Published: March 7, 2006
John P. “Jack” Bittner died January 18 at his home. Jack studied auctioneering in Mason City, Iowa, and started one of the first cataloged antique tool auctions in the United States.
He was born on August 16, 1924, in Flint, Mich.; his family moved to Westmoreland, N.H., where he worked on his father’s poultry farm and attended school in Brattleboro, Vt. He graduated from St Michael’s High School in Brattleboro in 1942.
Jack married Rachel Atkinson in 1946 and they raised their family while he worked for Vermont Savings Bank in Brattleboro, was a commercial logger, built and operated Park Side Cree-Mee stand with a friend in Dummerston; he sold real estate in southern Vermont, worked in a basket mill and leather mill, designed and built houses and was a finish carpenter. Jack designed and built the Yankee Ingenuity Shop in Brattleboro, where he ran an antique store.
He later moved his family to a farm in Westminster West, remodeled the old farm house, graded the property, built a pond, raised beef cattle and pigs and did market gardening. For several years he served as a selectman for the towns of Dummerston and Westminster and then retired to Derby, Vt., where he continued with his auctions, selling on eBay and creating reproductions of antique cupboards, wooden bowls and buckets, Shaker boxes and other woodcraft items.
Jack is survived by his wife of almost 60 years, Rachel, their five sons, Robert and his wife Jessica, Bayside, Calif., John Jr of Nuremberg, Germany, George and his wife Mary of Chester, Vt., Jeff and his special friend Karen of Westminster West, Fred and his wife Jessica of Mesa, Ariz.; and seven daughters Susan Lawler and her husband Ron of Muskego, Wis., Anne Bittner, Sierra Madre, Calif., Barbara Heublein and her husband Bruce of Monroe, Maine, Jean Christensen of Minneapolis, Minn., Edith Brown and her husband Wally of Chester, Vt., Marilyn D’Ambrosio and husband Tony of Medford, Mass., and Shelly Crawford and husband Rick of Rockingham, Vt. He is also survived by his 32 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren and three sisters.
Services were held on January 21 at St Mary’s Church in Springfield where he was a parishioner. Memorial contributions may be made to Holy Family School, 30 Pleasant Street, Springfield, VT 05156.
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