Tribute to Ginny Walters
Ginny Walters was co-founder of Patient Choices Vermont in 2002. She worked as a team with Dick Walters and the Board of Directors to bring Act 39 to fruition in 2013.
Ginny’s humor, extensive computing and organizational skills, ability to write cogently and clearly were instrumental in launching and sustaining Patient Choices Vermont during the long campaign. Even a few days before she died in January 2022, she was still sending articles from around the country that she thought PCV could post on the Facebook page.
Ginny was a physics professor, having earned her PhD at Western Reserve University. In retirement, she traveled with Dick, sailing on both coasts, and skiing out west. Ginny wrote science articles for children and travel accounts of their adventures. At home in Vermont, she volunteered for 20 years at Planned Parenthood before starting PCV.
PCV simply would not exist without the backbone of organization that Ginny provided. She was pleased to see the work carry on, and asked that any donations in her memory be given to either PCV or Planned Parenthood of NE.
Tribute to John Hennessey
Patient Choices Vermont was honored to have John Hennessey as a board member from 2007 to 2015, during the campaign to adopt Act 39 - Vermont's End of Life Choice Law.
John was a trusted adviser to PCV co-founder, Dick Walters. Whereas Dick wanted quick forward action and was fond of saying "Let's do something!", John was a steadying influence, always thoughtful and ready to ask probing and insightful questions. He made all of us think more carefully about strategy, bringing a deeply respectful style that permeated our message and helped reach the successful conclusion of adoption of Act 39.
As we move forward, there will be many times when we will ask ourselves, now what would John say?
PCV gratefully welcomes donations in honor of John, and appreciates being suggested by John as a final gesture. John's obituary may be found here.
Tribute to Richard Walters
Richard "Dick" Walters, in partnership with his wife Ginny, led the movement to establish Vermont's Patient Choice and Control at End of Life law. Known as Act 39, and signed in May, 2013, the enactment of this law was the result of more than ten years of unrelenting advocacy by Dick and this organization.
Dick Walters, PCV Founder and Board Member, was born on March 29, 1925, in Brooklyn, NY. He earned his bachelor’s degree at Yale. After serving in the Navy, Dick had a long and successful career in retail merchandising. Dick’s life with Ginny and their daughters was highlighted by many adventures skiing and sailing throughout the country and the world. As a member of Lake Champlain Yacht Club, Dick’s greatest pleasure in the last ten years was sailing on Lake Champlain. He died peacefully on October 16, 2015 surrounded by family.
In September, 2015, at PCV’s annual meeting, Betsy Walkerman, Dick’s daughter, was elected President of the organization. Betsy has been on the PCV board for many years and brings extensive private and public sector executive experience to her leadership role. PCV’s Vice President, Neil Mickenberg, will work closely with Betsy to lead the organization.
“Patient Choices Vermont will honor Dick’s legacy with our ongoing work to educate Vermonters about end-of-life choices," said Betsy Walkerman, "and ensure access to the rights established by the law.”
Dick was diagnosed with lung cancer in early 2014, yet continued to engage in significant discussions in connection with end-of-life choice. His health declined very rapidly over the last two months, and Dick was grateful to be able to direct his own end of life choice under Act 39.