Category Archives: Former Faculty

Susan Curry Barnett, Former Faculty

Susan Curry Barnett of Florence, Massachusetts, passed away quietly at Hospice of the Fisher Home in Amherst on October 25, 2019. She was surrounded by close friends.

Sue was born on March 27, 1945, in Boston, Massachusetts, the daughter of Rev. Robert Lewis and Elizabeth Moultan Cartwright Curry.

After graduating from the Northfield School and Tufts University, Sue built a career at the Northampton School for Girls and the Williston Northampton School between 1968 and 2011. She held many different positions as an educator: coach, dorm parent, teacher, and administrator. She most loved coaching the girls in soccer, hockey, and softball, stating, “I am still in touch with hundreds of them. I have seen them grow up, fail, pick themselves up again, succeed, and raise families. That is what I loved from start to finish.”

Sue met Roger (Gus) Barnett at Williston. They were married in Phillips Stevens Chapel at Williston in December of 1987. They celebrated their love of travel, good times with family and friends, and a willingness to work long and hard in their yard. Roger died in September of 1998.

At the age of 8, Sue started attending Fleur de Lis Camp in Fitzwilliam, New Hampshire. Her mother had been Director of the Water Front. Her grandmother had been the camp nurse. Sue was a camper, a Counselor in Training, a Counselor, and the Camp Director during 1972, 1973, and 1976.  As with her Williston students, Sue enjoyed watching the campers grow and become adults. Many girls from school and camp were friends right through the end.

Sue is predeceased by her husband Roger Barnett, her parents, and her stepson Geoffrey Barnett. She is survived by her brother David Curry and his wife Sandra, and her two nieces, Rebecca C. Aupperlee and husband Phil, and Heather Curry. Also surviving are two stepdaughters, Amy Hinton and Alexandra Erickson and her husband David, and Geoffrey’s wife Roxanne.

A memorial service will be held at Phillips Stevens Chapel, November 9, at 2 p.m., Williston Northampton School, Easthampton, Massachusetts.

It would be appreciated if no flowers were sent. In lieu of flowers, please consider a contribution to the Fleur de Lis Camp Sue Curry Barnett Endowed Campership, 120 Howeville Road, Fitzwilliam, NH 03447, or the Williston Northampton School Sue Curry Barnett Endowment for the Girls Softball Team, 19 Payson Avenue, Easthampton, MA 01027.

Phyllis Seybolt, Former Faculty


Phyllis Seybolt of Boynton Beach, Florida and Gouldsboro, Maine passed away on Saturday, July 13, 2019.

Born on December 7, 1923 in Holyoke, Massachusetts to Willard and Helen Allen, Phyllis graduated from Holyoke High School and entered Penn State. Her college career was put on hold during WWII due to the need for women in the war industries. She worked on airplane production during the war years and then focused on raising her five children. Her husband, James L Beekman II, a career officer in the U.S. Air Force, was stationed in post war Europe where they resided in Chateau-Roux, France. James premature illness and death left her as sole support of her children, a challenge she surmounted by returning to college at University of Massachusetts, Amherst where she earned a Master’s degree in mathematics and initiated a long career in teaching high school algebra and calculus. She initially taught at the Northampton School for Girls and acted as director of admissions. Later she accepted a position at the Williston Academy in Easthampton, MA where she met her husband and life partner, Dr. Stephen Seybolt. Steve’s degree in English literature and Phyllis’ passion for math enriched the lives of generations of high school students.

Phyllis is survived by: her sister Marjorie Yount of North Carolina, her husband Stephen of Boynton Beach, FL, as well as all children: Candace and her husband William Matthew of Hopkington, MA, Dr. Robert Beekman and his wife Ellen of Ellsworth, ME, James Beekman of Portland, OR, Allen Beekman and his wife Sandy of Bend, OR, Laurie and her husband Dana Parker of Plymouth, MA. She is survived by grandchildren: Aria Baker, Brian, Benjamin and Samuel Beekman all of Bend, OR, Julie Matthew of East Greenwich, RI, Allison Miseph of Indianapolis, IN, Michael Miseph of Holyoke, MA, Kimberly Kleinpeter of Gorham, ME, and Andrew Beekman of Boone, NC. She is also survived by 7 great grandchildren: Kiley Shea, Jaya Belle, Jackson Tye, Natalie Kate, Robert Reynolds, Hickson Rudder and George Porter.

