American Veteran 01

Erik Marshall Straw

February 7, 1942 ~ September 4, 2022 (age 80)
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Erik Marshall “Tim” Straw of Florence, MA passed away September 4th, 2022 at the age of 80. Born February 7th, 1942 to Cherry and George Straw, he was a lifelong resident of the Pioneer Valley. Tim graduated from Northampton High School in 1960; it was there he met his wife Joyce, marrying in 1963. Tim served honorably in the US Air Force before settling back in Florence. He found a successful career at Smith College, ultimately working proudly as the Manager of Building Services. It was there he perfected his organizational skills, making sure every graduation went off without a hitch.

After retiring in 2003, Tim kept busy with gardening, home repair, and working as a custodian at Lilly Library in Florence. He was a fixer of things – a broken lamp needing a new cord, a vacuum cleaner not working quite right – Tim could fix it. His fee for friends and family was an ice-cold Coors Light.

Tim was a skilled gardener, especially of tomatoes and peppers of all kinds. He loved to pickle and can his crops and make pasta sauces and salsas to present to his family at Christmas (wrapped in newspaper - for recycling of course). Many a family get-together involved challenges to sample the hottest of his creations. Tim never grew blueberries, but some of his favorite times were blueberry-picking in Chesterfield with his children and grandchildren.

Tim was an athlete throughout his life, playing competitive softball into middle-age. He was a New England sports fanatic, especially fond of the Red Sox and Patriots. Tim’s favorite place to watch a game was at The Office in Bay State, where he loved to have a beer and socialize with friends. Tim and Joyce loved summer, and especially Cape Cod, vacationing there for decades. Tim also loved to dance – no event could go by without him and Joyce dancing around to “Elvira”.

A man of few words, Tim was wise and funny, sweet and generous to those who knew him best. He will be dearly missed by his wife of 59 years, Joyce Ann (Biela) Straw, his daughters Sherry Krause and Krystal Kovalski and their husbands Kris and Todd, and his adored grandchildren Erika Kovalski and Kai Krause. He is also survived by his brother Tony Spaight and wife Kathy, sister Melody Pisano, sister Laurie King and husband Brian, and brother-in-law Harry Biela and wife Kolla, as well as numerous nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his brother-in-law Frank Pisano, and his sister-in-law Joan Petcen and her husband John.

Tim loved Florence and his forever-home nestled back away from the road. He took great pride in his home and family, and his presence will be felt in so many places. To know Tim was to love him; his words of wisdom and guidance will be remembered for a very long time, and he will be greatly missed.

A Celebration of Life for Tim’s family and friends will be held at the Bluebonnet Banquet Room in Northampton on October 22nd from noon to 3:30pm. The Graham Funeral Home & Cremation Services, Easthampton was entrusted with Tim's care and services. For online condolences, please visit

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Memorial Tree
A Memorial Tree was planted for Erik

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Celebration of Life
October 22, 2022

12:00 PM to 3:30 PM
Celebration of Life-Bluebonnet Banquet Room
King Street
Northampton, MA 01060

Private Committal

MA Veteran's Memorial Cemetery
Main Street
Agawam, MA 01001


Cooley Dickinson VNA & Hospice
168 Industrial Drive, Northampton MA 01060
Tel: 1-413-584-1060

Wounded Warrior Project
7020 A.C. Skinner Parkway, Suite 100, Jacksonville FL 32256
Tel: 1-877-832-6997

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