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Lois Brettschneider

Lois (Doiron) Brettschneider had a gift for quiet, graceful example. Devotion to family and friends, loyalty and a profound work ethic were values she lived. She walked the walk. Lois passed away peacefully, Monday, March 30, 2020, at UMass Memorial Health Alliance Hospital, Leominster due to complications from COVID-19.  She resided most recently in Fitchburg but more notably and for many years in Gardner and Ashby.

Born in Wakefield, MA, on May 5, 1937, Lois was the daughter of the late Wilfred and Ethel (Dingle) Doiron. She was a graduate of Reading High School, Reading, MA, with the Class of 1955. She was an Ophthalmic Technician employed by the office of Dr. Stuart Fay of Fitchburg for many years until her retirement at the age of 79.  Her capacity and ability to do valuable work was central to her life. 

Soon after her retirement Lois predictably learned it didn’t suit her. Ignoring increasing insults of age, she began volunteering with Massachusetts Court Appointed Special Advocates on behalf of abused and neglected kids. As it always did, the work prompted learning and personal growth. Despite the difficult and often discouraging nature of the field, she continued until her health intervened.

Others of her tenets were decidedly not quiet. Lois strongly believed in a woman’s ability and means to support herself and plot her own path and she would not hesitate to let that opinion be known.  She also believed that personal happiness is a choice and for some of her toughest years used “be happy” as much a motto as a reminder to herself to make that choice. In her later years one of those sources of happiness was her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and constant companion, Katie.

She was predeceased by her first husband, Thomas Walker, in 1984 and her second, Alfred Brettschneider, in 2006.

Fluent in an impressive variety of languages, Fred acted as guide in his and Lois’ travels to Europe, once just a short time prior to the fall of the Soviet Union, even including a visit with Fred’s relatives from the eastern side of the Iron Curtain. These trips were often impromptu when compared to most vacation plans. They’d visit a place, Fred would speak like the locals and they would invariably be led the best restaurants and accommodations. In later years, they visited many tropical destinations and enjoyed more relaxed itineraries. After Fred’s death, Lois, forever game, toured Ireland with Molly, her eldest grandchild in 2007. Lois and Fred also enjoyed dancing, socializing and games of every kind, from bowling to cribbage. A Scrabble player who challenged her unadvisedly was in for a beating. Lois was also the consummate hostess, especially at holiday time.  She custom ordered her dining table to include 2 expansion leaves. As her family grew there was always a seat, a beautiful table and plenty of delicious food.

Lois is survived by her brother Robert Doiron and his wife Sharon of Bargersville, IN; daughter, Pamela Walker Cook and her husband Mark of Westminster; sons Thomas Walker, Jr. and his wife Karen of Fitchburg, and Scott Walker and his wife Mary of Winthrop, ME; grandchildren, Molly Ruble, Mason Jarvi, Heather Webber, Shawn and Joel Walker; great- grandchildren, Mackenzie Roy, Trevor, Ella and Finn Walker, Noah and Chase Webber and Charles, Margaret and Louise Ruble.

Funeral Services will be private and held at the convenience of the family.

Memorial Contributions may be made to the Society for the Blind, 1238 S Street, Sacramento, CA 95811, or on their website at (https://societyfortheblind.org/) or to Schepens Eye Research Institute, 20 Staniford Street, Boston, MA 02114. Please reference “In memory of Lois Brettschneider.”


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