January 29, 2003: Memorials

Gilbert C. Fonda ’32

Gib died Sept. 18, 2002 at his home in Upper Montclair, N.J., after a brief illness. He was 91.

Gib was born in Orange, N.J., and majored in mechanical engineering, graduating magna cum laude. He had a lifelong love of sailing and was a member of the New York Yacht Club for 34 years.

During World War II, Gib joined the Navy, where he rose to be a lieutenant commander. During his four years of service, he was a radar expert and served as assistant navigator on the carrier Midway.

After the war, Gib established Operational Radar Services, a business that drew on his love of the ocean. He was a consultant on radar and navigation and author of the book Marine Radar and How to Use It.

Gib married Gloria M. Cook in 1973. In addition to his wife, Gib is survived by his niece, Margaret Cook; his nephew, David Cook; and his grandnieces and nephews, Jenna, Sara, Matthew, Timothy, and Christopher Cook. To his survivors, the class extends its sincere condolences.

The Class of 1932


Robert Morehead Perry ’32

Robert, professor emeritus at NYU, died on Sept. 26, 2002, in Providence, R.I. He was 92.

He born in New Castle, Pa., and attended Mercersburg Academy. He received a master’s in divinity from Union Theological Seminary in 1935, and a PhD from Edinburgh U. in 1937. He was ordained a Presbyterian minister in 1937. He served as a chaplain (lieutenant commander) in the Navy during WWII, and later in the Naval Reserve at the Veterans Hospital in Chillicothe, Ohio. In 1946 he became an assistant professor of religion at NYU, and later chaired the department. He retired in 1975.

Robert was a founding board member of the Roothbert Fund, a foundation devoted to aiding spiritually oriented students. In 1944 he married Mary Wilson Stewart, the sister of the actor and classmate James Stewart ’32. He was widowed in 1977, and in 1981 he married Coline Covington. He had lived in Providence, R.I., since 1980.

He is survived by his wife; four sons, David, James, Ethan, and Jason; and eight grandchildren, to all of whom the class sends its sincere condolences.

The Class of 1932


Washington Bowie V ’33

Wash died Mar. 29, 2001. He was 89. He was a lifelong resident of Lutherville, Md., and came to Princeton from Boys’ Latin in Baltimore. During WWII, Wash was stationed for 32 months in China/Burma/India theater with the Army Engineers, laying oil pipeline from Lido, India, to Chany, China.

In 1946 he married Mary McIntyre Pennington, who survives him. As a civil engineer, Wash was employed first at the Baltimore County public works and then for 37 years at the former J. E. Greiner Co., now URS. He was active in the Episcopal Church, had been a Boy Scout troop leader, and was a member of the Society of Colonial Wars. Wash’s principal volunteer interest was the Lutherville Volunteer Fire Co. He joined at the age of 17 and remained an active member for 40 years.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by daughters Jane Allan Bowie and Marion E. Robbins; sons Washington VI and Landon; and two grandsons.

The Class of 1933



Itch died in Wellfleet, Mass., on May 21, 2001. Born in Short Hills, N.J., his early years in schools in Cuba and the US hinted at the multifaceted life he was to have. He prepped at South Kent, captained Princeton’s lightweight crew (invited to the Henley Regatta), was Phi Beta Kappa, and taught at three prep schools before serving a three-year Navy hitch in the South Pacific during WWII.

Postwar he returned to student life, earning both a master’s and a PhD in French literature at Princeton. He then joined the faculty at Brown for 30 years, rising to chair both its French and comparative literature departments. In this period, he also wrote books, coached crew, served on Brown’s medical board in the early years of its then-fledgling Medical School, and won two Fulbright fellowships and a Guggenheim grant.

After “retirement” to Wellfleet, he turned from contemplating French writers to solving Wellfleet’s myriad shellfish, sand-road, harbor management, and tombstone restoration problems. He proved deft at all of them.

Survivors include his third wife, Barbara, and his children, Peter, John, and Ana T. Kammann. His children’s mother and second wife, Patricia Smith, also survives, as do four of their grandsons (including Sean Kammann ’98).

