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Archive for the ‘Obituaries’ Category

PostHeaderIcon RICHARD LEONARD STROMGREN “DICK” of AMHERST, MASS, September 28, 1932 – March 27, 2015

Richard Leonard Stromgren (“Dick”), 82 of Amherst, passed away peacefully on March 27 at Cooley Dickinson Hospital.   Dick was a Professor Emeritus of the University of Massachusetts, and a passionate and enthusiastic gardener who spent countless hours pruning, planting and puttering in the flower gardens at the home he shared with his wife, Pip, in Amherst.  The love Dick had for family and friends will continue to bloom and grow through happy memories of him.

Dick Stromgren was born in Flushing, New York in 1932, the son of the late Carl A. and Violet M. (Johnson) Stromgren.  In 1940 the family moved to Southwick Massachusetts, and Dick graduated from Westfield High School in 1950.  Dick attended the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, majored in Speech and received a Bachelor’s degree in 1954.  While at UMASS, Dick was active in the Theater department, participating in many productions in different capacities – acting, serving as stage manager, assistant director and director.  Dick was also a member of the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC), and after graduating from the university, served two years in the U.S. Army stationed in Hawaii as a tank platoon leader.  Dick was honorably discharged with the rank of 1st Lieutenant in 1956.

Following his service, Dick continued his education, completing graduate work at Northwestern University and earning an MFA in 1958.  While at Northwestern, Dick directed the film, “A Better Beginning” which was produced by the Northwestern Film Department and detailed the organization and operations of the Premature Babies’ Milk Bank at Evanston Hospital.

In September of 1958, Dick returned to the University of Massachusetts and joined the Speech Department (later the Communications Department) where he taught the first classes in film offered at UMASS, and later was instrumental in creating and establishing the department’s film program.  His book, Light and Shadows: A History of Motion Pictures, co-authored with Thomas W. Bohn, professor and chair of the Roy H. Park School of Communications at Ithaca College, was published in 1975.  Dick then co-authored a second book, published in 1984, Movies: A Language in Light, with Martin Norden, professor and associate chair of the Communications Department at UMASS.

After 48 years at UMASS, Dick retired in 1995 but continued to teach part-time at the university until 2004.  Dick was an active member of the Commonwealth Opera and the Valley Light Opera (VLO) for over 30 years; he possessed a rich baritone voice and performed in many productions, and additionally served on the board of directors for both companies, including two terms as president,  as well as lending his carpentry talents to assist with scenery construction for the VLO’s annual fall productions of Gilbert & Sullivan operas.  In addition to gardening and spending time with family and friends, Dick loved photography, travel, and was an avid stamp collector.  He will be sorely missed by his family and friends.

Dick is survived by his wife of 53 years, Philippa (“Pip”) Stromgren (Stevenson), of Amherst, sons Lindsay of Pelham, and Chel of Rockville, Maryland; grandchildren Merissa and Merrick, of Pelham, and Addison and Tate of Rockville; daughters-in-law Elise Sweet Stromgren of Pelham and Selen Altunata Stromgren of Rockville.  Dick was predeceased by his brother Norman and sisters Vivian (Hubeck) and Shirley (Wolfe).

At Dick’s request there will not be any calling hours or funeral service.  A memorial service is being planned  for early May.  The family asks that donations in Dick’s memory be made to the Valley Light Opera, P.O. Box 2143, Amherst MA 01004-2143; or Cooley Dickinson Hospital Cancer Center, c/o Development Office, Cooley Dickinson Health Care Corp., P.O. Box 329, Northampton, MA 01060-9935.  Obituary and memorial register at

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

PostHeaderIcon CHARLES E. LEHANE, JR. of SHUTESBURY, MASS, December 19, 1947 – March 26, 2015

Shutesbury, Charles E. Lehane, Jr., 67 of Shutesbury, MA, formerly of Amherst, passed away March 26, 2015 at his home on beautiful Lake Wyola.

Charlie, born in Northampton, was the son of the late Charles and Evelyn {Thayer} Lehane of Amherst, MA.

Charlie graduated from Amherst High with the Class of 1966. Then after graduating from Greenfield Community College in 1969, he entered the United States Army and proudly served with the 142nd at Red Beach, Vietnam.

Upon his honorable discharge from the military, he worked at the First National Bank of Amherst, Cohn & Co. Insurance, and then the University of Massachusetts, where he retired after 30 years.

Charlie is survived by his wife Audrey, three daughters and their families: Amy Lehane and Jennifer Gundersen, their children Noah and Hannah; Corinne and Michael Briggs, their sons Connor and Austin; and Katie and Joe Heymann.

