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Archive for the ‘Obituaries’ Category

PostHeaderIcon WILLIAM M. BATES of GROVELAND, MA. April 24,1936-June 18, 2022

William Miller Bates, 86, of Groveland, Ma. passed away on Saturday, June 18, 2022.

He was born in Northampton, Ma. on April 24, 1936, the only child to the late Donald H. and Florence L. (Miller) Bates.

William (Bill) grew up in Amherst and was a 1954 graduate of Amherst High School. He was married to Nancy A. Rule in 1964 and they continued to live in the Amherst and Hadley area until relocating to the eastern part of Massachusetts. Prior to moving to Groveland, they lived 3 years in So. Weymouth, Ma. and 12 years in The Pinehills of Plymouth, Ma. After relocating to Plymouth Bill found he was a descendant of some of the original Mayflower passengers John Billington, Edward Doty and Stephen Hopkins.

William retired from the University of Massachusetts in 1996 after almost 40 years of service. Throughout those years he worked for the: Electrical Engineering Dept., Audio Visual/Media Center, and for the last 20 years in the Physics Dept. He received a Chancellor’s Citation Award in 1987. Following retirement, he kept busy being a home handyman, and a good neighbor.

He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Nancy A. Bates; his sister-in-laws: Barbara A. Rule of So. Hadley and Nancy A. Rule of Belchertown; a niece Joanne L. Wheeler of So. Hadley; a nephew Darryl L. Rule of Ballston Spa, NY.; as well many grand nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Honoring William’s wishes there are no calling hours. A private burial of his ashes will be held at the convenience of the family at a later date.

Contributions in his memory can be made to: Rattlesnake Gutter Trust, P.O. Box 195, Leverett, Ma. 01054, or Nichols Village Residents Association, 1 Nichols Way, Groveland, Ma. 01834

Memorial guestbook at www.douglassfuneral.com

PostHeaderIcon WILLIAM NORRIS ROBINSON of SHUTESBURY, September 30, 1943 – June 15, 2022

William Norris Robinson, 78 of Shutesbury Ma, passed away peacefully at home on June 15 2022 after battling cancer. Bill leaves behind his wife Donna, his sister Priscilla and brothers Steven, David, Sanford and Paul and many dear friends.

 

Bill had fond memories of growing up on North East St in Amherst. He graduated from Amherst High School and apprenticed as a shoe cobbler before proudly serving his country in the USMC for 6 years. When he returned home he became the proud owner of Bill’s Shoe Repair at 41 North Pleasant St, where he met his wife Donna and employed many of his family members. After 20 years of business and the invention of the molded sole Bill and his wife closed shop and went to work at Umass. 

 

Bill retired from Umass but never stopped, he loved buying and selling cars and anything old and used and anything with patina. Sometimes he didn’t even know what he was buying or selling but as he would say ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained.’ He was in his true element when he was wheeling and dealing. Even in his last weeks he was buying things for his flea market space at the Palmer Antiques Co-op and hoping to make it to Wilmington Vt.

           

Bill was the nicest person. He made this world a better place. He will be missed.

           

A memorial service will be held at a later date, please email wnrmemorial@yahoo.com for more information. Please respond as soon as possible, plans will be made based on number of people interested in attending. Memorial guestbook at www.douglassfuneral.com

PostHeaderIcon ESTERICA McGILL of AMHERST, April 11, 1930 – May 5, 2022

Esterica Choban McGill passed away peacefully on Thursday, May 5, 2022, in Amherst, at the age of 92.

Esterica was born April 11, 1930, in South St. Paul, Minnesota. She received her bachelor of arts in both political science and secretarial science from the University of Minnesota. It was at the university that Esterica met George McGill, whom she married in 1955.

In 1958, Esterica and George moved to Amherst, where George joined the faculty of the geology department at UMass Amherst. Esterica devoted her time to raising their three daughters.

Growing up, Esterica was a talented drum majorette, leading many a drum and bugle corp. She was also a figure skater and member of the St. Paul Figure Skating Club. Summer skating in St. Paul included thrice-weekly Pop Concerts, where skaters performed along with the Minneapolis Symphony and The Civic Opera. The St. Paul Pop Concerts were famous nationwide, as they were the only show of its kind in the world. Esterica was a featured skater, performing both with a partner, and as a solo performer twirling her signature flaming batons.

