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.
FUNERAL NOTICE -- Funeral services for Joan Marie Kulesa Almori, 66, who died Tuesday Feb. 21, 2006, will take place Saturday at 8 a.m. from FLYNN-DAGNOLI-BENCIVENGA FUNERAL HOME, followed by a Liturgy of Christian Burial at 9 a.m. at St. Charles Church with the Rev. Peter A. Gregory, pastor, officiating. Burial will follow in St. Joseph's Cemetery. Calling hours will be at the funeral home on Friday from 4 to 7 p.m. She leaves her longtime companion and devoted friend, Gail K. Beare of Pittsfield; her mother, Jennie J. Kulesa of Pittsfield; her sister, Judith Hahn of Manchester, N.J.; two nieces, Maryanne Boenitz of Pittsfield and Tracy Winkler of Ovido, Fla.; two nephews, Anthony Kulesa of Pittsfield and Paul Boinay of Chesapeake, Va.; her aunt, Mary Maffuccio of Pittfield; her uncle, Angelo Buzzanco of Pittsfield; her sister-in-law, Anne Kulesa of Pittsfield, and many grandnieces and grandnephews. She was predeceased by her brother, Benjamin Kulesa of Pittsfield. Friends are welcome to send flowers, and donations in her memory may be made to the Mother of Divine Mercy Prayer Group, Stockbridge, St. Charles Parish, Pittsfield or St. Thomas Parish, Huntington, in care of the funeral home, 5 Elm St., Pittsfield, MA 01201. Joan's gentle and caring personality, coupled with her spiritual gifts, radiated peace and love to others, through her beautiful smile and prayerful attitude, throughout her professional career, private life, and during her time of illness. She had a profound influence on all of her friends and family, and will be deeply missed.