He belonged to the Knights of Columbus in Amherst #1619, DAV Chapter #33, Greenfield VFW and Amherst VFW #754. He was a communicant of St. Francis of Assisi Church, in Belchertown, MA.

Charlie played on many sports teams in Amherst. Among the sports he loved were football, baseball, and watching his daughters play softball. He also loved to farm. He volunteered many years with the Lake Wyola Association and enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren, boating, catching the “Big one” out on his fishing boat, farming, hunting, and classic cars. Charlie will be remembered for his fun loving nature and the countless good times he had with his family and many friends.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be Tuesday, March 31, 2015 at 10:00 am at St. Francis of Assisi Church, Belchertown, MA. Burial will follow in South Amherst Cemetery, Amherst. Calling hours will be Monday, March 30, 2015 from 5 – 8 pm at the Douglass Funeral Service, Amherst.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Soldiers On at the Veterans Affairs in Leeds, MA.

Obituary and memorial register at

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

PostHeaderIcon VIRGINIA A. EZBICKI of NORTHAMPTON, MASS, December 1, 1916 – March 23, 2015

Northampton, Ezbicki, Virginia {Graves}, formerly of Amherst, passed away peacefully at the age of 98, on March 23, 2015.

Beloved wife of the late William A. Ezbicki. Devoted mother of Joanne Hamilton, William A. Ezbicki Jr. and Leonard Ezbicki. Loving sister of the late Elizabeth Knowles. Grandmother of Brian and Anthony Ezbicki, Emily Essex, Alyssa Hughes, Kristin Hulvey and Erin Ezbicki and great-grandmother of Lelia Hulvey.

Funeral services will be Monday March 30, 2015 at 11:00 am at the Douglass Funeral Service, Amherst. A calling hour will precede the service from 10:00 – 11:00 am. Burial will follow in Pelham Valley Cemetery, Pelham.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to, the Calvin Coolidge Resident Activity Fund at Calvin Coolidge Nursing; 584 Elm St, Northampton, MA 01060. 

Obituary and memorial register at


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

PostHeaderIcon FAITH M. SWEIGART of NORTHAMPTON, MASS, June 3, 1926 – March 23, 2015


AMHERST – Faith M. Sweigart passed away peacefully at her home at the Arbors on March 23, 2015. She was born on June 3,1926 in Lewiston, ME to Charles and Amelia York. Faith grew up in Boothbay Harbor, ME where she returned to visit often. Her father was a well-known fisherman along the east coast and this instilled upon her the love of the coast of Maine. 

She attended Ryder College in Trenton, New Jersey and graduated in 1946. She then worked for Travelers Insurance in Trenton until 1948. In college she met her future husband Benjamin E. Sweigart and they married on September 25,1948. They moved to Ben’s hometown of York, PA. and there they had four children together. Faith moved to Amherst, MA in 1967. She worked in the Duplicating Center at the University of Massachusetts. She retired in 1992 after many years of dedicated service to the University. 

Faith loved her family above all things and took great joy in watching her family grow. With her good friend, Ed Flynn she enjoyed square dancing, playing bridge, listening to music, and good wine. She was an avid Red Sox fan. She had many friends from Maine to Pennsylvania and touched the hearts of everyone she met. 

She leaves her four children and their spouses, her son Kenneth Sweigart and his wife Janet of Dover, PA; her daughter Deborah Berger and her husband Gary of Mt. Wolf, PA; her daughter Vivian Kucinski and her husband Roman of Shutesbury, MA; and David Sweigart and his wife Donna of So. Hadley, MA. Faith had eight adoring grandchildren and nine great-­grandchildren. 

Calling hours will be Friday from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Douglass Funeral Home in Amherst, MA. The memorial service will be Saturday at 11:00 am at the Wesley United Methodist Church in Hadley, MA. In lieu of flowers, contributions in memory of Faith may be made to the Wesley United Methodist Church, 98 North Maple Street, Hadley, MA. Obituary and memorial register at

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

PostHeaderIcon DR. KATHARINE E. REICHERT of HADLEY, MASS, June 16, 1928 – March 21, 2015

Hadley, Dr. Katharine E. Reichert, died quietly and peacefully at the Hospice of the Fisher Home March 21, 2015 at the age of 86. Katharine {Kay} was born to William H. and Sara K. Reichert in Arnold, PA June 16, 1928.

