Elizabeth Sherman Swing Obituary

In 1990, Elizabeth Sherman Swing was knighted by King Beaudoin of Belgium to honor her research in Belgian education. Thereafter, as she enjoyed recounting, the provost of St. Joseph’s University, where she was a professor, called her, “Sir Elizabeth.”

Elizabeth Sherman Swing died peacefully at the age of 91 on October 23, 2018, in Concord, Mass., where she had lived since 2015. She is survived by her daughter, Pamela Swing (Martin Plotkin) of Concord, her son, Bradford Swing (Timothy Harbold) of Boston; and two grandchildren, Benjamin Plotkin-Swing of Seattle, Wash., and Anna Plotkin-Swing of Somerville. She was preceded in death by her son, Timothy Gram Swing in 1983, her husband, Peter Gram Swing in 1996, and her brother, Richard Sherman, just last month.

The journey to becoming “Sir Elizabeth” began humbly in 1927, when Elizabeth Ann Sherman was born in Boston, Mass., to James Beatty Sherman, a letter carrier, and Hilda Ford Sherman, a homemaker. Betty or Sherm, as her younger brother Dick recalled, “displayed an assertive — possibly I might even say ‘rebellious’ — manner at an early age,” a quality that collided with, again her brother’s words, “a highly controlled” family life that included multiple weekly engagements with the First Baptist Church of Arlington. Her rebellious manner and lifelong concern for social justice showed when, selected to organize the Evacuation Day assembly at Arlington High School, to the principal’s consternation she arranged for an African-American civil rights leader to be speaker.

Sherman Swing attended Radcliffe College at Harvard University from which she was awarded a bachelor’s degree (cum laude) in 1949 and Masters degree in 1952, both in English Literature. Designated as Alumnae Day Speaker by the Class of 1949 for its 50th reunion, Sherman Swing reflected that, at Radcliffe, “I began to develop the intellectual verve and skills that made the rest of my life possible. As a commuter, the first in my family to go to college, I encountered many challenges, but I knew when I got off the bus each morning that I was entering a vibrant, exciting world.”

In May 1948, at the end of her junior year, she married Peter Gram Swing, “one of the many World War II veterans who flooded the Harvard campus between 1945 and 1949,” she later wrote. In 1952-1953, she lived in Utrecht, Holland, where her husband had a Fulbright research grant. “Thereafter,” as she recounted in her Alumnae Day address, she “held a series of part-time jobs in whatever community my husband’s developing career took us, never for a long enough time to dig into a career of my own.” She was an editor of English language publications for a Dutch foundation in The Hague, an adjunct faculty member at Rollins College in Florida teaching English composition to Air Force Personnel on Cape Canaveral, and an instructor at the University of Chicago Home Study Department. “These dead-end jobs notwithstanding, by the time we moved to Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, in 1955, I was gradually becoming a full-time wife and mother.”

The role of professor’s wife — her husband taught music at Swarthmore College — did not suit Sherman Swing. The turning point came in 1965, as she described vividly in her Radcliffe address: “My awakening came in a moment of existential crisis on the bright September day my youngest entered Kindergarten. Standing by the kitchen sink bathing the dog, I found myself saying over and over again with high emotion, ‘What am I doing with my life?’”

Within a year, she become a teacher of English to “academically talented students” at Marple-Newtown High School in Newtown Square, Pa. She also began to write articles published in refereed national journals. Needing in her words “to stretch my mind,” in 1972, one year after her husband’s second Fulbright research grant in Belgium, she enrolled in the Summer School of the University of Pennsylvania. There were no graduate courses in English Literature but she found a graduate comparative education course taught by William Brickman, a founder of the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES). This discovery dramatically changed Sherman Swing’s life.

In 1979, at the age of 52, she was awarded a Ph.D. in Comparative Education from the University of Pennsylvania. Under Professor Brickman’s guidance, she examined the Belgian language conflict, the centuries-old rivalry between French-speaking and Dutch-speaking Belgians and the impact of this conflict on schools. She later wrote, describing her recent year in Belgium: “I had witnessed language partisans in Brussels painting out the street signs in the language of their rivals. My ears were still tuned to raucous exhortations from loudspeakers on trucks that invaded our neighborhood daily calling on citizens to vote for the radical French-language party. I had lived in the middle of the Belgian language quarrel.” This conflict served as the point of departure for her Ph.D. dissertation, Bilingualism and Linguistic Segregation in the Schools of Brussels, which was published in 1980 by the International Center for Research on Bilingualism in Quebec.