The Class of 1935



Walt died on May 6, 2001, in Minneapolis, Minn. He prepared for Princeton at the Blake School, where he was known for his many both academic and athletic interests. At Princeton he majored in psychology, played varsity lacrosse and hockey, and joined Cottage Club. Next step: Harvard Medical School, from which he graduated in 1940, and moved on to a job in the pathology department at the of U. of Minnesota.

Walt never forgot those six years working in the surgical pathology lab. But by 1948, calls from home requesting his return to help run the family’s extensive lumber, real estate, and investment businesses became too compelling to resist. Fortunately, he told classmates, he found the world of business and industry for the next 29 years not only stimulating and challenging, but receptive to his growing social, philanthropic, and environmental interests.

Walt was married twice, in 1939 to Elva Mae Dawson for 30 years, and then to Elaine Barbatsis in 1972. Elaine survives him, as do two brothers, Stephen ’33 and Archie; his sister, Louise Walker McCannel; 15 nieces and nephews; four stepchildren; and 12 step-grandchildren. The latter, who provided his indoctrination to the role of “grandfather,” said Walt, proved “one of the most satisfying and absorbing experiences of my life.”

The Class of 1935



Fred, or “Beaver,” died Mar. 18, 2002, at his longtime home in Greenville, Del. He prepared at Germantown Academy, William Penn Charter School, and Blair Academy. At Princeton he majored in chemistry, lettered as a senior on the varsity wrestling squad, and was president of Campus Club.

During WWII, Fred served as a lieutenant in the Navy. Various campaigns culminated in Okinawa, where he shared in a unit citation.

Fred’s entire professional career was with DuPont. He spanned process control, sales production, and technical services and was granted 15 patents. Ultimately, as senior research chemist, he conceived and developed new products. Fred supported and was a board member of the Arthritis Foundation. In his 80s, he played competitive tennis. He also undertook investments and the computer when not consulting and was active in local civic organizations.

Fred was class secretary from 1953-58, a former class regional vice president, and Campus Club treasurer for 15 years.

Fred’s first wife, Elizabeth P. Dittman, died in 1973. Surviving him are their children, Fred III and Judith Anne Tanigi, four grandchildren, and his second wife, Meredith Holladay. The class extends its deep sympathy to his family.

The Class of 1938


Richard Dowling Thomson ’38

Dick died Nov. 1, 2001, at his home in Haverford, Pa. He attended Penn Charter School and Lawrenceville. At Princeton, Dick won numerals in freshman track and was a member of the Glee Club and Cannon Club. He majored in geology, but left after junior year to attend business school. During WWII, Dick served in France as a lieutenant commander in the Coast Guard.

Postwar, Dick lived in the Philadelphia suburbs and served as commissioner of Lower Marion Township from 1957-65. In 1967 he was appointed to the Pennsylvania Governor’s advisory committee on library development, eventually becoming its chairman. A noted authority on roses, Dick wrote four books on the subject, the best known being Old Roses for Modern Gardens. A lifetime judge for the American Rose Society, his garden in Wynnewood, Pa., was a local landmark for rose lovers, featuring over 800 varieties. He also collected over 250 timepieces, many of which were featured in his book, American Antique Clocks and Watches.

Dick is survived by his wife, Claribel, daughters Barbara and Deborah, a granddaughter, and a foster grandson, to all of whom the class extends its sympathy.

The Class of 1938


Robin Anderson ’39

Robin died May 12, 2002, in Newbury, Ohio.

After graduating from Harvard Medical School in 1943, he joined the Army and served as a plastic surgeon. Honorably discharged as a major in 1945, he continued his surgical training at Ohio State U. and Washington U. in St. Louis, where he worked with Elden Byers, one of the pioneers in the field. In 1951 he moved to Cleveland, where he founded the Dept. of Plastic Surgery at the Cleveland Clinic and remained there for the next 28 years.

