Gordon W. Douglas
Gordon Whipple “Doug” Douglas of Broomall, formerly of Springfield and Swarthmore, died Wednesday, June 7, 2017. He was 93.
Son of the late James Bacon Douglas and the late Hallie Hulburt Douglas, Mr. Douglas was a 1941 graduate of Swarthmore High School, and received his degree in engineering from Swarthmore College in 1947. He co-captained the Swarthmore College football team and was named an All-American as an member of the Garnet lacrosse team.
During World War II, Mr. Douglas served stateside with the United States Army Air Corps. He was husband for 64 years to Wilma Sibley Douglas, the love of his life, whom he met while stationed in Memphis in 1945 and married on September 23 of that year. She predeceased him in 2010.
Gordon Douglas was a sales engineer with Robert Arnold Associates of Philadelphia for more than 35 years. He was a member of Princeton Presbyterian Church, where he also was a member of the Session.
For his many years of work as Scoutmaster with Springfield Troop 419, he was named to the scouting honor society Order of the Arrow and awarded the Silver Beaver for distinguished service. Mr. Douglas was proud that his four sons became Eagle Scouts.
Throughout his sons’ childhood, he was a baseball coach with Springfield Athletic Association. He was a lifelong enthusiastic fan of football.
Mr. Douglas continued into his eighties to be involved in church and other volunteer projects that enriched the community.
He is survived and will be dearly missed by sons Al (Rachel), Steve (Christine), Jake (Regina) and Chris (Nancy) Douglas; five loving grandchildren; nephews and nieces.
The funeral was held Monday, June 12, at Princeton Presbyterian Church, with interment at Valley Forge Memorial Gardens. Condolences: www.msbfh.com.
Elizabeth W. Pitner
Elizabeth W. “Libby” Pitner, formerly of Swarthmore, passed away on Saturday, May 6, 2017 in Washington, Pa. She was 95.
Libby was the beloved wife of the late Craton G. Pitner and the late Lt. Wallace Lippincott; loving mother of Thomas C. (Linda Zerbe) Pitner, Robert M. Pitner, and Elizabeth P. “Betsy” (Anthony Go) Lowe; sister of the late Dorothea Phillips and Harvey W.; beloved grandmother of Emily and Janine Pitner, Susannah and Aaron Lowe, the late Graham Lowe; and the loving great-grandmother of Jermaine and DeAndre Brown.
Libby was born near Boston, Mass., and moved to Swarthmore at age 7. Her family spent summers at their family farm in North Berwick, Maine. In the 1930s, they drove across the country to Tacoma, Wash., three times when her father was working there. Libby graduated from Swarthmore High School in 1939, where she played field hockey and lacrosse, and received her B.A. in economics from the University of Delaware in 1943.
She married her college sweetheart “Wally” Lippincott in 1943, and they moved around the country as he completed his U.S. Army training. He was sent to Europe the following year, where he was killed in the Battle of the Bulge in January 1945. Libby then worked for United Airlines in Philadelphia as a reservationist in the early days of the aviation industry until she married Craton G. Pitner in 1948. They moved to Baltimore, Md., and had three children.
In 1959, the family moved to New Martinsville, W.Va., where she was the treasurer of the local Presbyterian Church, and volunteered in the school, church, and community. The family moved again in 1967 to Peters Township in Washington County, Pa. Libby worked at the Peters Township Library and at Hornes Department Store at South Hills Village.
Libby was an avid Pittsburgh sports fan, was in many bridge clubs and circle groups, and was a talented amateur genealogist. Libby and Craton traveled to Europe and the West Coast and attended concerts, operas, ballets, and ballgames. She was a member of the Bethel Fife and Drum Chapter of NSDAR, the Mayflower Descendants of Pa., and the Peters Creek U.P. Church, including a cancer survivors support group.
Recently, two articles about her appeared on the front page of the Philadelphia Inquirer in one week, when a canteen belonging to her first husband was found in a museum in Luxembourg, and returned to her almost 70 years after it had been lost on the battlefield. The story also appeared in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and an online paper in Luxembourg.
Funeral arrangements are by Beinhauer’s. A memorial service will be held at Peters Creek United Presbyterian Church in Venetia, Pa., on Saturday, June 24, at 11 a.m. The service will be preceded by a visitation with the family beginning at 10 a.m. There will be no viewing.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Peters Creek U.P. Church, 250 Brookwood Road, Venetia, PA 15367; the American Cancer Society, www.cancer.org; or the Peters Township Library, 616 E McMurray Roadd, McMurray, PA 15317. Please add or view tributes at www.beinhauer.com.
Joan A. Taylor
Known to her family and friends as “Jojo,” Joan Augusta Taylor died peacefully on Saturday morning, May 13, 2017 at Plush Mills in Wallingford of natural causes. She was 87.
Born in Buffalo, N.Y., on August 22, 1929 to the late Alfred and Dorothy (Hickman) Gneiser, Joan was the eldest among her siblings, Robert , Valerie, and David.
A 1947 graduate of Bennett High School in Buffalo, Joan went on to Endicott Junior College in Beverly, Mass., and received an Associate of Arts degree in merchandising in 1949. She was editor of the yearbook Mingotide, and was elected to the Phi Theta Kappa honor society. Upon graduation, Joan moved to York, Pa., and worked in advertising and promotion for WNOW radio.
Joan married Richard J. “Dick” Taylor on June 1, 1957 in York. They moved to Swarthmore in 1969 with their five children. Joan was the Executive Director of the YWCA of Chester (1975-1990) and a member of the Board of Directors of First Keystone Bank (1976-2010). During the early 1970s, she managed publicity and advertising for Baird and Bird, Inc.
Through the years, Joan served on the boards of the following organizations: Family and Community Service of Delaware County; Community Nursing Service of Chester; United Way of Southeast Delaware County; and Crozer-Chester Medical Center’s Community Mental Health Advisory Board.
She was a former member of the Delaware County Press Club; the Rotary Club of Chester; the Junior League of Philadelphia; the Swarthmore Swim Club; and the Swarthmore Tennis Club.
She is survived by her five children: Richard of Ridgecrest, Calif., David of Arvada, Col., Susan (Eugene) Adami of Media, Michael (Lynne Christos) of Tokyo, Japan, and Amy (Woodley) Wardell of Bernardston, Mass.; seven grandchildren: Taylor, Victoria and Jessica Adami, and Michael, Nathaniel, Oliver and Finlay Taylor; and her sister, Valerie North of Dover, Pa. She was predeceased by her husband Dick Taylor, and brothers, Robert Gneiser and David Gneiser.
A memorial service is planned for Friday, June 30, 11 a.m., at Trinity Episcopal Church, 301 North Chester Road, Swarthmore, PA 19081, with Pastor Pat Oglesby officiating.
In lieu of flowers, please send memorial gifts to Trinity Church at the above address. Funeral arrangements are by Cavanagh Funeral Home of Media.
Joan H. Landis
Joan Hutton Landis died on Sunday, May 7, 2017 in Wallingford from complications due to Parkinson’s. She was 87.
Joan was born in Morristown, New Jersey, April 22, 1930, the only child of Margaret Foster and Louis T. Hutton. Since 1971, she lived in Swarthmore, Media and, finally, at Plush Mills in Wallingford.
Joan went to Stoneleigh-Burnham School in Greenfield, Mass., and then to Bennington College in Vermont, where she majored in English and studied poetry with Stanley Kunitz, Howard Nemerov, and Ben Belitt.
After working in publishing for a sort time, she married Kendall Landis on Valentine’s Day in 1953. Kendall, who had interrupted his Swarthmore College education to serve in WWII as a Naval pilot, worked for Citibank, a job that took him and his family to live in Paris, Jeddah, Beirut, and Casa Blanca. During her years abroad, she starred in local theater while raising three young sons: Christopher, Joshua and Ethan.
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. Joan studied poetry with Richard Wilbur. Her poems were published in the Transatlantic Review, The New York Times, Parnassus, Poetry in Review, The Gettysburg Review, Salmagundi, Spoon River, and Poetry. She also published articles on Shakespeare and contemporary poets, such as Louise Gluck, Ben Belitt, and John Peck. Her son Joshua remembers, “From a kid’s point of view, Mom was ideal. She stayed home while we were young, spoiling us with constant love, happiness and adventure. When we got into our teens, her decision to return to school, write, and teach turned the house into a world of ideas that sparkled with wit and hard work. She also loved to entertain and set an example for intellect, kindness, and elegance that guided us as a north star.”
The family moved in 1972 to Swarthmore, where Kendall became Vice-President of the College. Joan received a Danforth Graduate Fellowship to complete her Ph.D. at Bryn Mawr. In 1977 Joan was hired by the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia to “teach musicians honeyed words.” She was instrumental in developing Curtis’ Liberal Arts Program, core curriculum, and workshops in poetry, fiction and theater. She taught courses in American literature, Shakespeare, Chaucer and Joyce. She was elected chair of the Liberal Arts Department in the early 1980s and remained in that position until her retirement in 2001. She taught many of America’s finest musicians and formed lasting relationships with many of them.
She participated in Frank Bidart’s poetry workshops at the Summer Writers’ Institute in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., where she began to work on her first book of poetry, That Blue Repair, which was published in 2008. Peg Boyers, executive editor of the poetry journal Salmagundi, writes “Joan Landis sees as clearly as Bishop, feels as deeply as Frost and demonstrates now and then the wit and humor of Philip Larkin. But she is altogether her own kind of poet.”
In March 2012, Joan’s poem, “That Blue Repair,” inspired a musical piece for strings and cello, composed by Chris Rogerson and commissioned by the New York Youth Orchestra, which was performed at Carnegie Hall and received a rave review in the NY Times. Rogerson was commissioned by Orchestra 2001 to set another of Joan’s poems for performance in 2013. Composer John B. Hedges also set a number of Joan’s poems to music.
Joan helped establish the Rochester Chamber Music Society in Vermont, where she spent summers with her family. She lured dozens of top musicians to play in central Vermont, including the Lark Quartet, as well as the Borromeo, Brentano, Johannes and St. Lawrence Quartets.
After retiring Joan and Kendall split their time between their home in Media and their mountain farmhouse in Granville, Vermont. On receiving a Distinguished Alumna Award from Stoneleigh-Burnham school in 2013, Joan commented, “I have been lucky in my mother, schools, marriage, children, friends, a kind of charmed life. I now have Parkinson’s to rough things up some; I hope I can deal with it well enough, learn from it, not be a burden to my family.” Even when Joan’s fingers and limbs failed her, she fought to write her final poems. With Kendall as her scribe, she worked on her art until her final days.
At the end of 2016, Joan published her last book of poetry, A Little Glide. Jonathan Franzen, the great novelist, wrote about it: “But what a book! The trenchancy, the fire, the boldness of linguistic play. I was most taken with the poems draw on her personal past; the book seemed to me something of an intensely compressed memoir in verse; as if I’d been allowed access to a passionate secret.”
Here is the title poem of A Little Glide, about the first poem she wrote at the age of four.
I found it in a bureau drawer. In mother’s hand, “Joan’s Poem, age four.”
“Jesus stands so tall and straight His back against the city gate. When the spear went in his side He took a little glide.”
I love that phrase “a little glide,” Gesture of perfection – I love that child, naive and kind, conceiving resurrection.
Joan Hutton Landis took her little glide on May 7, 2017 with her husband, three sons, their wives and several of her six grandsons at her side. She lived a long and adventurous life. It will be celebrated in Granville, Vermont, in August 2017.
Sandy Sparrow Wilkinson
If you called her cell phone recently, you got a joyful voicemail message that began, “Hey, hey, hey, I’m still on the planet…” that would bring a smile to your face.
Sandra Sparrow Wilkinson, 76, a teacher, principal, and artist with an infectious spirit and unbounded creativity, left us peacefully on April 22. Sandy was a beloved presence in Swarthmore, earning the respect of thousands of students, parents and colleagues during her 28 years in the Wallingford-Swarthmore School District, through her retirement in Maine, and during her return to Swarthmore when she married Dr. Harold Wilkinson.
Born in Hamilton, Ohio, in 1940 to Edna and Jerome Martin Lewis, Sr., Sandy grew up in a family that valued education and discipline. Sandy attended St. Simons Elementary School and the selective Walnut Hills High School in Cincinnati. A gifted public speaker and lover of poetry, Sandy won a prize for reciting A Psalm of Life by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. She earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of Cincinnati and won the Cincinnati Teacher of the Year Award after her second year of teaching. She moved to Swarthmore in 1969 with her husband, Eugene Sparrow, and son, Geno. By 1971, Sandy was a single parent teaching in the Swarthmore School District.
Sandy was a creative teacher who connected with her students in a profound way. She understood who needed encouragement, who needed more responsibility or freedom, and who would benefit from her gentle touch. If you called her classroom on the inter-school phone system, a student would answer “Greetings and salutations! May I help you?” in a confident and polished tone. Though never seeking attention for herself, she had a way of letting each child shine, whether through an unexpected role in a Shakespeare play, opera or production of Amahl and the Night Visitors, or as the designated class scribe, leader of a school beautification project or business manager of a book fair. Dissection of frogs for science yielded exquisitely drawn illustrations of the process; a school trip to Williamsburg led to intricately-detailed dioramas.
Shortly after she earned her master’s degree in educational administration in 1985, the school district tapped Sandy for the position of principal of the Swarthmore-Rutledge Elementary School (SRS). The first task she set for herself was to learn the names of the 702 students at SRS. As principal, Sandy provided teachers with the inspiration and freedom to follow their passions in the classroom. One teacher had his class study the work of Langston Hughes and the Harlem Renaissance, culminating in a visit to Harlem; another class did an extensive project on sustainable raised-bed gardening. The influence of Sandy’s work persists today through projects such as an African dance artist-in-residence program, now in its 25th year. Her talents were recognized outside the school district, as well. In 1992, Swarthmore-Rutledge Elementary School was designated a National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education. Sandy, wearing her signature mismatched earrings, received the award from former President Bill Clinton at the White House. In 1997, Swarthmore College awarded Sandy a Doctorate of Humane Letters for her deep commitment and many contributions to the education of children in the local community.
When Sandy retired from the school district in 1999, she bought a house on the coast of Maine and threw herself into a creative life of indigo dying, painting, playing the flute and gardening. She studied textiles that reflect diverse cultures and gathered an extraordinary collection from around the world. She also continued to work with, and for, children, serving as adjunct professor of education at the University of Maine, Machias, and starting Alumni Supporting Kids (ASK) to support after-school program participation for all students in Wallingford-Swarthmore schools.
Sandy married Dr. Harold Wilkinson in 2010 and returned to Swarthmore. She continued her indigo dye projects in her Park Avenue dye shed. She was dedicated to her granddaughter, Malika, staying in touch through weekly Skype sessions and annual visits to Australia.
Sandy is survived by her husband Dr. Harold Wilkinson, her son Geno Sparrow; granddaughter Malika Matisse Sparrow; her brother Jerome Lewis, Jr.; and countless friends, students and colleagues.
There will be a celebration of Sandy’s life at 2 p.m., Sunday, May 7, at the Swarthmore Friends Meetinghouse, 12 Whittier Place. Friends are invited to write “Letters to Malika” for Sandy’s granddaughter to have a collection of stories from those who knew and loved her grandmother. Feel free to include a story, a memory, or anything else that reminds you of Sandy. Letters can be sent mailed to Liz Morris Orye, 216 Sykes Lane, Wallingford, PA 19086, e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org, or hand-delivered to a collection box which will be provided at the Meetinghouse on May 7.
In memory of Sandy, donations can be made to: 1.) ASK: Sandy started Alumni Supporting Kids in 2007 as a way of raising money from Wallingford-Swarthmore School District alumni to support after-school program participation for students in the district who would not be able to afford these opportunities. Donations in Sandy’s memory can be sent to Alumni and Friends Supporting Kids, Foundation for Wallingford-Swarthmore Schools, P.O. Box 288, Wallingford, PA 19086. 2.) Jefferson Hospital: Donations may be made in tribute to Drs. James Evans and Marlind Stiles at Jefferson. Please make checks payable to ‘Jefferson’ and mail to: Office of Institutional Advancement, 130 S. 9th Street, Suite 1700, Philadelphia, PA 19107 or donate online at Giving.Jefferson.edu.
Edwin H. Kline
Edwin Harvey Kline of Nuangola, Pa., formerly Swarthmore, died May 1, 2017 comfortably at home. He was 80.
Born June 27, 1936 in Red Hill, Pa., Ed was the son of the late Edwin and Margaret Kline. He was predeceased by his sister, Jean Boyd.
Ed was a graduate of the Philadelphia school system and attended Penn State University. Ed owned Klinetics Inc., an audio, video, and radio company.
An avid clarinet and saxophone player, Ed enjoyed being part of the Melodiers, a dance band in the late 1950s and 1960s. His Ham radio handle was W3UZL; he enjoyed amateur radio for most of his life and was certified to the Extra license class.
While raising his family in Swarthmore, Ed was the photographer for the Swarthmore Fire and Protective Association. He also loved finding great deals at local yard sales and flea markets. During his retirement years, Ed enjoyed time on his boat on Lake Nuangola.
Ed is survived by his wife of 49 years, Sally (Wiggins) Kline; his children Edwin (Jessica) Kline, Sandra (Lance) Babcock, Margaret Laurence and Charles Kline; four grandchildren, Kortney Kline, Sean and Kayley Laurence and Chad Babcock; his sister, Joanne (David) Gould of Aldan, Pa.; and many beloved nieces and nephews.
The memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. this Saturday, May 6, at the Mountaintop Presbyterian Church, 9 Chestnut Street, Mountaintop, PA 18707. A receiving line to visit with the family will start at 10:30 a.m., and a luncheon will follow the service.
In lieu of flowers, those who desire may send memorial contributions to the Nuangola Lake Association, P.O. Box 231, Nuangola, PA 18707.
Jeanette “Jean” Gilbert, a resident of the Abramson Center for Jewish Life in North Wales, Pa., and a former resident of Swarthmore, Boynton Beach, Fla., and Roslyn Heights, N.Y., died peacefully on April 26, 2017. She was 86.
She was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., and raised in a tenement apartment in the Bronx by Polish-Jewish immigrant parents, Louis Richter and Helen Sklarsh. Despite speaking only Yiddish until she entered 1st grade, she excelled in the New York City public schools and, at the age of 16, was one of only a handful of women to be admitted to City College. She went on to receive a master’s degree in accounting from Baruch College. She also completed one year of Columbia University Law School before dropping out to give birth to her first child.
Jean was a school teacher before working for the insurance industry. For many years, she ran an insurance brokerage in Spanish Harlem in uptown Manhattan with her third husband, Stephen Gilbert.
As a small business owner, loving family member and devoted friend, she was a warm presence and intent listener. She served as a trusted confidante for many, dispensing pragmatic advice. She headed parent-teacher associations and condominium boards in New York and Florida. She loved world travel and orchestra concerts.
Jean is survived by her children, Barry Jacobs (Julie Mayer) of Swarthmore and Robert Jacobs (Maria Casapini) of Rochester, N.Y.; her grandchildren, Monica and Aaron Jacobs; and her nieces, Ellen Lazar, Deborah Amster and Charna Geller.
A memorial service will be held on Sunday, June 18, 10:30 a.m., at Wellwood Cemetery in Farmingdale, N.Y. Contributions in her honor can be made to the Abramson Center for Jewish Life, 1425 Horsham Road, North Wales, PA 19454. Condolences can be sent to email@example.com.
Kayanne G. Day
A memorial service for Kayanne G. Day will be held at Swarthmore Presbyterian Church on Saturday, May 6, at 2 p.m. Kayanne lived with her husband, Ralph, in Wallingford/Swarthmore for over 40 years and was an active member of Providence Garden Club, Swarthmore Presbyterian Church, Swarthmore Arboretum and PEO.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to Scott Arboretum (for Kayanne Day) at 500 College Avenue, Swarthmore, PA 19081. A tree will be planted on the Swarthmore campus as a memorial.
Mark Watson, much loved son of Joan and Tony Watson of Swarthmore, died Wednesday, April 6, 2017. He was 31.
Mark was a Strath Haven High School graduate, class of 2004. He loved drums and was in the SHHS Marching Band for four years. He had many talents to offer the world, but succumbed to the scourge of drug addiction that has claimed so many of our nation’s youth.
He is survived by his parents; his siblings Matt (Kelly), Mandy (Rich Carango), Rob (Christine), Josh (Beth), Bonnie (Ed Long), Jeff (Marianne); and 19 nieces and nephews.
Services were held on April 11, 2017. Burial was private.
In lieu of flowers, donations are recommended for Covenant House, 31 E. Armat Street, Philadelphia, PA 19144; CityTeam Ministries, 634 Sproul Street, Chester, PA 19013; or similar charities of your choice.
Nancy J. Vining
Nancy J. Vining, a resident of White Horse Village in Newtown Square, and a former resident of Swarthmore and West Chester, passed away peacefully on April 10, 2017 surrounded by her loving family. She was 89.
Nancy had resided at White Horse Village since 2008, having lived at Hershey’s Mill in West Chester and Swarthmore for many years prior to that.
