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Anne Pasko
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1942 - 2017
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Obituary for Anne Pasko

Artist, business owner, and community activist, Anne Pasko, 74, died Friday, April 7, 2017 after a valiant fight against pancreatic cancer. A Lanesborough resident, Anne was born in Cheshire, October 20, 1942 to Margaret Ochs Weslowski and James J. Weslowski.
Concerned about her shyness, Anne's mother convinced the Cheshire 4H youth organization to accept Anne at age 7, the youngest member at that time. Anne always credited 4H with instilling in her the confidence to create a successful life. One of her most memorable adventures in the 4H group involved a state wide competition in demonstrating the preparation of food, a salad in her case. This event won her a place at the National Vegetable Growers Association competition in Springfield, Illinois, where she placed 12th out of 52. Traveling on the train to the event, she sat next to a man who introduced himself with "I'm Burpee." That's okay, she responded. " No, I'm Mr. Burpee from the Seed Company." This lead to an invitation to visit and participate in an event at the Burpee company and thus, began her adventure of 74 years in life.
Moving to Pittsfield in 1957; Anne attended St. Joseph's High School, graduating in 1960. She worked for Traver's Insurance until she was old enough to work at General Electric Co.
Anne married Walter Pasko, in 1962. The couple moved to Amherst where Anne worked at Amherst College as the Assistant to the Registrar while Walter studied Engineering full time at the University of Mass. For her efforts in helping students negotiate the Amherst college administrative system the class of 1968 chose her as an honorary member of their graduating class, a first in the history of the college.
Anne earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1979 from Empire State College, SUNY Albany. She worked at Berkshire Community College in several different capacities, including Acting Dean of Continuing Education. In 1980, she opened Pasko Frame and Gift Center on Pittsfield's North Street and created a successful business based on a family-like environment for her employees. She sold the store in 2003.
During her years in downtown Pittsfield, Anne was an enthusiastic cheerleader for the city and engaged in many schemes to improve downtown and all of Berkshire County. She served with the following: Pittsfield Economic Revitalization Corp., Pittsfield Downtown, Berkshire County Development Commission, Berkshire Hills Conference, Central Berkshire Chamber of Commerce, Private Industry Council, Edith Wharton Restoration, Downtown Inc., Berkshire Museum, Berkshire Athenaeum, Berkshire Public Theatre, Barrington Stage, Berkshire Visitors Bureau, Pittsfield Central, Artscape, and the Neighborhood Task Force.
A strong supporter of the Central Berkshire United Way, she volunteered as a Campaign Associate, a Director and Campaign Cabinet Chairwoman, overseeing the annual drive in 2004 and 2005.
In 1989 the Central Berkshire Chamber of Commerce honored Anne as outstanding Volunteer and again in 1996 for Outstanding Community Service in Employee Programs.
Anne was instrumental in starting the Pittsfield Irish Sister City Committee. She and Walt were part of the contingency that travelled to Ballina, Co. Mayo in 1997, to sign documents binding the two cities together.
Other accomplishments include being named the Woman of Achievement by the Pittsfield Business and Professional Women in 2003. Anne also worked for more than 20 years as a Board member of City Savings Bank, later Legacy Banks. For Legacy, she chaired several committees and served on the Audit Committee. Most recently, she was a member of Zonta, a global organization to improve the status of women. Her focus was advocacy and scholarship.
In 1996, with her best friend, Sue, she created the Pittsfield Garden Tour, an initiative dearest to her heart, which had a most successful run for 20 years ending in 2016. One hundred twenty-nine different gardens were showcased; monies raised benefited the city in numerous ways, not the least of which was "Infinite Dance," the dancing woman sculpture at the First Street Common Park. It was Anne's initiative and drive to solicit proposals and visit the Colorado foundry where Carol Gold's winning piece was cast.
Anne joined local women in 2003 to found a political action committee, WHEN!, to elect women and minority candidates committed to positive discourse within local government. She worked to help elect Linda Tyer as City Clerk and was never more proud when Linda was elected Mayor in 2015.
Volunteering in the Lanesborough Elementary Schools from 2013 to 2015, Anne assisted in teaching classes, in math and reading, utilizing newly introduced computer software. Also in Lanesborough, she worked for the Lanesborough Initiative for Excellence, raising money for school technology. She also served on the Tree Committee responsible for planting and maintaining trees for the town.
As with everything Anne did, upon 'retirement' she took up art enthusiastically and enjoyed experimenting with variety of artist mediums to create fine art abstract paintings. Her ordinary life experiences triggered ideas for unique art pieces that were developed through the process of adjusting colors and patterns of shapes until it satisfies her goal of coordinated colors and shapes and having some emotional content. Her work has been exhibited in many juried shows including several one-woman shows at regional galleries and art associations in New York, Vermont, and Massachusetts.
For over 30 years, bi-weekly, Anne was an active, vibrant and pivotal member of a women's spirituality group, formed at the Unitarian Universalist Church. This Circle explored women's inner lives, encouraged spiritual growth, and created women's rituals. Anne was both mother and sister to the many women participants over the years, inspiring the group to delve into the unknown and to go deeper, to celebrate, to honor the sacred female. She set in motion a pilgrimage to ancient women-honoring temples in Malta in 2011, a trip rich in reflection and discovery.
An avid reader, Anne would read several books a week no matter how busy she was. An excellent gourmet cook, self-taught through years of poring over Gourmet magazine, she loved entertaining, including setting a glorious table. She was also passionate about travel, especially to Ireland and Venice, Italy. Her favorite retreats for quiet and isolation were the Maine islands Monhegan and Matinicus both having a long history of prominent artist living and painting there.
Those who knew her would say she was passionate about living life. Anne lent her vitality, enthusiasm, vision and creativity to whatever she did, especially to deepen community and to make the world a better place. Anne had a terrific laugh and a big spirit, which made working and playing with her something quite out of the ordinary .
Besides her beloved husband, Walter, she leaves brothers Jim Weslowski and his lifelong partner, Charles White, Larry Weslowski and his wife Claire, close cousin Nancy Benoit and her family, life long best friend, Sue Langman, friends Mark and Marie Zenick of Shropshire England, Julie Beals and Gary and Nancy Lamoureaux and numerous cousins.

Calling hours will be TUESDAY APRIL 11, 2017 from 4:00 until 7:00 PM at the DERY FUNERAL HOME, 54 Bradford Street, Pittsfield. Funeral services will be WEDNESDAY, APRIL 12, 2017 at 10:30 AM at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 175 Wendell Avenue, Pittsfield. Donations may be made in Anne's memory to the Redfield House in care of the funeral home. Online condolences may be made by visiting

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