In 1980, Robin was elected vice chairman of the American Board of Plastic Surgery. He is remembered for his wide range of interests, from collecting contemporary art to building and repairing harpsichords, and a love of skiing, sailing, and mountain climbing. A music lover, he played the flute, sang with the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus, and served on the board of the Cleveland Institute of Music. In 1979 he retired from the Cleveland Clinic and moved to Steamboat Springs, Colo., returning to Ohio shortly before his death. To Diane, his wife of 30 years, his four children by his first wife, and his seven grandchildren, we offer our sincere sympathy.

The Class of 1939


Ellwood Harrar Furst ’39

Woody died of pneumonia on June 30, 2002, at Taylor Hospital in Ridley Park, Pa. From 1947 until he retired in 1979, he was a salesman and then sales manager for the Pennsylvania Railroad and its successors in the coal department, handling accounts for coal companies that used the railroads to transport their product. After he retired, he was a photographer for the Swarthmorean, a weekly newspaper, developing photos in his own darkroom. As a captain in the 773rd Tank Battalion in George Patton’s Third Army in WWII, Woody was awarded the Bronze Star for “meritorious operations” in a division that destroyed 105 enemy positions and 113 tanks.

An enthusiastic golfer, he was a member of Springhaven Golf Club, though in 1991 he wrote us that while his blood pressure was steady, his golf game was deteriorating. He was a Mason and a member of Swarthmore Presbyterian Church. To Elinor, his wife of 42 years, their daughter, three sons, and seven grandchildren, we offer our sincere sympathy.

The Class of 1939


Clifford Bradley O’Hara ’39

Cliff died June 26, 2002, in Greenwich, Conn., of complications from a systemic staphylococcus infection. Though he retired in 1962 as director of port commerce for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, where he had worked since 1953, he remained active as port consultant to Frederic R. Harris and Co. He was president of the North Atlantic Ports Assn. from 1961-64, of the American Assn. of Port Authorities from 1979-80, and of the Containerization and Intermodal Institute from 1976-78. Appointed by Pres. Carter to the binational board of directors of the Panama Canal Commission, he served from 1980-82 and was reappointed by Pres. Clinton, serving from 1994 to the turnover of the canal to the Republic of Panama on Dec. 31, 1999.

Cliff and Henna (Helen Hanford) were married in 1941, and in their 61 years together enjoyed an ever-growing family of three daughters, two sons, 10 grandchildren, three stepgrandchildren, three great-grandchildren and four step-great-grandchildren. To Henna and all this loving family we offer our sincere sympathy. And we add our admiration for Cliff’s many years of distinguished public service.

The Class of 1939


Richard W. Sutphen ’40

Dick died Apr. 7, 2002. Most of his post-Princeton years were happily spent in the Westport, Conn., area.

An Eagle Scout, he prepared at Phillips Exeter Academy, then entered Princeton, as had his stepfather, Harold A. Sutphen ’20, and as would his brothers, Fred ’42 and Harold ’48.

At Princeton, Dick was on the freshman lacrosse team. He left in his sophomore year to become affiliated with Continental Grain Co.; later, he was business manager of Diamond Match Co. Most of his business career saw him commuting to NYC as business manager of Boydon Assn., an international research firm for executive talent.

Dick’s long-term sense of community service included serving as president of the Westport YMCA, trustee of the Congregational Church, director of the Red Cross Chapter, and executive director of the Westport-Weston United Fund.

After his first wife Elizabeth Shaumbaugh died in 1975, he married Love Hogan, bringing two stepchildren into the family. In recent years, after he retired, he and Love moved to the home they built near Chapel Hill, N.C., and then to Pittsboro, N.C.

To his family — son Richard Jr. and daughter Joanne; stepdaughter Sharon Hogan and stepson Thomas Hogan — his classmates extend their sincere condolences.

The Class of 1940


Albert VandeWeghe ’40

On Aug. 13, 2002, Al succumbed to leukemia. He was an Olympian in fact and in the hearts of his classmates.

He prepared at Paterson Central and Hun Schools, having won the silver medal [100-meter backstroke] in the 1936 Olympics before entering Princeton, where he was class vice president, president of the Princeton Engineering Society, a member of the Undergraduate Council and Honor Committee, and Quadrangle Club officer. He lettered all four years and captained the swim team and majored in chemical engineering.

His successful and entire career was with the DuPont Co. in a variety of locations in the US. With every move he was active in the local community organizations.

