Notable NH Deaths: Three Devoted to Religious Lives Had Combined 217 Years of Service

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The Highland Cemetery on Church Hill Street in Belmont contains more than 350 gravesites, including one for the Rev. Hiram S. Sleeper, an ordained Freewill Baptist minister. He served parishes in Maine, including one on Monhegan Island, and after attending the Biblical Schol in New Hampton, he was pastor at several New Hampshire churches, including at Gilmanton, Loudon, and Meredith. (from "Free Baptist Cyclopedia," 1889) Hiram’s wife Mercy is buried elsewhere in this cemetery. Her gravestone refers to her as a “relict” of the reverend’s, an archaic word for widow. 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

Dr. James Joseph Bradley, 83, of Gilford, died March 25, 2024. He enjoyed a long career as an anesthesiologist where he, the proud son of an obstetrician, always loved to comfort a laboring mother with a skillfully placed epidural. (Wilkinson-Beane-Simoneau-Paquette Funeral Home & Cremation Services)

Walter “Skip” Edward Collins Jr., 77, of Franklin, died March 21, 2024. He was an honorary life member of the Benevolent & Protective Order of Elks, Franklin Lodge 1280, for 51 years. He held the office of Exalted Ruler and chaired many committees. He also served as District Deputy Grand Exalted Ruler North District for the New Hampshire Elks Association. He owned and operated Collins Auto Body in Franklin.  (

Norma Mae Danforth, 85, of Laconia, died March 25, 2024. She and her husband owned and operated George’s Diner in Meredith, and City Taxi, a taxi service in Laconia, for many years. (Smart Memorial Home)

Richard L. Duckoff, 89, of Manchester, died March 8, 2024. He was the co-founder and president of New Hampshire Habitat for Humanity, chair of the board of Manchester Neighborhood Housing Services, a board member of The Way Home, a co-founder of the North End Neighborhood Association and a co-director of the Queen City Tenants Association. He was a member of the New Hampshire Citizens’ Action Committee and the Low-Income Housing Network and served on various committees of NeighborWorks Southern New Hampshire. He was a long-time trustee of the Manchester Historic Association and developed several historic walking tours. He was a former vice president and long-time supporter of the Friends of Stark Park. (Lambert Funeral Home & Crematory)

Arthur Shumway Ellison, 80, of Concord, died March 23, 2024. A three-term state representative currently serving in the New Hampshire House, he was featured in a Concord Monitor news article this past week on his efforts to pass a bill – HB 1212 – to increase eligibility for free lunch to all students whose family household income is at or below the 350 percent of the federal poverty level. Ellison had tried twice in previous legislative sessions to get the bill passed and was hoping it would pass this time as part of his final legacy. He had a doctorate of education from the University of Massachusetts and worked for 38 years as the state director of adult education. He served seven years on the board of the Highlander Research and Education Center, which supports grassroots efforts for justice and equality. (Bennett Funeral Home)

Sister Marguerite R. Gravel, CSC, 92, of Manchester, died March 24, 2024. A sister of Holy Cross for 73 years, she entered the congregation in 1950 and pronounced her final vows in 1957. She taught in parochial schools in Manchester and Nashua, as well as Connecticut, Massachusetts, the Bronx and Brooklyn. She was a missionary for 10 years in Alaska and founded the Sisters of Holy Cross mission in Lima, Peru in 1987. She also served in West Africa and worked at Hillsborough County Department of Correction for 12 years. (Lambert Funeral Home & Crematory)

Richard D. “Digger” Hughes, 83, of Dover, died March 21, 2024. A U.S. Army veteran, he joined the Dover Fire Department as a call firefighter in 1960 and later served as a career firefighter, captain of the Fire Prevention Office, deputy chief shift commander, and ultimately assistant chief of the department. He served on the North End Fire Station Building Committee in 2008 and on the executive board of the N.H. State Firemen’s Association. After retiring, he worked as a public safety dispatcher in Newmarket for several years. (Tasker Funeral Service)

