2003 Memorials


          Through the good offices of Kenneth Underwood '50, who contacted Secretary Dan Duffield with the information, we have learned of the death on December 15, 2003, of John Hagaman '52.  John died of lung cancer in Glen Ridge, NJ.  He leaves his wife Elaine, one son, and two grandchildren.
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        Chester S. Bell, Jr. '52 died at Sibley Hospital in Washington, DC, on December 13, 2003, of complications related to surgery for a perforated ulcer a month earlier.  Chet never married.  He leaves three cousins, his aunt's grandchildren: Barbara de Boinville '74, her twin sister Nan Rollings '74, their brother Dr. Clay Risk '78, and their mother Louise Risk, the widow of Chet's cousin Sharon Clay Risk '43.  
         Chet retired from his long career with the U.S. Agency for International Development in 1985 but continued with occasional short-term AID assignments. His cousin Barbara recalls his great affection for the places he served, such as Afghanistan, Yeman, and Oman, and the enthusiasm and dedication he showed for his job and for living abroad.  He loved walking, and in retirement he often took long walks with his dogs,

first a Pharaoh hound named Daisy and later an Abizan hound named Spring.  Family was very important to him.
        At a gathering in Chet's memory on December 27 at Barbara and Bryan de Boinville's home in Chevy Chase, MD, Chet's family, friends, and neighbors shared stories about our quiet classmate and the concern he showed for less fortunate people both at home and abroad.  Barry Loper and Steve and Kent Rogers represented the class at the gathering.
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      Our Classmate Bill Hansen died November 21, 2003.  His work took him to New York, Chicago and Phoenix after graduation and his Navy service, but he had lived for most of the past decade in retirement in Roanoke, Virginia. His wife Anne died in 1989, and they had no children.  Bill had suffered a heart attack and stroke, but we have little immediate information about his death.
         
The notice published in the November 23
Roanoke Times follows:

        HANSEN, William Anton LTJG, U.S. Navy.  William Anton Hansen, 74, of Roanoke, passed away Friday, November 21, 2003.  He was predeceased by his wife, Anne Braddon Hansen.  He was born October 16, 1929, and raised in Toms River, N.J.  He graduated from Princeton University Cum Laude in 1952, and was a commodities trader for 30 years.  He was one of the first five residents of the Virginia Veteran's Care Center, and its founder and president for five years of the Resident's Council.  He was active in the local Democratic Party and a veteran's activist with life membership in the DAV.  He was also a member of the American Legion, American Veterans, and the Tin Can Sailors.  

        A prayer service for Bill was held in Roanoke on November 23, and he was buried November 29 in Toms River, NJ, where he grew up.  Bill's connections as an undergraduate included the NROTC, Dial Lodge, and SPIA.

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         From John McGillicuddy, through John Emery, we have learned that Classmate Richard A. Dennen, Jr., died suddenly on October 15, 2003.  Dick (or "Duke") lived in Wyckoff, NJ. 
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      Russell T. Barnhart '52 died September 14, 2003, at the New York State Veterans Home in Jamaica, Long Island, New York.     
         
        As is clear from his entry in the Book of Our History, Russ was absorbed in his writing -- including seven books on gambling.  He was also a professional magician.  His contributions to our yearbooks before the BOH told little about him.  We are grateful to his brother, Kenneth "Barney" Barnhart '45, for information about Russ's interesting life and accomplishments, on which most of the following is based.