Esterica introduced her daughters to her lifelong love of figure skating, two of whom skated for years throughout New England. Esterica was a charter member of the Skating Club of Amherst, where she was on the board for many years, serving as President, Secretary, and Test Chair. In 1979, Esterica began her career as a figure skating judge, and earned her gold appointment a decade later. Over the years, Esterica judged many regional events, including New Englands and North Atlantics. In 2010, Esterica was awarded the “Spirit of Skating Award” from the Providence and Pawtucket Rhode Island Figure Skating Club, honoring her decades-long commitment and contributions to the sport.

Esterica served as Precinct Warden for the Town of Amherst elections for many years. She was an avid reader of mystery novels, and enjoyed traveling with her husband, George. Esterica was also was a bit of a card shark, enjoying the game of Bridge with a dedicated group of friends throughout her adult life.

Esterica was predeceased by her husband of 63 years, George McGill. She is survived by her daughters Kathryn Ann McGill (Grahame Waghorn), Sandra McGill Piedmonte (Brian) and Edith McGill Glasgow (Robert). She is also survived by grandchildren Anthony Piedmonte, Brianna Piedmonte, Corinne Piedmonte, Meghan Glasgow, and great-grandson Jaxston Stauffer.

Graveside services for Esterica will be held at Wildwood Cemetery, Amherst, at 10:00 a.m. on June 30, 2022. Friends are welcome. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Hospice of the Fisher Home in Amherst.

Memorial guestbook at www.douglassfuneral.com

PostHeaderIcon MARTIN OSTROWSKI of SHUTESBURY, September 26, 1947 – June 6, 2022

      Martin B. Ostrowski, born September 26, 1947, passed away peacefully at the age of 74 years old on June 6th at his home. Although he was originally born and raised on a farm in South Deerfield, he spent most of his life on Lake Wyola in Shutesbury. He spent his life as a carpenter. His greatest accomplishment was slowly building his dream home until the day he died. He used to say “a carpenter’s house is never done until after they die”. He held true to the saying. Some people knew him as Marty “Crazywolf” Ostrowski.

     Around Lake Wyola, he was known to drive his tractor around helping any neighbor who needed it. If he wasn’t riding the tractor, he was riding lawn mower, and always waving hello.

     Marty surrounded his life with motorcycles and music. He cherished his Triumph bikes more than anything. The dream in the last few years was one last ride with a sidecar. Every year, he made sure to attend the Green River Music Festival and supported his musical friends and local music community.

     He reunites with his love, Kathleen A. O’Connor, and dearest friend, Jeff Martell. He leaves behind his son, Kyle J. Ostrowski, and stepdaughter, Colleen M. Glidden. He will be greatly missed by all. The lake already misses Marty waving from his tractor. There will be a celebration of life at the end of July. As details become finalized, his family will make them known. Memorial guestbook at www.douglassfuneral.com

PostHeaderIcon MICHAEL LIGHT CHERNOFF of AMHERST, January 25, 1945 – June 14, 2022

Michael Light Chernoff died on June 14, 2022 at home, with his beloved wife and daughters at his side. The cause of death, as explained by Michael’s three-year-old grandson Isaiah, is that “his heart got old and stopped working.” The workings of Michael’s joyful and generous heart had been impaired by the recurrence of incurable liver cancer. Michael met this diagnosis, and his death, with courage, acceptance, and an indomitable sense of humor.

 

Michael was 77 years old, and by his own account, had “lived a charmed life.” He was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on January 25, 1945 to Harold and Florence Chernoff and had a happy childhood with his younger brother, John Chernoff. The family spent the summers in Beach Haven, New Jersey and Michael always carried with him the happy memories of those long summer days, the sound of his parents and their friends speaking Yiddish and drinking cocktails in the evening on the beach, the feeling of taking a nap in the sun after swimming in the ocean.

 

Michael attended Shadyside Academy in Pittsburgh and then Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois where he earned a degree in Sociology. On May 21st of his junior year he went on a blind date with a girl named Jaymie Wolcott. Michael went to pick up Jaymie at her dorm and when she walked down the stairs to meet him it was, as he explained later, “game over.” He fell in love instantly, and – as anyone who ever met him knows – he stayed madly in love with her all of his life.

