Beverly Jane Kidder, 88, of Shelburne Falls, died Aug. 7, 2013, at Buckley HealthCare Center in Greenfield. She was born on July 3, 1925 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the daughter of Dr. Perry E. and Norma A. Mason. As the daughter of a college professor, Beverly enjoyed a cherished childhood growing up in Yellow Springs, Ohio and Berkeley, California, with her younger brother, Lawrence. She graduated from Berkeley High School and took courses at Indiana University.
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She was married to William Wallace Kidder on Dec. 27, 1943, an officer in the United States Navy. They raised three children, living in Berkeley, Bloomington, Indiana, Mount Vernon, New York and South Orange, New Jersey. In 1973 she moved to Princeton, New Jersey, where she worked for Princeton Theological Seminary and Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School helping to administer the Rockefellor Public Service Awards and Mid-Careerists Programs. After retiring, she moved to Greenfield, Mass., and then to Shelburne Falls in 2003.
She is survived by three children: William L. Kidder and his wife Jane of Ewing Township, New Jersey, Norman E. Kidder and his wife Jan Southworth of Fremont, California, and Elizabeth A. Kidder and her husband Thomas Luck of Leyden, Massachusetts; six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren; her cousin, Helen P. Bird; her lifelong BFF Joan Carter in Florida, and several nieces and nephews.
Coming from a family placing a high value on creativity and lifelong learning, Beverly was an avid reader and loved to write. In South Orange, she wrote several humorous plays for community groups and was active in community theater. At the time of her death she was well along on her first novel.
Beverly had a lifelong interest in British, American and family history. She was very proud to be a descendant of Richard Warren and others on the Mayflower and her home was an archive of family mementos. She worked for several years as a Master Guide at Historic Deerfield, where she was proud to say several of her early seventeenth and eighteenth century ancestors had lived.
Perhaps Beverly's most prominent lifelong interest was dolls and doll houses, beginning her collection as a child. As an adult, she became a master miniaturist creating doll houses, furniture and accessories, as well as sculpting and dressing all the dolls who lived in the houses, each with its own life story created from her literary imagination and love of history. Her doll houses, room boxes and miniature village have been exhibited at Historic Deerfield and at the George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum in Springfield, Massachusetts. Recently, her doll house collection was donated to the National Association of Miniature Enthusiasts and the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association in Deerfield. For many years she sold handcrafted doll house dolls and pattern kits for dressing miniatures. She also created larger costume dolls and a wonderful series of clothespin dolls representing different nationalities and holidays. Her dolls have been sold locally at the Shelburne Arts Cooperative. She was an active member of the local Minis R' Us club along with her cherished friend Jeanne Sojka, a truly special person who not only helped manage the club but was always there for its members.
Her family would like to thank Franklin County Home Care, the Highland Village Community, Sandy Smith and her caregivers from Loving Care, and Hospice of Franklin County. Her family is especially thankful for the warm and loving care she received at Buckley HealthCare Center; we will always be grateful for the support we received from everyone at Buckley.
Donations in her memory can be made to the Buckley HealthCare Center Activities Fund or the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association in Deerfield.
Arrangements are being made by Johnson Funeral home, Shelburne Falls.
There will be no calling hours or services.
Johnson Funeral Home
104 Bridge St
Shelburne Falls, MA 01370
Published in The Recorder on Aug. 10, 2013