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Archive for the ‘Obituaries’ Category

PostHeaderIcon JOSEPH VASSALLO of HADLEY, MASS, May 6, 1945 – August 21, 2014

Joseph Vassallo

1945 – 2014 

Hadley, Joseph Vassallo, 69, passed away Wednesday August 21, 2014 at home after a long illness. He was born on May 6, 1945 in Everett, MA to Joseph and Mary (Pento) Vassallo. Joe grew up in Pelham and was educated in the Amherst-Pelham Schools. He is survived by his partner of 22 years, Janet Anderson. He is also survived by his three brothers, John Vassallo and his wife Trish, Michael Vassallo and his wife Kathy, Robert Vassallo and his wife Lynda, two sisters, Rosalie Mikalunas and her husband Robert, Carol Orrell and her husband David, and his Sister in Law, Helen Vassallo.  Three son’s Joseph Vassallo III, his wife Rebecca, Steven Vassallo and James Vassallo and his wife Alexandria. Janet’s two children Raymond Anderson and Anne Chapdelaine . He also leaves twelve grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews.Joe was predeceased by his brothers Paul Vassallo, Angelo Vassallo and Richard Vassallo. Per Joe’s wishes there will only be a private family service at the graveside in Pelham, MA. Obituary and memorial register at


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

PostHeaderIcon DOROTHY A. IVES of AMHERST, MA, April 24, 1918 – August 19, 2014

AMHERST, Dorothy Ann (Mays) Ives, aged 96, of West Street, Amherst, died on August 19, 2014 at the Center for Extended Care at Amherst. Born in Boston April 24, 1918, daughter of the late Percy C. and Jessie E. (Kennedy) Mays, she was a graduate of Arlington High School in 1934 and Simmons College School of Library Science in 1938.  Her husband, Philip T. Ives, a research geneticist and weather recorder at Amherst College, died in 1992. 

Dorothy came to Amherst in February 1939 to be Branch Librarian at the Jones Library (North Amherst branch).  Following her marriage in June of 1940 she worked in Converse Library at Amherst College for three years.  She returned to work at the college in the mid-1950’s, first as Secretary in the Astronomy Department and then for 21 years as Secretary in the Economics Department, retiring in 1987.  She had been active in the Amherst Girl Scouts and she was a member of Grace Episcopal Church, the Thursday Club, and the Amherst Historical Society. 

One of Dorothy’s favorite sayings, learned early in life, was “You do what you have to.”  Her parents, immigrants from England and Scotland, were servants on Beacon Hill in Boston and they lost their jobs, their savings, and ultimately their lives during the Depression years.  Dorothy resolutely worked her way through Simmons, building a circle of nine friends called the Robins, and she kept these friendships all her life.  Arriving in Amherst a city girl, she adapted to farm life when she and Philip moved to South Amherst, learning to put up food, butcher chickens, and chase runaway cows.  She wrote about these times in “100 Years at the Corner” (Harvesting History: Amherst Massachusetts Farms 1700-2010), celebrating her family’s ties to the community.

Friends and family meant everything to Dorothy, and in her early 50s she traveled to Britain to reconnect with the relatives her parents had left behind decades earlier.  Many happy trips to the Orkney Islands followed, along with emails and phone calls.  After retiring from Amherst College, she kept in touch with former students and “her boys,” the members of the Economics faculty, and through the years the number of names on her birthday card list continued to grow.  She loved nothing more than having her family home to visit and keeping the wood fire burning, and she will be greatly missed.

Dorothy is survived by four children: Richard T. (Donna) of Spring Hill, FL; Elinor I. Goff (Chris, died 2007) and Carolyn I. Dingman (Joe), both of Bryn Mawr, PA; Donald F. (Sally) of Worthington, MA; five grandchildren and six great grandchildren.  She is also survived by her dear friends, the Kosakowski family of Hadley.

