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Archive for the ‘Obituaries’ Category

PostHeaderIcon FRANCIS “FRANK” FISHER of GREENFIELD, MASS, April 12, 1966 – September 25, 2017

GREENFIELD – Francis “Frank” Fisher, 51 of Holly Street died Monday 9/25/17 at Baystate Hospital in Springfield. Frank was born April 12, 1966 in Greenfield Ma. He was the son of Alfred and Eleanor (Reynolds) Fisher. Frank worked for New England Naturals for many years. He enjoyed fishing, snowmobiling, kayaking, camping, and spending time with friends and family. He will be greatly missed by his mother Eleanor Fisher of Greenfield, his sister Joan James of Greenfield, brothers, Scott Fisher of Vermont, and Chris Fisher of Greenfield. Frank was predeceased by his father Alfred Sr. and brother Alfred Jr. Fisher. Among his survivors, he also leaves 3 children, his son’s, Francis L. Fisher Jr, of Millers falls, and Bailey Fisher of New Hampshire, and his beautiful daughter, Olivia Fisher of New Hampshire. Frank had 1 Grandson, Landyn Fisher. He also leaves many nieces, nephews, cousins, aunts & uncles. Calling Hours will be Thursday, October 5th, from 4-7 at the Douglass Funeral Service, 87 No. Pleasant Street, Amherst Ma. “Yeeehaa”

PostHeaderIcon ROBERT HOWE DAVIS of AMHERST, MASS, July 14, 1934 – September 14, 2017

Robert Howe Davis, 83, of Amherst, passed away September 14, 2017 at the Holyoke Soldiers Home in Holyoke, MA after a short illness. Bob was born in Marblehead, MA, the son of Roy and Alice Davis. 
Bob’s father owned a flower shop in Billerica, MA and that is where he began his love of plants and the outdoors. As a young man, he was an Eagle Scout and he graduated from the Stockbridge School of Agriculture at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.  After graduation, he started his own landscaping business in Amherst and was drafted into the US Army where he served from 1960-63.
In 1962, Bob married Debora Macy Taylor of Pelham, MA and together they bought an old dairy farm in South Amherst where he ran his business. Bob loved horticulture, playing bridge, and, most of all, fishing.  Whenever he could, he would travel to fish in Maine, Cape Cod, Florida, and especially Martha’s Vineyard during the Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby.
Bob had a Yankee sensibility about him and he valued hard work, common sense, and tenacity in those he knew or that worked for him over the years. His friends lovingly knew him as Bob, Archie (from All In The Family), or even the Mayor of South Amherst. Several of the young men that worked for him went on to other professions but never forgot the lessons Bob taught on the job and in life. Local kids received their first ride on a tractor or other piece of equipment from him and he was a favorite “Uncle Bob” to many. He was also a Shriner for many years and a longtime member of the Masons.  He enjoyed helping people and, throughout his life, he was generous with his time for friends and strangers alike.
Bob is survived Debora Davis, his wife of 55 years, Taylor Davis, his wife, Karen Davis, their three wonderful children Ryan, Patrick, and Meghan, and his son, Daniel Davis, and his wife Pamela Mattson.
In keeping with Bob’s wishes, there will be no funeral services. A memorial luncheon for friends and family is planned for Saturday, October 21, from 1:00-4:00 pm at the Unitarian Universalist Society Social Hall (121 North Pleasant Street, Amherst, MA).
In lieu of flowers, please consider paying it forward by helping a stranger or neighbor in need – whether across the street or across the country.  Bob would have liked that. 

PostHeaderIcon FRANCES J. BIXBY of AMHERST, MASS, February 12, 1941 – September 25, 2017

Frances J. Bixby, Educator (1941-2017)


Frances Josephine Bixby of Mill Lane, Amherst, Massachusetts passed away on September 25, 2017 surrounded by her loving family. Frances was born on February 12, 1941 in Jersey City, NJ to Joseph and Stella (Karpinski) Hussey. She was the third of four children. Frances was raised in Jersey City and Union, New Jersey. She attended St. Aloysius High School in Jersey City. Upon graduation Frances began working at Fidelity Union Trust Company, Newark, NJ where she met her future husband, William C. Bixby. At Fidelity, she worked as an auditor in the accounting department for three years before leaving to get married in 1961 and moving to Madison, NJ. Frances and William had their first child, Mark, in 1962 and their second, Kathleen, in 1963. Kathleen passed in infancy. They also adopted a son, David, who also passed in childhood. While raising Mark, Frances attended and graduated with a BA in education from St. Elizabeth’s College, Convent Station, NJ in 1972. Frances and her family moved to Bedminster, NJ in 1973 where she went on to work in the Bedminster school system and was later the director of a Title XX Program (Head Start) at the Salvation Army, Morristown, NJ. Frances and William moved to Amherst in 2005 to be closer to their grandchildren. Frances was a lover of children and animals, especially dogs, and spent countless hours regaling her grandchildren with stories of her life and her dogs.


