day. He was animated by a rugged, pioneer spirit. Steve loved to pole upstream against a swift current, standing strong in the stern of his 20’ Maine guide canoe. He would ski up Camel’s Hump and Mt. Abraham. He took his family on numerous back country canoe and backpacking adventures, teaching his children to bushwhack and make a fire in the rain.

Steve was an accomplished classical and ragtime pianist, dazzling everyone who heard him play. He served as his church pianist for 50 years, accompanied numerous stage productions and solo performances, performed in local restaurants, and delighted family and friends with singalongs at home. He had a dry sense of humor and loved playing pranks on unsuspecting family members. He was a skilled mimic, conversing at length with crows and loons, and once talking briefly to a tiger. Steve was deeply moved by the songs of Canadian folksinger, Stan Rogers. He loved to read aloud to his children and was an imaginative storyteller. He enjoyed meeting people and taking in the beauty of the earth, whether on family bike rides, visiting national parks, or traveling in France, Italy, Canada, Mexico, Thailand, Singapore and Bali.

Steve was a dedicated community member, serving as a volunteer fireman in East Middlebury and Weybridge for 47 years, and helping to organize their events, along with his second wife, Grace. He served as town lister and helped with community suppers and at Teen Center events. Steve was an active longtime member of Middlebury’s Christian Science Society, serving variously as Reader, pianist, and treasurer.

His family and friends will always remember Steve, out in the woods until dusk, at the piano, cracking a joke, hiking up mountains, dancing happily with Grace or accompanying her on the piano as she sang, and being a generous and hardworking man.

Steve is survived by his children, Joan Weber (Bridport), Tom Weber (Gloucester, MA) and Nancy Weber (Bridport) from his first marriage, and Lucy Weber (Somerville, MA) from his second marriage. He is also survived by his step-children, Gianandrea Borriello (Missoula, MT) and Iris Oxford (Somerville, MA), his grandchildren, Casey Vanacore (Burlington), Joseph Vanacore (Burlington), Rosie Vanacore (Bridport), and Jackson Weber (Gloucester, MA), and his sister, Ann Benson (Tucson, AZ), and many other extended family members. He is pre-deceased by his second wife, Grace, and his brother, Andy.

There will be a service celebrating Steve on July 27th at 11 am in Mead Chapel, at Middlebury College, to be followed by a reception. All are welcome. In lieu of flowers, please feel free to make a donation in his name to the Weybridge or East Middlebury Fire Department.