PITTSFIELD -- Joan Marie Kulesa Almori, 66, of 1 Alcott Lane died Tuesday at Berkshire Medical Center from complications of recurrent breast cancer.
Born in Pittsfield on March 21, 1939, daughter of Jennie Buzzanco Kulesa and the late Stanley C. Kulesa, she attended local schools, graduating from St. Joseph's High School in 1956 and St. Luke's Hospital School of Nursing in 1959. She went on to a career in nursing, specializing in medical/surgical, obstetrics, psychiatric and intensive/coronary care.
She was assistant head nurse and clinical instructor at New England Deaconess Hospital in Boston from 1968-74. She then was accepted into the Mayo Clinic School of Anesthesia in Rochester, Minn., graduating in 1976. She practiced anesthesia there for a year before moving to Miami, where she worked at Jackson Memorial Hospital for three years.
In 1979, she moved to Middlefield, where she lived for 25 years. She continued to practice anesthesia, working at Berkshire Medical Center, Hillcrest Hospital and Noble Hospital in Westfield.
Miss Almori traveled with her mother to Italy and Medjugorje, in the former Yugoslavia, on religious pilgrimages. Following these experiences, she became very active in the Mother of Divine Mercy Prayer Group at the Marian Fathers in Stockbridge and in the monthly Healing Masses and annual Mercy Sunday events there. She also was a communicant at St. Thomas' Parish in Huntington, and subsequently at St. Charles' Church in Pittsfield. In the 1990s, she traveled extensively on religious pilgrimages to Israel, France, Portugal and Italy. She served as the chairwoman on the Council on Aging in Middlefield for 11 years, initiating the computerization of its database and the establishment and dedication of the new senior center there. She served as business manager for the local independent music group Heartsong Christian Music from 1998-2004 and assisted in the production of an original music CD.
During the 1970s, Miss Almori enjoyed several cross-country camping trips, with adventures in sky diving, mountain climbing, rappelling off glaciers and back-country fishing excursions. While living in Middlefield, she enjoyed cutting wood, woodworking, furniture refinishing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, and fishing in the local lakes and streams. She also enjoyed gardening, and won several awards for excellence from the Agricultural Fair Association, and skiing, making a trip to Zermatt, Switzerland, where she skied the Matterhorn.
In addition to her mother, she leaves her lifetime companion, Gail K. Beare, with whom she lived; a sister, Judith Hahn of Manchester, N.J.; an aunt, Mary Maffuccio, and an uncle, Angelo Buzzanco of Pittsfield.
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