In Memoriam – Deirdre Scott

Deirdre Scott died as she lived, on her own terms, November 18, 2019 at home, at peace and held closely by friends too many to count. She began life in New Jersey on September 30, 1954. But she called the Pioneer Valley her home for the last 45 years, wrapping her gifts in many corners of Western Massachusetts. She graduated from UMass Amherst with both bachelor’s and master’s degrees. An educator at Chicopee High School, not long retired, she was a teacher beyond the conventional confines of the classroom. Everyone she turned her attention to knew they had something to learn from Deirdre. Be it on an epic hike or bike ride, delighting in one of her masterful meals, being dragged to a class you thought you cared little about, or a concert outside of your usual tastes, she was a fount of ideas she consistently put into action. Deirdre wanted to learn saxophone and play in bands, be a docent at the greenhouse at Smith College, paint, garden, learn about birds, local history, start a dog walking business, join a board for a non-profit, give service to a local aid organization. She did every one of these things and so much more. Hampshire Life was one of her many guidebooks. What Deirdre accomplished in a day was dizzying. Deirdre dared to and dares you to: think something, do it!

Her family of origin, specifically her mother Peg, got Deirdre’s endless and loyal care until her death in April 2018. Her cousins Deb and Dennis, Becky and Ray, their children and grandchildren will miss Deirdre immensely. Stepsons Joel and Aaron were inspired by her generosity, creativity, athleticism. In-laws Gloria, Joanne, Amy, Steven, Sarah and Annalee (and their partners and spouses) were proud to call her family. Deirdre was a sister to her family of choice, a world of friends who now walk through these days carrying Deirdre’s memory with them, all lives much richer for having been touched by her, much heavier carrying the burden of knowing they will have only memories to rely on of receiving one of her homemade cards, hearing her voice sing its song of unwavering friendship, being pulled along on an adventure that she dreamed up and knew would be a perfect fit for them. This amazing and vast group of friends would require a full column in these pages to enumerate. Without you Deirdre could not have flourished. You know who you are.

Her wife, Diane, who first fell in love when Deirdre fixed her blue eyes and wide grin on her 17 years ago, was overcome with being chosen to be the recipient of – and witness to – Deirdre’s gifts, both tangible and intangible. It was her honor to be Deirdre’s partner in all things, and support in the last year whenever, however Deirdre needed and wanted, as hope for recovery from cancer and its aftermath dwindled, requiring a lesson in forbearance and eventual submission she could only teach herself, one that we could only observe through her grace and beauty from afar.

Deirdre was the best kind of friend. She asked questions and really wanted to hear the answer, not simply wait for her turn to talk. Deirdre lived a life with few regrets. One was that she could not thank everyone who helped love and support her, and especially over this past year. Deirdre intended to throw a party in gratitude for the many kindnesses bestowed upon her. As she came to realize that she could not fulfill this herself, she asked that the party still be held as a Celebration of Life. Please join us at 2 pm on January 5, 2020, at the Blue Heron Restaurant in Sunderland, MA.

There is not enough gratitude we can express toward Deirdre’s caretakers and advocates at Valley Medical Group, Cooley Dickinson hospital, brilliant medical professionals at Mass General, and the kind and loving staff of the Cooley Dickinson VNA and Hospice.

In lieu of flowers, consider this: dream up an adventure and do it in honor of her magnificent spirit. Donations in her memory can also be made to Caring for a Cure, the Survival Center, or the Cooley Dickinson VNA and Hospice.

Published in Daily Hampshire Gazette on Nov. 22, 2019