 

Michael and Jaymie loved their adventures together, beginning with their one-way tickets to Greece in 1971, two years after they were married. They lived and worked in Athens, and then on the small island of Syros. They continued to travel over the years while they shared the everyday adventure of working, raising their two girls, Nina and Bryn, and being a part of the Amherst community. In retirement they embarked on a new adventure together, studying Spanish and eventually buying a home in Queretaro, Mexico where they lived for part of each year. Michael was passionate about Mexico and called his time there a “complement to his soul.” The adventure, the novelty, and the freshness were invigorating to him. He loved the warm and patient culture of the Queretanos, the concerts on every corner, and “Numero 73,” their beautiful home filled with flowers and hummingbirds. 

 

Michael’s professional life was shaped by his intellectual curiosity and his determination to be a good provider. He earned a master’s degree in Sociology at the University of Chicago, and a PhD in Sociology at UMass Amherst. He started his career as an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Georgia State University, but found he was drawn more to real-world projects and New England. He left academia and joined the marketing team at National Evaluation Systems in Amherst. At the time of his retirement in 2010, he was a development officer for the UMass Engineering College where he was fascinated by the engineering projects and broke office records in outreach and fundraising. 

 

What Michael brought to every job was an intense work ethic and irreverent sense of humor. He had treasured colleagues over the years, many of whom became dear friends, who joined him both in his philosophy that “everything worth doing is worth doing well” as well as a variety of hijinks. For all his professional success, he would say that his best job had been on the garbage truck in his high school summers in Beach Haven; he loved the early morning camaraderie, stopping at the Coast Guard station for donuts and coffee, and finishing in time for an afternoon at the beach.

 

Michael has been an active member of the Amherst community for over forty years. He spent a few lively years as a member of the Amherst School Committee; he was a volunteer tutor and Board Member of the Amherst Literacy Project; and most recently was fundraising for The Jones Library. He was a former Board member of the Jewish Community of Amherst, a writer of sharp and thoughtful letters to the editor of the Gazette, and a stalwart fan of American Legion games at the high school field.

 

Michael loved his circle of long-time friends in Amherst, his new friendships in Mexico, being a part of the Jewish community, having meaningful conversations, his Spanish lessons, physics, his daily volunteer role managing finances for his daughter Bryn’s business, astronomy, loud music, reading, coffee, working out, checking things off lists, drag racing, a good nap (he always recommended the “luge” position for napping), and especially his Pittsburgh Steelers. He often expressed his affection by heckling and was always cracking jokes, but he was serious about love. He loved his wife and daughters with a force and depth that made their lives rich and safe and joyful; a love that will sustain them in the days to come.

 

Michael’s surviving family members include his wife of more than 53 years, Jaymie Chernoff; their daughter Nina Chernoff and her partner Mark Sylvester; their daughter Bryn Chernoff and her husband Tim Yu, and their children, Simone and Isaiah; his brother John Chernoff and John’s wife Donna Chernoff; his sisters-in-law Jill Wolcott, Janine Wolcott, Joan Wolcott and her husband Craig Elliott, Jennifer Wolcott and her husband Bernard Cabrera, and his beloved nieces and nephews, Eunice, Eva, Harlan, Avram, Jemma, Sergei, Cate, Oliver, Owen, Alex, Nat, and Nick. Michael is predeceased by his beloved parents, as well as his dear cousins Harvey and Lenore Light.

 

A memorial service will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, June 21st at the Jewish Community Center of Amherst. All who knew and cared for Michael are welcome. The family will be sitting shiva at their home at 97 Gray Street from 7 to 9 p.m. on June 21st, 22nd, and 23rd. (Shiva is an opportunity for anyone reading this to come by and call on the family to offer condolences and support; you do not need to be Jewish to attend.) Memorial guestbook at www.douglassfuneral.com

 

 

 

 

 

PostHeaderIcon RONALD D. LASHWAY, SR. of AMHERST, August 10, 1949 – May 22, 2022

Amherst – Ronald D. Lashway Sr., 72, died at home, Sunday May 22, 2022, surrounded by his family after a brief illness. He was born August 10, 1949 to the late Leo E. and Anna L. Lashway (Reynolds). He was born and raised in Amherst and a life-long communicant of St. Brigid’s Church. He attended Amherst schools and graduated from Amherst High School in 1967. He was a star soccer and baseball athlete, impressing others with his speed and earning him the nickname, “Flash”.