Frances was predeceased by her beloved brother, Thomas Hussey, who passed in 2013. Frances is survived by her husband of 56 years, William Bixby of Amherst; her son, Mark W. Bixby and daughter-in-law, Jennifer, of Pelham; their four children, Tucker, Reed, Evan and Kira; her brother, Robert Hussey of Toms River, NJ; and her nephews and nieces, Kevin Hussey, Ricky Hussey, Jason Hussey, Danielle Ortiz, Rose Esther McCauley, Arthur Bixby, Michelle Hussey and Robert Hussey.


Receiving hours will be from 5:00 to 7:00 pm on Friday, September 29th, at the Douglass Funeral Service, Amherst, MA. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:00 am on Saturday, September 30th, at Most Holy Redeemer Church, Hadley, MA.


In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made in Frances’s name to the Epilepsy Foundation.


Memorial register at

PostHeaderIcon KAREN JEANNE ANDERSON of NEWBURYPORT, MASS, November 11, 1946 – September 19, 2017

Newburyport, MA – Karen Jeanne Anderson, 70, of Newburyport, MA passed away on September 19, 2017, after a long illness.  She is survived by her sister Kathy Anderson (Tim Bitney), St. Paul MN; brother Gregg Anderson (Audrey Smith) of Amherst, MA; and brother Jim Anderson (Retsey) of Eagan MN; and her 5 cherished nephews, Carl, Paul, Chris, Ben, and Matt.  


Karen was a 1964 graduate of Our Lady of Peace High School in St. Paul, MN and received a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Minnesota in 1969.  After living her formative years in St. Paul, she moved to Massachusetts where she truly found her home. She was a successful business owner, and served as a board member of the YWCA of Newburyport MA where she was presented with the 2007 YWCA Volunteer Service Award.


A memorial service will be held at a later date in Minnesota.


In lieu of flowers, memorials in Karen’s name may be made to Dorcus Clothing Ministry, 1 Osgood Place, Amesbury, MA 01913 or Hospice of the Fisher Home, 1165 North Pleasant Street, Amherst MA 01002.

PostHeaderIcon MARGARET “PEGGY” ROSENBERRY of AMHERST, MASS, September 25, 1931 – September 19, 2017

Amherst (MA)- Margaret R. (Peggy) Rosenberry embarked on, as one friend put it, her “ultimate road trip” on September 19th, 2017.


In her rear view mirror, she sees legions of friends and family waving and wishing her a bon voyage. Most especially her daughter Nancy (Gaustad) and husband, Blaine, her son Charley, and wife Lanora, and her son Flip, and his wife Liz. She waves “so long” to her grandchildren Sam, Emily, Megan, and Merideth. Her sister Nancy, brother-in-law Gordon, brother Tom, and sister-in-law Sherry also bid her farewell.


Peggy’s life began on September 25th, 1931 in Omaha, Nebraska. She subsequently lived in California, Hawaii, Colorado, and lastly Massachusetts.


Some of the many characteristics that made Peggy genuinely unique:


She cared very deeply for her family. As mother, grandmother, daughter, sister, aunt, and cousin, she wrote, spoke, and visited her relatives with a wonderful and sustained enthusiasm.


She was tough, thoughtful, humble, determined, and strong.


She was a contented and adventurous traveler.


She was a devoted teacher, friend, and mentor to hundreds of students from a variety of backgrounds.


She was the kind of volunteer both clients and staff of the organizations she served quickly grew to love.


She was a loyal fan of the Colorado Rockies, Denver Broncos, and the Tour de France.


Hers was a questioning faith. She often uttered a general “thank you” for gifts received, especially those found in the natural world.


Safe travels Peggy Rosenberry.


A funeral service is planned for 9:00 in the morning on September 30th, 2017 at South Congregational Church in Amherst, MA. A reception will follow at the Courtyard Marriott in Hadley, MA.


