Marita Dick Stratton, beloved family matriarch and lifelong volunteer, passed away peacefully on Thursday, January 21, 2021, at 102.
Marita was born on June 11, 1918 in Lawrence,MA to Walter and Kathryn Dick. Growing up, music was central to her family life. She played drums in the Worcester Girl Scout’s Drum and Bugle Corps, and played in a band—The Dix Sisters—with her three sisters.
She graduated from Bates College in 1939, studying biology on the pre-med track. While studying at Bates, she met her husband Charles William Stratton III. Marita received a Master’s Degree of Public Health from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1941, and became a public health educator about tuberculosis in Chicago. She then joined the United States Indian Public Health Service, and for two years, traveled across the West providing public health education to Native American communities. She married Charles in 1944, and after the war they returned to Lee and raised five sons. Over the decades, Marita would welcome family, friends, and cousins from every branch of the family tree to her home with freshly-baked quiche and gingersnap cookies.
Between caring for her sons and answering phone calls in her husband’s medical practice, Marita devoted herself to her local community. She was a Cub Scout Den Mother for 10 years, and taught both drums and piano to local children. “Just seeing how happy the kids were was worth it all,” she later said of her volunteering. She served on the Board of the Lee Visiting Nurses Association for 50+ years, besides serving in various leadership roles on the PTA, The American Cancer Society, the Lee School Building Committee, and the Auxiliary to the Berkshire Medical Society. Her contributions to the local community touched the lives of many, leaving behind a legacy of compassion and generosity. However, her crowning achievement in life was her family and the five exemplary boys she raised.
Marita was preceded in death by her husband of 52 years, Charles, and her second son, James Walter Stratton. She was also preceded in death by her sisters, Paulyne Dick, Arlyne Dick, and Norma Filios, and her brothers Raymond Dick and Walter Dick. Her memory will live on in her four sons; Charles and wife Pia of Nashville, Tennessee, Robert Stratton and wife Karen of Niwot, Colorado, Richard and wife Liz of Wyoming, Ohio, and David and wife Bernadette of Clifton, Virginia; her 13 grandchildren, Delia, John, and David, children of Charles; Peter, Emma, and Anna, children of James; Michael, Justin and Alan, children of Robert; Jamie and Chris, children of Richard; and William, Lucy, and Jemma, children of David; and 16 great-grandchildren: Zachary, Aidan, Piper, Elliot, Oliver, Carmen, Peter, Millie, Harden, Zaidyn, James, Ada, Tommy, Henry, Katherine, and Bobby.
Due to COVID-19, Marita will be laid to rest in a burial service on Wednesday, January 27th, 11AM at the Fairmount Cemetery in Lee.The family will host a larger celebration of her life in Lee when it is safe to do so.
In lieu of flowers, the family would request donations to the American Cancer Society in care of the Kelly Funeral Home, 3 Main St., Lee, MA 01238
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American Cancer Society
in c/o The Kelly Funeral Home 3 Main Street, Lee MA 01238