         Russ was born in Chicago in 1926, the son of Eugene M. Barnhart '12.   He lived in Evanston, Lake Forest, and Chicago, IL, and on his and Barney's maternal grandmother's chicken farm near White Sulphur Springs, WV, until 1936, when they moved to New York.  While in New York, Russ was active in the Knickerbocker Greys, rising to the rank of Lt. Col. and second in command of the Regiment.  He attended Asheville School in North Carolina, and enlisted in the US Navy in 1944.  He was a drill instructor at Great Lakes Naval Station and then a yeoman with the Seventh Fleet.   Stationed subsequently in Shanghai, he served as yeoman, he later related, for a series of seven admirals.
        After discharge in 1946, Russ prepared for Princeton at Andover and the Hun School.  He entered Princeton with us in 1948 and majored in English, though he also became fluent in French and Spanish.  After graduation he taught both languages at Choate.
        Russ then retired to NYC to pursue a career in writing and as a professional magician.  Since he was 9, Russ had had a deep interest in magic.  He was adept at prestidigitation, invented some card tricks, frequented magicians' haunts, and was a good friend of famous card trick artists Martin Gardner and Dave Vernon.  He worked one winter in Mexico earning his keep by playing the piano and doing tricks in some Mexican cafes, and he rarely missed the magicians' Saturday lunch in New York.  He developed a deep and expert interest in gambling, its mathematics, its mechanics, its history, and its mores.  He wrote a number of books on the subject, some of which are at Firestone.
            Russ developed progressive dementia in 2001.  Not long before he died he was pleased to receive a letter of thanks from Admiral Grosjean of the Nimitz Museum for the original unpublished manuscript of his book, "My Life in the Navy, More or Less, Mostly Less."  He was honored by the Institute for the Study of Gambling of the University of Nevada Reno for his donation of the Russell T. Barnhart Collection, an extensive collection of books and papers on gambling, some dating to the late 17th Century.
             Russ never married.  Barney Barnhart is his only living sibling. He is also survived by four nephews.

             Addendum: Magic Times called Russ a "well known close-up magician and gambling expert" in its October 1 obituary and noted that he had been honored "for his lifelong study and contributions to gambling."  The obituary an be read at www.magictimes.com.

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        Bob Lovell reports that the September 21, 2003, New York Times contains a notice of the death of classmate Stewart E. Pursel on September 18.  Pete died of cancer.  An obituary from the funeral director's website (slightly edited) follows:

 Stewart Ephriam Pursel, M.D. 9/27/1930 – 9/18/2003

         Dr. Stewart E. Pursel passed away due to cancer the morning of September 18, 2003 at William Beaumont Hospital.
         Stewart is survived by his loving wife, Mary Louise Pursel, his son, Thomas Stewart Pursel, daughter Linda Pursel Ramsey, six grandchildren, and sister, Jean Pursel Beckwith.
         Stewart was born and raised in Phillipsburg, New Jersey September 27, 1930 son of Stewart Hagerty Pursel and Ruth Minnie Albertson. He attended Mercersburg Academy graduating in 1948. He was a graduate of Princeton University (1952) and Yale Medical School (1956).  He served his country as a Captain in the U.S. Air Force (1957-1959).  He then received the Winchester Fellowship for Thoracic Surgery at Yale University (1959-1960).
         Dr. Pursel was a Clinical Assistant Professor of Surgery at Wayne State University School of Medicine from 1970 to present. Dr. Pursel served as Chief of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery at Harper Hospital, Chief of Thoracic Surgery at Detroit Receiving, Sinai Hospital of Detroit and William Beaumont Hospital throughout his distinguished career in the Detroit Metropolitan area.
         Dr. Pursel was a past president of the Detroit Academy of Medicine as well as a Fellow of American College of Chest Surgeons. Dr. Pursel was a clinically published physician with 17 articles appearing in a variety of medical journals.
        Stewart first came to the Wayne County Family Center, Lutheran Social Services of Michigan’s homeless shelter for families in October of 2000. Within a month, he was providing free, volunteer medical services to the residents, many of whom have no health insurance. During his time at the Hope Clinic, Dr. Pursel treated more than 200 homeless individuals in a medical clinic on site that he helped found, design and stock with necessary equipment. Dr. Pursel treated everything from seasonal ailments to serious chronic health conditions, such as diabetes and hypertension, and more than once spotted serious medical problems that required immediate emergency attention. The United Way Community and Lutheran Social Services recognized Dr. Pursel for his dedicated service. 
        Staff and residents alike will miss his unselfish, gentle presence as deeply as the crucial medical services he provided.
         Stewart was an avid golfer and member of the Detroit Golf Club. He played golf for Princeton University.
         Stewart was a man of strong faith and served as an elder at Jefferson Avenue Presbyterian Church.  He will be remembered as a man of integrity, a healer and skilled surgeon. A compassionate man, Stewart will be cherished always, by his family, friends, and his loving wife, Mary Louise of 50 years.
         Memorial service Tuesday, Sept 23rd 11:00am at Jefferson Avenue Presbyterian Church, 8625 E. Jefferson, Detroit (on Jefferson east of Van Dyke between Burns and Fletcher) - Family will greet friends following the service.
         Memorial tributes to The Stewart Pursel Memorial Fund c/o Jefferson Avenue Presbyterian Church.

