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PostHeaderIcon MERKA FLETCHER of SHUTESBURY, MASS, October 27, 1945 – May 18, 2017

SHUTESBURY – Merka Fletcher (Mary Uris Oser), 71, of Cooleyville Road in Shutesbury, died at home, surrounded by her loving family, on Thursday, May 18, 2017. She was born October 27, 1945, the daughter of Kathleen Johnson Oser and Auren Uris, and raised in Clinton, New York.

After graduating from Clinton High School, Merka earned her bachelor’s degree in anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania in 1967. She spent a semester in college teaching at the Lugulu Girls High School in Kenya. For her first job after college, she served as road manager for her young musician friend, Janis Ian, accompanying her on a national tour. Always a gifted communicator, Merka returned to teaching, initially as the dance teacher at the Cambridge School of Weston. She later studied creative movement and worked for the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health as an arts specialist providing coaching and guidance to teachers of young children with intellectual and physical disabilities. In her mid-20s Merka pursued a master’s degree at the College of Education at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. As a graduate student, she supervised college students completing their student teaching at the University Day School, and after completing her master’s degree she was hired as a UMass faculty member to supervise student teachers. While at UMass, Merka met her husband, Donald Fletcher, at a class she taught for employees of Belchertown State School.

In their first of many big projects as a married couple, Merka and Donald built a timber frame replica of an 18th century cape on a wooded 5-acre plot in Shutesbury, Massachusetts. Preparing for their house raising in 1974, Merka hand-planed huge beams while pregnant with their first child. In 1975 they moved in and they have lived there ever since. For seventeen years Merka nurtured and raised her four children while running a small sheep farm that at various times also included pigs, chickens, rabbits, ducks, horses, and goats. The house and the land have been Merka and Donald’s shared project for the past 45 years. In the house, they painted rooms in charming colors and decorated it with country antiques, sea glass, hooked rugs, and small farm animal figurines. They also added two wings, including the beloved sunroom where they spent countless mornings reading and drinking coffee. On the land, they cleared fields for sheep to graze and for children to play, restored and built stone walls, and planted gardens that grew ever more beautiful each year.

When the youngest of their four children started kindergarten, Merka began teaching kindergarten at Swift River School in New Salem, and later was the head teacher for children with autism in the Athol-Royalston elementary school system. She taught for fifteen years before retiring in 2007. As a teacher, Merka was powerfully sensitive to the needs of every child, especially those who were quiet or shy. She put kids at ease, followed their lead, drew them out, and nurtured their creativity. She was a welcome addition to her schools among the other teachers and staff, as well. She had a tremendous ability, rooted in warmth and kindness, to build and facilitate positive relationships. The district superintendent put it best: “She would make a school into a community.” Supporting and building people up was second nature to Merka as a teacher, a wife, a parent, and a friend.

The same qualities that made her a great teacher also made her an extraordinary grandmother, adored by each of her grandkids. They enjoyed sitting on the floor with her building with blocks or fitting together a puzzle. She loved few things in life as much as reading books to her ten grandchildren, individually or in big or small groups, usually snuggled together on a couch.

Merka was a gentle person who lived in tune with the natural world and the creatures in it. Her kids remember clearly her cobweb removal instructions to leave untouched any active spider webs – she never wanted to harm another creature’s home. She had a joyful and insightful appreciation of animals, flowers, trees, the weather, and the heavens. Whenever her friends or her kids wondered what an especially bright star in the sky was, they just asked Merka, she always knew. She delighted in countless details of the natural world, the entrancing nighttime call of a loon, the fleeting magic of a shooting star, or the perfect softness of the air as spring becomes summer.

