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Marion L. (Wheeler) FishSeptember 10, 1921 ~ July 26, 2017 (age 95)
Marion Lucille Wheeler Fish passed away peacefully on Wednesday, July 26, 2017. She spent her final days at the Elaine Center at Hadley, in Hadley, Massachusetts.
Born on September 10, 1921 at her family's farm atop Chestnut Hill in Montague, Massachusetts, Marion was the youngest of ten children.
Her father, Willard "Fred" Wheeler, was the younger son of William Wheeler and Aletha Manchester. Her mother, Mary Alice Nichols, was the daughter of Alphonse Casinow (Casineau) and Tirzah Thisdale (Tisdale), and adopted by her step-father, David Nichols, as a young child.
Two of Marion's siblings passed away before her birth: David, who passed away soon after his birth, and Gordon, who passed away as a teenager due to a swimming accident. She was raised with her remaining siblings, who were a very important part of her life.
Marion's hardscrabble childhood on Chestnut Hill meant lots of work, and little in the way of luxuries. But her free time spent on the Hill fostered a lifelong love of reading and nature. Some of her favorite childhood memories included adventures with her trusty horse Dolly, honing her angling skills by chasing and catching brook trout, developing a successful blueberry picking enterprise, and taking countless walks with family and friends through the forest, to the library, or to Lake Wyola. Marion especially loved her visits to the farm of her paternal aunt, Susie Wheeler Davis, which was surrendered due to the development of the Quabbin Reservoir.
Marion attended Montague Public Schools, first attending school in Montague Center, then continuing on to Turners Falls High School, from which she graduated in 1939.
Following her graduation, Marion relocated to Colrain, Massachusetts to work as an au pair for families in the area. Marion quickly made friends that would last a lifetime.
Unbeknownst to Marion, her new friends hatched a plot for her to meet Howard Stetson Fish, a native of Colrain, and the son of Arthur Fish and Leafie Stetson. An arrangement was made to have Howard arrive at her employer's home with his family's produce wagon. A bag of carrots changed hands, a courtship ensued, and they wed on September 10, 1940, Marion's 19th birthday.
Marion and Howard briefly resided in Colrain before moving to Shelburne Falls, where they remained until Howard's passing in 2002. Marion continued to live in Shelburne Falls until she settled into Northampton's Rockridge Retirement Community. In her final days, she was a resident at the Elaine Center in Hadley.
Marion worked as a homemaker for many years, caring for Howard and their five children. A long-time member of Trinity Church, she was also a member of the Shelburne Falls Women's Club.
In 1965, Marion began her career at Kendall Mills. She worked in a variety of jobs within the company before settling into a long-term quality control position in the Mills' laboratory, which she held until her retirement.
An avid amateur naturalist, Marion spent many years actively engaged in outdoor activities. Even an adult, she was a wily fisherwoman of upland New England's trout streams. Moments were stolen from her daily work to briefly fish in the brook, work in the garden or observe wildlife. She planted and tended the household flowering plant beds, and planted, harvested, prepared and preserved its vegetable and fruit gardens. All the while, Marion served as a first-class flora and fauna identifier, educator and champion to successive generations.
Marion could often be found as a passenger aboard Howard's 1946 Taylorcraft airplane, riding with him on the motorcycle, or fishing with him on the boat. After Howard's passing, she fulfilled many of her dreams of traveling across the country. Many of these trips were made with family members, visiting other family members. Other trips were made to see specific attractions, and some were made just to see what was around the next bend.
Marion was predeceased by her husband, her parents, her siblings, and several nieces and nephews. She dearly loved, and was loved by, her five children and their families: her elder daughter, Cynthia Guyer (and her life partner, Christopher Kratt) of Vero Beach, Florida; her sons, John Fish (and his wife, Cheryl Henderson Fish) of Hartford, Vermont, Alan Fish of Sebastian, Florida, Donald Fish (and his wife, Leah Teece) of Belchertown, Massachusetts; and her younger daughter, Kathleen Fish (and her husband, Matthew Friedlander) of Madison, Wisconsin.
She also leaves behind thirteen grandchildren: Charles Guyer, Jennifer Puccio, Andrea Fish Karr (and her husband, Gregory Karr), Nathaniel Fish (and his wife, Abigail Erdossy Fish), Bethany Fish Montgomery (and her husband, Jake Montgomery), Timothy Fish, Rachel Fish (and her partner, Jeff Dodge), Evan Fish (and his wife, Mia Fish), Erica Fish (and her partner, John Spadea), Justin Fish, Daniel Fish, Malah Fish, and Emily Fish Friedlander; and a step-granddaughter, Kristin Sevigne (and her husband, James Sevigne).
Her ever-growing family includes ten great-grandchildren: Owen and Thain Karr, son and daughter of Andrea and Gregory Karr; Avery and Isabelle Fish, son and daughter of Nathaniel and Abigail Fish; Zoe and Ella Montgomery, daughters of Bethany and Jake Montgomery; Korrin Dodge, daughter of Rachel Fish and Jeff Dodge; Brianna Fish, daughter of Evan and Mia Fish; Olivia Spadea, daughter of Erica Fish and John Spadea; Dante Fish, son of Daniel Fish and Tammy Nuckols. Marion also leaves behind two step-great-grandchildren: Samantha and Brandon Sevigne, daughter and son of Kristin and James Sevigne.
Marion also had many beloved nieces and nephews, friends and extended family. Many of them still remain in the Pioneer Valley. Located near or far, all remained close to Marion's heart.
The family would like to extend its heartfelt thanks and appreciation to the Rockridge Retirement Community, the Cooley-Dickenson Hospital and the Elaine Center at Hadley for Marion's loving and diligent care.
Visiting hours will be held on Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017, from 6:00 to 8:00 PM, at the Smith-Kelleher Funeral Home, 40 Church Street, in Shelburne Falls. Additional arrangements are yet to be determined, and will be scheduled at the convenience of the family.