Sara K. Schmitter

Sara Kathleen (Hoctor) Brunner Schmitter, 44, of 548 Florence Road, Florence, Mass., died peacefully surrounded by loved ones on Saturday, Sept. 5, 2020, at the home of her mother, Kathleen E. Hoctor, following a brief illness.

Sara was born in Keene on July 4, 1976, to Kathleen E. (Abbey) and Martin L “Hairy” Hoctor. Sara attended elementary schools in Gill, Mass. She was a graduate of Franklin County Technical School (FCTS) with the class of 1995.

At the time of her passing, Sara was employed at Amherst College in the physical plant, a position she had held for some 15 years. Previously, she was a manager for F. L. Roberts in the Turners Falls and Amherst, Mass., locations for several years.

She met the love of her life, John Robert Schmitter, at work. They dated for more than 10 years, and married on Nov. 16, 2019.

Sara will be forever remembered for her fierce and unbreakable spirit. She was a courageous soul and never backed down from a challenge. Sara was always looking for an adventure and approached life with a “full throttle.” When it came to her family and friends, she was “all in.” She was loyal, loving and fiercely protective of those she loved.

Sara loved fishing. Whether fresh water fishing at Forest Lake or deep sea fishing on her Dad’s boat or aboard the “Yellowbird,” Sara always managed to catch the biggest and most fish. Sara enjoyed camping, the outdoors and metal-detecting with her husband, John, and her Dad. She loved her frog pond and their beloved dog, “Lulu.” Sara loved cruising the Caribbean and spent countless vacations enjoying the sun and sand with her beloved sister, Michelle.

Sara leaves her husband, John R. Schmitter, of Florence, Mass.; her mother, Kathleen E. Hoctor, of Turners Falls, Mass.; her father, Capt. Martin “Hairy” Hoctor, of Keene; and her sister, Michelle Paulin, and her husband, Robert, of Turners Falls, Mass. Additionally she leaves her aunts: Ann Gray of Sullivan; Robin Casey (Bob) and Theresa Cody (John) of North Carolina; and Donna Lyn Potts of Norway; her sister-in-law, Diane Sabin, of Orlando, Fla.; her brother-in-law, Earl Schmitter, of Florence, Mass.; and several nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews, and countless numbers of friends to remember her with affection.

A special thank you to Sara’s niece, Julia Paulin, cousin Kelly Gray, and longtime friend, Amber Dutton, for their care and love. Thank you to Pioneer Valley Hospice and Palliative Care for their loving care of Sara.

In keeping with Sara’s request for simplicity, she will be cremated and interred privately in the Spring Grove Cemetery, Florence, Mass., at a later date. A life celebration gathering will take place at a future date, place and time to be announced when the social gathering limitations of COVID-19 have been lifted.

It is suggested that, in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Sara’s memory be directed to the Dakin Humane Society, P.O. Box 6307, Springfield MA 01001.

The McCarthy Funeral Homes of Greenfield and Turners Falls, Mass., have been entrusted with the arrangements. A guest book and condolence messages can be found online at