Dennis Arthur "Jake" Shulda of Frankton Road, Shelburne Falls, died Friday September 18 at his home surrounded by his loving family. He was 72.
Jake was born April 12, 1948, in Greenfield, son of Jacob J. Shulda and Ruth Lawless Shulda of Shelburne Falls. He attended Crittenden School and Arms Academy, graduating in 1966. He received a B.A. in English Education from Westfield State College in 1970, after which he taught for one year. Jake then decided he preferred the outdoors and joined the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, where he worked for nearly forty years at the Mohawk Trail State Forest and at the Greenfield ice skating rink. After retirement he worked for Hilltop Transportation, where he drove patients to medical appointments around the state and was known for his great kindness.
For over thirty years Jake was an umpire for regional softball leagues and handled scheduling of games and tournaments in Massachusetts and Vermont. He was devoted to the sport, proudly served as a board member of the Greenfield Girls Softball League, and was beloved by fellow umpires and ball players alike. He also served as board president of Shelburne Falls-based Ballet Renverse.
A long-time horse handicapper, Jake relished his trips to Saratoga Race Course every August; for several years, he was co-owner of a horse named Miami Jim. He was an avid Red Sox, Patriots, and Bruins fan.
Jake was also an ardent supporter of organizations that champion civil liberties and human rights, and he loved wildlife and the outdoors, from Mohawk Trail State Forest to his own backyard. In the last months of his life, he planted a flower garden outside his front door, which was in full bloom on the day he passed.
Most dear to him was his family. Jake was a devoted father to his son Taylor Shulda and stepchildren Casey, Oliver, and Fletcher Clark, and daughters-in-law Mattea Kramer and Rebekah Clark. He was a doting grandpa to Jaiden, Jaxon, and Aksel Kotright-Clark, and Milah, Montana, and Seamus Clark, and was very close to his sister Karen Shulda and brother Steven Shulda. He leaves behind his partner Sharon Glazer, with whom he found great happiness.
Jake had a huge heart, was deeply generous, and kept his home open to his children who were always welcome to stay for any length of time. For many years Jake played Santa for the extended family's Christmas Eve gatherings and could be found each Thanksgiving carving turkey for many relatives and friends. He will be missed by all.
Calling hours will be held Friday 9/25 from 4-6pm at the Kostanski Funeral Home, 220 Federal Street, Greenfield. Funeral services and burial will be private and held at the convenience of the family.
Memorial donations can be made to the Greenfield Girls Softball League, P.O. Box 1522, Greenfield, MA 01301 or the American Civil Liberties Union at www.aclu.org
For condolences, please visit www.kostanskifuneralhome.com.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Dennis "Jake" Arthur Shulda, please visit our floral store.