Merka will be dearly missed by her husband of 45 years, Donald; her four children and their partners, Ethan Fletcher and Heloisa Griggs, Addie (Fletcher) Dublin and Max Dublin, Lena Fletcher and Brad Timm, and Will Fletcher and Melissa (Friedman) Fletcher; and her ten grandchildren (ages 14 years to 1 month), Lukas, Jasper, Zeben, Tucker, Leo, Wylie, Finn, Gabriel, Isabella, and Jackson. Her sisters Vicki and Tina Uris and their partners, John and Thomas, will also miss her immensely. Always a nurturer of relationships, Merka was loved and will be missed by a large number of friends and relatives who treasured her, including the Browns, her second family from the Browns’ Farm in Nobleboro, Maine; the Evans family in Clinton, New York; the “Fogeys”;

her Cooleyville Monday night dinner community; and her wonderful Tuesday group of former Swift River teachers (current quilters and rug-hookers), among many other dear friends whom she cherished. In addition to her parents and their beloved later life partners, Jake Oser and Doris Reichbart, Merka is predeceased by her younger brother, David Oser.

Merka will live on in all that her friends and family learned from her. Those who knew her aim to live more gently, patiently, and joyfully than they otherwise would. They may never equal her grace, but in their efforts they convey her best qualities to their friends and children. In this process, Merka’s life has created a ripple of gentleness and warmth flowing, person to person, into the future. That is her legacy, and a fitting one.

A celebration of Merka’s life for family and friends will be held in the field at Donald and Merka’s home at 16 Cornwell Road, Shutesbury from 1:00 – 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 10, 2017. If you plan to attend, please let the Fletchers know by sending a short RSVP email to celebrate.merka@gmail.com. You will receive a reply email with more details about the event.

Whether or not you plan to attend the celebration, if you have a memory, story, photo, thought, or anything else you’d like to share about Merka, the Fletchers would love to hear it. Please email it to celebrate.merka@gmail.com. The family will share a collection of these stories in some form at or after the June 10th celebration. More information, including posts that Donald wrote during her final weeks and dozens of photos of Merka throughout her life, can be found at https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/merkafletcher.

Donations in Merka’s memory can be made to Partners in Health or to UNICEF, two organizations whose missions reflect some of her deepest values.

PostHeaderIcon TERRY RUMBLE-WALKER of BELCHERTOWN, MASS, September 20, 1939 – May 16, 2017

Amherst, Terry M. Rumble-Walker, 77, died May 16, 2017. She was born in Fargo North Dakota, September 20, 1939, daughter of the late Dorothy and Willard Millar.

Terry graduated from St. Louis Park High School, in Mn., obtained her B.S. from Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, her BFA from the University of Bridgeport, Ct., and her MFA from UMASS Amherst.

Terry was an amazingly talented artist, and an avid reader. She also loved to play the piano. She worked as a fire and police dispatcher for the town of Amherst, MA for 20 years.

She leaves behind a grieving family, her husband William Walker of Belchertown, her three children, Courtney Horton of Taunton, Patrick Rumble of Madison, WI. and Susan Coates of Belchertown, her sister Sandra Olson of Cable, WI., her four grandchildren, Kyle and Katelyn Mercer and Max and Stella Rumble. Terry is also survived by many nieces, nephews, their families, and friends too numerous to mention.

In lieu of flowers donations can be made to Cooley Dickinson VNA and Hospice 168 Industrial Dr. Northampton, MA 01060

A memorial service will be Saturday June 3, 2017 at 10:00 AM at the Douglass Funeral Service, Amherst.

PostHeaderIcon LAWRENCE HOWARD PRATT of PELHAM, MASS, September 15, 1927 – May 11, 2017

Pelham, Lawrence H. Pratt, 89, a long time Pelham resident, died peacefully Thursday May 11, 2017. Lawrence was born in Shutesbury September 15, 1927 he was the son of the late Ralph and Ida {Howard} Pratt.

Lawrence spent his early years with his wife Marion in Holyoke, where he worked in many of the local factories. He was a staple in the South Amherst Community, where he owned and operated The Trading Post, with his late wife and family for many years.