Phyllis overcame many challenges in her life, but none so great as her final battle with Alzheimer’s disease. A woman proud of her intellectual gifts, she bore progressive losses with grace and dignity. She taught us all to appreciate the smaller pleasures in life and took great joy in the love and companionship of family and friends.

In lieu of flowers, friends are invited to consider a gift in her memory to the Parkside Inn (Memory Care Center), 1613 SW 3rd St, Boynton Beach, FL. 33435.

George Alan (Al) Shaler, Former Faculty

George Alan (Al) Shaler, of Easthampton, MA and Warrensburg, NY passed away on his 84th birthday. Al was born April 4th, 1935 in Freeport, NY to George Wiltse and Mary Sue (Gillaspy) Shaler. An only child, Al grew up on Long Island, becoming an accomplished pianist and organist, excelling in academics and in running. During his youth, he spent many vacations on his maternal grandparents’ farm in Benton, PA doing farm chores and developing a profound appreciation for the outdoors. As a teen, his parents sent him Forest Lake Camp (FLC) in Warrensburg, NY, a transformative event in his young life. While at FLC, Al was exposed to outdoor adventures the likes of which he had never encountered on Long Island. He returned for several summers, becoming a counselor and head counselor at the Camp, and more importantly growing to love the Adirondacks of northern NY. After graduating from Freeport High School in 1953, Al matriculated at Hamilton College in Clinton, NY in the fall of 1953. While at Hamilton, Al once again shined in the classroom and on various cross-country courses throughout upstate NY. In his sophomore year, Al won the cross-country New York state championship. Al found great pleasure in playing the organ at Hamilton and developed a lifelong love for the instrument. Upon graduation, he headed off to the University of Wisconsin at Madison to pursue a graduate degree in English, While in Madison, he met Janet Ann James, an undergraduate from nearby Berlin, WI. They would start dating in Al’s second year, became engaged shortly thereafter and were married in 1960. Al received his Masters in 1959 and after a short job search landed a job at then Williston Academy in Easthampton. He would end up teaching at Williston Academy, later the Williston Northampton School (WNS), from 1959 through 1999. While at WNS he taught many courses in literature, including a course he created, Dissident Voices, which focused on African-American writers such as Richard Wright and James Baldwin, the first class of its kind at WNS. A passionate amateur chef, he also taught cooking classes which were enthusiastically attended. Similar to other WNS teachers, Al was also a coach for the school’s athletic program. He started out coaching football and track, and by the early 1960s had started the cross-country program. Al coached many aspiring runners and put them through many a rigorous workout. He would often show up in the middle of woods and exhort his runners, telling them to pick up the pace, and lending some timely, and sometimes off color encouragement. In the fall of 1980, his team won the New England championships. The WNS community meant a lot to Al, most importantly, after his wife died in 1973. Despite this tremendous loss, he pushed on raising his three young children, enjoying a great high school teaching career at Williston, touching the lives of thousands of young people in the classroom and on the playing fields during his 40 year teaching career (the only job he ever had), and making countless friends. His children, George, Jim and Elizabeth graduated from WNS in 1980, 1981, and 1984 respectively. Al loved playing the organ at the Williston Chapel. He often played the organ during ecumenical services and was in great demand for religious services, holiday musical programs and weddings, at Williston and all over the Pioneer Valley. Al was active in local theatre. He had starring roles in productions staged at WNS and by the Easthampton Community Theatre Association. These productions allowed Al to show off his big personality, his comedic skills and musical gifts. Later in his WNS career, he was granted the school’s first sabbatical which enabled him to live and work abroad. He used the opportunity to teach for a half year in some of Great Britain’s finest secondary schools. The experience of living abroad spurred his growing interest in foreign travel, a passion which was to continue well into his retirement years. WNS was not the only thing that defined him. He was active in local politics, serving as the Easthampton Town Moderator for several years and later as a city councilor after the city changed its charter. One of his proudest achievements as councilor was being part of the Council efforts to build the current Public Safety Complex. He never grew tired of saying how proud he was of that building. Al was also appointed a trustee of the University of Massachusetts during the mid-1970s by then Governor Francis Sargent, an undertaking he took very seriously. During the mid-1960s, Al bought some property on Kelm Lake near Forest Lake Camp and built a rustic A-Frame cabin that at the time was only reachable by rowing across the Lake. For the first ten years Al owned the cabin, the place did not have electricity. He would listen to his beloved Red Sox on a battery operated radio, sometimes not sure if they had won when the reception cut out. This rustic lifestyle suited him. He would cook the family dinners over a wood fire, using certain hard woods for various cuts of meat for added flavor. Rain or shine, Al would spend his summers by his wood fire, carefully attending to his culinary creations. He and his beloved neighbor and friend Bob Murray, another school teacher from Long Island, would swap many a good story, some not suited for print, sharing martinis, while Al smoked his ever present pipe. He enjoyed a 20 year retirement traveling all over the world, sometimes in some unusual ways, once taking a month long ocean freighter ride around the coast of South America. Al was fond of many places, but relished a chance to visit Morocco, Spain, Kenya and Britain.