Born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, she was the daughter of the late Ernest Howard and Janet Cliff. Nancy was a well-known, award-winning watercolor artist, whose work has been displayed throughout the Philadelphia area.
Nancy and her family enjoyed spending summers at Métis-sur-Mer on the Gaspe Peninsula in Quebec, Canada. A longtime member of Trinity Episcopal Church in Swarthmore, she will be remembered as a woman who was devoted to her family.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Roy H. Vining.
Nancy is survived by her children, Susan Moore, William H. (Jenny) Vining, Robert J. (Catherine) Vining, and Charles F. (Susan) Vining; her twelve grandchildren; her great-granddaughter, Lila; and her sisters, Audrey Smith and Mary Ross.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, April 22, at 11 a.m. at Trinity Episcopal Church, 301 N. Chester Road, in Swarthmore, PA 19081, with visitation from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the church. Her burial in the church memorial garden will immediately follow the service.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Nancy’s memory to Trinity Episcopal Church at the above address would be appreciated by her family.
Mary Louise C. Jackaway
Mary Louise Coalson Jackaway of Clearwater, Florida, died Saturday, March 25, 2017 in Mease Countyside Hospital in Safety Harbor, Fla. She was 97.
Born in Pulaski, Va., she was the daughter of the late Bertha Cosby Boyd Coalson and Walter Sponce Coalson.
Mrs. Jackaway was a registered nurse and a Naval Officer Lt.jg during World War II. She spent many years in Swarthmore, Cape May, N.J., and Miami, Fla. She was a lifelong member of the Presbyterian faith.
In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, Harry Earl Jackaway; brothers, Henry Paul Coalson and Walter Coalson; and sisters, Mable Coalson Funk, Thelma Coalson Quesenberry, and H. Elizabeth Coalson Mills. Her sister Irene Coalson Farrow Hawkins just celebrated her 103rd birthday.
Mrs. Jackaway is survived by her daughter, Anne Jackaway of Miami, Fla., and a son, David Lee Jackaway and his wife Julie of Palm Harbor, Fla.; and two grandchildren, Anne’s daughters, Alexandra Noghaven and Genevieve Del Sol, both of Miami, Fla. She has many cousins, nieces and nephews in the Pulaski and Roanoke, Virginia, areas.
Funeral services will be held Saturday, April 1, 2017 at 2 p.m. at Seagle Funeral Home in Pulaski. Interment will follow in Oakwood Cemetery. The family will receive friends on Saturday at the funeral home from 12 noon until 2 p.m.
Online condolences may be sent to the family by visiting www.seaglefuneralhome.com. Arrangements by Seagle Funeral Home, Pulaski.
John G. Nikelly, Ph.D.
John G. Nikelly, 88, of the Kendal community in Kennett Square, died on March 11, 2017 at his residence after a brief illness. He was 88.
Born in the United States to George and Mary Nikelly, the family moved to Lesvos, Greece, in the 1930s, returning to the U.S. after World War II.
Despite the hardship he endured in occupied Greece during his early life, John’s parents instilled in him and his siblings the importance of education. After receiving a Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry from Cornell University, Dr. Nikelly did research for Esso (now Exxon Mobil) in Linden, N.J.
While living in Westfield, N.J., he met Margaret, whom he married in 1961. Shortly thereafter, he joined the faculty of the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science (now the University of the Sciences), residing in Swarthmore.
John thrived in his new career, becoming a full professor with a special interest in gas chromatography and spectroscopy. Until they moved to Kendal in 2012, he was still mentoring doctoral candidates.
John was a founding member and president of the Delaware Valley Chromatography Forum; a founding member, secretary and chair of the American Chemical Society subdivision of Separations Chemistry; and served for 25 years on committees of the ACS Council. He also worked part-time for the State Department as an interpreter at meetings with security officials.
In Swarthmore, John was a board member and president of the Swarthmore Co-op, a dedicated owner of VW Beetles, and a generous supporter of Swarthmore College, along with Margaret, who was director of the Office of Planned Giving for many years. He also enjoyed gardening and collecting old clocks.
John is survived by his wife, Margaret (Witte) Nikelly of Kendal and a sister, Eva, of Lake Forest, Ill. He was predeceased by his brother, Dr. Arthur Nikelly of Urbana, Ill.
A family memorial service will be held in Swarthmore at a later date, with interment at the Swarthmore Presbyterian Church.
Henry R. Drott
Henry R. Drott, former scientific director of Clinical Chemistry at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, died on Wednesday, March 8, 2017. He passed away peacefully at his home in Swarthmore, with his family by his side. He was 76.
Born in 1940 in Hammond, Louisiana, he was the son of Albert Eugene and Beulah Edna (Robertson) Drott. He attended Hammond High School, graduating in 1958. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and mathematics at Southeastern Louisiana College in 1962, he pursued a doctorate in physical chemistry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which he completed in 1968.
Upon receiving his Ph.D, he became an NIH Postdoctoral Fellow at the Johnson Research Foundation at the University of Pennsylvania under the direction of Professor Takashi Yonetani.
In 1970 he spent the year at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, on a European Molecular Biology Organization Fellowship, where, among other things, he was a guest at the Nobel Prize awards ceremony.
After his return to Philadelphia he was appointed assistant professor of biophysics at the University of Pennsylvania, and received an NIH Research Career Development Award. In 1977 he moved to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia as an assistant professor of chemistry in pediatrics, and was named scientific director of Clinical Chemistry.
Dr. Drott transformed his laboratory at CHOP from a modest to a high-performance, efficient operation. He introduced state of the art technology and instrumentation allowing the laboratory to perform testing on very small blood samples, appropriate for the pediatric patients. Dr. Drott also introduced patient bedside testing to enable more rapid clinical decisions. This technology has also aided in the treatment of patients in the outpatient setting. During his tenure, CHOP was ranked among the top pediatric hospitals in the nation.
In the 1980s he put this expertise to work on behalf of Project Hope, traveling with a team of medical professionals to Krakow, Poland, in 1984. There he shared new diagnostic and therapeutic techniques with fellow chemists at the city’s Pediatric Hospital.
In 2007, he retired from Children’s Hospital after thirty years of service.
Outside of work, Dr. Drott was active in the community as committee chairman for Boy Scout Troop 112 and as a leader of the local affiliate of Canoe Trails, which organized annual weeklong canoe expeditions into the Canadian wilderness. As a young man, he participated in the order of DeMolay. He was a Master Mason, and a Knight Templar.
He met his wife Mary Overstreet in 1965, when they were both in the wedding party of Mary’s cousin, Margaret Eckstein and Charles Twine, a classmate of Henry’s at UNC Chapel Hill. They were married on December 27, 1967. He and his wife divided their retirement years between Swarthmore and Lincolnville Center, Maine.
Dr. Drott is survived by his wife, Mary; sons, Edward and Eric; and two grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his brother, Esmond.
A memorial service will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday March 18, at the Swarthmore United Methodist Church, 129 Park Avenue, in Swarthmore, PA 19081.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the Swarthmore United Methodist Church, or to the Curtis Institute of Music, 1726 Locust St, Philadelphia, PA 19103.
Mary I. Otto
Mary Ingham Otto of Aspers, Adams County, Pa., a former longtime resident of Wallingford, passed away Thursday, March 2, 2017, at her home. She was 69.
Mary was born Saturday, January 10, 1948, in Kingsville, Texas, the daughter of the late Jack Gordon and Helen C. (Adams) Ingham. She was the granddaughter of the late Howard Horsey and Greta Chandler Adams of Wallingford.
As a teenager, Mary enjoyed her summers as a camper, and then as a counselor at Camp Lochearn in Vermont. She graduated from Linden Hall School for Girls in Lititz in 1966, and studied at Lycoming College. In addition to her many years in Wallingford, she resided in Montoursville, Pa., Clayton, N.J., and Largo, Fla. She retired in 2014 from The Helen Kate Furness Free Library in Wallingford after 28 years of loyal service to community patrons.
Mary is survived by her son, Christopher A. Otto of York, her daughter, Adriane E. Ohrum of East Berlin; two grandchildren, Sarah J. Otto of York and Jacob R. Ohrum of East Berlin; and her brother, Charles C. Ingham of Houston, Texas.
Professional services are entrusted to Dugan Funeral Home, Inc., 111 South Main St., Bendersville. Graveside services will be held at the discretion of the family. Burial will be at St. Peter’s Church in the Great Valley, in Malvern.
Memorial contributions may be made to The Helen Kate Furness Free Library, 100 N. Providence Rd., Wallingford, PA 19086 in her name. Friends may express online condolences at www.DuganFH.com.
Mary B. Keefe
Mary Burke Keefe passed away peacefully on March 1, 2017 surrounded by family. She was 82.
She was the beloved wife of James M. Keefe, Jr., who predeceased her.
Mary was born in Syracuse in 1934. She moved to Rochester, N.Y., with Jim and their children in 1964. Mary and Jim relocated to Swarthmore in 2007 to be near family, and they loved living on the 11th floor of the Strath Haven Condos.
Mary loved college football — with Syracuse, Notre Dame and Penn State her favorites. Mary also loved discussing the events of the day and she often expressed great concern over the current administration.
Mary will be laid to rest alongside Jim at Arlington National Cemetery this spring.
Mary is survived by her son, James M. Keefe III of Cincinnati, Ohio; and her daughter, Katherine M. Keefe of Rose Valley; a loving mother-in-law to Karen P. Keefe and Edward (Nick) Slagis; and the dear “Neenie” to grandchildren Elizabeth Sarah Keefe, James M. Keefe IV, Claire O’Leary Slagis and Benjamin James Slagis. Mary is also survived by her sister, Helen Burke of Syracuse, N.Y., and many nieces, nephews and cousins.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in Mary’s memory may be made to the non-profit Providence Animal Center, formerly the Delaware County SPCA, online at www.providenceac.org/get-involved/donate/memorialhonorary or check to Providence Animal Center, 555 Sandy Bank Rd., Media, PA 19063.
Charlotte M. Taylor
Charlotte Morgan Taylor, a resident of Wallingford for more than 50 years, died early Thursday morning, February 23, after a brief illness. She was a devoted mother and grandmother, a treasured sister, an avid genealogist, and an inveterate organizer of family trips and vacations.
Charlotte was born in Philadelphia on October 29, 1932, the eldest daughter of Albert and Dorothy (Harding) Morgan. Raised in West Philadelphia, she graduated from the Philadelphia High School for Girls in 1950, and from Middlebury College in Vermont four years later. She earned a master’s degree in library science at Drexel University and was a periodical librarian for many years at Cheney University of Pennsylvania.
On a train ride from Philadelphia to Middlebury in her freshman year, Charlotte met John (Jake) Taylor, who was headed back to college from his home in Springfield. They married soon after graduation and lived in Media for several years before settling down in Wallingford. There they raised their three children, Leslie, David and Wendy, and later welcomed a crowd of grandchildren and their friends.
Every summer, Jake and Charlotte took their whole family to Ocean City, N.J., for a week, and made yearly trips to Mexico, Europe, and the western United States with various children and grandchildren in tow. They went horseback riding at a dude ranch in Arizona, and roughed it on a wagon train in Wyoming. Charlotte continued that tradition after Jake’s death in 2003, taking children and grandchildren to England, Italy, Mexico, and every year to the Jersey shore.
Back home, she enjoyed doing genealogical research, gardening, and taking pottery classes at the Community Arts Center in Wallingford. She worked as a volunteer for many years at the Pennsylvania Historical Society preserving historical records. She was a life-long learner with a particular interest in literature, and loved going to performances at the Academy of Music and later the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia. And she looked forward to getting away with her two sisters every year, in Ocean City, Boston, New York, Cape Cod, Vermont, and sometimes farther afield.
In recent years, she took great pleasure in regularly meeting friends for breakfast at Vicky’s Place in Swarthmore.
Charlotte is survived by her children: Leslie Taylor and Ed Stranix of Swarthmore, David and Leslie Taylor of Wallingford, and Wendy Taylor and Ken Jaffe of Seattle, Washington; her grandchildren, Bert and Mike Stranix, Steve and Chelsea Taylor, Garrett Taylor, Lauren Brooks, and Will Jaffe; and her sisters, Marge Holt of Townshend, Vt., and Connie Larrabee of Harvard, Mass.
A private burial will be held May 13, 2017, with a gathering for family and friends at Charlotte’s home in Wallingford at 2 p.m.”
Elizabeth Freidman Douglis
Elizabeth “Liz” Douglis died after a lengthy illness on February 6, 2017, at the Sagewood Acacia Health Center in Phoenix. She was 80.
Born and raised in St Paul, Minn., Liz was the daughter of Ferne and Dr. Louis Freidman. She graduated from The Summit School, Boston University, and Bank Street College.
Liz was a long-time advocate for women’s reproductive freedom, and formerly worked for several health clinics in the Philadelphia area. She moved to Arizona in 1992, where she was a docent at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, and was appointed to the Foster Care Review Board in Maricopa County.
Liz is survived by her husband of 56 years, Philip; son Tom Douglis (Brenda) of Denver; daughters, Emily Whooley (Kevin) of Ipswich, Mass., and Sarah Douglis (Marc Yaggi) of Pound Ridge, N. Y.; as well as five adored grandchildren: Connor, Sean and Delaney Whooley, Jack and Summer Yaggi. She is also survived by her sister Cynthia Sutton, of Cazenovia N.Y.
Her ashes will be scattered by her family in Pound Ridge, N. Y., at a later date.
In the meantime, please eat a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup in her memory and consider donating to the Arizona Friends of Foster Children Foundation at www.affcf.org. Visit www.hansenmortuary.com for condolences.
Lorene D. Yates
Lorene (Rene) Douglas Yates, age 72, died at home in Hollister, Calif., on January 19, 2017. She grew up in Swarthmore, graduating from Swarthmore High School in 1962. She attended Duke University, where she graduated with a major in History in 1966. After a few years working in Washington, D.C., Rene moved to Poughkeepsie, N.Y., to work as a computer programmer for IBM, where she met her husband, Leonard Yates. She moved to California in 1971 and stayed with IBM until her retirement.
She is survived by her children: Zach Yates of Hollister; Edie Yates (Yiping Lim) of Castro Valley, Calif.; and Karl Yates (Sarah) of Gilroy, Calif. Rene’s grandchildren are Ada and Leonard Lim, and Jackson Yates. Additionally, Rene is survived by her siblings Jacob Grant Hebble of Swarthmore; Jerry Hebble (Annette) of Houston, Tex.; and Cordelia Delson (Don) of Swarthmore; as well as many nieces and nephews. Her husband, Leonard, and parents, J. Grant and Billie Hebble, predeceased her.
Rene was an accomplished quilter, and was an active member of several quilting groups. Many of her nieces and nephews are beneficiaries of her beautiful handiwork. She also completed the Master Gardener program, which aided her in designing and planting gardens at her home in California. Rene made many visits to Swarthmore over the years to see her parents and other family members.
A memorial service will take place in Hollister on February 4. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to Community Food Bank of San Benito, 1133 San Felipe Road, Hollister, CA 95023. www.communityfoodbankofsbc.org.
Kenneth M. Moore
Kenneth Michael Moore of Lincoln University, Pa., passed away unexpectedly at home December 12, 2016 from natural causes. He was 62.
Ken was born February 5, 1954 in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Major Edward Joseph and Doris Copple Moore. He grew up in Swarthmore, graduating from Swarthmore High School in 1973. Ken received his BA from Penn State University where he majored in hospitality management.
His 25 year hospitality career included employment with Victoria Station in Boston, Virginia Beach and Miami. He also worked in Philadelphia at H.A. Winston Restaurant, and cruised the Delaware River managing the Spirit of Philadelphia’s dinner cruises.
Ken resided in Lincoln University for the past 25 years, where he built a beautiful log home complete with stone fireplace, with help from his late brother-in-law, Rodger Johnson. He owned and operated New London Pet Service for most of those years. Ken loved animals and enjoyed caring for them.
He had a great passion for the outdoors, particularly camping and hiking. Ken was well-equipped for these adventures and did annual trips, including the Everglades in Florida, the Appalachian Trail, and wilderness areas in Oregon, Washington and Colorado. His favorite trip was a long trek through the Alaskan wilderness.
Ken was preceded in death by his father, Major Edward J. Moore, and mother, Doris Copple Moore. He is survived by his sister Nancy Johnson, brothers Philip (Beth) and Stephen (Amelia), and seven nieces and nephews.
Gladys H. “Bitsy” Snively
Gladys Haus (Bitsy) Snively of Swarthmore passed away Friday, January 20, 2017 from pneumonia.
Bitsy has touched many lives in her community, and was loved by all.
Known for her sunny personality and can-do attitude, she was honored at Swarthmore College this year for 25 years of employment in the food services department, 19 of which reflected perfect attendance.
She loved to read, to knit, to create beautiful clay objects, and to walk her dog, Duffy. Bitsy was a faithful member of Swarthmore Presbyterian Church, and a longtime usher at its Sunday services.
Bitsy is survived by her parents, Gladys and Jim Snively of Swarthmore; sister, Florrie Snively; brother-in-law, Jim Lockhart; and her nieces and nephew, Meg, Will and Jenny Lockhart, all of Houston, Texas.
A memorial service will be held at the Swarthmore Presbyterian Church on Saturday, January 28, 2017 at 1:00 p.m. The church is located at 727 Harvard Avenue, Swarthmore, PA 19081.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Swarthmore Presbyterian Church, or to the Children’s Hospital Foundation, Box 1352, P.O. Box 781352, Philadelphia, PA 19178, designated in memory of Bitsy Snively for the Trisomy 21 Program or the Adults With Congenital Heart Defects Program.
Stanley Steciw, a resident of Swarthmore for over 60 years, died peacefully at home on January 17, 2017. He was 97.
Born on May 21, 1919 in Chester, Pa., Stanley was the devoted husband of the late Lilyan (née Grycky) Steciw for over 70 years. He was also the loving father of the late John Steciw (Marie) formerly of Bethlehem, Pa.
A WWII veteran, Stanley worked in commercial real estate. He loved to spend time with his family, especially his grandchildren. He enjoyed dining and playing golf at Edgmont Country Club, telling jokes, and sharing stories about his Ukrainian heritage.
Stanley is survived by his son, Mark Steciw (Susan) of Malvern; four grandchildren, Katherine Steciw, Sarah Perrotta, Gregory Steciw and Jessica Steciw; and five great-grandsons. Services and interment were private.
Edith (“Billie”) Lorene Hebble, 100, died peacefully on January 12, 2017.
She had lived in Swarthmore since 1953 when she moved here with her family. While raising four children, she was active in several community organizations including Girl Scouts as a troop leader and Trinity Episcopal Church. Among her many roles at Trinity, she was one of the founders over 40 years ago of the still-active Trinity Thrift Shop.
She was born and raised on a farm in Marblemount, Wash., and she retained the pioneer spirit of the Skagit Valley throughout her life. After high school, she received a nursing degree and married J. Grant Hebble, III, a psychiatrist in the Navy, who predeceased her.
Billie’s zest for life was evident to all who knew her. She was an accomplished seamstress and artist whose quilts, drawings, hooked rugs, and woodcarvings were the hallmarks of her home. Also a talented baker and cook, she was known for her sticky buns, chicken noodle soup, and doughnuts. Most importantly, though, is how Billie enjoyed spending time with her 10 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren, all of whom survive her.
Billie is also survived by her children: Jacob Grant of Swarthmore; Lorene Yates of Hollister, Calif.; Jerry Hebble (Annette) of Houston, Tex., and Cordelia Delson (Don) of Swarthmore.
Her grandchildren are Angie Hebble of Houston, Tex.; Aaron Hebble of Seattle, Wash.; Sarah (Hebble) Squire of Falls Church, Va.; Zach Yates of Hollister, Calif.; Edie Yates of Castro Valley, Calif.; Karl Yates of Gilroy, Calif.; Karina Hebble of Houston, Tex.; Madeleine Delson and Renie (Delson) Boudreau of Swarthmore; and Samantha Delson of N.Y.C. Her great-grandchildren are Kaitlyn, Amber, Wade, Brody, Leonard, Ada, Jackson, Grant, Levi, Millicent, Benjamin, and Eva.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, January 28, at 11:00 a.m. at Trinity Episcopal Church in Swarthmore.
Memorial gifts may be made to The Chester Children’s Chorus, Swarthmore College, 500 College Ave., Swarthmore, PA 19081.
Katharine M. Natvig
Katharine Maria “Katie” Natvig of Bethlehem, Pa., passed away peacefully on Tuesday, January 3, 2017 after a courageous battle with cancer. She was 69.
Born December 9, 1947, she was the daughter of the late Sarah and Johan Natvig of Swarthmore. She grew up in the borough and graduated from Swarthmore High School in 1965.
After graduating from Cedar Crest College, Allentown, Pa., she worked for 47 years in the field of social services in the Lehigh Valley. She was a full-time caseworker with the Northampton County Department of Public Assistance until retiring in 2004, and worked part-time up to her death as a crisis intervention counselor in Lehigh, Northampton, and Warren (N.J.) counties.
Katie is survived by her brother, Martin Natvig of Longmont, Colorado; many loving friends; and her cat, Lucy.
