1944 - 2017
VAN VLECK, Lisa Pollard Passed away on July 8, 2017 surrounded by family in her home in Cambridge, as the birds welcomed the sunrise. She was 73 years old, and had been diagnosed with cancer in December, 2016. Lisa was born in Short Hills, NJ, to Helen Polhemus and Robert Spotswood Pollard, and attended Germantown Friends School outside of Philadelphia. As a freshman at Mount Holyoke College, she met her husband Howard at a mixer with nearby Williams College. They married in 1966, and served together in the Peace Corps in Chile from '67-'69. She returned thoroughly committed to public service and social justice. Lisa received her MAT from Harvard Graduate School of Education, and taught in a Spanish/English bilingual classroom at the Longfellow School in Cambridge. Later, she worked at Travelers Aid Family Services, and then as Director of Corporate Programs for Cambridge School Volunteers (CSV) where she celebrated her 30th anniversary this spring. At CSV, she was instrumental in the development of the Reading Buddies and NetPals programs, pairing employees from local companies with more than 475 public school students each year. Lisa treasured the relationships she formed with colleagues, volunteers, teachers and students through these programs. She was honored to serve on the Leadership Team of the Fletcher Maynard Academy, a Cambridge public elementary school, for the past 17 years. In 1998, Lisa received the MIT President's Community Service Award in recognition of her contributions to the city of Cambridge. At home, Lisa was completely devoted to her family, both immediate and extended. She found tremendous joy in simple family traditions: partaking in summer (every) evening ice cream, listening to Red Sox games on the radio tucked under her pillow, birdwatching, and arranging wildflower bouquets near the beach in Chatham, MA, adventuring with Howie, and conjuring the magic of Christmas with Swedish decorations, delicious treats and beautiful music. Lisa was an incredible grandmother to her recently-arrived grandchildren, Nathaniel and Helen, and she made the most of every precious moment in her new role. Lisa will always be remembered sitting crosslegged right at kid-level with head bowed over a treasured picture book, studying the tiniest elements of nature or playing favorite games. Lisa is survived by her husband of 51 years, Howard; her two daughters and their families (Amanda Van Vleck, Benjamin Haavik and Nathaniel of Somerville, and Christina Van Vleck, David Nydam and Helen of Lincoln); her brother and his family (Robert & Marianne Pollard of Gränna, Sweden); beloved brothers and sisters-in-law; many cousins, nieces, nephews and their offspring; and so many dear friends. A celebration of her life will be held on September 9, 2017 at 2:00 pm at First Parish Church in Harvard Square (3 Church St., Cambridge, MA). Donations, in Lisa's honor, can be made to Cambridge School Volunteers ( to continue to foster the programs to which she devoted so much of her life.

View the online memorial for Lisa Pollard VAN VLECK

Published by Boston Globe from Jul. 22 to Jul. 23, 2017.
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Celebration of Life
First Parish Church
3 Church St., Cambridge, MA
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5 Entries
My deepest condolences to the Family. I worked closely with Lisa as a mentor and as a Program Coordinator at IBM for many years. Lisa led by example everyday! a true leader who served and loved everyone. She touched many hearts and impacted many lives and she will be greatly missed ! May god Bless her soul. I pray for the family's comfort, strength and peace.
Faraneh Serino
August 22, 2017
I am very sorry to hear that Lisa died. I worked with her for many years on the Key Pals Program and liked and admired her very much. She was a gentle and gracious person, very thoughtful of others. We later kept in touch over the years through occasional emails and chance meetings; she would happily update me on the latest family doings and additions. I'm sure her loss will be felt in many different ways, obvious and subtle, by her family and CSV.
Allison Looney
August 18, 2017
We are sorry to learn of the passing of Lisa, but grateful for her service to our nation with the Peace Corps in Chile.

Our Condolences,

The National Peace Corps Association
July 24, 2017
Wonderful woman!CWVV
July 24, 2017
To the Van Vleck Family

Please accept my deepest sympathies. Lisa had a tremendous impact on the many lives she touched.

You are in my thoughts and prayers.


Michael Sullivan
Michael Sullivan
July 22, 2017
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