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Archive for the ‘Obituaries’ Category

PostHeaderIcon DEBORAH JEAN LaCLAIRE of MASS, February 1, 1962 – August 25, 2015

Deerfield, Deborah Jean (Blasko) LaClaire – mother, sister, aunt, friend and caregiver – left this world for the next on Tuesday, August 25th, 2015 in the loving company of family, after a valiant battle with cancer.

The youngest of five girls, Deb was born to UMass Campus Police Chief Red Blasko and wife Anna (Adamitis) of Amherst, MA in February 1962. Deb attended Amherst public schools, graduating from Amherst Regional High School in 1980. She then attended Greenfield Community College, receiving her Associates Degree in Nursing in 1982. 

A registered nurse for over 30 years, Deb was a caregiver through and through. Most recently she bettered the lives of residents and co-workers at Rockridge Retirement Community in Northampton, MA where she was warmly welcomed as a part of the family. Selfless, perseverant, thoughtful, generous and quick-witted, Deb brought joy and laughter into every life she touched. Family enjoyed her decadent cooking and endless generosity. Friends benefited from her altruistic nature and big-heartedness. Co-workers and patients received boundless kindness and compassion. Deb was there for anybody and everybody at a minutes notice with a shoulder to cry on and a kind word to encourage. The fullness of Deb’s life has created a series of ripples, which have radiated to untold ends influencing lives both here and now as well as into the future – not the least of which was encouraging, supporting and frequently feeding her daughter and friends, through nursing school. She loved easily and endlessly. To the moon and back. Forever and always. The world is better because Deb was here. She was the queen of hearts and quite a lot else. She will be missed forever by many. 

Predeceased by her parents, Deb is survived by her loving daughter and best friend Rebecca LaClaire Wolf, son-in-law, Darin Grant Wolf, beloved Labrador Casey and grand-dogs Cash and Chanook, all of Athol, MA. She leaves aunts Elizabeth Adamitis and Leona & John Napolitano in addition to her four sisters: Dotty & Ray Pascoe of Leverett, MA; Patsy & Fritz Williams of Montague, MA; Nancy & Jerry Stahlman of Lewisberry, PA and Elaine & Stephen Warren of Deerfield, MA. Deb is survived by many cousins, nieces, nephews, extended family and close friends. Additionally, Deb is survived by her former husband Matthew Emid LaClaire of Leverett, MA and his family, which she was a part of for many years.  

Ever modest, Deb requested no formal services. A celebration of life will held at a later date to dutifully honor such a special person and exceptional life. In lieu of flowers please consider donating to The Buddy Fund at Dakin Pioneer Valley Human Society or to The Alzheimer’s Association.  Obituary and memorial register at www.douglassfuneral.com

 

 

Service details, Social networking, Memorial Guestbook and Slideshow are available here.

PostHeaderIcon AGNES G. SULLIVAN of FLORIDA, August 22, 1916 – April 25, 2015

 

Agnes Francis Mary (Gubbins) Sullivan

 

AMHERST, Agnes G. Sullivan passed way on April 25, 2015 in Bunnell, Florida.  Formerly of Amherst, Massachusetts, Agnes was born in Annsville, New York, on August 22nd 1916.  Her parents were Charles and Mary (Sullivan) Gubbins.  Agnes grew up with five siblings: Helen Gubbins, Margaret Thomas, Lucille Hillebrand, Charles Gubbins Jr. and Grace Johnson.  In 1940 she married John A. Sullivan, who passed away on September 29, 1992.  Agnes leaves behind many loved ones including her children: Joanne Jaszek of Sunderland, Massachusetts; Thomas Sullivan of Palm Coast, Florida; and Ruth Sullivan of Tiverton, Rhode Island.  She leaves her grandchildren: Kimberly French of Greenfield, Massachusetts; Amy Newth of Montague, MA, Todd Sullivan of Springfield, MA; and Shelby Sullivan-Bennis of Tiverton, Rhode Island.  She also leaves two great-grandchildren: Nicholas and Heather French of Greenfield, MA. 