 

He graduated from the University of Stockbridge in 1971 and returned to schooling at the New England Institute in 1982 where he earned a degree in Mortuary Science to pursue his life-calling career as Funeral Director.
At a young age, following high school, Ronnie graduated from the Police Academy and served the community as an Amherst Police Officer until 1976. During the 1970s and early 1980s Ronnie was an avid softball player, scratch golfer, harness horse driver and trainer, co-restaurant owner with his wife Cyndy, and auctioneer and antique enthusiast. He excelled in anything he set his mind to, leaving some to admire his perfectionism.
Ronnie was deeply involved in the Amherst sports community and Amherst sports teams. He served as a well-known baseball umpire for Little League and Amherst High School baseball in the 1990s, carrying his iconic can of Pepsi wherever he went. He coached his daughter’s softball team and was an omnipresent fan at his children’s softball, soccer, baseball and football games. He even made an appearance with his pet squirrel, Harvey. 
Ronnie was a life-long supporter of the Town of Amherst and its athletics, in particular in North Amherst and the Cushman area where he was born and raised. He was a season ticket holder for UMass athletics. He loved striper fishing with his wife and vacation at Hampton Beach. In line with his faith and philosophy, Ronnie admired Coach Mike Krzyzewski, a family-first man, and was a devoted supporter of Duke basketball.
He was the founder and President of the Amherst Regional High School Athletic Alumni Association where he rallied the community to raise funds and put lights on Community Field, which started the Friday night football tradition. Through his leadership and resolve, his efforts led to new field scoreboards, needed team equipment, and a two-story Press Box where you could hear him volunteer his color commentary to announce the High School Football Games. One of his proudest moments was announcing the 1999 Football Season where the team won the first Super Bowl in 25 years, coached by his son, Ron Jr.
He and his wife Cyndy, who celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary earlier this year, purchased the Douglass Funeral Home in 1995. Side-by-side, they served Amherst and the surrounding communities and thousands of families as if they were their own. They believed in helping families during their most difficult times in their lives, and if they could make it a little easier, it was truly their reward.
Ron loved tooling around in his old “Blue” Chevy pick-up truck, and made a daily visit to J&J Farm to visit the girls (cows), feed a bottle to the calf and visit with his nephews, Butch and Mike. His love for animals extended to his treasured Siamese cats, Patience and Gunner; K9 Artie and grand-dog, Jax.

He is survived by his wife and best friend, Cyndy I. (Borowski), of 50 years. He was the proud father to five children; his son, Ronald David Lashway Jr. and wife Tara; daughters Tammy Jean Stanley and Rick, Susan Ann Brand (Stanley) and husband Art, Colleen Lynn Ayres and husband Larry, and Jaimie Patricia Ruddock and Jimmy; He was “Grampy” to eight grandchildren; Marissa Janelle and Colin James Brand, Chase Ronald and Max David Lashway, and Morgan Reese, Miss Ivy “May”, Devin Thomas and Nicole Lauren Ayres. He is also survived by his three sisters, Patricia Connly, Loretta Hurston and Doris MacDonald and many cousins, nieces and nephews. He is predeceased by his brothers Donald, Leo and Robert “Buddy” Lashway and his sisters Beverly “Babe” Waskiewicz, Marrion Lovett and Shirley Borowski.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations in honor of Ronnie to V Foundation Cancer Research (14600 Weston Parkway, Cary, NC 27513), Hospice of the Fisher Home in Amherst or St. Brigid’s Church of Amherst.
Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. Brigid’s Church on Friday, May 27, 2022 at 10:00 AM with burial following at St. Brigid’s Cemetery in Hadley, MA. Calling Hours will be held at The Douglass Funeral Service in Amherst, MA. from 4:00 PM – 7:00 PM on Thursday, May 26, 2022.
 

