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Archive for the ‘Obituaries’ Category

PostHeaderIcon MARION ANGELINA LEONARD of NORTH AMHERST, MA, January 7, 1933 – October 19, 2015


Marion Angelina (Kolasinski) Leonard, former owner and proprietor of Roosters Restaurant in North Amherst, passed away Monday, October 19, after a brief illness surrounded by family. Born January 7, 1933 in Leverett to Charles and Margaret (Battistoni) Kolasinski, and a graduate of Amherst Regional High School, Mrs. Leonard was a lifelong resident of Cushman Village, North Amherst, where she and her late husband of 40 years, Perley E. Leonard owned and operated the Leonard Egg Farm from their home on Bridge Street.

She is survived by her four children and fourteen grandchildren. Scott A. and his wife Marilyn (Watroba) Leonard of Amherst and their five children, Clayton, Faith, and Mellyann of Amherst and Kyle and Jacob of Los Angeles, CA; Mark A. and his wife Trish (Powers) Leonard of Greenfield and their four children, Matthew, Colin, Ian, and Elizabeth of Greenfield; Gregg A. and his wife Cathy (Freeman) Leonard of Granby and their four children, Megan of Belchertown, Samantha of Ludlow, Jason of South Hadley, and Andrea of Enfield, CT; and Lee L. and her husband William F. Kimball III of Amherst and their two children, Dana of Belchertown and Evan of Amherst, and her six great-grandchildren.

She enjoyed cooking and baking, was an avid gardener, and after retiring from Roosters enjoyed DIY and home improvement projects and spending time with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Memorial services will be private, and the family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations made to hospice would honor her memory.


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



PostHeaderIcon JOHN A. PISTEL of AMHERST, MASS, September 24, 2015 – October 10, 2015



Amherst, John A. Pistel, 68, of Amherst, Massachusetts, died October 10, 2015, peacefully at home. He was born in Middletown, Connecticut, to the late Robert Frederick and Lydia Rasch Pistel. 


John graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School, Class of 1965, and Amherst College, Class of 1969, with a degree in American Studies, and then earned his master’s degree from Fairfield University in Connecticut. He taught English at Grayland Country Day School, Denver, Colorado. John was then appointed Head of the Middle School at Colorado Academy in Denver, Colorado, and became Headmaster at St. Mark’s School in San Rafael, California. Wanting to return to his roots in New England, he was then appointed Headmaster of Derby Academy in Hingham, Massachusetts. Before retirement, he returned to his alma mater as Director of Leadership Giving.


Mr. Pistel is survived by his wife, Gaye Bounty Pistel, son Adam Andrew Pistel of New York City, and daughter Katherine Grace Pistel of Watertown, Connecticut. 


John will be remembered as a kind and dry-witted man who was devoted to Amherst College, the New York Yankees, personal athletic pursuits, and especially his family and friends.   


The family would like to thank the D’Amour Center for Cancer Care at Baystate Health Center, Baystate Visiting Nurse and Hospice, members of South Congregational Church, the Amherst College community, and family and friends for their love and support.  


A Celebration of John’s life will be Saturday, October 24, at 11 AM at South Congregational Church, 1066 South East Street, South Amherst.   


In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in John’s name may be made to Baystate Visiting Nurse and Hospice, 50 Maple St. Springfield, MA 01102



PostHeaderIcon GEORGE T. BRITT of AMHERST, MASS, October 21, 1922 – October 15, 2015



Amherst, George T. Britt, 92, a lifelong Amherst resident, died Thursday, October 15th, 2015 at the Soldiers Home in Holyoke. George was born in Amherst, October 21, 1922, to the late Michael and Alice {Lord} Britt. George was an Amherst High School graduate, after graduation he received his Associates degree from the Stockbridge School of Agriculture at the University of Massachusetts. George was drafted, and served in the Army in WW II. He was a lifelong member of the Amherst VFW, and the Carpenters Union. 


George is survived by three sons, John of Florence, James and his wife April of Florence and Richard of Pelham and his daughter Beverly Ross of Washington State. He is also survived by his sister Marion and her husband John Bak of Amherst, 5 Grandchildren and 6 Great Grandchildren. He was predeceased by his wife Mary and his sons Robert and Thomas. He was also predeceased by two brothers and a sister. 