He is survived by his daughter Louise and her husband Aaron Mcgrath, his son Kenneth Pratt, his grandchildren Ateena, Abigal Pratt; grandsons Aaron Jr., Jacob, Samuel Mcgrath and their partners Olivia, Nicole and Brittany. He is also survived by two great grandchildren Shane and Allison, many nieces and nephews, his honorary granddaughter Emma Lee and many much loved customers and friends.

Calling hours will be held from 6 – 8 PM Tuesday May 16 at the Douglass Funeral Service, Amherst. Funeral services and burial will be private.

PostHeaderIcon MARGARET HELENE MOAKLER of HADLEY, MASS, May 11, 1917 – April 14, 2017

HADLEY- Margaret Helene (Powers) Moakler, 99, a resident of Hadley for 62 years, passed away on April 14, 2017, surrounded by family, at Hospice of the Fisher Home in Amherst, MA.

 

Born May 11, 1917 in Beebe, Quebec, Canada, Margaret was the daughter of Ruth (May) and Joseph F. Powers. Her parents ultimately settled the family, which included Margaret’s older siblings, Milton and Beatrice (Sprague), since deceased, and younger sister Joyce (Russo), amidst the rolling hills of Randolph Center, VT. A third sister, Arlene, died at six months.

 

From the simple beginnings of a one room school house, Margaret achieved dean’s list status upon graduating from Randolph High School in 1934; her goal was to become an English teacher. In 1935, on her 18th birthday, she married Harvey Jay Gates, of Essex Center, VT, and setting her teaching aspirations aside, started the family she always wanted; welcoming son Jerald in 1936, and daughter Harvelene in 1939.

 

After Harvey’s death in 1947, Margaret and the children moved numerous times within northern Vermont, and she worked various jobs to support them; one as a supervisor of capacitor production at Rock of Ages Corp., (sub-contractor of Sprague Electric) in Barre, VT. She found love again in 1947, marrying Reginald Tomlinson, of Tunbridge, VT; son Timothy joyfully arrived in 1949. In 1952, Margaret proudly became a naturalized U.S. citizen.

 

In 1955, a promising business venture drew Margaret and Reg to the farmlands of Hadley, MA, where they formed a residential construction company, Tomlinson Builders, still in existence today. They enjoyed 12 years together before Reg’s death in 1959. Margaret would find love a third time, marrying Thomas Moakler, of Pelham, MA, in 1962. They spent 36 years together until Tom’s death in 1999.

 

Working well into her sixties in retail clothing, Margaret’s work ethic was beyond compare, and she never shied away from a challenge, learning to swim, ride a bike, and play the organ in her later years. She also had many interests, and her attention to detail was evident in everything she did; the lushness of her gardens, the intricacies of her needlework (embroidery pieces winning blue ribbons at the Champlain Valley Fair in Essex Junction, VT), and in her signature handmade teddy bears and afghans enjoyed by her grandchildren. She was also an avid birdwatcher and collector of Hummel figurines and Royal Copenhagen Christmas plates.

 

Above all, Margaret cherished time with family, especially her grandchildren and great grandchildren; supporting them in athletic and artistic endeavors, spending time poolside at her home, and vacationing at Harvey’s Lake, VT, and Cape Cod. She traveled with Tom to Bermuda, the Bahamas, Jamaica, and wintered in Lake Placid, FL, and treasured getaways to Stowe, VT, and annual Thanksgiving holidays in Woodstock, VT, with daughter Harvelene; her travel companion, devoted friend, and faithful caregiver.

 

Margaret’s faith was the cornerstone of her life; she was a member of The First Baptist Church of Amherst, where she and Reg reaffirmed their faith through baptism, and an associate member of South Congregational Church of Amherst. She was also a member of The Order of the Eastern Star, temple chapter #75 OES, Burlington, VT, receiving an honorary fifty-year pin.