However, what he enjoyed most was spending time at his cabin in the Adirondacks of northern NY. This was his hermitage where he would go for six to seven months each year during his retirement, accompanied by his dog – always a beagle. When he felt a need to leave his cabin, which was not often, sometimes he would venture down to Saratoga to watch the horse races.

Early in his retirement, he threw his energies into cultivating day lilies. He became fascinated with hybridizing day lilies. He transformed his yard into a nursery of sorts. He became a part-time licensed nursery man and sold his hybrids in various hemerocallis publications. People drove from near and far to purchase his plants.

Al is survived by his son George and spouse Jill Rosenthal of Portland, ME, son James and spouse Ann of Tampa FL, and daughter Elizabeth of New York, NY; grandchildren Cole, Griffith, and Wallace Shaler, and Jonna and Shay Rosenthal.

A celebration of life will be held on May 4, 2019 at the Williston-Northampton Chapel in Easthampton at 1:30. More details will be posted on the Mitchell Funeral Home web site in the coming week.

In lieu of flowers and donations, please direct any contributions to the Williston-Northampton School in Al’s name.

LeGrande R. Howell, Former Faculty

LeGrande (Sam) Ridgeway Howell, born August 5, 1926, passed away at the age of 92 on November 6, 2018 at his home in Eliot, Maine. He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Jane Lemmon Howell, his son, Thomas L. Howell along with his wife, Lori A. Howell, of Eliot, and his daughter, Ruth H. Sutton along with her husband, D. James Sutton, of Buskirk, NY. Sam and Jane’s oldest child, Ridgeway T. Howell, predeceased his parents in 2008 . Sam also is survived by 8 grandchildren, Hannalea Howell and Pierce W. Howell, both of Eliot, ME ; James R. Sutton of Washington, DC; Stephen E. Sutton, of San Diego, CA; Caitlin L . Sutton, of San Diego, CA; Taylor P. Sutton, of Denver, CO; Connor A. Sutton, of Hoosick Falls, NY; and Summer J. Sutton, of Philadelphia, PA . He is also survived by his adoring dog, LuLu. Originally from East Moriches, NY, Sam was one of three children and was the only son of Ruth Learie Howell and Ridgeway Taylor Howell. He graduated from Center Moriches High School in 1943 at the age of 16 and wanted to serve in the US Navy immediately after high school, but his parents would not consent to his joining the military as a minor. He was granted a scholarship to Union College, Schenectady, NY, and attended for several semesters until he was accepted into the V-12 Program, the precursor of today’s ROTC. In 1944 he entered the Navy as a midshipman and later rose to the rank of a commissioned officer. Two weeks after the war was officially over, he boarded the USS Alabama as it entered Tokyo Bay and his ship anchored adjacent to USS Missouri when the Armistice was signed, officially ending WWII. Upon his honorable discharge from the Navy in 1946, Sam briefly worked in construction until he was able to return to Union College to complete his bachelor’s degree and pursue graduate coursework at the University of Wisconsin. After his military service, Sam taught chemistry at Monson Academy, Wilbraham, MA, and later math, chemistry, and physics at Williston Academy, Easthampton, MA, where he also coached track and field. He took particular pride when, after coaching for four years, the team won the New England Championship. Following his teaching experiences, Sam made his career in sales and executive management at several companies: Lemmon Pharmaceuticals in Sellersville, PA; Tilden Yates/Chemway in Worcester, MA; Cooper Laboratories; and Diamond Shamrock in Cleveland, OH . Over his career he and his young family lived in five states and abroad in Quebec, Canada and Mexico City, Mexico. In 1983, Sam and Jane moved to Eliot, Maine, to start an innovative aquaculture business, Spinney Creek Shellfish, with their son, Tom. The business continues to provide restaurants and retailers with the finest shellfish today. Sam was a member of the Seacoast Wind Ensemble, served on the Eliot Board of Appeals, and was a volunteer at York Hospital for 13 years. Sam was known as a crusty “old salt” who loved fishing, boating, and gardening. In his retirement he became a bee keeper. He lived on the Maine coast longer than any other location and marveled at all the area had to offer. