Notable New Hampshire Deaths: Salem’s Betty Voter; Concord’s John Gfroerer

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Beverly Stoddart

Nashua Police Officer James. H. Roche was the first member of the Nashua Police Department to be killed in the line of duty. His grave is in Woodlawn Cemetery, on Kinsley Street in Nashua. In the early morning of Sept. 23, 1928, Roche stopped a man on the porch of a Temple Street home after he suspected him of committing a burglary. The man drew a handgun and ordered Roche to raise his hands. Roche instead pulled out his service revolver and fired twice, bringing the man to the ground. On the ground, the suspect fired six shots at Roche, hitting him five times. He was rushed to Nashua Memorial Hospital where he died 22 days later. He was 53, a four-year member of the Nashua Police Department and was survived by his wife and five children. He had been a police officer in Limerick, Ireland, before immigrating to the United States. His name is first on a memorial of four fallen Nashua police officers that stands at the entranceway to the police department. scans the websites of New Hampshire funeral homes each week and selects at random some of our friends, relatives and neighbors to feature in this column. The people listed here passed away during the previous week and have some public or charitable connection to their community. is now offering obituaries through the service. We view this as part of our public service mission. Click here or on the Obituaries tab at the top of our home page to learn more. And if you know of someone from New Hampshire who should be featured in this column, please send your suggestions to

Elizabeth J. “Betty” Forrest-Voter, 92, of Salem, died July 10, 2023. She was a passionate advocate and volunteer for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, fighting diligently for the rights and freedoms of persons with disabilities. She worked tirelessly with the state and the town of Salem to create the Debbie Voter Center for the advocacy, learning and acceptance of persons with developmental disabilities.  She received the Community Crossroads Guidance, Support and Advocacy Award presented by Gov. Chris Sununu in 2018 to honor her lifelong work to benefit others. (Goundrey Dewhirst Funeral Home)

John Gfroerer, 73, of Concord, died July 7, 2023. He started the Open Kitchen Restaurant on Main Street above Diversi’s Market in the early 70s, serving natural foods and folksy entertainment. After closing the restaurant, he worked full time for Concord cable channel 12, covering local news, culture, politics, and sports. He started his own videographer business, Accompany Video Production, in 1995.  His work has been broadcast on public television and the History Channel. He recently co-produced a documentary on the life and career of 19th and early 20th century composer Amy Beach, who was born in Henniker. He was the director of the Concord Historical Society and Supervisor of the Checklist in Ward 3. He helped start the New Hampshire Folk Festival in the 70s and directed the First Night Concord festivities on New Year’s Eve. He was often published in the Concord Monitor’s “My Turn” section. (

Leland F. Briggs, 79, of Epsom, died July 7, 2023. He was the father of slain Manchester Police Officer Michael L. Briggs, for whom the Manchester Police Station is named. The younger Briggs was killed Oct. 17, 2006, after a shootout with a man who was later found guilty of his murder. A U.S. Air Force veteran, Lee Briggs was a licensed electrician and owned his own furnace installation and repair business. He traveled all over supporting his daughters with their horse shows. He worked part time as a police officer for Epsom for four years. (Roan Family Funeral Home – Still Oaks Chapel)

Muriel A. Littlehale, 92, of Lancaster, died July 8, 2023. She and her husband Norman started Asizcoos Valley Campground in Wilson’s Mills, Maine, and ran it for 40 years.  She drove a school bus (car), organized winter carnivals for the local kids, and maintained the church, also helping write a history book. (Bryant Funeral Homes)

Walter H. Robertson, 91 of Derry, died July 8, 2023. A U.S. Air Force veteran, he flew 120 missions into Korea. He went into the jewelry business with his father and learned watch and jewelry repair.  In 1970, he received his real estate broker license and a certified appraiser license. He also had a private pilot license and advanced radio license. He was a master and past master of St. Marks Lodge in Derry; and a lifetime member of the VFW, American Legion, Disabled American Veterans and Derry-Salem Elks. (Carrier Family Funeral Home) 

Robert Emmett Joyce Jr., 81, of Sanbornton, died July 11, 2023. A U.S. Navy veteran, he was a member and past commander of the American Legion Henry J. Sweeney Post 2.  Until his retirement, he was employed with Subaru of New England for more than 30 years. (Connor-Healy Funeral Home and Cremation Center)

Robert W. Martineau, 93, of Litchfield, died July 6, 2023. He was a volunteer fireman and served on several Litchfield town committees and boards, including acting as a bail commissioner. In his younger years, he was a saxophone player and performed with the Roger Carrier Band and the National Guard Alumni Band.  (Connor-Healy Funeral Home and Cremation Center)

Robert Michael Corkery, 85, of Dover, died July 7, 2023. A U.S. Air Force veteran, he had a degree in zoology from UNH and worked at NASA, where he was a trainer for “Enos,” the first chimpanzee to go in space. He became a pilot and worked for Eastern Airlines until he retired. He opened a pet store with his brother in Portsmouth in the 70s, called the Pet Emporium on Islington Street. The store was noted for having a pet monkey named “Zipper” as well as an electric eel named “Sparky.” (Tasker Funeral Service)

