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Archive for the ‘Obituaries’ Category

PostHeaderIcon BARBARA McGARRAH of MASS, May 13, 1921 – December 13, 2016



Amherst, Barbara McGarrah, whose work resulted in Amherst, MA becoming the first town in the United States to fly both the American and United Nations flags, died December 13 at the Elizabeth De Rham Hospice in Cambridge.


She said the flag was a symbol of continuing US support for the UN and a statement of “hope for the world.” She left a bequest for Amherst to continue to fly the flag. She was 95.

Ms. McGarrah was a docent for many years at the Emily Dickinson House in Amherst and at the Woodrow Wilson House in Washington D.C. A 1989 New York Times Magazine article cited her work at the Dickinson home.  


She was one of the earliest advocates of integrating learning disabled children into regular classes in the public schools. In 1954, she argued successfully for her daughter Anne Louise, who had Williams Syndrome, to attend regular public school classes in Ithaca, NY.

Her husband of 52 years, University of Massachusetts Business School Professor Robert McGarrah, died in 1995 and her daughter, Anne Louise, died in 2006. She is survived by her two sons, both lawyers, Douglas of Wenham, MA and Robert of Bethesda, MD, along with seven grandchildren and two great grandchildren. 


A graveside service will be held today, Thursday at 10:30 AM in West Cemetery, Amherst.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations for the United Nations Children’s Fund, or 125 Maiden Lane, New York, NY 10038.









PostHeaderIcon JOSEPH WILD PEARSON of AMHERST, MASS, May 17, 1997 – December 10, 2016



Amherst, Joseph Wild Pearson, 19, of Amherst, passed away unexpectedly on the evening of December 10. The sudden nature of his passing has left his family and friends largely in shock, but he is already very much missed by those who knew and loved him.

Joey’s enthusiasm for the outdoors and farming started early in life at his family’s farm in Shutesbury, and these proclivities as well as his exuberant personality were further nurtured at the Hartsbrook School, where he made many friends among the students and staff. Always an outgoing, active person, Joey continued his childhood enthusiasm for sports–especially hockey and lacrosse–at Amherst Regional High School.

In the year following his high school graduation, Joey did challenging, active work consisting of farming, tree-cutting, construction, and making hay. Although his career was cut short unexpectedly, Joey’s year working and supporting himself was an accomplishment of which he might have been justly proud.

Joey’s hay-making talent was both literal and metaphorical: his family and friends greatly admired his consistent orientation toward positivity and fun. From an early age, he loved skiing, surfing, and fishing. Later, he added four-wheeling and pick-up trucks. In short, throughout his life, he demonstrated a rare and special gift for masterminding unique feats of derring-do for himself and his friends. Something of a prodigy in this area, as early as the second grade, he leaped out of the second floor of his family’s home onto a strategically placed trampoline. He will be remembered as smiling, making us laugh, and always dreaming up new hijinks.

Joey leaves behind his mother, Wendy Pearson, father, Sandon Pearson, and his sisters, Sienna, Stephanie, and Sophie Pearson. Joey’s friends were also very important to him and to his family, who are especially grateful for the lifelong friendship he had with Stevie Vanjura and the years of fun he had with Jackson Gale. In addition, although he was fortunate to have had many, many more friends, his true love was his girlfriend, Jillian Duca.

A memorial service will be held at Hadley Farms Meeting House on Saturday, December 17 at 11:00am.




PostHeaderIcon PATRICIA MADDEN of AMHERST, MASS, February 27, 1942 – December 5, 2016





Amherst, Patricia Madden passed away on December 5, 2016.  She was a lifelong resident of Amherst, Ma. She attended Amherst High School. After graduating she was employed at the University of Massachusetts where she was employed until her retirement.




Patricia was predeceased by her parents, Peter J. and Helen Madden and her two brothers, John and Donald Madden.




Patricia is survived by her sister Rosemary and Rosemary’s husband, Francis and many nieces and nephews.




A graveside service will be held on Thursday December 15, 2016 at 11:00 AM, at St. Brigid’s Cemetery, on North Maple Street and Rocky Hill Road, Hadley, Massachusetts.