A memorial service will be held at First Presbyterian Church of Allentown, 3231 Tilghman St., Allentown, PA 18104 at 1 p.m. on January 14. Interment will be private.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the charity of your choice. Also, in honor of her loving, generous spirit, “pay it forward” to someone in need, and cherish your loved ones every day.
James A. Walls
It is with great sorrow that our beloved James A. Walls of Wallingford can no longer pilot his boat. He came ashore to be with God on January 6, 2017.
He was the son of Captain Norman E. Walls and Marguerite (nee Hollingsworth) Walls.
Jim graduated from Pennsylvania Military College in 1966, after serving in the United States Air Force. He worked for Bethlehem Steel, then Stanley-Vidmar for over 30 years.
He was the brother of Norman Walls who passed away in 2009.
Jim is survived by his daughters Jaimi and Paige; his sister Marguerite Hixson (Arthur); and brother Gary.
A celebration of the life of Jim Walls will be on Saturday, January 14, at 11 a.m., at Trinity Episcopal Church, 301 N. Chester Road, Swarthmore, where friends may call after 10 a.m. Interment will be private.
Contributions in his memory can be made to Chester Eastside Ministries. P.O. Box 36, Chester, PA 19016, or www.woundedwarriorproject.org, or the charity of the donors choice.
Arrangements made by Carr Funeral Home, www.carrfuneralhome.net.
Peter C. Nowell, M.D.
Dr. Peter Carey Nowell of White Horse Village in Newtown Square died of Alzheimer’s disease complications on Monday, December 26, 2016 at the age of 88.
Brother to Foster Nowell Jr.; beloved father to Timothy (Janice), Karen King (Thomas), Kristin (Carolyn Jimenez), and Michael (Lauren de Moll); grandfather to seven and expectant great-grandfather to one, Peter was predeceased by his wife of 54 years Helen Walker Worst Nowell, his daughter Sharon, his sister Nancy and his brother Sam.
Born February 28, 1928 in Philadelphia to parents Foster Nowell and Margaret Moore Matlack Nowell, Peter grew up in Rose Tree, Delaware County, Pa.
Having attended elementary school at the School in Rose Valley, where his attitudes toward education and learning were formulated at an early stage, Peter graduated from Swarthmore High School in 1945 before earning a fast-tracked B.A. in biochemistry at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn. Peter was fond of citing the reading of the book Microbe Hunters by Paul Henry de Kruif at an early age as his inspiration for entering the field of science.
Peter obtained his M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in 1952, did a rotating internship at Philadelphia General Hospital, and trained in pathology at Presbyterian Hospital. He spent two years at the U.S. Naval Radiological Defense Laboratory in San Francisco before returning to the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine as an instructor, and later as a professor in the Department of Pathology. He served as chairman of the department from 1967-1973 and was the first director of the University of Pennsylvania Cancer Center, now known as the Abramson Cancer Center.
Perhaps most widely known as co-discoverer of the “Philadelphia Chromosome,” with his collaborator, David Hungerford, in 1960, Dr. Nowell’s 50 year career in cancer research reflects his accomplishments as a distinguished scientist of world-wide recognition, an outstanding teacher, educator and advisor, an accomplished administrator and leader.
Among the awards and citations Dr. Nowell accrued for his work can be counted the Lindback Distinguished Teaching Award, the Albert Lasker Clinical Medical Research Award, and The Benjamin Franklin Medal in Life Science. Last year an endowed chair was established in his name at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, The Peter C. Nowell, M.D. Professorship.
Despite the accolades, to his family, friends, and colleagues, Peter was short on hubris and long on self-effacing humor, be it recounting his perennial status as a third-stringer on whatever athletic team would make room for him on the bench, his ineptitude with hand tools, or his medical students’ suffering through his tendency to use them as a captive audience for his wordplay and pun-laced comedy. The teasing, humorous patter that became his signature, be he on the tennis court or in the boardroom, was with him to the end, a trait widely appreciated and remarked upon by those lucky enough to make his acquaintance during his final days.
The world is poorer today for the loss of this remarkable student, scientist, mentor, teacher, husband, father, brother and friend.
Internment will be private. A memorial service will be announced at a later date.
Contributions in Peter’s memory can be made to the School in Rose Valley, 20 School Lane, Rose Valley, PA 19063 and Elwyn, 111 Elwyn Road, Media, PA 19063. Services entrusted to Walter J. Meyers Funeral Home, PC.
Kayanne Day of Hudson, Ohio, died December 13, 2016. She was 80.
“Katherine” Day was the daughter of Wilbur and Ellen Garber and the beloved wife of Ralph Day.
She is survived by her son, Bryan Day, her daughter, Karen Biava, and her sister, Joy McHaffie. She is also survived by her five grandchildren, Heather, Jeffrey, Meredith, Zachary and Sophia.
Kayanne found joy and happiness in her gardens and her flowers, so the family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Scott Arboretum of Swarthmore College, 500 College Ave., Swarthmore, PA 19081, which will be designated for a tree/bench in her honor. Please place “In Memory of Kayanne Day” on your donation.
Services will be held December 16 at the First Congregational Church, 47 Aurora Street, Hudson, OH, at 1:30 pm. There will also be a memorial service in the Swarthmore area in 2017.
More details will follow in a future issue of the Swarthmorean.
Colonel Clair Hess
Clair Hess, a retired U.S. Army Colonel, died last week in Media at the age of 96.
A native of Coalmont, Pa., he had lived in King of Prussia. Clair had made many friends in the Swarthmore area through square dancing and bridge, at which he excelled, according to Janice Hampton, his companion of 24 years.
Clair’s 27-year Army career included action in crucial battles of World War II, and later service in the Korean War. Following his active duty, he was professor of Military Science at the University of Pennsylvania. After retirement from the military, Clair worked at Lee Tire & Rubber in Conshohocken for 10 years.
Janice Hampton’s daughter, Michelle Emery, wrote: “Clair was a veteran of WWII, a parachutist with the 101st Airborne, and a veteran of D-Day and the Battle of the Bulge — one of the ‘Band of Brothers.’ The last guard from that time is fast disappearing, but their memory must not fade.”
In addition to his local friends, Colonel Hess is survived by four siblings, three grandchildren, six great-grandchildren, and his ex-wife, Alice Hess.
Visit jamesfergusonfuneralhome.com/obituaries for a full obituary.
Susan Preston-Martin, a former faculty member at the University of Southern California’s Dept. of Preventive Medicine, died of breast cancer at her home in Santa Monica, Calif., on Sunday morning, November 13, 2016.
Susan Preston was born in 1942 in New York, but grew up in Swarthmore, where she attended Swarthmore High School and Swarthmore College. She received her BA in psychology from Swarthmore in 1963, and continued her education at UCLA, earning a Ph.D. in epidemiology in 1974.
Susan went on to be the first woman Fellow at University of Southern California. She joined the faculty in 1974 and remained a member until her retirement in 2006. Susan’s research focused mainly on the effects of low-level ionizing radiation. She was a world-recognized epidemiologist, leading international consortia on childhood leukemias and brain cancer, giving presentations at conferences around the world throughout her career, and conducting research during sabbaticals in France (1985-86), New Zealand and Australia (1991-92), and South Africa (2000-01). She was admired by her colleagues and also played an instrumental role as a mentor to many junior faculty.
Susan loved traveling, and with her beloved husband, David Williams, went to almost every country in the world absorbing new cultures, making lasting friendships, and snorkeling whenever possible. She regularly and enthusiastically kept in touch with friends from all parts of her life and received great joy from the relationships she had with her grandchildren.
Susan was a good listener, a deep thinker, a generous support to many, and was always up for a new adventure! She also loved good food, socializing, hiking in the Santa Monica mountains and swimming at the UCLA recreation center.
Susan is survived by her husband; her daughter and son-in-law, Jennifer and Alex Borja; her stepsons and daughter-in-law, Chris Williams, and Coburn & Jill Williams, as well as her four loving grandchildren, Austin and Zoe Borja, Taylor & Nicholas Williams; and by her brother Dave Preston, sister Nell Clark; and nieces and nephews Sarah Preston, David Preston, Amy Clark, and Ben Clark.
Mary Cameron Jones
Mary Cameron Jones passed away on November 21, 2016, at a Hospice Center in Pinellas Park, Florida, after a very long illness (Alzheimer’s disease).
Born in Marianna, Florida, in 1944, Mary was the daughter of Earl W. Cameron, Jr., and Mary Kathryn Dunbar Cameron.
In addition to her husband, Bob, and her daughter, Kathryn, she is survived by two sisters, Barbara Bednarzik of Columbia, Md., and Nancy McCown of Volant, Pa.; and two grandchildren, Jack and Cameron Millward of Swarthmore.
Mary was preceded in death by her son, Christopher.
The Reverend Georgene (Gigi) Conner will officiate at services to be held at St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in St Pete Beach, Florida, on December 10, commencing at 3 p.m. (EST).
For a more extensive account of Mary’s wonderful life and to share condolences with the family, please visit: www.andersonmcqueen.com.
Bruno W. Kersten
Bruno Werner Kersten of Swarthmore, died of complications of a rare gastrointestinal cancer on November 9, 2016 at the age of 88.
Predeceased by his beloved wife Nancy, Bruno was a devoted father to Michel, Hans, Sean, Peter, and David; and a cherished grandfather of eleven grandchildren.
Bruno was born in Chester, Pa., and was the youngest of four children born to Werner and Theresa Kersten.
Bruno will be remembered for his gentleness and quiet presence, except when he laughed his big contagious laugh. While Nancy was the more outspoken partner of the pair, Bruno was the glue that held the family together.
A creative and generous man, he was always working on a project, whether building his famous cabinets in multiple friends’ homes, crafting odds and ends wooden sculptures, collecting corks for trivets, or making jewelry — as he did as a last beautiful gift to his daughters-in-law and granddaughters out of a charm necklace he originally made for Nancy.
Well known for his love of dessert, he could always be depended upon to trim the edges off of cakes and pies, and was always willing to help out by finishing last bites.
He grew up in Chester, attending St. James Academy, and graduating from the University of the Arts with a degree in industrial design. He was a shy bachelor until he met Nancy on the ski slopes in his thirties. It was love at first sight, with a wedding six months later, a whirlwind European honeymoon and their daughter, Michel, born 9 months after that.
Bruno built a career as a self-employed industrial designer in a company call 4 Designs, designing products like refrigerators and hot water heaters, but also many other projects. He also worked for the Spitz, Inc., designing planetariums, and then the Budd Company, designing shipping containers and trains.
He also did smaller projects like working with family friends to shear sheep and then sold sheep skin covered chairs with the Linville family.
In between his work projects, he was a constant presence at home, always having time to fill in as a soccer coach on the boys’ teams, having a catch, or picking up the slack when the kids had great ideas like getting a bee hive that Bruno ended up tending, or the multiple family dogs that he ended up walking. When work was light, Bruno was resourceful finding odd jobs like working at a convenience store in East Falls, or chauffeuring Delaware River Ship captains to and from Philadelphia.
He loved camping and fishing, loading the family up in the car on a moment’s notice and heading out on adventures all around the United States, and later with Nancy all around the world.
Starting with a simple cabin near a pond, he built up the cabin in Maine that is now a favorite oasis for many extended family and friends, and filled with summer memories. He could always be enticed to play a round of cards, or other games, even if his head nodded and he “read the back of his eyelids” in between his turns.
He enjoyed seeing and discussing movies with his movie group or entertaining friends with Nancy. Later in his life, he took up word puzzles and Sudoku, wanting to continue to challenge his brain, and could always be found with a paper and pen in his shirt pocket jotting down important dates and ideas.
Just last winter Bruno faithfully cared for Nancy as she approached the end of her life, and reinvented himself after her death, taking up cooking, jamming, and making casseroles for the homeless in his free time.
For the past eight months he traveled up and down the coast visiting his children and grandchildren, hiking, spending time with friends, and crossing items off his bucket list like seeing a high school marching band (three in the space of one month!), going up in the City Hall tower on one of the hottest days of the summer, touring the new Mormon Temple in between doctor’s appointments at Penn, and being so busy that his children couldn’t keep track of his social calendar and needed to make a reservation weeks in advance to see him.
In the beginning of October he took his last big trip, driving himself to Vermont where he visited with family and friends and enjoyed hiking, before he headed home tired and hopeful to begin a course of chemotherapy to try to stop the cancer which had previously been stable, but was more recently spreading in his body. For the first time he was knocked down and couldn’t recover, becoming weak and frail over a short period of time, spending a last joyful weekend surrounded by his children, their partners, and grandchildren before taking his last peaceful breath on Wednesday morning. As did Nancy, he carried his generosity into death by donating his body to science where his selflessness and support of others will live on.
A memorial service is scheduled for Saturday, December 10, 11 a.m., at Media Meeting House, 125 W. 3rd St., Media, PA 19063.
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Meals for Homeless program at the Media Meeting at tinyurl.com/j4m5jtp, or mail checks to Media Meeting House at the above address.
Mary Ellen C. Nelsen
Mary Ellen Coffroth Nelsen of White Horse Village in Newtown Square died on Friday, November 11, 2016 at age 91.
Mary Ellen is survived by husband Marshal Nelsen of White Horse Village, daughter Anne Clark (Elena) of Portland, Ore., sons Stephen Clark of Lumberville, Pa., and David Krendel-Clark (Tamara) of Andover, Mass.; and grandsons James Krendel-Clark and Conrad Krendel-Clark. She was predeceased by husband Dr. James Clark and second husband Jack Hearst.
Born April 20, 1925 in rural West Virginia to Ross and Olive Woodburne Coffroth, Mary Ellen received a bachelors in music in 1947 from West Virginia University, where she met her first husband, James Clark. She was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma national sorority. The couple moved to Philadelphia for his medical studies at Jefferson. While there she sang professionally in the choir of First Presbyterian Church, and taught music to elementary and middle-schoolers at Greene Street Friends School in Germantown.
The Clarks settled in Delaware County in the 1950s, moving to Swarthmore in 1962. Mary Ellen lived in the town for nearly 30 years, raising a family here. She was a longtime member of Swarthmore Presbyterian Church, where she sang in the choir from 1956 through 1976, performing the role of Mother in Menotti’s operetta Amahl & the Night Visitors at SPC from 1972 to 1975.
She worked extensively as a volunteer, recreating the historic 1787 Benjamin Rush-designed Medicinal Herb Garden at The College of Physicians in Philadelphia in 1975, and serving as president of the Swarthmore Garden Club in 1971. Mary Ellen was a volunteer at Crozer-Chester Medical Center from 1972 to 1976 and was the assistant to the curator of the Swarthmore College Peace Collection from 1979 to 1988. She taught piano privately throughout her life. Above all, Mary Ellen was a mother who brought music into the lives of her three grateful children.
A memorial service will be held at White Horse Village on Saturday, November 19 at 4:30 p.m. Memorial contributions in Mary Ellen’s name may be made to Scott Arboretum of Swarthmore College, 500 College Avenue, Swarthmore, PA 19081.
Elisabeth Leonard passed away on Sunday, October 9, 2016, in her home in West Philadelphia. She was 84.
Elisabeth was a lifelong champion of peace, non-violence and social justice, a walker, parent, grandparent, friend, cook, and fearless speaker of truth to power. She will be remembered for her sense of humor, her way of connecting with all people, and her tireless devotion to the causes she believed in.
She was born in Keniworth, Ill., and graduated from New Trier High School in Winnetka, Ill. Elisabeth received her BA from Carleton College, and a master’s degree in Social Change from the Crozer Seminary in Upland, Pa.
Between the years 1981 and 1994, Elisabeth taught and cooked at Pendle Hill in Wallingford; from 1994 to 2000, she was the director at Beacon Hill Friends House in Boston, Mass.; and she served the Boston Public Library as the children’s librarian from 2000 to 2008.
Her main occupation was social change. She worked with many groups over the years, such as Friends Suburban Project, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Youth Advocates, Move to Amend, and the Raging Grannies. She was an active proponent of non-violence, particularly during the Viet Nam and Gulf wars; she fought for racial and economic equality, and she worked to make any community she lived in a better place for all. For recreation, she enjoyed walks, playing Scrabble and ping pong, and attending dance performances and art museums.
Elisabeth lived in Swarthmore, and raised her three sons there.
Elisabeth is survived by her sons, Russell Leonard of Cape Elizabeth, Maine, and his wife, Elizabeth; Matthew Leonard of Fairfield, Connecticut, and his wife, Mary Money; and Andy Leonard and his wife, Ann Johnson, of Philadelphia; and six grandchildren: Rusty Leonard of Boston, Mass.; Ian Leonard of South Portland, Maine; Matthew Leonard of Fairfield, Conn.; Liza Kate Leonard of Medford, Mass,; Sarah Leonard of Philadelphia; and Alice Leonard, also of Philadelphia.
She is missed by many, and a memorial service will be held on Saturday, December 17, at the Ethical Society of Philadelphia (1906 South Rittenhouse Square) at 11 a.m. to celebrate her life. The service will be both in the manner of Friends, and in the manner of Ethical Humanism.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Swarthmore Friends Meeting online at swarthmorefriendsmeeting.org or via mail to 12 Whittier Place Swarthmore, PA 19081. Condolences and remembrances may be sent to ElisabethLeonard1931@gmail.com.
Charles DeWitt Hummer Jr., M.D.
Charles DeWitt Hummer Jr., M.D., a resident of White Horse Village in Newtown Square, died October 11, 2016 after a brief struggle with cancer.
Charlie was born July 19, 1937 in Chester, Pa., to the late Charles DeWitt and Thelma Mae (née Wood) Hummer. He was predeceased in 1997 by his beloved wife of 36 years, Deborah Anne (née Ward), whose own bout with cancer separated them too soon.
Charlie was a longtime resident of Swarthmore, having spent much of his childhood there and returning to the town to raise his own family. He also enjoyed spending most of the summers throughout his life in Ocean City, N.J.
Following graduation from Swarthmore High School in 1955, where he was a fullback on the undefeated 1954 football team, he earned a B.A. from Amherst College in 1959 and M.D. at Hahnemann Medical College in 1963. Dr. Hummer’s subsequent medical training included residencies at York Hospital, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and the Alfred I. duPont Institute.
Charlie served in the U.S. Air Force Reserve, entering active duty in 1966 as a First Lieutenant and being honorably discharged in 1968 with the rank of Captain. Returning to Swarthmore from his posting as a surgeon at Dow Air Force Base in Bangor, Maine, he practiced as an orthopaedic surgeon in Delaware County, with Premier Orthopaedics, until his retirement in 2012.
Throughout Dr. Hummer’s career, he was an advocate for his patients and fellow physicians, holding leaderships positions at Crozer-Chester Medical Center, the Pennsylvania State Board of Medicine, the Pennsylvania Medical Society and the Pennsylvania Orthopaedic Society.
His passionate engagement with politics and civic affairs included being elected to the Swarthmore School District School Board, helping found Swarthmore Academy and serving as Mayor of the Borough of Swarthmore. Ultimately, Charlie derived his greatest joy in life from bringing happiness to others.
Charlie is survived by his son Charles (Lisa) D. Hummer III, M.D. of Glen Mills; daughter Katherine (Jean-Paul) H. Rebillard of Upper Providence; and Mai (Virgil) T. Whitsett of Springfield. He is also survived by his grandchildren Talley Hummer, Case Hummer, Jack Rebillard and Cole Whitsett.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, October 22, at 11 a.m. at Carr Funeral Home, 935 South Providence Road (Route 320), Wallingford, Pa., followed immediately by a reception.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Charlie’s memory to WHV Employee Appreciation Fund c/o White Horse Village, 535 Gradyville Road, Newtown Square, PA 19073.
Bruce B. Conwell, Sr.
Bruce B. Conwell, Sr., Esquire of West Cape May, N.J., passed away on Tuesday, September 13, 2016. He was 68.
Bruce was born and raised in Swarthmore, and has been a resident of West Cape May for over 30 years. He graduated from Swarthmore High School, Gettysburg College and Hamline University School of Law, where he received his Juris Doctorate.
Bruce proudly served in the United States Army Reserves during the Vietnam War. His career as an attorney began in 1982 with the Gaver & Mead Law Firm in Cape May. Bruce would ultimately become a partner with the firm, and one of his proudest moments came when his son, Bruce Jr., joined him in his practice. Bruce served the Cape May area with professionalism, integrity and genuine kindness.
An avid cyclist, who could often be found riding the streets of Cape May, he had recently surpassed 30,000 miles, but he never hesitated to stop and talk with those he knew.
Bruce also had a lifetime passion for Philadelphia-based sports teams, particularly his beloved Phillies. Attending games, Bruce was a true sight to behold: cheering, booing (occasionally), and dancing, all with a smile from ear to ear. Win or lose, his enthusiasm was contagious.
He enjoyed fishing, skiing, bodysurfing and working in the yard. Music and travel were also a big part of his life, however nothing brought him greater joy than his family.
A devoted husband to his “Pretty,” a loving Dad to his son and two beautiful daughters, and more recently a Pop Pop to five young grandchildren. Bruce also loved his siblings, with whom he would often go fishing in their dear mother’s boat, the Sea Newt. Bruce lived his life for his family and friends, always putting the needs of others before his own.