A separate memorial service will take place in Colorado in the spring or summer of next year.


In lieu of flowers, gifts in Peggy’s memory may be made to The American Civil Liberties Union, The High Country News, or The United Farm Workers. Memorial register at


PostHeaderIcon JEANNE ADAMS of CALIFORNIA, May 5, 1935 – September 15, 2017

Amherst, Jeanne Adams was born May 5th, 1935 in Quincy, Massachusetts to Richard F. & Myrtle M. Purnell.   Jeanne spent most of her childhood growing up in Amherst, Massachusetts.  She graduated from Amherst High School in 1953 and participated as a majorette, which she really enjoyed.    Soon after high school graduation, she attended nursing school in Westfield, Massachusetts where she completed her LPN degree and then moved to Alexandria, Virginia where she earned her degree as a registered nurse.  Upon completion of nursing school, Jeanne moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota and joined Northwest Orient Airlines as a stewardess.  She later married William (Bill) Saxon who was a pilot with Northwest Orient Airlines.   Bill and Jeanne had 4 sons (William, Robert, Thomas, and Mark).  Jeanne left her position at Northwest Orient Airlines to raise her children and pursue her nursing career.  After leaving the Airline Jeanne moved her family to a farm in Deerwood Minnesota and in 1972 Jeanne moved her sons to Garfield, Minnesota where she raised her children and continued her nursing career.  After her sons had all grown and gone their way in life, Jeanne would spend her winters working as a nurse in Florida and California as she loved spending her free time enjoying the sun and beach.  Jeanne moved to Riverside, California in October of 2015 where she spent the remainder of her days relaxing on her patio and enjoying the California sunshine with best friend and companion dog Anna until she passed away peacefully in her sleep.  Jeanne was known for her sense of humor, and was never at a loss for a witty comment or funny story.    She loved animals (especially her dogs and cats) and would spend countless hours watching the deer and birds outside her window on her farm in Minnesota. Jeanne took great pride in her careers, her children and grandchildren and great grandchildren and remained fiercely dedicated to all of them throughout the years. Jeanne held a special place in her heart and a deep love for all the friends, young and old that she had made throughout her years in the many places she lived. Her heart was never far from her New England roots and she would often speak fondly of childhood memories from there. Later in life she developed a deep relationship with God and would routinely end each phone call with please “give my love to everyone” and “you’re in my prayers”  Jeanne is survived by her 4 sons; William S. Saxon Jr. (Kaye), Wasilla Alaska, Robert L. Saxon, Seward Alaska, Thomas R. Saxon (Elaine), Phoenix Arizona., Mark W. Saxon, Irvine California, brother Richard (Dana) Purnell, Ware Massachusetts, sister Debbie Gillard (Steve), Sebec Maine, grandchildren Erin, Josh, Amy, Ariel, Bailey, Michael, Ariana, Mary, Alyssa, Amber and Evan as well as 6 great grandchildren and nieces and nephews.

Funeral services will be Thursday September 28, 2017 at 10:00 at the Douglass Funeral Service, Amherst, with burial following in Pelham Valley Cemetery.

PostHeaderIcon KAREN JEANNE ANDERSON of HADLEY, MASS, November 11, 1946 – September 19, 2017

Newburyport, MA – Karen Jeanne Anderson, 70, of Newburyport, MA passed away on September 19, 2017, after a long illness.  She is survived by her sister Kathy Anderson (Tim Bitney), St. Paul MN; brother Gregg Anderson (Audrey Smith) of Amherst, MA; and brother Jim Anderson (Retsey) of Eagan MN; and her 5 cherished nephews, Carl, Paul, Chris, Ben, and Matt.  


Karen was a 1964 graduate of Our Lady of Peace High School in St. Paul, MN and received a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Minnesota in 1969.  After living her formative years in St. Paul, she moved to Massachusetts where she truly found her home. She was a successful business owner, and served as a board member of the YWCA of Newburyport MA where she was presented with the 2007 YWCA Volunteer Service Award.


A memorial service will be held at a later date in Minnesota.


In lieu of flowers, memorials in Karen’s name may be made to Dorcus Clothing Ministry, 1 Osgood Place, Amesbury, MA 01913 or Hospice of the Fisher Home, 1165 North Pleasant Street, Amherst MA 01002.