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          John Clutz has brought to our attention that classmate Stephen Seidel died July 17, 2003 (according to Alumni Records; the press said July 18).  Below is his obituary frm the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

 SEIDEL RAN FAMILY TANNERY, By Allison L. Smith

           After more than a half century overseeing his family's leather tannery, Milwaukee native Stephen E. Seidel had become perhaps the most senior tanner in the region. This despite a downsizing in Milwaukee's tanning industry - from more than 30 tanneries in the mid-20th century to just four today.
        
Seidel died Friday at his Chenequa home of undetermined but apparently natural causes. He was 74.
       
Having fought significant eye problems nearly all his life, Seidel bonded with the doctor who performed Seidel's first eye surgery. Devoted ever after to research on cures for blindness, Seidel heavily endowed the Schepens Eye Research Institute in Boston, establishing a family foundation to guarantee the funding.
        
Richard Churchville had, in many regards, been Stephen Seidel's eyes since Churchville came to work at the tannery more than 20 years ago.
        
"My responsibilities were to do his readings and enable him to formulate his decisions on things," Churchville said.
         
"But my dad never talked about the adversity or challenges he faced," said Seidel's eldest son, Alexander. "He's just the type of guy who went and did what he had to."
        
The tanning business was "in the blood," Alexander Seidel said. Stephen's father, Erwin Seidel, had co-founded and operated the Seidel Thiele Tannery for just four years when he died in the 1940s.
        
At the time, Stephen Seidel was studying engineering at Princeton University. But without hesitation, he dropped his textbooks. A competing company, Trostel Tanning Co., trained Stephen Seidel, enabling him to begin managing the business.
       
"He was like the proverbial duck to water," Alexander Seidel said. "He became the consummate tanner. And he was there almost every day through the end."
         
Another of Stephen Seidel's sons, Frederick, or "Fritz," has worked for more than 20 years in the family tannery, now called Seidel Tanning Corp. and located in a modern facility on E. Meinecke Ave. He will continue on as its president.
        
Stephen Seidel is further survived by his wife, Kathleen Hansen Seidel; another son, Adam; his former wife, Barbara Gallun Seidel; their daughter, Christianna Stock; and a brother, Peter Seidel.

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         Secretary Dan Duffield reported in the Class Notes for January 28 that our Classmate Charles Lafean died last June 20, 2003.  Charles was the oldest member of the Class and married before he entered Princeton.  His brief contribution to the Book of Our History includes the comment that "I don't believe I ever knew any of the members of my Class."  He gave his address then as Auburn, Maine; he died in Lewiston, Maine. 

          Barry Loper has found the obituary that appeared in the Lewiston Sun Journal on June 21, an edited version of which follows:

          Charles H. Lafean Sr., 79, a resident of Holly Street, Auburn, died Friday morning, June 20, at Ste. Marguerite d'Youville Pavilion.  He was born in Chicago, Ill., April 18, 1924, the son of Wilbur L. and Margaret Shaw Lafean, and educated at The Episcopal Academy, Portland Junior College, and Princeton University.   

          He served his country in the United States Navy during World War II.  For many years he was employed as a service technician for Pitney Bowes.  Following retirement he owned and operated Lafean Automated Mailing Systems.  He was a very active member of the United Methodist Church in Auburn, a long time member of the church choir, and a member of the Androscoggin Chorale.  He served as assistant director of the Lost Valley Ski School, and on the ski patrol at Sunday River, and was a member of the American Red Cross for many years.  He enjoyed the outdoors, including hiking and camping.  He also was an avid woodworker.