He is predeceased by his parents, Ned and Betty Conwell, and his brother, Jim Conwell (2016).
Bruce is dearly missed by his loving family which includes his wife of 34 years, Jan; three children, Jennifer (and Deuce) Greaney, Bruce Jr. (and Theresa), and Katie Conwell; five grandchildren, Hunter, Haven, Ashton, Sloane and Quinn; siblings, Bill (and Sandy), Betsy (and Neil) Fisch, Ted (and Marianne), and Dave (and Eva); as well as nieces and nephews.
Interment will be private and at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions are suggested to the Gene Sole Scholarship Fund. Information may be found at www.genesolescholarship.com.
Jean Cusick Sphar
Jean Cusick Sphar of Redmond, Washington, died on September 8, 2016. She was 81.
Jean was born in Springfield, Mass., on October 10, 1934. The only child of Margaret (Ronzone) and James Cusick, the family moved to Hanover, New Hampshire, when Jean was young. She graduated from Hanover High School in 1952.
Jean received her undergraduate degree from Pembroke College in Brown University in 1956, and went on to receive training in occupational therapy in Philadelphia, where she met and married Dr. Raymond Sphar.
After the marriage ended, Jean moved with their daughter to Swarthmore, and lived there from 1969 until 1986. She worked for many years as an occupational therapist at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital until she decided it was time for a change. Jean moved to Wallingford in 1986 and worked at Vairo Library at Penn State University’s Brandywine campus until her retirement in 2012.
Jean spent her final years living near her beloved family outside of Seattle, Washington.
Jean adored her grandchildren. A knitter at heart, she lovingly made a sweater for each grandchild every year after they were born. As an avid fan of sports, she followed the Philadelphia Eagles and Penn State’s Nittany Lions. Later, she joined her son-in-law and grandsons in rooting for the Seattle Seahawks during two exciting seasons.
Jean visited her dearest friends, Helen and Roger Stoddard of Lincoln, Mass., annually and she treasured those visits. Jean repeatedly shared how fortunate she felt that she worked with such supportive and wonderful colleagues during her many years at Vairo Library.
Jean was a very loving mother, grandmother, and friend. She had a great sense of humor, a wonderful laugh and a huge heart. Jean’s passing was peaceful with her daughter by her side.
Jean is survived by her daughter, Christina Sphar, son-in-law Jerome Kuh, and grandsons Josh and Riley Kuh.
A memorial service will be schedule at a later date.
Andrew G. Snyder, Jr.
Andrew G. Snyder, Jr. passed away on September 4, 2016 surrounded by his family, after a short illness. He was 91.
Born on July 26, 1925 in Chester, Pa., to the late Andrew and Regina Snyder, he was the oldest of four children. He grew up poor during the Depression, with his mother helping making ends meet selling buckets and mops door-to-door in Chester. He earned a full scholarship to St. Joe’s Prep, where he excelled in both academics and athletics. At only 5’ 7’’ tall, he was a standout four-sport athlete (football, basketball, baseball and track).
Following his graduation in June of 1943, Andrew enlisted in the Army. He served with the U.S. 7th Armored Division in World War II, operating a half-track on the front lines. After landing on Omaha Beach on August 13, 1944, the division was assigned to the U.S. Third Army under General Patton.
The 7th helped liberate much of France and suffered heavy losses helping establish a bridgehead in the south of Metz. In late September the 7th was transferred to U.S. Ninth Army and began the march to the Netherlands (Operation Aintree), where they were needed to protect the right (east) flank of the corridor opened by Operation Market Garden.
On September 30, the 7th launched an attack from the north on the town of Overloon, but there were 7 to 8 times as many German troops and significantly more German tanks in a salient west of the Maas River than estimated by the U.S. Despite being outnumbered, the U.S. made slow progress with attacks and counterattacks, but the battle turned into trench warfare reminiscent of World War I. For three days and three nights Andrew and his platoon fought from trenches. The battle of Overloon was one of the most ferocious and bloodiest battles in the European campaign and is known as the “forgotten battle.”
On October 4th, already sufffering from battle wounds, Andrew was injured and concussed by German howitzers. As he came to his senses in his trench, several German soldiers were pointing guns to his head at point blank range. Fluent in German, Andrew overheard the German soldiers agreeing to seize his jewelry. Proud of his high school ring and a family heirloom watch, he defiantly threw the jewelry in the mud, stepped on them and handed them over to the Germans, further risking his life. He was then taken prisoner. Only 16 out of 60 in his company survived. He had just turned 19 years old.
He was one of the only POWs to refuse to salute the German generals during marches and was taken away for corporal punishment. Andrew was gradually pushed back to Munich with the German armed forces as they retreated from Allied bombings. Near the end of the war, the Germans were unhappy with the American POWs escape attempts from Andrew’s POW camp. As an interpreter and a leader for his POW camp, Andrew was summoned to the SS headquarters in Munich and ordered to tell the POWs to shape up or suffer severe consequences. When he was finally freed in May of 1945, he weighed less than 100 pounds, but recovered on a diet of goat’s milk.
Immediately after the war ended, Andrew visited the Nazi concentration camps, and was deeply moved by the horror of the genocide.
On returning home Andrew enrolled at St. Joseph’s College and graduated in three years with a B.A. in business administration. He met the love of his life, Regina McDermott, and married her on February 11, 1950. Three sons followed (Michael, Stephen and David), and in 1965, he moved to Benjamin West Avenue in Swarthmore to raise his family.
Andrew was employed with Reuben H. Donnelley Corporation (Yellow Pages) for his entire 37-year career and retired early in 1987 at the age of 62. He rose to National Account Manager for North America. He was blessed with 29 years of retirement, almost as many as he was employed. After a brief two year stint in Cape May, N.J., Andrew returned with his wife to Swarthmore, where he resided until his passing.
He was very active in community affairs. He spent many years in Swarthmore coaching SRA youth football, basketball and baseball. He was a legendary coach known for his one-on-one inspirational talks with each player.
He was also a past president of SRA. He loved sports and especially enjoyed coaching young kids. He was a mentor and counselor for people of all ages, with many coming forth in recent days to reveal what a huge impact he had on their lives. Friends and family described him as passionate, spirited and engaging.
Andrew was also known for his dance steps at parties and weddings. An expert tap dancer as a kid, he would woo the crowd with his dancing, often clearing the dance floor for him.
Besides sports and politics, Andrew enjoyed birdwatching and reading history books, especially regarding Winston Churchill. He had the greatest respect for the courage of the British soldiers he fought with in World War II. Andrew loved spending time with his family, especially his grandchildren and great grandchildren. He was a member of St. John Chrysostom Parish.
He is survived by his beloved wife of 66 years, Regina; sons, Michael (Maggie) Snyder of Harleysville, Stephen (Kathy) Snyder of Cary, N. C., and David (Peggie) Snyder of Wallingford; his brother, James (Jean) Snyder, and sister, Margaret (Gerald) Masse; seven grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by his sister, Eleanor (John) Reardon.
There will be a funeral service at 11 a.m. on Saturday, September 17, at St. John Chrysostom Church, 617 S. Providence Rd., Wallingford, PA 19086, preceded by visitation at 10 a.m.
Richard R. Beeman
Richard R. Beeman of Moylan, and a former longtime resident of Swarthmore, died of ALS at his home on September 5. He was 74.
A noted American historian and biographer specializing in the American Constitution and Revolution, Rick was a member of the University of Pennsylvania faculty for 43 years and served the school in various administrative posts, including chair of the history department and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.
“In a professional career devoted to the teaching and writing of early American history, Rick Beeman made our national origins matter to generations of appreciative students, of which I was one, and to tens of thousands of eager readers. His books will keep his voice alive for many years to come,” said Dr. Drew Gilpin Faust, president of Harvard University.
Beeman published eight books and dozens of articles related to America’s political and constitutional history in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. His book, Plain Honest Men: The Making of the American Constitution (2009), was the winner of the George Washington Book Prize and the Literary Award of the Philadelphia Athenaeum. According to his daughter, Kristin Dunning, it was the favorite of his works. The subject of his last completed book, now in draft stage, is the Declaration of Independence, she said.
His Penguin Guide to the United States Constitution was published in 2010 to provide all Americans an accessible resource about the constitutional principles underlying their government.
With his quick humor and wit, Rick was a dynamic and charismatic teacher who loved connecting people to his passions — American history, animals, the natural world, and athletics.
Many of his colleagues and students will recall his wildly popular lectures bringing to life historical figures, such as frontiersman Davy Crockett (by wearing a coonskin hat, carrying a musket and accompanied by his faithful Bernese mountain dog, Chief Justice John Marshmallow); preacher Jonathan Edwards; and philosopher and revolutionary Thomas Paine, his favorite. Likewise, his friends and family will recall his hilarious and theatrical storytelling.
Rick was born on May 16, 1942, in Seattle, Washington. His fondest memories were of time spent growing up on the beach in Alamitos Bay, Long Beach, California, where he developed a lifelong love for time spent on, or near, the water.
He graduated with degrees in history from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1964, earned his master’s from William & Mary in 1965, and his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1968.
According to family recollection, Rick told his Chicago advisor, Daniel Boorstin, the late Pulitzer Prize-winning historian, that he wanted to find a teaching job at UC-Santa Cruz. Boorstin replied, “Rick, you’re a COLONIAL American historian — all things aren’t equal. There’s a job at Penn. Apply there.” And he did. He also may have adopted Boorstin’s sartorial style in neckwear, when he started wearing bowties, beginning in the 1970s.
Rick was also a member of the Board of Trustees of the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, which he described as a “true treasure of a museum.”
“Rick was one of the greatest popular constitutional historians of our time, and the National Constitution Center was one of his greatest passions,” said Jeffrey Rosen, president & CEO of the Center. “Rick … helped transform the Constitution Center into America’s leading convening space for constitutional education.”
According to his daughter, Rick carried a pocket version of the Constitution with him at all times. “We once had a great conversation about how cool it would be if there was one in every hotel room like a Gideon’s Bible,” said Kristin and her brother, Josh Beeman.
Rick received numerous awards, including fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, and the Huntington Library. In addition, he served as a Fulbright Professor in the United Kingdom and as Vyvyan Harmsworth Distinguished Professor of American History at Oxford University.
One of his greatest joys was teaching about the Constitution outside the university classroom. He delivered countless public lectures and appeared regularly in the media, including on National Public Radio, MSNBC, C-Span, PBS with Peter Segal, and “The Daily Show” with Jon Stewart.
An exceptional athlete, Rick was a competitive marathon runner, squash and tennis player, cross-country skier, sailor, and swimmer, who lived a tireless outdoor life. His enduring love of Maine was forged during a year spent teaching at Colby College (1979-80), during which time he and his family acquired a rustic cabin on Great Pond in Belgrade Lakes, to which he returned every summer.
At the beginning of this past August, no longer able to walk independently or talk due to his illness, and with what his children called “courage” and “an indomitable will,” he returned to Maine a last time. “He was determined to swim in the lake, which he did with assistance,” said Kristin. Although he hoped to complete 1,000 laps this summer at the Rose Valley Swim Club, he managed to reach 261. Last Saturday, the 1,000-lap members gave his wife a posthumous award.
Later in life, Rick and wife Mary Cahill adopted Key Largo, Florida, as their winter home, spending much of their time sailing and swimming in the Florida Bay with their dog, Abigail Adams. Rick sustained a powerful affinity for animals throughout his life, demonstrated by generous donations of time and resources to Canine Partners for Life in Chester County, Pennsylvania.
He is survived by his wife, Mary Cahill, his two children, Kristin Dunning (Britt) of Wallingford, and Joshua Beeman (Kathryn) of Philadelphia; and two grandchildren, James and Amelia Dunning. Also surviving are his former spouse, Pamela Butler, of Swarthmore; his brother, David (Cory) of Hygiene, Colo.; and, of course, his beloved golden retriever, Abby.
A memorial service will be held at the National Constitution Center, 525 Arch St., Philadelphia, on Monday, Sept. 26, at 5:30 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the ALS Association of Greater Philadelphia, 321 Norristown Road, Suite 260, Ambler, PA 19002.
William Rogers Chalker, Jr.
William “Buddy” Rogers Chalker, Jr., 59, of Wallingford, passed away on Wednesday, September 7, 2016.
He was the beloved husband of Dr. Sharon Weil-Chalker and dear father to William Chalker III and Ethan Chalker. He was predeceased by his brother, Scott King Chalker, and his parents, Joan King Chalker and William R. Chalker, Sr.
Buddy was born and raised in Delaware. He attended Clemson University and graduated from the University of Delaware with degrees in mechanical, civil, and electrical engineering.
He was a founding member of the University of Delaware Emergency Care Unit, and later continued to volunteer as an EMT elsewhere. As a security systems and fire safety expert, he co-founded Securitech, Inc.
He lived in Wilmington and Newark, Delaware, until relocating to Wallingford. He lived to help people, which is why he was active as a volunteer Fire Policeman in Eddystone for more than a decade.
Buddy is remembered as a loving husband, father, son, brother, uncle, great uncle, cousin, and friend to all. His generous heart and amazing outlook on life will never be forgotten.
Buddy was a licensed pilot and enjoyed flying, sailing, scuba diving, and spending time with family in Ocean City, N.J. He was an avid reader, a computer expert, and a creative designer and inventor.
Funeral services were held on Sunday, September 11, at Congregation Ohev Shalom, 2 Chester Road, Wallingford, PA. Interment will be private.
Shiva was observed at the Chalker residence last Sunday and Monday.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in Buddy’s memory may be made to the Foundation for Angelman Syndrome Therapeutics, CureAngelman.org.
Gary A. Pfaff
Gary Alan Pfaff, of Hampton, Virginia, died peacefully at home on Friday, August 26, 2016, after a long struggle with Parkinson’s disease. He was 71.
Gary was born September 13, 1944, in Philadelphia, to Marjorie Louise Pfaff and Alan Harry Pfaff of Drexel Hill and later Westtown, Pa.
A graduate of West Chester High School, and the Philadelphia College of Art in 1968 (BFA in fine arts photography), he continued his photography career at the University of Pennsylvania Department of Radiology.
Later he moved to the American College of Radiology where he worked over 26 years until his retirement, producing learning files for radiology residents and developing high-resolution digital images of X-rays.
Gary’s real love was taking large-format landscape photographs. He bicycled to work in Philadelphia, and later took up the sport of long-distance cycling. For his 40th birthday, he pedaled across Pennsylvania on his custom-made bike.
He was also a creative and fine woodworker, car mechanic, amateur astronomer, animal lover, and cookie baker/eater. He was a kind, loving, and mellow family man.
Gary is survived by his beloved wife of 44 years, LaDorna Jo Pfaff; his children, Anna Christine Pfaff, Erica Nicole Rickerson (Don), and (his daughter with Mia Grahn Busha) Vanessa Lea Grahn Powell (Travis); and his grandchildren, Tristan Quinn Powell, Natalie Rai Powell, and “Levi” Donald Edward Rickerson IV. He is also survived by his siblings, Carol Sue Wiens (Dennis), Wayne Wiens Pfaff (Janet), Diane Elizabeth Flath (James), and their families.
A memorial service will be held September 24, 2016 at 2 p.m. at the Swarthmore Friends Meeting, 12 Whittier Place, on the Swarthmore College campus.
The funeral will be private. In lieu of flowers, Gary had requested that donations may be made to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA).
Nancy L. Bower
Nancy L. Bower, 96, of Stroudsburg, passed away peacefully on August 29, 2016 at Slate Belt Health and Rehabilitation Center in Bangor, Pa.
Born on May 11, 1920 in Baltimore, Maryland, to the late Walter and Alice Richmond, she was the youngest of three daughters. Nancy spent most of her early years in Johnstown, Pa., and often recalled her rescue as a teenager from a second story window in a rowboat during the flood of 1937.
That same year, Nancy received her diploma from Maison Frederic School of Beauty Culture in Pittsburgh. She worked as a beautician for several years.
In 1941, Nancy met the love of her life, William N. Bower, at Karamac Kamp in Delaware Water Gap. They married December 5, 1942, just two weeks before William was deployed to Europe and World War II. On his return in 1945, they moved to Haddon Heights, N.J., and then in 1953, to Swarthmore.
Nancy was a member of the Swarthmore United Methodist Church, worked part-time in the Hollyhock Gift Shop, and also volunteered at the “K Center” as a classroom aide.
Nancy moved to Stroudsburg in 2001 to be closer to family. She was a resident of Grace Park for the last 5 ½ years and always enjoyed having friends visit. Nancy’s greatest joy in life was her family and being a part of all the traditional holiday celebrations, as well as the activities of her grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Nancy will always be remembered for her beautiful crocheted afghans, her unique seashell creations, love of chocolate treats, and most especially her endearing smile.
Nancy was preceded in death by her husband of 46 years, William, in 1989; her sisters Margaret Meline and Florence Cathcart; and a son, Robert B. Bower, in 2008. She is survived by her son, William W. Bower, and his wife, Bambi (Florence), of Radnor, Pa.; her daughter, Susan Weitzmann, and her husband, Bill, of Stroudsburg; a grandson, Todd Weitzmann, and his wife, Gretchen, of Stroudsburg; a granddaughter, Amy Baker, and her husband, Barry, of Lansdale, Pa.; her niece, Ellen Whitworth-Powell, of Greenville, S.C.; and, great-grandchildren, Claire and Logan Weitzmann of Stroudsburg, and Emily and Riley Baker of Lansdale, Pa.
There will be a memorial service at 2 p.m. on Sunday, September 25, in the fellowship room of the Stroudsburg United Methodist Church, 547 Main Street, with Pastor Margie Good officiating.
James David Charlton Page
We lost Jamie on August 11, 2016, in a kayak accident in the Gore Canyon of the Colorado River in Grand County, Colorado.
There was nothing grand about it, except perhaps the remarkable beauty of the mountains and valleys all around, no doubt part of what drew Jamie there.
He was working as a safety kayaker (such irony) on the Arkansas River for the Royal Gorge Rafting Company in Cañon City, Colorado, and had found a true home among a community of like minded souls doing every day what he loved most in the world.
Jamie had developed into a world class kayaker who wanted nothing more than to spend every spare moment on a fast-running creek or river. On work days he escorted tiers of rafts through the whitewater of Royal Gorge in his kayak, pulling “swimmers” from the rapids when they could not reach their raft, and on days off he paddled with friends on nearby rivers. He was happy with his place and his companions in that world, and had set as a goal for himself competing in kayaking in the 2020 Olympics.
Born April 13, 1991, Jamie was 25 years old. He was thoughtful, generous, sincere and much loved and admired by friends from high school and college, and throughout the kayaking, rafting, and outdoor communities both in Colorado and North Carolina/Tennessee, where he had gone to school and worked previously. You can see many of their moving comments and loving tributes if you find Jamie’s Facebook page.
Jamie grew up in Swarthmore, attending Swarthmore-Rutledge School, Strath Haven Middle School, and Strath Haven High School, where he graduated in 2009. In his early years he was very active in SRA/Nether Providence baseball, basketball, and soccer. At the high school he played trumpet in the marching band, and could often be seen running the flag in front of the bleachers after Strath Haven touchdowns. He was an important part of the Stage Crew/Tech Crew working on theater productions, and ran on the Cross Country team.
At Warren Wilson College, a small progressive private college in Asheville, North Carolina, Jamie spent his first semester on a 72 day Outward Bound program with other incoming freshmen and women camping and canoeing in the Pisgah National Forest and Florida Everglades. This set the tone for his college career as he was inspired to major in Outdoor Leadership and minor in Environmental Studies.
He spent summers working as a whitewater and water safety counselor for kid’s camps, and as a river instructor for North Carolina Outward Bound. In 2013, his senior year, Jamie captained Warren Wilson’s collegiate level national championship paddling team, and was the Men’s Kayak individual national champion.
Most recently Jamie had worked for Smoky Mountain Outdoors, as a whitewater rafting guide on the Pigeon River in Hartford, Tennessee, but he spent as much time as he could, at any time of the year and in any weather, running Class III, IV, and V rapids on rivers throughout western North Carolina, eastern Tennessee, and West Virginia.
Recently he had begun to video his experiences with his trusty Go-Pro camera, to post regularly on YouTube, and to write about life on the rivers and among the whitewater family.
On August 16 large gatherings were held in his honor by members of the rafting and kayaking community both in Hartford and in Cañon City. He was remembered as an energetic, humorous, trusted, and relentlessly positive young man whose smile never left his face for long. The motto among his grieving Colorado friends quickly became, “Smile for Jamie.”
Jamie is survived by his parents, Joy Charlton and David Page of Swarthmore; two sisters, Lindsay, of Budapest, Hungary, and Charlotte, of Swarthmore and Asheville, North Carolina; aunts and uncles on both sides of the family, and many, many cousins.
Friends wishing to honor Jamie are welcome to join our family at the Swarthmore Friends Meeting House on Saturday, September 17, at 2 p.m., for an informal gathering in his honor, with a reception to follow.