Rev. Msgr. Daniel O. Lamothe, 87, of Swanzey, died March 17, 2024. He was ordained a Roman Catholic Priest on May 26, 1962, by the Most Rev. Ernest J. Primeau, S.T.D., at Saint Bernard Church in Keene. He served as associate pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Pittsfield; Saint John the Evangelist Parish, Hudson; Saint Kieran Parish, Berlin; Mary, Queen of Peace Parish, Salem; and Blessed Sacrament Parish in Manchester. He served as pastor of Saint Denis Parish, Hanover, in 1975; Saint Paul Parish in Franklin for five years; in 1984 at Saint Joseph Parish, Dover, for 14 years; administrator of St. Charles Parish, Dover, St. Catherine Parish, Portsmouth, Holy Trinity Parish, Somersworth: St. Mary Parish, Rollinsford and in 1998 at St. Joseph Parish, Salem. In 2003, he was appointed pastor of St. Bernard Parish in Keene and in 2005 was appointed parish administrator of St. Margaret Mary Church, Keene, Our Lady of the Lake, Chesterfield, St. Joseph Parish, Hinsdale, and St. Stanislaus Parish, Winchester. In 2006, he was appointed pastor of St. Margaret Mary Parish, Keene, then at Immaculate Conception Parish, Troy. In  2010, he was appointed pastor of Parish of the Holy Spirit, Keene.  He also served as Dean of the Dover Deanery; Dean of the Salem Deanery; Dean of the Monadnock Deanery, each for several terms. He served as Diocesan Bicentennial Coordinator to the Office of Community Affairs; Secretary to the Senate of Priests; Diocesan Consultor; and a member of the Diocesan Vocation Board. In 2013, he received the title of Monsignor by Pope Benedict XVI. (DiLuzio Foley And Fletcher Funeral Homes)

Richard S. LaPoint Sr., 87, of Ashuelot and formerly of Winchester, died March 23, 2024. He was a lifelong member of the Winchester Fire Department and served as chief for several years. He was also a state fire warden. After retiring as chief, he served with Winchester’s Emergency Management Department. He owned and operated a garage in Keene called Dick’s Gulf Service on the corner of Island and West streets. He also worked at FiberMark paper mill in Brattleboro, Vt., for 32 years. (Cheshire Family Funeral Home)

Sister Dorothy Lord, (formerly Sister M. Borromeo) 100, of Windham, a Sister of Mercy for 82 years, died March 23, 2024.  She served in elementary schools in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. For 43 years, she taught primary grades in New Hampshire at Sacred Heart School in Lebanon, at Immaculate Conception in Penacook, and at St. John in Concord.  She also served as a principal and teacher at St. Rose of Lima in Littleton and as principal at St. Patrick in Pelham. In Massachusetts, she taught at St. Ann School in Gloucester.  She volunteered for 14 years at the VNA Childcare Center in Manchester. (Carrier Family Funeral Home)

Carroll D. Page, 79, of Lakeland, Fla., and formerly of Candia and Tilton, died March 24, 2024. A U.S. Army and Air National Guard veteran for 35 years, he retired in 2002.  He was a member of the Candia Volunteer EMT & Fire Department, part-time police officer of the Candia Police Department and part-time deputy sheriff for Hillsborough County. He also served as Master of the Masons of Rockingham Lodge 76 and Treasurer of Cypress Lakes Veterans Association. (Lambert Funeral Home & Crematory)

Frances M. Savard, 80, of Derry, died March 24, 2024. She was a substitute teacher at South Range School and later a paraprofessional at Pinkerton Academy. She and her husband started their own travel agency, Scott World Travel, in Derry. She was a member of the Derry Chamber of Commerce and Derry Rotary Club. (Peabody Funeral Homes & Crematorium)

Margery J. Steady, 95, of Laconia, died March 21, 2024. She taught business education at Hanover High School for two years, returned to Massachusetts and became a secretary in the human relations department at Harvard University, was a secretary to the treasurer of N.H. Savings Bank in Concord, then returned to business education, teaching at Laconia High School and retiring as head of the department in 1991. She was a member of Lakes Region General Hospital’s Nursery Baby program and eventually became its president. She was also a member of the Lakeport Women’s Club and volunteered for 17 years at LRGH in the Oncology Department. (Wilkinson-Beane-Simoneau-Paquette Funeral Home & Cremation Services)

Thomas E. Swanson, 81, of Pembroke, died March 19, 2024. He worked for more than 25 years in the modular home Industry and was an owner of Epoch Homes in Pembroke. (Roan Family Funeral Home)

Julie Tsirimokos, 91, of Newport News Va., formerly of Manchester, died March 25, 2024. As a teenager, she served as the principal soprano soloist for the New Hampshire A Cappella Chorus and  soloed regularly for multiple special events and weddings. She sang with the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company of London. She performed on stages in theatrical performances and did charitable work with the American Red Cross to support the troops. (

Edward Robert Woiccak, 81, of Wolfeboro, died March 20, 2024. He served in the U.S. Air Force at Pease Air Force Base and was a member of the Judge Advocate General’s Corps. After his discharge in 1975, he practiced law in the seacoast and wrote Supreme Court briefs well into retirement. (Lord Funeral Home)

WORDS OF WISDOM: “The cross is the victory, the resurrection is the triumph … The resurrection is the public display of the victory, the triumph of the crucified one.” –  Leon Morris, Australian theologian, March 15, 1914, to July 24, 2006

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