          He leaves a daughter, Katherine Lafean Bono, Ph.D., of Miami, FL; a son, Charles H. Lafean Jr. of Auburn; grandsons Ryan Charles and Tyler Richard Lafean of Auburn; and his long time companion, Barbara J. Hardison, of Auburn.

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           Our classmate Peter Sunsitter, who was known as James Michael McCoy during the years he was with us on campus and until 1980, died June 3, 2003.  Our information is from TigerNet.  His entry in the Book of Our History shows him as a global-wandering free spirit who finally settled down in Oregon for the last twenty years of his life.  He tells of adopting the name Sunsitter that his Pueblo reservation students gave him because he taught them while sitting in the sun in the cold of New Mexico's uplands.
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          We have learned that David Ellis '52 died May 3, 2003.  Dave was paralyzed in his later years as a result of a polo accident suffered in 1986, but his son Ari tells us he continued to enjoy life even from a wheelchair.  He is survived also by his wife Leela and twin daughters Ananda and Rehana.
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        Lovett Baker has reported from Houston that classmate Dudley Sharp passed away Wednesday, May 14, 2003, after a long battle with lung cancer.  Dave Smith has brought attention to the following obituary, dated May 18, from the Houston Chronicle, under the title "Sharp, 73, aficionado of wildlife," by Dina Cappiello:
          Dudley Crawford Sharp Jr., who developed a love for wildlife growing up on the grounds of what would become The Houstonian, died Wednesday from an eight-month struggle with lung cancer.  He was 73.
         Sharp passed away at home, comforted by his family and surrounded by pictures of his many pets over the years.  The family's dogs, ferrets and ducks were among the snapshots.
         "The only way I could console him when he died is to have pictures of all the animals around his bed.  When people would be talking about the war, he would be talking about the animals," said his wife, Kay Belknap Sharp.
         Born in Houston on Jan. 20, 1930, Sharp was raised in a white stucco house near Memorial Park that was among the first in the city to have air conditioning.  Each morning, he would ride his bike to River Oaks Elementary School, and later, the Kinkaid School.  Former Secretary of State James A. Baker III was one of his earliest school friends.
         In the early 1970s, his parents sold his childhood home, where the family raised Great Danes and horses, to The Houstonian.  His father, Dudley Crawford Sharp, was the
secretary of the U.S. Air Force from 1959-1961 under Dwight D. Eisenhower.
         The younger Dudley was educated at Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts, Princeton University and the University of Texas.  After school, he worked with his father at Mission Manufacturing Co., which sold valves for oil field equipment.  Later in life, his interests turned to real estate and investments.
         As he got older, he grew increasingly concerned about the environment, donating to a
rehabilitation center in Oklahoma and feeding a family of raccoons in the back yard, his wife said.
          "When we sat around, we really evolved into people that cared about nature," his wife said.
          In addition to his wife, Sharp is survived by his sister, Julia "Judy" Sharp Vergara of Madrid, Spain; and five children: Kathryn "Gigi" Sharp-Gilpin of New York; Tina Cleveland Belknap Sharp McMackin of Fort Worth; Lucille Spotswood Sharp Meyer of Taylor; Kate Sharp Farris of Austin; and Dudley C. Sharp III of Houston.

Copyright 2003 Houston Chronicle
         It has been suggested that contributions in Dudley's memory go to the Houston SPCA. 
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       George Aman, Stokes Carrigan, John Clutz and Jay Master of our Class were among the many who attended the memorial service for classmate Ted Kennedy on April 15.  Here is George's report:

Edgar S. Kennedy, Jr.