Those who wish to make a donation in his honor can do so at americanwhitewater.org, a solid nonprofit working on behalf of America’s rivers, the enduring veins of the land. Submitted by the Page Family
Lois Virginia Stanton
Lois Virginia Stanton (née Plumb), longtime Swarthmore resident, died on July 27 in Wallingford, Pa., just before her 94th birthday.
She said, “I was fortunate in birth [1922, New Canaan, Conn.], education [BA from Wilson College,1943 and MA from Haverford College], and family.”
Affected by World War II, she enrolled in Haverford College for a master’s degree in Relief and Rehabilitation, then, learning several languages, she went to work in France and Germany with the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) to help civilians in desperate postwar conditions. There she met and married William Macy Stanton Jr., a Philadelphia Quaker.
Returning home, they lived and worked on two different college campuses before moving in 1957 to Swarthmore, after Bill was hired as Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds at Swarthmore College. Lois remained in Swarthmore after Bill’s death in 1995, until moving to Wallingford Nursing Home in 2013.
Lois continued her aid-based interests, working with at least 13 organizations, including Girl Scouts, League of Women Voters, and Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF).
She and her family were active members of Middletown Friends Meeting and Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of Friends (Quakers). She hosted many travelers in her home, including foreign students and social workers to further international understanding. Lois appreciated life, art, music, people, and having fun.
In 1966, Lois started her 25 year career with the Department of Public Assistance for Delaware County, where she was active in a range of programs and fought to remove the stigma from welfare. In 1969, she spearheaded a then controversial program to transition mentally challenged individuals from institutions to productive life in the community.
Predeceased by son John (Jay) and husband William (Bill), Lois is survived by daughter Linda Stanton Lange (Portola Valley, Ca.); son William Macy Stanton III (East Lansdowne, Pa.); 7 grandchildren, and 5 great-grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, September 17, 2 p.m., at Middletown Friends Meeting, Lima Pa.
In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to the Stanton Family Scholarship Fund (established in 1975 in memory of John Curtis Stanton) at Haverford College, 370 Lancaster Avenue, Haverford, PA 19041, or to AFSC Development, 1501 Cherry Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102.
Dr. Arlene Mae Klein Weir
Dr. Arlene Mae Klein Weir, daughter of Henry C. Klein and Augusta Ziemer Klein, was born July 26, 1928 in Estherville, Iowa. She passed away Thursday, June 23, 2016 during a glorious sunset, at Treasure Coast Hospice in Stuart, Fla. at age 87.
Though her fervent wish was to live to the age of 100, Arlene lived a rich life. Raised in rural Iowa, a turning point occurred when she won a 4-H competition in her teens, which took her to a national convention in Chicago. Once she saw how big the world was, she wanted to get on that carousel and go for the brass ring.
Arlene married George L. Weir, a recent World War II veteran, on August 31, 1947. Arlene and “Bud” attended Iowa State University, living in married student housing. In 1950, pregnant with their first child, Arlene earned her first degree, a bachelor of science in home economics.
George and Arlene moved to Downers Grove, Ill., where George began his career with Johnson and Johnson. While there, the couple purchased and renovated two homes, and completed their family welcoming two more children. Summer vacations revolved around road trips and camping enjoying national parks and trips to Iowa. Arlene demonstrated her cooking skills on her Coleman stove. At Yellowstone, even the bears enjoyed the homemade oatmeal cookies she brought along.
When George’s job took them to Swarthmore in 1961, Arlene relished the opportunity to learn about the history and culture of the northeast. Trips to Valley Forge, Philadelphia, Winterthur, Longwood Gardens and a myriad of historical sites further piqued her interest in history, gardening, gourmet cuisine, needlework and painting.
During these creative years, Arlene decided to advance her education. While working as a teacher, she acquired her master’s of education from West Chester. Arlene and George continued their love of travel, acquiring an Airstream trailer and becoming members of the Wally Byam Caravan Club, which added a new circle of friends.
While teaching in the Philadelphia School District, Arlene became an advocate for children who were forgotten by the system. She decided that to gain the ability to obtain earlier diagnoses of learning disabilities and developmental issues in children, she needed to further her education. At the age of 56, she acquired her doctorate in education. Becoming a certified school psychologist she traveled from school to school, testing and guiding children, enabling them to succeed. Arlene retained her psychologist licensure through continuing education into her eighties.
In 1976, George and Arlene purchased Venice Spumoni, Inc., an ice cream manufacturing company. When Arlene retired from the Philadelphia School District, she once again exercised her creative side, inventing new products and designing trade show booths for Venice. Her love of meeting and learning from people was nurtured by attending trade shows, and public events.
Arlene loved the ocean and water views. Retiring to Florida, Arlene and George purchased an oceanside condominium in 1986. They would sit side by side reading, talking and looking out at the ocean crashing on the shore.
George struggled with Alzheimer’s, which led Arlene to take on another role. She became an ombudsman for the State of Florida to advocate for the elderly. She furthered her education enabling her to visit nursing homes and facilities ensuring the ill and infirm were treated with dignity and respect.
When George passed away in 2004, Arlene had to “reinvent” herself. She joined a hospice group, which enabled her to openly grieve while making new friends. Determined to continue traveling, she embarked on many cruises and trips with friends and her beloved companion, Kerline. A highlight was her around-the-world cruise in 2011, at the age of 82. Even though ill health did not allow her to complete the trip, she had many shore excursions, including a ride on an America’s Cup sailing vessel. Arlene and George enjoyed many international visits including France, the Netherlands, Russia, and Czechoslovakia.
Never content to be just a participant, Arlene took leadership roles in many clubs throughout her lifetime including garden clubs, bridge clubs, cooking clubs and the AAUW. Phone calls to family and friends occurred after meetings and events, regaling all with details of the day, the food, the décor and her observations.
The running themes of her life were education (for herself, and encouraging those around her); family, friends and travel, all accompanied by her effervescent smile. She was a force of nature, and will be missed.
Arlene is survived by her children George E. (Ellyn) of Lansdowne, Brian D. (Barbara) of Swarthmore and Marsha Swezey (Jonathan) of Ridley Park, four grandchildren and three great grandchildren. She is also survived by her brother, Robert Klein of Estherville, Iowa, and Ardelle Brown of Cedar Falls, Iowa, along with numerous nieces and nephews. Dr. Weir was predeceased by her husband, George L. Weir, her brother, Loren Klein, her sister-in-law Alma Klein and her parents.
Arlene will be interred in the Swarthmore Presbyterian Church Memorial Garden on Saturday, September 10, at 11 a.m.
Lois V. Stanton
Lois V. Stanton, who lived in Swarthmore for 56 years, died July 27, 2016 at the Wallingford Nursing Home. She was 93.
Burial was on August 1 at Middletown Friends Meeting. A memorial service will be held in September. A full obituary will appear in a future issue of The Swarthmorean.
Leona E. Graham
Leona E. Graham of Swarthmore passed away on July 18, 2016, after a long and active life. She was 88.
Leona was born in Orwin, Pa., in 1927, where she was a member of the local Lutheran Church, serving as a youth leader.
In 1946, at the age of 19, Leona left Schuylkill County for Philadelphia, with a childhood friend, in search of a better life. Leona was employed by the Gulf Oil Company as an administrative assistant from 1947 until 1967, when her son Rick was born.
Leona married Paul Graham in 1960, and lived in Philadelphia for a number of years before moving to West Chester in 1964. After Rick was born, followed by Rob in 1969, Leona took on the role of stay at home mother and, with her husband Paul, moved to Swarthmore in 1971, where she remained the rest of her life.
Leona, an active member of St. Matthew Lutheran Church in Woodlyn, engaged herself in the lives of her children by supporting home and school activities at Swarthmore Elementary School.
As her family grew older, Leona used her bookkeeping skills to help Paul run their painting and decorating business, Lee-Paul, Inc. Leona and Paul were both active members of the Painting and Decorators Contractors of America (PDCA) and were regular attendees at local and regional functions.
Never one to slow down, Leona worked in the jewelry departments at BJ’s Wholesale Club and Kohl’s department store throughout her later years, and devoted countless hours to her family and her grandchildren.
Leona was predeceased by her parents, Harry and Jenny (Nelson) Scheibelhut, and her siblings, Arlene Thompson, and John and Gene Scheibelhut.
The beloved wife of the late Paul R. Graham, who passed away in 2005, Leona is survived by two sons, Richard P. “Rick” (Sharon) of Swarthmore and Robert L “Rob” Graham of Collingdale; four grandchildren, Tiffanie Stafford, Kellie, Leah and William Graham; a great-grandson, Cameron Stafford; and three nieces.
Leona’s funeral service was held on July 22, 2016 at Trinity Episcopal Church in Swarthmore.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Leona’s memory can be made to St. Matthew Evangelical Lutheran Church, P.O. Box 55, Woodlyn, PA 19094, or Williamson College of the Trades, 106 S. New Middletown Rd., Media, PA 19063.
Helen F. Joyce
Helen Ford Joyce, born July 22,1923, passed peacefully into eternity on July 24, 2016 at the Foulk Manor North Health Care Facility in Wilmington, Delaware, where she lived the last 15 years of her life.
Born in Norwood, Pa., Helen attended St. Gabriel’s School, School of the Holy Child in Sharon Hill, and Rosemont College, graduating in 1945. She taught Latin at Notre Dame High School in Moylan; worked at Dr. Lightner Whitmer’s school for mentally handicapped children in Devon; and then at the Gertrude A. Stewart School in Springfield. Helen served the mentally handicapped until the mid-1990s.
An aspiring opera singer, Helen joined The Savoy Opera Company, performing Gilbert & Sullivan operettas, where she met Thomas James Joyce. They were married in 1950, lived in Overbrook until 1955, and moved to Swarthmore, where they raised six children.
Helen sang with the Pennsylvania Opera Company, the Rose Valley Chorus, and the Valley Voices. She was also a cantor at Notre Dame de Lourdes Parish in Swarthmore.
She is survived by her children: Tom, David (Leslie), Peter (Melinda), Michael (Maryann), Mary Alderfer (Ken) and James (Barbara); eleven grandchildren: Nicholas, Thomas, Kenneth Alderfer, Eli, Daniel, Brian, James Alderfer, Elena, Sarah, Hope and Anne; and one great-grandson, Landon.
An evening viewing will be held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, July 29, at the McCrery & Harra Funeral Home, 3924 Concord Pike, Wilmington, DE 19803.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Saturday, July 30, at 11 a.m. at St. Kevin’s Church, 200 W. Sproul Rd., Springfield, PA 19064. Visitation prior to Mass begins at 10 a.m. Interment will be in Arlington Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers the family suggests donations in Helen’s name to the Multiple Sclerosis Society, 2 Mills Road, Suite 106, Wilmington, DE 19806. www.mccreryandharra.com.
Ruth Marie Naismith
Ruth’s reverent spiritual beliefs translated into a listening and caring soul towards all. She was an advocate of woman’s rights, racial equality, and both a minister’s daughter as well as a minister’s wife.
Ruth M. Naismith was born on October 28, 1923, in Rajahmundry, India, to Lutheran missionary parents, the Rev. Harman F. Miller from Baltimore and Mrs. Clara Miller (Waring) from Ingersoll, Canada. Her father married Ruth to Rev. Donald M. Naismith of Pittsburgh, Pa., on New Year’s Eve in New York City.
Ruth’s education began in Canada and Punxsutawney, Pa., during the Depression. She graduated from Aliquippa High School in Pennsylvania and was offered a full college scholarship. At the time, her family was so poor that it was debated if she would accept due to the cost of daily public transportation to the college.
In 1945, she graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with highest honors in mathematics. Following graduation, Ruth worked at the National Weather Bureau in Baltimore, Md., and LaGuardia Airport, NY.
In 1966 Ruth obtained a master of mathematics from SUNY Geneseo, while simultaneously teaching math and raising five children. At the height of the Civil Rights Movement, her husband served as minister at 9th Presbyterian Church in West Philadelphia. Ruth continued her teaching career in the inner-city school district as well as in Harrisburg, not retiring until the age of 72.
Seventy years ago, in 1946, Ruth earned her private pilot’s license in a Piper Cub. She is recognized by the Silver Wings Organization, because of her early aviation flights.
Her interest in flying rekindled, at the age of 58, and she received her license a second time. A few of her favorite flights included doing loop-de-loops over the Chesapeake Bay in an open cockpit, flying over Niagara Falls and seeing the sun set on the Twin Towers in N.Y.C.
Adventurous her entire life, Ruth enjoyed traveling, spending summers in Ocean City, N.J., riding the waves, the gym, astronomy, and nature. She “tickled the ivories” on the piano, enjoyed chorus, the symphony, memorizing poetry and reading.
Ruth was known for her sharp wit and sense of humor with everyone she met. She lived out her belief that “you’ll find kind people all over the world” and “wouldn’t it be boring if everyone was the same?” She believed in tolerance of — and was enthusiastic to learn about — different denominational, religious, and spiritual backgrounds worldwide. During troubled times she was quick to say “and this too shall pass” and “Whom virtue unites, death cannot separate.”
Ruth died peacefully with her family on July 8, 2016.
She was predeceased by her husband Rev. Donald M. Naismith, sister Sylvia Sailor (by two months), daughter Ruth Marie Naismith, and son-in-law Leland S. McKittrick.
Ruth is survived by her children, Mimi L. (Manny) Weiss of Denver, Donald M. (Louise) Naismith of Media, Elizabeth A. Naismith (Michael Picciani) of Swarthmore, and Catherine E. Naismith of Media. She has seven grandchildren: Aaron and Sophie Weiss, Michael and Elizabeth Naismith Picciani and Donald, Luke and Samuel Naismith.
Funeral services are scheduled for Saturday, July 30, 4 p.m., at the Swarthmore Presbyterian Church, 727 Harvard Ave., Swarthmore, PA 19081. Interment will be at the East Harrisburg Cemetery, Harrisburg. Contributions may be made to the Swarthmore Presbyterian Church Choir at the above address.
Arrangements: Rigby Harting & Hagan Funeral Home, www.haganfuneralhome.com.
Robert Allen Payne
Robert Allen Payne of Chester, a native of Swarthmore, died July 4, 2016.
His funeral will be held this Saturday, July 16, 10 a.m., at St. Luke’s Community Christian Church, 320 Tilghman Street, Chester.
Viewing hours will be 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Burial will be at Haven Memorial Cemetery, 2500 Concord Road in Aston.
Elizabeth “Betsy” Anderson
Elizabeth Wright “Betsy” Anderson of Swarthmore, died June 29, 2016 at Vitas Hospice at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital. She was 89.
Born in Pittsburgh, Betsy was the daughter of the late Robert McEldowney and Elizabeth Jane Aikins Wright. She resided in Franklin, Pa., before moving to Swarthmore 59 years ago.
Betsy, a graduate of Vassar College, class of 1948, and the University of Pittsburgh, class of 1951, was vice president of Bellwether Corporation. She had previously worked for the Swarthmore School District in elementary education.
For 63 years, Betsy attended the Swarthmore United Methodist Church. She was a world traveler and an avid reader.
Predeceased by her siblings, Sarah Greve, Anne Curran and Robert McEldowney Wright, Betsy is survived by her husband of 65 years, James Moser Anderson; her children, Samuel James Anderson (Marie), Susan Jane Hunter, Joseph Paul Anderson (Jennifer), and Thomas Robert Anderson; two sisters, Nancy Wright and Patricia Caldwell (Blair); and five grandchildren, James Dennis Hunter, Amanda Elizabeth Hunter, Lauren Elizabeth Anderson, Emily Joan Anderson and Elliott William Anderson.
The funeral service was held on Wednesday, July 6, at Swarthmore United Methodist Church. Burial was at Eastlawn Cemetery.
Memorial gifts may be made to Vassar College, 124 Raymond Avenue, Poughkeepsie, NY 12604, or to SUMC, 129 Park Avenue, Swarthmore, PA 19081.
Natalie A. Hopson
Surrounded by family, Natalie A. Hopson went peacefully to be with the Lord on June 26, 2016. She was 87.
Born on July 16, 1928 in Harrisburg, Pa., Natalie, a longtime resident of Swarthmore, fell in love with the borough the first time she saw it, and settled in Swarthmore as a young bride in 1948.
A woman of great faith, Natalie was a longtime member of the Word of Victory Church. She was a true patriot, who enjoyed the summer season and the festivities of the Fourth of July.
Natalie loved to garden, and though she had a childlike love of all nature that never diminished, her favorite times were spent with family, especially around the dining room table.
Natalie is survived by a son, Peter G. Hopson of Media; two daughters, Deborah A. (Edwin) Riddle of Upper Lake, Calif., and Anne E. (Ryan) Donagher of Swarthmore; nine beloved grandchildren; and almost 10 great-grandchildren.
Natalie was predeceased by a son, Michael E. Hopson.
Relatives and friends are invited to attend her Graveside Service on Wednesday, July 6, 11 a.m., at Eastlawn Cemetery, 7th & Girard Ave., Milmont Park.
Arrangements are by Cavanagh-Patterson Family Funeral Home, Media, PA www.cavanaghfuneralhome.com.
Joseph T. Gormally
Joseph T. Gormally, longtime resident of Wallingford, died in his sleep the morning of June 24, 2016 at Whitehorse Village. He was 98 years old.
Born and raised in New England, Joseph obtained a degree in chemical engineer from the University of Rhode Island and a master’s degree from Columbia.
At the outbreak of World War II, he was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Army rising to the rank of Major.
Joseph met his wife, Helen, at Rocky Mountain Arsenal in Colorado, where they both worked. She reviewed a list of the names of new arrivals and, without having met him, pointed to his name on the long list and told her colleague, “That is the man I am going to marry.”
More than a year later, after he had proposed to her, Joseph told Helen that he had been to a fortune teller years ago in Baltimore, who had been all wrong, because she told him he was going to marry a girl from the Red River Valley. Helen replied that she was from the Red River Valley in Minnesota.
After discharge from the army, Joseph worked all his professional life for Pennwalt Company, which ultimately became Elf Atochem. An excellent carpenter and woodworker, he built additions to two of his homes, and furniture for his children.
He and his wife shared a love of gardening, traveling on Elderhostel trips, vacationing in the winter in Tucson, Arizona, and in the summer on Mirror Lake in New Hampshire.
His wife of 60 years, Helen Gormally, predeceased him in 2004.
He is survived by his daughter Ann Torregrossa (Joe) of Swarthmore and sons Tom (Kathy) and Eric (Beth) Gormally of Tucson, Arizona.
He is also survived by his granddaughter Maresa Mahoney (Sean), grandson Brennan Torregrossa (Jacquie), great-grandchildren Ally, Gabi and Brady Torregrossa, and Cole, Julie and Teagan Mahoney (all of Swarthmore); and grandsons Patrick, Josh, Simon and Colin, and great-grandchildren Austin, Jake and Rebecca (all of Tucson, Ariz.). Another granddaughter, Susie Gormally of Tucson, Ariz., predeceased him.
A memorial service will be held at a later date.
Elizabeth Jones Gilson
Elizabeth “Beth” Jones Gilson died May 26, 2016 of pancreatic cancer in Atlantic Beach, Florida. She was preceded in death by her husband of 43 years, Warren Edwin “Ed” Gilson Jr., in 2002, and by her parents, Donald P. Jones and Ethel G. Jones, of Media.
Born May 21, 1938, Beth grew up in Swarthmore, graduating from Swarthmore High School in 1956. She attended Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, where she met her husband, Ed.
Married on February 7, 1959, Beth and Ed moved around the country first with the Marine Corps, and then with Ed’s job in the insurance business (places they called home included Quantico, Va., Oceanside, Calif., Springfield, Mass., Livingston, N.J., Lisle, Ill., Lilburn, Ga., Dallas, Tex., and Jacksonville, Fla.).
Beth and Ed moved to Jacksonville in 1986, where they made wonderful friends. Beth was a remarkable homemaker, talented singer (she sang in her church choir most of her life), pianist, seamstress, and all-around craftswoman. She loved playing card and table games, and was a master bridge player. She loved dogs.
Among other things, Beth was a Cub Scout and Brownie leader, softball coach, and head cheerleader for all of her family’s activities. She was athletic and enjoyed playing tennis and golf most of her adult life. Beth played on undefeated high school lacrosse and field hockey teams.
She easily made friends, and cherished many lifelong friendshps with people throughout the country. Her favorite place on earth was Sebec Lake, Maine, where she loved growing up spending summers at the lake. She continued many family traditions in Maine with her children and grandchildren.
Her spunk, determination and positive attitude impacted all who knew her. Beth was a devoted wife, loving mother and wonderful “Gigi.”
She is survived by her three children: James E. Gilson (Linda) of Peachtree Corners, Ga.; David J. Gilson (Linda) of Oconomowoc, Wis.; and Debra G. Wright (Prescott) of Sandwich, Mass.; her ten grandchildren: Hope Elizabeth Wright, William Prescott Wright, Robert Jones Gilson, Michelle Lim Gilson, Jamie Marie Gilson, Camille Elizabeth Gilson, Christopher Edwin Gilson, Kevin Gilson Wright, Wyatt Edwin Gilson and Julia Hersey Wright; and her two brothers: Arthur W. Jones (Louise) of Wawa, Pa., and Lawrence T. Jones (Kerry) of Neenah, Wis.
