Tag Archives: Williston Northampton School

Agkarajit “Peter” Panomwon na Ayutthaya ’75

Agkarajit “Peter” Panomwon na Ayutthaya died unexpectedly on Friday morning, May 8, 2020 in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Consul Agkarajit was the Honorary Consul of the Honorary Consulate of the Republic of the Philippines to the Upper North of Thailand from 2014 to 2019.

Consul Agkarajit was a member of the Royal Family of the Kingdom of Thailand. He was a descendant of King Rama 2. Royal flames which will be used for his cremation will be flown from Bangkok.

His wake is being held at Wat Pa Phaeng in their newly built funeral viewing/prayer rooms. Cremation will be on Tuesday, May 12.

The Consul Corps of Chiang Mai paid their respects to the late Agkarajit Phanomvan Na Ayudhya, former Honorary Consul of the Republic of the Philippines, Upper Northern Thailand.

Stan Samuelson, Former Faculty

Stan Samuelson passed away on April 21, 2020.

Stan began his illustrious career at Williston in 1982 and only retired in 2014, an expansive tenure in which he was beloved by so many members of the current and former Williston faculty, as well as legions of students. In addition to teaching math, Stan was the quintessential engaged faculty member who modeled volunteerism and active support of everyone in our community. He played an integral part in the Community Service Club, was a leader and supporter for the Gay-Straight Alliance and Diversity Committee, and was also a strong figure in the campus Jewish community, hosting a beloved Passover seder in Whitaker-Bement each year. During his tenure, Stan was a dorm parent in both Ford Hall and Clare House and active, engaged coach for many teams, including Boys Squash, Cross Country, Tennis, and Soccer. His presence in the greater community, moreover, was extensive, given his limitless energy and unbounded spirit to help others. All of us who knew him remember his deep and resonant voice and his wonderful laughter.

We invite alumni to share their remembrances, and we will post a full obituary when one becomes available.

You may also visit Bartlett Funeral Home to share a message with Stan’s family.



Troy R. Price ’88

Troy R. Price, 50, a four-time cancer survivor, passed away on Thursday, April 16, 2020 from COVID-19. Troy courageously battled Leukemia for over six years, and was inspired to live every day of his life to the fullest. Troy leaves the love of his life, Mary, and his daughters Emma and Anna. Troy and Mary spent 31 amazing years together. They were truly best friends, and Troy woke up every day so full of love and gratitude for Mary. Troy’s favorite job was being a dad. He always told his girls how much he loved them, and they will carry his love and light with them every day of their lives. Additionally, his mother, Dixie, provided love and support to him through every high and low moment throughout his life. Troy’s light will continue to shine on all of those he impacted, and he will forever be Troy Strong. All services were private. Barry J. Farrell Funeral Home handled arrangements.

Kathryn P. Downey ’87

Kathryn Paddock Downey of Eugene, Oregon, died in her sleep at the Pete Moore Hospice House on March 4, 2020 after a 23-year battle with brain cancer. She was surrounded by her twin sister, Kristen, her mother, father, and other family members.
Kathryn was born in Morristown, New Jersey, on October 22, 1969 and was raised on both Coasts, living in Piedmont, California; Chatham and Summit, NJ; and New York City, as well as London, England. Until age 17, she spent every summer in paradise at Beaver Lake, the family lake house in Franklin, New Jersey. She attended public and private schools, and graduated from the Williston Northampton School in 1987. After high school she attended college for a year in Pennsylvania. She lived in Colorado and Hawaii for brief stints and traveled to art and music festivals around the US. She also visited Central America and Europe before following her sister into the University of Oregon, earning a Fine Arts degree. She was a gifted artist, specializing in handcrafted fine jewelry and beadwork. She co-owned Imagine Gallery for several years, an endeavor of which she was particularly proud.
Kathryn was stricken with a brain tumor in 1996. In addition to being cared for by Eugene cancer specialists, she was treated principally, and lovingly, at the University of California San Francisco Medical Center (UCSF). Despite the profound and negative impacts brain cancer had on her adult life, Kathryn always remained positive, upbeat, and hopeful.
Kathryn was loved by all who knew her for her art, her great sense of humor, endless laughter and joy, and her uncanny ability to ruin Subarus, her preferred means of transportation. She loved to go out for dinner and have a local microbrew with her twin sister and mom. She also enjoyed spending time outdoors, crafting, and hanging out with her beloved niece and nephew in Eugene.
In addition to her twin, Kathryn is survived by her mother, Marjorie Downey of Eugene; her father, Paul Downey of Healdsburg, California; brothers Paul, of Hollis, NH and Robert of Burlington, VT and their families; her brother-in-law David Helton, niece Ella and nephew Spencer, all of Eugene; her stepmother, Hallie Beacham; a stepbrother and sister; many uncles and aunts; and more than 20 first cousins scattered all over the country.
A Remembrance of Kathryn will be held in Eugene at a date and place to be determined. Any contributions in her memory can be made to the Kathryn Downey Brain Cancer Fund at UCSF.

