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PostHeaderIcon ELIZABETH JEAN FARNSWORTH of AMHERST, MA, December 8, 1962 – October 27, 2017

ELIZABETH JEAN FARNSWORTH, 54, residing in Amherst, MA, died at home unexpectedly on October 27th, 2017. She was born in Boston, MA on December 8th, 1962, and was predeceased by her parents, William B. and Jean G. Farnsworth.  She is survived by her brother Robert L. Farnsworth and her sister-in-law Georgia N. Nigro of Greene, ME; her nephews Nathan and Tobias Farnsworth; her aunt, Alys F. MacLeod of Bristol, RI; and her cousins Libby, Rory, Tucker, and Caroline.  Educated at Brown University (B.A. with honors 1984), The University of Vermont (M.S. Botany 1991), and Harvard University (PhD. Ecology 1997), Elizabeth conducted research projects in plant ecology all over the world in a vigorous and distinguished career spanning more than three decades. She dedicated her prolific scientific and artistic expertise to environmental education in a wide variety of settings, from university teaching to development of ecology education projects for children.  Elizabeth served as a scientific consultant to government agencies such as the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. National Park Service, and the Environmental Protection Agency, and worked recently as the Research Ecologist and Director of Education at The New England Wild Flower Society in Framingham, MA. Her wide-ranging research was recognized and supported by numerous grant awards from such sources as the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. The American scientific community will miss Elizabeth’s energetic presence and distinguished accomplishments in the field of ecology. Her wide and devoted circle of friends in science and in the arts has lost an ardent, gifted musician and visual artist, and a witty, fervent, and loyal companion.  A memorial celebration of Elizabeth’s life is being planned for the near future. For further information on developments thus, check the Hitchcock Center website .  The family suggests that donations in memory of Elizabeth be sent to New England Wild Flower Society, Hitchcock Center for the Environment , Amandla Chorus , or any other conservation organization, group, or charity of the donor’s choice.

PostHeaderIcon MAXINE B. MARRA of AMHERST, MASS, March 31, 1933 – October 15, 2017

Amherst, Maxine Brooks Marra of Amherst, Massachusetts, died peacefully in her home on Sunday, October 15, 2017. She was 94. She was attended by her loving caregiver and friend of more than five years, Gladys Kumi. During the time Gladys cared for Maxine, they developed a deep relationship based in kindness and good humor. Maxine and Gladys began and ended each day in prayer that was the source of great comfort to both.

Born on a small farm in Grass Lake, Michigan in March of 1923, Maxine was the fourth child of six born to Elizabeth (Bessie) and William Mix Brooks.  She attended the local one room schoolhouse. Later she taught at the same schoolhouse. Maxine continued her teaching career in post-war England.

She married Alan A. Marra in November of 1951 and moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan, where she raised three boys. The Marra family moved to Amherst, Massachusetts in 1972. 

After raising her family, Maxine returned to her teaching career.  In her forties she went to graduate school earning her Masters of Education from the University of Massachusetts. She taught Remedial Reading in the Northampton School system until she retired in 1998. Always a passionate reader, Maxine indulged in historical romance novels, which she described to her students as a guilty pleasure.

Maxine always enjoyed tending a garden. She and Alan kept a healthy and productive vegetable patch in addition to growing a variety of flowers that bloomed throughout the seasons.  Together they grew and harvested grapes, strawberries, blueberries, red and golden raspberries, blackberries, and currants, which were preserved into delicious jams and jellies.  Their many garden gifts were enjoyed by their sons, grandchildren, extended family, and friends.  She was at home in the kitchen and in addition to making family meals would frequently bake bread and cookies from scratch.

Maxine had a life-long interest in history and made a personal connection to it through the study of her own family history researching genealogical records as a hobby.

A talented seamstress, Maxine had a strong sense of style and kept up with the latest fashion in clothes she made herself. She was an avid conversationalist who had a sharp wit and a well-developed sense of humor, which she tended to share only with those who knew of it.  She loved to play the piano.  Both she and Alan were actively involved in the mental health community. 