PostHeaderIcon ELIZABETH M. KELLY of HOLYOKE, MASS, September 9, 1926 – December 9, 2016

Elizabeth M (BettyAnn) Kelly, died Friday December 9, 2016. Nee Morrison, was born September 9, 1926, in Braintree MA.  She was graduated from Boston University and later married Clifford W. Kelly.  In 1970 the family moved to Amherst, MA. 
After being widowed at the age of 50, BettyAnn returned to college where she received her MLS from University of Rhode Island.  During this time she worked at Amherst College as Art Librarian, and eventually was promoted to Assistant Director of Library Services working there until she retired in 1997.
She was  pre-deceased by her brother Walter E. Morrison Jr. (Plymouth, MA) and sister Nancy Morrison (former Principal of Wildwood School), as well as her husband, Clifford W. Kelly.  She leaves her only son, Clifford W. Kelly, Jr., and his wife, Vivienne, (Holyoke), her brother’s three sons & their spouses, Morrie Morrison & Suzanne Lucas, Scott & Sue Morrison (all of Plymouth), Bruce Morrison (deceased), her 4 grandchildren: Ian Kelly (Northampton), Katherine Kelly (Palmer) Nadia Tafreshi (San Diego CA), and Maya Grindrod (Florence, MA)
In retirement, Betty Ann was very active in the Arts Community in and around Amherst; sitting for committees and attending events.  She was second violin with the Pioneer Valley Symphony Orchestra for many years. She continued to travel well into her 80s, spending summers in Sebasco, ME and Sanibel Island, FL., where she participated in watercolor painting classes.
In lieu of flowers, please consider contributing to the Alzheimer’s Association.
Calling Hours will be Wednesday December 14th from 6-8:00 p.m at the Douglass Funeral Service, Amherst.

PostHeaderIcon JAMES WILLIAM CANAVAN of HOLYOKE, MASS, November 21, 1932 – December 7, 2016





Holyoke, James William Canavan – Born November 21, 1932, passed away at the Soldiers Home in Holyoke December 7, 2016.  He was pre-deceased by his parents Frank T and Katherine L (Gardner), 3 brothers Philip, Thomas, and David.  He is survived by a sister Kathleen McKay of S. Hadley, and a brother John of Sturbridge.  He leaves 4 children Ann Marie of Turners Falls, Phillip, Dale his wife Shannon, and Dennis and fiancé Kym all of S. Hadley.  6 grandchildren Audrey Armstrong, Dakota LaRock, Corie, Shane, Mackenzie, and James Canavan.  2 great grandchildren Jacen and Scarlett Armstrong.

He graduated 1950 from Amherst High School, and joined US Army.  He worked most of his life as an Embosser at several different paper mills in Holyoke, as well as a general maintenance worker for his Brother David’s company, Moore Golf in Culpepper VA.  He was a devout Catholic and attended mass regularly.  In his retirement, he became very involved in the genealogy of his family and traveled to several countries.

Calling hours will be Friday December 9, 2016 from 5:00 – 8:00 PM at the Douglass Funeral Service, Amherst. A Mass of Christian Burial will be Saturday 10:00 AM at St. Brigid’s Church, Amherst. Burial will follow in St. Brigid’s Cemetery, Hadley. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Soldiers Home 110 Cherry St. Holyoke, MA 01040.












PostHeaderIcon JOHN PEMBERTON III of PELHAM, MASS, February 16, 1928 – November 30, 2016



Pelham, John Pemberton III of Arnold Road in Pelham died on November 30, 2016. Professor Pemberton was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey on February 16, 1928. He was the son of the Rev and Mrs. John Pemberton, Jr.


Professor Pemberton received a B.A. degree from Princeton University in 1948. He received a B.D. degree in 1952 and a PhD. Degree in 1958 from the Duke University. He was an Assistant Professor of Religion at Randolph-Macon Woman’s College from 1954-1958. He was a Professor of Religion at Amherst College from 1958-1998. He was the Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Humanities from 1985-1998 and the Crosby Professor of Religion from 1975-1998.