Agnes started her career as a hairdresser at the Forbes and Wallace Beauty Salon in Holyoke, Massachusetts, at the age of twenty one.  Then, after her marriage, in her mid twenties, she studied business and mastered the art of shorthand (a skill she enjoyed using for the rest of her life).  She also spent a few years at the Springfield Armory, in civil service.  The next few years she spent in Davenport Iowa, where she enjoyed nurturing her parenting skills.   

In her fifties, the family returned to the east coast.  She then became a legal secretary and a notary public.  Later, entering her sixties, she decided to switch gears, she obtained employment at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst Massachusetts, a job that she loved, working for the professors and managing all the trips and accounts for them.  She worked there well into her seventies, at U Mass, enjoying every minute, and enjoying all the people with whom she worked.   

The last ten years of her life she spent divided between Florida (with her son Tom), and Rhode Island (with her daughter Ruth) where she enjoyed playing her piano / keyboard, and making many new friends at the day care centers.  All her new friends enjoyed her love of music and her sparkling sense of humor.   

Agnes was a bright and spirited woman who loved music and the arts, always encouraging her children’s creative pursuits.  Her best friend from childhood onward was Ruth Schaefer, who went on to be a syndicated cartoonist.  She rode horses and loved dancing and singing.  Until her very last days, Agnes kept those around her laughing and blushing with her feisty personality and wry wit.  She had a good, long life, was a dedicated wife, loving mother and a doting grandmother, and she will be dearly missed. Obituary and memorial register at www.douglassfuneral.com

 

Service details, Social networking, Memorial Guestbook and Slideshow are available here.

PostHeaderIcon MERLE EVELYN BACON of HADLEY, MASS, July 25, 1913 – August 21, 2015

 

Hadley – Merle Evelyn Thornton Bacon (known to most as “Gram”) passed away on Friday, August 21, 2015, surrounded by her family.  Merle was 102 years young and had been in good health prior to a severe fall on August 8.   Her zest for life kept her fighting until the very end, but she finally succumbed to her injuries Friday evening at the Fisher Home in North Amherst, Massachusetts.  

Merle was born in Pelham, Massachusetts, on July 25, 1913, to Victor and Annie (Robinson) Thornton.  Merle was the oldest of three children.  She was predeceased by her brother Leonard Thornton (2013) and sister Shirley Caouette Ross (1998).  Merle was extremely close with both of her siblings.  On February 10, 1934, Merle married Carlton Bacon, who predeceased her on December, 31, 1968.  In their early years Merle and Carl loved to go dancing and spend time with family.  They had three daughters: Marilyn (died hours after birth), Linda A. Graves, and Sandra M. Potyrala.  The happiest times in gram’s life were spent with her daughters and grandchildren.  She leaves behind her two daughters, nine grandchildren: Thomas (Susan), David, Robert, and Kelly Graves; Scott, Daniel (Nikki), Jonathan (Heather), Jaime (Greg Zgrodnik), and Jennifer (Tom Storozuk) Potyrala: and eight great-grandchildren: Megan, Steven, Haylee, and Nicholas Graves; and Ashley, Lynsey, Hannah, and Stanley (Storozuk) Potyrala. Additionally, she leaves behind her sister-in-law Kathleen Thornton and her family, several nieces and nephews, a very dear friend Joseph Kisloski, and James Boden and family who gram thought of as her extra grandchildren. Others who predeceased Merle were her son-in-laws Chester Potyrala and Ronald Graves, her step-mother Rachel Thornton, and step-brother James Powers. 

Merle loved visiting with her family and friends.  She was a passionate Red Sox fan who was very thankful to have witnessed three world championships by her beloved Sox.  Additionally, she loved playing cards and made delicious pies and other baked goods. Merle retired from Paige Laboratory at UMass, where she enjoyed working for several years.  Merle never liked spending time alone and she was very fortunate to have spent several happy years with her amazing friend John Morton, who predeceased her in 1983.  She then lived with her daughter Linda’s family, before settling in for the last two decades at her daughter Sandra’s home. Gram loved to tell stories from her past, and we all hope that she is now safely with those family members she often spoke so fondly of over the years.  Gram, we will never forget you and all of your wonderful, quirky sayings and stories. 