PostHeaderIcon HELEN W. PERRON of AMHERST, April 5, 1931 – May 17, 2022

Helen W. Perron, 91, of Amherst died peacefully May 17, 2022 at home surrounded by the love of her family.  Helen was born on Easter Sunday, April 5, 1931 on the family farm at North East Street in Amherst, MA.  Helen was the middle child of five, born to the late Joseph B. Wysocki and Nellie (Serafin) Wysocki.  As a child, Helen was taught a strong Polish work ethic and was proud to have helped her parents prosper on the farm.  She would fondly remember guiding work horses as a child to cultivate tobacco, mow hay and harvest crops. 

Helen attended Cushman Grammar School and Amherst High School graduating in 1949.  It was in the tobacco fields one summer that she met her soulmate, a handsome young man named Ed, who was just returning from WWII and a friend of her brothers Walt and Frank.  In September of 1949 she married Edward Perron and moved only a short distance from her childhood home to Flat Hills Rd. 

In marriage, Helen was very supportive and encouraging to Ed, they made a great team. Helen joined Ed in the business world by keeping the books for his auto repair business, eventually moving from her home office to an office at Boyden & Perron.  At Boyden & Perron, she became a respected king pin in the power equipment division, handling the sales and parts departments.  To this day customers will come in and say they remember buying their first mower from Helen over 40 years ago.  Up until the pandemic, she would come into work every day for a few hours and enjoy chatting with customers.

Helen’s love of farming and green thumb never left her.  She would keep beautiful flower and vegetable gardens and there was never a weed that didn’t get pulled.  She was proud of her blueberry patch were she and her high school friend, Doris Drake would spend quality time picking and chatting.  She was a firm believer in taking care of herself, eating well and exercising.  In their spare time, she and Ed loved to go Polka dancing. 

Helen was always welcoming, either at the business or at home.  She loved to cook and could put on a good meal for a crowd at the spur of a moment from her well stocked pantry.  Summer picnics with family and friends were always a favorite for her.  No one ever went hungry or thirsty at her house.  Putting others needs before hers, she never complained about her daily workload that might be on her.  Her favorite used phrase was “Just do it”.  She was an eternal optimist, a selfless caregiver and always grateful for the good deeds bestowed upon her.

Polish Heritage, customs and her faith were integral parts of family life.  She was a lifelong communicant of St Brigid’s Church of Amherst, rarely missing a Sunday Mass either here or away while wintering at their home in Kissimmee, Florida.  Ed and she always looked forward to visiting family and friends along their annual east coast journey. 

We would like to thank the compassionate skilled caregivers that enabled her to stay at home: Sara, Angie, Kate, Kara, Kaitlin, Vicki and Deb, Father Smegal and the staff of the Hospice of the Fisher Home.

She is survived by her two sons Don and his wife Maggie of Amherst, Tom and his partner Alison Penza of Amherst, her daughter Sandy Perron of South Deerfield; one grandson Nicholas Perron of Amherst; her brother, Edward Wysocki and his wife Alice of Ellington, CT; many nieces and nephews.  She was predeceased by her husband Edward Perron (2013), daughter in law, Susan (Killam) Perron; brothers, Francis Wysocki, Walter Wysocki and sister, Josephine Matera. A Mass of Christian Burial will be Tuesday May 24, at 10:00AM, at St. Brigid’s Church, Amherst. Burial will follow in North Amherst Cemetery. Calling hours will be Monday from 4 – 7 PM at the Douglass Funeral Service, Amherst

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Hospice of the Fisher Home, 1165 N Pleasant St, Amherst, MA 01002 or St Brigid’s Roman Catholic Church, 122 North Pleasant Street, Amherst, Massachusetts 01002. Memorial guestbook at www.douglassfuneral.com

PostHeaderIcon HELEN W. PERRON of AMHERST, April 15, 1931 – May 17, 2022

Helen W. Perron, 91, of Amherst died peacefully May 17, 2022 at home surrounded by the love of her family.  Helen was born on Easter Sunday, April 5, 1931 on the family farm at North East Street in Amherst, MA.  Helen was the middle child of five, born to the late Joseph B. Wysocki and Nellie (Serafin) Wysocki.  As a child, Helen was taught a strong Polish work ethic and was proud to have helped her parents prosper on the farm.  She would fondly remember guiding work horses as a child to cultivate tobacco, mow hay and harvest crops. 