PostHeaderIcon JAMES A. HANKINSON of RHODE ISLAND, February 6, 1949 – September 18, 2017

Rhode Island, James A. “Hank” Hankinson passed away at home unexpectedly September 18, 2017. He was a 24 year veteran, retiring as Mastersergeant of the United States Air Force.

He is survived by his wife of 49 years, Nancy (Jenks) Hankinson, daughters Jody A. Hankinson, Kerry L. Mirto and husband Frank, and son Scott N. Hankinson and his wife Jody and 4 grandchildren. He is also survived by his 5 siblings, Judy, Denzel, Dick, Nancy, and Tom and 10 nieces and nephews.

Hank graduated from Amherst Regional High School in 1967 and immediately joined the United States Air Force. He was proud of his 24 years of service to his country and enjoyed the people and places he was able to experience. He went on to establish a career working in the cable industry for 16 years, retiring in 2010. Hank spent his remaining time enjoying family and the camaraderie of his military retiree group ARCC.

In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory may be made to any veterans group of your choosing or to ARCC c/o Jim Bell, 168 Ridge Rd., Smithfield, RI 02917.

Calling hours in Rhode Island will be Friday, September 22, 2017 from 4-7pm at the Winfield & Son’s Funeral Home, 571 West Greenville Rd., Scituate, RI. Calling hours in Massachusetts will take place Monday, September 25, 2017 from 6-8pm at the Douglass Funeral Service in Amherst. Burial will be private.

PostHeaderIcon JANET MARY O’ROURKE of AMHERST, MASS, April 29, 1935 – September 18, 2017

Amherst, Janet Mary (Crozier) O’Rourke, 82, of Pelham, Massachusetts passed away on Monday, September 18, 2017 surrounded by her three loving daughters.

She was born on April 29, 1935 in Shawinigan Falls, Quebec, Canada to (the late) Robert Nelson Crozier and Carmen (Code) Crozier.  In 1940, the Crozier family moved to Springfield, Massachusetts, where Janet attended Classical High School, graduating in 1952.  She then attended Mount Holyoke College and graduated in 1956 with a B.S. in Biology.

While at Mount Holyoke, Janet met (the late) John Francis O’Rourke of Holyoke, Massachusetts.  They were married on June 18, 1957, at Wesley Methodist Church, in Springfield, Massachusetts.   Janet and John lived in New Haven, CT before settling in Amherst in 1962.  Janet worked as a lab assistant for several years at both Amherst College and the University of Massachusetts.  Upon John’s passing in 1974, Janet went back to school and earned a Masters of Public Health from the University of Massachusetts.   Janet then spent the rest of her career working at Mount Holyoke College as the Director of Laboratory Instruction for the Program in Biochemistry and retired in 1998.

Janet’s life was rich with many pastimes and interests.  She loved classical music and played the cello in many ensembles, including the Pioneer Valley Symphony, the orchestra of the Valley Light Opera and a string quartet comprised of dear friends that met every week.  Janet was also an avid traveler and she enjoyed trips with her friends to Canada, Europe, Africa and Asia.  She was an active member of her Mount Holyoke alumnae class, serving in various roles and committees and she always looked forward to her class reunions. Over the years, Janet had many animals and especially loved her dogs to whom she devoted many hours of training in obedience, tracking and agility classes.   She coopted her dogs in her many volunteer pursuits taking them to visit nursing homes and to the elementary schools in Holyoke where the children would practice reading to the poodles.

Janet is survived by her children Kathleen Armstrong and her husband Edward Armstrong, of the Plains, Virginia, Ann O’Rourke and her husband Camille Batarekh, of Wayland, Massachusetts, and Frances MacPhail of Turners Falls, Massachusetts; her three grandchildren Ian, John and Marc, of whom she was extremely proud; her brother, Robert E. Crozier of New York, NY; her nephews, Robert and Hugh Crozier; and, of course, her beloved poodles Archie and Grace.

Funeral Services will be Saturday September 23, 2017 at 10:00 AM at the Grace Episcopal Church, in Amherst. Burial will follow in Pratt Corner Rd. Cemetery, Shutesbury with a reception following at the Lord Jeffrey Inn, Amherst.

In lieu of flowers, her family suggests donations in Janet’s name to The Hospice Of The Fisher Home,

PostHeaderIcon MARY E. CARLSON of AMHERST, MASS, November 1, 1936 – September 16, 2017

Amherst – Mary Ellen (Backels) Carlson, 80, of Amherst, passed away Saturday September 16, 2017, at her home surrounded by her loving family, following a long illness.