Funeral services will be held Wednesday October 21, at 10:00 am at the Douglass Funeral Service, Amherst. Burial will follow in St. Brigid’s Cemetery, Hadley. Calling hours will be Tuesday October 20, from 4 – 7 pm at the Douglass Funeral Service.


Obituary and memorial register at





PostHeaderIcon ELAINE BOWDITCH of LENOX, MASS, March 24, 1928 – October 1, 2015

Lenox, Ma, Elaine Panaretos Bowditch – beloved sister, aunt, stepmother, godmother, accomplished singer, teacher, educational administrator, colleague, and neighbor – died at Kimball Farms Nursing Care Center in Lenox, MA, on October 1, 2015, of complications from pancreatic cancer. 


Born March 24, 1928, in Chicopee Falls, MA, Elaine was the first child of Georgia (Dulchinos) and Nicholas V. Panaretos, both immigrants from Greece. Elaine delighted in her Greek heritage and visited both Lagkadia and Aristomenis, the birthplaces of her parents. 


At the age of 13 one of her aunts noted that Elaine had a talent for singing and found her a voice coach, Ruth Ekberg, who kept her as a student for many years. Elaine sang in the Greek church in Chicopee Falls, First Congregational Church in Springfield, and later in Old South Church, Boston. As a teenager she became part of an elite choir under the leadership of Harry Kellogg. Her love of choral music eventually led her to a long tenure as chorister with Boston’s Chorus Pro Musica. She also sang with the Berkshire Choral Institute, and took special pleasure in living her last years near to Tanglewood.


Her other passion was education. She earned a Bachelor’s degree from Boston University, where she made a lasting commitment to the ideals and the women of the Harriet E. Richards Cooperative House, which provides a home for women who could not otherwise afford the cost of university studies. With a Master’s in Education from Springfield College, Elaine took her first teaching job in Newton, MA. She particularly relished her work with 4th, 5th and 6th graders, many of whom remembered her dedication and creativity long after leaving her classroom. In addition to classroom work, she had a distinguished career as a school principal. After retirement she volunteered at the Hampshire College child care center in Amherst, MA where she shared her love of reading and quilting with young children.


In 1970 she married Benson Alvord Bowditch; they made homes in Weston, Conway, and Amherst, Massachusetts, and often spent time with the Bowditch family at their summer home in Maine. After Ben’s death in 2009, Elaine became increasingly active in the caring circle of neighbors on Amherst’s Blue Hills Road. 


Elaine was raised in a family with strong community values. Those carried into her teaching and her commitments as an active citizen. After a frightening incident when she was assaulted in her home, Elaine was determined that her assailant should both confront his crime and have an opportunity for reconciliation. She dedicated herself to restorative justice, and in 2013 the State Senate named her as one of the Unsung Heroines of Massachusetts, citing that she was “Officer to the Amherst League of Women Voters; helped to start the Hampshire County Restorative Probation program with the District Attorney to help people on probation turn their lives around and recognize the harm their crimes caused victims; and served on a Kitchen Cabinet to offer advice and counsel to her state representative Ellen Storey.” She also “adopted” students of Amherst College for weekly visits.


Elaine had a creative bent, especially evident in her needlework. Her sensitive eye for color and her agile fingers created beautiful quilts which she delighted in presenting to her family and friends. Delicate embroidery decorated pillows and scarves, further testimonies to her passion for beauty. 


Elaine was predeceased by her parents and her beloved husband, Ben. She is survived by her sister Dorothea Panaretos Nelson of Jamesville, NY, her niece Sara Nelson (Cyrus Raffii) of Everett, WA, and nephews David Nelson of Niantic, CT, John Nelson (Angela Lomanto) of Niantic, CT and Housatonic, MA, and Tim Nelson of New York, NY; by her stepchildren Thomas (Shari) Bowditch of Fairfax, VA; Ben (Sue) Bowditch of Sebago, ME, and Judy (Tom) Walker of Phoenix, AZ; and by step-grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and godchildren. She is mourned by a host of choristers, colleagues, neighbors, and friends.