A memorial service will be held in Grace Episcopal Church on Saturday, September 20, 2014 at 2:00 p.m.  There are no calling hours.  Burial will be private.  Memorial contributions may be made to the Amherst Historical Society, 67 Amity Street, Amherst, MA  01002. Obituary and memorial register at

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

PostHeaderIcon BLANCHE (DOLEVA) ORRELL of AMHERST, MA, November 3, 1925 – August 17, 2014

AMHERST, Blanche (Doleva) Orrell passed away Aug. 17, 2014 at the Center for Extended Care at Amherst. Born Nov. 3, 1925 in Amherst, she was the daughter of the late John and Margaret (Lecko) Doleva. Blanche was a graduate of Amherst High School and Northampton Commercial College. She was a longtime member of the Amherst Garden Club and the Hampshire Bird Club. Blanche loved the Red Sox. She was predeceased by her husband Kenneth H. Orrell in 2005. She is survived by her five sons; David Orrell and his wife Carol of Shutesbury, Bob Orrell of Sunderland, John Orrell of Florence, Bill Orrell of Hadley and Steve Orrell of Pelham; as well as many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Blanche wants to thank the friends and staff at the Center for Extended Care at Amherst. You are the best. Memorial donations may be made to the charity of your choice. Services and burial will be private. There are no calling hours. Obituary and memorial register at

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

PostHeaderIcon JEROME WEIDENFELD of SHUTESBURY & HOLYOKE, MA, September 6, 1926 – August 12, 2014

Holyoke, MA – Jerome Weidenfeld, 87, passed away peacefully this past Tuesday morning August 12, 2014, at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home.  He was a first generation American, born on September 6, 1926 in the Bronx, NYC to Fannie Goltzman and Saul Weidenfeld.

He now joins his late wife Barbara Louise (Diehl) Weidenfeld at the Jewish Community of Amherst Cemetery in Shutesbury. He leaves behind three sons, Robert Weidenfeld of Davis, California, David Weidenfeld of Easthampton, MA and Mark ‘Moshe’ Weidenfeld of Brooklyn, NY and their respective spouses as well as four grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.

Jerry attended Stuyvesant High School in NYC but left before he graduated to enlist in the Army Air Force in 1944.  He was later given an honorable discharge after a tragic car crash in which his mother and uncle were killed and his father was critically injured.  At age 21, he married his first wife Evelyn Pytel and had a son, Robert. 

Some years after Evelyn’s death due to illness, he met and later married Barbara in 1960 and had two sons David and Mark (Moshe) and settled in Massapequa, Long Island.  Jerry worked as a machinist/electrician and later as an industrial arts teacher in the New York City Public schools.  During these years, Jerry developed his skills as a craftsman, working with pottery, ceramics, and jewelry. 

The family later relocated to Amherst where Jerry worked at the TRW factory in South Hadley and later as a custodian at the University of Massachusetts. He sold his crafts at various art shows and he was a regular vendor at the campus center at UMass.  In addition to his talent with crafts, Jerry loved music and taught himself to play the mandolin, guitar and most notably, the harmonica, which he continued to play until the last week of his life.

Jerome had a life long passion for issues of social justice and along with both of his wives had participated in such causes as the Civil Rights movement, the Vietnam anti-war movement, and working for freedom for Soviet Jewry. He and Barbara were members of the Amherst chapter of the ACLU and taught ESL together at the UMass workplace education program in their later years.  Jerome was also a skilled handyman, designing and helping to build a home in Shutesbury, where he and Barbara lived for many years.

Shortly after losing Barbara in February, 2013 he became a resident at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home where he lived for the remainder of his days. Obituary and memorial register at

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

PostHeaderIcon ERNESTINE “TINI” SAWICKI of AMHERST, MA, July 20, 1942 – August 12, 2014

Amherst, Ernestine “Tini” Sawicki passed away Tuesday, August 12th, at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston after a 28 year battle with breast cancer.   Born in Amherst on North East Street, July 20, 1942 to Cleon  (Deceased) and Alice [Pratt] Booth, she graduated from Amherst – Pelham Regional High School in 1960.

