Notable NH Deaths: Former Sen. Jack Barnes and Rep. Suzanne Smith; former Plymouth State President

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The Columbarium of St. Ignatius of Loyola and St. Mary Parishes overlooks Mt. Calvary Cemetery, also known as Mount Calvaire, in Somersworth. A Columbarium is an above-grade structure designed for the interment of cremated remains. 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 weeks 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

John S. “Jack” Barnes Jr., 92, of Raymond, died this past week. He served in the New Hampshire Senate for the 17th district, from 1992 to 1998 and again from 2000 to 2012. District 17 includes the towns of  Allenstown, Chichester, Deerfield, Epsom, Loudon, Northwood, Nottingham, Pembroke, Pittsfield, Raymond, and Strafford. He was a Republican who won the New Hampshire primary for vice president of the United States in 2008. The following year, he co-sponsored a bill which abolished the vice-presidential preference ballot. The bill passed both houses of the state legislature and took effect in 2012, according to Wikipedia. He and his wife Fran opened the McDonald’s franchise on Raymond in 1979 and ran it until their retirement. Senate President Jeb Bradley (R-Wolfeboro) said in a release, “Jack Barnes was a truly unique member of the New Hampshire Senate. Jack’s word could always be trusted and he was known for being plain-spoken.  Jack was always willing to put in the work to get to a solution for his constituents. He was a tireless fighter for New Hampshire’s small businesses, and perhaps the most passionate Red Sox fan in New Hampshire.” (New Hampshire Senate President)

Michael R. Bergeron, 77, of Greenville, died Jan. 4, 2023. He was a member of the Greenville Fire Department and the Knights of Columbus. He was also the caretaker of the Sacred Heart Cemetery for many years. He worked for the Greenville Department of Public Works for 36 years. (Michaud Funeral Home & Crematorium)

Evelyn Marguerite (Pelletier) Burton, 91, of Nashua, died Jan. 4, 2024. She owned the family store, Pelletier Variety, on Ledge Street and was the mother of former Nashua Mayor Donnalee Lozeau. She helped with the campaigns of presidents to U.S. senators, congressmen and governors. She was recognized by the Nashua Republican City Committee with the “Elphy” Award for her unwavering dedication. (Farwell Funeral Service)

Arthur N. Charland, 87, of Manchester, died Jan. 4, 2024. A staff sergeant with the N.H. Air National Guard, he was active in the snowmobiling community, serving on the board of directors of the Southern N.H. Snow Slickers Snowmobile Club, including as president and trail administrator. He helped start the New Hampshire Snowmobile Show in Manchester.  He served on the N.H. Bureau of Trails Advisory Board for many years and on the board of the Rockingham Recreational Trail Association. He worked for  Cote Brothers and Continental Baking Co. and was elected secretary-treasurer of the Bakery and Sales Drivers Union, Teamsters Local 686.  He helped develop the By-Pass 28 Industrial Park in Hooksett. (Lambert Funeral Home)

Katelyn A. (Rich) Coolbroth, 31, of Fremont, died Dec. 31, 2023. In 2015, she was a paraprofessional for the SAU 17 school district, then kindergarten teacher at the Memorial Elementary School in Newton and the DJ Bakie Elementary School in Kingston. (Brookside Chapel & Funeral Home)

Patricia Louise (Whelan) Damour, 100, of Henniker, died Jan. 6, 2024. She was a member of St. Theresa Church, Missionary Sisters of Saint Theresa, Henniker Historical Society, Grafton-Sullivan Fire Wardens Association and past president and former member of the Grange, past master of Bear Hill Grange and Contoocook Valley Pomona and past subordinate deputy of the N.H. State Grange. She was a bank bookkeeper. (Holt Woodbury Funeral Homes & Cremation Service)

Richard L. Danzinger, 85, of Amherst, died Jan. 7, 2024. He was a marketing communications manager for Sanders Associates  (later, BAE). He was a publications manager at Northeast Electronics in Concord and founded Phoenix Telecom in Rochester, N.Y. He was vice president of product planning of Telesciences CO Systems, Moorestown, N.J. He retired from Sonus Networks, Inc. of Westford, Mass., helping develop Voice Over the Internet (VoIP) equipment for telephone company central offices. He and his wife Nancy owned Greeley Gardens in Amherst, maintaining large gardens with 250 different daylily species. He was chief financial officer and trustee for NH-VT District of Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) and trustee for Northern New England District of UUA. (Smith & Heald Funeral Home)

Dorothea Hooper, 91, of Dover, died Jan. 8, 2024. She taught in New Jersey elementary and high schools and moved to Dover, where she was an adjunct instructor at Franklin Pierce, New England, and New Hampshire colleges. She retired from Southern New Hampshire University, where she taught history, geography, government, politics, humanities, and western civilization. She served eight years on the Dover School Board, six years on the Dover City Council, and four years as a state representative. She volunteered at the Woodman Institute, the Strafford County Jail Family Reception Center, Hyder Hospice House, and serviced on various committees at First Parish Church. (Tasker Funeral Service)

Frederic R. Huber, 88, of Merrimack, died Jan. 5, 2024. He was president and CEO of Melamine Chemical in Baton Rouge, La., and worked for many years as executive vice president of WR Grace in Nashua and Lexington, Mass. (Rivet Funeral Home)

Charles L. Hunter Jr., 94, of Wolfeboro, died Jan. 5, 2024. He and his wife Pat opened Hunter’s IGA in Wolfeboro in 1979. He was a director for the Kingswood Bank & Trust and the Chamber of Commerce. He was a trustee for the Wolfeboro Area Children’s Center and an incorporator of the Community Bank & Trust.  (Lord Funeral Home)