From 1975 to 1977, Sherman Swing taught education at West Chester State University and in 1978, she began teaching at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, from which she retired as Professor of Education in 1999. Her position at St. Joseph’s grounded what she described as “a vigorous productive life in academe.” She published more than 30 scholarly articles, many of which she presented at annual meetings of the CIES throughout the U. S., Canada and Mexico, as well as Antwerp, Athens, Budapest, Cape Town, Copenhagen, Dijon, Kingston, London, Madrid, Prague, Rome, Sarajevo, Seoul, and Sydney. She also co-authored Problems and Prospects in European Education, published in 2000.

In 1989-1990, Sherman Swing, this time with her own Fulbright research grant, was a Visiting Fellow at the Institute of Education of the University of London, an affiliate at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and, by Royal Decree of King Beaudoin, made a Knight in the Order of the Crown (Ridder in de Kroonorde). But the award that meant the most to her came in 2000, when she was made one of only 15 Honorary Fellows among 2000 CIES members. She also became the Society’s first historian, a position she held for ten years.

Sherman Swing lived in Swarthmore after her husband died until 2005, when she moved to Dunwoody Village in Newtown Square with six cabinets of research material and two Siamese cats, London and Brussels. Within weeks of her arrival, she became editor of Inside Dunwoody, an in house newsletter that she successfully transformed into “the New Yorker of octogenarian publications.” For many years, she continued her routine of preparing and delivering at least one scholarly paper a year. She also traveled to China and Antarctica. In 2015, her health declining, she moved to Concord Park, in Concord, Mass. 

Sherman Swing was known for her wry humor, a vivid intellect expressed in elegant speech, and at times a fiery temper, a quality that seemingly matched her fiery red hair. She was an exacting and beloved teacher as well as a valued mentor to numerous women pursuing academic careers. She loved American literature, particular the Massachusetts transcendentalists. She also loved music and attended hundreds of orchestra concerts by the Philadelphia Orchestra and particularly the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood, where her husband taught from 1962 to 1987. From 1975 to 1997, she had a second home on Long Beach Island, N. J., where she joined her husband’s avid sailing passion and enjoyed the view of the Barnegat Bay. Although she lived in Pennsylvania from 1955 to 2015, her heart was deeply rooted in New England, including special connections to Nantucket, Lenox and Stockbridge, Mass., and to Putney Mountain, Vt. A descendant of Governor William Bradford, in her very last days, amid struggles with dementia, she asked her children about the Mayflower, how long its voyage was to America, and for help in getting “home” to Plymouth. 

A memorial service will take place on Saturday, March 23, 2019 at 2 p.m. in Swarthmore Friends Meeting, 12 Whittier Place, Swarthmore, PA 19081 with a reception following. 

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her memory to Town of Arlington, memo: Elizabeth Sherman Swing Scholarship, 730 Massachusetts Ave., Arlington, MA 02476. 

For her online guestbook, please visit www.DeeFuneralHome.com.  

Susan Kelly Untereker Obituary

Susan Kelly Untereker, age 72, passed away on October 15, 2018 in Philadelphia after battling breast cancer for nearly nine years. The second of four girls, Susan went to Smith College from which she graduated magna cum laude. There she discovered a true love for the Spanish and Latin cultures, spending her junior year abroad in Madrid. After college, she spent a year in Mexico City as a Fulbright Scholar. She returned to marry her high school sweetheart, Bill, in 1969. Together they would have three children and travel the world from Nantucket to Tokyo.

After a MAT at Columbia she taught ESL in New York City Public Schools, served as Director of Admissions at Swarthmore College, volunteered with A Better Chance and the Swarthmore Presbyterian Church and acted as a docent at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Susan brought her bright smile, charm, passion and intelligence to all of these endeavors.