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Cocheco Valley Humane Society, 262 County Farm Road, Dover, NH 03820. Online condolences may be made by visiting ww.jspelkeyfuneralhome.com

Roma I. Donais W’27

Roma I. Donais, 100, of Easthampton, MA passed away Sunday, May 13, 2018 in her home with her family at her side. She was born in South Hadley, MA on August 13, 1917, the daughter of Hector and Clemencia Isabelle Huot. Roma attended schools in South Hadley and pursued a profession as a Registered Nurse. She was the widow of Dr. Henry E. Donais ‘27, a well-respected physician in Easthampton, who died in 1997. Roma was active in Easthampton as a member of the former Town of Easthampton Finance Committee, member and Corporator of Emily Williston Memorial Library, member of Tuesday Afternoon Club, Helping Hand Society, Garden Club and a former President of the Easthampton Historical Society.

Roma is survived by son Paul C. Donais and daughter Harriet E. Tatro ‘57, both of Easthampton, two grandchildren Harriet A. DeVerry ‘81 and John H. Tatro ‘87, and one great-grandson Devin DeVerry ’17. She was predeceased by her son Henry E. (Hank) Donais, Jr. ’59.

Visiting hours will be held on Thursday, May 17, from 4pm to 6pm at Mitchell Funeral Home, 15 Park Street, Easthampton.

In lieu of flowers’s, a gift in Roma’s memory may be given to the Williston Northampton School, Donais Scholarship Fund.

Karin H. O’Neil, Former Faculty

Karin H. O’Neil, age 76 of Columbus, OH, passed away at her residence, Friendship Village Columbus, on April 25, 2018. She was born on January 2, 1942 to Dr. Charles E. and Roberta W. Holzer in Cincinnati, OH. Karin grew up in Gallipolis, OH, graduated from Stuart Hall School in Virginia in 1960, earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Religion from Mount Holyoke College in 1964 in Massachusetts, received her Masters Degree in History from the University of Massachusetts in 1967 and her CAGS in Education from University of Massachusetts in 1969. After her schooling Karin became a 5th grade public school teacher in the Palmer Schools in Massachusetts. From 1967 to 1971 she taught at Northampton Schools for Girls as a history teacher and a dorm parent, then went to Williston Northampton School and taught history. She became the department head in history and was made co-director of the middle school. She was appointed Academic Dean of the Upper School and went on to become Associate Head of School. She retired from Williston Northampton School in 2001 to move to Ohio to become the Executive Director of the Ohio Association of Independent Schools from which she retired in 2011. Prior to retiring she conducted many national workshops and trainings for the National Association of Independent Schools and was an Independent Educational Consultant. She was an active member of the League of Women Voters for over 50 years and involved in various choral groups and supported the arts throughout her life. Along with her mother, Karin is survived by her loving husband of 53 years Dennis O’Neil, son David A O’Neil ’83, grandchildren Erin and Ryan and their mother Carol Lynne O’Neil, siblings Dr. Charles E. (Jean) Holzer, III, John W. (Ann) Holzer, Christiana H. Gallant, Amy H. (Dudley) Irvin ’78, many beloved nieces, nephews, friends and colleagues. Along with her father, she is preceded in death by nephew Nathan H. Gallant.

