Ronald Gordon Chesney was born on March 7, 1940, the eldest son of Gordon Glenn and Marjorie Lucille (Hill) Chesney of Island Pond, Vermont. He passed peacefully surrounded by loved ones at the Union House in Glover, Vt. on Dec. 28, 2021. He was married to Roberta (Tootie) Garrow Chesney, and they celebrated 60 years of marriage this year!
Ron (Ronnie) spent his days growing up in Island Pond and being at his beloved grandparents’ (Grammie and Grampa Hill’s) farm. It was formative and the basis of his life’s path. He was a farmer through and through. He was also an avid gardener, logger, maple-sugarer, ‘unconditional bear-hugger,’ storyteller and sportsman, enjoying fishing, hunting and just ‘being’ in the woods.
Ron held different ‘jobs’ in his life but his passion for farming was never a job but his way-of-life. He also was community-minded having served on Farm Bureau for many years and the Natural Resources Council. He worked at the Hoods plant in Newport, at the Hackett Farm in Derby, on the Portland Pipeline and on a privately owned farm in Massachusetts to return to his grandparents’ farm, which his uncle then owned. He made the difficult decision to leave, move his family to Huntington, Vt. so he could work at IBM and save money to buy his own farm. That dream was realized in 1974 when the family moved back to Island Pond and the ‘Chesney Farm’ on Route 114 became the gathering place for many people from family and friends to folks who helped with haying to kids who needed a safe and solid place with “good, hard work to be done” and a ‘gang’ that provided unconditional love. Ronnie was always about ‘the kids. Any kids. But his kids and grandkids and great-grandkids were the sparkle in his amazing blue eyes. He was “Gramps.” He was the firm but loving hands that ‘raised a village.’ He instilled the ‘farm life and values’ in all his kids even after he and Roberta no longer had the farm. It was the strong and guiding force which will forever be his legacy.
Ron spent many happy times at the “Hillbilly Camp” that he, his father, brother, and cousin built on the Hill Farm in 1957. It was his ‘happy place.’ There are many tales (some of which will never be shared!) of time spent there with Bruce (Hobo), Nathan (Crackshot) and his son, Roger (Ranchhand). In the tradition of VT hunting camps, Hillbilly Camp, was a place of bonding and shenanigans that will live on to honor his memory. He also said, many times, that one of his greatest accomplishments in life was being able to say that his son was his best friend. Ron and Roger were certainly carved from the same tree!
He is survived by his wife, Tootie, his brother Bruce Chesney and wife Lora, of Coventry, his kids, Rhonda Chesney and partner, Freeman Corey of Orwell, his son, Roger Chesney and his wife Donna (his “favorite daughter-in-law”) of East Thetford, Rolinda (Bridget) Mahoney and husband Michael of Fairfax, Robin Letourneau of Island Pond, and Rachel Pepin-Chesney of Barton.
His grandkids and great-grandkids, Olivia Fortin, Jessica Chesney, Danielle and RJ Santaw (Addilyn and Lydia), Katelyn and Jason Gray (Alice and Nora), Marissa and Anthony Gobeo, Gabrielle Mahoney (Aubrey and Sadie), Justin and Joslyn Letourneau (Lilly and Logan) and Dylan Pepin and (Mayson Pepin). He was pre-deceased by his grandson, Tyler Gordon Pepin, and his sister, Mary Lou Myers.
Ron also leaves a legacy of ‘kids’ that held a special place in his heart; Alfred (Freddie) Myers, Barry Applebee, Steven Lontine, Susan Romeo and Ted Taft as well as countless others (nieces, nephews, cousins, community members) that felt that the farm and their relationship with him impacted their lives forever. The family would like to thank Ted for ‘sharing his farm’ with dad in his later years. Ted, you truly brought him immeasurable happiness.
Please make donations to the Derby Fish and Game Club, PO Box 187, Derby, VT 05829 and, most importantly, please think of him as you walk in the woods, give a bear hug to someone who needs it, or wink and say “toot-a-loo”. Thank you, dad, for being the mentor and foundation of our amazing family tree.
In keeping with Dad’s wishes, a small Celebration of Life will take place with immediate family only. A celebration with all friends, family and loved ones will happen at some date in the future. On line condolences at curtis-britch.com.