Robert S. Brace DUXBURY — Robert Steven Brace, 61, of Duxbury, Vermont, passed away quickly and unexpectedly on Aug. 5, 2021, surrounded by family members and with pictures of his beloved nephews looking down upon him. Robert Brace was an amazing, prolific and accomplished man: Robert was a freedom fighter. He was crucial in the closure of the Brandon training school, where he was a resident in his youth. He was a member of a group that successfully sued the state of Vermont to establish a system of community care. He fought his whole life for the rights and respect of people with disabilities, accomplishing as much as anyone ever has to make the world a better place for us all. The State of Vermont and greater community owes him a debt of gratitude for the humanitarian work he did in his lifetime. Robert was a teacher. He was a renowned speaker who lectured around the state of Vermont on disability issues and his life experience. He regularly spoke at the University of Vermont Medical School and the Interdisciplinary Team at the University of Vermont. He also regularly spoke to groups at the mental health agencies and released a public service announcement with the government of the State of Vermont. Robert was a friend. He embodied love, empathy, kindness and generosity in a way that was unparalleled. He never missed a birthday, was always quick to show sympathy and support in times of need, and was immediately up for helping anyone who needed it. He could be counted on to give you the cowboy (or Hawaiian) shirt off his back at any point, and smile while he did it. Robert was a hard worker. He answered the phones at Upper Valley Services in Moretown, Vermont, a job in which he worked for close to 25 years. He had infinite pride in his role of receptionist, and told anyone he met that he answered the phones for Upper Valley. He loved his coworkers dearly, and they were great friends and support for him. When people called they were always treated to his cheery greetings, and then his yell of “DENNIS, YOU HAVE A CALL … ” while the person was still on the line. His creative messages were a thing of legend, and there will never be an equal to the joy he brought people with his infectious good cheer. Robert was an uncle. This was a fact he often repeated and took extremely seriously. His nephews were his world, and he would do anything for them. He held, fed and watched them as babies. He played, helped and taught them as toddlers. He talked, joked and spent time with them as they grew older. Elia, Elia and Leo have never known a world without his love, care and never-ending generosity. Every child should be so fortunate as to have an Uncle Rob. Robert loved his family. Robert spent as much time as he could with his beloved mother, Eleanor, until her death in 2005. Although he did not see his brothers and sisters as much as he would have liked, he loved them and thought fondly of them. He also loved the Vecchione family, and was an integral part of the homes and lives of both Ali, Nicole and Elia, and Leo, Carla, Elia and Leo. He also loved Al, Linda, Grandma and Aunt Laura and the rest of the extended family. He had often spoken of “Becoming a Veckerone” and changing his last name. The truth is that he has been one for close to 25 years, regardless of last name, and always will be. Robert would always remind everyone that despite the weather, despite the troubles of the world, and despite whatever may be challenging them, that it is a beautiful day and you are doing a good job. Yes, you are, Robert. Yes, you are. A life celebration will be held on Sept. 25 at 2 p.m. at the Waterbury Congregational Church on 8 North Main St., Waterbury, Vermont. All friends, family and colleagues are welcome to come (preferably in Hawaiian or cowboy shirts) and share the inspiring and joyful stories that filled his and all of our lives. Masks are required for attendance. If you would like to attend the ceremony but are unable and want to join, a live stream will be available at the following link: www.waterburyucc.com/brace In lieu of flowers, pleases consider making a donation to the Robert’s Beautiful Day Fund, a nonprofit being established in Robert's name to provide grants to people who experience disabilities in order to help them have one of Robert’s famous beautiful days: gofundme.com/roberts-beautiful-day-foundation

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