John W. Reagan
Feb 16, 2017 | 1755 views | 0 0 comments | 114 114 recommendations | email to a friend | print
WILMINGTON- John William Reagan, 65, of Wilmington and West Wardsboro, died on February 13, after a long, hard-fought battle against cancer. He was born in 1952 in Valley Stream, NY, to Joseph P. and Irene (Griffin) Reagan. He was raised in Seaford, Long Island, and attended the Levittown schools, graduating from Gen. Douglas MacArthur High School.

In 1978 he moved to Wilmington full-time, working first in various restaurants in the valley. In 1981 he acquired and reopened Dot’s Restaurant, quickly developing a loyal following among townspeople, second-home owners, vacationers, and people just passing through. In 1988, he married Patricia Bemis, of Jacksonville, and since then they have together operated Dot’s, gaining recognition for the restaurant throughout New England and nationally. Over the years, Dot’s has been written up in such publications as Gourmet Magazine and Ski Magazine for the “best breakfast in Vermont,” its award-winning chili, and its small-town ambiance. Despite the long hours in the restaurant the Reagans found time to enjoy boating on Lake George and farther afield, traveling as a seemingly inseparable team.

In 2011 Tropical Storm Irene all but destroyed Dot’s, but through the hard work of the Reagans, the enormous support of many friends and customers, and critical financial support from the Preservation Trust of Vermont, Wilmington Fund, and the Friends of the Valley Foundation, two years after the storm, Dot’s reopened. It was a crucial piece in the recovery of Wilmington from the storm’s devastation, and once again Dot’s was a social hub of the town. With the renovation, the Reagans were recognized in 2014 by the Preservation Trust for their “contribution to preserving Vermont’s historic architecture.”

Mr. Reagan is survived by his wife; his brother, Paul (Jane), of Ft. Myers, FL, and Quechee; and sisters Phyllis (Al Arnold), of Villages, FL, and Alexandria, VA; and Betsey, of Wilmington; as well as many nieces and nephews. He also leaves behind his loyal Labrador retriever, KoKo. The Reagans would like to acknowledge the loving support of the Bemis family, the loyal staff and customers of Dot’s, and the staff at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center during Mr. Reagan’s entire illness. Consider donating in Mr. Reagan’s memory to the Preservation Trust of Vermont, 104 Church Street, Burlington, VT, 05401, or the Windham County Humane Society, PO Box 397, Brattleboro, VT, 05302.

A funeral mass was held at 2 pm on Thursday, February 16, at Our Lady of Fatima Church in Wilmington. To send the family personal email condolences visit
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