Patricia Silver, Education professor and LD
By Sarah R. Buchholz,
Patricia Silver, 60, of Ashfield, professor of Student
Development and Pupil Personnel Services and graduate and undergraduate
program director for the School of Education, died June 20.
She served the University for 21 years and had planned to retire
Sally Freeman, retired director of Counseling and Assessment Services,
said Silver created Learning Disabilities Support Services, which
she directed for 14 years, from scratch.
When the disabilities act was passed in the mid-'80s, nearly the
only disabilities services the campus had were for physically
handicapped students, Freeman said.
"At the time the legislation passed, there were many, many
students already [diagnosed with learning disabilities] on campus,"
"She stepped forward to do it - built it from nothing to
a major program that has helped hundreds and hundreds of kids.
It was amazing the work and energy she put into it. It was 'part
time' and she had a reduced teaching load, but she would end up
with this program about 100 percent of the time. She'd work at
it all day and then teach her classes at night.
"She created all of the policies and procedures and worked
really hard building an advocacy [network]. There was a lot of
faculty resistance at first. [But] she was a consummate professional;
she shouldered a lot of grief and really created the space for
these students to come to the University and have a good chance
to get a degree."
Freeman said faculty began to come around once they, with Silver's
help, discovered that many students with learning disabilities
also were exceptionally bright and with the right support could
be outstanding students.
"She believed in [the students], and she was right,"
Silver was a founding member of the Berkshire Assessment Team
- a volunteer group of campus psychologists, Communication Disorders
faculty and special education specialists.
"It was designed for a whole lot of students who were showing
academic struggles, to refer them somewhere," Freeman said.
"She helped set up a thorough diagnostic process." The
team, with the help of faculty and staff referrals, "found
kids with serious problems that were undiagnosed.
"She was considered an expert in this area internationally.
"She made a major contribution to this campus and to college
students, really, throughout the nation because it was a model
program for other schools.
"It was her heart and soul that was in this. She was a remarkable
human being with incredible energy, incredible determination,
and incredible will to make this happen."
Silver presented and published dozens of papers, many in collaboration
with other scholars; evaluated programs; gave workshops; sat on
panels; and served as a consultant for many programs.
In the community, she was a Girl Scout leader, president of the
Ashfield Historical Society, a parent advocate and a supporter
of and participant in oral history projects. She was dedicated
to exploring her own path as a daughter of a coal miner to a career
at a university. A book in press, "Out of the Dark: Stories
and Reflections of the Journey from the Coalfields to Academia,"
reflects her long-standing interest in that experience.
She held a B.S. in elementary education from Concord College in
Athens, W.Va., and an M.A. in elementary education and an Ed.D.
in reading from West Virginia University.
She leaves her husband, David Silver, and a daughter, Jessica,
A memorial service is scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday, June 28,
at the First Congregational Church in Ashfield.
Memorial gift may be made to the Patricia Silver Memorial Scholarship
Fund, c/o Connie Bunker, Business Office, School of Education,
126 Furcolo Hall. Make checks payable to "University of Massachusetts."
Elizabeth I. Kramer
Elizabeth I. Kramer, 86, of Northampton, a retired senior typist
in Plant and Soil Sciences, died May 26 in Northampton Nursing
She served the University for more than 13 and a half years before
retiring in 1977. She also had been a department manager at the
former McCallums Department Store in Northampton.
Her husband, Edward Kramer, died in 1989.
She leaves two sons, Gerald F. of Boston and Thomas H. of Tallahassee,
Fla.; a daughter, Eleanor Bergeron of Dallas; and other family.
Memorial gifts may be made to the Recreation Fund, Geriatrics
at Northampton Nursing Home, 737 Bridge Road, Northampton 01060.
John Ralph Havis
John Ralph Havis, 82, of Fort Collins, Colo., a professor emeritus
of Plant and Soil Sciences, died June 16.
He served the University for more than 33 years before retiring
He directed the Waltham Botanical Field Station between 1955 -62
and taught from 1949-51 at Virginia Technological University and
from 1952-55 at the Inter-American Institute for Agricultural
Sciences in Costa Rica.
A lifetime member of the Massachusetts Nurserymen's Association
and a member of science research society Sigma Xi, his area of
expertise was nursery crop management.
A U.S. Navy veteran, he was a lieutenant on an aircraft carrier,
the USS Saratoga.
He held a bachelor's degree from Texas Tech University and a master's
degree and doctorate from Cornell University.
He was an elder at College Church in Northampton.
He leaves his wife of 49 years, Lois Havis; two daughters, Charlotte
Rathke of Greeley, Colo., and Holly of Amherst; a son, Robert
of Fort Collins; and other family.
Memorial gifts may be made to Larimer County Hospice at Columbine
Care Center West, 940 Worthington Circle, Fort Collins CO 80526.
Frank Skroski, 80, of Whately, a retired custodial supervisor,
died June 17 after a brief illness.
He served the University for nearly 25 years before retiring in
He lettered in football, baseball and basketball at Deerfield
High School before leaving in 1943 to be a tail gunner in a B-24
as an Army Air Force Technical Sergeant. He flew 48 combat missions
in 93 days and brought home the Overseas Service Bar, the American
Theater Ribbon, the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Ribbon
with four Bronze Stars, the Air Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters
and the Distinguished Unit Badge with one Leaf Cluster.
His wife, Helen, predeceased him.
He leaves his sons, Donald of Whately and Frank of Lovetts-ville,
Va.; a sister, Wanda Dufault of Whately; and other family.
Memorial gifts may be made to Holy Name of Jesus Church, Thayer
Street, S. Deerfield 01373.