January 27, 1932 - June 10, 2020
The Reverend John Nutting passed away at The Manor nursing home on Wednesday June 10, 2020 after a brief illness.
He was born in Duluth, Minnesota on January 27, 1932, the eldest son of Dr. Roland Edward and Lottie (Neal) Nutting.
John graduated from Duluth Central High School in 1949. He then graduated from Carleton College in Northfield Minnesota with a Bachelor of Arts in 1953 and Yale Divinity School with a Bachelor of Divinity in 1956.
John was a summer pastor in West Dover VT. in 1954
He was ordained as a congregational minister at Pilgrim Congregational Church in Duluth in July 1956.
On August 17, 1958 he married Ramona Russell in Stowe, VT.
John served as the pastor for the Hyde Park and North Hye Park VT. churches from 1956 through 1966. He was also the part-time consultant in evangelism for the Vermont Conference from 1964 through 1966.
In 1966 John became the Minister of Mission-Associate Minister of the Vermont Conference United Church of Christ; a position he held until his retirement in 1996.
John also served as the Executive Secretary of the Vermont Ecumenical Council and Bible Society from 1981 through 1996.
John served many non-profit organizations: Vt. Low Income Advocacy Council, VT. Assistance, VT. Samaritan, VT. Center for Independent Living, VT. Housing Conservation Trust, Central Vermont Community Action, Leadership with the Department of Mission Churchman’s Fellowship, Bethany Birches, Camp About Face and Camp Wihakowi.
John’s outreach extended beyond Vermont with partnerships with churches in Zambia, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and peacemaking efforts in Bosnia.
John was also dedicated and committed to working alongside the Abenaki of Vermont as well as their cousins the Cree and Innu of the Great Whale and as an advocate for the Lakes Band of the Abenaki people of the Northeast.
John also wrote a weekly column for the Stowe Reporter called, “Soundings from Shutesville” and wrote and published a book on the history of the United Church of Christ in Vermont titled, Becoming the United Church of Christ in Vermont 1795-1995.
Music was another way for him to express himself about the gospel as a missionary of sorts, using what he called, “Congregational Evangelism”. He took his guitar house-to- house to church prayer meetings in locations throughout Hyde Park: Battle Row, Blood Alley (Which he re-named Clover Lane) Ferry Street, Garfield, Centreville as well as a multitude of locations throughout the state. John even recorded an album, “Songs of Lamoille County”. John and friends also organized and put on several “Old-Timers” nights, inviting any and all who could play an instrument and sing to the North Hyde Park Grange Hall to sing, play, tell stories, recite poems and have a good time. These events meant a lot to John and he thoroughly enjoyed seeing everyone there and taking part in them.
Upon retirement, John and Ramona travelled extensively to such places as the Colorado Rockies, Grand Tetons, Banff, Canada, Florida and even Germany and Italy.
John also enjoyed canoeing on both the lakes and rivers of Vermont and elsewhere, and in later years rowing his cedar stripped Adirondack Guide Boat on those same waterways, reflecting on life and listening for the sounds of the loon.
John loved to downhill ski, hitting the slopes throughout Vermont, New England as well as Colorado and Utah, skiing for over 50 years. During his later years of skiing at Mount Mansfield he would rise early in the morning and join a group of other early risers and get in a few runs before the slopes got too crowded. They came to call themselves, “The Dawn Patrol”.
John also taught himself to paint using watercolors. He painted people’s houses, barns, and sugarhouses as well as landscape portraits. He also became fascinated with the art of the Northwest Innuit style painting symbols of the whale turtle and the raven. He took these different styled paintings and had them printed on T-shirts, sweatshirts, note cards and even had a raven symbol put on his “Dawn Patrol” ski helmet.
For eleven years of their retirement, John and Ramona split their winters and summers between Florida and Vermont, enjoying the company of friends and relatives in both locations. During the summer John would be a summer minister to the Belvidere church. Again, his love of music led to many a “Bluegrass Sunday” where attendees would bring instruments and play and sing bluegrass or gospel for however long as everybody felt like staying. One person who attended said, “we never knew if church was going to be an hour or two and a half hours. It all depended on whether anyone really had any other place to go or not. If the congregation felt like staying, we all stayed and listened, and no one minded”!
John had a naturally curious mind: he was never afraid to ask people questions and loved to listen to people’s stories. John would also try to see issues from the opposing point of view so he could better understand the issue and the person. He treated all those who he encountered with the same level of respect, regardless of their station in life; and had a special affection for those who worked hard just to provide for their families; not have any dreams of glory or recognition; just provide. Farmers were held in very high esteem by him.
John always wanted to know what was going on in his children’s, and later his grandchildren’s lives, and was so proud of what they all had accomplished.
John loved Vermont, but most of all he truly adored the people and places of Lamoille County. To him this was the greatest place on earth, made so by those who live there. During his 60 plus years of living and visiting Lamoille County, he performed countless, weddings, baptisms and funerals and committal services for the people who lived and died there. Some families that he knew he had performed up to three generations of weddings. Many would delay an event that they wanted him to officiate at until he came North from Florida.
So many people have said how much he had touched their lives and what he meant to them, but he wanted to let them know how fortunate and blessed he was to have met them and that they in turn meant so much to him.
John was predeceased by his parents and his younger brother Tom. His wife Ramona passed away in 2018.
He is survived by his eldest daughter Vicki and her husband Ron Gibson and daughter Apryl of Alexandria, Va. son Stephen and his wife Jane and their children Ethan, Sierra and Travis of Elmore and his youngest daughter Emily and her husband Mark Horn and children Carly and Matthew of Paonia, Colorado.
There will be no calling hours and a private family graveside service will be held later.
In lieu of flowers donations in John’s name can be made to the Lamoille Valley Food Share, 197 Harrel St. Morrisville, Vt. 05661
Cards and notes of remembrance can be sent to the family c/o Stephen Nutting 1836 Hardwood Flats Road Wolcott, Vt. 05680.
Faith Funeral Home is assisting the family. Online condolences may be made by visiting faithfh.net.
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