A memorial service will be held in Merle’s honor at the Douglass Funeral Home in Amherst, Massachusetts, at 11:00am on Friday, August 28, 2015.  Donations may be made in Merle’s memory to the Fisher Home (Hospice of the Fisher Home, 1165 N. Pleasant Street, Amherst, Massachusetts, 01002). 

Obituary and memorial register at www.douglassfuneral.com

Service details, Social networking, Memorial Guestbook and Slideshow are available here.

PostHeaderIcon PHEBE NASH of GRANBY, MASS, July 2, 1921 – August 18, 2015

Granby, Phebe Nash, 94, died peacefully Tuesday August 18, 2015. She was born July 2, 1921 in Moline, Illinois and grew up on the family farm near port Byron, Illinois. She attended the Greenwood one room schoolhouse, grades 1- 8. She then went to Port Byron High School and graduated second in her class. During childhood she contracted pneumonia and almost died. After high school she enrolled in the Moline Lutheran Hospital School of Nursing, from which she graduated in 1942. After graduation, she did a post graduate course in obstetrics at Chicago’s Lying Hospital. Upon completion, she returned to Moline Hospital and became a night supervisor after six months. In 1945 she married Carlton Nash and moved to Massachusetts where she raised a family, helped with the Nash Dinosaurland business, and did some private duty nursing. She leaves behind three sons, Charles, Carlton and Kornell; a daughter-in-law Helen; three grandchildren, Alexander, Trevor and Jeremy; and a number of nephews and nieces. Private burial will be held in West Cemetery, Granby. A memorial service will be held in the fall at the Church of Christ Congregational, Granby. Obituary and memorial register at www.douglassfuneral.com

 

Service details, Social networking, Memorial Guestbook and Slideshow are available here.

PostHeaderIcon MARGARET NEISSER LOBENSTINE of BELCHERTOWN, MASS, July 19, 1943 – August 9, 2015

Margaret Neisser Lobenstine (1943-2015)

Amherst—Margaret Neisser Lobenstine, a peace & justice activist, published author of The Renaissance Soul, insightful life coach, ardent teacher, and devoted family member and friend, died peacefully in her sleep on Sunday, August 9.

Born in N.Y., she is survived by her husband of 50 years, Geoff; her twin daughters Lori and Heather​; her brothers Frank and David​;​and a large number of beloved in-laws, nephews and nieces, and grand-nephews and nieces. 

Margaret Lobenstine was raised outside of Washington, D.C. and one of her earliest political experiences was attending the 1963 March on Washington.  She continued actively fighting against racism, opposing the Vietnam War, doing community organizing, working at an alternative press, and serving as a union shop steward in the Post Office.  She organized to support the Nicaraguan revolution, spoke on PFLAG panels, and spoke out against child abuse and violence against women.  She was a dedicated participant in the two year vigil to defend the home of war tax resisters Randy Kehler and Betsy Corner.  More recently she risked arrest defending Springfield homes against foreclosures and joined marches about Black Lives Matter and climate change.  

A Renaissance Soul, Ms Lobenstine’s life went in many directions.  After graduating from Swarthmore College with a political science major, she got a Masters in Education, and taught at the NYU Reading Institute.   She was a pioneer in the field of Bed and Breakfast Inns, and later a pioneer Life Coach.  She worked as a Regional Master Trainer in the Commonwealth Literacy Corps.   She was a motivational speaker and a trainer, on a wide variety of topics.  She succeeded as a published author, and also had an unpublished novel.  She took part for many years in a local creative writing workshop and in a book group.  She volunteered at the Amherst Cinema’s See/Hear/Feel  program for third graders.  She co-facilitated creative writing workshops for women in prison, and participated in advanced English conversation sessions with quite a few women from Asia.

