Church Family News


June, July 2017

Eric Raboin, son of Louis and Mary Raboin, married Nafiseh Vahid June 4, 2017, at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D. C. Eric received a doctorate in computer software programming from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2015 and has been employed by Palatir Technologies, Washington, D.C. since then as a software engineer. Nafi graduated from Stratford University, Alexandria, Va. with a degree in culinary arts. She makes fine cakes, cookies and confections through her company "Bouquet Cakes by Nafi, D.C." P.S. She made all the cakes for their wedding! The couple will live in McLean, Va.

On Sunday, May 28, Will Barstow graduated from Bates College in Lewiston, Maine. Will is the son of Lee and Cynthia Barstow.

Chris Gere graduated on May 13, 2017, from San Diego State University, with a Master of Science degree in aerospace engineering. He is the son of Claudia and David Gere.

Megan Rice graduated from Amherst Regional High School on Friday, June 9. She will attend Utica College in New York in the fall, studying physical therapy. She will play volleyball and softball for Utica. Besides her busy academic and athletic schedules, she has been our church custodian for the past year. Megan is the daughter of Dave and Amy Field Rice.

Betty Wilson, along with daughter Marg Kruse, appeared on The Good Life page of the Greenfield Recorder, Saturday, May 13. Their wide smiles signaled success — Betty raised over $600 for Meals on Wheels this year. As the headline said, “Betty Wilson proves that you’re never too old to be of service to your neighbors.” And in further reporting, the story said, “In 2016, Betty’s church, First Congregational Church of Leverett, donated to Meals on Wheels in her honor, writing, ‘Betty has been a supporter of Meals on Wheels for many years, and we can’t think of a better way to celebrate her 90th birthday.’”

December, 2016

Megan Rice, daughter of Dave and Amy Rice, was a star player for Amherst Regional High School, when they overcame Minnechaug to take first place in the Western Massachusetts Division 2 girls volleyball championship in early November. Megan rides her horses in local 4-H shows in the summer and plans to study physical therapy in college where she will continue to play volleyball and softball.

Gordon King, 98, a member of our church, died October 17, 2016 in Livingston, N.Y. He spearheaded many Leverett projects, including the volunteer fire department as chief, the Rattlesnake Gutter Trust recyclables shed, a stone wall near the school which he inveigled others to (re-)build, and the Gordon King Life Estate (blueberry) patch in East Leverett. Before retirement Gordon was a faculty member at the University of Massachusetts Amherst where he headed up the Arboriculture and Park Management Program at the Stockbridge School of Agriculture. He leaves a son John and a daughter Muriel. His wife Frances (Jolly) and a son Jim died earlier. A memorial reunion of friends and former colleagues was held at UMass November 19 n the afternoon, with an invocation offered by Lee Barstow.


Church member Don Stockwell, 98, died November 4, 2016. He had lived for the past several years in Groton, Mass. He sang in the choir and served as a deacon. He was a volunteer in other Leverett activities. Before retirement, he engineered dams for the USDA Soil Conservation Service in various parts of the northeast. He served in World War II and fought in the Battle of the Bulge. A memorial service, officiated by Lee Barstow, was held at the Leverett Congregational Church November 19, with a reception afterward in the town hall. He was married to Dorothy Shapland and, following her death, to Patricia Cook. He leaves two daughters, Marjorie Bibeau (and her husband Thomas) and Nancy Stockwell-Alpert (and her husband Andrew), as well as three grandchildren, four great-grandchildren, and two step-children.

June-July, 2016

Praise for our graduates!

Ben Field, son of Jeff and Jen Field, graduated from Leverett Elementary School in June and will continue at Eaglebrook School in the fall.


Emily Field graduated from Eaglebrook School in June, the only girl in her ninth grade class! She goes on to Dublin School in Dublin, N.H. in the fall. She is the daughter of Jeff and Jen Field.

Ralph Tiner received a distinguished service award from the U.S. Dept. of the Interior May 9, 2016, for his contributions to wetlands mapping. Tiner is a retired wetland ecologist with more than 40 years’ experience in the wetlands. Since 1977, Tiner directed wetland mapping in the Northeast U.S. as part of the Service's National Wetlands Inventory (NWI).  With the South Carolina Marine Resources Division, he oversaw an inventory of the state's 500,000 acres of wetlands in addition to evaluating impacts of construction projects in the coastal zone.  More recently, as Regional Wetland Coordinator, Tiner worked principally with other federal and state agencies interested in wetland conservation, and with universities and private contractors doing the actual image interpretation.  "I guess you could say that once I got into the swamps, I never came out," Tiner said. "And over the years, I like to think that my efforts have helped improve the conservation of wetlands, benefitting both wildlife and people."

Rachel  Aierstuck received her Masters in Education degree from Harvard, May 26, 2016.

Will Barstow, Lee and Cynthia’s son, is interning this summer as an analyst in the customer success department of Brazen, a software company in Arlington, Va. Brazen is a young company that provides customers the ability to set up onlinecommunication events, such as a college career center hosting a “career day,” in which several alumni would engage 1-1 via messaging with students to answer questions and give them advice about their industry.

Emelyn Bashour will spend June playing with the National Orchestral Institute in Washington, D.C. including as assistant concertmaster. After a brief return home to Leverett she will head back  to her "alma mater" summer music camp, Kinhaven, in Weston, Vt. for her second summer. She returns in the fall  to the Eastman School of Music and the University of Rochester as a junior in a double-degree program to earn a B.Mus. (as a violin major) and a B.A. (English major).

Katie Burke graduates from Greenfield Community College on June 4. She will be heading to Massachusetts College of Art and Design in the fall.

Welcome Baby Jude Richard Lai who was born April 27, on the date of a full moon. He was 24” long, 10 lbs., 12 oz. His parents are Billie Mandle and Audrey Chen of Leverett.  

Kathleen Ricker, Hal and Judy’s granddaughter, graduated from Dakota Ridge High School in Littleton, Co.

Dillon Tiner graduated from Harvard May 26, 2016, an event that was celebrated with three days of events including bagpipers. Steven Spielberg gave one commencement speech.  Dillon will be moving to Philadelphia, at least for the summer, to work for Comcast doing data analytics.   


Edwin A. Gere, who died May 15, 2016, in Rochester, N.Y., will be remembered in the Leverett Congregational Church as a pew regular, wag, thinker, volunteer and leader. Over the years Ed served as church deacon, trustee, and moderator. He, along with his wife Doris who died in 2013, helped keep the church humming during lean years. In World War II Ed was a B-24 pilot in the U.S. Army Air Force, flying missions against the Japanese. Following that war, Ed was recalled to duty by President Truman to serve in the Berlin Airlift, flying 184 supplies missions into West Berlin. In 2002 he published “The Unheralded: Men and Women of the Berlin Blockade and Airlift,” stories of the thousands of support people outside the cockpit who made those flights possible.  Moving to Leverett in 1957, Ed served the town as constable, selectman, and for 22 years as town moderator. On the University of Massachusetts faculty he taught political science, specializing in state and local government. He served as a consultant to many charter commissions of New England cities and towns. He leaves five children: Jeffrey, Jonathan, David and Richard Gere, and Barbara Olson, their spouses, and four grandsons.  A memorial service for Edwin Gere will be held at 1 p.m., Saturday, June 18, 2016, at the Leverett Congregational Church, with reception following at the Town Hall.