Williamina Ferrier Stewart, 93, of Wales, passed away peacefully at home on Saturday, July 15, 2017. Born in Holyoke, MA on December 22, 1923, she was the daughter of the late David and Mary (Ferrier) Stewart. Educated in Holyoke schools, Winnie earned her B.S. Ed. at the former Westfield State Teachers College (now Westfield State University), graduating in 1945. After teaching for a year in Windsor, Conn., she made her home and career in South Hadley, where she lived and taught sixth grade for over thirty years. She was also a Brownie troop leader and a 4-H volunteer instructor. After concluding a career in education that touched hundreds of young lives, she retired to Wales, where she was a resident for more than thirty years. An avid quilter, knitter and seamstress, an enthusiastic gardener, and a talented cook, she leaves behind blankets of love in the many quilts and Christmas stockings she made for family and friends, and comfort in her many well-loved recipes – holiday cookies from her family recipe book and fresh-made basil pesto, jams and preserves from hand-picked herbs and fruits were among her trademarks. In retirement, she supported the Wales Public Library through dozens of bake and book sales; enjoyed classical music, birdwatching, painting and stained glass classes; religiously completed at least two crossword puzzles daily; and, when she was in her 80s, joined a bowling league in nearby Monson. Always up for a challenge, at the age of eighty-six, she became an ordained minister and officiated her grandson and new granddaughter’s wedding in front of an audience of 150. Her inner youth and zest for life were incomparable – stubbornly refusing to bend to stereotypes, she often quipped that she was thirty-two, agreeing that she “might think about being forty” as her grandchildren slowly eclipsed her preferred age. She was kind, gentle, loving, and generous beyond compare, and shared a lifelong love of learning with all who knew her. Her love of animals was surpassed only by her love of family and friends. She will be remembered for her keen, dry wit; her humble nature; her strong-willed spirit, which never failed her no matter the adversities she faced; and a thirst for knowledge and desire to share wisdom that she held steadfast throughout her life.
She will be sorely missed by her daughters Jane Duggan (Dwayne Lyons) and Beverly Parker (Ray). She leaves behind her grandchildren, David Duggan (Tina), Kristen Duggan-Cummings, Andrew Clavie-Parker (Megan), and Laura Parker. She also leaves six great-grandchildren, Allyson, Katelyn, Ben, Hailey, Megan and Allison, whom she loved dearly; and nieces Lynn Leavenworth and Laurie Briggs and their families. She is also survived by her close friend Eugenia “Jean” Williamson.
In addition to her parents, she was predeceased by her son, James S. Trant; her sister Agnes “Nessie” Stewart; her brother David Stewart; and her close friend Alma Dugas.
The family wishes to thank the Baystate Visiting Nurses’ Association, particularly Donna and Mamie; and Carol Blair, Wendy LeSage, Checie Li, Linda Pyzocha and Celine Wang for the support, kindness and comfort they gave Winnie at the end of her life.
There are no calling hours
Family and friends are invited to gather for a graveside service Friday, July 21, 2017 at 10:30 AM in Island Pond Cemetery, Center St., Ludlow, MA
Donations in Winnie’s memory may be made to the Wales Public Library, PO Box 243, Wales, MA 01081; or to the Alzheimer’s Association, P.O. Box 96011, Washington, D.C. 20090; or to the American Kidney Fund, 11921 Rockville Pike, Suite 300, Rockville, MD 20852