 Kay started her medical career as a nurses’ aide at a local hospital while she was still in high school. She went on to become a registered nurse graduating from Allegheny Valley Hospital in PA. She then enlisted in the Air Force Nurse Corps serving for 3 years {1950 – 1953}, two of which she spent in Japan during the Korean War. After discharge form the service she attended the University Of Pennsylvania School Of Nursing where she obtained the degree of Bachelor of Science in Nursing Education because she enjoyed teaching nurses. But Kay had always wanted to be a medical doctor, and the G.I. Bill helped her to attain that dream. She graduated from the University Of Pennsylvania School Of Medicine in 1961. Kay completed her internship at Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital in Hanover, NH and her residency in Family Practice at Maine Medical Center in Portland, ME. She was a diplomat of The American Board of Family Practice.

From 1963 – 1966 she practiced rural family medicine in Lyme, NH. She then spent 16 years as a student health physician at the University of Massachusetts Health Services. Her last seven years of practice were spent as the Director of the Health Services at Hampshire College.

Kay was a pioneer in the involvement of the nurse practitioner movement in Massachusetts. She taught nurses to become nurse practitioners while working at the University of Massachusetts and published a book, Primary Care of Young Adults. Her publisher asked her to write a second edition, which she did.

Kay had enjoyed hiking from the days of her youth. While she was in Japan she and a friend climbed Mt. Fuji- an experience she said was one of the highlights of her life. They climbed at night and saw the sun rise from below them.

Kay spent many hours hiking and fishing in the Presidential Mountain Range area of New Hampshire. After she retired in 1989 she enjoyed the senior hiker group in this area and eventually became the leader of this group hiking many different trails in Western Massachusetts. Kay and her friend Margaret Frerichs also spent many summers hiking their much loved Alps in Austria and Switzerland.

Kay was a long time member of The First Congregational Church of Hadley, serving on various committees.

Kay lived for 50 years with her beloved friend, Margaret Frerichs, who predeceased her in 2012. Her brother, Thomas Reichert also predeceased her. She leaves her sister-in-law Melva Reichert, many cousins and the entire family of her dear friends Ken and Judy Parker. She also leaves many special friends who were always there to support her in many different ways. Her beloved cat, Skoshi who was her constant companion has been adopted by a close friend.

A memorial service celebrating Kay’s life will be held at 10:00 am on Saturday, March 28th, 2015 at The First Congregational Church in Hadley.

In lieu of flowers contributions in memory of Kay may be made to The First Congregational Church of Hadley, 102 Middle St., Hadley, MA 01035. Obituary and memorial register at


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

PostHeaderIcon RONALD R. PIERCE of LEVERETT, MASS, June 30, 1952 – March 21, 2015

Leverett, MA, Ronald R. Pierce, (62),  Ron Pierce, born on June 30, 1952 to the late Charles and Rosalie (Mielke) Pierce and brother to the late Elizabeth Pierce, departed this life on Saturday, March 21, 2015.  Ron was the beloved younger brother of Charles (Evangeline) Pierce of Randolph, VT; Elinor (Frank) Thornton of Amherst, MA and Sandra (David Mamulski) Pierce of Northampton, MA.  Adoring Uncle to April (Ed) Miller of Randolph, VT; Matthew (Tammy) Thornton of Belchertown, MA; Jan (Bill Dubuque) Thornton of Ludlow, MA and Sheyenne, Nicole, Billy and Adianna.  Ron also leaves his lifelong best friend David (Leslie Benson) Drake of New Salem, MA and his special love Hilma Raffa of Greenfield, MA.  Ron will also be greatly missed by his four-legged friend Freddy as well as many work and card playing friends.  Ron will be best remembered for his endless supply of jokes, his stubborn streak and his giant heart.  Ron was a true outdoorsman and loved nothing more than hunting, fishing, trapping and just observing animals in nature with his friends and family.  Over the last few years Ron very much enjoyed spending time at the auctions and consignment shops with Hilma.  Ron liked to golf and like most of his family, loved the New York Yankees and was always up for a healthy debate with his Red Sox friends.  Fiercely loyal, Ron would go to the ends of the earth for a friend in need.  The void left in our hearts will remain forever, only to be filled by the memories we have and the knowledge that we are all better people for having Ron in our lives.   At this time there will be no services, however a memorial service will be scheduled for a later date.  Donations may be made in Ron’s name to Norwottuck Fish and Game Assoc. P.O. Box 2492 Amherst, MA  01002.

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

PostHeaderIcon KEVIN W. BANKS of AMHERST, MASS, July 8, 1959 – March 18, 2015

Amherst, Kevin W. Banks, 55, died Wednesday, March 18, 2015 at the Hospice of the Fisher Home in Amherst, following a 14 month courageous battle with brain cancer.


