David Werle, 80, of Middlebury


MIDDLEBURY — David Werle, 80, of Middlebury, Vermont, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, March 27, 2024, at the Helen Porter Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in Middlebury after a courageous battle with cancer.

David was born on July 13, 1943, in Pittsburgh, PA, but his formative childhood years were spent on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay in Annapolis, MD, where he learned to pick blue crabs and guitars. He then made his way to New Wilmington, PA, where he attended Westminster College. He spent much of his time before graduation playing bluegrass music and joining in student protests.

The seeds of activism sown, he made his way to the hippie scene in Manhattan, where he taught elementary school in Harlem. He introduced his students to film and photography, which would become a lifelong passion and, ultimately, his profession. Speaking of lifelong passion, he also met Susan, the woman who would become his wife and partner.

The two decided to settle down in Vermont, where they bought a farm, a bull, and a rooster. David then established himself as a small business owner, opening the Middlebury Darkroom at 64 Main Street. That would soon be followed by a number of other Middlebury fixtures, including The Kitchen Shop, True Confections, and Lightning Photo. David and Susan also established themselves as parents, as they welcomed their children, Jillian and Jonathan, into the world.

David was a warm and thoughtful host who loved to entertain, famous for his homemade pâtés, smoked fish, and barbecue ribs — and the man could pour a mean martini. When he wasn’t cooking, he could often be found on the golf course, playing music with family, watching the Sox, throwing Maryland-style crab feasts, or fishing on Lake Champlain with the Frostbite Fleet. With a quick wit and a generous laugh, he was always ready to have a good time with his family and friends. He was a warm and loving husband, father, and grandfather.

David is survived by his wife, Susan, his children Jillian and Jonathan, their spouses Ryan Torres and Anya Hoffman, and his grandchildren Benjamin, Sama, Ruby, and Tema.

A celebration of his life will be held on June 15th at 1 p.m. at CVUUS in Middlebury. Donations in his memory can be made to the Lois McClure – Bee Tabakin Hope Lodge in Burlington, VT. ◊

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