His international prowess culminated in his induction into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1990. Al was still competing nationally as a masters swimmer until last year, not content with six world records, five NCAA Championships, nine American records, undefeated as a college swimmer, and Princeton’s Outstanding Scholar-Athlete in 1940.

Yet, when Al was to write updates for reunion books, his priorities were clear: his beloved wife, Peg; his family; his Tulsa, Okla. farm; raising cattle and fruit and nut trees; his desire to return for Reunions.

To his surviving kin: son Ted; daughters Brie VandeWeghe and Peggy Little; and grand and step-grandchildren, we extend our deepest sympathy.

The Class of 1940


Frederick Rolland Carson ’42

Rolly died in Chicago on July 1, 2002, after a long and distinguished career as a lawyer. He retired as a partner with the law firm Isham, Lincoln, and Beale in 1988, after serving for 40 years.

Rolly joined the class after preparing at New Trier High and Berkshire schools. He majored in politics and was a member of Dial Lodge Club. Leaving Princeton senior year to join the armed forces, he returned in 1946 to graduate with honors in philosophy, after which he earned an LLB at the U. of Michigan in 1948. During the war he graduated from the Navy V-7 program as an ensign and was assigned to the USS Princeton, where he served until it was sunk Oct. 24, 1944, in the battle of Leyte Gulf. Rolly was awarded a Bronze Star for his role in attempting to save the ship after it was attacked. His postwar pro-bono involvement included serving as police magistrate in Northfield and village attorney in Winnetka, his home at the time of his death.

To his widow, Martha, and to his children, Fred Jr., Camille, and Catherine, the class offers its most sincere condolences.

The Class of 1942


John Pennington Warter ’42

Penn, a noted orthopedic surgeon and founder of the Westfield Orthopedic Group in New Jersey, died July 30, 2002, in Hinsdale Hospital, Illinois. At Princeton he achieved departmental honors in biology, was a member of Dial Lodge, and roomed with Charlie Crandall, whose sister, Rosemary, Penn married in 1944. During WWII he graduated from Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons. He served as a lieutenant in the Navy Medical Corps during WWII and later in the Korean War. After his residency at Bellevue Hospital and internship at NY Orthopedic Hospital, Penn opened his practice in Westfield, which over 30 years grew to five surgeons and 40 employees.

During the development of the Westfield Group, he was appointed Chief of Orthopedic Surgery at Overlook Hospital in Summit. His patients included future and current Olympic athletes; however, his greatest satisfaction was in the treating of children and the impoverished. Penn and Rosemary, who died in 1998, were dedicated fundraisers. Penn himself was a prolific writer, a history buff, and an eclectic art collector.

To his four children, Larry, Mark, Chris, and Penny, and their families, the class offers its deepest condolences.

The Class of 1942


Richard D. Challener ’44

Dick died on Sept. 23, 2002. A Hill School graduate, he majored in history and the divisional program in the humanities; he was a member of Campus Club and Whig Clio, and the winner of the freshman honor prize. He roomed with Roe, Sands, Martin, and Schmertz.

After service in the Army in Europe, winning significant service awards and medals, he returned to Princeton to graduate and to remain there as a teacher for 51 years; his doctorate was from Columbia.

Dick’s specialty was American diplomatic and military history; he was chair of the history department, associate dean of the college, and clerk of the faculty. He chaired the committee on Canadian studies. His books include The French Theory of the Nation in Arms 1866-1940, and Admirals, Generals and American Foreign Policy 1898-1914. He served on the boards of the local Riverside School, The Hun School (as chair), and Stuart School, and as a Middle States commissioner. He was elected honorary member of the Class of ’94.

He is survived by Martha, his wife of 55 years, three children, Catherine, Elisbeth, and Daniel, and three grandchildren. His classmates will miss him.

The Class of 1944



Jack died peacefully on Feb. 12, 2002, in Winterport, Maine. He was 74 and had suffered from dementia for the past two years. He prepared for Princeton at Belmont Hill School and served in the Coast Guard during WWII. At Princeton he majored in psychology and was a member of Tiger Inn. He served as commodore of the yacht club and was on the executive committee of the Middle Atlantic Intercollegiate Sailing Assn.