A memorial service to celebrate Elaine’s life will be held on Saturday, October 24 at 2:00 pm at First Congregational Church of Stockbridge, UCC. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Elaine’s memory to Chorus Pro Musica (645 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02116) or to First Congregational Church of Stockbridge, UCC (4 Main Street, Stockbridge, MA 01262).


PostHeaderIcon JAMES F. WALKER. JR. of AMHERST, MASS, July 22, 1937 – October 9, 2015


James F. Walker Jr., died peacefully at the Rose Monahan Hospice on Oct. 9th in Worcester, MA at the age of 78.


Jim was born on July 22nd, 1937 in Minneapolis MN to James Sr. and Margaret (Glimsdale) Walker. He earned his bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees in physics from the University of Minnesota. He was married to his loving wife, Elaine (Paulson) for 56 years.  After moving to Amherst in 1968, Jim began working at the University of Massachusetts as a Professor of Physics. Jim dedicated himself to raising his family, and to teaching, research and mentoring. During his last years at the University, Jim served as acting Dean of the Graduate School.


Jim is survived by his wife; Elaine, and two children; Steve and his wife Jaime (Stein) of Chapel Hill, NC and Anita Smith and her husband Robert of Fort Collins, CO. He also leaves six grandchildren; Maggie, Jessie, Meghan, Brandon, Alex and Tommy. He is preceded in death by his son Ted.


Jim was an accomplished and dedicated musician and performer. He played the trombone in the Heritage Pops Orchestra, the Horse Mountain Jazz Band and the Amherst Community Band which he also helped found.  He sang tenor in the Newman Center church choir and in the Valley Light Opera (VLO). Jim was a mainstay of the VLO since 1980. He played many roles, from business manager, producer, actor and orchestra member, to set crew.


Jim was a unique soul. He was always willing to serve others ahead of himself and treasured the many meaningful relationships he formed in the Amherst community. The family would like to thank the cardiologists at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital for their extraordinary care and dedication.


A Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10AM on Saturday October 17th at Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Chapel, at The Newman Center, UMass. Visiting hours will be Friday October 16th from 4-7 PM, also at the Newman Center Chapel. Burial will follow in St. Brigid’s Cemetery, Hadley. All are welcome to attend and celebrate Jim’s life.  In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Myotonic Dystrophy Foundation at, or the Valley Light Opera at






PostHeaderIcon DOROTHY JAYNE CZECZOT of AMHERST, MASS, October 21, 1922 – October 6, 2015







Amherst, Dorothy Jayne (Hatch) Shumway Czeczot, passed away on Tuesday, October 6, 2015 at the home of her son, Alan, in Amherst. She would have been 93 on October 21. 


She was born in Springfield, Ma on October 21, 1922 to the late Frank E. and Irene (Phelps) Hatch. Dorothy graduated from Technical High School in Springfield in 1940. She attended the Womens’ College of the University of North Carolina, Mass State, and Northampton Commercial College.


For many years she worked as office manager for her former husband’s business, Philip. E. Shumway, Inc./ General Contractor. She owned and operated The Viking, a women’s dress shop, located both in Northampton and South Hadley. She was also a real estate broker in the area. 


She is survived by her son Alan Shumway and his family of Amherst, Ma and her daughter, Jayne Shumway and family of Gilmanton, NH., her daughter in law, Ann Marie Shumway and family of Stuart, FL., her two step daughters, Mary Garboski and family of Pelham, NH and Paula Silva and family of Dacona, CO., Dorothy is also survived by her sister, June Torrey of Cape Elizabeth, ME. and her family, her sister in law, Fran Hatch of Conway, Ma. and her former husband, Philip E. Shumway of Amherst, MA. Dorothy was loved by her 10 grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren

and 1 great-great grandchild. 


She was predeceased by her son, Scott Shumway of Amherst in 1977, her husband of 24 years, Edwin Czeczot in 2011, and her brother Harold Hatch of Conway, MA in 2014. 


Private funeral services will be held Saturday Oct. 10, 2015 at the Douglass Funeral Service, Amherst. The services will be conducted by the Rev. Stuart S. Shumway, her nephew, a minister at First Baptist Church of Stuart, Florida. Private burial will follow in Wildwood Cemetery, Amherst. 