Leavy Ann (Jones) White, 92, of Portsmouth, died July 6, 2023.  She worked as a civilian employee for the U.S. Air Force at Pease Air Force Base as a supervisor for the shipment and storage of personal property for all branches of the military and Department of Defense civilian personnel for over 25 years prior to her retirement. She was a member of New Hope Baptist Church in Portsmouth for many years and was known as “Mother White,” teaching Sunday school helping with many church activities over the years. She was also  involved with civic organizations including the NAACP. (J. Verne Wood Funeral Home – Buckminster Chapel)

Joanne M. Johnson, 89, of Peterborough, died July 11, 2023. She volunteered at Kyes-Sage Bookshop, St. Peter’s Church and Divine Mercy Parish. (Jellison Funeral Home)

Randolph Richard Roody, 79, of Peterborough, died July 6, 2023. He served in the U.S. Army Reserves in Bath, Maine, and later in the U.S. Air Force Reserves in Germany. He had a long career in business and was active in the Canoe Chapter of the Appalachian Mountain Club, the N.H. Germanic Association, and Bedford Land Trust. He also served on the board of directors of the N.H. Community Loan Fund and was a volunteer for SCORE (Service Core of Retired Executives). (Jellison Funeral Home)

James Robert Ferrante, 72, of Moultonborough, died July 6, 2023. A master plumber, he founded Ferrante Plumbing and Heating, Center Harbor Dock & Pier, Super Dock Products and later in 1996 Harbor Scoops Ice Cream Shop. (Mayhew Funeral Home)

Bernard Joseph Arsenault, 82, of Alton, died July 7, 2023. A U.S. Navy veteran, he also served 30 years with the U.S. Navy Reserves. He was a member of the American Legion and VFW.  He worked for the Stoneham (Mass.) Public Works Department and in Alton as a heavy equipment operator.  He was a retired volunteer firefighter in Stoneham, Mass., New Durham, and Alton. (Peaslee Alton Funeral Home)

Robert Edward McKinley Sr., 97, of West Concord, Mass., and formerly of Milton Mills, died July 6, 2023. A member of the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Force and served as a crew chief on B-29 bombers in the Philippines and Guam. An engineer, he worked for Republic Aviation on the F-105 Thunderchief fighter/bomber and later with American Machine and Foundry (AMF) to help construct Titan I nuclear missile silos. He then switched careers and worked for Head Ski Company, traveling the world designing and testing sporting equipment with French Alpine ski racer Jean Claude Killy and tennis legend Arthur Ashe. He was a member of the 1968 U.S. Olympic Ski Team as an equipment specialist. While living in Milton, he served on the town planning board, as a member and former Commander of American Legion Post 61 in Milton, and as a New Hampshire state representative. (Peaslee Funeral Home)

Lt. Col. Harry Z. Kageleiry, (Ret.), 90, of Dover, died July 11, 2023. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1952 and served as a second lieutenant of infantry, retiring from active duty in 1979. He served in Korea and as a senior advisor to a Vietnamese ranger battalion during his first tour of duty in Vietnam and to an airborne infantry battalion of the 101st Airborne Division during his second tour.  He then taught mathematics and computer science at Saint Thomas Aquinas High School in Dover and at Hesser College in Portsmouth until retiring in 1994. (Wiggin-Purdy-McCooey-Dion Funeral Home)

Craig A. Storm, M.D., 65, of Lebanon, died July 6, 2023. He was ordained a Roman Catholic priest in New Ulm, Minn., in 1984 and was a teacher, a principal and superintendent. In 1992, he entered medical school and became a pathology resident at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.  He completed a dermatopathology fellowship and returned to DHMC as a staff physician.  (Ricker Funeral Homes & Crematory)

Lt. Col. James W. Neely, Jr., USAF (Ret.), 85, of Amherst, died July 6, 2023. He served in Alaska, the Pentagon, SAC AFB Omaha, Neb., and Hanscom AFB, Mass. He also served on the U.S. European Command and was on the battle staff for the Arab/Israelis War. After his retirement, he worked 17 years for Sanders/BAE in Nashua, Merrimack and Hudson. He was a 40-year member of Amherst Lions Club and served as president and district secretary/treasurer. He was the recipient of the Melvin Jones Fellow award, and Amherst Lions named him a Granite State Fellow. (Smith & Heald Funeral Home)

Joyce St. John, 69, of Exeter, died July 10, 2023. She taught first grade for 20 years at Lincoln Street and Main Street Elementary Schools in Exeter, retiring in 2006 after suffering a traumatic brain injury. (Stockbridge Funeral Home)

WORDS OF WISDOM: “Death will be a great relief. No more interviews.” – Katharine Hepburn, actress (May 12, 1907, to June 29, 2003)

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