Maxine is preceded by her eldest son, Daniel in October of 2011, and her husband of 51 years, Alan, in May of 2012. She is survived by sons Nicholas of South Hadley, his daughters Alexandra, Julia, Christina, and Samantha, and his wife, Leslie, and Franklin, of Amherst, his wife, Noelle, their sons, Collen, Arin and Quinton.

Funeral services will be held at Wesley United Methodist Church in Hadley on Friday, October 27, 2017 at 10:00 AM. Burial will be at Wildwood Cemetery, Amherst, following the services. A luncheon reception to honor and cherish fond memories of Maxine will be held at The Amherst Women’s Club. In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests that donations be made to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, at in honor of Maxine B. Marra.


PostHeaderIcon KAREN KWARTLER HARPER of HOLYOKE, MASS, March 27, 1952 – October 13, 2017

Holyoke— Karen Nina (Kwartler) Harper, 65, died October13 of pancreatic cancer at her home in Holyoke.

Born March 27, 1952 in Brooklyn, New York, she was the daughter of Eli Kwartler of Pelham and the late Adele Behrman Kwartler.

In the last three years, Karen served in several roles as an advocate for elders and other vulnerable populations, as she had done her entire life.  She taught a course on geriatric health at Holyoke Community College, provided program and organizational development assistance to Quality Adult Day Care in West Springfield and Holyoke, and served as a Strategic Planning Committee member of the Dementia-Friendly Holyoke initiative. She balanced these roles with enjoying her dream home on the banks of the Connecticut River with her husband and two beloved dogs, and spending vacation time on Cape Cod and in Maine whenever she could.  

Karen graduated from Longmeadow High School in 1970, briefly attended Tufts University, and then settled on Cape Cod where she began her lifetime love of the Outer Cape. There she met her first husband Stephen Mock. Karen and Stephen moved to the Amherst area in the late ’70s so Karen could continue her education. She ultimately received her M.Ed. degree in Human Services and Counseling from Antioch University.

After Karen earned her degree, she took a job as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker at the Avalon School in Monterey, MA.  After a few years, she also began to provide social work consultation to nursing homes in that area of the Berkshires. She and Stephen purchased a home in South Egremont, MA, where they eventually welcomed sons George and next Kevin into their family.

In 1987, after Karen and Stephen were divorced, Karen, George and Kevin moved to Florence, MA.  When Karen first arrived in the Northampton area, she began to work in various nursing homes providing social work services to elderly patients and their families.  She reconnected with high-school boyfriend Ted Harper, and they married in 1991.

In 1998, Karen became Clinical Coordinator of Older Adult Behavioral Health Services at Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton. She remained in that position until she took a position at Providence Behavioral Health Hospital in Holyoke in 2002. From 2002 until 2014 she was employed at Providence, first as Program Clinical Director of older-adult psychiatric inpatient services, and then as Director of Clinical Programming.  She also served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Holyoke Council on Aging and of the Alzheimer’s Association where she was also a trainer at local nursing homes and other facilities.

During her early years at Providence, she and Ted purchased a house on the Connecticut River in Holyoke, fulfilling Karen’s long-held dream of living by the water full-time. Throughout her life, Karen was a creative and caring person in her personal and professional relationships.  She was deeply committed to recognizing the dignity of each person with whom she worked, whether they were patients or colleagues. She reached out to help those around her and developed deep friendships that she sustained throughout her life. In her final months, family members, colleagues, and devoted friends gathered to spend time with her at her home by the river, while Karen tended her flower and herb gardens, thought up new craft projects, and continued to show a keen interest and concern for others’ lives and welfare even as her own body was failing.

Karen is survived by her father Eli Kwartler; husband Theodore Harper; son George Mock of Southwick; son Kevin Mock and his wife Cara of Springfield; brother Jonathan Kwartler and his wife Rochelle of Cherry Hill, NJ; sister Dianne Jensen of Old Saybrook, CT; stepmother Barbara Benda Jenkins of Pelham and stepsister Eve Jenkins (John Monch) of Takoma Park, MD; niece Megan Jensen Sher (Adam Sher) of Falls Village, CT;  nephew Wesley Jensen of Groton, CT; nephews David Kwartler and Joshua Kwartler both of Philadelphia; grandson Kevin Mock, Jr.; great-nephew Eli Sher, and step-niece Althea Davey; dear friends Adrienne DeSantis, Marie Buskey-Redmond, Karen Redmond and Donna Longley, along with many other relatives and friends.

