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Archive for the ‘Obituaries’ Category

PostHeaderIcon SYLVIA BELL KRIEBEL of AMHERST, MASS, March 22, 1928 – June 16, 2015

Amherst, Kriebel, Sylvia Bell, A Montessori teacher and peace and justice activist, died after a long battle with Parkinson’s on June 16, 2015 in Amherst. She was born on March 22, 1928 in Philadelphia PA. She is survived by her daughter Leslie of Stow MA and her son David of Gloucester MA. She was predeceased by her oldest son, Nathan who died in 1970. 

Ms. Kriebel was raised in Philadelphia and from an early age was active in peace and civil rights activities. She first demonstrated her lifelong commitment to social justice in 1957 when, as a young mother she moved with her former husband John and three small children into Concord Park, one of the nation’s first intentionally integrated housing developments, in Bucks County PA. 

Ms. Kriebel was a devoted educator, lifeling learner, and nature enthusiast. She received her training as a Montessori teacher at The Association Montessori International/USA in Philadelphia in the 1970s, and later earned an advanced degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.  In 1976 she moved to Florence, MA and founded The Children’s House, a Montessori pre-school, which she ran for its first ten years. The expanded school continues to grow and thrive to this day. 

She was an ardent believer in the strength of community and was a founding member of Pioneer Valley Cohousing, to which she dedicated countless hours and where she leaves many dear friends. Among her numerous activities, Ms. Kriebel was a tireless member of the Women in Black who stood vigil for peace every Friday for more than four years in downtown Amherst. 

Ms. Kriebel was affiliated with both Quaker meetings and Unitarian fellowships at different times and for the last 20 years was active in Mt. Toby Friends Meeting. A memorial service will be held at the meetinghouse, 194 Long Plain Rd, Leverett MA on September 26, 2015 at 2:00 pm. All are welcome. In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory may be made to Hospice of the Fisher Home, 1165 N Pleasant St., Amherst, MA 01002. 

Obituary and memorial register at

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

PostHeaderIcon FRANCIS H. FISHER of NORTHFIELD, MASS, November 16, 1923 – June 2, 2015

Northfield- Francis H Fisher, 91, of 10 Captain Beers Plain Road, died Tuesday surrounded by his family.  He was born November 16, 1923 in Northfield the son of the late Hermon and Harriet (Williams) Fisher.  He grew up in Northfield and attended Northfield schools.  He was married to Shirley (Sawin) Fisher his wife of 51 years, who predeceased him October 1999.  He worked as an auto mechanic for Spencer Ford and later worked for Millers Falls Tools for 30 years until retirement.  He enjoyed haying or working his land on “Northfield Mountain” especially riding his tractor.  Splitting and stacking wood, fixing and tinkering with cars, mowers and any small engines all while listening to Traditional Country Music. He is survived by his 3 daughters, Norma Fisher and Mathew Snow of Northfield, Ellen Roberts and her husband Richard Roberts of North Leverett and Linda Lawson and Richard Wittig of Clinton, Arkansas.  8 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren.  His sisters Eleanor Williamson, of Florida and Anna Plantinga of Florida and Russell Fisher of Virginia, several nieces, nephews and cousins.  He was predeceased by his sisters Olive Stone, Eva Smith and brother Robert Fisher.  The family would like to thank Hospice of Franklin County for the care and support they provided.  A celebration of life will be Friday June 12, at 11:00 AM at the Grace Church, in Turners Falls, MA. 


Donations in Francis’ memory can be made to Hospice of Franklin County 329 Conway St. #2 Greenfield, MA 01301 

Arrangements are under the direction of Douglass Funeral Service, 87 N. Pleasant Street, Amherst, MA.; web

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

PostHeaderIcon GENE M. KOEHLER of AMHERST, MA, February 15, 1925 – May 29, 2015

Amherst, Gene McIlvaine Koehler died peacefully Friday, May 29, 2015, at the New England Health Center in Sunderland, MA. She was anticipating her return to her beloved home at 54 Hills Road in Amherst, a home she had shared for over half a century with her husband, Stanley Koehler, who predeceased her on October 7, 2010. 