Jack owned and operated the Boston travel agency Raymond and Whitcomb until he retired in 1983. Afterwards, he remained active in a variety of small business interests in Marblehead. His great love was sailing, and he often competed in national and international yacht races. He was the past commodore of the Pleon Yacht Club and Corinthian Yacht Club in Marblehead, Mass. He was also active in skiing and traveling.

Jack was married twice, to Nancy Watson Blodgett, the mother of their four children, and to Charlene Grace Blodgett. He is survived by two daughters, Heidi Vissering and Doris Hearty; two sons, John and David; and seven grandchildren. The class extends it sincere sympathy to them on their loss.

The Class of 1949



Harry, a former class president and member of the executive committee of the Alumni Council, died on June 3, 2002, at the U. of Pennsylvania Hospital. He was 74.

Harry prepared for Princeton at Lawrenceville School. He served in the Army in 1946-47 and again during the Korean War, where he was awarded a Bronze Star. At Princeton he majored in politics, graduating with honors. He served as news editor of the Daily Princetonian, president of the pre-law society, and class treasurer. He was awarded the Distinguished Military Student Citation by the Dept. of Military Science.

After Korean service, Harry attended Harvard Law School, graduating in 1955. He started his career as assistant general counsel to both Johnson & Johnson and American Cyanamid. In private practice he served as general counsel to Applied Logic Corp. and Princeton Applied Research. After he retired, he was an adjunct professor of law at the College of New Jersey. He was an accomplished jazz pianist and played at numerous charitable events and class functions.

Harry is survived by his wife, Marian; three sons, Gregory, Eliot, and H. Tappan; a daughter, Carol H. Peters; and 10 grandchildren. The class shares their grief at the loss of this committed classmate.

The Class of 1949


Ernani C. Falcone ’50

“Nani” died of a stroke on May 13, 2002, in San Antonio, Tex., his home since he retired in 1989, after 33 years of teaching social sciences at Swarthmore and Upper Merion (Pa.) Highs. A Haverford (Pa.) High graduate, he earned an international affairs degree at Princeton and, in 1959, a master’s in history and government from Penn.

During the Korean conflict he served in Europe with the Army. Starting as a private, Nani retired from the Reserves in 1982 as a colonel with the Army Commendation Medal.

Politics shared his passion with teaching. In Pennsylvania, he was respected in Democratic circles for his leadership. He brought his civic dedication to San Antonio, where he became the center of major policy debates. He fought for neighborhood greenbelts, historic preservation, and funding city parks. In recognition, a new park now bears his name. Mayor Ed Garza called Nani an adopted son of San Antonio, and said, “Our city has lost a champion.”

Tributes abound for his enthusiastic work for Princeton, especially 10 years as South Texas schools chair. We remember Nani for hosting our San Antonio mini-Reunion.

Our sympathy goes to Nani’s widow, Patricia; his brother, Samuel Farmer ’45; his daughter, Julie; and his son, Claude.

The Class of 1950


Wayne W. Webster ’50

Wayne died in Simi Valley, Calif., from multi-organ failure on Dec. 16, 2001. He was 79.

He was born in Erie, Pa., and graduated from Princeton HS. Before entering the university, he served in the Army from 1943-46 in the European theater, receiving the European Campaign, Good Conduct, and Victory medals. Though a member of our class, the service delayed his graduation until 1951, when he was elected an associate member of Sigma Xi and received high honors with his degree in psychology.

After graduation, Wayne worked for Pratt and Whitney in Hartford, Conn., as an engineer and later as a programmer. He married Liselotte Pensel in 1957. Preferring the warmer Southern California climate, he joined Litton Systems in LA, in 1967. He worked for Transamerica Occidental as a senior programmer for five years preceding a near-fatal cardiac arrest in 1978, which prompted his retirement.

Until his death, Wayne actively pursued his lifelong interest in theoretical physics, specifically physical constants such as the speed of light and the expansion rate of the universe. His research has yet to be published.

To his wife, Liselotte, and daughter, Virginia, we extend our sympathy.

