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Name Game 2012

What's in a name? For some, a life's calling ... for others, ultimate downfall


Published December 26, 2012 at 9:18 a.m.
Updated December 28, 2015 at 9:11 p.m.

Michael Tonn
  • Michael Tonn

2012 was another banner year for aptronyms — that is, people’s last names that match their professions, pursuits or personal proclivities. We’ve been collecting them for a few years now. For sure, we thought this pastime couldn’t get any more fertile than it did in 2011. That’s when a family of scissor-wielding Amish thugs named the Mullets went on a mad, beard-cutting bender against their fellow Amish. And a New York City congressman named Anthony Weiner resigned after getting caught emailing inappropriate photos of his wang to six women. Weiner, indeed.

But then this year, the world watched the fastest man alive: three-time Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt. At last summer’s Olympic games in London, the Jamaican-born lightning bolt of a runner bolted to record times in both the 100- and 200-meter sprints — the first person ever to hold both world records simultaneously.

Locally, we encountered a few apt aptronyms, too, such as Paul and Carol Brouha of Sutton, longtime opponents of the Sheffield industrial wind project. Few Vermont news stories generated quite the brouha(ha) that industrial wind did in 2012.

Then there was Emily Proctor, the Middlebury College mathematics professor who was awarded the 2012 Perkins Award for Excellence in Teaching. Way to go, Emily! Born to proctor!

More ignominious were Sarah Stark, landowner in Ferdinand, Vt., who got felled for overlogging 59 acres of timber in violation of her forest-management plan; and Robert Stone, a St. Johnsbury man charged with punishing a 14-year-old boy by putting him outside, barefoot, in early January, causing frostbite to the boy’s feet. Stone-cold cruel.

Here, in no particular order, are some of the other aptronyms we encountered this year.

Bill Cashman: an employee of Terminal 5, a large concert venue in New York City, whose job is to tally the cash registers at the bar, box office and coat check

Nicholas Read: science-fiction series author

Felix Justice: actor who will portray Martin Luther King, Jr. in an upcoming film

Brian Woods: Vermont Agency of Natural Resources’ “low carbon fuels” coordinator

Jermee Slaughter: Burlington transient who admitted to stealing from an acquaintance in June 2011, then taking part in an assault in which the victim was hit on the head with a skateboard and nearly killed.

Todd Bacon: McDonald’s senior supply-chain officer

Adam Firestone: U.S. Army instructor and weapons-systems engineer who’s developed a self-guided bullet

Robert Brewer: alcohol program leader at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta

Andrew Snow: Bolton Valley’s director of mountain services

Richard Snow: a 70-year-old skier from West Burke who died in March after hitting a tree at Burke Mountain Resort

Janet Grant: development director, Burlington Dismas House

Deryl Dedmon: a 19-year-old white man from Brandon, Miss., who was sentenced to double life sentences for murdering an African American, James Craig Anderson, in June 2011. Dedmon beat Anderson, then ran over him with a truck.

Linda Cruise: former communications and special-projects coordinator at Vermont Caribbean Institute

Forrest Wilder: staff writer at the Texas Observer who specializes in environmental reporting

Julia Frankenstein: German brain scientist

Rep. Tom Price: U.S. House Budget Committee member

Brian D. Constable: emergency-communications dispatcher I, Vermont State Police

Anthony House: Lake Worth, Fla., real estate agent

William Lawhorn: Vermont Department of Corrections facilities director

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