Richard P. Dec ’73


Richard Peter Dec of Hadley, MA, born January 31, 1955, passed away on March 29, 2020 at Cooley Dickinson Hospital after a long illness. Rick graduated from the Williston Northampton School where he excelled in soccer, hockey, baseball and art. He received a Bachelor of Arts Degree from UMass and a Master of Arts Degree from the Pratt Institute in New York City.

While studying for his Masters Degree, Rick became interested in carpentry while renovating apartment units in Brooklyn. After graduating from Pratt, he returned to the Pioneer Valley and embarked on a 30-year career that would become the Northampton Brewery. He was a big fan of all Boston sports teams, especially the Bruins and Red Sox. After 30 years of building construction, with an artist’s talent for finished work, his knees gave out, and he returned to his love of art.

Rick was predeceased by his parents Doris and Wallace Dec. He is survived by his sister Doreen Dec, brother David Dec (Mona Balicki) of South Hadley, and brother Steven Dec (Claire Largesse) of Louisville, CO.

There will be no funeral services, but a retrospective of Rick’s artwork is being planned for a later date. Memorial contributions may be made to the Williston Art Department, Williston Northampton School, 19 Payson Ave., Easthampton, MA 01027.

Czelusniak Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Nana Staub ’84


Nana Staub, of Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, passed away Monday, March 9, 2020. She was born April 25, 1966 in New Orleans, Louisiana to Dr. Roy T. Staub, M.D. and Nancy Lohman Staub.

Nana was Catholic by faith. She attended Tulane University and graduated from the University of Massachusetts, where she received a bachelor’s degree in Hospitality. Nana worked in the film industry and was a very talented interior decorator. She enjoyed collecting odd and wonderful things, and she was always with her Weimaraner.

Nana was preceded in death by her father, Dr. Roy T. Staub, M.D.  She is survived by her mother, Nancy Lohman Staub; her brother, Tommy Staub; and her sisters, Liz Staub and Leslie Staub, all of New Orleans.

A Celebration of Life Service will be held in New Orleans at a later date.  In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Alaqua Animal Refuge at https://www.alaqua.org/donate/

Brenda Minisci, Former Faculty


Brenda Minisci, 80, of North Hatfield, MA, passed away in her home, of natural causes on March 2, 2020. She was born June 15, 1939, the second daughter of Vincent L. and Anne (Webster) Minisci. She is pre-deceased by her life-partner, Vincent Fasolino, also of North Hatfield. She is survived by her two sisters: Sandra Minisci and Diana Minisci Appleton, both of Windsor, CT., and her niece, Saarin Appleton of Bloomfield, CT. She is also survived by numerous cousins and second cousins. Brenda lived in North Hatfield from 1968 until the time of her death in 2020.

After graduating as an honor student from Wachusett Regional High School, she attended Rhode Island School of Design and participated in RISD’s first European Honors Program in Rome, Italy, receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Ceramics. She later attended Cranbrook Academy of Fine Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, earning an MFA Degree, and was also active in The American Craft Council. Her work is in the permanent collections of several museums and institutions.

Brenda’s teaching career began at the Worcester Craft Center. She then taught for a short time in Worcester Public Schools, followed by teaching positions at UMass in Amherst and then Williston Northampton School in Easthampton, where she taught ceramics and sculpture for many years.

Brenda was a fiercely independent woman who greatly enjoyed her North Hatfield property and home /studio, and the special friends she grew to know and love, there. She loved all aspects of nature, especially watching her plants and trees grow and the animals who constantly challenged her for ownership of her property! Whales and birds were ongoing motifs in her later sculptural work. She loved kayaking and built several kayaks. She also loved seeing her former students, many of whom expressed appreciation for what they learned as a result of her inspirational teaching.

A private gathering in celebration of Brenda’s life will be held at a later date. Her family requests that an act of kindness be done in her honor, or a donation be made in her honor to the charity of your choice. Arrangements were entrusted to Forastiere Funeral & Cremation, East Longmeadow, Massachusetts.