          Ted died quite suddenly of apparent heart failure, at his home in Cos Cob, Connecticut on April 7, 2003.  He grew up in Wayne, Pennsylvania, and graduated from The Haverford School.  He enlisted in the Navy during our junior year, and graduated with the Class of 1956.
          Ted had a varied career for thirty-seven years with IBM, which included work in the Americas, in the Far East, and in the IBM Credit Corp.  Early in his career he and his wife, Linda, moved to Connecticut, where they raised their three sons and were involved in many activities and groups.  He held successive leadership positions in the Greenwich Presbyterian Church.  After retiring from IBM Ted started a new company, which provided services in writing, editing, and voice-overs for radio.  His civic interests also expanded into teaching seniors as a computer instructor, and using his carpentry skills with Habitat for Humanity.
           In his paper for our 50th Reunion Book, Ted expressed his regret at not having had a full four years with our Class, but he showed his loyalty in many other ways.  Two of his sons graduated from Princeton: Alan, 1987, and Bruce, 1992.  His third son, Scott, is a graduate of The College of Wooster, 1989.
           Many friends, including 1952 Classmates, traveled far to attend his memorial service.  There they heard from his sons how Ted had stimulated their diverse talents and infused them with his values.  Alan spoke of Ted's love of music.  Ted was a member of several singing groups.  Scott was influenced greatly by Ted's interest in computers.  Bruce spoke of his father's love of words and skill in writing.  Ted's wide range of interests was reflected in a wide range of friends.  One of them described Ted as having a "genius for joyous companionship."
           In addition to Linda and their sons, Ted is survived by two daughters-in-law, two grandsons and two sisters.  The Class extends its deepest sympathy to the entire family.

         Ted's widow Linda lives at 360 Cognewaugh Road, Cos Cob, CT 06807-1314.   

         John Clutz provided the following obituary for Ted from the Greenwich Times:
        April 11, 2003  Edgar S. (Ted) Kennedy, 72, a longtime resident of Cos Cob, died Monday, April 7, at home.  A precise cause has not been determined, according to his son, Scott Alexander Kennedy of Seattle.
        Mr. Kennedy was born in Norristown, Pa., on May 27, 1930, a son of the late Jeanette Lincoln Holmes and Edgar Sloan Kennedy Sr. He graduated from The Haverford School in 1948.  He enrolled at Princeton University in 1948, but interrupted his studies to serve as a Navy Seabee for four years during the Korean War. He returned to graduate with a degree in architecture in 1956 and remained an active Princeton alumnus throughout his life. He also received an MBA from the University of Connecticut in 1978.
         He met and married Linda Woodcock in Philadelphia in 1964.  They moved to Cos Cob in 1967.  They were members of the First Presbyterian Church of Greenwich, and Mr. Kennedy served multiple terms as a church officer, was involved on several working and outreach committees, and was instrumental in launching the Music From the Top series.
          He joined IBM's marketing division in 1956 in Philadelphia, and continued to work across several divisions including Americas Far East and IBM Credit Corporation.  He retired after a 37-year career. He then established Kennedy Communications Associates in Greenwich, working as a voice-over talent for local groups such as Sound Waters, and creating publications for nonprofit organizations, including the Audubon Society. For the last seven years, he was the review editor for Manning Publications in Greenwich.
           Mr. Kennedy enjoyed music, singing in various a cappella groups and performing with the Savoy Opera Company in Philadelphia for several years.  Recently, he had been volunteering as a computer instructor for SeniorNet, teaching senior citizens to use the Internet. He frequently lent his carpentry skills to Habitat for Humanity.  He also was an active member of the F.I.N.E entrepreneurial group of Westport and the Retired Men's Association of Greenwich.
           He is survived, in addition to his wife and his son in Washington, by two other sons, Alan Sloan Kennedy of New York City, and Bruce Woodcock Kennedy of New York City; two sisters, Jean Forrest of Westchester, Pa., and Elizabeth Elliott of Kettery, Ohio; a brother, Joseph Kennedy of Chicago; and two grandsons.  ...   In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Habitat for Humanity or to The First Presbyterian Church of Greenwich.

