Obituary

Corwin Silas 'Corky' Elwell, former manager of Bethel, Essex, Essex Junction and Brattleboro, great-grandfather

Corwin Silas “Corky” Elwell, 94, died peacefully in Brattleboro on June 4, 2022, after a brief illness.

Corky was a loving son, husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and friend.  He had friends and family all over the world and especially across his beloved Vermont, where he lived for 90 of his 94 years.

He was born in Bennington on September 28, 1927, the son of Corwin Chester Elwell and Flavilla Bahan Elwell.  He graduated from Bennington High School in 1945.  He served 2 years in the Army and graduated from Middlebury College in the Class of 1950.  At Middlebury, he met Frances “Babs” Bostelmann.  They married in Mountain Lakes, New Jersey, on June 18, 1949.  They moved to Philadelphia where Corky earned a Master of Government Administration degree, returned to New England in 1952 when Corky worked briefly for the City of Concord, New Hampshire, and returned to Vermont in 1953.  Corky was Town Manager in Bethel (1953-1955), Municipal Manager for the Town of Essex and the Village of Essex Junction (1955-1960), and Town Manager in Brattleboro (1960-1989).  He was a co-founder of the Vermont League of Cities and Towns, the Windham Regional Commission, and the Brattleboro Housing Authority.  He served in many professional leadership positions including President of the Vermont Town and City Management Association (VTCMA) and Vice-President of the International City/County Management Association (ICMA).  In 1988, ICMA presented its Mark E. Keane Award to Corky, essentially naming him as the “Most Valuable Player” of city managers worldwide that year.  He retired in 1989.

Corky and Babs raised four children together, all of whom were educated in Brattleboro public schools and graduated from BUHS between 1970 and 1980.  Babs was Director of the Brattleboro Nursery School (1967-1984) and was a leader and volunteer for numerous social service and cultural organizations.  They were married for 44 years.  She died in 1993.

In 1995, Corky and Betty Lolatte married in Brattleboro.  Separately and together, Corky and Betty volunteered in many capacities throughout their retirement years, including their special and enduring commitment to St. Michael’s Episcopal Church.  They were married for 27 years.  Betty survives.

Other surviving family members include Corky’s four children (daughter Cathleen and her husband Pompeo Piantadosi of Asti, Italy; daughter Christine of Hartford, Connecticut; daughter Colleen and her husband Nicola Piantadosi of Asti, Italy; and son Peter and his wife Wendy Harrison of Brattleboro), three step-children (Richard “Bud” Lolatte and his wife Carol of Brattleboro; Timothy Lolatte and his wife Diane of Bozeman, Montana; and Kristin Lolatte of Bowdoinham, Maine), 9 grandchildren, 2 great-grandchildren, numerous nieces and nephews, and his brother Richard of Excelsior, Minnesota.  In addition to his parents and Babs, Corky was predeceased by siblings Lila, Donald, and Nancy.

Corky was fond of declaring “I’m the optimist,” especially when facing moments of adversity.  He demonstrated that positive outlook in all his endeavors and relationships.  He was a mentor to many and a friend to many more.  He was outspokenly grateful to have been blessed with almost entirely good health for more than 94 years and he faced several serious illnesses in his final 6 months with dignity and good humor.  His sense of adventure never faded.  Corky enjoyed a 12-day train trip to Chicago, New Orleans (for Mardi Gras!), and Washington just 3 months ago.  He was thrilled to attend a Celtics playoff game at TD Garden just last month.  

A Service of Thanksgiving for Corky’s life will be held at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church on Friday, June 17, at 10am.  The service also will be available on a livestream at https://vimeo.com/717583471.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Corky’s memory to St. Michael’s Episcopal Church at 16 Bradley Avenue, Brattleboro, VT 05301, or to Garden Path Elder Living at 65 Harris Avenue, Brattleboro, VT 05301.


Family Information

In 1995, Corky and Betty Lolatte married in Brattleboro.  Separately and together, Corky and Betty volunteered in many capacities throughout their retirement years, including their special and enduring commitment to St. Michael’s Episcopal Church.  They were married for 27 years.  Betty survives.

Other surviving family members include Corky’s four children (daughter Cathleen and her husband Pompeo Piantadosi of Asti, Italy; daughter Christine of Hartford, Connecticut; daughter Colleen and her husband Nicola Piantadosi of Asti, Italy; and son Peter and his wife Wendy Harrison of Brattleboro), three step-children (Richard “Bud” Lolatte and his wife Carol of Brattleboro; Timothy Lolatte and his wife Diane of Bozeman, Montana; and Kristin Lolatte of Bowdoinham, Maine), 9 grandchildren, 2 great-grandchildren, numerous nieces and nephews, and his brother Richard of Excelsior, Minnesota.  In addition to his parents and Babs, Corky was predeceased by siblings Lila, Donald, and Nancy.


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