Ms. Lobenstine loved telling stories, making people chuckle, connecting folks with things that excited them, reading, creating celebrations, mastering silent auctions, floating at Puffer’s Pond,

​watching water sparkle at the Quabbin, greeting people with huge hugs, lovingly helping people to love themselves, glowing in the Alps, and figuring out creative, alternative solutions to almost any problem.  She reveled in chocolate and German marzipan.   

Her brothers and her in-laws mattered a lot to her.  She was known as S.A.M. (Silly Aunt Margaret) by her many nieces and nephews, and grand-nieces and nephews. She enjoyed being the same age as any child she was with.  She stayed in close touch with friends over the decades. 

Beyond everything else was her enormous love for her husband of fifty years, and for her twin daughters, Heather and Lori, in whom she took great pride and joy.  She talked, listened, asked questions, laughed, and beamed at all three of them.

A Memorial Service will be held in the fall.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Margaret’s memory can be made to the Friends of Jones Library, the Friends of Puffer’s Pond (through the Kestrel Trust), the American Heart Association, Springfield No One Leaves, and the American Lung Association..

To sign a Guest Book, express condolences, and share memories, go to www.douglassfuneral.com and click on Margaret’s name.

Service details, Social networking, Memorial Guestbook and Slideshow are available here.

PostHeaderIcon WALTER B. SMITH of SPRINGFIELD, MASS, September 22, 1915 – August 16, 2015

Amherst, Walter B. Smith, 99, died Sunday, August 16, 2015 peacefully after a short illness.  Born September 22, 1915 in Amherst, MA he was raised by his mother and grandmother. Walter was married to Princess Necia of the Schaghticoke Indian tribe for several years and they resided in Springfield, MA and had a son David who both predeceased him.  Walter met, fell in love with and married the love of his life Virginia Belle (predeceased from MS) and they resided in Springfield.  Walter and Virginia loved to travel and upon Walter’s retirement as a foreman from Monsanto in 1982 they were able to travel consistently until she passed away in 1985 from MS.  Walter loved all New England sports and would refer to the Red Sox as “red flops” when they seemed to be on a losing streak.  He loved his Saturday afternoon college football games.  He enjoyed reading his daily paper and working on the crossword puzzle while he watched various birds stop at his bird feeder.  He also took pride in his property and enjoyed working outside in the yard.  Walter last resided at East Village Assisted Living community for over five years.  He was a spirited man who had a great sense of humor and touched the lives of many people.  He is survived by four grandchildren Christopher and Christine Smith of Westford, MA , Christina Smith of  N.H., Andrea Smith of Falmouth, MA and Heidi and Brian Fogg, of Ludlow, MA.  He also leaves five great grandchildren Olivia and Lauren Smith of Westford, MA and Jake Fogg from Milford, Christopher and Victoria Fogg of Ludlow, MA who he cherished and enjoyed every minute he could spend with them.

Calling hours will be Monday August 24, from 10 – 11 AM at the Douglass Funeral Service, Amherst, with funeral services following at 11:00 AM at the funeral home. Burial will immediately follow the service at Wildwood Cemetery, Amherst. Obituary and memorial register at www.douglassfuneral.com

  

Service details, Social networking, Memorial Guestbook and Slideshow are available here.

PostHeaderIcon DOROTHY M. URCH of HADLEY, MASS, August 29, 1930 – August 12, 2015

Dorothy M. Urch 

Hadley, Dorothy M. Urch, 84, of Hadley, died peacefully on August 12. Dorothy was born in Pawtucket, Rhode Island on August 29, 1930. She graduated from Pawtucket West High School in 1948 and from Pembroke College in Brown University in 1952 where she studied Biology. In the 1970’s, she returned to school and earned an M.Ed. Degree with a specialty in Reading Comprehension from the University of Massachusetts. She was a schoolteacher for much of her life and enjoyed spending the last 14 years of her career in Hadley, Mass where she served as the Reading Specialist and with great empathy and care taught many Hadley children how to read. 