Known to some as la doctora, Susan was an amateur psychologist, art historian, detective, editor, interior designer, matchmaker, Mayan anthropologist, travel agent and expert on any subject about which she read one article in The New York Times. She led a life of honesty and empathy by her own example and never forgot to bring her sense of humor and a touch of mischief. There was no occasion observed not deserving of a theme party, and no person encountered who did not receive her kindness and love.

She is survived by her beloved husband Bill, her three children Jed, Will and Karen, their spouses Melissa, Wakana and Jeff and her grandchildren Maddy, Jack, Lily, Leila, Ari, Billy and Noa, and her sisters Elizabeth and Meg. To honor her, the family requests that contributions be made to the Swarthmore ABC program in lieu of flowers (www.abcstrathhaven.org). 

Had she written this, the punctuation and syntax would have been perfect.

Relatives and friends are invited to her memorial service at 2 p.m. on Saturday December 22, at the Swarthmore Presbyterian Church, 727 Harvard Ave., Swarthmore PA 19081.

Arr. Cavanagh-Patterson Family Funeral Home, Media, Pa. www.cavanaghfuneralhome.com.

Margaret ‘Peggy’ Tucker Thompson Obituary

Margaret “Peggy” Tucker Thompson passed away peacefully on October 9, 2018 at her home in White Horse Village, surrounded by family. She was 88 years old.

Peggy had an intellectual curiosity that drove her to pursue topics of interest or importance to her by reading, questioning and exploring — and she challenged her family to do the same. Peggy had a strong sense of social responsibility and made sure that her children, from an early age, had a keen awareness of disadvantaged people amongst us. She was a role model for compassionate activism, spiritual grace, devoted friendship, and the power of gratitude and joy.

Peggy was born in Pittsburgh, Pa., on April 30, 1930 to civil engineer Newton Earl Tucker and housewife and accomplished artist Susan Scott Tucker. She had a happy childhood in Pittsburgh with her sister Anne, attending the Ellis School and graduating in 1951 from Pennsylvania College for Women (now Chatham University) where she majored in English. 

Following college, she worked briefly in advertising before joining the staff of WQED, the nation’s first community-supported television station, where she met and became lifelong friends with Fred Rogers. There, she helped launch “The Children’s Corner,” a local educational show that served as a precursor to the nationally beloved “Mister Rogers Neighborhood,” and for which Peggy served as producer, puppeteer, Girl Friday and occasional on-screen character “Miss Peggy” for the show.

Peggy was introduced to Peter Thompson by his sister, Ann, and they married in 1954. Upon completion of Pete’s postdoctoral work at Pitt, he accepted a position in the Chemistry Department of Swarthmore College. They moved to Swarthmore in 1958, where they lived for almost five decades and raised four children. Peggy became a keystone member of the Swarthmore community. Over the years, she immersed herself in the life of the college in professional roles — as Assistant Director of Theater, Associate Director of Financial Aid, and on staff at the college bookstore — and as an enthusiastic volunteer. 

Always interested in the educational and emotional needs of children, in 1972 she obtained a Masters in Social Service from Bryn Mawr College Graduate School of Social Work, and became a social worker for Delaware County, where she counseled families and worked with home daycare providers. In 1982 she became Director of Title XX Family Day Care for the County, where she led the department in providing high quality daycare to low-income families. 

Peggy was always passionate about music, and she often found opportunities to learn and build community through her musical pursuits. She loved to sing, and was a member of the Swarthmore College chorus, the Swarthmore Presbyterian Church choir, and most recently the White Horse Village chorus. She played the piano, hammered dulcimer, ukulele, and a myriad of drums, bells, gongs, whistles, etc., that she built with her grandchildren over the years. She was a founding member of Swarthmore’s Gamelan Semara Santi, a traditional Indonesian orchestral ensemble.

