Kenneth A. Van Hazinga, 68, of Shoreham
SHOREHAM — Kenneth Andrew Van Hazinga, 68, died peacefully at his home on Friday, June 5, 2020. Ken was born on April 2, 1952, in Fitchburg, Mass., to Andrew A. and Amy V. (Wartiainen) Van Hazinga. He grew up with his two brothers and one sister on Brookside Farm, the family dairy farm in Westminster, Mass.
He graduated from Oakmont Regional High School in 1970, where he showed his independent spirit by wearing a holey t-shirt and ragged jeans under his graduation robe. He did not take the scholarly approach, but impressed several teachers with his intelligence and knowledge. He attended the University of Maine in the Agricultural Mechanization program, and was a solid member of the varsity Woodsmen’s Team for several years. He relished the reunions of that group of friends.
Ken and his brother Russell operated Brookside Farm together for several years, and then Ken moved to Vermont in 1986. He worked for a few years at Thorne Lumber in Benson, and then managed Mount Independence Farm in Orwell for about ten years. In 2003 he bought Tio Grain Farm in Shoreham, where he raised organic grains and hay.
Ken travelled extensively at different times in his life. He spent the summer after high school working on a dairy farm in Cornwall, England. He spent one winter visiting family friends in France, followed by a trip driving in a truck convoy 1,200 miles across the Sahara Desert from Algeria to Niger, and then hitchhiking to Ghana and Nigeria before returning home. Another winter he spent several weeks working on a kibbutz in Israel. He also visited family and friends in Switzerland, the Netherlands, Sweden and Finland, as well as many states in the U.S. He traveled to Denmark on a learning trip with the Northern Grain Growers Association.
Ken was a founding member of the Northern Grain Growers Association, which coordinates growers, maltsters, bakers, and distributers in the local grain industry. He was also a member of NOFA-VT, the Vermont Land Trust, Rural Vermont, and the National Rifle Association. An avid reader on all topics, he has been a long-time member of the Board of Trustees of the Orwell Free Library.
In his quiet way of extensive reading, listening to others and observing the world around him, Ken gained a wealth of knowledge, which he freely shared. He enjoyed mentoring young and beginning farmers, and he helped many people make connections with the right sources of information for their projects. He was always ready with practical help for those in need. Ken had a special affinity for cats, and always had a pair of house cats, in addition to the swarm of barn cats needed for pest control. He and his cats would converse, each in their own language, and seem to understand each other.
Ken was predeceased by his father Andrew (1976), his mother Amy (2011), his brother Russell (2001), and his brother George (2015). He is survived by his sister Virginia Van Hazinga of Shoreham, several close cousins and nieces and nephews, many friends, and his adopted family in Vermont — the Hescock clan.
A memorial service will be held at a later date. Memorial contributions in his name may be made to the Vermont Land Trust, 8 Bailey Ave., Montpelier, VT 05602 or to NOFA-VT, PO Box 697, Richmond, VT 05477.◊
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