Making it possible for Karen to fulfill her wish to remain in her home until her death were staff members of the Cooley Dickinson Hospice team along with her husband, her niece, her father, her sister, and her friends mentioned above.

Funeral services will be held at the Jewish Community of Amherst, 742 Main Street, Amherst at 10 o’clock on Monday, October 16. Burial will follow the services in the Jewish Community of Amherst Cemetery in Shutesbury. 

Memorial gifts in Karen’s name may be made to Cooley Dickinson VNA/Hospice, 168 Industrial Dr., Northampton, MA 01060 or; Cancer Connection, 41 Locust St., Northampton, MA 01060 or; Alzheimers’s Association, 264 Cottage St., Springfield, MA  01104 or spirit.asp

PostHeaderIcon EDWARD HENRY THIEBE of LEVERETT, MASS, September 5, 1931 – October 19, 2017


Edward H Thiebe of Leverett, formally of Holyoke and Springfield, died on October 19, 2017.  Born in Holyoke September 5, 1931, he was the son of the late Edward and Esther

(Bey) Thiebe.  He graduated from Holyoke High School class of 1949, and received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Music Education from Lowell State Teachers College (University of Massachusetts at Lowell).  He attended Boston University and received a Masters Degree in Education from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.  He earned his Ph.D in Supervision and Curriculum Development form the University of Connecticut.  He was a veteran of the Korean War, serving with the 86th and 389th United States Army Bands. 


Dr. Thiebe taught at all levels of education from preschool through graduate school.  He began his teaching career as a fifth grade teacher at Westover School One in the Chicopee School System.  In Springfield, he taught as a fifth grade teacher at Memorial (Mary Dryden) School and was vocal music teacher and chorus director at the John J. Duggan Junior High School.  He conducted the Ursuline Academy Chorus and the Springfield Hospital (BayState Medical Center) Student Nurses’ Chorus.  After his tenure as Supervisor of Vocal Music for the Springfield School Department, Dr. Thiebe became an Associate Professor of Music and Director of Music at Springfield College directing the college’s musical ensembles and instructing student teachers.  He was an adjunct professor in the graduate school at the University of Lowell (University of Massachusetts at Lowell).


As a member of the Music Educators National Conference, Dr. Thiebe was a clinician in curriculum development at MENC District, State, Divisional and National Conferences/Conventions.  He served as curriculum consultant to various public school systems and participated in federal projects developing new music curricula using emerging media hardware/software.  He served on the executive board of the Massachusetts Music Education Association Western District.


Edward leaves his wife Patricia Y (Messier) of 62 years, four children; a son Edward A. Thiebe and his wife Sandra of Florida, and three daughters; Elizabeth A. Thiebe and her husband William Conelly of Great Britain, Linda M. Thiebe-Hickson of Springfield, and Jacqueline L. Thiebe of Washington State.  He leaves nine grandchildren, Kimberly Hickson-Torres, John Hickson, James, Raphael and Michael Conelly, Katrin, Gillian, Edward and Josh Thiebe.  He leaves 4 great grandchildren, Alexander and Madalyn Torres and Declan and Lachlan Palmer.

He leaves one sister, Marilyn A. (Thiebe) Bowers and her husband Glenn Bowers of Chicopee, a sister-in-law Jacqueline Kurtz; one brother-in-law Robert Messier and his wife Lorraine and eighteen nieces and nephews.  He was predeceased by Richard Messier, Clement Messier and Edward Kurtz.  


Dr. Thiebe will be interned at the convenience of the family.  Memorial donation may be made in his memory to the American Lung Association or to the American Heart Association

PostHeaderIcon PO-ZEN WONG of AMHERST, MA, November 6, 1952 – October 16, 2017

Po-zen Wong, of Amherst, died on Monday, October 16, 2017. He was just shy of 65 years old.