 

Margaret’s quiet demeanor, quick wit, compassionate ear, loving heart, and progressive acceptance of all people never diminished in the near century she lived. For those who knew her, Margaret was revered as a genuine “lady.”

 

Margaret is survived by her three children: Jerald Gates and wife Lois of South Deerfield, MA, Harvelene (Gates) Fusia of Amherst, MA, and Timothy Tomlinson and wife Ramona of Amherst, MA; seven grandchildren: Laurie Gates Zacek and husband Mark of Amherst, MA, David Gates and wife Kimberlee of Sunderland, MA, Kathy Gates Milewski and husband Gary of Merrimac, MA, Lynda Gates Stickler and husband Stephen of Brookfield, WI, Erik Brown of Easthampton, MA, Tyler Tomlinson and wife Michelle and Devin Tomlinson and wife Alexandra, all of Sunderland, MA; sixteen great grandchildren, and one great-great grandchild. She also leaves one sister, Joyce Russo of Bradenton FL, godchild Stephen Russo of Glastonbury, CT, and beloved friend Joan Borgos of Sunderland, MA.        

 

A memorial service will be held on May 21, 2017 at 3 p.m., South Congregational Church, 1066 South East Street, Amherst, MA. Margaret will be laid to rest beside Reg at Plainville Cemetery, Hadley, MA. In lieu of flowers, and with heartfelt thanks to all of the compassionate hospice caregivers, please send donations to Hospice of the Fisher Home, 1165 North Pleasant Street, Amherst, MA, 01002.

 

PostHeaderIcon JEANNE S. DUNN of AMHERST, MASS, February 25, 1939 – April 24, 2017

Amherst, Long-time Amherst resident, Jeanne Slocomb Dunn died April 24 at the Fisher Home in Amherst after a year-long coexistence with small cell cancer. She was seventy-eight.  

The daughter of a nationally known stunt pilot, Carl N. Dunn Jr, and a Powers model and interior designer, Jean Anderson Seagrove, she was born in 1939 in Fort Myers, Florida, and grew up in Bronxville, New York.  She attended St. Mary’s School in Raleigh, North Carolina, The University of Bridgeport in Connecticut graduating summa cum laude and the University of Massachusetts. She came to Amherst with her husband, United Airlines pilot Douglas Horne in 1978. 

While living in Croton-on-Hudson with her young family she was president of the Shakespeare Festival in 1967.She loved history and research and was the keeper of the family history and genealogy.

Her biography of and the family archives of her great grandmother, suffragist, political activist and writer Minona Stearns Fitts Jones are part of the Sophia Smith Collection at Smith College. In recent years she served as a Master Guide at Historic Deerfield Village, whose witty, informed tours were highly sought after. 

She was a lifelong advocate and activist for all people’s rights, an avid sports enthusiast and a fierce tennis player.  She followed the Olympics faithfully attending the summer Olympics in Montreal in 1976.

A guardian of family traditions and holidays, she was considered by family and others who knew her well as among the most spirited and intelligent people of their acquaintance. 

She leaves her sister, Diana Dunn Kallio of Amherst; her former husband, Douglas Horne of Miramar Beach, Florida; two daughters, Spring Horne of Miramar Beach, Florida, Alexis Horne and her husband Don Chapman of Sunderland; a nephew, Jon Kallio of North Leverett and a niece, Laura Kallio Neill of Amherst; three grandchildren, Nicholas Moscaratolo of Greenfield, Rose Moscaratolo of Greenfield, and McLellan White of Sunderland; and one grandnephew, Thomas Neill of Amherst. 

A memorial will be held on May 6th at 2pm at the East Leverett Cemetery. The family will perform a wave cheer at her memorial service to celebrate her life and spirit. Donations may be made on her behalf to Hospice of The Fisher Home in Amherst, Tapestry, or the Southern Poverty Law Center.

