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Yvonne Daley, beloved Rutland journalist, dies at 77

Two photos of a woman side by side, one where she's standing at a podium looking contemplative, another where she's smiling with a santa claus in the background
Courtesy
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Yvonne Daley, who worked at the Rutland Herald for nearly two decades and wrote half a dozen books, has died at age 77.

Rutland journalist, author and poet Yvonne Daley died this week. She was 77.

Daley worked for nearly two decades at the Rutland Herald and wrote a half dozen books, including her most recent, Going Up the Country. It chronicled the counterculture movement that brought many young people to Vermont in the 1950s and '60s, including Daley herself.

Born in Massachusetts, she moved to Vermont in 1967 as a self-proclaimed hippie. Over the next 50 years, she carved out a career as a consummate storyteller and teacher.

She helped craft the late Sen. Jim Jeffords' biography, An Independent Man. She chronicled the worst weather event to hit Vermont in 84 years in A Mighty Storm, her book about Tropical Storm Irene. And she told stories about the people and events going on in Rutland and across Vermont during 18 years as a reporter with the Herald.

That’s where Steve Costello met her in the mid-1980s.

“She was a entrenched reporter and one of the most dogged and focused people I had ever met," Costello said. "She was an amazing mentor to me, and to other young reporters there. In those days, there were probably a couple of dozen reporters working at the Rutland Herald. It was a really great newspaper, and one of the best small papers in the country. And Yvonne and a handful of other really top-notch reporters made it so."

Costello added: "And, you know, to get on the front page in those days required, either a massive scoop or a murderer or something like that, and Yvonne seemed to be on the front page virtually every day when I was interning there that first summer.”

"... to get on the front page in those days required, either a massive scoop or a murderer or something like that, and Yvonne seemed to be on the front page virtually every day when I was interning there that first summer."
Steve Costello on working at the Rutland Herald with Yvonne Daley

He says Daley was passionate about accuracy, and didn’t shy away from activism when digging into controversial stories.

“Her belief was was very clear that the journalism should be not just covering the news, but helping expose, you know, corruption and problems and driving solutions," Costello said.

She was a mentor to many, and colleagues described how she went above and beyond to connect the dots and find the truth and humanity of a story.

Former Rutland Herald and Burlington Free Press reporter Tim Donahue says he’s still reeling from the news of Daley’s death, and says their friendship goes back 40 years.

“Oh, I don’t know where to begin," he said, sighing. "Yvonne was a whole person, a multi-dimensional human being, you know: a person, wife, mother, friend, journalist. She was a lot of fun. She had a lot of soul."

Thinking about her long career and many accolades, he added: "As you know, journalism is hard work, and she always made it look easy — and I think it’s because to her it didn’t feel like work, it felt like a calling.”

According to Daley's website, her work appeared in the Boston Globe, Washington Post, Time, Life, and People magazines, among other outlets.

"She touched a lot of people," Donahue said. "And helped me be a better reporter. I was a very shy young man, very risk-averse and cautious. And there were times where she would just kind of kick me in the ass and say, 'You may not feel comfortable doing this, but it's part of your job, and you should go do it!'"

He added: "And I knew where she was coming from. She was coming from a place of love, and wanting me to grow as a journalist, and that's just who she was ... and this is just a huge loss."

Daley didn't just mentor local reporters. She taught journalism for 17 years at San Francisco State University.

She loved gardening and poetry, and she founded the Green Mountain Writers Conference, an annual writing workshop to help nurture the careers of others.

“I just find that people like to share their story, and when you can help them bring their story beyond their small sphere, it’s a lovely experience, right.”
Yvonne Daley in 2015

In a 2015 interview, she talked about what it was about her career she loved most. Being in the know is part of it, she admitted, as is the connection with people.

“I just find that people like to share their story, and when you can help them bring their story beyond their small sphere, it’s a lovely experience, right.”

Daley had been suffering from a rare blood cancer, and died from complications of the disease on Tuesday.

She’s survived by four children and six grandchildren.

Her husband Chuck Clarino says a celebration of her life will be held at a later date.

Have questions, comments or tips? Send us a message or get in touch with reporter Nina Keck:

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