She was born in Pittsburgh, PA on February 15, 1925 to John Jamison and Geneva Montgomery McIlvaine. The daughter of a Presbyterian minister, she spent her childhood in New Castle, PA. She graduated from Muskingum College in New Concord, OH with a Bachelor of Arts in French. She was also a Master’s candidate at Columbia University in New York City. A teacher by profession, Gene taught at the Spence School for Girls in Manhattan for several years and was a teacher in the Amherst Regional Public School System for 24 years, where she taught fourth and fifth grade at Wildwood Elementary School as well as English at the Amherst Regional Junior High School. Gene had a knack for engaging the interest of middle school learners, capturing their imaginations and inspiring a love of learning with her passion for Greek mythology. She retired from teaching in 1994. 

Gene and Stan married on June 16, 1951 and settled in Amherst to raise their family. As devoted as they were to their home and neighborhood, they were also world travelers, having spent time together and with their family in Europe on multiple occasions, including a year in Kent, England, two separate years in Freiburg, Germany, and four months in Tolo, Greece. Wherever they traveled, Gene and Stan immersed themselves in the traditions and customs of that country, creating lifelong friendships and bonds that transcended language and culture. Lovers of antiquity, Gene and Stan shared their passion by conducting guided tours of the Peloponnese. Many of their friends and family members were beneficiaries of their extensive knowledge of and infectious enthusiasm for the language, art, culture, and history of ancient Greece. 

Gene was a member of the First Congregational Church in Amherst, MA since the early 1950s. A lover of literature and the arts, she had a fine intellect, a keen sense for the English language, an easy wit and sense of humor, an astute knowledge of history, and a passion for current events. Her interests aligned with her activities, as up until recently she remained active in her Bible study group, traveler’s group, and poetry group, and was a docent at the Massachusetts Center for Renaissance Studies. A steadfast supporter of husband Stan’s poetry, she was his most ardent editor and critic as well as his most loyal reader. 

Gene was warm, kind, gracious, attentive, and ever hospitable to visitors and guests. She was a proud and devoted grandmother to thirteen grandchildren and two grandchildren by marriage. She will be long remembered by her family for not just her loving nature, but her gift for storytelling. 

In addition to her grandchildren, she is survived by her five children, Margaret DeGregorio, Raymond Koehler, Geneva Yelle, Jamison Koehler, and Mary Anne Brush and their spouses. 

Calling hours will be at the Douglass Funeral Home in Amherst on Friday, June 5 from 6 to 8 p.m. The service will be held at the First Congregational Church in Amherst, at 10 a.m., Saturday, June 6, followed by a reception at the Massachusetts Center for Renaissance Studies. There will be a burial preceding the service at 9 a.m. at Wildwood Cemetery on Strong Street. 

Memorial gifts in honor of Gene may be made to the First Congregational Church, 165 Main Street, Amherst, MA 01002 or the Massachusetts Center for Renaissance Studies, P.O. Box 2300, Amherst, MA 01004. Obituary and register at

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

PostHeaderIcon MARY D. CAMERON of SHUTESBURY, October 22, 1932 – May 29, 2015

Mary Cameron, 82, died at her home in Shutesbury on Friday, May 29 2015.  She is survived by her children, Tom and Kate, and by three grandchildren.  There will be a memorial service for family only.    Donations may be given to Hospice of the Fisher Home, an institution she greatly admired.




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

PostHeaderIcon JAMES DICKERMAN SMALL, JR. of AMHERST, MASS, July 9, 1943 – May 24, 2015

Amherst, James Dickerman Small, Jr., 71, passed away peacefully at his home in Amherst, Massachusetts, on Sunday, May 24, 2015 after a courageous battle with cancer. James was born in Sherman, Texas on July 9, 1943 to Captain James D. and Margaret (Peggy) H. Small. He was a devoted son, husband, father and grandfather. His good humor, warmth and love will be greatly missed.  He graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in 1971. While in San Francisco, James began working for Bechtel Corporation, where he met his wife Silva. In 1979, he moved with his family to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where he worked as a cost engineer. They lived in Riyadh until 1995 and then moved to Amherst when he retired. His enthusiasm for life knew no bounds. He raced sports cars, flew airplanes, and played tennis regularly. He loved dinosaurs and science. He was an avid reader and game player who could never hear enough rock ‘n’ roll. James is survived by his wife Silva; his son James D. Small III and his wife Fiona; his daughter Inga Eckelberry and her husband David; his grandson Christopher; his mother Peggy; his sister Margaret Small and her spouse Peggy Baker; and several nieces and nephews. All services will be private. Memorial donations may be made in his name to the Sierra Club. Obituary and memorial register at

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

PostHeaderIcon Denise Ann Witkos of North Hadley, MA, March 23, 1960 – May 25, 2015

