Tag Archives: Williston Northampton School

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.

Blair Douglas McMillin ’84

It is with great sorrow that we announce the passing of Blair Douglas McMillin on Tuesday, December 10, 2019. He was at home surrounded by his wife Chrissy and their children Callahan, Teegan, Delaney and Shea who collectively were the loves of his life. He is preceded in death by his parents Julia Jones and Blair Steele McMillin. Along with his wife and children he is survived by his brother and best friend James and sister Barbara Smith (Rick). Doug was born and raised in Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania and summered at his family house in Chautauqua, New York. He spent a post graduate year at Williston Northampton and graduated college from Ohio Wesleyan where he was a stellar football and track star. After graduation he moved to the Roaring Fork Valley and resided in Woody Creek and Basalt for over 30 years. He made a living in construction and enjoyed his passions for photography, sailing, skiing and woodworking. Doug was a kind and gentle soul with a smile you could never forget. He had a kind word for all and if you knew him he considered you a friend. He had four rules for his children and the last one he lived by every day … Give more than you take.

Doug’s celebration of life will be held on January 25, 2020 at 12:30 p.m. 70 McCabe Ranch Road Old Snowmass 81654. All who knew and loved him are welcome. Warm attire and think about carpooling.

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.

Roger V. Bourdeau ’72

Roger V. Bourdeau, 64, of Thompson, CT, died peacefully on Wednesday May 29, 2019 at the UMass Memorial Healthcare. He was the loving husband of Paula (McQueen) Bourdeau. Born in Ware, MA, he was the son of the late Robert and Josephine (Lorence) Bourdeau.
Roger worked in sales for several businesses including Safety-Kleen, R. Sparrow Hicks, Loomis Real Estate, and Lundgren Honda. Roger loved listening to and playing music. He enjoyed singing, collecting records and played a variety of instruments. Roger was a truly dedicated family man who loved going on road trips and cherished spending time with his wife, his children and grandchildren.
In addition to his wife, Roger is survived by his children, Jessica Aguilar (Omar) of Anahiem, CA, Christopher Bourdeau (Lorena) of Huntington Beach, CA, and Matthew Bourdeau (Alyssa) of Boston, MA; two sisters Diane Arnesen of Hampden, MA, and Joan Callanan of Pasadena, CA; two beautiful grandchildren, Declan and Penelope. He was predeceased by his late brother Richard Bourdeau.
Relatives and friends are invited to visit with Roger’s family from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday June 5, 2019 in the Valade Funeral Home and Crematory, 23 Main St., N. Grosvenordale. A Funeral Mass will follow at 11:00 a.m. in St. Joseph Church, 18 Main St., N. Grosvenordale, CT.