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Freda Sass


1913 - 2015 Obituary Condolences
Freda Sass Obituary
Freda Sass

1913 - 2015 PITTSFIELD Freda Sass, 102, of 523 Crane Ave., Pittsfield, died at home Friday after a brief illness. Born on April 27, 1913, in Hillsboro, KS, daughter of Adolf and Ida Marie Schrepel Schaeffler, she was raised there and graduated from the University of Kansas in Lawrence. There she married a schoolmate, Samuel Sass, who was her lifemate until his death in 2008. After a stay in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where Sam completed a program in library studies at the University of Michigan, they moved in 1945 to Pittsfield, where Sam soon took charge of the General Electric library named after William Stanley and remained its librarian for decades. Freda taught sociology for a time at Windsor Mountain School in Lenox but was best known for her civic engagement locally and for supporting Sam out of the limelight in his community work. Her interests ranged through land use, community planning, county government reform, transportation, waste disposal, and voter service. She was described in an Eagle article as "a prolific letter-to-the-editor writer and a relentless committee worker [who] never straddles a fence." In 1965 she chaired a local fund drive to help establish and maintain a new Southern regional office in Atlanta for the American Civil Liberties Union, of which she was a lifetime member. For years she was immersed in League of Women Voters activities. Music was important. Freda played the piano at home, and followed classical music closely. She studied at the Tanglewood Music Center for six summers and sang soprano with the Boston Symphony Orchestra chorus at Tanglewood as well as in Williams College choral society concerts. Freda and Sam ushered at the Tanglewood Music Shed for many summers and were regulars at the South Mountain Concerts chamber music series every fall; she last attended a South Mountain concert on September 27. A believer in environmental preservation, she supported the Berkshire Natural Resources Council, Mass Audubon and allied groups. The yard around the Sasses' compact house showcased plants attractive to wildlife and minimized space for grass. A visitor there on the day she died surprised a pair of grazing whitetailed deer. She enjoyed active membership in the Berkshire County Historical Society, including guiding visitors through Herman Melville's home, Arrowhead. Freda loved to "read newspapers, do crossword puzzles, and discuss politics," which was how a local physician accounted for her longevity. She was an avid reader of The Nation magazine. While Sam was alive there was no television in the house. Later, realizing she could arise from bed whenever, Freda became fond of watching late-night movies on TV and on DVD. She greatly appreciated the attention she received from her devoted caregivers. FUNERAL NOTICE: There will be no calling hours or service. The Devanny-Condron Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Published in The Berkshire Eagle on Oct. 14, 2015
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