His extensive research related to the art and rituals of the Yoruba of Nigeria began in 1969. He was an Associate Fellow at the Institute of African Studies, University Ibadan, Nigeria from 1981-1982. He was a Visiting Research Associate, Ife, Ile-Ife, Nigeria in 1986. During fourteen research trips to Nigeria, his research continued in Ila Irangun, Nigeria.


Professor Pemberton served on the Board of Advisors at The National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution. He was Consulting Curator of African Art at the Smith College Museum of Art from 2000-2015. He was Chair of the Working Group in African Studies in the Humanities, Social Science Research Council/American Council of Learned Societies. He was on the Smithsonian/Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship Committee of African Art and on the Council for International Exchange of Scholars’ Advisory Committee in Religion.


Among his publications: Yoruba Nine Centuries of African Art and Thought co-authored with Rowland Abiodun and Henry Drewal; Yoruba Art and Aesthetics with Abiodun and Drewal, Museum Rietberg, Zurich; A Power Like That of the Gods: Sacred Kingship Among the Igbomina Yoruba co-authored with F.S. Afolayan; Insight and Artistry in African Divination, Smithsonian Institution Press: Cloth Only Wears to Shreds: Yoruba Textiles and Photographs from the Beier Collection co-authored with R. Abiodun; African Beaded Art: Power and Adornment, Smith College Museum of Art; Cross Currents: Art of the Southeastern Congo, Smith College Museum of Art; “Smith Collects African Art.” Exhibition on the occasion of the opening of the Brown Fine Arts Center, Smith College Museum of Art.


Professor Pemberton lectured widely including the Art Institute of Chicago; the Cleveland Museum; The Dallas Museum; the High Museum of Art, Atlanta; Mount Holyoke College; Museum for African Art, New York; The National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian; North Carolina Museum of Art; Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria; Rietberg Museum, Zurich; Smith College Museum of Art; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The New Orleans Museum; The Seattle Museum; The University of Iowa; University of Pennsylvania; University of Virginia; University of Washington; Yale University.


He is survived by Jane, his beloved wife of 47 years, his sons John Pemberton IV (Marilyn) and Robert Barker (Karin), his daughters Nanci Church (Thomas), Susan Winslow (Daniel), Debra Reehoorn (Robert), and Lynn Barker (Mark), twelve grandchildren, and his sisters Barbara Smith and Jane Buckley.


He was a longtime member of Grace Episcopal Church in Amherst. A memorial service to celebrate his life will be held on December 8, 2016 at 3PM at Grace Episcopal Church followed by a reception at Lewis-Sebring at Amherst College.


PostHeaderIcon MICHAEL JONAS WOLFF of AMHERST, MASS, July 2, 1927 – November 5, 2016

Amherst, Michael Jonas Wolff of Amherst died peacefully at Cooley-Dickinson Hospital in Northampton, Mass., on Saturday, Nov. 5, with family members at his side. He was 89 years old. Born in London on July 2, 1927, he was the son of Joel Wolff, an antiques dealer, and Phyllis Goldhill Wolff Hershberg, a milliner and designer. He was astute till the end, quoting Shakespeare and joking, as a lifelong atheist, that he hoped he could watch soccer games from heaven.

Until his retirement in 1992, Wolff was a professor of English at the University of Massachusetts Amherst for 22 years, specializing in Victorian literature. In 1994 he was the first recipient of the school’s Vincent Dethier award for teaching, research and civility.  He began his career at Indiana University in 1955, and was a Fellow of the Center for the Humanities at Wesleyan University in 1969.

Wolff is a founding father of the field of Victorian studies and mentor to many scholars who followed him. At Indiana he founded Victorian Studies, one of the first interdisciplinary journals in the humanities, and now in its 58th volume. In the plethora of cheap 19th-century magazines and newspapers he discovered while working at the British Museum in the 1960s, he saw the world’s first popular mass medium, and recognized the value of studying them as literature. He started the Victorian Periodicals Review and was founding president of the Research Society for Victorian Periodicals (RSVP).  The Michael Wolff Lecture is given in his honor at the society’s annual gathering.