North Hadley, Denise Ann (Boulanger) Witkos, 55, longtime resident of North Hadley, died quietly at home, Friday, May, 29, 2015.  Denise was born in Northampton, March 23, 1960, daughter of Roberta (Stanisiewski) Boulanger and the late Eugene (Bumsey) Boulanger. She was a graduate of Amherst Regional High School, and the University of Massachusetts, and had been a longtime employee at the University. Denise was a loving and compassionate person to her friends, and passionately devoted to her family.  Besides her mother Roberta, she is survived by her husband Richard Witkos; a son Blake Summerlin, and a daughter, Taylor of Hadley. She also leaves her sister, Michele Matuszko, and husband Jim of Hadley, two grandchildren; Jaiden and Noel, along with several aunts, uncles, and nieces and nephews. A Mass of Christian Burial  will be held Wednesday, June 3, at 10:00 AM, in St. Brigid’s Church, Amherst, followed by burial in Holy Rosary Cemetery, Hadley. Calling hours will be Tuesday, June 2, from 4:00 – 7:00 pm at The Douglass Funeral Service, Amherst. Memorial donations may be made to the American Cancer Society.  Obituary and Register at


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

PostHeaderIcon ANNE M. CARRANO of AMHERST, MASS, July 4, 1947 – May 21, 2015

Amherst, Anne Marie Carrano died from pancreatic cancer on Thursday, May 21, 2015 in Amherst, MA. She was 67 years old.She was born in Pittsfield, MA. on July 4, 1947. Daughter to the late Joseph Grimaldi and Ernestina Bilotta. Sister to the late Alan Grimaldi. Survived by: Husband of 42 years; Anthony Carrano. Children: Carl (Spouse; Michelle), Gary (Spouse; Jessica), Damian, and Gina Carrano. Grandchildren: Dominic, Brianna, and Giovanni Carrano.  

She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education at C.W. Post College in Long Island, NY. She also received a Master’s Degree from North Adams St. College in N. Adams, MA. She went on to teach elementary school in MA. for 29 years.

The Carrano family would like to thank friends and family for all of the love and support. 

A mass of Christian Burial will be Wednesday May 27, 2015, 10:00 AM at St. Brigid’s Church, Amherst. Burial will be private. Calling hours will be Tuesday from 4:00 – 7:00 PM at the Douglass Funeral Service, Amherst. Obituary and memorial register at


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

PostHeaderIcon PATRICIA ELAINE WAGNER of AMHERST, MASS, March 1, 1946 – May 19, 2015

Amherst, On May 19th, 2015 Amherst lost a legendary woman.  Patricia Elaine Wagner surrendered to her battle with brain cancer; probably the first thing in her life she surrendered to.  Born March 1st, 1946 she was the daughter of  the late Kazimer and Veronica (Koloski) Mitchell of Crest View Farms, Amherst.  They raised an incredibly passionate woman who put everyone before herself all the time.  She continually looked out for those who needed their voices heard.  


As a teenager she traveled the country playing music with some amazing women, the Pizzitola Orchestra.  She graduated from Amherst Regional High School, and continued on to receive a degree from the Northampton Community College.  She began her career path working as a paralegal for Attorney Paul Ford.  She then shifted gears to work as a bookkeeper for Summerlin Trust, and finished out with the Pub and Rafters until the final months of life.  She just was honored for her 30 year of leadership and contributions to the Tally-Ho 4-H Horse Club and 4-H in general.  Her community services did not stop there.  She was an advocate of the agricultural world and was influential in many steps towards fair and just regulations on local, county and state levels.  She was a board of director for Farm Bureau, and the Massachusetts Quarter Horse Association.  She also supported the idea of community… she was the Chair of the Amherst’s 250th Celebrations Committee, served as a Town Meeting Member,  Board of Assessors, Finance Committee, Agricultural Committee, and the treasure of the Amherst Boys and Girls Club. She was a lifelong Amherst resident and parishioner of St. Brigid’s Church. 


She is survived by her sister, Barbara Mitchell, her husband Eugene Wagner, her two daughters, Michelle Dionne and Veronica Wagner and Grandson Brian Dionne.  In addition are the countless relatives, friends, and alliances she built over the years while volunteering to make the world a better place.  


Funeral services will be Saturday May 23rd, 2015 at 9:00 AM from the Douglass Funeral Service, Amherst, with a Mass of Christian Burial at 10:00 AM at St. Brigid’s Church, Amherst. Burial will follow in St. Brigid’s Cemetery, Hadley. Calling hours will be Friday May 22nd, from 5:00 – 8:00 PM at the Douglass Funeral Service.