Born in Shanghai, China, on November 6, 1952, Po-zen moved to Hong Kong at the age of 4, where he stayed until he graduated from the Chinese University of Hong Kong with B.S. in Physics. Upon graduating, he moved to the United States to pursue his Ph.D. in Physics at the University of Chicago, which he completed in 1981. After several years with the Schlumberger-Doll Research Center, he began teaching in the Physics Department at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, in 1988. At UMass, he was known as a creative and tenacious condensed matter experimentalist who worked largely in soft matter physics (a new field at the time), and as a challenging, interesting, and influential teacher, mentor and colleague with a lot to say about physics and life.

After retiring from UMass in 2007, Po-zen turned his attention to another passion of his: Chinese art. His late father, Nan-Ping Wong, had been an art collector, and Po-zen channeled his energy and intellect into becoming an expert in Chinese art, and a collector himself. In 2013, he published his first article about Chinese art—becoming a published author in two very distinct fields.

Po-zen is survived by his wife, Chiu-wun, and his daughters, Joyce and Stephanie Wong, who love and miss him deeply. Po-zen’s life will be celebrated in a private memorial service on October 25, 2017. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to NEPR, 1525 Main Street, Springfield, MA 01103.

PostHeaderIcon DEBORAH BLOOMFIELD of EASTHAMPTON, MASS, September 4, 1975 – October 4, 2017

Easthampton, Deborah Bloomfield age 42, beloved mother, sister, and memaw died Wednesday October 4th at her home in Easthampton. 

She was born September 4th, 1975 to Linda and Joseph Kielbowicz. Deborah was a loving mother who lived for her children and family. 

She will be greatly missed by her children Ally, Tricia, Max, grandchildren, Jeremy and Liam, her sisters JoAnne Braverman, Katherine Russell. Her brother-inlaw Karl Braverman, her former husband Ethan Bloomfield. And her nieces Maddie Braverman, Emmalynn Wade, and nephews Cameron and Spencer Braverman.  

Family decided to keep funeral arrangements private, but there will be a memorial service held on Saturday, November 4th from 1-4pm at the Amherst VFW. 

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Autism Speaks, 1060 State Road, 2nd Floor Princeton, NJ 08540. 

PostHeaderIcon DANIEL G. BRESS of AMHERST, MASS, August 21, 1954 – October 3, 2017

Amherst, Daniel G. Bress, 63, passed away overnight on October 3rd, 2017 in his apartment in North Amherst, MA.

Daniel was a man of tremendous good will and a benevolent nature. He spoke in quips and self-deprecating jokes at every opportunity, but he was sincerely helpful to anyone who asked and endlessly thoughtful about the ways of the world.

He was also very private, cherishing his long walks in the early morning solitude of North Amherst and the patient magic of a darkroom. He was relentlessly observant and enjoyed the musings of other great watchers and wonderers like Stephen Wright and George Carlin, who informed much of his sense of humor. His cameras allowed him to be both present and apart anywhere he went. His photographs were his commentary on the world around him, especially when they were only to say, “This is beautiful,” or more often, “This is weird!” He graduated from Hallmark Institute of Photography in 2008 as a Professional Photographer.

Dan was fascinated by nature and, whether he was a child bringing home pockets stuffed full of rocks and worms, a young man walking his sons through his backyard garden to pick and eat fresh onions and radishes from the ground, or an adult pruning his bonsai trees and reading long books on fungi, he never stopped marveling at the miraculous cycle of growth, death, decay, and rebirth. He surrounded himself with plants everywhere he went and tried to share their comfort with others whenever he could. He graduated from the UMass University Without Walls in 2007 as a Master Gardener with a BA in Horticultural Presentation.

He was also fond of traveling and took many cruises with his partner Deb. His desire to peek into different lives and cultures was insatiable, and he reveled in the opportunity to start a conversation with a total stranger over the dinner table. More than anything though, he loved to sit in the heat of the sun and the smell of the salt water air.