His life of the mind began when he was six, when he was sent to The Hall School, London, in 1933: he was at the top of his class in every subject except handwriting. During the Blitz he was moved from London to St. Edward’s School in Oxford, considered a safe area. He won a scholarship to Cambridge University, where he studied Greek, Latin and Philosophy, and was mentored by John Wisdom and Ludwig Wittgenstein.  In 1946 he and a fellow student founded the Intervarsity Club (then the Intervarsity Dance Club), a social club for students on vacation in London.  It now has 41 branches and over 4000 members. He served as a sergeant in the British army from 1948 to 1950.

Emigrating to the U.S. in 1951, Wolff received his M.A. and Ph.D. from Princeton. While there he met Sara Starr, a Columbia University graduate student in Education, at a party in New York City. Four days later he proposed marriage by asking her to come with him to Bloomington, Ind., where he had just been offered his first job. She said yes, and they were married for 57 years, raising three children, Jessica, Jeremy and Judith. With support from Michael, Sara completed a doctorate in psychology at UMass, practiced as a therapist, and wrote a book on her work called Vital Aging.

Following his retirement from UMass and for the rest of his life, Wolff continued his scholarly pursuits, including teaching Learning-in-Retirement seminars on George Eliot, T.S. Eliot, G.B. Shaw, Oscar Wilde, Rudyard Kipling, and James Joyce. Many of these seminars he previewed to fellow residents of his beloved new community, Applewood Independent Living. 

A competitive squash player, Wolff took up running late in life, completing the Boston Marathon at the age of 68. He resided in Amherst for 46 years and was committed to democracy at the local level. He served as a member of the Town Meeting, and in 2011 was elected a Trustee of the Jones Library. 

Wolff was a philosopher in the truest sense of the word, and a poet–he wrote love poems for Sara and doggerel for their children. His energy and curiosity, his wonder and humor, live on in his six grandchildren. Wolff pursued the work he loved through his final days, greatly aided by his research assistant, Elizabeth Lloyd-Kimbrel.

Sara Wolff died in 2012. Michael was predeceased by his sister, Adrienne Ellen Rae Stark, and survived by Jessica Rachel Wolff, her husband, Stephen Wanta, and their children, Violet Starr Wolff Wanta and Ivy Marcella Wolff Wanta; Jeremy Joseph Wolff, his wife, Dr. Julie Holland, and their children, Molly Holland Wolff and Joseph Starr Wolff; and Judith Starr Wolff and her children, Zaro Alexandra Bates and Jonah Wolff Bates.

Michael Jonas Wolff’s ashes were interred at a small ceremony at Wildwood Cemetery in Amherst on Thursday, Nov. 10. There will be a public memorial celebrating his life at the Jewish Community of Amherst, 742 Main Street, at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, February 19th, 2017. 

PostHeaderIcon DOROTHY CYRIL THOMASON of GREENFIELD, MASS, September 14, 1930 – November 2, 2016



 Greenfield, Dorothy Cyril Thomason, 86, died Wednesday November 2nd, 2016 at Poet’s Seat Nursing Home in Greenfield. She was born in Louisville, Georgia on September 14th, 1930, the daughter of Mason Cyril Thomason and Dorothy Clark Thomason. 


Cyril’s father died in a plane crash before she was born. As a child she lived in Georgia, then in Richmond, Va., with her mother. She went to Germany with her mother and stepfather, Henry Tragle, a US Army officer, when he was stationed there, before settling in Amherst with her family. In her later life Cyril lived in Greenfield. 


Legally blind from birth, Cyril had enormous determination and intelligence, and lived life to the fullest. She learned Braille, and read hundreds of books. She loved travel, both in the US and in Europe. She often visited family and friends in the South. 


She loved music, especially opera. She had a beautiful soprano voice, and was a member for many years of the Pioneer Valley Symphony Chorus. She adored the Saturday Metropolitan Opera broadcasts.  


She was a member of the Second Congregational Church in Greenfield, a staunch Democrat, and a member of the League of Women Voters.   


Cyril had many friends, and was a great socializer and conversationalist. Her warm smile and distinctive southern accent were a delight to all who knew her. She is greatly missed.


