John Sears Memorial Event in Photos

10/15/2022 Dedication Ceremony

Dedication of the “John Sears Memorial Trails” and “kiosk” at the trail head

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Installation of the John Sears Memorial bench at the Overlook

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Pictured from left: Dave Phillips, Frank D’Aprlle, Bob Dion and Ria Blaas

From Jill Wilcox

Jill prepared this speech for the 15th but did not get to share all of it I thought that her words were valuable and wanted to share them here.Joyce Dion

We’re all here today with John’s family and friends to remember and celebrate John and all the ways in which he made our lives better. A lot of those ways you can’t really see. They were the acts of friendship, guidance and wise counsel that he gave us in his garage as we stood by the wood stove and talked to the tune of banging wrenches and power tools. You could see how well he fixed your car and how little he damaged your checkbook but you couldn’t actually see the greatest gifts he gave you.

Here in the forest it’s different. You can really see these gifts. We passed the trails he helped create on the way up here. John spent hours and hours in the forest creating and maintaining trails, guiding youth ski tours and just spending time walking in the woods.
And now we are standing in front of the most spectacular of John’s visual gifts, this scenic overlook that he envisioned and created. I feel John’s presence all through these woods. I would encounter him walking the loop at the end of his workday or hear him thinning a patch of forest near my house, but nowhere do I feel his presence more than here, at this spot where he did what he did so well, removed some obstructions to reveal the big picture, in this case a scene of great beauty.
I used to walk down to John’s garage when I needed to work out something I couldn’t think through alone. Now with this beautiful bench created by John’s talented friends, Ria and Justin, I can walk the same distance up to this bench and sit, reflect and think “what would John say?” I hope this bench will work the same way for all of you; a place to sit, relax, reflect, remember and cherish the memories of John…..or maybe just enjoy the view. John would like that.
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“But nowhere do I feel his presence more than here, at this spot where he did what he did so well, removed some obstructions to reveal the big picture, in this case, a scene of great beauty.”

Jill Wilcox
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John Sears Legacy Projects

“Remembering John Sears, A Community Citizen to Remember & A Neighbor to All” is available as there are still a few copies from the 2nd printing. Contact:

Volunteers are needed for work sessions on the Trails. Contact: Scott Chesnut,

Financial donations are always welcome for the John Sears Outdoor Scholarships. Contact Keenan Haley, Principal at Sharon Elementary School. Contact: at the school or by email:

At the Kiosk: A Durable Permanent Map of the. John Sears Memorial Winter Trails will be posted in the near future. Care of the Kiosk and help with trail Maintenance: Sharon Conservation Commission. New Conservation Commission are needed and welcome. Talk to Mike Zwikelmaier,

Care of the Bench: Ria Blaas plans to oil the bench at least annually.

Thank You to All Who Contributed Time, Labor and Your Generous Spirit to this Project

Sharon Conservation Committee and others for their coordination and work on the Kiosk: Mike Zwikelmaier, Sam Brakeley, Luis Bango, Dick Ruben, Scott Chesnut, Dan Deneen. Kiosk sign: Greg Elder

For Coordination and work around the creation of the Bench at the Overlook and site work. Ria Blaas, Artist, who created this work of art, Justin Matheson and his father, Evan, of Trout Lumber who donated the wood which Justin milled himself, Paul Kristensen for site work. For help with Bench installation: Jill Wilcox, Ria Blaas, Dave Phillips, Frank D’Aprille, Scott Berkley, Dan Deneen and Bob Dion. On the day of the Dedication, Bob Dion and Doug Cummings for help with parking.

For Guidance and Support of the project: Tim Morton and Brian Renfro, Foresters for the State of Vermont

For the original ideas and work on the John Sears Legacy Projects: Jill Wilcox, Greg Elder, Scott Chesnut, Doug Cummings, Joyce Dion, Stewart Ketcham, Cat Duffy Buxton.

Photo Credits: Cat Duffy Buxton, Dan Deneen, Kevin Plunkett, Joyce Dion, Rajana Dion, Scott Chesnut and Dave Phillips.