Five retire from Columbia Forest Products

in Derby/Newport

Five Orleans county residents have retired from Columbia Forest Products since early September. Below is a brief bio for each:

Darlene “Winky” Crowe

Friday, September 6, 2019, marked the retirement of Darlene “Winky” Crowe from Columbia Forest Products, after 27 combined years of service. Born in Holland, VT, she attended N.C.U.H.S. and later earned her G.E.D.

Winky held her first job working as a caretaker for an elderly woman for approximately 3 months. She also held the following jobs: laborer at Ethan Allen for 6 weeks, chambermaid at the Border Motel for 6 months, teacher’s aide at the Grace Brethren School in Coventry for 1 year, maintained horse stables at Hob & Knob Farm for 1 year, store clerk at B & B Enterprises for a couple years and also stripped and finished furniture while being self-employed.

Winky joined Columbia Forest Products on July 18, 1983, as a splicer operator of which she held until May 10, 1984. She rejoined Columbia on June 8, 1993, as a part-time pre-sorter. She later held the following jobs: splicer operator, grader/piler and panel grader. Winky held the marker job for the last 7 years, up until her retirement.

Winky lives in Newport. She raised 2 daughters; Jessica and Killey and was blessed with four grandchildren; Kendra, 17; Holly, 15; Hunter, 14 and Aron, 12 and one great-granddaughter, Gracie, 11 months old!

She enjoys watching the Hallmark channel, wine-tasting parties, working with animals, furniture stripping, maintaining her flower gardens, attending country auctions, swimming and walking. She plans to travel to Virginia to visit her daughter.

Gary White

Friday, September 20, 2019, marked the retirement of Gary White from Columbia Forest Products, after 37 combined years of service. Born in
Newport, VT, he graduated from L.R.U.H.S.

He held his first job working on the family logging business for a couple of months.

Gary joined Columbia Forest Products on July 16, 1982, as a janitor until he quit in February ’93. He relocated to Florida and worked the night shift at Burger King for 2 months, after which he decided to return to VT.

Gary rejoined Columbia Forest Products on April 23, 1993, as a part-time janitor. He also held the following positions: piler, overhead crane operator, salvage clipper operator, jointer operator, booker, pre-sorter, jointer service, drag saw operator and debarker operator. Gary held the lathe operator position for the last 14 years, up until his retirement.

Gary lives in Derby, VT. He raised two daughters; Amanda and Cassandra and has 6 grandchildren; Hailey, 9; Baylin, 6; Lukis, 6; Kallie, 4; Dawson, 1 and Levi, 2 months old.

His retirement plans are to continue his part-time umpire job for baseball and softball games of which he’s done for 10 years. He also will continue to officiate soccer games of which he’s done for 6 years.

During his first several years at Columbia, he played on the company softball team along with his brothers; Brian, Bruce, Jerry, Paul and Randy. He is an avid Dallas Cowboys, Boston Red Sox and Boston Bruins fan. Gary plans to purchase a camper and visit his brother, Wayne in Marion, NC. He will continue to enjoy his time in the Dominican Republic.

He hopes to purchase a Spyder motorcycle to enjoy rides with his sister, Brenda.

Henry Pion

Friday, September 20, 2019, marked the retirement of Henry Pion from Columbia Forest Products, after 34 years of service. Born in Newport, VT, he graduated from N.C.U.H.S.

He held his first job as a sander at Ethan Allen for 6 months, then relocated to Manchester, NH where he held the following jobs; a utility doffer (extracted bobbins of yarn from a spinning machine) at Waumbec Mills for 8 years, then to Velcro USA where he held the utility job for 4 years and crew leader for 1 year. During this 5 year stint he also worked part-time at K-Mart in the following jobs; sales/utility, merchandiser and temporary Assistant Manager.

Henry joined Columbia Forest Products on July 23, 1985, as a piler of which he held for a couple of years. He also held the following positions: jointer operator, patcher, round-up and booker. Henry held the unspliced grader position for the last 16 years, up until his retirement.

Henry lives in Derby. His retirement plans are to take up exercising again, complete some much-needed home improvements and to go back to sugaring in the Spring. He enjoys vegetable gardening, hunting, fishing and raising chickens. Henry is an avid New England’s Patriot and Red Sox fan. He also enjoys woodworking crafting birdhouses & feeders, nature walks, cutting firewood and maintaining the forest lands.

Laurette Riendeau

Friday, September 6, 2019, marked the retirement of Laurette Riendeau from Columbia Forest Products, after 20 combined years of service. Born in Chesterville, Quebec, and graduated from N.C.U.H.S.

Laurette held her first job as a seamstress at Slalom Skiwear in Newport for approximately 3 years until she was needed at home to raise her family. She later decided to return to work as a seamstress at Bogner’s Skiwear in Newport for 5 years.

Laurette joined Columbia Forest Products on April 9, 1979, as a grader for 5 months, until she decided to stay at home to raise her family. Laurette rejoined Columbia Forest Products on June 11, 1999, as an unspliced piler. She also held the following positions: booker, marker/helper, break giver, defect clipper operator and utility. She held the panel grader position for the last 5 years, up until her retirement.

Laurette and her companion, Art Lucas live in Coventry. She raised 4 children; Chantal, Paul, Marc and Robert and has 4 grandchildren; Reagan, 10; Liv, 8; Waylon, 5 and Weston, 4.

She enjoys sewing, building wood projects in her workshop, maintaining her flower and vegetable gardens, playing cards and lots of fishing! She hopes to spend more time with her family.

Shelley Sargent

Thursday, September 5, 2019, marked the retirement of Shelley Sargent from Columbia Forest Products, after a combined 40 ½ years of service. Born in Newport, VT, attended N.C.U.H.S. and later earned her G.E.D.

Shelley held her first job working part-time at A&W Snack Bar and Ames Dept. store while attending high school. She later babysat for multiple families for several months.

Shelley initially joined Columbia Forest Products on November 5, 1976, as a Diehl splicer operator for 3 years, then was rehired on June 10, 1981 and worked for 6 months, later was rehired on Jan. 28, 1982 and worked 1 year, rehired again on February 15, 1983, and worked 1 year.

She quit each time to try to be a full-time stay at home mom, but it didn’t work out. She was rehired again on July 16, 1984, as a splicer operator and during this most recent stint, she held the following positions: piler, patcher and unspliced grader, Drying Dept. Crew leader Assistant position for 1 ½ years, Splicing Dept. crew leader for 13 years. She held the special order line position for the last 10 years, up until her retirement.

Shelley and her husband, Richard live in Newport Center. She raised 2 children; Nathan and Megan and has 3 grandchildren; Grace, 12, Gwen, 10 and Benny, 2. Shelley belongs to the Faith Lighthouse Assembly of God church.

Shelley’s retirement plans are to work on some home improvements and cleaning, help family members with house chores and hopes to get back into attending more church activities such as singing. She enjoys maintaining her flower gardens, camping and going for walks. She plans to spend more time with her grandchildren and hopes to visit her sister in Tennessee and her brother in Florida.

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