Dan was the beloved father of and is survived by his son James Bress and his wife Julia Boisvert Bress of West Hartford, CT; his son Joseph Bress of Boston, MA; and his former wife, Susan Pynchon of Amherst, MA. He is also survived by his partner Deborah Lacasse of Holyoke, MA; his mother Dolores Carretta and sister Christine Groll of Stephentown, NY; and his nieces Michelle and Nicole Hoffman.

A public memorial service will be held at the Douglass Funeral Service in Amherst, MA at 10:00am on October 21st. In lieu of flowers, donations in Daniel’s memory may be made to The Red Cross or the Massachusetts Nature Conservancy.

PostHeaderIcon INGEBORG S. FREITAG of HADLEY, MA, May 13, 1924 – October 6, 2017

Hadley, Ingeborg (Skjerne) Freitag, 93, passed away on October 6, 2017, at Elaine Center at Hadley. She was born on May 13, 1924, to the late Axel and Frances (Fischer) Skjerne in Indianapolis, Indiana, but grew up in Oberlin, Ohio. After her mother passed at an early age, she was raised by her father and adopted mother, Ebba Schöller, of Copenhagen, Denmark. Ingeborg graduated from Oberlin High School, Phi Beta Kappa from Oberlin College, and received her Masters of Library Science from Case Western Reserve in Cleveland, Ohio.


During her career as an Art Librarian, Ingeborg worked at the Vassar College Art Library and the Kunstindustri Museum of Copenhagen, and then she moved to New York City where she worked for many years at the Watson Library and Robert Lehman Collection Library, both at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  She was the devoted wife of Dr. Werner Freitag, who predeceased her in 1996, after being married for 43 years.  Ingeborg spent many years traveling throughout Europe with her husband, using Denmark as their base, and they enjoyed their house in the White Mountains in Franconia, New Hampshire, where she took great pleasure of the flowers in her window boxes and working on her photo albums.


Ingeborg loved Manhattans, dark chocolate, and her toy poodles; during her last years, she cherished the friendship of Jane Bowne, her next-door neighbor. They took day trips together, searching out the best sources of chocolate and ice cream, and enjoyed laughing and dining out. Jane made aging lighthearted and fun; she continued to visit and laugh with Ingeborg even after Ingeborg went into assisted living.


She will be missed by her two sons, Steven Freitag and his wife, Pam, of Edison, New Jersey and Christopher Freitag and his wife, Melanie, of Hadley, Massachusetts, and her four grandchildren, Melissa, Rebecca, Heather, and William. A memorial service will be held at a later date at Grace Episcopal Church, with a private burial at Elmwood Cemetery, Franconia, New Hampshire. Donations, in memory of Ingeborg, can be made to Grace Episcopal Church, 14 Boltwood Avenue, Amherst, Massachusetts 01002.



PostHeaderIcon ALICE M. BUKOSKI of AMHERST, June 25, 1928 – October 6, 2017

Amherst, Alice M. Bukoski, 89, of Amherst passed away peacefully on October 6, 2017, at the Hospice of the Fisher Home in Amherst.


She was born on June 25, 1928, in Hadley, the daughter of the late John L. Lizek and Josephine (Kalentek) Lizek.  Alice graduated from Hopkins Academy and Northampton Commercial College. After graduating from college, she worked at the Esso gas station in Northampton as a bookkeeper until she was married on June 25, 1949, to Frank J. Bukoski of Amherst. They celebrated 60 wonderful years together.   After her marriage, Alice was a devoted wife and mother to four children.


Alice leaves her children, Linda Thompson and her husband Robert of Chester, MA; Ronald Bukoski and his wife Cynthia of Bourne, MA; Nancy Dillon and her husband Thomas of Swarthmore, PA; and Jane Archer of Granby, CT.  She is survived by her brother, John Lizek, and Stella Stroiney both of Windsor Locks, CT; ten grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; and nieces and nephews.  She was predeceased by her husband, Frank, and sister, Angeline Czajkowski.