 

 

 

 

 

PostHeaderIcon REV. ANDREA JANE HEAPS ZUCKER of HOLYOKE, MASS, May 11, 1948 – April 30, 2017

The Reverend Andrea Jane Heaps Zucker died at 4:30 am on April 30th at Hospice of the Fisher home with her husband Rob and their two children, Sophia and Zack, by her side. Andrea was deeply loved by her immediate family, her large extended family, and many, many circles of beloved friends that she attracted throughout her rich, multi-dimensional lifetime. 

Andrea was born May 11,1948, in Newark, New Jersey.  She grew up in Livingston, New Jersey with her parents and her younger brother, Richard. Andrea excelled in High School, received her undergraduate degree at Bryn Mawr College (where she majored in French), and her master’s degree at the University of Chicago (where she was an education major). She also attended Brown University’s doctoral program in Comparative Literature until finally realizing that her heart and soul would never fit comfortably in any traditional academic setting. Once this became clear, Andrea devoted her life and career to personally meaningful creative endeavors, often with children and teens. Nevertheless, she was always a mean, competitive scrabble player and could beat most anyone at Bananagrams.

 

 

In New York City, where she met and married her soul mate Rob, Andrea taught theater and English at several high schools and, together with Rob, collaborated on various theater projects, including a season of summer stock in Maine. When their daughter Sophia was born, Andrea moved with Rob to Florence, Massachusetts. They made their home there for 25 years where they raised daughter Sophia and their son, Zack. While parenting her children, Andrea free-lanced as a theater teacher at several schools in the Valley and taught theater for a number of years at The Drama Studio in Springfield. She particularly loved running the drama program at Northampton High School for a few years, and teaching theater at PVPA. 

Andrea was ordained in 2010 as an Interfaith Minister by the Chaplaincy Institute of Maine (ChIME), an arts-based seminary that suited Andrea’s creative, eclectic spirit perfectly. Andrea expressed her compassionate soul through the arts and was particularly drawn to working with bereaved parents, and people facing their own mortality. She led writing workshops with the bereaved with her husband Rob and, as part of her ministry, was a chaplain at Baystate Hospice. 

Andrea was a deep thinker and an avid reader, particularly of novels.  For much of her life she was a rigorous writer of personal journals. She loved writing poetry and short stories, and participating in numerous AWA writing workshops. She passionately enjoyed choral singing, dancing, painting and knitting.  She was a legendary knitter, certainly among her knitting group buddies and others fortunate enough to have one of her woolen creations. She loved drawing, and some of her oldest, closest friends still cherish her flowery doodles.

Andrea was always politically progressive. As a Vista Volunteer she worked with impoverished youth in Colorado.  She was a die-hard lefty throughout her life and supporter of numerous organizations, including the Human Rights Campaign  (HRC) and women’s rights organizations.  The last march she attended was the Northampton Women’s March.  While she was not strong enough to walk down Main Street, she made her way to Pulaski Park and rested at the foot of the podium with the rest of the enthusiastic crowd behind her.  

Andrea did not want to die and believed for most of her illness that she would somehow beat the odds. She loved her life and was blessed with two beautiful grandchildren in January. Her Caring Bridge journals meant so much to her as she battled pancreatic cancer and struggled with her own fears and limitations, hopes and dreams. Her followers on Caring Bridge found her story inspirational because of her ability to honestly document her extraordinary journey. 

Andrea sparkled when she smiled. Her kindness and compassion were legendary among those fortunate enough to have known her, either personally or professionally.  Those of us with a spiritual bent are surely convinced that Andrea’s brilliant, loving, positive, funny, and courageous spirit has merely outgrown her beautiful body.  And yet we grieve, grateful to have had her in our lives while uncertain how to navigate in a world that must now keep on spinning without her physical presence. 

Andrea was pre-deceased by her parents, Ruth and Irving Heaps. She leaves behind her loving husband Rob, her children Sophia and Zack, her daughter-in-law Laura, her grandchildren Ellis and Ramona, her brother Richard Heaps, numerous beloved nieces, nephews and cousins, her loving in-laws Diane, Debbie, Cliff, Susie, Mark, and her mother-in-law, Dorothy. 