The Class of 1950


Lynn Moore Ewing Jr. ’52

After a 12-year struggle with cancer, Lynn Ewing died at home in Nevada, Mo., on Feb. 17, 2001. Funeral services were held in the United Methodist Church and All Saints Episcopal Church in Nevada, where Lynn had been vestryman, senior warden, and lector.

Lynn’s roots were deepest in his hometown, Nevada. He transferred after his freshman year at Princeton to the U. of Missouri, where his career was spectacular. He graduated with his degree, Phi Beta Kappa, in 1952, and a law degree in 1954, Order of the Coif. He and Peggy Adams were married in 1954. Lynn then served two years as a lawyer in the Air Force Judge Advocate General Corps. They returned to Nevada in 1956, where he became a third generation member of his law firm.

Service to his community, state, and church constituted a major thread in Lynn’s life. He served three terms in the Missouri house of representatives, six years as councilman and mayor of Nevada, and sat on countless local boards. He was named a Rotary Paul Harris Fellow, and Nevada Citizen of the Year in 1975.

Lynn is survived by his wife, Peggy; children, Margaret, Lynn III, and Melissa; a brother, Blair; and four grandchildren. We extend to them our profound condolences.

The Class of 1952


Howard MacFarland Fish Jr. ’52

Mac died of a heart attack on July 29, 2001, during a walk near his home on Lake Placid. Classmates, friends, and former students packed the Community Church there and at St. Andrew’s Church in Edgartown, to remember Mac.

Bonded in childhood, Mac and Marjory Evans were married in Jan. 1951. Of Margo he wrote, “her ability to dance on the edge of mystery has continually pulled me beyond what I might have been.” A summer wedding trip to Scotland helped shape Mac’s growth as teacher and pastor. After two years in residence at the U. of Edinburgh, and a tour at the Webb School in California, he received his PhD in English in 1958. His theology degree was from Harvard. The first chaplain at Lawrenceville, Mac also chaired the religion department from 1969-88. He and Margo moved to Lake Placid and expanded their property to incorporate Tapawingo, a center devoted to art, religion, and education. Mac also became teacher and board chairman at the National Sports Academy.

Mac was remembered and missed during the memorial service at our 50th reunion. In addition to Margo, he is survived by four children, Katherine, Farland, Howard, and Peter; 10 grandchildren; and brothers John and Henry. To them, the class extends its deep sympathy.

The Class of 1952


Alan Ferguson Lyster ’52

Alan died from complications of cancer at his home in Asbury Park, N.J., on Aug. 16, 2001. A funeral mass was celebrated in his home parish of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church.

Midway through his junior year, Alan left Princeton to enlist in the Air Force. Trained to serve as a gunner, he reported that he “never fired a shot in anger.” He and Sally Walheim were married in July 1953, and they returned to Princeton in the spring of 1954, where Alan continued his English major. He graduated in 1955.

After two years as trust officer in a bank, he became an English teacher and track and football coach at Rumson-Fair Haven HS in 1958. He remained a devoted teacher until he retired in 1995. An avid reader and writer, Alan received a scholarship at the U. of London in 1966, and he won the Star-Ledger Scholars Teacher Award in 1988. For 30 years he worked summers as a parimutuel clerk at Monmouth Park.

Alan’s wife, Sally, predeceased him in Feb. 2001, and he is survived by his children, Alan Jr., Richard, James, and Bonnie, and five grandchildren. The class offers its deepest sympathy to Alan’s family.

The Class of 1952


Henry Carlton Pflum ’52

Henry was born in Buffalo, N.Y., on May 20, 1930, and died on May 24, 1991, in Allentown, Pa. He was the only child of the Rev. Henry Pflum, a Lutheran pastor, and Florence Pflum.

At Allentown HS he was active in track, dramatics, and debating. “Hank,” as he was known in Allentown, was soon tagged “Pflumy” by his Princeton friends. At Princeton he was on the fencing team and performed well in épée. Freshman year he roomed with Doc Buyers and sophomore year with Bob Owen and Poss Parham. He left Princeton after his sophomore year and graduated from Muhlenberg College in Allentown. His first employment was with Lehigh Standard Steel.