Beth had a kind loving spirit and was a bright shining light to family and friends. On Monday, June 27, at 10:30 a.m., a Celebration of Life will be held at Fleet Landing (Johnson Hall in Windward Commons), 1 Fleet Landing Boulevard, Atlantic Beach, Florida 32233.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Cystic Fibrosis Foundation — North Florida Chapter, 7899 Baymeadows Way, Suite 200, Jacksonville, Florida 32256.
James L. Conwell
On the morning of April 30, 2016, after a four-year battle with esophageal cancer, James “Jim” Laurence Conwell passed away peacefully at his home in Coronado, California.
Born in Philadelphia on August 24, 1946, Jim was the first of six children of Edward Laurence Conwell II and Elizabeth Douglas Conwell. While he was raised in Swarthmore (Swarthmore High School Class of 1964), he spent almost every summer of his childhood in Cape May, N.J., where you could find him swimming, fishing, sailing and boating in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
Jim attended Nichols College of Business in Dudley, Massachusetts. Between running the Boston Marathon in brand new shoes, hitchhiking all around the Northeast, and dating his future wife of 47 years, he managed to graduate in 1968. He and Arlene McGrath Conwell were married shortly thereafter, in 1969, in Massachusetts.
After graduation, Jim joined the Navy and spent three years serving our country before being honorably discharged with a disability from Hodgkin’s Lymphoma — his first successful battle with cancer. Jim went on to pursue a career as a civilian with the Navy, primarily working in contract negotiation and management.
After his retirement, Jim started his own business — as a handyman. And he loved it. He spent 10 years fixing fences, repairing windows, making screens and improving the lives of many in Coronado.
Jim and Arlene were proud to call Coronado their home. There they raised two children, Ned and Lindsay. Jim returned to his love for swimming, fishing and boating — this time in the waters of the Pacific. He also explored the mountains and deserts of the San Diego backcountry.
Jim always took the time and space he needed to truly enjoy life.
Each summer, he spent a couple of months on the road in his custom-built camper, exploring our great country and visiting friends and relatives along the way. He planned his destinations but never the space in between, giving himself full freedom.
Jim was a strong, compassionate man who left his mark on many. His calm influence, generous spirit and positive outlook continue to inspire and guide us. Even in the depth of his illness he was at peace with his fate, yet always believed that tomorrow would be a better day. We honor that gift.
Jim is survived by his wife, Arlene M. Conwell, of Coronado, Cal.; a son, Ned Conwell (Rachel) of Santa Fe, N.M., a daughter, Lindsay D. Conwell (fiancé Ryan Stanton) of Washington, D.C., four brothers, Bruce B. Conwell (Jan) of Cape May, N.J., Bill Conwell (Sandy) of Swarthmore, Ted Conwell (Marianne) of Takoma Park, Md., Dave Conwell (Eva) of Signal Mountain, Tenn.; a sister, Betsy Fisch (Neil) of Apache Junction, Ariz.; and two grandchildren, Isabella (Bella) and James of Santa Fe.
We invite you to join us in honoring Jim, in celebrating his love of family, friends, life — and the water — on Saturday, August 13,,from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Coronado Yacht Club, 1631 Strand Way, Coronado, CA 92118.
— The Conwell Family
Jane G. Fox
Jane Gaddis Fox passed away peacefully on the morning of May 31, at the age of 96.
Born on Valentine’s Day in Cleveland to the late Dorothy and Byron Gaddis, Jane lived in Ohio until she married Karl Fox in 1945, and relocated to Belmont Mass. In 1951 they moved to Swarthmore, where they lived until 1990.
Jane graduated from Miami University of Ohio with a BA in English. Later in life, she earned a master’s degree in library science from Drexel University. Jane enjoyed working as the head librarian for the Ridley Park Library for several years. After retiring and moving to White Horse Village, she achieved a career goal by serving as editor of the community’s monthly newspaper, White Horse Tales.
Jane loved the outdoors and was an active member of the Philadelphia Trail Club, traveling all over the world and hiking in England, Austria, Switzerland, Nova Scotia, Israel, Mexico, Costa Rica, Russia, and Denmark. Her greatest love was England, which she visited 10 times.
She enjoyed reading, swimming and music, and was an avid baseball fan who loved the Phillies — win or lose. A longtime member of the Swarthmore Presbyterian Church, Jane sang in the choir. Understanding the value of service to others, she volunteered wherever she could help, often through opportunities offered by the church. If a friend was needed, she was there.
Jane lived a wonderful life full of love, experiencing much of what this world has to offer in her 96 years.
Jane was predeceased by her husband, Karl. She is survived by a brother, Jack, of Suffolk, Va.; and two daughters, Cynthia of Belchertown, Mass., and Sally of Albuquerque, New Mexico.
A memorial service to celebrate her life will be held Monday, July 11, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., in the White Horse Village auditorium, 535 Gradyville Rd., Gradyville, Pa.
Memorial donations may be made to the National Parks Foundation, 1110 Vermont Avenue, N.W., Suite 200, Washington, DC 20005.
Daniel V. James, Jr.
Daniel V. James, Jr., a 24-year resident of Swarthmore, died at home in the early morning of May 21, 2016, after an almost six-year battle with prostate cancer. He was 71.
Cancer never conquered his spirit, as he continued to enthusiastically enjoy life almost until his last day. Dan and his wife Babs continued to travel to Europe, enjoyed numerous get-togethers with family and friends at their beach house and elsewhere, and until his last week, he followed the stock market, politics and his beloved Army teams. He always said he didn’t eat to live, he lived to eat, and he continued to savor his favorite foods.
Dan was born to Daniel and Lynette James of Chicago, Illinois, and is survived by two sisters, Carollyn James of Takoma Park, Md., and Melody James of Seattle, Wash.
His dad was a Captain in the Navy and the family moved often. His most memorable stays were in Hawaii, where he developed into an excellent athlete as the member of a winning baseball team, and Paris, France, where he spent three years at Paris American High School. He fell in love with all things French, and remained an ardent Francophile.
Though he wanted to follow his father into the Navy, Dan did not have the perfect eyesight required by the Naval Academy. He was accepted into West Point, becoming part of the noted class of 1966, whose Vietnam experiences are chronicled in the book, The Long Gray Line.
Upon graduation from West Point, he chose to go into the Navy, which was an option since his father was a naval officer. Dan’s naval years included a tour of duty off the coast of Vietnam on a destroyer. Upon leaving the Navy he entered a management training program with Irving Trust in New York City, after which he earned his MBA from Rutgers University.
Dan then accepted a position with Ford Motor Credit Company in Dearborn, Michigan, where he lived with his first wife and raised two daughters, Meredith Carrel and Heather Douglas, both of whom live with their respective families in Michigan. While in Michigan he served as president of the West Point Society, and developed a passion for running which continued for decades.
Following a divorce, he transferred to an affiliate of Ford (now New Holland Credit Company), and moved to West Chester, Pa., where he met his wife Babs James of Swarthmore. They married in March, 1992, making their home in Swarthmore.
Dan is best known and remembered for his vibrant personality, storytelling skills, devotion to friends and family, love of sports, and attachment to all things West Point. He had season tickets to Army football games for years. Regardless of weather or losing score, he never left the stadium until the singing of the Alma Mater.
Following retirement in 2000, he and Babs took many wonderful trips to Europe, the last to Spain in September 2015. Dan also loved the beach house they built in Prime Hook Beach, Delaware, and where they hosted many groups of family and friends. He especially enjoyed the “sports weekends” organized by his son-in-law Steve for the opening day of baseball.
Dan and Babs had nine grandchildren together, including Devin and Morgan Douglas, children of Heather and Dane Douglas; RJ, Wagner and Anna Carrel, children of Meredith and Steven Carrel; Tad and Skye Fisher, children of David and Jean Fisher; and Talia and Nadia Fisher, children of Nathan and Stephanie Fisher. Dan is also survived by his nephew Abbott Shea of San Diego, Cal.
Dan’s wonderful raconteur personality, his loyalty, love for friends and family, and his passions endeared him to many and he will be greatly missed. His remains will be interred in the West Point Cemetery later this year.
If desired, donations made be made to the West Point Association of Graduates (Class of 1966) at www.westpointaog.org/sslpage.aspx?pid=5296 or (845) 446-1658.
Walter O. Dow
Walter O. Dow, a resident of Swarthmore for 45 years, died May 5 of cancer.
Born April 6, 1922, in Howell, Michigan, Walter grew up primarily in Traverse City and Petoskey, Mich., graduating from Petoskey High School in 1939-40. He attended Michigan State University until 1942 when he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Force helping build airbases in northern England until his discharge in 1946.
Walter resumed his education at MSU, earning his Ph.D. in metallurgy in 1952. He married Sally Chapman in 1950, and they had four children. The family lived in Michigan, then Wheaton, Ill., for several years before moving to South Carolina, then subsequently North Carolina, and finally Swarthmore in 1971.
In 1984 Walter and Sally joined the Philadelphia Trail Club (PTC). After retiring in 1986, he bought a 44’ Lafitte sailing boat, fitting it out for a transatlantic solo voyage to England in 1988. On the return voyage he was accompanied by his son, Peter, daughter, Annette, and Steve Linvill of the Linvilla Orchards family.
For many years Walter was active in the PTC, leading numerous hikes in and around eastern Pennsylvania until illness took over in 2010. He served a one-year term as president of the club and helped to establish the Philadelphia Trail Club Memorial Fund.
He volunteered to help maintain a 10-mile stretch of the Appalachian Trail at Lehigh Gap, and also gave of his time at the Brandywine Conservancy for several years. He was an occasional trumpet player in the Silver Dollar Band.
Walter was adventurous, gregarious, and flirtatious to the end. He kept as active as possible, getting acquainted by name with all the dogs that he met on frequent walks in the borough. An avid reader, the Swarthmore Public Library was a very important part of the last years of his life.
His wife Sally survives along with his daughter Katherine and son Peter of Redlands, Cal., his daughters Elisabeth of Swarthmore and Annette of San Jose, Cal., and four granddaughters, Ashley Dow-Castleman, Madeleine and Penelope Dow, and Elena Jorgensen.
His body has been given to the Humanity Gifts Registry for medical research. Memorial gifts may be made to the Swarthmore Public Library, 121 Park Avenue, Swarthmore, PA 19081 or to the Philadelphia Trail Club Memorial Fund, c/o Marjorie O’Neill, 16 Arlington Road, Malvern, PA 19355-3003.
Dr. Robert E. Savage
Dr. Robert E. Savage of Swarthmore died in his sleep on Friday, May 20. He was 83.
Bob, a 49-year resident of Swarthmore, spent the bulk of his career as an Isaac H. Clothier Jr. Professor of Biology at Swarthmore College. He was an easily recognizable fixture in the ville of Swarthmore, riding his bike and wearing his trademark Swedish clogs.
Born on December 8, 1932 in Middlebury, Vermont, to Dorothy and Reginald Savage, he had one sibling, an older brother Donald. As a young man, he developed two chief interests: science and music, which he pursued with equal vigor throughout his life. After graduating from Belmont High School outside Boston, he attended Oberlin College, where he majored in botany.
His matriculation to graduate school was delayed by the outbreak of the Korean War. Bob was drafted into the army and spent his tour at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Upon his discharge, he pursued his doctoral degree in cell biology at the University of Wisconsin under the tutelage of distinguished molecular biologists Walter Plaut and Hans Ris.
After briefly working as an assistant professor of biology at Queens College in New York, he accepted a position to be the first professor of cell biology at Swarthmore College, where he stayed until his retirement in 1995.
He also enjoyed appointments at Karolinska Institutet and Uppsala Universitet in Sweden, where he spent several years on sabbatical with his family.
Bob authored and co-authored numerous books and papers on subjects ranging from cell hybrids to the history surrounding Carl Linnaeus and John Bartram.
Throughout his tenure, he established life-long bonds with members of the Swarthmore College community — particularly students — that he cherished.
Bob’s love for science was easily eclipsed by his love for classical music. An accomplished cellist, keyboardist and recorder player, he was a very active producer and consumer of music. Throughout his life he played in classical ensembles, sometimes semi-professionally, including orchestras, early music groups, and his first love: chamber music groups. After his retirement from the college, he resumed his cello studies and was an avid concertgoer.
He shared his love for music with his wife, Gisela Savage (née Bergau), whom he met in New York City and married in 1964. Bob and Gisela, a Swedish immigrant, made music a central part of their family life, teaching their two children to play and enjoy music.
Bob is survived by both music-loving children, A. Monica Kruse and her husband Lakota K. Kruse of Swarthmore, and Eric D. Savage and his wife Megan J. Juday of Germantown; and four grandchildren, Annika and Elisa Kruse, and Elliot and Walter Savage.
A service to celebrate Bob will be held on Saturday, June 11, at the Swarthmore Friends Meetinghouse, 12 Whittier Place on the college campus. The service will begin at 10 a.m., followed by a reception.
The family suggests that in lieu of flowers, a memorial contribution may be made to the American Swedish Historical Museum, 1900 Pattison Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19145.
Dan James of Swarthmore, husband of Babs James, died early Saturday morning, May 21, 2016. Survivors include his two daughters, Meredith Carrel and Heather Douglas, who live in Michigan; stepsons, Nathan Fisher and David Fisher, who grew up in Swarthmore and now live in Colorado; and nine grandchildren from both his daughters and stepsons.
A memorial service will be held on Friday, June 3, at 1 p.m., at the Rigby, Harting & Hagan Funeral Home, 15 E. Fourth St., Media, PA 19063.
A full obituary will be published at a later date.
Walter O. Dow, Jr.
Walter O. Dow, Jr., of Swarthmore died on May 5, 2016. He was 94.
Mr. Dow is survived by his wife of 66 years, Sally; four children, Katherine, Peter, Elisabeth and Annette; and four granddaughters. There will be no service.
Memorial gifts may be made to the Swarthmore Public Library, 121 Park Avenue, Swarthmore, PA 19081 or the Philadelphia Trail Club Memorial Fund, c/o Marjorie O’Neill, 16 Arlington Road, Malvern, PA 19355-3003.
Mary Anderson (née Brown) of Swarthmore passed away peacefully on April 26, 2016 after a short illness.
Mary was born in Croswell, Mich., in 1931, the youngest of eight children. She attended Port Huron Junior College and Michigan State University, and later was a newspaper reporter for the Port Huron News and the Chicago Sun-Times. She had a notable career which included an extensive personal interview with Pat Nixon.
Mary was an editor/writer in the University Relations Department of Widener University for 17 years, retiring in 1999. She was a member of Trinity Episcopal Church and served there in numerous volunteer capacities. She also volunteered at CHOP and the Swarthmore Public Library, and was a member of Chapter P of PEO.
Mary was predeceased by her husband of 43 years, Robert Frederick Anderson. She is survived by her son, Robert Bruce Anderson; her daughter Amanda Kate Anderson; her daughter-in-law Mary Ellen Anderson; and two grandsons, Sam and James. Mary will be remembered with love, and her kindness, intelligence, warmth and wit will be greatly missed by many other relatives and friends.
A funeral service will be held at Trinity Episcopal Church in Swarthmore on Saturday, May 7, at 11 a.m., followed by a light lunch.
In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Crozer-Keystone Hospice Program, 200 West Sproul Rd., Springfield, PA, 19064 or Trinity Episcopal Church, 301 N. Chester Road, Swarthmore, PA 19081.
Caren D. Cross
Caren Dallett Cross, 70, formerly of Swarthmore and recently of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, passed away on April 15. A filmmaker, therapist, painter, gardener, salsa dancer, wife, and mother, Caren lived a full life, which went into high gear once she moved to San Miguel 18 years ago.
Born in Philadelphia to Lou and Beatrice Dallett, Caren went to Nether Providence High School. She loved to travel, and after she graduated from Boston University in 1967 with a degree in fine arts, she moved to Florence, Italy, to paint and teach English. But her plan to make a life in Italy was cut short by a very persistent blind date she’d met the week before she’d moved to Florence. David Cross soon followed her to Europe and eventually managed to convince her to leave Italy, return to the States and marry him — on August 22, 1970.
Caren and Dave spent 10 years in Lenni and Swarthmore, where they had two children, Carly and Jordan. Eventually Caren became a therapist. She spent 15 years in a thriving private practice in Virginia Beach, Va. She loved her work and had many lovely friends, but she was not a fan of living in the south, and felt destined for somewhere funkier.
She never was fully “home” until she discovered the artists and ex-hippies of San Miguel de Allende. In 1998, Caren and David arrived in San Miguel for a short vacation. By the time their two-week trip was over, they’d bought a house and Caren had decided to “retire” early.
Over the years she and Dave shepherded countless others who also fell in love with San Miguel at first sight through making the transition to a new life in Mexico, helping them find or build their own homes.
So moved by the happiness and sense of well-being she’d found in San Miguel, she felt compelled to make a documentary, exploring what about this town in the Sierra Madre mountains changed people, made them able to slow down and enjoy life, and in many cases even change their values.
Her documentary, Lost and Found in Mexico, was shown in more than 30 film festivals, receiving awards including Best Documentary at the Boston Film Festival. Her experience making the documentary inspired her to create the Reel Docs film festival in San Miguel, bringing award winning documentary filmmakers to show their films and engage with the audiences.
Caren is survived by her husband, David; her mother Beatrice; her daughter Carly; her son and daughter in-law, Jordan and Carrie; her sister Nancy Dallett; brother Richard; granddaughter Sofie Cross, and countless adopted brothers, sisters and friends who were fortunate to experience Caren’s abundant generosity, and devoted, if at times prickly, love.
Caren listened deeply, which developed so many friendships and intimacies that it was impossible to walk with her through San Miguel without encountering old and young people, men and women, Mexicans and Anglos, artists, filmmakers, shopkeepers and waitresses who embraced her, waylaid her in conversation, and didn’t want to let her go. Caren left a legacy of many people who have been lifted up by her generosity, understanding and help.
There was a small private celebration of her life in Swarthmore as well as a very large one in San Miguel de Allende, both on April 21.
Erika Muhlenberg, 84, of Kennett Square, formerly of Swarthmore, died on Tuesday, April 19, 2016.
She was born in Hamburg, Germany, and was educated at Shule Schloss Salem. Erika immigrated to the United States in 1950 and studied at Pendle Hill and Widener University. She worked as a paralegal at the Domestic Abuse Center in Delaware County.
Erika was very active in social causes. She was assistant clerk of the Swarthmore Friends Meeting and was an active member of the American Friends Service Committee and the Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom.
Erika was one of the founding members of a group based at the Swarthmore Friends Meeting that fed the homeless. Her family is proud that she marched with Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1964.
Erika was predeceased by her brother, Klaus Fritzen. She is survived by her sisters, Theda Sonderhoff and Anna Katrin Wachsmuth; by her four children, Kobi Muhlenberg (Janet Seraphin), Mimi Muhlenberg, Dela Bryan (Robert Bryan), and Mattias Muhlenberg; four grandchildren, Mary, James, Sarah, and Katie; and three great-grandchildren, Parker, Ellia, and Heidi.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, May 14, at 2 p.m. at Kendal at Longwood Retirement Community, 1109 E. Baltimore Pike, Kennett Square, PA 19348, (610) 388-7001.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made in her memory to Pendle Hill, 338 Plush Mill Road, Wallingford, PA 19086.
Alice H. F. Fullam
Alice Hilliar Freiheit Fullam, 90, of Wallingford, died peacefully at home on April 12, just three days shy of the 66th anniversary of her marriage to Judge John P. Fullam.
The daughter of Adolph John Freiheit and Dorothy (Cleary) Freiheit, Alice was born in Akron, Ohio, and grew up in Marblehead, Mass., and suburban New York City.
After graduating from Garden City High School on Long Island, N.Y., Alice went to Radcliffe College. She majored in psychology and joined the staff of the Radcliffe News where she served sequentially as reporter, news editor, managing editor, and editor-in-chief.
In 1946, Alice attended a Harvard-Radcliffe tea where she met John Fullam, a former Navy Lieutenant, who was attending Harvard Law School on the G.I. bill. Their romance continued for the next 70 years.
Upon graduation, Alice went into publishing at Scribner’s in New York, where she served as an editorial assistant and layout editor. Meanwhile, John entered private practice in his native Bucks County, Pa., frequently visiting fiancée Alice in New York, where the two would meet by the lion statues outside the New York Public Library.
After their wedding in 1950, the couple moved to Bristol, Pa., where Alice established new roots and helped John launch two idealistic, albeit unsuccessful, campaigns for the U.S. Congress. He went on to become a state and, later, a federal judge. Alice, too, had a brief political career, running as the only female candidate for the Bristol School Board.
Their lives in Bucks County took a new turn when the couple commissioned architect Paul Rudolph to design a modernist home in the woods of Wrightstown Township. They moved into the unfinished house in 1959 with their two young daughters. Two sons soon joined the family.
In Wrightstown, Alice wholeheartedly embraced the rural lifestyle, becoming an organic gardener, raising chickens and goats, and baking nine loaves of bread each week. She also served as an active volunteer on the boards of Mercer Street Friends Center, Pearl Buck’s Welcome House and as clerk of Wrightstown Friends Meeting.