            She was born on All Saints Day, November 1, 1936, in Crosby, MN to the late Victor Adolph and Thelma Caroline (Johnson) Backels. She was the oldest of four siblings: Allen, John and Karen Backels. She moved with her family to Iron River, MI and Canton, NY, finally settling in Waterbury, VT at the age of 10.


            Mary graduated from Waterbury High School in 1954, where she was class valedictorian with a promising future. She graduated with honors from Upsala College in East Orange, NJ, in 1958.  She met her husband, David, at Upsala, and they were married on August 23, 1958 at the First Congregational Church in Waterbury, VT.


            Mary and David lived in East Orange, NJ and moved to Lindsborg, KS, finally settling in Amherst in 1964. Mary’s career was solidly rooted in the Amherst community, first as Circulation Manager at the Amherst Record, and then as an Application Specialist in the Amherst College Office of Admission, where she worked for 27 years until her retirement in 2005.


            Mary’s true vocation was as a servant leader in the Lutheran church. She was a life-long Lutheran and was a member of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Amherst since 1964, where she held several positions of leadership.  She was a member of the Council’s Executive Committee, serving two separate terms as Council President and one as Treasurer.  As Council President, she led Immanuel through a significant time of transition as the congregation searched for a new pastor.  Her final and most lasting contribution to leadership at Immanuel was as leader of the Worship Ministry Team, a position she held until her passing.  She led the team through a vibrant period of change and growth, implementing new ways of worship, advocating for the needs of those with disabilities, and extending a warm welcome to all.  In addition to her contributions at the local level, Mary served the New England Synod as Chair of the Synod’s Commission on Women during the time when women were first being ordained as rostered ministers in the Lutheran Church.


            Mary always said that music was her language.  An accomplished musician, Mary was a naturally gifted singer, and also played trumpet, organ and piano.  Her love of choral music led her to sing alto with the choir of Immanuel Lutheran Church, the Hampshire Choral Society, and the Pioneer Valley Symphony Chorus.  In addition to her choral contributions, she served as alto soloist at Immanuel and also played the role of wife in Immanuel’s production of Benjamin Britten’s Noye’s Fludde.  As one of Immanuel’s first choir directors, she carefully chose the music to enhance worship and celebrate her love of God through song. 


Mary took great pride in her family, partnering with her husband David to teach her children to be strong and independent contributors to society.   Mary was also proud of her Swedish heritage, celebrating many Swedish traditions, including the St. Lucia Fest, and hosting traditional Christmas Eve dinners. Mary loved to plan parties, both for her family and her church, and excelled at making every holiday and birthday special. She wrote a poem for everyone on their birthday from the family dog, Eddie.


Mary is survived by her husband of 59 years, David Russell Carlson, and her children, Kathryn, of Hadley, Daniel and his wife Carolyn, of Litchfield, CT, Claire and her husband Jack Czajkowski, of Hadley, and Peter Augustus “Gus” Carlson and his wife Jessica Carlson-Belanger, of Shutesbury; five grandchildren: Hilary, Andrew, Mary, Peter and Anna, all who were the light of her life; her brother, John Backels and his wife Marsha, of Salt Lake City, UT, and sister, Karen (Backels) and her husband Paul Carpenedo, of Erie, PA; many nieces and nephews, and her dog, Eddie. She was predeceased by her parents, Victor and Thelma Backels, and a brother, Allen Backels.


During her long illness, Mary was lovingly cared for at home by the palliative and hospice teams of the Cooley Dickinson VNA and Hospice, her family doctor, family, close friends, her Pastor and members of the Immanuel Lutheran Church Healing Ministry team, and private caregivers.


            Calling hours will be held on Thursday September 21st from 5 – 8 PM at the Douglass Funeral Service, Amherst.  The funeral service will be held on Friday September 22 at 10:00 AM at Immanuel Lutheran Church, Amherst, MA, followed by burial at Wildwood Cemetery.  There will be a reception at Immanuel Lutheran Church immediately following the burial.


            In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Immanuel Lutheran Church, 567 N. Pleasant St, Amherst, MA 01002. “Those who wish to sing always find a song.” – Swedish Proverb



Current Obituaries
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JOHN N. DAVIS of AMHERST, MA died on January 3, 2018


DR. JAMES RALPH of AMHERST, MASS died on December 21, 2017