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    « School District Reapportionment | Main | Start Gathering Your Large Trash »

    Nate Harpootlian, 89

    Some of you may have heard that Nate passed away earlier this week. Jim Collins, a nephew, wrote this obituary. Note the dates of July 27 and July 29 (see the bottom of the obituary).

    Nathan H. Harpootlian

    The towns of Canaan and Orange felt part of their foundation give way on the evening of July 18, when one of our strongest community pillars shifted and collapsed near the Canaan town common, just as residents were gathering for a weekly summer concert. Nathan H. “Nate” Harpootlian died as he’d lived so much of his life: in the heart of a small town, engaged, visible, showing his support, surrounded by neighbors and friends who personally knew how much difference one person can make in the daily life of a community. The loss was shocking and will be felt for a long time. He was 89. 

    He was born in Camden, New Jersey, on September 16, 1927, to an Armenian-immigrant rug seller and his Vermont bride, the one boy in a family of girls. He served in the U.S. Air Force during World War II, rising to the rank of staff sergeant in the Medical Supply Department, and later served in the Air Force reserves.  

    In March of 1948, he married Dorothy Woodbury of Orange, New Hampshire, and moved onto ancestral land at 32 Eastman Road in Orange, just up from the old Canaan fairgrounds, where the two of them would remain married until Dot’s death in 2003, and where Nate would continue living on his own until the end of his life.

     His 40-year career as a conductor on the Boston and Maine Railroad spanned the dying days of railroading’s steam era and the emerging dominance of diesel. His work, based out of White River Jct., led to a lifelong interest in trains and railroad history. He was an avid collector of railroad literature and memorabilia; a collector of old bottles; a collector of stamps; a supporter of the Dartmouth men’s hockey team; and a loyal though misguided fan of the New York Yankees.

     Loyalty and service were long bright threads he wove into the fabric of his community. He served as an officer and a dues-paying member of the Local 73 of the United Transportation Union for 70 years. When he was awarded the Melvin Jones Fellowship Award from the Canaan Lions Club in 2000, he had served as president, vice-president, director, had headed and served on countless committees, and hadn’t missed a single meeting in 16 years. He was an active brother in the Mascoma Valley Masonic Association, from which he earned his 50-year medal in 2007. He was a former master and long-time member of American Legion Post 55. He was active in the Canaan United Methodist Church, in the local Boy Scout troop, in the Mascoma Area Senior Center, on the Grafton County Senior Citizens Council. He delivered meals on wheels. He was a Notary Public. In Orange he served on a number of town committees and was in the selectmen’s hot seat during the contentious battle over wind mills on Mount Cardigan.

     He was predeceased by his wife, Dorothy, and two sisters, Esther DeAngelis and Margaret “Peg” Morgan, both of Vermont. He leaves a son, Gregory, of White River Jct.; a grandson; a great-granddaughter; nephews and nieces; and three sisters: Alice Heath of Laconia, N.H., Helen Wight of Little River, S.C., and Florence Ireland of Palm City, Florida. He leaves a number of dear friends, fraternal brothers, fellow veterans, fellow parishioners, and fellow citizens who will miss his loyalty and his service, his sense of humor and his heart.

    Friends and well-wishers may call on Thursday, July 27, between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. at the Lebanon Funeral Home. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, July 29, at 10 a.m. at the Canaan United Methodist Church. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Orange Town Scholarship Fund and to the Mascoma Area Senior Center in Canaan.

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