          
Ted Nicholson has offered the following reminiscence about Ted Kennedy:
           Losing a friend is difficult.  Losing a close friend is very hard. Ted Kennedy was a close friend.  We knew each other prior to Princeton, roomed together at Princeton, and have kept in close touch ever since.  Ted's passing has caused me to think back many years, of the many joint experiences we have had throughout our lives.  One comes to mind that I would like to share with you.
           When I completed my two-year stint in the Army (in Oklahoma and Texas) and returned home in 1956, a good friend of mine thought it was a good excuse for a dinner party.  She invited about ten of my friends and dates over, including Ted Kennedy.  Ted didn't have a date, but Jill said she had a friend that had just moved to Rosemont, and lived down the street from her and would be a good date for Ted.  Ted agreed, and brought the girl as his date to the party.  The party progressed, and I became interested in Ted's date.  In fact, when the party broke up, I invited myself to join Ted and his date to walk her home, down the street.  I can still remember the three of us walking down Orchard Way, singing Princeton medleys.
            Needless to say, this is how I met my wife, Betty.  We have been happily married 47 years. Betty still reminds me she comes from a Yale family, and I was not her date.  But if it hadn't been for Ted, I may never have met Betty.  Thank you, Ted.

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         Dave Siegel informs us that Fred Skok, Probate Judge for Lake County, Ohio, died January 10, 2003.   Tributes to him appeared in the Cleveland Plain Dealer on January 11.  The paper noted that his colleagues "recalled Skok as a humorous and educated scholar who was devoted to his judicial career.  Several friends said he was heartbroken by the state-imposed retirement that blocked his quest for another term."  Fred's chief deputy for many years said, "He touched so many lives with the adoptions and wills he approved. When he announced his retirement, the phone was ringing off the hook with people who shared stories of how he helped them."
        "He cared very much about the people that appeared before him," according to a sheriff whom Fred chastized for short-changing a delusional suspect in reading his rights.  Fred's son-in-law is quoted as saying he "was a devoted husband, father, grandfather and lifelong pulbic servant. His legacy," Dino DiSanto continued, "will always be his amazing sense of humor, his fairness, integrity, and his love of the law and Lake County."  Fred loved to retell the tale about his days at Princeton, when he went to the same smoke shop as Albert Einstein; the story appears on our Fiftieth Reunion "Going Back" CD.  
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           George Dean died January 10, 2003, in Southport, Connecticut, of complications from lung cancer.    George was our Class President from 1992 to 1997 and a Class member of many distinctions.  His dedication to increasing involvement of women in politics was illustrated just a few weeks ago with his letter to The New York Times reproduced on the Class News page.  
                 The service at the Trinity Episcopal Church in Southport on Wednesday, January 15, included a moving eulogy by Bruce Berckmans (for the text, click here).   In addition, George Newlin tells us, "there were eulogies by Carolann Curry, who read letters from women's organizations and prominent individual women (Connecticut's Lieutenant Governor, Secretaries of State and Treasurer and Comptroller); and by George Jr, whose cogent and evocative remarks elicited a burst of applause from the congregation.  Any father would be pleased as punch and proud as a peacock to be so remembered by his son.  The congregation, incidentally, filled the church, including balconies running all along the sides above us.  A local Episcopal denizen reported that it had not been so full in living memory."
              George Newlin says at least 23 classmates, several accompanied by their wives, attended the service.  In addition to George himself and Bruce Berckmans, George spotted Roger Berlind, Joe Bolster, Stokes Carrigan, John Clutz, Art Collins, Peter Cowles, Al Ellis, George and Marcia Gowen, Joe and Sue Handelman, Ted Kennedy, Hoby Kreitler, Barry and Jean Loper, Roger and Latie McLean, Mary and Bill Murdoch, George Newlin, Kirk Parrish, Dick and Mimi Pivirotto, Fritz Riegel (George Dean's brother-in-law), Lefty and Tootsie Thomas, Lucius Wilmerding, and John and Jenny Winton.
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Jefferson Randolph Platt '52died May 13, 2003 in Mount Desert, ME. At Princeton he majored in Sociology and was a member of Elm Club. Randy disappeared from the class after 1962 and requested no mail.        He is survived by his wife, Veronica ("Ronnie"), one  brother, one sister and nieces and nephews.