A Memorial Service for Andrea will be held on June 10th at 11am at The Unitarian Society of Northampton and Florence. 

The family is tremendously grateful for the loving, professional care provided by each and every member of the team at Hospice of the Fisher Home. Donations in Andrea’s memory may be sent to: Hospice of the Fisher Home, 1165 North Pleasant Street, Amherst, MA.

 

 

 

PostHeaderIcon JOYCE A. MATUSZKO of AMHERST, MASS, July 31, 1931 – April 30, 2017

Amherst, Joyce A. {Lashway} Matuszko, 85, died peacefully with her family by her side, Sunday April 30, 2017, at Mercy Medical Center. Joyce was born one of sixteen children in Leverett July 31, 1931 daughter to the late William J. and Myrtie Belle {Nutting} Lashway. She was a graduate of Amherst High School and a long time cook at the University of Massachusetts.

Joyce enjoyed cooking and baking, playing cards, her soap operas and especially her pool. Joyce’s life mostly revolved around her family, raising her four boys on the family farm with her husband “Kipper.” Later in life she raved over her eight grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

Joyce is survived by her four sons, Theodore and wife Roberta, James and wife Michele, Daniel and wife Deborah and Michael and wife Deborah, four sisters Alice, Joan, Ethel and Harriet as well as her three brothers Lawrence, William Jr. and Harry. Joyce is also survived by her 8 grandchildren and 8 great grandchildren many nieces and nephews and her childhood friend Doris Drake. She was predeceased by her husband Carl “Kipper” and her infant son Timothy. She was also predeceased by four brothers and four sisters.

A Mass of Christian burial will be held Friday May 5, 2017, 10:00 am at St. Brigid’s Church, Amherst, with burial following in Holy Rosary Cemetery, Hadley. Calling hours will be Thursday May 4 from 4:00 – 7:00 pm at the Douglass Funeral Service, Amherst.

In lieu of flowers memorial donation in her name may be made to the Shriner’s Children’s Hospital 516 Carew St. Springfield, MA 01104.

 

 

PostHeaderIcon THOMAS F. HOUSTON of SHUTESBURY, MASS, January 2, 1944 – April 24, 2017

Shutesbury, Thomas F. Houston died April 24, 2017 after a brief illness. He was born in Greenfield on January 2, 1944. Tom attended Amherst High School, where he graduated in 1962. After high school, he went on to serve in the US Marine Corps from 1962-1965 where he was made a Corporal. Tom received his Associate Degree from Stockbridge School of Agriculture in 1967. He then received his Bachelors, Masters, and a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Tom taught Arboriculture and Urban Forestry at UMass for 32 years. He was a certified arborist and served as president of the NE chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture in the 1980s. Tom was also active in the Franklin County Sportsman Club where he served as president in 2012. Tom was an avid tennis player and enjoyed both salt and freshwater fishing.

Tom was predeceased by his mother Esther Houston Cornish and his father Frederick Houston. He leaves behind his loving wife of 47 years, Diane, and their two Standard Poodles, Rowan and Jordan. He also leaves his sister Nancy Pearce of Williamsburg, VA, his niece Laurie Hager and husband Chris, grandniece Elizabeth, and grandnephew Daniel Hager, all of Williamsburg, VA. He leaves his nephew Dan Pearce and wife Tracy of Acton, MA and their son Alex. He also leaves a brother-in-law Kevin Laxer and wife Claudia of Stonington, CT and his niece Lorri Ann Souza and husband Barry of Bethlehem, NH.

Donations may be made in Tom’s name to Bright Spot Therapy Dogs, PO Box 132, Leeds, MA 01053 or to Jackson Laboratories, 600 Main St, Bar Harbor, ME 04609.