Alice returned to school in the early 1970s, earning a master’s in library science from Drexel University. She soon joined the staff of the Trenton Free Public Library as a reference librarian. Her work there proved a good match for her commitment to progressive social issues and her heartfelt belief in the power of knowledge and ideas. She was convinced of the potential for libraries to enrich and improve the lives of all who entered, and she treated all patrons with dignity, whether homeless and destitute or prominent and privileged, striving to ensure that time in the library was special. Later, Alice was promoted to head of the library’s art and music department, where she became a tireless advocate for arts and culture in Trenton.
When she retired, Alice enjoyed gardening, bridge and tennis. She also fulfilled her dreams of leisure travel to Europe and accompanied her husband on several trips for U.S. AID, to fledgling democracies in Hungary and Bulgaria after the fall of the Berlin Wall, as well as to Botswana, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Ethiopia, promoting the importance to Africa of judicial independence and due process.
In 2007, Alice and John moved to Wallingford where they were among the first residents of Plush Mills Senior Living. At Plush Mills, Alice was known for her courage, grace and kindness in facing a lengthy period of advancing dementia and declining health. Even as her illness progressed, Alice always made an effort to connect with those around her with her warm smile and unfailing kindness.
In addition to her husband, Alice is survived by daughters Nancy of Philadelphia and Sally (Joseph Gyourko) of Swarthmore; sons Thomas “T.J.” (Claudia Fieo) of Mansfield, Mass., and Jeffrey (Melissa Mandrell) of Contoocook, N. H.; sister Audrey Paris of Wallingford; and grandchildren Mark and Julia Gyourko of Swarthmore and Gregory and Lily Anna Fullam of Mansfield.
A memorial service will be held at Wrightstown Friends Meeting on May 14 at 11 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be given to Mercer Street Friends Center, 151 Mercer Street, Trenton, NJ 08611 (http://mercerstreetfriends.org) or to Wrightstown Friends Meeting, 535 Durham Road, Wrightstown, PA 18940.
Quentin C. Weaver
Quentin C. “Red” Weaver of Newtown Square, formerly of Swarthmore, died April 13, 2016.
Born in Harrisburg in 1923, Red graduated cum laude with a double major in chemistry and physics from Gettysburg College in 1947, after interrupting his education to serve in the U.S. Army Air Corps as a 2nd Lt. flying a P-47 Thunderbolt during WWII. He was elected class president in his senior year at Gettysburg, and the friendships he forged there lasted a lifetime. He earned his masters’ degree in organic chemistry at Penn State in 1949.
Red spent his entire career working for Scott Paper. He was appointed Scott’s director of Research and Development in 1979, retiring in 1983. He continued to use his business skills as the chairman of both the Swarthmore Borough Authority and the Swarthmore Civil Service Commission. He served on the Pennsylvania state boards of Psychology and Osteopathic Medicine.
He lived in Swarthmore most of his adult life, raising his children and watching some of his grandchildren grow up in the town that he loved. He devoted much of his time to volunteering with various groups in Swarthmore, including serving as a member and then president of Swarthmore Borough Council from 1976 to 1983.
An Elder and Trustee for the Swarthmore Presbyterian Church, Red spent many a Sunday morning as an usher for the weekly worship service. He pursued his love of plants and gardening by volunteering at The Scott Arboretum, serving as the chairman of the Scott Associates and the biannual plant sale several times.
He is survived by his wife of 67 years Margaretta “Peg” M. Weaver; his children, Marcia Baehr (Rick), Melinda Weaver (Steve Kreider), Craig Weaver (Darci), Ted Weaver (Janelle); seven grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.
Services will be held on Saturday, April 23, at 2 p.m. at the Swarthmore Presbyterian Church, 727 Harvard Avenue. A reception in Fellowship Hall will follow the service.
His children and grandchildren will fondly remember his love of singing snippets of songs to them even though he couldn’t carry a tune. They will miss him greatly.
In lieu of flowers please consider a donation in his memory to Swarthmore Presbyterian Church 727 Harvard Ave., Swarthmore, PA 19081 or to the Scott Arboretum 500 College Ave., Swarthmore, PA 19081.
Nancy F. McCahan
Nancy Finkbiner McCahan passed away on March 14, 2016 at Harbor Chase in Vero Beach, Fla. She was recently predeceased by her husband David McCahan, Jr. of 61 years.
Nancy, born on April 16, 1931, was the daughter of the late Aaron C. F. and Christine P. Finkbiner, and was predeceased by her brothers, Aaron C.F., Jr. and Rodman Finkbiner. She grew up in the Curren Terrace section of Norristown, Pa., and was a graduate of the George School in 1949.
In 1953, Nancy graduated from Wheaton College with a degree in psychology, and was active in the Wheaton Alumni Association. She and David married in 1954 in Valley Forge. She taught kindergarten at Episcopal Academy before moving to Barrington, R.I., in 1962.
After raising her children, she started a successful career as a real estate agent, initially with Coleman Real Estate, and then with Ryan Real Estate. Nancy was active in numerous charities, most notably the United Way of Southeastern New England and The Junior League of Providence. She was a dedicated member of Barrington Presbyterian Church and served on the Session. She was a talented artist who thoroughly enjoyed her time at the Handicraft Club in Providence.
In addition, Nancy was a long time member of the Rhode Island Country Club, The Daughters of the American Revolution and The Garden Club of Barrington. Nancy was blessed with many wonderful friends and was a dedicated wife, mother, and grandmother.
She is survived by her children: David McCahan III and wife Narnie of Amarillo, Tex., Rebekah McCahan of Havertown, and Timothy McCahan and wife Liza of Providence, R.I.; and her seven grandchildren whom she adored: Colby McCahan, Christine, Sarah, and Samantha Fickling, Alexandra, James, and Olivia McCahan.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m., Thursday, June 2, at the St. John’s Episcopal Church, 191 County Road, Barrington, R.I. The burial will be private and held at a later date.
In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the American Parkinson Disease Association, 135 Parkinson Avenue, Staten Island, NY 10305, firstname.lastname@example.org, or to the Barrington Presbyterian Church, 401 Clements Bridge Road, Barrington, New Jersey 08007.
H. Thomas Francis
Tom Francis, 66, formerly of Swarthmore, peacefully passed away embraced by the love of his family on March 6, 2016 at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia following a long illness.
Tom came into this world through Chicago via the Women & Children’s Hospital on May 16, 1949. He was a fragile preemie and an unexpected gift to his scientist parents, Drs. Howard and Arista (McCormick) Francis, who had adopted their bright-eyed daughter a couple years before. Tom grew into a tall, robust young man in Park Forest, Ill., where they were among the first “pioneer” homeowners in this planned community made famous by William Whyte’s book The Organization Man (1956).
Tom definitely did not fit the stereotype of an organization man, though he appreciated his hometown. He sought an innovative liberal arts education at Kalamazoo College in Michigan where he served as student body president and earned a B.A. in Economics with a concentration in African Studies. Tom spent two semesters studying at historic Fourah Bay College in Freetown, Sierra Leone, and he traveled extensively throughout North and West Africa while there. He later completed a master’s degree at Western Michigan University in Counseling and Student Personnel (post-secondary). A dedicated advisor and administrator, Tom spent his professional career guiding students at Kalamazoo College for ten years, and then at Swarthmore College, where he served as director of Career Services, for 18 years.
In 1972, Tom volunteered to serve in West Africa with the U.S. Peace Corps and energetically assisted farmers with grain storage in Dahomey (now Benin). The Peace Corps experience reinforced his belief in the innate goodness of people, and the importance of experiential education and service to others. That legacy lasted a lifetime, as did the impact of a life-threatening tropical parasite, which forced his evacuation in 1974 to an Army Hospital in West Germany and later to Walter Reed Hospital and the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md. Tom confronted his many health challenges with a gentle strength over the decades, but his damaged heart finally failed him.
Tom was predeceased by his parents. He leaves his wife Susan Dion of Wilmington, Del.; children Brett Dion (Margaret Crocker) of Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y., and Raena (Dante) Iocona of Pennsville, N.J.; and his beloved grandchildren Gabrielle, Livia, and Joseph Iocona, at home in Pennsville. He was adored by his grandchildren who renamed him “Da.” In addition, he leaves his sister Louise of Scranton, Pa.; his sisters-in-law Barbara and Nancy Dion of Connecticut; and his brothers-in-law, Robert Dion (Rita) of Florida, William Dion (Robin Philbrick) of Vermont, and Ron Dion of Wisconsin. Tom was a favorite relative among Susan’s large extended family, but nephew Willy Dion-Tollman of Connecticut held an extra special place in his heart.
Final arrangements are private. In his parting gift, Tom Francis donated his body to benefit medical research and education at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Medicine. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that you make a contribution in Tom’s memory to the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, University of Delaware – Wilmington, 2700 Pennsylvania Avenue, Wilmington, DE 19806. (Checks payable to: University of Delaware, with memo “Osher – Wilm., Renewing the Dream.”) Tom enthusiastically volunteered and attended classes at this vibrant dynamic institution. He will be deeply missed.
Gordon S. Bierman
Gordon S. Bierman, 90, of Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, passed away on March 11, 2016 after an extended illness.
A longtime resident of central Pennsylvania and Cape May, N.J., he was born on Christmas Day, 1925, in Swarthmore. A United States Army-Air Force veteran, Gordon graduated from the University of Delaware in 1950 with a degree in animal husbandry and began his long career with Central Soya (Fort Wayne, Indiana) until his retirement in 1987.
Fiercely devoted to and loved by his family, he is survived by his wife of 67 years, Paulette (nee Snyder) of Hilton Head Island (Cape May); sister, Joan Edgar of Reading, Pa.; son Gordon Bierman, Jr. of Springfield, Ga.; daughter Grace (Brent) Thomas, Hilton Head Island; and grandchildren Alexis Bierman of Baltimore, Md., Chase (Katy) Thomas of Highlands Ranch, Col., Quinn Thomas of New York, N.Y., and Jocelyn Bierman of Savannah Ga.
A longtime active member of the Cape May Lutheran Church, Gordon loved to garden, tinker, fish, read and help others. Known for his generosity and kind spirit, he was a member of the Masonic Lodge of Cape May and active for many years in Cape May Kiwanis, Meals on Wheels, and the Historic Cold Spring Village.
A memorial service for Gordon will be held at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, March 29, at the Cape May Lutheran Church, 509 Pittsburgh Ave, Cape May, NJ where friends will be received by the family from 10 a.m to 11 a.m. A private interment will be held at Cold Spring cemetery following the service.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Gordon’s memory may be made to Hospice Care of the Low Country, 7 Plantation Park Drive, Bluffton, SC 29910 or Cape May Lutheran Church, 509 Pittsburg Avenue, Cape May, NJ 08204.
Arrangements were made by The Island Funeral Home and Crematory, theislandfuneralhome.com.
Nancy R. A. Kersten
Nancy Ruth Ann Kersten of Swarthmore died suddenly on February 4, at age 82. Although the last years of her life were filled with physical pain and increasing frailty, through her determination and fierce desire for independence, she recovered remarkably from injury and illness, and continued to live independently, with the support of her husband and constant companion, Bruno Kersten.
Nancy, the third of five children, was born in the Shadyside section of Pittsburgh to James and Regina McGroarty.
While raising her own five children, she enrolled at Goddard College to earn her degree, which led to a 23-year career teaching 1st grade at Media-Providence Friends School, where she also founded their summer program in which many young people participated both as campers and counselors.
She was integral in starting The Gathering Place of the Swarthmore Senior Center, stemming from her concern about her community and her joy in developing relationships, playing cards, sharing food, and important events.
Committed to social justice and advocacy for those in need, she brought people together in different ways over the years: hosting inclusive religious ceremonies in her home, sponsoring families in need, taking groups of children camping and to the beach, delivering her famous casseroles to the homeless, and sharing her hospitality with a variety of people at her table and in her home.
Serious about making the world a better place, she also enjoyed playing jokes on her family, embarrassing her children, and eating candy. She readily dropped whatever she was doing to help care for her grandchildren or head out on a road trip.
Nancy will be remembered for her unselfishness, kindness and playful spirit. She has been (and will continue to be) held in high esteem by the many past students and families she impacted through her teaching, volunteering, and organizing. Ever generous in life, she carried her generosity into death by donating her body to science where her core values of learning and helping will live on.
A beloved wife, devoted mother and cherished grandmother, she is survived by her husband, Bruno; daughter, Michel, and sons, Hans (Karen), Sean (Tanya), Peter (Clare), and David (Alex); and 11 grandchildren.
A Memorial Mass will be held on Friday, February 12, at 5 p.m. at Our Lady of Peace (OLP) Parish, 200 Milmont Avenue in Milmont Park. A memorial service will take place on Saturday, February 13, at 1 p.m., at Media Friends Meeting House, 125 W. 3rd St., Media, PA 19063.
In lieu of flowers, contributions to support literacy or end hunger can be made in her memory to Reach Out and Read (http://weblink.donorperfect.com/ReachOutAndRead) or Philabundance (https://pages.giveforward.com/remembrance/page-kb7gg46).
You can also mail in a donation to the foundations at the following addresses:
Reach Out and Read c/o St. Christopher’s Foundation for Children, 1800 JFK Boulevard, Suite 1550, Philadelphia, PA 19103. (Checks should be made payable to: St. Christopher’s Foundation for Children, indicating “in memory of Nancy Kersten.”)
Philabundance, 3616 S. Galloway Street, Philadelphia, PA 19148.
Mildred J. Eckenroth
Mildred J. Eckenroth, of Granite Farms Estates and a long-time resident of Haverford Place in Swarthmore, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, February 2.
Millie was raised in Upper Darby, and after graduation from Upper Darby High School, earned her nursing degree at Bryn Mawr Hospital School of Nursing. She then met and married her husband, the late Richard E. (Dick) Eckenroth and moved to Swarthmore in 1954.
She was an art teacher at the Swarthmore Presbyterian Nursery School, and enjoyed many generations of Swarthmore children. Millie and Dick (her former basketball coach) built and maintained a basketball court for many years in their backyard, which was used by young people from all over the area.
Millie was very active in church, school, community and charitable affairs, and was well known for volunteering her time for anyone who needed assistance. In July of 1995, she was honored by the Rotary Club of Swarthmore with their Community Service Award, in recognition and appreciation of her outstanding contributions to the Swarthmore community.
In addition to her tireless work for her beloved Notre Dame de Lourdes Parish church, she was actively involved with World Church Women United to promote ecumenism among women everywhere. Her work with Mercy Hospice in Philadelphia provided shelter, food and clothing to homeless women and children. She later organized a bandage rolling group that met at her home, and provided an endless supply of bandages to a hospital in Calcutta, India, operated by Blessed Mother Teresa. She later received a letter of thanks and acknowledgement from the venerated nun for her efforts.
The daughter of the late Martin and Mae Hanck, she is survived by her daughter, Linda Eckenroth Casey (Tom), and her son, Richard, both of Swarthmore.
Alfred H. Rhodes
Alfred Houck Rhodes, only child of Eleanor Houck Rhodes of Lebanon, Pa., and Edward Alonso Rhodes of Philadelphia, was born on February 18, 1931 in Philadelphia, where he spent his childhood.
“Al,” as he preferred to be called, attended Germantown Academy, graduating in 1949. He was accepted to Lafayette College, where he majored in psychology and graduated magna cum laude in 1953. Growing up, Al loved sports and remained an enthusiastic fan his whole life. He lettered in football and baseball at Germantown Academy, and continued to play baseball at Lafayette.
After he graduated, like so many young men of his generation, Al enlisted in the Army where he served on active duty from 1954 to 1956. While stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia, he met and married his first wife, Mary, the mother of his children, Michael and Elizabeth. Upon release from his active duty obligations, Al and Mary moved to Philadelphia and lived for a time with his parents.
After completing active duty in the Army, Al was employed by the Scott Paper Company in 1956. He began his career as a buyer in the Chester, Pa., manufacturing plant, and then was promoted to purchasing agent at corporate headquarters. Al’s career continued to progress as he returned to the Chester plant, where he advanced through increasingly senior management roles. He crowned his 37-year career at Scott Paper as director of Packaging Asset Optimization at corporate headquarters, before retiring in 1993.
In 1965, with two young children, he and Mary moved to Swarthmore. As a loving father, Al supported his children’s sports activities and shared his love of baseball as a coach to young athletes. During that time, Al continued to serve with the National Guard, spending many weeks and weekends on rotational duty. He retired from the National Guard in 1976 having attained the rank of Lt. Colonel.
In 1980 Al married Elizabeth “Betsy” Anderson, a longtime resident of Swarthmore. They first lived in Toft Woods near Ridley Creek State Park and then, in 2008, moved to their present home, Beaumont Retirement Community, in Bryn Mawr. Together, Al and Betsy enjoyed celebrating the marriages of their adult children, the births of their grandchildren, travels around the world and the company of a large circle of friends. In 2015 they celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary.
Al is survived by his loving and dedicated wife, Betsy; his children, Michael L. Rhodes and Elizabeth R. Gosling; granddaughters, Lindsay Crowder, Samantha Gosling and Mary Gosling; and a great-grandson, Jackson Crowder. He is also survived by Betsy’s children, Leslie Fitzpatrick, Carolyn Wilkinson, Barbara Kay and their families who knew and loved Al as “Grandpal.”
Al will always be remembered fondly by his many friends, who will attest to the kind, loyal, intelligent, generous and humorous gentleman that he was.
Relatives and friends are invited to attend his memorial service on Sunday, February 21, at 2 p.m., in the Music Room at Beaumont at Bryn Mawr Retirement Community, 601 N. Ithan Ave., Bryn Mawr, PA 19010.
Veronica Wyller, clinical psychologist and passionate world traveler, passed away after a long struggle with cancer on January 24, shortly after her 85th birthday.
Fluent in German, Turkish, English, French and Spanish, she was born in Germany on January 8, 1931 to Dr. Fritz and Erica Neumark. In 1933, Dr. Neumark was one of many Jewish professors fired by the Third Reich. Welcomed by the Republic of Turkey, Dr. Neumark relocated his family and began teaching Economics at Istanbul University. Despite being foreigners, Ms. Wyller and her older brother, Matthias, developed a lifelong love for their new country.
She returned to Germany in 1948 to attend university in Heidelberg, then the University of Paris, finishing her degree at the University of Munich with a diploma in psychology equivalent to a master’s. In Munich, she met fellow psychology student Dean Peabody, whom she married in May 1954. They eventually settled in Swarthmore, where he became a professor at Swarthmore College. Together, they had three sons, Eric, Roy and Bruce.
Ms. Wyller worked for many years as a child psychologist at the Crozer-Chester Medical Center, and was later employed by Head Start as a consultant. After she and Dr. Peabody divorced, she married Norwegian astrophysicist Arne Wyller in 1983. Enchanted by New Mexico, the couple bought a home there and divided their time between Santa Fe and the Canary Islands, where Dr. Wyller was on staff at an observatory for the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.
In Santa Fe, Ms. Wyller worked with new mothers and their children as a volunteer for the Santa Fe Family Center. She also served on the board for the Santa Fe Council to Prevent Child Abuse. Ms. Wyller lost her second husband to cancer in 2001. She moved to White Horse Village, a retirement community in Newtown Square in 2007, and quickly became an active resident, singing in the chorus, helping infirm residents with errands and transportation, and volunteering at the WHV library and thrift store.
Outside White Horse, she pursued intellectual and artistic interests in the wider community, attending lectures at the Middletown Township Public Library, operas and movies at Delaware County Community College, concerts at Swarthmore College and by Chester Children’s Chorus, and exhibits at Philadelphia and New York City museums. A voracious reader, she also was an active participant in a book club. Despite ongoing medical challenges, Ms. Wyller could be found in the fitness center almost daily. She maintained an appetite for life and a profound faith in humanity that proved inspiring to many.
In addition to her three sons, she is survived by four stepdaughters, Unni, Sonja, Elin and Marianne, and by six grandchildren. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, March 5, at 2 p.m. at the Community Arts Center, 414 Plush Mill Road, Wallingford, PA 19086.
In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory may be made to Chester Children’s Chorus (Swarthmore College, 500 College Avenue, Swarthmore, PA 19081) and the Lustgarden Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research (The Lustgarten Foundation, 1111 Stewart Avenue, Bethpage, NY 11714).
Helen C. Longworth
Helen C. (Gomulka) Longworth, 83, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, February 2, in Fairfax, Va.
Born in Glen Lyon, Pa., on April 21, 1932, she was the daughter of the late John & Angela (Chlepala) Gomulka.
Helen was a graduate of Newport Twp. High School. She was employed as a nurse by the Retreat State Hospital, Hunlock Creek, and as a LPN at Sacred Heart Hospital, Chester. She served many with a smile at Yom’s Deli in Swarthmore and Burger King in Springfield.
She was a member of Holy Spirit Parish/St. Adalbert’s Church in Glen Lyon.
Helen performed with the Notre Dame de Lourdes Players and the Bell Choir in Swarthmore. In Virginia, she helped outreach to active military via the Little River Glen Senior Center. Helen sang to staff and other participants of the PACE Inova Cares for Seniors program. She enjoyed playing bingo at Sunrise George Mason in Fairfax.