He was born July 8, 1959 and attended local schools and graduated from Amherst Regional High School. He also attended the University of Massachusetts and Westfield State College. He graduated from the Massachusetts Criminal Justice Training Center in Agawam. For the past 28 years he was a Correctional Officer at the Hampshire County Jail and House of Correction. He was regarded as an exceptional officer by his peers.


“Banksy,” as he was known to his friends, enjoyed all sporting events, especially the Boston Bruins, Red Sox, Patriots, Notre Dame and Umass football and Umass Hockey.


He was a 40 pint blood donor to the Red Cross and member of the Hampshire County Sheriff’s Association.


He leaves his parents, Timothy {Ted} and Joan Banks of Amherst, a brother, Daniel, of Amherst, his sister, Teresa, of Canaan, NH, a step-sister, Sharon Chapman, of Boise, Idaho, two nephews, Corey and Kirk Chapman, and his beloved cat, Dizzy.


He was predeceased by his brother, Timothy H. Banks, Jr. in 2011 and his step-brother, Paul, in 1986.


He also leaves aunts, an uncle, cousins and countless wonderful friends.


He was a thoughtful and caring person and devoted to his family and friends.


Funeral services will be Tuesday March 24, 2015 9:00 AM from the Douglass Funeral Service, Amherst, with a Mass of Christian Burial at 10:00Am at St. Brigid’s Church, Amherst. Burial will follow at St. Brigid’s Cemetery, Hadley. Calling hours will be Monday March 23, from 5:00 – 8:00 PM at the Douglass Funeral Service, Amherst.


Memorial contributions may be made to the Hospice of the Fisher Home, 1165 N. Pleasant St. Amherst, MA 01002 or Dakin Animal Shelter, P.O. Box 6307, Springfield, MA 01101.


The family extends their gratitude to the Hospice of the Fisher Home, for their wonderful love and care provided to Kevin by the staff over the past four months.


Obituary and memorial register at


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

PostHeaderIcon HOWARD EDGAR PAUL of PELHAM, MASS, October 24, 1932 – March 16, 2015

Pelham, Howard Edgar Paul of Amherst and Pelham died unexpectedly on the morning of March 16, 2015. He was 82 years old. Howard was born on October 24, 1932 in Hyde Park, New York, the youngest of three boys of Albert Edwin Paul and Mary Maxwell Paul (Edgar). He was married for 58 years to Nancy Ann Paul (Budd) of Poughkeepsie, New York.

He attended schools in Hyde Park, graduated from Farmingdale State College in Long Island, New York with a degree in construction engineering and served with the US Army in Germany from 1954-1956. Howard and Nancy married in 1956 and he went to work for Turner Construction, one of the major American contracting companies of that time. He rose through the ranks supervising projects in many northeastern states, including the Smith College Library in Northampton and work on the Mass Mutual campus in Springfield. The difficult balance of career and family and the strains of inevitable job related moving led Howard and Nancy and their five children to seek a more permanent location. In 1967 Howard was hired to oversee the construction of the campus of Hampshire College in South Amherst, Massachusetts. Upon completion of the initial build out in 1970 he was asked to stay on as Physical Plant Director for the school, a position he held, until retirement, for 26 years. Overseeing the physical development of the college, a campus built from scratch in turbulent years, was challenging, stressful and sometimes hilarious. It changed him in ways he would never have imagined. It was his proudest accomplishment.

Howard is survived by his beloved wife Nancy, his brother Kenneth, his children Howard R. (Randy) Paul of Amherst; Robbin Suprenant and her husband James of Amherst; Alane Castro Paul and her husband Eric Castro of San Leandro, California; Lawrence B. Paul and his wife Chiyo Kobayashi of Bethesda, Maryland; and Scott A. Paul and his wife Allison Smiley of Anacortes, Washington. He is also survived by his ten grandchildren Alejandra Castro Petmezis and Lucas Castro Paul; Michael Suprenant and Kimberly Suprenant; Maia, Casey, Tyler and Cody Paul; Emma and Benjamin Paul; and three great grandchildren Emily Suprenant and Maximus and Cecilia Petmezis. He was predeceased by his brother Stanley and his daughter-in-law Brooke Darden.

Howard loved the outdoors and he loved his dogs. He was a hunter and he taught five children to ski. He once owned a sailboat and there is still evidence that he drove, briefly, a bright red MG convertible.  Howard was most content when he and Nancy and part or all of the family were at “The Camp”, their summer house, and his never ending project, in Whitingham, Vermont.

