Daisy Erwin Mathias
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Daisy Erwin Mathias, 79, poet and lover of language, passed away peacefully on the evening of June 26th due to complications from kidney cancer.

She was born on November 7, 1940, in New York City to Ida (Bothwell) and David B. Mathias. After growing up in Scarsdale, NY, she graduated from Wells College in Aurora, NY, majoring in Sociology and Religion. She moved to Cleveland, OH to be an actress at the Cleveland Circle Playhouse, and later acted in the Orleans Arena Theater on Cape Cod.

Daisy loved adventure and excitement, always willing to discover another side of herself by trying something new. She traveled, making friends everywhere she went. If anything tied her many interests together, it was her love of language and a fascination with everything about human communication.

After earning a degree in Human Communication Disorders at McGill University in Montreal, she took a job at Children's Hospital in Boston, and began a long career as a hospital-based Pediatric Speech and Language Pathologist, specializing in children with cleft lip and palate. She helped countless children and families over the years, and had a knack for encouraging families to see how initial problems can become opportunities.

In the early 1980s, Daisy moved to Arlington, VA to be with the love of her life, Bob Nelson, whom she married on New Year's Day 1983. Together, they moved to Northampton, where for a time they ran a bed and breakfast at The Beeches, the historic home of Calvin Coolidge. In 1984, they were blessed with the birth of their daughter, Anne. Bob and Daisy opened Peacework Gallery on Main Street, showcasing their mutual interest in Native American art. They brought many Native American artists to Northampton, including Navajo-Ute flute player R. Carlos Nakai, who played to a sold-out crowd at Smith College's Sage Hall.

Daisy continued to use her clinical skills at Baystate Medical Center, where she invented a type of "barium cookie"; so that swallowing in very young children could be analyzed by x-ray. Her specialties included feeding and swallowing issues, and cleft palate anomalies. Since the 1980s, she was a core member of the Cleft Lip & Palate Team at Shriners Hospital in Springfield, and continued to use her skills to help children and families from across New England and around the world.

Hearkening back to her days on stage, in 2006 Daisy founded "Poetry a la Carte", her long- running radio program on 91.1 WMUA-Amherst, which is still on the air after over 600 broadcast episodes. As producer, guide, and reader, she brought a world of poetry to life for her listeners all over the globe.

An accomplished writer and poet herself, Daisy could recite a multitude of poems by heart, and often did, to the delight of her friends and family. She was a member of many local writing groups, and was a trustee and organizer for WriteAngles, an annual regional writers conference.

The family would like to thank all of the wonderful and caring nurses and doctors in the Baystate hospice program who helped keep Daisy comfortable during her illness.

Daisy is survived by her husband of 37 years, Bob Nelson; their daughter Anne E. Mathias Nelson; her sister Mary W. Mathias and partner Mary Ide; niece Susan Houriet and partner Ryan Pienciak of New Jersey; nephew David M. Houriet of Vermont; and by many loving nieces and nephews. She is also survived by her niece Dana Nelson and husband Jeremy Bischoff of Lyon, France; and by her sisters-in-law, Gloria Bartholomew-Nelson of Annandale, VA, and Karyl Sylken of Portland, ME. She was predeceased by her parents, and by her brother-in-law, Stephen D. Nelson.

Daisy is also remembered by her many close and loving friends who will miss her forever.

A memorial service will be held at a later date. The family asks that, in lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to the Cleft Lip & Palate Team at Shriner's Hospital, Springfield, MA (contact Stacey Perlmutter) or the literacy or environmental charity of your choice.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Daily Hampshire Gazette on Jun. 30, 2020.
Please consider a donation, as requested by the family.
Memories & Condolences
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11 entries
July 24, 2020
I am so very sorry to learn of Daisy's passing! She was an amazing woman that my daughter and I got to know through Shriner's Hospital. She was a woman of amazing knowledge and kindness. We will greatly miss her!!
Linda Robbins
July 10, 2020
I knew Daisy through working with cleft lip and palate at Shriners as a volunteer. She was the sweetest and nicest lady. I am saddened to hear of her passing. Rest In Peace Daisy. You will be missed at Shriners. ❤
Ann Thomas
July 6, 2020
I am so sorry to hear of Daisys passing. It was very much a shock to learn of it as Daisy was so vital and alive through her many interests. I had the honor of working with Daisy at the Shriners Hospital. As a fairly new Speech Language Pathologist I was so fortunate to be able to learn from her vast experience. She was the most knowledgeable SLP that I ever worked with. I will miss her dearly.
Tracey Zeller
July 2, 2020
Daisy Mathias held up more than her corner of the sky. She held it for her family; for children in need and their families; for poets and writers; gardeners and workers for justice. We all bear a bigger load without her. Thank you, Bob and Anne, for being there for Daisy, all the way. Love.
July 1, 2020
Bob, So sorry to see this news, I have been out of touch for several years but remember you both well from the gallery and Noho chamber events.
Jenny Pelissier
July 1, 2020
Bob and Anne, we are so sorry to hear of Daisy's passing. Our lives began intersecting when we all moved to Northampton about the same time, which was furthered by our respective businesses, Peaceworks and La Cazuela. Find peace in knowing she lived a good life and left many people better than before she had an impact.
Warm regards, Roe and Barry
Barry Steeves
July 1, 2020
I knew Daisy through her involvement with the annual WriteAngles writers conference. She was a pleasure to work with. I was always impressed with her organizational ability, her wisdom, kindness, and her amazing gift of diplomacy. I will miss her and remember her fondly.
Jan Whitaker
July 1, 2020
Daisy shared her energy with all of us at Shriners Hospitals for Children. Her knowledge and enthusiasm will always be an inspirpation.
Denise Gloekler
June 30, 2020
Such a beautiful Soul, Heaven is lucky to receive her and so very MANY are forever Blessed for having known her.
Nancy C-P
June 30, 2020
Daisy was always a very kind, loving and patient . A talented lady who produced a great show on WMUA, Amherst, Ma. We, the djs at WMUA and listeners will miss her. Rest in peace Daisy.
Helen Curtin
June 30, 2020
had worked with Daisy in the Pediatric Rehab department at Baystate. She was always full of life and brought so much to our little family. I often think about her and would see her walking after she retired. I would look for her in the neighborhood as she brought me a smile. I will always think of her smiling and humming a tune.
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