Sarah Wallis Stevens

sarah-wallis-stevens-1961-ab197242f1ef905cSarah Wallis Stevens, who for two decades served as “First Lady” of Williston Academy, died peacefully in her sleep Feb. 9 of natural causes at her assisted living home in Middletown, Connecticut, according to her family.

Sarah Stevens was the wife of Phillips Stevens, headmaster of the Easthampton-based academy from 1949 to 1972. The school, founded in 1841 as Williston Seminary, merged with the Northampton School for Girls in 1971 to form the coed Williston Northampton School, which now attracts students from around the world.

Described as a woman of “extraordinary warmth and empathy,” Stevens provided care and guidance to thousands of Williston Academy students, said her daughter Ruth P. Stevens, who lives in New York City.

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Ruth Marion Parsons, former employee

Ruth Marion (Chapin) Parsons, 89, of Easthampton, died Thursday, Nov. 26, 2015, at the Fisher Home in Amherst.

She was born July 23, 1926, in Northampton, the daughter of Frederick and Mabel (Wallin) Chapin.

Ruth attended Easthampton schools and graduated from Easthampton High School class of 1943.  She entered the Cooley Dickinson Hospital School of Nursing and became a member of the Cadet Nurse Corps. She graduated in 1946.

Ruth worked at Cooley Dickinson Hospital in many departments and retired as charge nurse of the operating room in 1990. She also was the school nurse for the Williston Northampton School from 1967 to 1972.

After retiring from the hospital, she worked for Associates in Surgery in Northampton. Ruth was a member of the Christ United Methodist Church, the Tuesday Afternoon Club, the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Association of Operating Room Nurses, Ruth volunteered at the Cooley Dickinson Hospital and worked at Red Cross blood drives.

Ruth was predeceased by her sister Marjory Cater and nephew Brian Cater. Ruth is survived by one sister, Phyllis Lamere (Alfred) of Weston, and a brother-in-law Robert Cater of Nashua, New Hampshire. She leaves three children, Calvin Parsons, Jr., of Gill (fiancee Cheryl Faufaw), Rebecca Parsons of Easthampton, and Sally Conant (John) of South Deerfield, and four grandchildren, Timothy Parsons (Sandra and their son Dakota) of Fitzwilliam, New Hampshire, Dana Parsons (Youko) of Amherst, Emily Conant of Lubbock, Texas, and Margaret Conant of Burlington, Vermont. She also leaves a niece Susan Cater and two nephews, Vernon and David Lamere.

Alan Hall, Former Faculty

HallAlan Neidlinger Hall, of Bath, Maine, formerly of Hopkinton, N.H., for many years a teacher and administrator at St. Paul’s School, died peacefully on Saturday, August 22 at the age of 89.

He was born on June 10, 1926, in Orange, N.J., the son of Helen Isabel Neidlinger Hall and Edwin Martin Hall. His early education was in the East Orange, N.J, public schools and later at Willington School in Putney, England, where he lived from 1936 to 1939. He graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School, Washington, D.C., in 1942, where he was Class Poet, and from Deerfield (Mass.) Academy in 1943. He matriculated at Dartmouth College in June 1943 with the Class of 1947; during the accelerated war-year 1943-1944 he co-managed the varsity soccer team, sang in the Glee Club, played varsity lacrosse, worked at the Baker Library reserve desk and as a Cohen Scholar of the Dartmouth Dining Association, and was elected to Cabin and Trail of the Dartmouth Outing Club.

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