Tini began her career as a secretary for Jones Neylon Insurance. She obtained her real estate license and began her career as a Realtor in 1974 with D.H. Jones Real Estate. She remained with D.H. Jones until 1988 when she decided to start her own business. During her tenure as a Realtor, she was President of the Hampshire Franklin Board of Realtors, Realtor of the Year in 1986 and again in 2000, received the Milton H Shaw Distinguished Service Award for Outstanding Volunteer Leadership in the Massachusetts Association of Realtors and in 2006 received the Amherst Chamber of Commerce award for business. At the State level she served as the Massachusetts Association of Realtors Vice President. She has been recognized by Babson College and the Commonwealth Institute as being one of the Top 100 Women led Businesses in Massachusetts.

She loved giving her time to her local community and was actively involved in the Rotary Club,  Amherst Survival Center, Amherst Chamber of Commerce and the Caring for the Future campaign for Cooley Dickinson Hospital.

Tini lived in Amherst all her adult life. She enjoyed traveling the world, staying active, and strived to inspire others. She ran several marathons including the Boston Marathon, Dublin Marathon, Marine Corps. Marathon, The Walt Disney World Half Marathon, and the New England Danskin Women’s Triathlon. In 2011 Tini participated in the Pan Mass Challenge with her son Scott together raising over $11,000 for cancer research at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boson.

She is survived by her mother Alice (Pratt) Booth, her two sons and their spouses Richard Sawicki Jr. (Barbara) of Erving, Scott Sawicki (Denise) of Shutesbury. Four grandchildren, Kevin Sawicki of Amherst, Christian Sawicki of Erving, Sean Sawicki and Brittany Dawson of Shutesbury and Erin Sawicki of Shutesbury, one great-granddaughter Madison Sawicki of Shutesbury.

She is also survived by her two brothers and their spouses, Cleon “Buzzy” Booth (Dora) of Pelham and Ernest  ”Ernie” Booth (Carol) of Northampton, and her beloved black lab, Libby. Tini is predeceased by her sister Bernice Stratton.

Calling hours are at Douglass Funeral Home in Amherst from 5 p.m.-8 p.m. Thursday, August 21st, and a memorial service will be held at Wesley United Methodist Church, 98 North Maple Street, Hadley, MA at 11a.m. on Friday, August 22nd.  In lieu of flowers contributions can be made to The Amherst Survival Center, PO Box 9629, North Amherst, MA  01059, Cancer Connection, 41 Locust Street, Northampton, MA or a cancer charity of your choice.  Obituary and memorial register at

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

PostHeaderIcon LINDA M. RAMIREZ of AMHERST, MA, May 9, 1947 – August 11, 2014

AMHERST, Linda M. Ramirez, 67, of Pondview Dr., Amherst, MA passed away on Monday, August 11, 2014 after a long battle with renal disease. Daughter of the late John J. and Marion Fazio, Linda was born in Malden, MA on May 9, 1947 and raised in Wakefield, MA.  After graduating from Wakefield High School in 1965, she continued onto Fitchburg State College and graduated in 1971. Linda channeled her love for Special Education by teaching for the Central Berkshire Regional School District in Dalton, MA from 1971 to 1974. She impacted the lives of many children through her work as a home daycare provider for over 15 years while raising her own three children. Valuing relaxation and healing practices, Linda soon became a Reiki Master. She was an active part of the Pittsfield, MA community for 36 years then moved to Amherst, MA in 2010 where she loved listening to classical music and especially enjoyed the sounds of Josh Groban.

Linda was loved like no other and is survived by her husband, Angel G. Ramirez, Jr. of Amherst, MA, daughter Bethany K. Ramirez and her husband Arthur Prokosch, son Christopher J. Ramirez and his wife Andrea Nivling Ramirez, and son Brandon S. Ramirez and his wife Myneco Taylor Ramirez. Linda is also survived by two grandchildren whom she loved and adored, Owen W. Ramirez and Maria C. Ramirez, a brother John A. Fazio and a sister Patricia Fazio Franklin of New Hampshire, a sister Jean Fazio Dale of Rhode Island, a brother Peter Fazio of Arizona. Her brother Edward Fazio passed away in 2008.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Linda’s memory to the Palliative Care Department of Baystate Medical Center, the Hospice Program at Baystate, or the renal dialysis department also at Baystate.

