Cover photo for Donald Ira Chamberlin's Obituary
Donald Ira Chamberlin Profile Photo

Donald Ira Chamberlin

d. December 23, 2018

Obituary of Donald Ira Chamberlin

GRAND ISLE - Donald Ira Chamberlin,87, passed peacefully into the hands of his Lord and Savior on Sunday, December 23, at the UVM Medical Center, with his wife and family at his bedside.

Born July 4, 1931 in Burlington, Vt. the youngest of seven children of Ira Poquette and Iolene Chamberlin Poquette - his mother died following his birth and he was taken home to Grand Isle and adopted by his Uncle Willis (Bill) and Aunt Helen (Houston) Chamberlin.

He attended schools in Grand Isle and graduated from Milton High School. During high school, while working as skate boy at Cedar Ledge in Grand Isle he met the love of his life, Fay Patno and they were married on Thanksgiving Day, November 23, 1950 at the South Hero Congregational Church.

Don was always busy and ready to lend a hand wherever he could. His early work life led him to several interesting jobs which he was eager to try and attended seminars and schools to prepare - he worked for UVM as a DHIA milk tester, Hood Creamery, J.W.Webb at Southern Acres Farm during the time the Ticonderoga was moved overland to the museum, Beacon store and 1001 store as well as A&B Beverage. He also held a CDL license and worked on the Vt. State Highway system and for the Town of Grand Isle as Road Commissioner. Throughout his life he loved dairy farming. As a young boy he spent time with his grandfather, Ernest Houston in Stowe and learned to appreciate the animals. He and Fay owned a farm in Grand Isle during the 1960s and 70s while their children were growing up. During that time, he was a Certified Technician for Eastern Artificial Breeders. His occupation for the last twenty-three years of his working life was as a Marine mechanic at Tudhope Marine, Boatworks and Fox Marine. He enjoyed plowing snow and mowing lawns for his neighbors.

Don's interests were many - he played basketball and baseball in high school and while playing baseball for the Grand Isle Town team he was invited to try out for the New York Yankees. This offer he refused as he was about to be married. He became a professional drummer at the age of eight when he played his first dance at the Grange Hall in Grand Isle and continued playing with several bands including Green Mountain Banjos, Westerners, Fox and Friends and Sterling Weed's Orchestra. He was a part of the North Hero Village Players productions for over twenty-five years as well as many other Island musicals.

Don loved children and he would travel many miles to watch his children and grandchildren as they took part in school sport and music activities. In 1957 he started directing the Grand Isle County 4-H Band and for many years they traveled and participated in many parades and events. He also directed the Vt. State 4-H Band at State Day and in 1978, he and Fay were named Honorary 4-H Leaders.

Don was a member of the Grand Isle United Methodist Church and had served as Trustee for many years. He was a very proud 61 year member of Isle of Patmos Lodge #17, Scottish Rite, York Rite and Cairo Shrine. He was also long time member of Island Chapter #73 and a Past Grand Patron of Vermont Grand Chapter Order of the Eastern Star.

Survived by his wife, Fay Patno Chamberlin, Sons- Bradley J. Chamberlin and Carla, of Grand Isle, Todd P. Chamberlin of Oakland, CA, Daughters - Glenda Leake and David Leake of Grand Isle , Patty Iolene Backus and Richard Backus of Waitsfield, Vt. Grandchildren: Jonathan Leake (Jenna), Jared Leake (Cristina), Jeremy Chamberlin, Sara Chamberlin Santor (Matt), Jordon Chamberlin, Jesse Gentile Robinson (Dan), Stacy Gentile Watson (Pete), Melissa Gentile Baker (Scott), KC Chamberlin. Step Grandchildren: Hillary, April and Katie, Great Grandchildren: Otto, Jude, Maeve, Jasper, Ethan, Elise, Forrer, Garrison, Ramsey, Landon ,Step Great Grandchildren: Jordan K., Hunter, Kyle, Julie,and Jennifer. Special nephew, Earl Chamberlin , who he thought of as a son. He is also survived by his brothers-in-law Lee Patno, Gary Patno, sisters-in-law Ruth Patno Fienemann and Sandra Patno Sweeny (Raymond). Many nieces, nephews and cousins who he dearly loved.

Donald was predeceased by his/ adoptive parents, Willis and Helen Chamberlin and a stepbrother and wife, Burton and Grace Chamberlin. He was adopted at birth by his uncle and aunt but he remained close to his birth brothers and sisters. He was predeceased by his birth parents and his brothers, Robert, James and Erwin Poquette , his sisters Addie Poquette Brisson, Elaine Poquette Lamothe and Patricia Poquette Rousseau. He was also predeceased by his in-laws, Ellsworth N. and Pearl Prouty Patno and Ellsworth (Bud) and Elon Y. Patno.

The Family would like to thank Drs Gene Moore, Steffen Hillemann and the wonderful Staff at the UVM McClure 4 ICU.

In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Grand Isle United Methodist Church, c/o of Christena Norton, 281 East Shore North, Grand Isle, VT 05458.

Visiting hours will be held on Saturday January 5, 2019 from 2-6 pm in the Minor Funeral and Cremation Service in Milton. The Order of the Eastern Star Service will be held at 3:30 pm

A Funeral Service including a Masonic Service will be held on Sunday January 6, 2019 at 2 pm in the Grand Isle United Methodist Church.

For those who wish, online condolences may be made at

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Donald Ira Chamberlin, please visit our flower store.


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