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Minnie Markham

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SHEFFIELD -- Minnie L. Markham, 93, of Home Road died Wednesday afternoon at home. She was town clerk for 20 years, retiring in 1982.

Born in Brown Station, N.Y., on July 2, 1910, daughter of John and Florence Nelson Bunce, she moved to Alford with her family and attended the former Searles High School in Great Barrington.

An active member of the community, Mrs. Markham was a volunteer dietitian for the Southern Berkshire School District and an assistant dietitian at Salisbury School.

During World War II, she was a volunteer for the American Red Cross. She served as treasurer of the local Salvation Army unit for many years and was a member of the American Legion Auxiliary. During the 1940s, she was a 4-H leader and taught homemaking.

She was a member of the First Congregational "Old Parish" Church in Sheffield.

She was a 60-year member of local, Pomona, state and national Granges, serving as master for Sheffield Grange 224 during its 50th and 75th anniversaries. She won numerous awards for her needlework. She was the first director of the Sheffield Senior Center, serving from 1983 to 1991. She was also a member of the Sheffield Friendly Union, the Historical Society and worked on the special committee that formed the Southern Berkshire School District.

Mrs. Markham opened her house to anyone who needed somewhere to call home. She also provided a home for teachers who worked at the former one-room Brush Hill Schoolhouse.

Until two weeks ago, she read at least 15 large-print books a week. She enjoyed crossword puzzles, her canary and gardening, and was a Red Sox fan. She studied genealogy and traced her roots to the Mayflower. In 1996, she was named the town's Republican of the Year.

She leaves two daughters, Betty M. Collingwood of Sheffield and Janet M. Curtis of Ashley Falls; four sisters, Violet DeTraglia of Lagrangeville, N.Y., Evelyn Small of Sheffield, Lela Mario of Kissimmee, Fla., and Nellie Stupak of Canaan, Conn.; three brothers, Fred Bunce of Housatonic, Richard Bunce of Canaan, Conn., and James Bunce of East Corinth, Maine; 10 grandchildren, including her granddaughter, Julie Hannum, whom she raised following the death of her mother, and 12 great-grandchildren. A son, Ira E. "Bucky" Markham Jr., died in 1979 and a daughter, Ann E. Curtiss, died in 1991. Her former husband, Ira E. Markham Sr., died in 1993.

FUNERAL NOTICE -- Services for Minnie L. Bunce Markham will be conducted tomorrow, Oct. 11, at 9:30 at First Congregational Church, "Old Parish" Church, by the Rev. Arthur Kaufman, pastor. Burial will follow in Sheffield Center Cemetery. The family will receive friends today from 4 to 7 at FINNERTY & STEVENS FUNERAL HOME in Great Barrington. Memorial contributions may be made to First Congregational "Old Parish" Church, Friends of Bushnell Sage Library, both in Sheffield, or to the Sheffield Grange. She leaves a son-in-law, James; grandchildren Julie and Steven Hannum, Holly and Judd Smith of Kingston, N.Y., Heide Curtis of Pittsfield, JoAnn and David Meyer of Otis, Glenn Curtiss and his companion, Michelle Grandshaw, of Sheffield, James Collingwood Jr. and his wife, Theresa, of Ashley Falls, Bruce and Connie Collingwood of Pittsfield, Jeffrey Collingwood of Dalton, Willard Curtis of Pittsfield and Trevor Curtis of Ashley Falls; and 12 great-grandchildren, Robin and Philip Hannum, James III, Matthew, John, Noah, Britney and Grant Collingwood, Martin and Jacob Gingras, Justin Howitt and Justin Van Alphen. She enjoyed following her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren on their various sports teams and other interests. She was predeceased by a sister, Ette Ives, and three brothers, John Bunce Jr., and Joseph and Thomas Bunce, and a grandson, Joseph Curtis Jr. Remembrances, memories and reflections may be sent to the family through www.finnertyandstevens.com.

Published in The Berkshire Eagle on Oct. 10, 2003
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