His wife, Jeannie Dutko, predeceased him, and he is survived by his three adopted daughters, Candace Pierra and her two children, Marty and Austin; Mrs. Glenn Koch (Dea) and her two children, Ryan and Lauren; and Mrs. Christopher Clark (Pamela). We now know that he suffered from chronic depression throughout a great part of his life. A kind, gentle, and generous friend, he brought more joy to those around him than he ever realized himself. We extend our deepest sympathy to his family.

The Class of 1952


Donald James Sutherland ’53

Don, fondly known by most of us as “Suds,” died at his Long Island home on Aug. 10, 2002.

He was the son of Lavinia and Conrad J. Sutherland ’24, grew up in Manhasset, N.Y., and prepared at Andover. A member of Cap & Gown, Don majored in politics, played lacrosse, was publicity manager for the Triangle Club, served the Orange Key, and wrote for the Daily Princetonian. Upon graduating, he was commissioned an ensign in the Navy. After his discharge, he attended Harvard Business School.

He had a distinguished and successful business career as an entrepreneur. He founded Quincy Partners in 1974 and was an early participant in the leveraged buyout concept of acquiring companies. He was a major supporter of Andover, Princeton, St. Michael’s College (trustee), Hofstra College (trustee), and the Joffrey Ballet (trustee and chairman). He is survived by his wife, Denise; children Conor, Paige ’81, Donald Jr., Shelley, and Julie; four grandchildren; and brother Robert. He regarded his family as his most important life achievement. We are all better off for his having been with us.

The Class of 1953


Steven Cole Decoster ’55

Steve died Apr. 19, 2002, of Alzheimer’s. He was reared in St. Paul, Minn., and attended the St. Paul Academy. At Princeton he majored in English and studied in the American civilization program. He was a member of Campus Club and was involved with IAA sports and Whig Clio.

Steve attended Harvard Law School and enjoyed a 30-year career as a prosecuting attorney for Ramsey County, Minn. He was proud of his record as an appellate advocate with more than 1,000 cases in appeals courts.

Steve had always been a poet at heart, writing poems in notebooks and scraps of paper over the last 25 years. Early in 2002 a number of his poems were published under the title Water’s Edge: Poems and Reflections. “He wrote with passion and joy about the natural world that he loved, and about God, and especially about his beloved St. Croix River.”

Steve is survived by his wife, Anne, son Shawn, four stepchildren, and four grandchildren. To them we extend our sympathy.

The Class of 1955


Benjamin B. Morgan ’57

Ben died Aug. 1, 2002. While at Princeton he majored in geology and joined Cloister Inn. As an undergraduate he was active in the Society of Musical Amateurs, a crew member, and participated in the Trenton Naturalist Club. His senior year roommates were Jon Reed and Pete Roudebush.

After graduation, Ben attended Worcester Polytechnic Institute, earning a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. He then served in the Coast Guard from 1960-66.

Ben taught science at the Pomfret School in Pomfret, Conn., for a number of years. Then he worked for the US Geology Survey in Reston, Va., after which he returned to teaching science at Pomfret until he died.

Ben never married. The class sends its condolences to his brother, John.

The Class of 1957


Richard H. Kessler ’59

Dick died on Dec. 26, 2001, in NYC, after a brief battle with cancer.

Dick was born and grew up in NYC. He attended Millbrook School in preparation for Princeton. At Princeton he majored in the special program in European civilization, German division, roomed with Jon Rickert, Tom Riggs, and Kent Smith, served as social and junior bicker chairman for Elm Club, and drilled with Army ROTC, later serving in Army intelligence.

After Princeton, Dick attended Wake Forest Law School and NYU Graduate Law School, receiving a degree in international law. He began practice in Winston-Salem, N.C., then went on to serve as corporate counsel at Pan American Airways, Trans-World Airways, and the City of New York. In retirement, Dick devoted himself to learning the history of NYC, and was an active member of the Princeton Club of New York.

Dick is survived by his wife, Janet Page; his daughters Cia Kessler, Adrienne Franklin, and Susan Neill; three sisters; and four grandchildren, to whom the class extends its condolences.

