51, author of "Living With Chickens", passed away on Sunday, May 6, 2012, at his home in Sharon, Vermont with his wife, Kelley, at his side, after a long and difficult battle with cancer.
Jay is survived by his wife, Kelley McKenna Bays, his two sons, Sam and Liam Rossier, his stepdaughters, Claire and Lily Crowley, his parents, Marilyn and Stanley Rossier of Lee, Massachusetts, his brother, Mark Rossier and family of Niwot, Colorado, his sister, Linda Schmidt and family, of Boise, Idaho and his boys’ mother, Andy Wasserman of Vershire, VT.
Jay was a skilled man and had multiple careers throughout his life. He graduated from Northwestern and worked for the E.F. Schumacher Society and the Community Land Trust in the Berkshires before moving to Vermont more than twenty years ago. Jay loved his job as development director at COVER home repair in White River Junction, where he seemed to effortlessly make connections in the community with the goal of raising money for those in need. A freelance writer for “Chickens” magazine, Jay was the local guy people sought out with questions in regard to their birds. He had a passion for animals. As a young man, following in the footsteps of his native Vermont ancestors, he enjoyed working on a dairy farm in the Midwest. This carried over into his early parenting days with his sons as they raised farm animals of their own. He delighted in his sons’ interests in raising pigs, riding horses, training oxen, hunting and fishing. Jay encouraged a sense of resourcefulness in his boys, proud of their endeavors, including the avid research Sam took up for wind power and the moving essays Liam began to write. Jay devoted his life to being the best husband and father he could possibly be.
Jay was a poet, writing most every day and spending much time reading Seamus Heaney, WH Auden and Julia Randall. He was happiest when sitting with book in hand, contemplating a line or two from a favorite verse. His own compilations of poems are varied and diversely unique. Some spiritual, some having to do with everyday things in life.
A soap-maker, a Waldorf teacher, a singer in the Thetford Chamber Singers, an editor, a computer consultant, an artist, a traveler, a mathematician, a baker, Jay was a true Renaissance man, a kind and gentle soul with a perpetual twinkle in his eye, a seeker of all that is subtle and interesting and beautiful in life.
There will be an Episcopal service at Saint Thomas Church in Hanover, NH on Saturday, May 12th at 4pm, with a reception in the parish hall to follow. In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations to go to COVER Home Repair and to Saint Thomas. Funeral arrangements are under the direction of the Rand-Wilson Funeral Home of Hanover, NH.
Liam Among the Animals
A Poem By Jay Rossier
No Saint Kevin this one,
sitting in a cell with his arms outstretched
waiting for the blackbirds to hatch, no,
he’s running full tilt
across the yard after the chickens,
scattering gravel and feathers
in a maelstrom of flapping and squawking,
laughing at me when I yell at him to stop. Still,
he stops. And in spite of his sly smile
I half believe him when he says
he only wanted them to play.
it was your brother,
the farmer, three years older,
having bought in to the business
with several weeks’ worth (a dozen hens)
of his nine-year-old’s allowance,
who took some chicks to school for show and tell.
He was afraid to pick them up, so
he took you with him. And in the classroom watched
while with your gentle, ignorant confidence
you caught each bird up and held it in two hands
cupped like a nest, and with some innate admiration
for the naked beauty of a living thing, held it up
so each third grader could get a good look.
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Hanover, NH 03755