There will be a Celebration of Life Memorial Service on Tuesday, August 19, 2014 at 10 AM. The service will take place at the Douglass Funeral Service, 87 No. Pleasant St., Amherst, MA. Obituary and memorial register at

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

PostHeaderIcon PENNIE H. MARCUS of HADLEY, MA, June 9, 1953 – July 29, 2014

HADLEY – Pennie H. Marcus passed away July 29, at age 61, from metastatic melanoma.   

Pennie was an educator in the full sense of the word.  She taught and advised students in Adult Basic Education, GED and college programs throughout her long career and was also a Learning and Disabilities Specialist.  Hers was an adventurous and curious mind.  She explored history, nature, poetry, art and social issues, sharing her love of learning with students and friends. 

Pennie was passionate about making education accessible to everyone including women, people from diverse backgrounds, low-income learners, and those challenged by physical, mental health or learning disabilities.  She often included readings about the Civil Rights movement in her classes, and recognized the activist roots of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 that helped shape her own career. 

Pennie earned her Bachelor’s degree and Master of Education in Psychology of Reading at Temple University in Philadelphia, where she grew up.  She taught at Temple, LaSalle University, and Philadelphia Community College.  She also coordinated an educational program for hundreds of adult students in a community-based ABE/GED program at the Lutheran Settlement House Women’s Program, and volunteered in the founding years of the Mount Airy Learning Tree.  Moving to Northampton in 1988 she taught at Holyoke, Greenfield and Berkshire community colleges. 

In Chicago, Pennie was a Learning Assistance counselor at Loyola University before going on to establish and manage the school’s Services for Students with Disabilities.  Returning to the Northampton area in 2000, she worked in the Office for Students with Disabilities/ Deaf Services at Holyoke Community College for a dozen years until retiring in 2012.  She then volunteered with The Literacy Project. 

Pennie’s commitment to education went beyond teaching and advising students.  She was also a dedicated union member of the Massachusetts Community College Council.  Pennie was often the “go-to” person among professional staff at HCC regarding their union rights and she encouraged people to get involved in union activities.  In 2003 she spearheaded a union vote at HCC against the U.S. invasion of Iraq.  She also represented HCC at the state level on the Board of Directors of MCCC.  Pennie remained active as a retired member of the Massachusetts Teachers Association, supporting the progressive EDU (Educators for a Democratic Union) caucus. 

In addition to her education activism, Pennie marched for lesbian rights, helped organize the Amherst Fair Housing Now! coalition, and backed local efforts to promote fresh local food, food coops and food security. 

Pennie was full of life.  She was a natural athlete, loved to have fun, laugh, play games, sing songs, attend concerts, watch birds, go to the beach.  An energetic vegetable gardener, Pennie was often happiest with her hands in dirt. She cooked wonderful soups, stews, and ratatouilles from her homegrown food and generously shared the fruits of her garden and garden knowledge with others.

Pennie is survived by her beloved wife of 32 years, Deborah Levenson. They were married in May 2004 when it became legal in Massachusetts.  She is survived, too, by her dear brother, Arthur Marcus of Miami Beach, FL, and several cousins including Richard and Phil Pless of Ashfield, MA and Phil’s wife, Linda Taylor; Susan Berman of Massapequa, NY; and Annette & Ed Schleyer of Lake Worth, FL.   Pennie also leaves behind many close and loving friends in Philadelphia and Massachusetts and others, including colleagues and students, whose lives she touched.

A memorial service to celebrate Pennie’s life will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 13 at the Friends Meetinghouse in Northampton, 43 Center St.  Contributions in her honor may be sent to The Literacy Project, 15 Bank Row, Greenfield, MA 01301. Obituary and memorial register at

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

PostHeaderIcon KANN PRAK of AMHERST, MA, February 3, 1938 – August 4, 2014

AMHERST, Kann Prak, a most remarkable woman, died Monday night at home surrounded by 4 generations of her family.

