East Montpelier, VT
Donald (Don) DeForge, 76, of Quaker Rd in East Montpelier, died July 6, 2019 at CVMC with his loving and devoted family by his side.
He was born in St. Johnsbury, VT, the son of Lawrence E. and Bernadette (LaChance) DeForge. He attended schools in Binghamton, NY, and in both Barre, and St. Johnsbury, VT. He graduated from Marion High School in 1960. In 1962 Don joined the US Navy and gave his service to his country for six years. When his service ended in Boston, he became employed at Harvard University Observatory in computer technology and received his B.S. from Northeastern University.
It was in Boston that Don met both women that he would share his life with. In Don’s own words he “was a very lucky man to have these two lovely women in his life”. With his first wife, Joyce (Gleason) DeForge, they moved to East Calais, VT, where they owned and operated the Maple Corner Store for several years. They were divorced in 1983 and Don returned to engineering, first at Sprague Electric and then at IBM until his retirement.
Don married Lily (Unsworth-Mertz) DeForge in August 1995 and they shared many years together until his death. Together they traveled, supported their extended family and proudly shared their beautiful home and stunning flower and railroad gardens.
In his youth he was an active member of the Boy Scouts of America as well as being one of the founding members of the Central VT Amateur Radio Club, receiving his amateur radio license when he was only fifteen years old. He had a passion for fast cars and always recalled his beloved MG soft-top Roadster. Don had a great love of jazz music, and shared that love with his family throughout his whole life. In his later years, with the enthusiasm of his brother, Bob, he turned a life long love of trains into his passion and became a member of the Vermont Garden Railway Society. Don's love for the railroad, along with Lily's love for flower gardening showed what a great team they were together; both loving to share their work with guests who came to see their beautiful colaboration.
Don was a man with great enthusiasm and an immense love of life. Don was a soft-spoken and private man but always would offer to help those in need. He devoted more than 30 years of service and support to those struggling with substance abuse, offering his help, unconditionally, one day at a time. He provided experience, strength, and hope and was a strong member of his community which he loved.
Don lived his life with will, determination, and grace no matter what difficulties came his way. He was no stranger to sacrifice and he always gave of himself to the greatest good and charity to others.
Don is survived by his wife Lily (Unsworth-Mertz) DeForge, daughter Danielle, son Jeffrey (and Celia), grandsons Cecil, Gabriel and Thorin, his stepsons, Chris Mertz (and grandsons Dylan and Neko Mertz) of Beverly, MA and Paul Mertz of Montpelier. He is also survived by his sister Judythe DeForge- Desrochers (and Bill) of Danville, VT, his sister-in-law Beth DeForge of Brookfield, VT and his first wife and friend, Joyce DeForge of Montpelier, VT. He also is survived by many cousins, nephews and nieces. Don was predeceased by his parents, and by his brothers Robert (Bob) DeForge and Paul (Kris) DeForge.
The DeForge family would like to thank the staff at CVMC and the Plainfield Health Center for their care and support.
Donations may be made to the Grace United Methodist Church, PO Box 277, Plainfield, VT 05667.
A Memorial Service will be held at Don and Lily’s home in East Montpelier on
Saturday, August 17, at 2 p.m.