John Bacon BRADENTON, Fla. — John Bacon was a listener, whether to testy members of a teacher’s union or calls of a loon on a Vermont lake. His ability to listen made John vital, fair and gentle. Most recently of Bradenton, Florida, John, 71, died of heart failure at Blake Hospital on March 16, 2021. Of the half-dozen homes he shared with his wife, Mary, Bradenton was their “paradise,” a sun-flooded house shared overhead with a nesting osprey, and John’s collection of antique mermaids within. Two dogs from a long history of Jack Russell Terriers actually own the house but not the mortgage. Born in Pittsburgh, John grew up in Concord, Massachusetts, graduating from the Belmont Hill School in 1967 and Dartmouth College in 1971. In 1982, he earned a Doctor of Education from UMass Amherst. Until he retired in 2015, John devoted his professional life to education, serving as principal in Hartford and Bethel, Vermont, then superintendent of Danville and Barre, Vermont, school systems. He took tremendous pride negotiating teacher contracts, which tested another talent in his ability to find the middle. John was a ski instructor, an accomplished equestrian, an avid fly fisherman, a windsurfer, a hiker/camper/whitewater canoeist, a Boston Whaler afficionado, a sailor, a Serengeti Safari photographer, and a grown man who could launch a potato 50 yards with nothing more than a PVC pipe, hairspray and a match. There was a lot of little boy left in John Bacon. His heart was always close to a summer home of his youth on Vermont’s Lake Willoughby. It was more a camp, its wealth found in the wildlife, extraordinary beauty, and a lake that reveled in silence. John listened – with exception. For example, the distant neighbors who did not know him, heard him – actually his signal cannon – which fired each sunset. Cut too short, his life was well lived, indeed. Along with his wife, Mary; he leaves his son, Alex; and daughter, Kate; and sister, Heather. His brother, Sandy, predeceased him. A celebration of life will be held in the near future.

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I worked with John when he was Superintendent in the Caledonia Central Supervisory Union as his Special Education Director. I was saddened to hear the news of his passing as I know how much he looked forward to retirement and the move to Florida. Our office was a tight knit group under John’s leadership. We worked hard and had fun at the same time. My heartfelt sympathy to Mary, Alex and Kate whom he loved dearly and talked about often.


He was a great man. I was in big school 2010-2014 and that man helped me through my four years at school. He was a big role model to me and I looked up to him. He will be missed dearly. Rest easy Bacon ❤️


I was heartbroken to read, this morning, about John's passing. I had recently written to him to ask how he was enjoying retirement and he told me about how wonderful his trip to Tanzania was and what he was looking forward to doing once it was safe to travel again. Please know how grateful I am to have intersected with this lovely man, professionally and personally. He will be remembered for his kindness and his respectful consideration of co-workers.

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