In lieu of flowers, please make a donation in Dorothy’s name to the Friends of the Amherst Senior Center c/o Bangs Community Center, 70 Boltwood Walk, Amherst, MA 01002









PostHeaderIcon ROBERT AVERY BARRETT of NORTHAMPTON, MA, March 31, 1932 – September 25, 2015


Robert Avery Barrett died September 25, 2015 in Leeds after battling ALS. He was born March 31, 1932, the only child of Doris Pierce of Amherst and H. Avery Barrett of Brattleboro, VT. He was pre-deceased by his son, Robert Avery Barrett, II, in 1978, and by his former wife, Judith Anderson, in June 2015, whom he still loved. They supported each other as they both fought the same disease. He is survived by two daughters, Melanie Barrett Freitag and her husband, Christopher of Hadley and Pamela Barrett Lasser and her husband, Philip, of New York City, and four granddaughters, Melissa, Rebecca, Valerie, and Alexandra.


Bob received a BA from Colgate and a masters in Russian Literature from Columbia. He later earned a PhD while living in California. His love for languages inspired him to learn French, Russian, Spanish, Italian, Polish, and German. During the Korean War he served in Alaska as a specialist in the army in covert operations [and monitored Russian Communications]. He loved to run; he completed several marathons and on his lunch hour he would “run flights of stairs.” He ran up the Empire State Building, 86 floors and 1576 steps, multiple times and he came in second in his age category in some of the competitions.


Bob loved words. His father gave him his first dictionary for his ninth birthday, and he was a reader of English, Latin, French, Russian, and German dictionaries throughout his life. He had a great joi de vivre. He loved people and talked with everyone he met; he never slipped into a room quietly.


Bob had a lifelong interest in spiritual growth, studying, finding meaning in, and practicing a variety of spiritual disciplines. He loved listening to and composing music, and was accomplished on the clarinet. He inspired his grandchildren to play instruments and his granddaughter Rebecca began playing the clarinet on one he gave her. [He was connected to all his grandchildren through music.] He was an avid photographer.


For most of his life, Bob was an editor for several journals and organizations, including the Statistical Bulletin at Metropolitan Life, the Natural Resource and Defense Council, and Science and Medicine. In the 1990s, when he lived in Hadley, he worked at Hopkins Academy in the Resource room helping students who were struggling with their academic work.


In 2004, Bob moved to Ikaria, Greece where he composed symphonies, enjoyed hiking, and appreciated the freedom he found being away from what he felt was a deteriorating American Political System. In 2012, he was forced to return to the United States for medical care as his ALS became more pronounced.


Bob had a long and varied life and will be remembered by his family for teaching them to live lives of gratitude. His mantra, “Always and Everywhere to give thanks to God for our infinite blessings,” was all embracing and included nature, birds, animals, music, people, friendship, and exercise.


Bob’s family would like to thank the staff at Highview for their loving care. A celebration of Bob’s life is being planned for Friday evening, October 9, 2015. His family requests people perform Random Acts of Kindness in his memory. Donations can be made to the ALS Society.


PostHeaderIcon RAYMOND “BIG DAD” ALDRICH of NAPLES, FL, June 24, 1926 – September 19, 2015



Naples, FL – Raymond C. “Big Dad” Aldrich, 89 years old, passed away peacefully on September 19, 2015 surrounded by his loving daughters at their home in Naples, FL. Ray was born on June 24, 1926 in Pelham, MA, the son of Walter and Doris (Campbell) Aldrich. He was raised in Pelham and attended Amherst Regional Schools. He left High School to enlist in the US Navy. He proudly served aboard the Submarine USS IREX during World War II. Ray returned from the service and worked in the automotive business. He and his brother founded Aldrich Auto Supply in Amherst in 1959. He was a beloved and important member of the local community. Ray retired from his business in 1988. He was an avid golfer and a devout family man. Ray’s love of golf kept him busy in retirement. He worked in the Pro shop at Hickory Ridge Golf Club in Amherst until he moved to Florida in 2002 to golf year round. He worked in the Pro shop at his Florida golf course until he was 88.


