When Winston “Win” Dezaine died this summer at 96, he left a big legacy, donating nearly $1.2 million of his estate to Bishop Marshall School Catholic school in Morrisville.
He’d never even set foot inside the building.
But Dezaine was a regular financial supporter of the school, and would often remark, “You’re doing great things over there at that school.” He wanted to be sure that children who were less fortunate would be provided the same opportunities at Bishop Marshall.
Born in Johnson, Dezaine lived most of his life in Lamoille County. He graduated 8th grade and immediately joined the workforce to help support his family, before joining the U.S. Army at 19 during World War II.
Dezaine often spoke about his experience being on the ground at Omaha Beach during the D-Day invasion at Normandy.
After the war, Winston returned home to his wife, Dorothy, in Craftsbury, and began work for Eastern Magnesia Talc Company. He worked his way up the ladder, eventually running mine operations in Chester, Ludlow and Johnson. He had a knack for discovering talc deposits and discovered an especially pure talc deposit in Reading, which produced some of the finest talc in the country.
Eastern Magnesia Talc Company was bought out by Johnson and Johnson in 1965. Dezaine stayed on after the sale, traveling all over the U.S., prospecting for new talc mines and opening new operations. He retired in 1988 when the Vermont mines were sold.
Dezaine left Bishop Marshall School 8,000 shares of his Johnson and Johnson stock, totalling approximately $1.2 million.
“We are incredibly grateful for this exceedingly generous donation and we want to thank the family members of Mr. Dezaine. With this donation, we hope to be able to fulfill Mr. Dezaine’s wish of providing an excellent education to all,” said Carrie Wilson, head of school.
Starting next fall, the school will award a scholarship — Winston Dezaine Distinguished Student Scholarship — to an incoming 8th grader in honor of Dezaine’s completion of the 8th grade. The annual recipient will model the life that Dezaine led, which aligns with Bishop Marshall School’s mission and core values — compassion, perseverance, self-discipline and generosity.