Alumni & Giving

In Memoriam

Memorial Gifts

The UMass Amherst College of Nursing extends our deepest sympathies to family and friends of those who have passed away. Giving a gift to honor the life of a loved one also supports the future of nursing and nursing education. To make a gift in their name, please contact Elaine Fuqua at 413.545.5090 or click here.

In Memoriam

Judith Gagne Levreault ('62) of South Hadley, MA, died on February 12, 2017.  She had been dealing with Alzheimer's disease for several years, and had recently been diagnosed with lymphoma. Read her obituary here

Heather Mary McMahon, RN, 30, passed away peacefully on January 2, 2017 surrounded by her loving family and friends. Heather was born in Holyoke, MA on April 15, 1986, the daughter of James W. McMahon and Kathleen (Baush) McMahon. Heather was an avid swimmer from a young age, competing for the Holyoke YMCA Vikings for 15 years as well as USS swimming. Heather was a 2004 graduate of Holyoke High School, where she was a member of the swimming, track and field hockey teams, as well as the Holyoke High School Band. She went on to earn her Bachelor of Science Degree from Springfield College where she was a member of the swim team and was selected team captain her senior year. Heather then earned a second Bachelor's Degree in nursing from New York University and was enrolled in a doctorate program at UMass, Amherst to become a Nurse Practitioner. Heather was employed as a Clinical Nurse Supervisor at Holyoke Medical Center. She was an incredibly kind and positive person with a passion for life and her community. Heather was an active member of the Holyoke St. Patrick's Day Parade Committee as well as the Holyoke Elks. She truly enjoyed her involvement in the many Parade Committee events including the Road Race and Parade. She also enjoyed the two years she spent coaching the Holyoke High Swim Team. In addition to her parents, Heather is survived by her brothers Joseph McMahon and his wife Nora and Ryan McMahon and his wife Brooke. Heather recently became a proud aunt to her niece Connie McMahon with whom she adored spending time. She is also survived by her best friend and love of her life Kyle Mardeuse and their two cats Martin and Elliot. Heather will be missed by her many aunts, uncles, cousins and friends. Heather showed tremendous courage and strength in fighting an aggressive brain tumor. She maintained her positive attitude and love of life until the end. Special thanks to those who provided Heather and her family with guidance and support during her fight, especially Dr. Zubeena Mateen and Erin Hurlburt, RN, Brooke McMahon and to the staffs at the Weldon Rehabilitation Hospital, the D'Amour Center for Cancer Care, and the Holyoke VNA. The Funeral Mass for Heather will be held Monday at 10:00am in Our Lady of the Cross Parish Church. Burial will follow in Forestdale Cemetery West, Rock Valley Road. Calling hours will be held Sunday from 2:00 to 6:00pm at the Barry J. Farrell Funeral Home, 2049 Northampton Street. Given Heather's passion for finding a cure for Glioblastoma, in lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Heather's name to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Glioblastoma Research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, P.O. Box 849168, Boston, MA 02284 or at


Karen Plotkin, 59, of South Deerfield, Massachusetts, passed away at home on Monday, Dec. 26, 2016 after a brief battle with cancer.

Karen was born in Leominster on Jan. 21, 1957, to Louis "Pin" Cannavino and Marge (Crespin) Cannavino. She was a graduate of Fitchburg State College and the Leominster School of Nursing. After graduation, she began her lifelong nursing career as a visiting nurse in the Fitchburg area. Upon moving to South Deerfield, she worked several nursing jobs. Her career then took her to the University of Massachusetts, where she became a professor in the College of Nursing for 17 years. While at UMass, she earned her master's degree and went on to complete her Ph.D.

In 2000, Karen received the College of Nursing's Outstanding Teacher award. She did extensive research on adolescent endometriosis, publishing her study, "Stolen Adolescence: The Experience of Adolescent Girls with Endometriosis" in 2004. She was also a member of several nursing associations and received a board certification from the American Nurses Credentialing Center as a clinical nurse specialist in home health nursing in 2006.

Karen loved her students, and her students loved her. She received letters and thank-you cards from students every year, many of whom said they aspired to be like her.

Every Sunday for years, she would meet a group of friends at Schetzen Verein in Gill to walk their dogs along the Connecticut River. She also loved traveling with her family.

She is survived by her husband, John, and her children, Andrew of Worcester and Matthew of South Deerfield. She is also survived by her mother, Marge, her sister, Jane Kennedy of Leominster and Jane's longtime companion, Dennis Wills of Gardner, as well as her beloved 15-year-old Golden Retriever, Shelby Lynn.

Karen is predeceased by her father, who passed away in 2014.

A memorial service will be held Jan. 7, 2017 at 11 a.m. at Wrisley Funeral Home in South Deerfield. A calling hour will be held the morning of Jan. 7th from 10:00AM until the time of the service. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to UMass College of Nursing Scholarships at: Records and Gift Processing, Memorial Hall, UMass, Amherst, MA 01003. Online donations can be made at: Click here to read Karen's obituary.

Valerie George, clinical instructor, passed away September 7, 2015.

Elizabeth Ann Clark, 87, of Brewster, a former assistant professor in the College of Nursing, died Aug. 9, 2015. She was an instructor in nursing from 1957-61 and served as an assistant professor, medical-surgical nursing, from 1964-76.  Born in 1928, she was a graduate of Mt. Holyoke College and earned masters degrees from Columbia Teachers College and Yale University School of Nursing. She also taught nursing at the University of Maine and the Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, and was a head nurse at Yale New Haven Hospital.

Nancy Fisk, retired associate professor of nursing, passed away July 17, 2015. Nancy made her career as a nurse and academic earning her bachelor’s degree from the University of Connecticut at Storrs and her master’s and doctorate degrees from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She spent most of her professional life as a professor of nursing at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Earlier in her career, Nancy taught nursing at Greenwich Hospital in Greenwich, Connecticut, and Holyoke Community College. She also founded the first halfway house for recovering alcoholic women in Springfield.  Nancy enjoyed years of involvement in barbershop music in the Sweet Adelines organization as a member of choruses in Connecticut and Massachusetts as well as director of one which she founded, The Belles of Amherst.