Kann was born in Kom Pong Chanang Province, Cambodia in 1938.  She grew up in a farming village surrounded by extended family.  Kann married in Cambodia and had four sons.  Her husband, a General in the Cambodian Royal Army, and her eldest son, Sokhiem Mao, a doctor at Phnom Penh Hospital as well as a medic in the army, predeceased her as victims of the Khmer Rouge regime.   Kann and her youngest son escaped a death march and they fled Cambodia with her other sons.  After a stay in Thai and Indonesian refugee camps, she and two of her sons arrived in the United States in April of 1982.  Luckily, she found her fourth son and his young family living in Amherst.

Kann immediately secured a job and learned English.  In August of 1988, she bought a house in North Amherst with her youngest son and sponsored her four sisters and their families.  Her positive acts in her later years included fund-raising to rebuild Buddhist Temples that were destroyed during the war in Cambodia.

Kann is survived by three sons and their wives: Sokha Mao and Ny Mao, Sokhen Mao and Sreymom Mao, Sokhan Mao and Mom Yim Mao, 9 grandchildren:  Sokhanath, Sokvana (Alex Lee), Sokvanara Mao, Rotana, Rotanak, Leikana, Ratha Mao, Sokaldara, Sovanmolika Mao, and three great grandchildren: Alisha, Justin, Mariah Lee as well as her sister and brother-in-law, Ky Prak and Noy Sin and many nieces and nephews.  She was predeceased by her sisters Kom Prak and earlier this year Kim Prak and Kao Prak.

Services will be at the Santivana Wat (Buddhist) Temple at 144 Buffam Road in Pelham on Saturday at 10:30 AM.  Cremation will take place Sunday in Springfield.  In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Santivana Wat in Pelham. Obituary and memorial register at

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

PostHeaderIcon MAURICE ARTHUR HOWE of HADLEY, MA, November 5, 1927 – August 1, 2014

HADLEY, Maurice Arthur Howe, age 86, passed away on August 1, 2014 at the Elaine Center for Rehabilitation in Hadley, MA with family by his side.

Maurice was born on November 5, 1927 the third son of James and Frances Howe of Cottesloe, Western Australia. He received a B.A. from University of Western Australia, a M.A. with Honors from University of Melbourne, and EdD from the University of Massachusetts.  

During his career in Australia, he was the Chief Psychologist for the Department of Labor, Head of the Department of Psychology, then Dean for Swinburne Institute of Technology.  He was a Fellow of the Australian Psychological Society, the Australian Human Resources Institute, and the Institute of Personnel Management. 

His program, Developing Helping Skills, was taught for 20 years in his native country as well as Britain and the United States.   Maurice believed in the importance of teaching interpersonal skills that would enhance all work places.  In retirement, he ran Education Australia, a student exchange program and the Creative Connection, an extension of his skills for life teaching. He also taught in local colleges part time.

An avid world traveler, he met his second wife Frances in 1981 while on sabbatical. Together they made an international family.  

Maurice was a member of Amherst Rotary for 19 years and received the Paul Harris Fellow for service to the community and the Rotary Club.  As a member of the Legends Amherst Golf Club he enjoyed many years of golf and companionship with friends, always ready for a game.

Growing up at the beach informed Maurice’s pleasure for swimming, body surfing and, spear fishing. He enjoyed jazz, dancing, gardening, painting, writing poetry, stamp collecting and The RED SOX and movies. He embraced new experiences such as building his own mud brick house and travel. He had a unique perspective on life and a wry sense of humor.

He loved his country and even though he eventually became a U.S. Citizen it was only done while retaining his Australian Citizenship.  In the past year he published his memoir of formative stories from his Australian life.

Predeceased are his brothers Lyle, and John and his eldest son Peter.  He is survived by his son Steve Howe and his wife Mary, their children Megan, Kitty and her husband James vanCuylenberg, his great-granddaughter Emmeline, his daughter Mandy Howe and her two children Bridget and Charley his grandson Thomas Kempster and mother Lisa all of Australia.  In the United States he is survived by his wife Frances of 32 years, his stepson, Jason Todd and wife Jessie, their children Malcolm, and Stella and stepdaughter Sara Todd Gooch, husband Jason, and their children, Hazel and Simon.