Howard was a man who spent countless hours as a coach and instructor of children and a mentor to and leader of adults. He coached youth baseball in Amherst for many years and was a president of the Amherst Hockey Association in its early and formative stages.  He was a man of strong opinions and irrefutable values. He was proud, diligent and demanding; compassionate, stubborn and generous. He was also, in many ways, an uncomplicated man who, in the end, would be pleased to hear that he gave, asked for and expected little more than an honest effort in all endeavors.

Years after his own children had moved on from Little League baseball, he would get the occasional call at his home in North Amherst. Was he available, on an hour’s notice, to umpire a game at the field out back? Of course he was. And he would call them as he saw them, loud and clear, balls or strikes.

Calling hours will be held at Douglass Funeral Home in Amherst on Sunday March 22, 2015 from 2-5 PM. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Amherst Youth Baseball programs –P.O. Box 3051, Amherst, Ma. 01002. Obituary and memorial register at

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

PostHeaderIcon JANICE A. LENGIEZA of HADLEY, MASS, December 9, 1944 – March 10, 2015

Hadley, Janice A. (Roy) Lengieza, 70, of Hadley, passed away from the reoccurrence of ovarian cancer on Tuesday, March 10, 2015 surrounded by her loving husband and children.

She was born December 9, 1944 in Chicopee and was the daughter of the late Raymond and Doris Roy.   She graduated from Chicopee High School in 1962.

Janice worked for 36 years as a Customer Service Representative of Personal Lines at Blair, Cutting & Smith Insurance Agency, now known as Encharter Insurance, and retired in 2010.

In her free time, Janice enjoyed spending time in her perennial garden and keeping her property looking meticulous.  Her other hobbies included quilting, sewing and she had a special knack for making curtains and drapes which will serve as a reminder of her for years to come.   Her pride and joy were her five grandchildren and she was their number one fan while watching them participate in their various activities.  Janice definitely had a special place in her heart for her little dog Meeka.

Janice was a communicant of St. Brigid’s Church in Amherst where she and her husband served as Eucharistic ministers for many years.

She is survived by her husband of 49 years, Michael Lengieza, and their children Kenneth, his wife Gigi and their three children Michael, Steven and Christina of Stow, MA and Lori Letendre, her husband Bill and their two children Madison and Megan of Mansfield, MA. She was predeceased by her sister, Elaine Colbath, of Springfield, MA.

Calling hours will be Saturday March 14, 2015 from 4:00 – 7:00 PM at the Douglass Funeral Service, Amherst. A Mass of Christian Burial will be Monday March 16, 2015, 10:00 AM at St. Brigid’s Church, Amherst, with Pastor John Smegal celebrating. Burial will follow in St. Brigid’s Cemetery, Hadley.

In lieu of flowers, anyone wishing to remember Janice may do so through a charitable contribution in her name to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund, 14 Penn Plaza, Suite 1710, New York, NY 10122 or online at

Obituary and memorial register at



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

PostHeaderIcon WARREN W. BECHTOLD of AMHERST, MASS, March 7, 1929 – March 8, 2015



Amherst. Dr. Warren W. Bechtold of Amherst, Massachusetts, passed away peacefully on March 8, 2015, the morning after his 86th birthday with family close by his side.  He was born on March 7, 1929 in Laurel, Maryland to Charles and Jennie (Johannesen ) Bechtold.  Warren was married to Joan (Gagnon) Bechtold of Springfield, Massachusetts with whom he had three children, Gary, Mark and Linda; He was later married to Rosalie Williams of Cambridge, Massachusetts and adopted her daughter, Michelle.  Warren enjoyed his time with his family as a loving father, grandfather, and brother.  His passions for teaching and education were exemplified by his work in athletic training, sports therapy, physical education instruction, and his tenure as a high school athletic director.  He also enjoyed singing in choruses and choirs, golfing, playing men’s league softball, officiating lacrosse and softball, and coaching basketball, softball, and baseball throughout his life. 


Warren was pre-deceased by his brothers, Robert and Charles.  He is survived by his loving sister, Jean of New York City and her husband Barry; his four children, Gary of Cambridge, Massachusetts, his wife Ana and their children, Dariana Vasquez and Ana Rebecca; Mark of Jefferson, New Hampshire, his wife, Dawn and their children Sara and Joshua; and Linda Michaud of Pelham, Massachusetts, her husband Ronald and their children Danielle and Philippe; and Michelle Phoenix of Somerville, Massachusetts.


In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Warren’s name to the Center for Extended Care, 150 University Drive, Amherst, Massachusetts. Obituary and memorial register at

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

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