John P Hart

Bennington, VT – John P Hart, 69, a lifelong resident of Bennington, Vermont, passed away unexpectedly on January 18, 2023, following a brief illness.

Born on August 16th (Bennington Battle Day), 1953, in Bennington, he was the youngest son of William and Jean (Morrissey) Hart. John was a lifelong Bennington resident, graduating from Mt. Anthony Union High School in 1971 and Mercer University in Macon, Georgia in 1976.

John was a tremendous 3-season athlete, playing baseball, football, and basketball. He was best known as an outstanding right-handed pitcher, playing baseball throughout his youth with the Bennington Little League, Babe Ruth and the American Legion leagues. He later played with the Bennington Generals in the collegiate Northern League, and, at the age of 21, he was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the 1975 Major League Baseball Amateur draft. Beyond baseball, John played high school football, where he set many records at Mt. Anthony as quarterback and was selected to play in both the Vermont State and New Hampshire All State Football team in 1970. He similarly excelled at basketball, and remains on the MAU leader board to this day. John was selected as a Top 100  Basketball player in the nation in the National High School Magazine in 1971.

On June 22, 1985, he married his soulmate, Donna Lee Hart.

John was a longtime employee of the Town of Bennington Buildings and Grounds Department and the Bennington VFW post #1332, where he was immensely popular among the members and patrons.

John was a great friend to so many, and it was impossible for him to attend an event without running into old friends or making a few new ones. He was a skilled storyteller, and whether he was recounting memories for the first time, or the 21st time, his stories always grabbed the attention of anyone within hearing distance, and usually ended with a “harty” laugh, that was so true to who he was.

John is survived by his children; Casie Hart-Connolly (Brian) of Holliston, MA,  Crystal Ottaviano (Juan) of Stamford, CT, Guy “Tony” Ottaviano, Jr., (Cristi) of Essex Junction, VT; grandchildren, Cora, Carmelia, Mason, Jedi and Quinn; brothers, Lee W. Hart (Suzanne) of Jacksonville, FL, Michael J. Hart and Dennis W. Hart (Alma Jane “Peaches”) of Bennington; sister, Donna Alice Maher, of Bainbridge Island, WA; and many nieces and nephews. John Hart is reunited in death with his soulmate Donna Lee Hart, his parents, and sisters, Linda and Tina (Christina).

Visitation for John will be held from 10am till 12pm on Saturday, January 28, at the Mahar and Son Funeral Home in Bennington, immediately followed by a funeral service at the funeral home and a graveside service at White Chapel Cemetery on Chapel Road in Bennington. There will be a celebration of John’s life at the VFW beginning at 3pm.

If friends should desire, contributions in John’s memory may be made to Bennington Little League or American Legion Baseball Post 13 through the office of the Mahar and Son Funeral Home, 628 Main Street, Bennington, Vermont 05201. Guestbook condolences may be made at

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