- Dorothy Leonard Bodette
Dorothy Leonard Bodette passed away at her winter home in Fort Myers, Fla., on January 29, 2019, at the age of 103. She spent those 103 years making sure she left all the lives she touched better for having known her. Dot was born on May 27, 1915, in Shoreham, Vt., and grew up on her family’s farm in Panton. As a young girl, she attended a one-room schoolhouse and rode into Vergennes for Sunday mass with her five siblings via horse and buggy or sleigh. She graduated from Vergennes High School and Spencer Business College.
Dot married Arthur "Buster" Bodette in 1936 and was heartbroken when he died in 1977. She cherished the memories of their happy marriage, often describing her late husband as a “beautiful man who was a wonderful dancer.” Dot and Buster raised their three children in Vergennes, where they owned and operated the Vergennes Inn (now Stevens House) for six years. Dot later worked for the Weeks School as a business manager and then Basin Harbor in the accounting department, finally retiring in her early eighties. For many years, she leant a hand on Saturday mornings to her dear friends at Spahn’s Country Kitchen Restaurant, cooking and serving breakfast. Throughout her long career, she turned countless coworkers, customers and strangers into good friends.
Ever the matriarch, Dot kept her beloved extended family close, well into their adult years, by hosting Christmas dinners and Memorial Day picnics at her home and summer gatherings at the family camp on Lake Champlain. Dot loved to entertain and was famous for serving cocktails and hors d’oeuvres to her friends and loved ones. Visitors, expected or unexpected, were always welcome and doted on. She was widely celebrated for her style, class, kind heart and sunny personality.
Dot is survived by her three children, Suzanne (Paul) Ripchik, Linda Taft and James Bodette; one brother, Jack (Charlene) Leonard; nine grandchildren; 13 great-grandchildren; and three great-great-grandchildren. She was predeceased by her husband, Arthur; siblings Dean Leonard, Gertrude Handte, Marion Larrow and D. Parker Leonard (who died a young man as a World War II POW); son-in-law John Taft; and her infant great-great-grandson, Robby Hayes. Her family meant the world to her, and their lives have been enriched by her love and care.
A memorial service will be held at St. Peter’s Church in Vergennes, where Dot was a charter member of the St. Anne’s Society, on June 8 at 11 a.m. Burial will take place immediately after the service at Prospect Cemetery, followed by a luncheon reception at St. Peter’s Parish Hall.