 

Memorial register at www.douglassfuneral.com

PostHeaderIcon LYLE E. LARSON of AMHERST, MASS, August 29, 1929 – April 20, 2017

Amherst, Lyle E. Larson, retired Lutheran pastor of Amherst, Massachusetts, died April 20, 2017 at age 87 following complications of Parkinson’s disease and a stroke suffered in 2015. Rev. Larson served for nearly 25 years as a missionary in Tokyo, Japan and following that served at Grace Lutheran Church in Scarsdale, New York.  After retiring to Washington, Massachusetts he served for more than a year as interim pastor at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Amherst.  Funeral services are 11am on Saturday, April 29 at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Amherst, and interment is to be scheduled for Newman Grove, Nebraska.  

Rev. Larson was born on August 29, 1929 to Mary Larson and M. Carl Larson on their farm in Newman Grove, Nebraska and was baptized and confirmed at Trinity Lutheran Church there.  He served in the Air Force as a Supply Sergeant at Johnson Air Base in Japan.  After his discharge, Rev. Larson attended St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota and Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota and was ordained as a Lutheran minister in 1961.  

Lyle and Melba Larson were married in Minnesota in 1960 and following ordination at Trinity Lutheran Church in Newman Grove, and the birth of their first child, the young family traveled by passenger liner to Yokohama, Japan to begin work with the Japan Evangelical Lutheran Church.  The early years in Tokyo were consumed by language study and the birth of two more children.  Lyle was assigned to the Hongo Student Center and Hongo Lutheran Church, virtually across the street from Tokyo University.  There, he encountered many young Japanese students curious about Christianity as well as the English language.  Those were turbulent years at the University and Lyle remembered that many days the wafting tear gas would sting his eyes on his way to the nearby subway. 

 

Seeking a deeper understanding of Japan, Lyle packed up the young family and sailed back across the Pacific in 1966 to study Japanese history at the University of Michigan and received his M.A. in 1967.  He returned to Japan and continued serving at the student center until 1970 when he accepted a position to teach Japanese language and culture at Monmouth College in Monmouth, Illinois.  

Lyle and Melba returned to Japan in 1971 and Lyle was assigned to Tokyo Lutheran Church, which had been established at its current site near bustling Shinjuku in 1923.  Serving with a Japanese co-pastor, Lyle’s ministry and preaching were conducted in Japanese.  He took up the study of Japanese calligraphy (shodo) and studied for more than a decade with a distinguished master and advanced through the formal ranking system with many published works.  Lyle served on the board of The American School in Japan, which his three children attended, as well as on the board of the Lutheran mission in Japan, and contributed to numerous building and real estate projects throughout the years.  

After Lyle and Melba’s children had left home for St. Olaf College, Amherst College and Williams College, they returned to the United States in 1985.  Following an interim at Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church in Niagara Falls, New York, Rev. Larson was installed as pastor of Grace Lutheran Church in Scarsdale, New York where he served until his retirement in 1994.  Lyle and Melba immediately felt at home, as the proximity to Manhattan and the considerable Japanese expatriate community drew on many of their experiences in Tokyo.  Lyle particularly enjoyed the ministry to children and their families at Grace, which had an active pre-school as did Tokyo Lutheran Church.  

As retirement approached, Lyle and Melba were drawn toward the bucolic hills of the Berkshires that they had encountered in their many trips to Williams College, with similarities to the mountainous countryside of Lake Nojiri where they would vacation in Japan.  They built a house with log construction in the town of Washington.  Lyle honed his carpentry skills by completing many of the finishings and a separate workshop, and Lyle and Melba poured their energies into making syrup every year from the sugar maples on their 12 acres.  They were active at Zion Lutheran Church in Pittsfield, and Lyle would fill in as needed at other Lutheran churches in the region, including for more than a year in Amherst.  