Helen attended Cushman Grammar School and Amherst High School graduating in 1949.  It was in the tobacco fields one summer that she met her soulmate, a handsome young man named Ed, who was just returning from WWII and a friend of her brothers Walt and Frank.  In September of 1949 she married Edward Perron and moved only a short distance from her childhood home to Flat Hills Rd. 

In marriage, Helen was very supportive and encouraging to Ed, they made a great team. Helen joined Ed in the business world by keeping the books for his auto repair business, eventually moving from her home office to an office at Boyden & Perron.  At Boyden & Perron, she became a respected king pin in the power equipment division, handling the sales and parts departments.  To this day customers will come in and say they remember buying their first mower from Helen over 40 years ago.  Up until the pandemic, she would come into work every day for a few hours and enjoy chatting with customers.

Helen’s love of farming and green thumb never left her.  She would keep beautiful flower and vegetable gardens and there was never a weed that didn’t get pulled.  She was proud of her blueberry patch were she and her high school friend, Doris Drake would spend quality time picking and chatting.  She was a firm believer in taking care of herself, eating well and exercising.  In their spare time, she and Ed loved to go Polka dancing. 

Helen was always welcoming, either at the business or at home.  She loved to cook and could put on a good meal for a crowd at the spur of a moment from her well stocked pantry.  Summer picnics with family and friends were always a favorite for her.  No one ever went hungry or thirsty at her house.  Putting others needs before hers, she never complained about her daily workload that might be on her.  Her favorite used phrase was “Just do it”.  She was an eternal optimist, a selfless caregiver and always grateful for the good deeds bestowed upon her.

Polish Heritage, customs and her faith were integral parts of family life.  She was a lifelong communicant of St Brigid’s Church of Amherst, rarely missing a Sunday Mass either here or away while wintering at their home in Kissimmee, Florida.  Ed and she always looked forward to visiting family and friends along their annual east coast journey. 

We would like to thank the compassionate skilled caregivers that enabled her to stay at home: Sara, Angie, Kate, Kara, Kaitlin, Vicki and Deb, Father Smegal and the staff of the Hospice of the Fisher Home.

She is survived by her two sons Don and his wife Maggie of Amherst, Tom and his partner Alison Penza of Amherst, her daughter Sandy Perron of South Deerfield; one grandson Nicholas Perron of Amherst; her brother, Edward Wysocki and his wife Alice of Ellington, CT; many nieces and nephews.  She was predeceased by her husband Edward Perron (2013), daughter in law, Susan (Killam) Perron; brothers, Francis Wysocki, Walter Wysocki and sister, Josephine Matera. A Mass of Christian Burial will be Tuesday May 24, at 10:00AM, at St. Brigid’s Church, Amherst. Burial will follow in North Amherst Cemetery. Calling hours will be Monday from 4 – 7 PM at the Douglass Funeral Service, Amherst

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Hospice of the Fisher Home, 1165 N Pleasant St, Amherst, MA 01002 or St Brigid’s Roman Catholic Church, 122 North Pleasant Street, Amherst, Massachusetts 01002. Memorial guestbook at www.douglassfuneral.com

PostHeaderIcon MARTHA H. TIDLUND of AMHERST, July 27, 1924 – May 12, 2022

Martha H. Tidlund, age 97 of Amherst passed peacefully on May 12, 2022. She grew up in Shelburne Falls and was a resident of Amherst for 70 plus years.

She was predeceased by her parents, two brothers and her first and second husbands.

She leaves behind a brother, a sister and three sons, William, Richard and Robert MacDonald and their wives, as well as her six grandchildren, three great-grandchildren and several nieces and nephews. A liturgy of Christian Burial will be Monday May 23, 10:00 AM at St. Brigid’s Church, Amherst. Burial will follow at Wildwood Cemetery, Amherst.

PostHeaderIcon MARGARET “PEGGY” ROBERTS of AMHERST, September 21, 1927 – April 24, 2022

AMHERST, Margaret “Peggy” Ross Roberts died at age 94 on April 24th, 2022. Peggy was born in 1927 in Westwood California, daughter to Ruth Collison Ross and Gene Ross. Peggy was a world traveler, teacher, wife, mother, friend, and a human dynamo that lived life to the fullest. Peggy’s love of travel allowed her to experience all 50 United States, and 32 other Countries. Yet the pull of traveling couldn’t keep her away from Amherst, her home for almost 70 years. She dedicated much of her life to the town of Amherst, and in doing so left an indelible mark that will last for generations.

