John Whitney Lavely

TOWNSEND, MT: John Whitney Lavely passed away at his home on October 6, 2022. His family takes comfort in knowing that before his passing John accepted the Lord Jesus as his Savior.

John was born at Kerbs Hospital in St. Albans, VT on May 31, 1954. He was the oldest of seven children in the Norman and Nancy Lavely family. He graduated from Enosburg Falls High School in 1972. He liked to point out that there weren’t many other graduates with baby sisters in the audience. He graduated with Associate of Science degree from Champlain College in 1979 (Law Enforcement) and again in 1989 as a Cum Laude graduate from the Paralegal program.

He was proud of his Vermont heritage. In his later years, he would enjoy telling stories of the family hunting camp in the Northeast Kingdom and time spent with his siblings and cousins as a child. John never married but he had a strong sense of family. He kept close track of his nieces and nephews and could always tell you what they were up to.

John spent most of his life in the East Berkshire home he grew up in. He divided his time between Burlington where he worked for over 30 years as a night auditor at the Comfort Inn Hotel but always claimed East Berkshire as his home. Over the course of these years, he was a member of the Berkshire Volunteer Fire Department, the Tyler Branch Grange, and the Masons. He was a Ham Radio Operator (KA1KHD) and earned multiple “gallon donator” pins from the American Red Cross.

John loved Trivia. He never left the movie theater without watching (and reading!) the credits through until the end. When the board game Trivial Pursuit came out John was one if its first enthusiasts. If you were to play with John it was just a foregone conclusion that he would win. Recently there was a great match of Lord of the Rings Trivial Pursuit where some of his nieces gave him a serious run for his money. It was an epic battle with lots of love and laughter!

John’s true passion was history. He was a member of the Vermont and Montana Historical Societies. He had particular interests in Vermont’s history, the Civil War, and the Lewis and Clark Expedition. He was an avid reader and his final days were spent surrounded by some new books he was reading. One of his great joys was meeting the author of a book and having it signed. He considered these books his trophies.

John was a proud lifetime member of the National Rifle Association. He traveled to Pittsburg, St. Louis, Atlanta, Louisville, Houston, Orlando, Nashville, Dallas, and Milwaukee for Conventions. He met like minded friends there and has photographs with several noteworthy people from across the industry.

John is survived by his siblings Kary and Brett Best of Sioux Falls, SD (their children Katie, James and Melanie); Steven and Diane Lavely of Raymond NH (their children Joe and Kasi); Doug and Natalie Lavely of Fort Worth TX (their children Eric, Nicole and Cannon); Noreen and Ron Pierce of Mechanicsville, VA (their children Rebekah, Joshua and Danae); Stephanie and Mike Newton of Townsend, MT (their children Nikayla, Emily, Paige and Katie), and Faith Lavely of Highgate, VT. He is also survived by the spouses and children of his nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents Norman and Nancy Lavely and his brother, Pat Lavely

A memorial celebration and family reunion will be held in Montana in the summer of 2023. Donations to honor John’s life can be made to the Ethan Allen Homestead (1 Ethan Allen Homestead, Burlington, VT 05408) or the Montana Historical Society (225 N. Roberts St., Helena, MT 59620)