She was preceded in death by her husband George A. Longworth; her step-brother, Joseph Korshalla, and his wife Lillian.
Surviving is her loving family, daughter Roberta A. Longworth; granddaughter Michelle L. Opdahl (Thomas R. Bowser); great-grandchildren, Elise O. Bowser and Thomas G. Bowser; and her brother Edward J. Gomulka.
Family and friends are invited to attend a Mass of Christian Burial on Saturday at 10 a.m. in Holy Spirit Parish/St. Adalbert’s Church, with Rev. Louis Kaminski officiating. Interment will follow in St. Adalbert’s Cemetery, Glen Lyon. There are no public calling hours.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in memory of Helen to Little River Glen Senior Center, Advisory Council, 4001 Barker Ct., Fairfax, VA 22032 or Family Services Assn. of NE PA, 31 West Market St., Wilkes-Barre, PA 18706.
Rev. Dr. David Georg Gelzer
The Rev. Dr. David Georg Gelzer, Ph.D., 96, of Rydal Park, Rydal, Pa., died on the evening of January 23.
A commissioned career educational missionary with the Presbyterian Church USA, David Gelzer was born in Vevey, Switzerland, October 7, 1919. He grew up in the city of Basel. Emigrating to the United States at age 17, he graduated the University of Dubuque in 1941, Dubuque Seminary in 1943, and Yale Divinity School in 1952. Ordained a Presbyterian minister in 1943, he served churches in Washington state, Iowa, Connecticut and Missouri before being commissioned in 1952 with his wife, Elisabeth Bennett Gelzer, by the Board of Foreign Missions of the Presbyterian Church, USA.
Before leaving the United States for a lifetime of service worldwide, Dr. Gelzer was acting head of the department of religion at the College of Idaho, where from 1946 to 1950, he taught Bible and German, and served as dean of chapel. A decade later, he was founding pastor for the international English language parish in Yaounde, Cameroon and also served three other Yaounde parishes of the Presbyterian Church of Cameroon. He began his mission service in administrative leadership and as a member of the founding faculty at the Collège Evangélique de Libamba in Cameroon, where he was professor of German and Bible. He became founding director and the first dean of the Faculté de Théologie Protestante de Yaounde, Cameroon, where he also was professor of church history and reformation theology.
In 1975-1984, he joined the faculty of Tainan Theological Seminary in Tainan, Taiwan, as professor of church history and theology. During his tenure, he was appointed scholar in residence at Yale Divinity School in 1982, teaching Missions and Ecumenics. In 1984, he was appointed visiting professor of Missions and Ecumenics at McCormick Theological Seminary. In 1985 he was appointed acting principal of the Talua Ministry Training Center in Vanuatu, and professor of theology and church history. He returned to the Faculté de Théologie Protestante in Yaounde in 1994 as visiting lecturer in church history.
Dr. Gelzer served as a delegate to a meeting of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches in São Paulo, Brazil, in 1959, and to a conference of the World Council of Churches in Belfast, Northern Ireland, in 1963.
He was an ardent advocate of self-determination, political freedom and peacemaking. He also demonstrated his dedication to reconciliation, liberty and equality when on furlough in the United States. In 1965 he participated in voter registration work in rural Mississippi. In 1988 he was among the demonstrators against apartheid who were arrested in front of the South African embassy in Washington, D.C. During his years in Taiwan, Dr. Gelzer quickly found that the engagement of Taiwanese Christians on behalf of human rights matched his own lifelong convictions. Living by his conviction that activism for democracy and self-determination was integral to and not a distraction from the work of ministry, he joined Presbyterian ministers in Taiwan who were leaders in the outlawed movement for Taiwanese independence. In 1984 the Chinese government expelled Dr. and Mrs. Gelzer for “activities detrimental to the country.” The next decade saw a transformed political landscape in Taiwan, and Dr. and Mrs. Gelzer were invited back to the country.
Dr. Gelzer received an honorary doctorate from Wilson College in Chambersburg, Pa., in 1972, and an honorary doctorate from Tainan Theological College in 1994. In recognition of his service to Cameroon, he was made a Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur in 1974. In 2003 he received a citation of appreciation from the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy.
As a retired member of the Presbytery of Philadelphia, he served on the Church and Society Committee, the Peacemaking Committee and as Ministerial Assistance in Presbytery congregations without installed pastors. He was a long-time member and president of the Canterbury Clerics, a Presbytery association of retired ministers. Dr. Gelzer was a valued and dedicated member of the Presbyterian Historical Society, where he volunteered his experience and service over the 25 years of his retirement. He and Mrs. Gelzer worshiped at Swarthmore Presbyterian Church, where he helped found the Mission committee and served on the Peacemaking committee.
Dr. Gelzer is survived by four of his five children, Charlotte Weaver-Gelzer (Gary Weaver) of Lancaster, Pa., Rebekah Wozniak-Gelzer (Karl Wozniak) of Salem, Ore., Christian Gelzer (Stephanie Smith) of Tehachapi, Calif., and Stuart Gelzer, of Las Vegas, N.M.; his siblings, Renatus Gelzer (Joe) of Winston-Salem, N. C., and Priscilla Grob-Gelzer, of Solothurn, Switzerland; grandchildren Daniel Weaver (Lancaster), Rachel Weaver (Baltimore, Md.), Phoebe Gelzer-Govatos (Ryan Seay) of Ann Arbor, Mich., Asher Gelzer-Govatos (Leslie) of St. Louis, Mo., and David Wozniak (Marcia Corinna) of Shoreline, Wash.; and six great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his daughter Miriam Gelzer-Govatos, and his wife, Elisabeth Bennett Gelzer.
A service of witness to the resurrection will be held on February 20 at 2:30 p.m. at Swarthmore Presbyterian Church, 727 Harvard Avenue, Swarthmore, with a reception to follow. In lieu of flowers, please send a donation in his name to the Presbyterian Historical Society, 425 Lombard Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147-1516.
Phyllis Hunt Roberts
Phyllis Hunt Roberts passed away peacefully on January 12 at Edgecomb Green Assisted Living in Edgecomb, Maine. She was 95 years old.
Born on September 2, 1920 in Gorham, N.H., to Maude and Frank Hunt, Phyllis grew up in Bethel, Maine, and graduated from Gould Academy in 1938.
She lived in Swarthmore on Westminister Avenue from 1958 until the late 1970s. Phyllis worked as a Certified Nursing Assistant at Riddle Hospital in Media for many years before returning to Maine.
She is survived by sons Baruch Aaron of Georgia and Israel and Douglas of Alabama; daughter Cynthia of Wiscasset, Maine; six grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; and two great-great-grandchildren.
Interment will be in the spring in Bethel, Maine.
Mary Ann G. Smith
Mary Ann Gmitter Smith of Swarthmore died peacefully on January 17, in hospice, surrounded by her loving family. She was 82.
Born in McAdoo, Pa., Mary was a supervisor for Bell of Pennsylvania in Lansdowne during the 1950s. She later took a sales job at Gimbels in the Granite Run Mall, where she worked until her retirement in 1986.
When her sons were young, Mary was active with the Swarthmore Recreation Association baseball program, and she enjoyed being a den mother for the boys’ Cub Scout troop.
She was enthusiastic about holidays and made her home the fun place to be, especially at Christmas, Easter, and the 4th of July. Family and friends were most important to her and she cherished their get-togethers.
An avid reader, Mary appreciated the beauty of nature and adored animals. She also enjoyed trips to Stone Harbor, N.J., and the Poconos.
She is survived by two sons, Allan D. Smith (Barbara) of Media and G. Daniel Smith (Michael Granger) of Philadelphia; and her closest friend, Elizabeth Beach of Swarthmore.
A Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, January 23, at 11 a.m. at Minshall Shropshire-Bleyler Funeral Home, Middletown (Rte. 352) & Knowlton roads in Media. Calling hours begin at 9:30 a.m.
Memorial gifts may be made to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, S. 34th Street & Civic Center Blvd. Philadelphia, PA 19104.
Burton J. Cohen
Burton Joseph Cohen of Nether Providence Township, a former longtime resident of Swarthmore, died on December 11, at Crozer- Chester Medical Center. He was 66.
Described by many as a kind and gentle man, Burt acted with steady determination to support the people, causes, and organizations that he cared about.
Practicing action research, Burt devoted his career to studying, evaluating, and consulting with public and nonprofit organizations.
His academic degrees included a B.S. in industrial engineering from Cornell University, as well as an M.S. in operations research and a Ph.D. in social systems science, both from the University of Pennsylvania. He held research positions at Penn, where his projects involved the design and implementation of organizational change in the fields of education, child welfare, and juvenile justice. He worked with organizations such as the Philadelphia School District, the Department of Human Services, and the Philadelphia Youth Study Center.
Burt was also an adjunct associate professor at Penn in the School of Social Policy and Practice, where he taught graduate courses in child welfare policy, macro-social theory, and social change.
He was a resident of Swarthmore for 33 years, where he and his wife, Linda, raised their family before moving to Nether Providence in 2013.
His interests included reading biographies, following current events and financial trends, traveling, and attending folk and rock concerts, but nothing pleased him more than spending time with his family. He especially enjoyed eight years of watching his sons perform in the Strath Haven High School marching band, even during some bone-chilling championship contests.
An active member of Congregation Beth Israel in Media for more than thirty years, Burt served there in many roles, including president. He was also regional vice president of the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation (formerly FRCH).
Following his retirement, Burt continued to write and publish articles on social work practice. In addition, he became trained and sworn in as a child advocate for CASA Youth Advocates of Delaware County, where he advocated for two foster children, and he continued in his leadership at Congregation Beth Israel, where he spearheaded the establishment of an endowment fund.
In addition to his wife of 40 years, Burt is survived by his sons, David and Jason, and his sister, Lois Drake.
Services were held at Congregation Beth Israel on December 13. Contributions in Burt’s memory may be made to the Congregation Beth Israel Endowment Fund, 542 S. New Middletown Road, Media, PA 19063, or to CASA Delaware County, P.O. Box 407, Media, PA 19063.
Michael D. Worth
Michael David Worth, an astronomer at Swarthmore College, died January 9, at Springfield Hospital. He was 79.
Mr. Worth was born in Philadelphia to the late Meredith Grey and Charles Brook Worth.
Predeceased by his wife, Barbara Forrest Worth, he is survived by his children, Constance, Carolyn, Cynthia and Michael; and a brother, Douglas Worth.
The family will receive guests on Tuesday, January 19, from 11 a.m. to noon, at the Chadwick & McKinney Funeral Home, 30 E. Athens Avenue in Ardmore.
Mr. Worth will be buried in the Worth family plot at Romansville Friends Burial Ground in Chester County.
Virginia B. Emerson
Virginia Emerson (née Beabes) of Hershey’s Mill in West Chester, a former longtime resident of Swarthmore, passed away on December 29, 2015.
Born on November 8, 1927, in Somerset, Pa., Virginia received a B.S. from the University of Michigan, and continued her education at the University of California, Berkeley and at Drexel University, where she received her master’s in library science.
Virginia enjoyed a long and fulfilling career as a librarian. She worked in the University of Michigan’s Law School Library, was the music librarian for both the Philadelphia Musical Academy and the Philadelphia New School of Music, and most recently worked as a reference librarian at the Marple Library.
Following her retirement, she enjoyed many years of volunteer work at the Swarthmore Public Library (including running its annual book sale) and at Longwood Gardens
Predeceased by her brother, McKinley W. Beabes, Virginia is survived by her beloved husband, S. Jonathan Emerson; three children, Margaret, Henry and Peter; and granddaughter, Morgan, all of whom brought her great joy.
Memorial gifts may be made to the Swarthmore Public Library, 121 Park Ave., Swarthmore, PA 19081, or the Marple Library Endowment Fund, 2599 Sp
roul Rd., Broomall, PA 19008.
A memorial service is planned for spring.
Hilda K. Arnold
Hilda Katz Arnold of Wallingford died December 21. She is survived by a daughter, Robin Shields (William) of Wallingford; and two grandsons, Nicholas and Thomas. Services were private. Memorial gifts may be made to Temple Sholom, 55 N. Church Lane, Broomall, PA 19008.
Albert (Ted) W. Preston, Jr.
Albert W, Preston, Jr. (Ted), a former 25-year resident of Swarthmore, passed away December 20, at Warner Hospice Center on Amelia Island, Florida, his home for the last 17 years. He was 82.
Born in Philadelphia on June 17, 1933, Ted spent his youth in Pittsburgh, Pa., and was a graduate of Swarthmore College. He also earned a master’s degree in electrical engineering from Colorado State and a J.D. from Temple Law. He was a partner in the intellectual property law firm of Woodcock, Washburn, Kurtz and Norris until his retirement in 1999.
From 1974 until 1999, Ted and his wife, Jane, lived in Swarthmore, where they raised their family before retiring to Amelia Island.
In addition to his wife of 49 years, Ted is survived by a daughter, Cynthia Preston Arch of Cranford, N.J.; his identical twin brother, Tom of Seattle, Wash.; two grandchildren, TJ and Kayla Arch; and numerous nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by a son, Thomas E. Preston. Services were private. Memorial gifts may be made to Warner Hospice Center, 1348 18th Street, Fernandina Beach, FL 32034.
Toshiyuki Fukushima, a longtime resident of Swarthmore, died on January 1. He was 94.
Born September 26, 1921, in Tacoma, Washington, Tosh was raised by his mother, Waka Shibata, in Seattle, where he attended the Bailey Gatzert School and Broadway High School. He graduated from Swarthmore College in 1951 with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, and did post-graduate studies at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He earned his master’s degree from University of Pennsylvania in 1959.
Tosh was a sophomore at the University of Washington in February 1942, when the government issued Executive Order 9066, authorizing the deportation of Japanese-Americans living on the West Coast. That spring he and his mother were remanded to Minidoka War Relocation Center in Idaho. He was cleared to leave Minidoka in 1943 but, unable to enroll in college, came to Philadelphia to work for the National Japanese-American Student Relocation Council, whose chairman, John Nason, was the president of Swarthmore College. After being drafted in 1944, he successfully petitioned to become a conscientious objector and, as such, did service projects for the U.S. government until the end of war.
In 1949 he enrolled as a junior at Swarthmore College where he completed his degree. He, and other once-evacuated Japanese-Americans, were awarded honorary degrees by the University of Washington in 2008. Fukushima’s personal papers from this time are archived in the Swarthmore College Peace Collection.
In 1951, he married Marion Macdaid, and they settled in Swarthmore, where they raised six children. For more than 25 years, he worked as an engineer for Boeing Vertol, now Boeing Helicopters, and throughout his career he taught mathematics and engineering in the evening division at Widener University.
An avid tennis player, Tosh loved to swim at Swarthmore Swim Club, and the family vacationed regularly on Long Beach Island, N.J. He and Marion took up skiing later in life and often went to New England and the Poconos. He loved music and sang as a community member in the Swarthmore College Chorus, under the direction of John Alston. He and Marion frequently attended the Philadelphia Orchestra, and after his retirement, he volunteered at Taylor Hospital.
In addition to his wife of 64 years, Tosh is survived by six children, David Fukushima (Shirley Collins) and their children, Dashiel and Iris, of Vershire, Vt.; Elizabeth Fukushima (Paul Martin) of North Montpelier, Vt.; Philip Fukushima (Elaine) of Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, and his step-children, Julie Rose of Acampo, Cal.; Rebecca Bedford and Lindsay Tague, both of Jamestown, Cal.; and Lauren Au Hoon of Waikoloa, Hawaii; Margaret Fukushima Creed (Adam Creed) of Media; Catherine Fukushima of Brooklyn, N.Y.; and Barbara Fukushima (Peter Stoneham) and their sons, Joel and Luke Stoneham of Shutesbury, Mass. Memorial gifts may be sent to Chester Children’s Chorus, Swarthmore College, 500 College Avenue, Swarthmore, PA, 19081, or online at: www.swarthmore.edu/chester-childrens-chorus/gift.
The Memorial Service will be at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 9, at the Trinity Episcopal Church, Chester Rd. and College Ave., in Swarthmore.
Annalee (Lee) S. Gilbert
Lee Gilbert of White Horse Village in Newtown Square died on December 20, at her home with her family by her side, less than two weeks after being diagnosed with gall bladder cancer. She was 85.
Born Annalee Schendorf at home in Dundee, Ill., to Winfield and Ellabelle (Erringer) Schendorf, Lee attended a one-room schoolhouse in Dundee, where her father had a large dairy farm. Her family later moved to Evanston, Ill., where she attended Evanston Township Senior High, and then Northwestern University, graduating in 1950 at the age of 19, with a B.S. from the school of speech. She began graduate studies at Northwestern in political science, during which time she met her husband, Charles (Chuck) Gilbert, who was also a graduate student in the political science department. Lee left graduate school to become an analyst with the Central Intelligence Agency, where she worked until she and Chuck were married on November 27, 1954, in Washington, D.C.
In 1955 they moved to Swarthmore, where they lived until 2006. They had two children — Susan, born in 1955, and Jonathan, born in 1958. Lee was passionately engaged in life, In addition to her love for her family, she nurtured many lively and loving friendships, and was active in community work, her profession, and her church. She loved to entertain. As she reflected on her life during her brief illness, she was proudest of two things. One was her work helping to found the A Better Chance program [ABC-Strath Haven] in the Wallingford-Swarthmore School District, which has for 40 years welcomed youth from disadvantaged communities to Swarthmore to live and attend high school. The other was being an active member of the Potters Guild in Wallingford from its founding in 1964 until she died.
Lee was a potter for 52 years, and continually explored new ways to express her craft. While her art spanned a range from utilitarian to abstract, she had a particular interest in creating planters inspired by rocks in nature — her “rocks” were clusters of closed wheel-thrown forms with openings for plants. In addition to her work as a potter, she was an avid promoter of American craft as a partner/owner of The Studio in Swarthmore for 25 years (with Marge Bowler and the late Mary Custer). A longtime board member of the Community Arts Center in Wallingford, Lee was active with the Swarthmore Presbyterian Church, where she served as an ordained elder and on various local, regional, and national committees. She was also involved in local politics and served on the Swarthmore Planning Commission, She made a difference wherever she was, and will be deeply missed by her family and many friends.
In addition to her husband, Lee is survived by her daughter, Susan Gilbert Zencka (Carl); her son, Jon Gilbert (Marywade); three grandsons; and two sisters-in-law. A memorial service will be held at Swarthmore Presbyterian Church on Saturday, January 16, at 2 p.m. A reception will follow. Memorial gifts may be made to ABC-Strath Haven, Inc., P.O. Box 495, Swarthmore, PA 19081 or the Community Arts Center, 414 Plush Mill Road, Wallingford PA 19086.
Louise S. Fry
Louise Spencer Fry died peacefully at her home at Granite Farms Estates in Media, on November 11. She was 101.
Born in Ridley Park on October 13, 1914, she was the daughter of Frances Fulton Spencer and Robert Chester Spencer, the fifth of eight children, and the last to survive. For many years, the family lived in Swarthmore, where Louise graduated from the Mary Lyon School.
While at Mary Lyon, she studied piano with her sister, Mildred Spencer Hutcheson, and following graduation, she continued her studies in piano with distinguished teachers in Philadelphia, New York, and Chautauqua, N.Y. She played on Philadelphia radio stations after winning awards.
In 1953, Louise moved with her family to West Chester, where she was an active member of the Chester County Historical Society, and served as a docent. In addition, Louise taught piano in Swarthmore, West Chester, and at the Westtown School, and was a member of the Swarthmore Presbyterian Church and the Westminster Presbyterian Church of West Chester. After moving to Granite Farms in 1994, Louise sang in the Best Old Chorus, and continued her love of piano into her late nineties. Her love of music is reflected throughout her family today.
An amateur historian, she was a longtime member of the Chester County Questers, where she wrote several research papers on such diverse topics as itinerant artists, horticulturalist John Bartram, and the history of walking sticks. One of her favorite places was Vermont, where she spent summers as a child at the family summer home “Twin Knolls” in Wallingford, and later, with several of her children at their Vermont vacation homes. She also loved traveling internationally with her children, and birding throughout the U.S. with her partner, Harry Todd.
Predeceased by her husbands, John Anderson Plumer and Horace Pugh Fry, Louise is survived by her beloved partner of nineteen years, Harry Todd of Granite Farms, and his children, Jane and Bill. She is also survived by her children, J. Anderson (Andy) Plumer (Meg) of Dalton, Mass., Frances Plumer (George Sulzner) of Amherst, Mass., Dorothy Bartel (Clyde) of Solebury, Pa.; John Newlin Fry (Donna) of Ponder, Tex., and Louise Balluffi-Fry (Frank Balluffi) of Mountain Lakes, N.J.; 12 grandchildren; and 12 great-grandchildren.
A private service was held at Granite Farms Estates. A celebration of Louise’s life will be held in Wallingford, Vt., in the summer of 2016. Louise’s family extends many thanks to the staff at Granite Farms Estates and ACTS Hospice for all of the care and kindnesses given to her. Memorials are suggested to the Chester County Historical Society, 225 N. High St., West Chester, PA 19380, or a charity of the donor’s choice.