Teaching and travel adventures took her to five continents – Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America. After college she taught school for a year in Japan and in Germany, where she met her husband, George. She also lived for two years in Nairobi, Kenya, a year in Australia in both Melbourne and Wagga Wagga (on the edge of the outback), and spent 13 summers in London, England.   

Dorothy’s special interests beyond her profession included swimming, reading, and supporting the Democratic Party at both the local and state levels where she participated in several state conventions. She was an active member of the Immanuel Lutheran Church in Amherst, where she taught Sunday school, served as a Deacon, and chaired the Alter Guild, which she served for over 30 years.   

Throughout Dorothy’s life, her family was her greatest treasure; as an only child, she loved and took great pride in her family. She leaves behind her husband of 57 years, George Urch; her oldest son, George and his three children Kiersten, Taylor, and Andrew; her daughter, Vanessa, and her husband Paul and their children, Ethan and Deanna; and her youngest son Craig, and his wife Lindsay, and their sons, Colin and Owen. She also leaves behind extended family members with whom she was very close, including her cousin, William, and his wife Elaine; her cousin, Edith, and her husband David; and her sister-in-law, Marilee Passink.    

A memorial service will be held at 1:00 PM on Saturday, September 5th at Immanuel Lutheran Church, 867 North Pleasant St., Amherst, MA.

In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made in her name to Immanuel Lutheran Church, 867 North Pleasant St., Amherst, MA, 01002.  Obituary and memorial register at www.douglassfuneral.com

 

Service details, Social networking, Memorial Guestbook and Slideshow are available here.

PostHeaderIcon RENEE O’BRIEN of ORANGE, MASS, July 23, 1925 – August 11, 2015

Hadley, Renee Jacque O’Brien, passed away peacefully in her sleep on August 11.  She was born on July 23, 1925 and had recently celebrated her 90th birthday with family members.  She was one of 10 children born to Albert and Georgianna (Marsh) Jacque at their dairy farm in Amherst.  Renee worked at Amherst College in Valentine Hall until her retirement.  She leaves five children Linda Wentworth and her husband Art of Belchertown, Timothy and his wife Deborah of Shutesbury, Patrick and his wife Lynn of Valrico, Florida, Stephen and his wife Karin of Belchertown, and her youngest son, Edward, of Orange. Harold and Renee’s retirement years were spent at the their son’s dairy farm in Orange.  Renee was always proud to talk about her nine grandchildren and her eleven great-grandchildren all of whom  brought joy to her life.  One brother William Jacque, and two sisters Nancy Brownhill, and Anita Hickey survive her.  Family was always important to Renee and her home was a gallery of family photos.  She was known for preparing huge family meals, baking, cake decorating, gardening, and knitting everything from Afghan blankets to baby booties.  She was a long time Red Sox fan, along with being a fan of her sons in their various boyhood sports.  She will be remembered for her hard work, her generosity, her love of family, and her many cats.  Renee was predeceased by her husband of 59 years Harold O’Brien, two brothers Robert and Charles Jacque, and four sisters Audrey Nelson, Beverly Wasilauski, Shirley Kolasinski, and Marjorie Warner.  At Renee’s request, there will be no calling hours or funeral services.  She will be laid to rest beside Harold at North Amherst Cemetery, 11:00 a.m. Monday, August 17th. Obituary and memorial register at www.douglassfuneral.com

 

 

Service details, Social networking, Memorial Guestbook and Slideshow are available here.

