Marshall Joseph Aronstam, 75, of South Deerfield, passed away at home Sunday, February 2,
2014, after a hard fought battle with cancer.
Marshall was born in Burlington, VT
on February 23, 1938, and was an only child to the late Ida Warshavorski
Colodny and Allan Joseph Aronstam. After growing up in Vermont
and graduating from Burlington High School in 1956, Marshall went on to join the United States
Army. He spent a brief period of time at Fort
Benjamin, Indiana before returning
to Vermont where he would attend UVM, and
later graduate from Johnson
State with a degree in
the devoted husband of Martha Robinson Aronstam for 49 years. Not long
after they exchanged vows on August 29, 1964, Marshall
landed a job as principal of the Goshen
Little did he know at that time, he was laying the foundation for what would be
a journey of over 40 years in the wonderful world of education.
In 1968, Marshall, or “Mr. A” as his students would refer to him, became
Principal and teacher at the Sunderland and Whately Elementary schools.
He made the move from Goshen to South Deerfield in 1973, which is where he and Martha
raised their family, as she ran a home daycare. It was 1977 that he
settled his teaching roots firmly in Sunderland, and could be found swiftly
walking the halls, with a smile on his face, until his retirement in 2003.
For 26 years, Marshall also represented
the town of Deerfield
on the Franklin County Technical School Committee, until he retired in
His passion for teaching children overflowed well outside the walls of
the school. Marshall
coached youth baseball for 16 years, and played a major roll in starting a
girls’ softball program, known as the “Lassie League”. When he wasn’t
setting the line up for his own team, you could find him, or hear him, in the
stands cheering on his beloved Frontier Redskins (turned Redhawks) at every
event he could get to. From football to softball, and everything in
between, his presence was known,
just ask the officials! If that wasn’t enough, he was also a season
ticket holder for UMASS football, basketball and hockey, to which he was a
regular in attendance. An avid New England
sports fan, he was happy to talk about his love for the Red Sox, Celtics and
Patriots to anyone who would listen.
In the 80’s, Marshall
found there were others who shared his enthusiasm for sports, specifically
basketball. Come March, every year, they’d travel all over the country to
attend the NCAA tournament together. This group of men eventually grew
into an incredibly charitable pillar of the community, and in 1999, gave
themselves a name, the “Sunset Hoopsters”. They were, without a doubt,
some of Marshall’s
A common meeting place for the “Hoopsters” tended to be the Polish American
Citizens Club in South Deerfield. Marshall was not shy when
it came to his Polish heritage, and was proud to have been a Lifetime Member,
and serve as a Director and Secretary for 20 years. Through his
involvement with “the Club”, Marshall became
greatly involved with the Relay for Life, and even helped his granddaughter
organize the first “all-kids team” in Franklin County
in the late 90’s.
He was an active member and Deacon at the South Deerfield Congregational
Church, where he helped organize the Adopt a Family program, and would make
sure your coffee cup never went dry at a Church Supper. Marshall was also involved in the Rotary
Clubs of Williamsburg, MA and South Deerfield, MA.
How does one find the energy to accomplish even half of what he did every
day? He would likely suggest starting your morning off with breakfast at
Jerry’s Place, followed by lunch from the BBA Polish Deli, and some spaghetti
and meatballs from Holiday Pizza for dinner. Between meals, make sure to
stay positive, and always be kind to others.
all else, Marshall’s
family was most important to him. He never let his busy schedule allow
him to miss a single game, or recital, awards ceremony, or banquet for any of
his children, or grandchildren. And the most important dates marked on
his calendar were not that of birthdays, anniversaries, or holidays. It
was the first two weeks in August, when the whole family would vacation
together in Maine.
Two full weeks of nonstop lawn games, raft floating, card playing, fun-loving
family time. But, it didn’t matter what those weeks entailed,
really. It was the “importance of togetherness” as he would put it.
survived by daughter, Leslie Aronstam Wickline and partner Thomas Deskavich of
South Deerfield; son, Stephen Aronstam of South Deerfield; daughter, Lauri
Aronstam and partner Mark Durant of Greenfield.
He was “Grampy” to Kaeli, Molly and Ethan Wickline, all of South
Deerfield, and was overjoyed to have spent the last two and a half
years getting to know his great-grandson, the “Big Fella”, Carter Marshall
Malouin. He also leaves sister and brother in law Susan and James Taylor
Carter; sister in law Priscilla Britton; sister in law Mabel Calkins; and many
nieces and nephews. He joins those who have predeceased him including his
daughter, Lisa Ann and sister in law Polly Riley.
There will be no calling hours, or funeral service, but rather, a “Celebration
of Life”, which is what Marshall
did every day. This will be held on Sunday, March 2 at 2:00pm at Frontier Regional High School,
113 North Main St., South
and will be open to any and all who would like to attend.
lieu of flowers, donations in his name can be made out to the Marshall Aronstam
Scholarship Fund c/o Kaeli Wickline 9 Thayer St. South Deerfield, MA
of Sympathy are available at: www.wrisleyfuneralhome.com.