SOUTH HADLEY - After leading a bright but far-too-brief life, defined by a devotion to family and a mastery of joy, Marian Frances (Pagano) Matheson, 55, died Friday, April 4, 2014, after a brief and courageous battle with cancer. She passed away peacefully at her home in South Hadley, surrounded by family and friends.
Marian, known affectionately as "M", was born in Flushing, N.Y., and raised on Guthrie Court in Northport, N.Y. She built a successful career in higher education institutional research working with some of the country's most prestigious institutions, but most impressive was her vast knowledge of Broadway show tunes and her willingness to break into song at any moment.
She loved dogs, golf, summer at the beach, the Peanuts comic strip, cocktails, good food, crossword puzzles, and, much to the chagrin of her friends and neighbors in Massachusetts, the Yankees. Most of all, she loved her wife Pam and their daughter Caroline.
Marian was director of institutional research and planning at Amherst College, where "her influence has changed the College for the better forever," according to a statement by Amherst College President Biddy Martin. Prior to that role, Marian served as associate provost for planning and institutional research at Columbia University and was an analyst in institutional research at Tufts University. Marian was a leading and highly respected voice in the national Council on Financing Higher Education (COFHE).
Marian graduated from Juniata College, where she was a standout athlete in field hockey and softball. She completed all but the dissertation for a doctorate in higher education curriculum, instruction and administration at Boston College and earned a master of arts degree in applied clinical psychology from the State University of New York, Plattsburgh, N.Y., in 1982.
Active in the community, Marian served as a coach for her daughter's softball team and was a dedicated supporter among the parents at the Common School.
In addition to her wife and daughter, Marian is survived by her sister Janet Wood and brother-in-law Daniel both of Mendham, N.J.; nieces Elaina, Kayla and Laura of Mendham; her father-in-law Roger Matheson and mother-in-law Yvonne Matheson of Litchfield, Mich.; her sister-in-law Carol Kolongowski of Flushing, Mich.; nieces Jill and Beth Kolongowski; brother-in-law Douglas Schlosser of Homer, Mich.; sister-in-law D'Andra Clark of Hillsdale, Mich.; niece Arielle Clark and nephew Quinlan Clark; and many dear friends.
She was predeceased by her parents Irene and Philip Pagano and her brother Chuck Pagano.
A celebration of Marian's life will be held Saturday, April 12, at 11 a.m. at Amherst College's Johnson Chapel. A reception will follow at the home of Amherst College President Biddy Martin.
Calling hours will be held Friday, April 11, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Douglass Funeral Service in Amherst. Obituary and memorial register at www.douglassfuneral.com.
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Douglass Funeral Home
87 North Pleasant Street
Amherst, MA 01002
Published in Daily Hampshire Gazette on Apr. 8, 2014