 

Peggy had to grow up quickly after her mother contracted polio in 1933 in the midst of the Great Depression. She would go by herself from her elementary school to the market with her handwritten list and then cook dinner. Her first job was working in her father’s photography studio. In 1939 the Ross family was featured in LIFE Magazine after completing their 14 month marathon adventure across the Country in a trailer. Peggy’s favorite story was when the Ross family reached Florida and Peggy put the family’s baby pet raccoon in a stroller and the President of the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt, thinking this was a baby, parted the blankets and found a little raccoon peeking out. 

 

Peggy’s love of animals continued into adulthood. Throughout her life she had cats, a racoon, terriers, a variety of rodents, birds, turtles, an opossum, a large collection of reptiles, fish, a tarantula, and a skunk she and her sister Betsy gave to their brother Gene Jr. 

 

Peggy graduated from Mills College in 1949, and received her Masters degree in Botany from UCLA in 1951. It was there that she met her husband John Roberts while teaching a botany field class. When they moved to Amherst in 1952, Peggy went on to be a research assistant at Amherst College, doing early research on the DNA of salmonella. In the following years she was a lecturer and instructor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and Mount Holyoke College. Peggy’s research on Clarkia, a flowering plant, is widely cited. 

 

When you look around Amherst, please think of Peggy Roberts. She loved living in the town of Amherst and devoted her life to improving it. Her work can be felt across the town from her 48 years on the Redevelopment Authority, over 30 years as Chairman. She helped change the footprint of downtown Amherst, from the Clark House, Ann Whalen Apartments, the Bangs’ Community Center, Boltwood Walk to the Parking Garage. One of her favorite projects was Kendrick Park.  

 

Peggy was on the parking commission from 1994 to 2000, the parking garage building committees from 1997 to 2001, the Town Meeting Coordinating Committee from 2005 to 2019, and she was a town meeting member from the mid-1960s until 2018 when town meeting ended. She was the ultimate consensus builder and was respected by her peers.

 

Peggy was an active member of the League of Women Voters for 66 years. It was there that she met many of her lifelong friends, and was in a group known as the “lunch bunch”, a group of close friends who met regularly for decades to discuss politics, current events, and life in general. Peggy and John built their 1955 mid century modern house in a new neighborhood full of young couples and children. She became close with her community of neighbors, and loved attending the yearly block parties.

 

Peggy always had time for her children and their friends. She was a 4-H leader of the Busy Bees, and she encouraged her daughter Judy to be creative, always participating in artistic activities with her. Peggy’s love for the outdoors was shared with her son David. They frequented Quabbin reservoir and many other bodies of water. She not only provided transportation, but took an active interest in his fishing, even staying up late to help him search for nightcrawlers. For Peggy, going that extra mile for her friends and family was normal. She would never take half measures, and always finished what she started. Judy often said her mother was a combination of a favorite aunt, sister, and best friend rolled into one. Peggy loved her grandchildren, and the family has dozens of videos of her carrying out a birthday cake and everyone singing happy birthday off key. She made every celebration feel special. 

 

Peggy is survived by her daughter Judy of Amherst, and son David of Sunderland. Their spouses David Leith and Lyn Roberts will miss her greatly. John Roberts, Peggy’s husband of 60 years, predeceased his wife, as well as her sister Betsy McCormick, and brother Gene Ross Jr. Peggy was so proud of her grandchildren Kyle and Aidan Leith, and Benjamin and Abigail Roberts. A memorial service is planned for this fall.

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

MICHAEL LIGHT CHERNOFF of AMHERST died on June 14, 2022

SUSAN LOWENSTEIN of AMHERST died on January 8, 2022

ESTERICA McGILL of AMHERST died on May 5, 2022

MARTIN OSTROWSKI of SHUTESBURY died on June 6, 2022

WILLIAM NORRIS ROBINSON of SHUTESBURY died on June 15, 2022


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