She is survived by two cousins, Alice Clark and Rosalind Clark Mason of Cleveland, Georgia. 


She will be buried with her mother and stepfather in Wildwood Cemetery in Amherst. 


Special thanks to the Hospice team at Poet’s Seat, who cared for her in her last months. Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice of Franklin County, 329 Conway Street, Greenfield, MA 01301.   





PostHeaderIcon ROBERT J. JOY of AMHERST, MASS, May 20, 1931 – November 15, 2016

Amherst, Robert J. Joy passed away peacefully Tuesday November 15, 2016 at the age of 85 at the Holyoke Soldiers Home with his wife by his side.  Bob lived a full life filled with family and friends.

Bob was born in Amherst, Massachusetts to John and Helen Joy on May 20, 1931. He graduated from Amherst High School in 1949.   He married Jean on April 23, 1960 in Amherst at St. Brigid’s Church.  He worked as a Communications Officer for the United States Air Force at Westover Air Force Base in Chicopee for 32 years.   Upon his retirement, he worked at Amherst College Special Functions for many years.  He was a Veteran of the Korean War and served in the Air Force overseas.   He was a member of the Amherst Knights of Columbus Council 1619, the Amherst VFW Post 754, the Amherst American Legion Post 148, a Town Meeting and Finance Community Member, he was a member of SALT (Seniors and Law Enforcement Together) Past President and also served in other capacities.

Bob loved to plan and march in the Memorial Day and July 4th Parades and also participated in the Veterans Day Service. 

He is survived by his wife Jean Joy of 56 years, his daughter Colleen Erickson and husband Donald of Amherst, his son Kevin Joy and his fiancé Pamela Barnett of Amherst, he was preceded by his son John R. Joy who passed away in August of 1981.  He is also survived by his daughter-in-law Karen Joy of Amherst.  He leaves behind seven grandchildren:   John P. Joy, Jennifer E. Joy, Brigid M. Joy, Lauren A. Joy, Connor G. Erickson, Kelly F. Joy, Owen M. Ebbs all of Amherst.   He also leaves behind his nephew Jeff Otis and wife Michelle of Easthampton, his niece Shannon Burke and her husband Bryan of Hadley and several great grand-nieces and nephews.

Bob always had a ready smile and laugh for all; if you met Bob, you were an instant friend for life.

Calling hours will be from 4:00 – 7:00 PM Monday November 21, 2016 at the Douglass Funeral Service, Amherst. A mass of Christian Burial will be Tuesday November 22, 2016, 10:00 AM at St. Brigid’s Church, Amherst, with a reception to follow. Private burial will be held at St. Brigid’s Cemetery, Hadley.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105 or



PostHeaderIcon JOHN ALLEN CARROLL of MARYLAND, April 5, 1969 – November 9, 2016



Amherst, John Allen Carroll of Frederick, MD passed away November 9, 2016. Born in Cortland, NY on April 5, 1969 to the late John J. Carroll and Eleanor Allen Horner, John attended Amherst (MA) Public Schools and High Point University.  He was employed by Greenbriar Veterinary Hospital and Pet Resort.  In addition to his mother, John is survived by his sister, Elizabeth, his brother-in-law, nieces, and many aunts, uncles and cousins. Calling hours will be Saturday November 19, 2016 from 10:00 AM – 12:00PM at the Douglass Funeral Service, Amherst. Burial will follow in St. Brigid’s Cemetery, Hadley. Memorial contributions may be made to:  Homeward Trails Animal Rescue, P.O. Box 100968, Arlington, VA 22210 (




Current Obituaries
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JAMES DOUGLAS, PhD of LEVERETT, MA died on February 15, 2017

ARNOLD FRIEDMANN of AMHERST, MASS died on February 17, 2017

LAWRENCE "LARRY" KELLEY of AMHERST, MASS died on February 17, 2017

THOMAS HENRY LINDEMAN of AMHERST, MA died on February 11, 2017

EUGENE A. WAGNER of AMHERST, MASS died on February 14, 2017

MICHAEL JONAS WOLFF of AMHERST, MASS died on November 5, 2016