A celebration of life service will be held at South Congregational Church of Amherst on Friday, Aug. 8, at 11:00 a.m.  

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Rotary Club of Amherst Scholarship Fund PO Box 542 Amherst, MA. 01004 Obituary and memorial register at

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

PostHeaderIcon Gale S. McClung of Amherst, MA, July 1, 1923 – July 30, 2014

AMHERST, Longtime Amherst resident Gale McClung, 91, died on July 30, 2014, at the Elaine Care and Rehabilitation Center in Hadley, with her loving family at her side. 

Florence Nightingale (Gale) Stubbs was born on July 1, 1923 in Akron, Ohio to Elmer and Florence (Harris) Stubbs.  From Akron the family moved to Cleveland Heights, Ohio.  After graduating from Mount Holyoke College in 1945 she moved to New York City and worked as an IBM Systems Service Representative.  Renting an apartment in Greenwich Village with a group who called themselves “the five lovelies,” she shared many adventures with the young women who remained lifelong friends.

In 1949 she married nature writer Robert M. McClung.  They had two sons, Bill and Tom, and lived in Harrison, New York and Chevy Chase, Maryland before settling in Amherst in 1962.  As editor of the Mount Holyoke College Alumnae Quarterly magazine from 1962 until her retirement in 1989 she used her position to give voice to students’ needs and addressed the issues of racism, sexism, and gay and lesbian rights with an open and progressive attitude. 

This spirit of openness was also an important part of her life as a very active member of the First Congregational Church in Amherst. A choir member for over 50 years, she was the first woman to chair the Board of Worship.  She served as moderator and treasurer and organized the annual Cranberry Fair and Merry Musical. 

She participated in community outreach, education, music, capital campaigns and clergy search committees. An avid snapshot artist, Gale also acted as historian and recorder of social events.         

Accompanying herself on her baritone ukulele, she entertained many with her sing-alongs and program of “Nutty and Naughty” songs.  Her talent for writing appropriately funny and touching lyrics to familiar melodies made her a hit at friends’ birthdays, class reunions and retirement parties.         

Gale edited and co-wrote two books for American History Research Associates: “The Book of Presidents” and “Distinguished American Women.”  With her husband Bob she compiled and edited “At War and At Home,” letters to and from members of the McClung family during World War II.          

For a time she served as an Amherst Town Meeting member, often canceling out her husband’s vote.  She was a member of the Traveler’s Club for which she made many presentations.          

In 1968 the McClungs built a vacation home on Cape Cod where they enjoyed many summers and weekends.  She loved to take walks, relax, read, engage in lively discussions, and play games, especially raucous card games of “Oh, Hell” with family and friends.           

Gale was a member of the founding board of the retirement community, Applewood at Amherst, and moved in there one year after her husband died in 2006.  She was active in the Applewood community and counted many friends there.          

Ever the optimist, Gale was full of fun, bright and perceptive, with a great sense of humor.  She radiated joy and smiled readily and was deeply loved by her family and friends.  In reflecting on her life, she wanted everyone to know the joy she had felt.             

She is survived by her two sons William McClung and his wife, Emily, of Pelham, and Thomas McClung and his wife, Anne, of Normandy, France; and two grandchildren Gregory McClung of Hamburg, Germany, and Melissa McClung of Hadley.  She was predeceased by her brother William Stubbs and his wife, Ruth, of Bath, New York.             

Gale nurtured friendships with people of all ages and was a cherished adviser to many of her nieces and nephews, extended family and friends.             

Memorial gifts may be made to Mount Holyoke College and First Congregational Church of Amherst.  A memorial service, which she wished to be a happy celebration of her life, will take place at the First Congregational Church of Amherst at 1:00 pm on Saturday, November 1, 2014. 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.

ALICE M. BOOTH of PELHAM, MASS died on November 16, 2014

RICHARD MASON BUNKER of PELHAM, MASS died on October 19, 2014

HELEN "MIMI" CARY of WHITE RIVER JUNCTION, VT died on October 12, 2014

MARION M. TAYLOR of AMHERST, MASS died on November 17, 2014