Peggy’s devotion to music and children’s education led to her involvement in many efforts to help the children of Chester, Pa., break the cycle of poverty through art, music, and education. She helped establish the Chester Children’s Chorus, a learning-through-music choral program for children and teens, and remained fully committed to the end. Out of CCC came the Chester Charter School of the Arts (CCSA), and both Peggy and Pete have participated since its inception. Since moving to White Horse Village in 2006, they have worked to create closer ties between the CCSA and WHV residents. When the new facility for CCSA opened in 2016 the science lab was named after Pete and Peggy in tribute to their many contributions. A fundraiser currently underway in Peggy’s honor has raised over $4,000 to buy children’s books for CCSA classrooms.

More than anything, Peggy was devoted to her family. She introduced her children, and later her grandchildren, to all forms of art, teaching them to be both prolific producers and consumers. She was an avid reader and loved nature, camping and traveling, passions she passed on. An adventurer at heart, she and Pete traveled extensively through Europe, Peru, China, India, and the U.S.A. and even lived and camped throughout England and Western Europe during one of Pete’s sabbatical leaves, with four children under the age of 10 in tow. In 1992, they purchased a summer cottage on Newboro Lake in Ontario, Canada, where they spent many happy summers hosting their children, grandchildren, and friends — and where Peggy often relived her glory days as a girl scout camp counselor, the occupation where her love of children really all began. 

Peggy is survived by her husband of 64 years, Pete; her sister Anne Nichols (Jim); her children Scott Thompson (Jill), Sue Thompson (Mark), Barbara Amann (Steve), and Joe Thompson; eight grandchildren, Katie, Sarah, Peter, Alex, Daniel, Ben, Jenny and Ellie; many nieces, nephews, grandnieces and nephews; and her cherished cat, Morris. She was beloved by her family and friends, and will be greatly missed.

Peggy was a member of the Swarthmore Presbyterian Church for many years. A memorial service in remembrance of her life will be held at the church, 727 Harvard Avenue, on Monday, October 22, at 11 a.m., with a reception to follow.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Chester Children’s Chorus or the Chester Fund for Education and the Arts in support of CCSA.

Edgar Kendall Landis Obituary

Edgar Kendall Landis died on Thursday, September 13, 2018, in Wallingford, Pa., at the age of 93 from melanoma.

Kendall was born in Scarsdale, N.Y., on November 12, 1924, the only child of Ruth Carleton Kendall (1891-1978) and Edgar Bechtel Landis (1892-1950). He attended the Ethical Cultural Fieldston School in Riverdale, where his mother taught. For high school, he went to the Putney School in Vermont, where “a new world opened up.” He fell in love with the arts, history and the outdoors. He became a lifelong champion of progressive education and of Putney School, where the arts, crafts and classical education were joined. Sarah Gray Gund, a long-time chair of the Putney Board, wrote that Ken’s “knowledge of how to fundraise is legendary, and his successes were extraordinary. He built the development effort at Putney and certainly taught us all how to go about raising money.” Two of his three sons, Christopher and Ethan, went to Putney.

Kendall went to Swarthmore College, where he majored in history and French literature. His education was interrupted by WWII. He trained as a U.S. Naval officer and aviator for two years. His first mission — the invasion of Japan — was called off on VJ Day. He spent 1946-47 studying at the University of Geneva.

Following graduation from Swarthmore College in 1948, Kendall moved to Greenwich Village in New York to work at Citibank. He married Joan Hutton on Valentine’s Day in 1953, a beauty, poet and wonderful mother and wife. They promptly set sail for three years in Paris, where his fluent French served him well. In 1958 he took his family to Saudi Arabia to become the youngest manager ever appointed by Citibank. He helped open the Jeddah branch, the first of any American bank in Arabia. Many other branches followed across the Middle East. 

From 1962 to 1967, the Landis family lived in Beirut, the center of Middle East finance and cosmopolitan capital of Lebanon. He and Joan loved entertaining in their apartment overlooking the Mediterranean, where costume parties continued til dawn. He acted in theater productions and formed relationships with friends, such as the Dodges, Kerrs, Gordons, Stolzfuses, Mizes, Khouris, Porters and Lanes, who would remain close for the rest of their lives. Kendall also became attached to the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, a cause he championed to his last. He helped raise several million dollars for a hospital in the Sabra and Shatilla refugee camps. He worked for the Atfaluna school for the deaf in Gaza and the Palestinian National Conservatory of Music. He served for years on the board of American Near East Refugee Aid and helped bring Middle Eastern students to America. 