Betty J. Poltrack, 102, of New Boston, died Jan. 9, 2024. She was a teacher for 25 years in Trumbull, Conn., public schools, and volunteered for St Vincent’s Medical Center, the Fairfield Public School system and the American Red Cross. In New Boston, she volunteered for the Friends of the Whipple Free Library, New Boston Historical Society, New Boston Central School and also at Catholic Medical Center in Manchester. (French and Rising Funeral Home)

Ronald W. Reilly, 87, of Dover, died Jan. 7, 2024. A U.S. Marine Corps and Marine Corps Reserves veteran, he was commissioned in the U.S. Air Force and for 16 years was a national service officer for the Disabled American Veterans (DAV). He volunteered with the N.H. DAV in many roles including state adjutant. He was a member of the Lions Club, served as a youth soccer coach and later as a referee. He was involved with the Fresh Air Fund, Special Olympics and worked many years on the Dover Christmas Parade. (Tasker Funeral Home)

Stephen J. Smith, 71, of Candia, died Jan. 3, 2024. He was a urologist, becoming an early and longtime partner in Manchester Urology Associates. He was a surgeon at the Elliot Hospital in Manchester, retiring in 2018. (Mercadante Funeral Home, Worcester, Mass.)

Suzanne Smith, 75, of Hebron, died Jan. 6, 2024. She was a former New Hampshire state representative who served in the Legislature from 2008 until her retirement in 2022. She was a long-time member of the CSG East Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, strongly committed to environmental causes. She sponsored many bills to protect the state’s natural resources, including definitions for wake boats, OHRV use, greenhouse gas emissions legislation, composting, rail trail management, and rural access to broadband. Former state Rep. Joyce Weston, D-Plymouth, said of her: “Our amazing Suzanne—conservationist, birder, hiker, wildlife tracker, reader, scuba diver, singer, NH House representative, local library volunteer, and a friend to all, passed away peacefully yesterday afternoon.” She was treasurer of the New Hampshire Audubon Pemi-Baker Chapter from 2008. She served in numerous roles with the organization Homeopaths Without Borders, including editing four books and going on a service trip to Haiti. (

William Miles Tate, 76, of Hudson, died Jan. 4, 2024. He was a veteran of the U.S. Army and was co-owner, with his brother Dick, of Tate Brothers Paving Co. for 55 years. (Dumont-Sullivan Funeral Home)

Pieter (Pietie) Van Dyk Birnie, 75, of Hanover, diedJan. 6, 2024. She lived in Paris and worked as a travel agent. She helped organize the Hanover-Joigny Exchange, a cultural immersion and exchange program between the town of Hanover and the town of Joigny, France. (Rand-Wilson Funeral Home)

Donald Patrick Wharton, 80, of Landaff, died Jan. 3, 2024. He served in the U.S. Army as a first lieutenant from 1965-1968. His academic career began as a professor of English and library director and culminated in New Hampshire as president of Plymouth State University from 1993 until he retired in 2006. He was awarded the Harold E. Hyde Award for Distinguished Educational Leadership upon his retirement.  He served for three years as chair of the board of trustees for the Society for the Protection of N.H. Forests and was a member of the board of the N.H. Charitable Foundation. (

Harold “Whitey” Whitehouse Jr., 95, of Portsmouth, died Jan. 4, 2024. A U.S. Navy veteran, he was a pressman and linotype operator for 28 years at the Portsmouth Herald, then a carpenter at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard until he retired in 1992.  He was a 16-year member of the Portsmouth School Board beginning in 1973. He also served on the city council from 1988-89, and 1998-2007. He was elected to the police commission from 1994-96. The former Marcy Street Bridge in the South End was re-named in his honor in 2018. He was a member of many charitable organizations, including St. John’s Masonic Lodge of Portsmouth, Scottish Rite Bodies, Valley of Portsmouth & Dover; N.H. Consistory 32nd degree of Nashua; Bektash Temple Shrine of Concord; 45-year member and past-president of Patrol C; and member, director and past-president of the Portsmouth Shrine Club. (J. Verne Wood Funeral Home – Buckminster Chapel)

Larry W. Young Sr., 80, of Pembroke, died Jan. 3, 2024. While living in Salisbury, he was a volunteer firefighter and started the rescue squad, was the civil defense director, chairman of the planning board and member of the budget committee. In Pembroke, he was involved in emergency management, and served on the planning board, as a selectman, trustee of trust funds, and deputy health officer. He worked at Concord Savings Bank, N.H. Federal Credit Union, and the Meredith Village Savings Bank, retiring as vice president.  (Bennett Funeral Home)

Samuel Charles Zachos, 91, of Bennington, died Jan. 5, 2024. A veteran of the National Guard in Hillsborough, he joined the National Guard in Peterborough, retiring as food service sergeant with more than 38 years of service. Sam worked at the Monadnock Paper Mill for 52 years as a shipping controller. He was union president of The United Papermaker and Sulphite Workers for 14 years. He was a bank director with Valley Bank in Hillsborough, which eventually became TD Bank. He was a member of the American Legion Post 11 in Jaffrey, serving as commander. He volunteered more than 2,000 hours at Monadnock Community Hospital. (Jellison Funeral Home)

WORDS OF WISDOM: “Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it.” – Martin Luther King Jr., Jan. 15, 1929, to April 4, 1968

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