The Winchendon Courier
Serving the community since 1878 ~ A By Light Unseen Media publication
Week of February 6 to February 13, 2020


Lawrence Robert 'Larry' Kollath

May 7, January 26, 1963 ~ January 27, 2020 (Age 57)

Larry was taken from us much too soon. He was a wonderful teacher, friend and husband, with myriad interests, a true love of life and he enjoyed spending time outdoors.

Larry was born in Syracuse, New York, to D. Bruce and Gloria Kollath. He was the older brother to Jacki (Kollath) Wisler and spent much of his childhood playing basketball. His skills caught the eye of Hamilton College in Clinton, New York, where he received a scholarship to play and where he made many enduring friendships. He spent time in the Air Force as a Survival Instructor, teaching pilots how to subsist in the wild should their planes go down. This time in the wilderness was pivotal for Larry and opened up a passion for nature that he hadn't known before. After five years in the service, he moved from Spokane to Seattle, Washington, to start a business taking civilians into the woods to learn the skills he had taught pilots. It turns out that civilians don't really want to spend money to live on berries and leaves for a week in the wilderness, but he learned how much he enjoyed teaching, which would open new doors in his near future.

While in Seattle, he met Marbie Guyon, and they both enjoyed hiking and exploring. Marbie opened his eyes to the joys of spending time with animals, while Larry opened her eyes to the joys of life-long learning. They spent 28 years together pursuing many interests and traveling. They married and moved to New England and began teaching at The Winchendon School, a boarding school in Massachusetts. Larry taught primarily high school math, but also some biology courses. He was also a talented basketball coach. After 3 years, they moved to The Marvelwood School in Kent, Connecticut, and continued their careers as teachers and coaches. Larry also was instrumental in exposing students to the joys of being outdoors as he ran Wilderness Ways - an after-school hiking and canoeing program. After 9 years, the cold, New England winters drove them south to Asheville, where Larry taught math, coached basketball and helped with the outdoor program at The Asheville School. He spent 13 years nurturing students and faculty before having to leave due to illness this year.

A lover of nature, Larry knew how healing time outdoors can be for all and encouraged everyone to take the time to go outside. He was always learning something new. He earned two master's degrees in his free time and constantly took online courses and listened to lectures from the Teaching Company. He always found new subjects to learn. Electronic circuitry, Chaos theory, woodworking, nature-journaling, and birding are a few of his most recent. Larry led by example, and those around him caught his zest for knowledge.

He was an authentic person who valued honesty, humor, simple pleasures and new adventures. He truly cared about people, and everyone he came in contact with was touched and changed in a better way. He is missed and cherished by many.

A Memorial Service will be held at the Boyd Chapel on The Asheville School Campus Saturday, February 15, at 2 p.m. A reception will follow the service in the Library. In lieu of flowers, the family prefers donations to the Larry Kollath Memorial Fund, or please plant a tree in Larry's name, or go on a hike and spend time outdoors.

Evelyn C. (Leger) Cheries

December 29, 1919 ~ January 31, 2020 (Age 100)

Evelyn C. (Leger) Cheries, 100, a lifelong resident of Fitchburg, died Friday, January 31, 2020 in the Fitchburg Healthcare facility.

Mrs. Cheries was born in Fitchburg on December 29, 1919, a daughter of Philias and Anna (Bourgeois) Leger.

Many years ago she had worked at Fitchburg Yarn Company. She was a communicant of St. Joseph's Church in Fitchburg.

Her husband of 59 years, Michael J. Cheries, died in 2000.

Mrs. Cheries leaves her two sons, Gilbert F. Cheries of Winchendon and Wayne L. Cheries and his wife Susan (Benoit) of Ashburnham.

Evelyn had a great love of family and was so proud of her four grandchildren, Nadine Slack, Glen Cheries, Nicole Racki and Erik Cheries. She was also blessed to have eight great-grandchildren. She adored them all and was filled with joyful memories of each one, Gianna, Gabriella and Dominic Slack, Garrett Cheries, Jarrod, Shelby, Caleb and Finn Racki.

In addition to her husband she was predeceased by her siblings, Alphee and Henry Leger, Edna LaFountain, Ella Boudreau and Rita Richard.

A Funeral Mass will be celebrated 11 AM Friday, February 7, 2020 at St. Joseph's Church, 49 Woodland St., Fitchburg.

Burial will be in the parish cemetery.

Mrs. Cheries' family will receive family and friends at a visitation period from 9:30AM – 10:30AM on Friday, February 7, at the Isabelle & Anderson Funeral Home, 316 Clarendon St., Fitchburg.

In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to Food For The Poor, Inc., 6401 Lyons Rd., P.O. Box 979003, Coconut Creek, FL 22097-9989 or to St. Vincent de Paul Society, St. Joseph's Church, 49 Woodland St., Fitchburg, MA 01420.

For further information or to leave an online condolence please visit

Beth Marie (Wilson) Gastalos

December 16, 1964 ~ January 29, 2020 (Age 55)

WINCHENDON – Beth Marie (Wilson) Gastalos, 55, of Winchendon, passed away on Wednesday, January 29, 2020.