Tara O’Brien-McNally ’78


Tara A. O’Brien-McNally, of Rockland, MA, died on February 20, 2020. Tara was born in Boston, daughter of the late Edward and Ann (Lewonis) O’Brien. She was raised and educated in Easthampton, MA graduating from the Williston Northampton School. Tara earned her Bachelor’s degree from Providence College and a Masters in Business Administration from The University College of Dublin.

A loving mother, raising three children and caring for her sick parents all in the same house. A dedicated and compassionate employee of the Commonwealth. A friend to everyone, someone who’d ask a complete stranger if they were okay. Tara had a fiery spirit and sought to spread good feeling, the intensity of which was matched only by her love for her husband, her children, and the large family of friends she had.

Tara is survived by her husband John, her three children Pearse, Saoirse, and Ronan; her three sisters and one brother; and three nieces and two nephews.

The O’Brien-McNally family welcomes friends and loved ones to celebrate Tara’s life at the Magoun-Biggins Funeral Home on Wednesday, February 26, 2020 from 5:00-8:00 p.m. A Funeral Mass will be held at The Holy Family Church in Rockland on Thursday, February 27, 2020 at 9:00 a.m. Services will be followed by cremation.

Marie-Therese Tarantino ’74

Marie-Therese Tarantino, formerly of Northampton, MA, died on February 3, 2020 in Delray Beach, FL after a brief illness. Marie-Therese was born on February 21, 1957 in Springfield, MA and grew up in Northampton. After attending the Williston Northampton School in Easthampton, she graduated cum laude from Boston College with a degree in psychology. She went on to graduate cum laude from Northeastern University with a Master in Business Administration in 1980. Beginning her business career in Miami, Marie-Therese worked for the Miami Herald newspaper as a Major Accounts Manager. She also worked for IRE Financial Corp. of Coral Gables, FL and PaineWebber in Miami before becoming a manager at Merrill Lynch and Trust Company in Miami. She loved to travel, especially to exotic destinations such as Nepal and Tahiti, and had a flair for interior design. She practiced at an ashram in India and taught yoga in Miami. She took cello lessons for several years, was an avid tennis player and was in the process of reading all of the Pulitzer prize-winning novels. She was predeceased by her parents, Dr. Joseph and Patricia Tarantino of Northampton, MA. She leaves her loving husband, Henry Guignet, of Delray Beach, FL; her sister, Rosemary Tarantino ’73 of Haydenville, MA; two brothers, Carl Tarantino ’77 of Virginia Beach, VA and Joseph Tarantino ’78 of Northampton, MA; two aunts and a niece and nephew. A Celebration of Life will be held for Marie-Therese on Saturday, February 29, 2020 at the Del Lago Chapel from 11:00 am-1:00 pm, 131 South Lakeside Drive, Lake Worth, FL 33460.

Ajoy K. Chakrabarti ’86

Ajoy “Ajay” K. Chakrabarti, 51, of East Longmeadow, MA, died early Wednesday morning, January 29, 2020 at his residence. He was born in Holyoke, son of Pranati (Bhaumik) Chakrabarti of South Hadley, and the late Dr. Anil K. Chakrabarti. Ajay was a graduate of the Williston Northampton School of Easthampton, attended the University of Vermont and graduated from Western New England College where he earned his degree in Business Management. He was well-known for his computer savvy, information and technology support. Ajay was a sports enthusiast as well as an avid tennis and softball player. He was a gifted athlete whose personality and devotion touched many people on and off the courts and fields. He was a person that always wanted to make the world a better place with compassion, kindness and patience. Ajay is a person that will be sorely missed. He is survived by his wife and best friend of 18 years, Alicia N. (Gwozdz) Chakrabarti of East Longmeadow; his mother, Pranati Chakrabarti of South Hadley; his brother, Anjan Chakrabarti of Chicopee; his in-laws, Michael and Gail (Bortle) Gwozdz of East Longmeadow; two sisters-in-law, Becky Gwozdz and her better half Chris of East Longmeadow; and Susan Commisso and her husband Nick of Springfield; his favorite feline friend Bonzo; as well as several aunts, uncles, cousins and many dear friends, teammates and colleagues. Relatives and friends may call prior to his service on Saturday, February 8th from 1:00 until 3:00 PM at the Byron Keenan Funeral Home & Cremation Tribute Center, 1858 Allen Street in Springfield, MA. The Celebration of Life Service will follow from 3:00-4:00 PM. In lieu of flowers, contributions in his name may be directed to the Dakin Humane Society, 171 Union Street, Springfield, MA 01105.