Lyle and Melba moved to Amherst in 2011 where their son’s family had moved, and were able to attend the many sports, music and other school activities of their three grandchildren Edward, Catherine and William.  They were also reacquainted with many in the congregation when they became active members at Immanuel Lutheran Church. 

Rev. Larson is survived by his wife Melba of Amherst; daughter Susan of Las Vegas, Nevada; son Nathanael and three grandchildren of Amherst; and daughter Rachel of Vashon Island, Washington.  He is also survived by his brother Donald (Lois) Larson of South Sioux City, Nebraska; sister Elinor Boettcher of Newman Grove, Nebraska; sister Janet (James) Atkinson of Albion, Nebraska; and sister-in-law Marian Larson of Tekamah, Nebraska.  He was preceded in death by his brother Gerald Larson of Seward, Nebraska; twin brothers Carl and Dale in infancy; brother-in-law Arthur Boettcher; paternal grandparents Robert and Bertha Larson; and maternal grandparents Thorstein and Anna Olson.

 

 

 

 

PostHeaderIcon ELIZABETH “BETTY” MOULDER of GREENFIELD, MASS, June 13, 1941 – April 15, 2017

Greenfield, Elizabeth (Betty) (Field) Moulder, 75, died Saturday, April 15, 2017, at Poet Seat Health Care.

 

She was born June 13, 1941 in Hartford, CT to R. Carlyle and Catherine (Hoffman) Field.

 

She worked early on at the Clarke School for the Deaf in Northampton and later as a secretary at Kaiser Permanente and at the Amherst High School. Before retiring she worked as a home health aide.

 

She loved to bake and cook and was well known for her lemon bars. She was always smiling and cheerful. She and her late husband L.Z. enjoyed dancing and traveling with their motor home and were members of the Hilltown Chapter and Good Sam camping clubs. She was a member of the Unity Chapter No. 66, Order of the Eastern Star of Amherst. She was also a member of the Moose Club in Greenfield and a past member of the VFW in Amherst.

 

She leaves a daughter, Mary (Moulder) and her husband Roderick “Greg” Rawls of Millers Falls; a granddaughter, Ashlea A. Rawls of Leverett; a grandson Jonathan T. Rawls of Millers Falls; and a great-grandson, Caiden James L.Z. Aubrey of Leverett. She leaves a brother, John Field of Leverett; sister-in-laws, Edith “Edie” Field and Alice Field of Leverett. Brothers and sister-in-laws Donald & Adeline Moulder, Earl Moulder, Jimmy & Katie Moulder, Jackie and Jo Moulder, and Wanita (Moulder) Cowan all of Missouri. Several nieces and nephews.

 

She was predeceased by her husband of 50 years, L.Z. Moulder in 2013; her daughter, Terry L. Moulder in 2006; brothers Edward and Carlyle Field; a sister and brother-in-law Adam and Mary (Field) Dods; and a sister-in-law Emily Field all of Leverett. A sister-in-law Jessie Moulder of Missouri.

 

Funeral services will be Thursday, April 20th at 10 am at the Douglass Funeral Service, Amherst, followed by a burial at the East Leverett Cemetery.

 

Calling hours will be Wednesday, April 19th from 5 to 7 pm at the Douglass Funeral Service, Amherst.

 

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to New England Hospice, Partners in Care, 190 Old Derby Street, Suite 304, Hingham, MA 02043.

 

 

 

 

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

MERKA FLETCHER of SHUTESBURY, MASS died on May 18, 2017

MARGARET HELENE MOAKLER of HADLEY, MASS died on April 14, 2017

LAWRENCE HOWARD PRATT of PELHAM, MASS died on May 11, 2017

TERRY RUMBLE-WALKER of BELCHERTOWN, MASS died on May 16, 2017

ARNOLD TREHUB of AMHERST, MASS died on April 3, 2017

REV. ANDREA JANE HEAPS ZUCKER of HOLYOKE, MASS died on April 30, 2017