The Class of 1959


John D. Lavagnino ’59

John died in California on May 6, 1996. We learned of his death from the Social Security Death Index. His last known residence was LA.

John was born in Pasadena, and attended the Desert Sun School in Idyllwild, Calif. At Princeton he managed the soccer team and leaned toward a major in history, but left midway through sophomore year. He returned to graduate with the Class of ’61.

According to our 10th reunion yearbook, John spent his first two years after graduation teaching at the Robert Louis Stevenson School in Pebble Beach, where he also coached the varsity soccer team. From there he moved to the Polytechnic School, coaching championship soccer teams in 1964 and 1965, and serving as president of the Southern California Independent Soccer League from 1964-66. He then produced two films on soccer, and established a film production company, Soccer USA.

We lost track of John in 1976, and regret that we cannot write further of his accomplishments from that time to his death.

The Class of 1959

Laura Elisabeth Sanders ’78

Cancer claimed a dear classmate when Laura, “LB,” died in May 2002, of ovarian cancer. She fought the disease for four years, to store up a lifetime of memories for her son Luke, now seven years old.

LB graduated summa cum laude and took the thesis prize in English, then went on to graduate from Harvard Medical School in 1982. LB’s list of accomplishments, honors, and contributions in her field of endocrine surgery far exceed our limited space to tell. It should surprise nobody to learn that during her residency at Massachusetts General Hospital she trained for the Boston Marathon by running to work. She was known to commute by bicycle from Cambridge to Salem.

LB had a deep passion for life. She had already beaten long odds against esophageal cancer, diagnosed in 1993. She continued a full surgical schedule for two years, participating in and fundraising for the Wellness Community, a cancer support group. She also wrote her autobiography, Letter to Luke.

The class’s deepest sympathy goes to LB’s husband, Eric Scheuer, to Luke, and to the friends and family who loved LB deeply and supported her in a life well-lived and too soon ended.

The Class of 1978


Dana Laird ’88

The class lost one of its most loyal members when Dana died in a bicycle accident on July 2, 2002, in Cambridge, Mass.

Dana grew up in Dallas, where she was valedictorian at Highland Park HS. A religion major at Princeton, Dana was a member of Tower Club and active in the Glee Club.

After graduation, Dana taught English in Japan and worked as an admissions officer at Princeton. In 1994 she received her master’s degree from the Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy at Tufts U. At the time of her death, Dana was pursuing her PhD at Fletcher.

Dana’s life, however, was about more than just achievements. She loved music, travel, and all kinds of physical activity. Proud to be “small and mighty,” Dana was an accomplished marathon runner, kayaker, skier, and cyclist. Blessed with an adventurous spirit, a keen mind, and a compassionate heart, Dana constantly challenged herself — and those around her — physically, intellectually, and spiritually.

Dana is survived by her husband, Kenji Nakano; her parents, Sydney and Penn Laird ’62; her brother, Penn ’91; and her sister, Kelly Phillips. Memorial contributions can be made to the Dana Laird Memorial Fund at the Fletcher School.

The Class of 1988


James B. Grossman ’92

Jim died on June 14, 2002, at his parents’ home in Short Hills, N.J., after enduring a long illness with remarkable courage.

Jim was completing the requirements for a PhD in clinical psychology from Yale. His research focused on early child development, seeking to discover how to provide children with the best possible chance to develop strong and happy lives. Jim was the author of research articles and textbook sections on a wide range of subjects including autism, linguistics, and evolutionary psychology. A James Grossman Prize to be awarded to the outstanding PhD thesis each year has been established by Yale’s psychology department.

Jim came to Princeton from The Pingry School in Martinsville, N.J. At Princeton, Jim lived in Rockefeller College and was a member of Charter Club and DKE. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude with a degree in history.

Jim will be best remembered by his classmates for his kindness to others and for his irrepressible wit, keeping friends laughing with his outrageous, yet self-deprecating humor.

Jim is survived by his parents, Dan and Martha, and his beloved sister Kate. The class extends its deepest sympathy to his family.

The Class of 1992

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