Ray was predeceased by his wife Joan P. (Kelley) Aldrich in 1983. He is survived by his wife Beverly Cook of Trinity, FL and her family of 10 children and numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren. He is survived by three siblings: Walter S. of Holyoke, MA, Donald B. of Port Charlotte, FL, and Joan Yorke of York, ME, and many nieces and nephews.


Ray is also survived by three children, four grandchildren, and three great grandchildren: Michael R. and Elaine (Gonski) Aldrich, their daughter Christina and her wife Sharon Ward, Mike’s son Timothy and his wife Dina (Gifford) Aldrich, Mike’s daughter Jennifer, her partner Athell Bennett and their children Athell and Jordan; Kelley A. Aldrich and her sons Kevin Crutch and his wife Nicole of Bonita Springs, FL, and Eric Copithorne and his wife Wendy and their son Ian of Ipswich, MA; and Ellen (Aldrich) Witham and her husband Donald of Naples, FL.


Ray was a great family man and a friend to all. His humor and laughter will be greatly missed by his family and many friends. Calling hours will be at the Douglass Funeral Service, 87 North Pleasant Street, Amherst on Thursday, October 15, from 4:00 to 7:00pm. A funeral mass will be held at St. Brigid’s Church, 122 North Pleasant Street, Amherst on Friday, October 16, at 10:00am with a burial at St. Brigid’s Cemetery in Hadley.


In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Avow Hospice, 1095 Whiporwill Lane, Naples, FL 34105.



PostHeaderIcon JANINA M. ESSELEN of AMHERST, MASS, May 11, 1915 – October 2, 2015



Amherst, Janina M. Czajkowski Esselen, 100, died Friday October 2, 2015 at the Hospice of the Fisher Home in Amherst.. She was a professor emeritus of the Dept. of Nutritional Sciences at University of Connecticut in Storrs.


Born on May 11, 1915, the eldest daughter of John W. and Aniela (Orszulak) Czajkowski she was raised in Hadley and graduated from Hopkins Academy. She obtained a B.S. degree in 1936 from the Univ. of Mass. in Amherst and two Masters degrees, one from Cornell University and the other from Harvard. In 1963 she earned an Ed. D. from Boston University. 


Jan worked as a dietitian in the U.S. Army during WW II. Her career at UCONN began in 1947 in the School of Home Economics and she moved to the Department of Nutritional Sciences in 1972 to start the community nutrition program. Dr. Czajkowski Esselen was a pioneer for EFNEP (Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program) and under her leadership Connecticut was one of several states that ran pilot nutrition programs for low income families with peer nutrition educators from the community. Jan worked with leaders at USDA in Washington on many community nutrition initiatives. She led this program until her retirement in 1983.


During her career she wrote a series of booklets on the foods and traditions of New England, France, Poland, China and Hawaii, to name a few. She authored a weekly column, “Table Talk,” for the Hartford Courant for many years. In her retirement she continued her interest in nutrition through many professional organizations and was a life long learner with the LIR (Learning in Retirement) Program at UMASS. 


After her retirement she moved back to the Amherst area and in 1985 married William Esselen with her 93-year-old father walking her down the aisle. 


She leaves sisters Nellie Griffin and Bertha Clark, sister in law Angeline Czajkowski, all of Hadley. Richard Esselen, stepson and wife Dianne of Westwood, MA, grandchildren: Sandra Higgins and husband Michael, Cheryl, Richard, Jr.  and 3 great-grand daughters. She leaves many devoted caregivers, nieces and nephews and their families. Her husband, William Esselen, her sister Mildred and brothers Joseph and John predeceased her. 


A Mass of Christian burial will be held Wednesday October 7, at 10:00 am at Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Chapel at the Newman Catholic Center, University of Massachusetts. A calling hour will precede the service from 9:00 – 10:00 am in the Chapel. Burial will follow in Wildwood Cemetery, Amherst. 


In lieu of flowers, donations may be designated to the Janina M. Czajkowski Scholarship in Community NutritionPlease make checks payable to:  The UConn Foundation, Inc. and forward to the following address: 2390 Alumni Drive Unit 3206, Storrs, Connecticut 06269 or The Newman Catholic Center, 472 N. Pleasant St., Amherst, MA 01002.






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