The family moved back to the States in 1967, when Kendall and Joan decided to return to academia, earning masters’ degrees from Wesleyan University in Connecticut. This swiftly evolved into development work at Wesleyan and Bennington College. He then spent 20 years at Swarthmore College as vice-president of fundraising, alumni and public relations, helping to make it one of the world’s richest schools. He devoted special attention to building up the arts and music as well as developing relations with the poorer communities around Swarthmore. He strengthened the Scott Arboretum, which has transformed the campus into a piece of art, and promoted Orchestra 2001. He threw wonderful parties for performers, board members, and speakers that added gaiety, elegance and joie de vivre to the campus’s Quaker sobriety.

After retiring Ken and Joan spent long summers at their mountain farmhouse in Vermont, where he cultivated an ever-expanding vegetable garden, helped promote local artists, and lingered with friends over cocktails bedecked with delicacies, such as smoked bluefish, kohlrabi and local Vermont cheeses. Kendall was a man of large appetites and boundless optimism. He saw the best in people and was ever on the lookout for how to help others and bring a small measure of justice to the world around him. He and Joan were a team; for 64 years, they worked together to bring laughter, beauty and wit to those they loved, in particular to their three children: Christopher, Joshua and Ethan; to their daughters-in-law: Tomi, Manar and Jude; and their six grandchildren: Jake, Kyle, Ryan, Stuart, Kendall and Jonah.

A memorial service will be held Saturday, November 24, at 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Friends Meeting House on Swarthmore College campus, 12 Whittier Place, Swarthmore, PA 19081.

Jane Stansbury Hemmenway Obituary

Jane S. Hemmenway of White Horse Village and formerly of Wallingford, Pa., and Summit, N.J., died on Saturday, October 13, 2018.

As a top real estate sales person in the Swarthmore/Wallingford area for many years, Jane made many dear friends, with whom she and her husband Rick, who predeceased her, enjoyed countless get-togethers.

Jane was also predeceased by her son, Peter Hemmenway, and a granddaughter, Andrea Hemmenway.

She is survived by her daughters Lynn (David) Smith and Nancy (Tom Welsh) Hemmenway; daughter-in-law Diana Hemmenway; three grandchildren; and six great grandchildren.

A Memorial Service will be held on Thursday, October 18, at 11 a.m. at White Horse Village, 535 Gradyville Road, Newtown Square, PA 19073.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be sent to: the Swarthmore Presbyterian Church, 727 Harvard Ave., Swarthmore, PA 19081.

Interment will be private. Condolences: www.msbfh.com.

Catharine Anne LeGros Taylor

Catharine Anne LeGros-Taylor of Summerlin, Las Vegas, passed away suddenly on September 19, 2018. She was 40 years old.

Katie was born and raised in Swarthmore. She graduated from Strath Haven High School in 1996, and from West Virginia Wesleyan with a degree in Sociology in 2000. In 2003, she married Matthew Ian Taylor, then a medical student at Drexel University Medical School. After his graduation, they moved to Minot, North Dakota, where he served in the Air Force. They later moved to Cleveland, Ohio, where Matt trained at the Cleveland Clinic and Katie graduated from Cuyahoga Community College with a Certificate in Massage Science. In 2012, they moved to Las Vegas, where she gave birth to two beautiful children.

Katie is survived by her husband Matthew and children Brooklyn and Maverick; her brothers Robert P. LeGros of Rochester, N.Y., and Paul P. LeGros of Swarthmore; her mother Susan Packard LeGros of Swarthmore; her father Robert R. LeGros and stepmother Barbara Franzoso of Portsmouth, N.H.; and her in-laws John and Darlene Taylor of Hermitage, Pa.

A memorial service and celebration of gratitude for Katie’s life will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, October 20, 2018 at Swarthmore Presbyterian Church, 727 Harvard Avenue, Swarthmore, PA 19081, followed by a reception in Fellowship Hall.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that donations be made to Sunrise Children’s Hospital, 2795 East Desert Inn Road, Suite 200, Las Vegas, NV 89121.