Edward Scudder Belt

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    - Patricia Brennan
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    - Emma Belt Forget
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    - Therese Brady Donohue
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Service Information
Douglass Funeral Home
87 North Pleasant Street
Amherst, MA

Edward Scudder Belt passed away peacefully at home on Saturday, March 23, 2019 after a brief battle with lung cancer. Ed was born August 4, 1933, to Emma Willard Keyes Belt and Charles Banks Belt of Glen Cove and Southampton, Long Island, New York.

Ed attended Friends Academy, NY and The Portsmouth Priory School, RI. He received an undergraduate degree from Williams College in 1955. In 1957 he received his MS in Paleontology from Harvard, completing his PhD in Geology at Yale in 1963. Ed's outlook on life was one of determination, hard work, camaraderie, friendship and hope.

Ed started his career as Assistant Professor of Geology at Villanova University, PA. In 1966, Ed came to Amherst College where he taught Sedimentology, Invertebrate Paleontology and Geomorphology. From 1999 until his retirement in 2002, Ed was the S.A. Hitchcock Professor of Mineralogy and Geology. Ed was known to say, "I am teaching what I want to teach, where I want to teach it." Ed's dedication to education reached many students who benefitted from his fatherly and professional guidance through their time at Amherst College and beyond, starting life-long family friendships.

From 1987-2002, Ed was Director of the Pratt Museum of Natural History at Amherst College. Here he was able to combine his passion for teaching, archiving, and story-telling. This allowed him to mentor students in museum 'field work.' In his retirement, Ed assisted in the museum's move into the new Beneski Geology Museum. Ed was a prolific researcher in the field of Geology and his work was published in a variety of scientific journals.

One of Ed's personal interests was building ship models. This culminated in a replica of "The Fair American" Schooner. His attention to detail and accuracy led him to solving a structural mystery, and his article was published in "Ship Modeling" magazine.

At the age of 60, Ed pursued tennis lessons with Art Carrington of Bay Road Tennis Club. He became an enthusiastic player and it became the family sport. He played regularly until last September.

In 2013, Ed recorded a collection of songs with local international folk musician, Annie Patterson. These were songs he sang on family trips. His daughters and some grandchildren accompany him on the CD.

Ed's love of history evolved from Geology to his family ancestry. He produced a number of films and books, one of which he was working on the morning of his last day with collaborator and film-maker, Rawn Fulton, of Searchlight Films.

Ed was a devoted son, brother, uncle, husband, father, grandfather, and friend. His commitment to his family was unconditional. Ed was known to say, "The best decision I ever made was marrying your mother!" Emily was Ed's partner, his rudder, his rock, and his salve. She brought him laughter, conversation and diversity. Together they raised four daughters: Emily, Anne, Aggie, and Kilty. As a family they camped, hiked, explored and formed bonds that have carried them through life.

One of the cornerstones of Ed's life was his deep spiritual faith in God and the Roman Catholic Church. From Portsmouth Priory School to renewing his vows with Emily for their 50th wedding anniversary, he always relied on his faith to inspire and guide his life.

Ed is pre-deceased by his parents, Charles Banks Belt and Emma Willard (Keyes) Belt of New York; and his older brother Charles Banks Belt, Jr., of St. Louis, MO. He is survived by his beloved wife of 58 years, Emily Hillen (Macsherry) Belt; his daughters Emily Hillen Belt of San Diego, CA; Anne Banks Belt Ye (Jiuming Ye) of Amherst, MA; Aggie Keyes Belt (Stanley Poreda) of Southborough, MA; and Catherine Kilty Belt-Vahle (Peter Vahle) of San Francisco, CA. Six grandchildren: Nashua and Machias Poreda, Kieran and Jasmina Vahle, and Devan and Derek Ye; his brother, John Hewlett Keyes Belt (Mary Jane) of Glen Cove, NY; sister-in-law, Louise McKeon Belt of Wildwood, MO; cousin Zoe Van Wyck de Ropp; and many nieces and nephews.

Calling hours are today, Thursday March 28, from 4-7pm at the Belt Family home, 116 Alpine Drive, Amherst. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held, Friday, at 10 am at Saint Brigid's Roman Catholic Church, Amherst, MA, followed by a reception at the Courtyard Marriott Hotel, Hadley, MA.

Memorial register at www.douglassfuneral.com
Published in Daily Hampshire Gazette on Mar. 27, 2019
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