Deuel remembered for service to countyBy Gordon Dritschilo
Staff Writer | February 16,2013Toby Talbot / AP File Photo
Former Rep. Danny Deuel, D-West Rutland, speaks in the Vermont House about a flag-burning resolution in January 1995. He died this week at 66.Danny Deuel’s friends remembered him Friday as someone who tried his best for his community both in the classroom and in the Statehouse.
Deuel, a 32-year teacher and four-term legislator, died Wednesday at the age of 66.
“Danny cared a lot about the poor towns he represented,” said Michael Klopchin of Clarendon, who ran and served with Deuel in the state Legislature for two terms. “He spoke for all the towns in the district.”
Deuel graduated from Castleton State College in 1969, taking a job at West Rutland School where he taught math and, for the first few years, coached boys’ basketball. He had a good run as coach, scoring 100 wins and taking his team to the finals twice, winning the state championship in 1973.
“He was an all-around Vermonter, a deer hunter,” said Perry Waite of Pawlet, another of Deuel’s contemporaries in the Statehouse.
Waite fondly recalled driving a milk truck along a back road between Clarendon Springs and Ira and coming across Deuel hunting.
“Anything for the county — he worked with everybody to get it done,” Waite said. “I never knew a better guy than Danny.”
Deuel had one particular accomplishment with real significance for Waite’s district.
“We got a brand new school down here in the Mettowee Valley,” he said. “If Danny hadn’t been chair of Education, things could’ve gone a different way. He did a lot of good for the city and the state.”
Deuel served 11 years on the West Rutland Select Board before running for the Legislature in 1992. The Democrat spent four terms representing West Rutland, Proctor, Clarendon and Ira in the Vermont House of Representatives. During that time he served on the Ways and Means and Education committees.
“Danny was a numbers kind of guy,” Klopchin said. “Everyone thought he was primarily concerned about numbers, bottom-line kind of stuff. In reality, Danny was a very warm person, had a lot of sentimental feelings toward things. He backed vets’ issues to the hilt. He cared about kids — anything that had to do with schools, school funding.”
As a part of the House Ways and Means Committee, Deuel was involved in the creation of Act 60, Vermont’s education funding law.
“He was a person who understood and believed in the right of every child to an equal education,” said Michael Obuchowski, who was then the speaker of the House.
In 2000, when he decided not to run again, Deuel listed work on Act 60 as his greatest accomplishment in the Legislature.
“The reason I went to Montpelier in the first place was because I didn’t think the kids in our towns were getting a fair shake,” he told a reporter at the time.
Other achievements he listed at the time included getting money for improvements to the Marble Bridge in Proctor, to buildings on Marble Street in West Rutland, and to the town halls in West Rutland and Ira.
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