Lydia Gillespie ’81

lydiaLydia May Gillespie, 52, died unexpectedly Friday, June 19, 2015, in her apartment on Pleasant Street. The cause of death involved gastro-intestinal bleeding which may have resulted in asphyxiation and/or cardiac failure. Lydia was a woman in long-term recovery who continued to take many medications over a long period of time, which her family believes caused damage to her body and may have contributed to her untimely death.

Lydia leaves behind a brother Vincent Gillespie, presently of Greenfield, a number of other relatives, and many dear friends including Peter Hadley of Greenfield, and her longtime friend Lori Baeumler of Boston.

She is predeceased by her ex-husband Michael Chiaminto (March 2015), her father Gregory Gillespie (2000), a famous and prominent artist and her mother Frances Cohen Gillespie (1998).

Lydia was born May 24, 1963, in Florence, Italy, returning with her family to the U.S. in 1969. She attended high school at Williston Academy in Easthampton, and graduated from Pitzer College in Claremont, California, with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She lived in Southern California for a number of years, then Buffalo, New York, and subsequently in Easthampton. Her brother lived with her in Easthampton for about six years. After this she moved to South Carolina (in about 2009) for several years.

In 2012 Lydia moved to Greenfield, settling into a nice little apartment near the center of town which enabled her to walk to most places in town. Here she worked at the RECOVER Project, a state funded “Recovery Support Center” (for helping people with alcohol and drug addictions and other problems). Lydia was a beloved member of this community, and worked earnestly in her role as a “Peer Coordinator.” Many described her as very caring of others.

Lydia was never religious but she had a moral code which included helping others and being kind and generous. She was trusting and gregarious and she unselfishly reached out to try to help numerous people around her. She was very good with children and enjoyed being around them. She adored her cat, Mia, which she kept for 17 years. She really enjoyed sweets, especially Haagen-Dazs ice cream. Also, she was passionate about the writings of Mark Twain.

All who loved Lydia sincerely hope that she has transitioned into a good place and that she is well, happy and peaceful now.

8 thoughts on “Lydia Gillespie ’81”

  1. I am very sad to hear of Lydia’s passing. I hope that she will be kept warm in the hearts of all those she helped and her kindness will be remembered. I will enjoy some Haagen-Daz in her honor and wish her the sweetness of peace.

  2. It sounds like Lydia dealt with a lot of challenges in her life and not only overcame them, but worked to help others overcome their own challenges. Although far too short, her life was meaningfull, and I’m sure her work will live on through all the people she helped.

  3. I am very sad to hear that Lydia has passed. I remember her beautiful smile and wonderful laugh at Williston. We have lost a beautiful person.

  4. God Bless Lydia. I always liked back in the day when we were classmates, I recall she was really nice to everyone. I pray for her family. I pray she is in the Lord’s house now, at peace for eternity. Amen.

  5. Such sad news. Lydia was a lovely young person when I knew her at Williston. Always friendly and kind. Wherever you are Lydia, make it a better place.

  6. I will always remember her beautiful smile and easy going and kind personality. Even with her personal challenges, it is not surprising that she helped others to overcome theirs. May she rest in peace.

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