She was born in New Haven, CT on December 16, 1964, to the late William and Rowena Wilson.

Beth was a loving mother, grandmother, sister, auntie and best friend. She is survived by her partner Mark Washburn, her daughter, Anita Lyn Brunt and her husband Adam; her granddaughter Shyanne; her sister, Denise D’Aniello,: her sister Anita Wilson and her wife Nancy Liss her sister, Deborah Jones and her husband Kenneth; brother, William Wilson III and his wife Sylvia; her sister, Hope Tousignant and her husband Philip; her brother Charles Wilson and his wife Shelly, as well as several nephews, nieces, great nephews and great nieces.

Beth was a 1987 graduate of Murdock High School and had worked as a personal care assistant for individuals in both the Winchendon and Pittsfield, MA areas. She had lived in Winchendon for many years after living in Pittsfield for several years.

Calling hours will be held Saturday, February 15, 2020 from 5 to 7 P.M. in Stone-Ladeau Funeral Home, 343 Central Street, Winchendon.

Carol (Geddis) Poliwczak

May 16, 1952 ~ January 29, 2020 (Age 67)

Carol Ann (Geddis) Poliwczak, 67, passed away on January 29, 2020 at Baystate Medical Center, surrounded by her loving family. Born in Winchendon, MA on May 16, 1952 to the late Leonard J. and Rita E. (Duval) Geddis. Carol was a 1970 graduate from Agawam High School. As a bookkeeper, Carol had worked for many area companies including Revco, Kittredge Equipment, Clement Paint and Sitterly Movers. She enjoyed snowmobiling, waterskiing, boating, fishing and was an avid Holland America cruiser. She also was a former member of Pioneer Valley Chapter 8, the largest Chapter of the North American Family Campers Association (NAFCA) and Mitch’s Marina in Hadley, MA. Besides her parents, Carol was predeceased by her nephew Jason Kie. To cherish her memory, she leaves her loving husband, John E. Poliwczak of Agawam; her sisters Jean M. Kie and her husband Bruce of League City, TX and Linda J. Mercier and her husband Steve of Agawam; nieces and nephews Kenneth Kie and his wife Jennifer, Jeffrey Kie and his wife Diana, Kristin Colburn and her husband Christopher, Angela Paxson-Mercier and her wife Erica and Mariclaire Smith and her husband George; her great nieces and great nephews Mikaela Kie, Aubrey Colburn, Amanda and Kevin Paxson, and Warren and Dalton Smith. Family and friends are invited to gather on Thursday, February 6, 2020 from 2-4 PM and 7-9 PM at Colonial Forastiere Funeral Home, 985 Main Street, Agawam. A funeral service will be held on Friday, February 7, 2020 at 11 AM at the funeral home with a calling hour preceding from 10 - 11 AM. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Carol’s memory may be made to Shriners Hospital for Children, 516 Carew St., Springfield, MA 01104. For more information or to leave an online condolence, please visit

Mary J. Gorman

May 24, 1933 ~ January 31, 2020 (Age 86)

STEPHENTOWN, NY - Mary J. Kiley Gorman, 86, died Friday, January 31, 2020 at the Samaritan Hospital in Troy, NY. Born in North Adams, MA on May 24, 1933, she was the daughter of the late James M. and Mary C. Maloney Kiley.

Mary was raised in North Adams and was a graduate of St. Joseph's High School in North Adams. She later moved to Springfield, MA and attended Our Lady of the Elms College in Chicopee, MA.

She was employed as a children's librarian at the Forest Park branch of the City of Springfield Library for 6 years. After her daughter Martha started school, she volunteered at the school library and helped children learn to read for over 25 years.

In 1997, she moved to Stephentown, NY with her husband Robert and built a log cabin. She was so happy that she moved to Stephentown and made so many wonderful friends. She was a member of the Stephentown Historical Society, Stephentown Veterans, volunteered at the Stephentown Library and was a communicant of St. Joseph's Church.

Mary enjoyed camping, knitting, quilting, crafts and was an avid reader.

She was the wife of Robert Edward Gorman, a wonderful gentleman who died in 2017; loving mother of Martha Joyce Gorman of Menands; godmother of Mary Cronin of Charlestown, RI, Guy Patenaude of Stafford Springs, CT and Pamela Backli of Dalton, MA; dear friend of Marilyn Abare of Winchendon, MA, Rev. Francis Kennedy of Westfield, MA, Joyce Griffin of Liberty, SC, Bev & Rik McClave and Mary and John Linton all of Stephentown and the late Joyce Doyle of Springfield, MA.

Relatives and friends may call at the Hall & Higgins Funeral Home, 457 NY 43, Stephentown, NY on Wednesday, February 5th from 9:30-10:45 am, followed by the funeral mass at 11:00 am at St. Joseph's Church, Stephentown. Interment will follow in Bellevue Cemetery, Adams, MA. At Mary's request for her funeral, please wear bright colors instead of black to celebrate her life. A celebration of her life will occur later in May.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Stephentown Memorial Library Children's Room, 472 NY 43, Stephentown, NY 12168 or to the Stephentown Volunteer Fire Department, PO Box 208, Stephentown, NY 12168.