PostHeaderIcon RENNE O’BRIEN of ORANGE, MASS, July 23, 1925 – August 11, 2015

Hadley, Renee Jacque O’Brien, passed away peacefully in her sleep on August 11.  She was born on July 23, 1925 and had recently celebrated her 90th birthday with family members.  She was one of 10 children born to Albert and Georgianna (Marsh) Jacque at their dairy farm in Amherst.  Renee worked at Amherst College in Valentine Hall until her retirement.  She leaves five children Linda Wentworth and her husband Art of Belchertown, Timothy and his wife Deborah of Shutesbury, Patrick and his wife Lynn of Valrico, Florida, Stephen and his wife Karin of Belchertown, and her youngest son, Edward, of Orange. Harold and Renee’s retirement years were spent at the their son’s dairy farm in Orange.  Renee was always proud to talk about her nine grandchildren and her eleven great-grandchildren all of whom  brought joy to her life.  One brother William Jacque, and two sisters Nancy Brownhill, and Anita Hickey survive her.  Family was always important to Renee and her home was a gallery of family photos.  She was known for preparing huge family meals, baking, cake decorating, gardening, and knitting everything from Afghan blankets to baby booties.  She was a long time Red Sox fan, along with being a fan of her sons in their various boyhood sports.  She will be remembered for her hard work, her generosity, her love of family, and her many cats.  Renee was predeceased by her husband of 59 years Harold O’Brien, two brothers Robert and Charles Jacque, and four sisters Audrey Nelson, Beverly Wasilauski, Shirley Kolasinski, and Marjorie Warner.  At Renee’s request, there will be no calling hours or funeral services.  She will be laid to rest beside Harold at North Amherst Cemetery, 11:00 a.m. Monday, August 17th. Obituary and memorial register at www.douglassfuneral.com

 

Service details, Social networking, Memorial Guestbook and Slideshow are available here.

PostHeaderIcon RICHARD “GUS” MCKEMMIE of GREENFIELD, MASS, November 23, 1927 – August 10, 2015

Greenfield – Richard J. “Gus” McKemmie, passed away Monday, August 10, at Highview in Leeds from Lewy-Body Dementia and diabetes. He was born in Pelham, MA on November 23, 1927 to John and Ebba (Tidlund) McKemmie. He was educated in the Amherst school system, graduating from Amherst High School in 1946.

He served in the US Army from 1950 to 1952 as a Corporal. He then went to work at the University of Massachusetts as a painter/foreman in the Physical Plant for over 39 years. Upon retiring, he enjoyed playing golf, hunting, fishing, and skeet shooting. He also liked to travel to various states, Hawaii and Alaska.

He was a life-time member of Norwattuck Fish and Game Club, Amherst American Legion, VFW 754 in Amherst, and the R.S.C.M.E. Association of Massachusetts. He was also a charter member of the Five College Credit Union.

He leaves his wife of 60 years, Audrey Ann (Kolinka) McKemmie; three sons – David McKemmie and his wife Donna (Tudryn) of Sunderland, Peter McKemmie of Pelham, and Frederick Mckemmie and his wife Diane Burgess of Agawam; one daughter, Linda McKemmie of Greenfield; and three grandchildren – Peter John Koscinski of Hartford, CT, Calvin Joseph McKemmie of Sunderland, and Kurtis Alan McKemmie of Chicopee.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to; Amherst American Legion Baseball, c/o Amherst Baseball Inc. P.O. Box 3501 Amherst, MA 01004

Calling hours will be Friday, Aug. 14, from 5-8pm at the Douglass Funeral Service in Amherst. Services will be conducted Saturday, Aug. 15, at 10am at the Douglass Funeral Service, with burial in the family lot at South Amherst Cemetery, with military honors, immediately following the service.

Obituary and memorial register at www.douglassfuneral.com

Service details, Social networking, Memorial Guestbook and Slideshow are available here.

Current Obituaries
To view full obituary details and/or sign the Memorial Guestbook click desired individual below.

MERLE EVELYN BACON of HADLEY, MASS died on August 21, 2015

John Austin Hunt of Amherst, MA died on July 26, 2015

SYLVIA BELL KRIEBEL of AMHERST, MASS died on June 16, 2015

DEBORAH JEAN LaCLAIRE of MASS died on August 25, 2015

WALTER B. SMITH of SPRINGFIELD, MASS died on August 16, 2015

AGNES G. SULLIVAN of FLORIDA died on April 25, 2015

DOROTHY M. URCH of HADLEY, MASS died on August 12, 2015