Visiting hours will be from 8:30 to 9:45 am at the Douglass Funeral Home, 87 North Pleasant Street, Amherst.  A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10 am at St. Brigid’s Catholic Church in Amherst.  Burial will follow at St. Brigid’s Cemetery in Hadley.


In lieu of flowers, donations in Alice’s memory may be made to the Hospice of the Fisher Home, 1165 North Pleasant Street, Amherst, MA 01002 or St. Brigid’s Church, 122 North Pleasant Street, PO Box 424, Amherst, MA 01004.


Memorial register at


PostHeaderIcon JOHN M. CUSHING of AMHERST, MASS, April 15, 1934 – October 2, 2017

Amherst, John M. Cushing, a long-time resident of South Amherst and a popular physical education teacher within the Amherst Regional School System, died Oct. 2 in the Cooley Dickenson Hospital in Northampton.  He was 83.

John is well known to generations of elementary school students in the Amherst Regional School System, primarily at Marks Meadow Elementary School but he also taught physical education at the Wildwood and Fort River Elementary Schools.  He was also a Downhill Ski Team coach for Amherst Regional High School.  Additionally, he spent many summers as a life guard and swimming instructor at the War Memorial Pool and the Mill River Pool.  He also ran summer recreation programs for the Town of Amherst, and one particularly popular one introduced kids to the joys track & field.  John also coached many youth sports teams.

Outside the classroom, John had many hobbies and interests that kept him busy throughout his life.  In his younger years, he spent a lot of time fishing.  Some favorite fishing destinations included the Quabbin Reservoir for bass and catfish, Swansea and Cape Cod for stripers and bluefish, and various lakes and ponds throughout Western Mass for pickerel, trout, and anything else that would bite.  Even in the coldest months of winter, he would pull on his Sorels to go ice fishing.  In his later years, he became more and more active with birdwatching, which took him and wife Merry all over New England along with a wide circle of their birding friends.  He was also a good sport about supporting Merry’s daily obsession with hiking, and even climbed Mt. Norwottuck on the Holyoke Range in South Amherst at the age of 82!

Naturally, being a physical education teacher meant John had a life-long passion for sports.  In high school he was a scrappy football player for Cushing Academy, despite being small to play football, inspired by the football success of his older brother Joe.  He also competed in downhill skiing.  He played tennis throughout his life, but became an increasingly active tennis player after he retired from teaching and played in competitive tennis leagues well into his 70s.  He also enjoyed playing in an Amherst golf league for many years, along with his long time friend Don Johnson.

John was a big fan of New England professional sports, and particularly the Red Sox and Patriots.  It certainly made up for many, many frustrating years as a New England sports fan for him to see the Red Sox win the World Series three times, and the Patriots win the Super Bowl five times!

John was born in Fitchburg, MA, in 1934 to Joseph Cushing and Ruth Merwin Cushing.  He grew up as the second youngest of five siblings, and his family lived across the street from a small downhill skiing facility.  He went to High School at Cushing Academy.  When he served a 2-year stint in the U.S. Army, he was stationed at Fort Carson in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  He then went to UMass and completed his degree in Physical Education and later went on to get his Masters Degree.  While at UMass, he was a member of the UMass Ski Club and the swim team where he competed as a diver.  It was there that he met his future wife, Merry Borden. 

Survivors include his wife of 57 years, Merry Borden Cushing.  Other survivors include their three children:  John M. Cushing Jr (Vienna, VA}; Amy Dulac {Amherst}; and Thomas Cushing (Stratford, CT}; as well as 5 grandchildren, Elizabeth Dulac, Thomas Dulac, Emily Rose Cushing, Faith Cushing, and Andrew Thomas Cushing.  Additional survivors include his brother Joseph Cushing from Franconia, New Hampshire; his sister Nancy Howe from Rutland, MA; and his brother Matthew Cushing from Atco, New Jersey.

The family appreciates all the well wishes they have received, but requests that no flowers or gifts be sent.  For anyone who would like to make a donation in John’s honor, the family requests it be sent to the Kestrel Land Trust, PO Box 1016, Amherst, MA  01004 or


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PAUL ROBINSON ROTHERY, JR. of AMHERST, MASS died on August 23, 2017