Condolence book at

Pedro W. Perez-Sanchez

September 29, 1932 ~ January 29, 2020 (Age 87)

Pedro W. Perez-Sanchez, 87, of Groton, died Wednesday afternoon, January 29, 2020, in his home surrounded by his loving family.

He was born in Santurce, Puerto Rico, on September 29, 1932, a son of the late Pedro Perez and Vicenta (Sanchez) De La Cruz.

He began his military career as part of the United States National Guard in 1954 and was then drafted in the United States Army where he served until his retirement in 1974. During his time in the military, he and his family appreciated the opportunity to travel and live in different states and in Europe. He achieved the rank of Sergeant First Class in the U.S. Army, having served in the Korean War and two tours of duty in Vietnam. Being a distinguished soldier, he was awarded two Bronze Star Medals, The Army Commendation Medal, The Good Conduct Medal, The Army of Occupation Medal, The National Defense Service Medal, The Vietnam Service Medal, and The Vietnam Campaign Medal. He was also decorated as Soldier of the Year on two separate occasions.

Following his retirement from the Army he worked for the Civil Service at Fort Devens in the engineering and housing department.

Pedro loved being outdoors, working with animals, and spending time with his wife, children, and grandchildren. He exemplified a love of service to others and passed that on to his children.

For the last 30 years he owned, trained, and raced thoroughbred horses at racetracks in Massachusetts, Maryland, and New Hampshire. He had been a member of the Masons for many years.

He leaves the love of his life and wife of 65 years, Carmen L. (Vizcarrondo) Perez of Groton; three sons and their spouses, Wigberto Perez and Esther Perez of Fitchburg, Walter Perez and Jo-Ann Perez of Clinton and Rafael A. Perez and Theresa Perez of Winchendon; a daughter and her spouse, Ivonne Perez and Eric M. Monroe of Leominster; a brother, Rafael De La Cruz and a sister Esther Pérez-Cruz both of Puerto Rico; 12 grandchildren, Elisa Perez, Calvin Perez, Marcus Perez, Elizabeth Perez, Sarah Perez, Faith Perez, Mary Perez, Rafael J. Perez, Melissa Capotosto, Jason Perez, Jordan Monroe and Jennifer Lavoie; 5 great grandchildren, a great-great granddaughter and many nephews and nieces.

He is predeceased by twin daughters, Yvette and Yolanda Perez; two brothers, Joaquin Perez and Wilfredo Perez and sisters, Edna Perez and Angeles Perez.

His funeral service will be held on Wednesday, February 5, at 9:30 AM in the Anderson Funeral Home, 25 Fitchburg Rd., Ayer. Burial will be in the Massachusetts Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Winchendon. Calling hours in the funeral home will be held on Tuesday, February 4, from 5-8PM.

The Perez Family would like to sincerely thank their fathers' doctors, Dr. Narayansami and Dr. Khodabandeh and the staff of Emerson Hospital. We would also like to thank his hospice nurse, Daisy Medina and Bob Johnson, Veterans' Services Officer, Town of Groton, Massachusetts. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to Mass General Cancer Center at Emerson Hospital, 133 Old Road to Nine Acre Corner, Concord, MA 01742.

For further information or to leave an online condolence please visit

Atty. Martin B. Kallio Jr

March 18, 1943 ~ February 5, 2020 (Age 86)

WINCHENDON – Atty. Martin B. Kallio Jr., 76, of 154 Glenallen Street, died peacefully Wednesday afternoon, February 5, 2020 in Gardner Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, with his family at his side.

He was born in Winchendon on March 18, 1943, son of the late Martin B. and Nellie A. (Courtemanche) Kallio and was a lifelong resident of Winchendon. A 1961 graduate of Murdock High School, he graduated from Keene State Teachers College in 1970 and later received a Master’s Degree in Education in 1975 and a second Master’s Degree in 1984 in Leadership and Management from Fitchburg State Teachers College. He proudly served his country as a member of the United States Navy during the Vietnam War.

Martin was a fifth grade teacher at the former East Templeton Elementary School for 26 years and earned his Juris Doctorate from Massachusetts School of Law in 1993. He then practiced law and maintained an active law practice in both Gardner and Winchendon from 1999 until 2018. He was a member and former collector at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church. A history buff, Martin enjoyed traveling, taking cruises and was very fond of animals.

He leaves his wife of 48 years, Joanne M. (Prevost) Kallio; a son, Eric J. Kallio and his wife Tiffany of Swanzey, NH; two granddaughters Sarah and Anna Kallio; a brother Douglas G. Kallio of Winchendon; a sister, Judith A. Boudreau of Cumberland, RI and a nephew, Sean Boudreau.

Military funeral services and burial will be private at the Massachusetts Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery, Winchendon.

There are no calling hours.