WILLIAMSTOWN — John Francis Milne, 74, of South Deerfield, Massachusetts, and Williamstown, Vermont, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, June 29, 2016, surrounded by his loving family.

Born on April 19, 1942, in Washington D.C., he was the son of Francis and Eleanor (Keysar) Milne. John was raised in Barre with his two brothers, Jim and Tom, by his mother Eleanor after his father, Francis, died in WWII. He was educated in Barre schools and graduated from Spaulding High School in 1960. He then attended the University of Rochester, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering after which he taught science at Hardwick Academy for three years.

In 1967, he married Dorothy Martin, whom he had known from Lotus Lake Camp. They lived in Durham, New Hampshire, where he completed a Master of Education in science degree, then moved to Newton, Massachusetts, where he taught physics at Newton North High School for 10 years. In 1978, he and his family moved to Deerfield, Massachusetts, where he taught physics and coached tennis at Deerfield Academy for 29 years. He was known for his belief in laboratory work, mixing hands-on learning with his students in addition to the traditional classroom approach. One of his favorite projects with students was converting a gas-powered Chevy S10 truck to electric to be used by the Deerfield Academy maintenance department. He researched it by travelling across the country visiting people who had done similar projects.

John and Dorothy worked at Lotus Lake Camp in Williamstown under Dorothy’s parents, Proctor and Helen Martin, and then, following Proctor’s death, served as directors from 1968 until 2013 when John was unable to continue due to health reasons. John and his brothers were some of the first campers when Dorothy’s father started the camp in 1952. He used his love of building and engineering to construct many buildings, docks and camp equipment, often including campers in the building process.

John was known for his love of woodworking, his problem-solving skills and his keen wit. A man of few words and many puns, John loved making people laugh. He enjoyed using his inventiveness to build structures for camp, Christmas gifts and projects with his grandchildren. He enjoyed jazz, dancing, and playing and coaching tennis. He was a self-taught skier and tennis player.

John retired from teaching at Deerfield Academy in 2008. He and Dorothy bought a house after living in dormitories and school housing at Deerfield Academy, settling in South Deerfield, Massachusetts, where he devoted time to caring for the property and working in his workshop. John will be remembered as a fiercely independent Scotsman, a punster, and a lover of working with his hands.

Survivors include his wife, Dorothy; his sons, J. Martin and his wife, Kerri, of Suffield, Connecticut, Justin and his wife, Devon, of Ellicott City, Maryland; his brothers, Dr. James R. Milne, of Barre, and his wife, Jeannie, and Tom Milne and his wife, Nancy, of Preston City, Connecicut; his grandchildren, Tyler and Keegan Milne, Hartley and Hayes Milne; his nieces and nephews, Beth and Rob Allen, Bret and Sheryl Watson, Brad and Wendy Watson, J.P. and Caroline Watson, Scott and Julie Milne, David and Dawn Milne, Brad and Kate Milne, Greg and Reade Milne, and Chris and Trish Milne, and Jeff Milne.