In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Tally-Ho 4-H Horse Club of Amherst. Obituary and memorial register at

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

PostHeaderIcon ELVA MARIE ANDERSON of PELHAM, MASS, August 16, 1926 – May 19, 2015

Elva Marie Foerster Anderson, age 88, died of Alzheimer’s related causes on May 19, 2015, at her home in Pelham, Massachusetts.


Elva is survived by her children Gail Voshell of York, Maine; Noel Edward Anderson of Brookfield, Connecticut; Dulce Santos of Tolland, Connecticut; Gary Anderson of Lebanon, Pennsylvania; and Keith Anderson of North Billerica, Massachusetts. Elva was preceded in death by her husband, Edward Everett Anderson. Elva is also survived by 8 eight grandchildren, four great grandchildren, and one step-grandchild.  Her beloved dog, Kiki, also survives her.


Elva was born on August 16, 1926 in Springfield, Massachusetts to William and Dorothy Foerster.  She graduated from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst School of Education, Class of ’48. She also received a Master’s degree in Music from Boston University, studying with renowned organist, George Faxon.


Elva was a very lively, active person who was passionate about music, sports, and the beautiful Maine coast.  She was a member of a hand bell choir and played piano and organ. She was a coach and teacher for the Skating Club of Amherst where she was the founder and director of the precision skating team ‘The Valley Ice Chipettes’.  She also taught ice dancing to people of all ages.  She played tennis and golf.  She especially enjoyed summering in their home in Ogunquit, Maine.


Elva was passionate about, and an active supporter of, the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.  Elva and her husband Edward moved back to the Amherst area for their retirement years.  She was champion for the Food Science Department, cheered on the Basketball, Football, Ice Hockey, and Tennis teams.   Watching the Minutemen Marching Band perform brought her joy.


Elva was also President of the Pelham Historical Society.  She was commended as one of Massachusetts’ Unsung Heroines in 2008. 


No funeral service will be scheduled per her wishes.  In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Cure Alzheimer’s Fund ( or to the Cooley Dickinson Visiting Nurse Association & Hospice organization ( 

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

PostHeaderIcon GERALD M. PLATT of NORTHAMPTON, MASS, February 13, 1933 – May 7, 2015

         Amherst, Gerald M. Platt, a highly regarded sociologist credited with helping to establish a connection between his discipline and psychoanalysis, died on May 7th at the Hospice of the Fisher Home in Amherst, Massachusetts.  The cause was Alzheimer’s disease.  He was 82. 


        Gerald was born on February 13, 1933, in Brooklyn, New York, the youngest of four boys.  His father Samuel was a garment factory foreman and his mother Rose (Perlman) a homemaker. He worked his way through Brooklyn College as a stevedore at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. 


        He received his PhD in Sociology from UCLA in 1963 and began his teaching career that year at Harvard University in the Department of Social Relations.  In the late ’60s he was part of a faculty movement to increase minority admissions to the College and to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.  As a colleague commented, “Injustice really blew his stack!” 


        In 1970 he joined the Department of Sociology at the University of Massachusetts/Amherst and served from 1971-1974 as the faculty representative to the Commission on the Future of the University.  He retired from Umass in 2011 as a full professor, having served two terms as department chair. 


        Among his best known publications are “The American University,” co-authored with Talcott Parsons, “The Wish to Be Free:  Society, Psyche and Value Change,” with historian Fred Weinstein and “Advances in Psychoanalytic Sociology,” with Jerome Rabow and Marion Goldman.  In addition to his focus on psychoanalysis, he was a noted scholar of the African-American Civil Rights Movement, particularly of the contributions of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 


        For almost fifty years, Professor Platt answered the call to teach with enthusiasm, honesty and generosity.  He will be remembered as a loving, generous, passionate and deeply loyal friend and father and grandfather. 


        He is survived by his son Lucas and granddaughter Amelia of Montclair, New Jersey and his daughter Genevieve, her partner Gustavo Larizzati and granddaughter Eva of Brooklyn, New York.  The funeral service was private and a celebration of his life is planned for later this spring. Obituary and memorial register at

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.

LILLIAN GNATEK of AMHERST, MASS died on October 12, 2016

HOWARD BLISS LEAVITT of AMHERST, MASS died on October 13, 2016

JOHN G. MONER of AMHERST, MASS died on October 8, 2016

CHARLES DAVIS READ of SHUTESBURY, MASS died on August 15, 2016