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People & projects | UWW | In Memoriam

In Memoriam

Alumni

Marion Currie Kendall ’21 of Buffalo, NY, died March 21 at the age of 105. She was a business major. She is survived by a daughter and son, six grandchildren, and twelve great-grandchildren. Her husband, Luther, predeceased her.

Marion Charlton Coles ’29 of New Milford, CT, died December 12. She was an English major. She is survived by two sons; her husband, Robert, predeceased her.

Phyllis Taylor Wofford ’30 of Lansdale, PA, died April 4. An English major, she was a human resources executive until 1959, when she earned a master of divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary. She was the first female minister at Riverside Church in Manhattan. She officiated at Skidmore’s Reunion memorial service. She is survived by a stepdaughter, two stepsons, eleven grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren. Her husband, Harris, predeceased her.

Fannie Newman Goldsmith ’30 of Millington, NJ, died; the college was notified in May. A business major, she was owner and proprietor of Watercress Farm, a historic estate with extensive gardens which she and her husband opened to the public. She was also a partner in the Glamour Shop, a women’s clothing store in Clinton. She is survived by two sons.

Rhayleine Dyckman Smedley ’30 of Georgetown, TX, died December 31, 2003. She was a business major. A civic volunteer, she served as president of the Ho Ho Kus (NJ) Women’s Club and program chair of the PTA, and was a longtime member of her local board of education. She is survived by two daughters, including Rhayleine Cross Doucet ’59. She was predeceased by her husband, Frederick, and her sister Elizabeth Dyckman Tanner ’28.

Virginia Gramley Gravatt ’32 of Madison, CT, died February 4. She was a physical education major. She is survived by two daughters and a son.

Mary Middleton Lundberg ’33 of Vienna, VA, died February 19. A business major, she studied art history in Rhode Island and worked as a docent. After moving to California in 1979, she was an active volunteer for the San Francisco Symphony and Stanford Medical Center. A devotee of duplicate bridge, she was an avid international traveler. She founded the Rhode Island Skidmore club and served as its president; she was also a former class secretary, admissions correspondent, and class agent. She is survived by a daughter, a sister, and two grandsons.

Frances Corwin Nichols ’35 of Danvers, MA, died May 3, 2004. An art major, she chaired the student social committee and participated in numerous clubs. She is survived by a son and three daughters. Her husband, Ellsworth, predeceased her.

Jessie Savage Hurlburt ’35 of Savannah, GA, died February 22. An art major, she worked in advertising before partnering with her husband in an ad agency in Puerto Rico and later St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. She was a member of the St. Thomas Chamber of Commerce and Humane Society. There are no known survivors. Her husband, Edward, predeceased her.

Dorothy Whipple Burgess ’36 of Greenville, RI, died May 27. A biology major, she was a clothing retailer in Providence before becoming a teacher and coordinator of English and retail education in the Woonsocket school system. In 1945 she served as a consultant to the Connecticut State Department of Education and in 1950 was appointed executive director of education for the International Wool Bureau in NYC. A professor of retailing at Bryant College, she (along with her husband) purchased The Observer newspaper in 1959. Over the ensuing three decades, she forged a remarkable career as managing editor and publisher, elevating The Observer to an award-winning regional publication and reaping numerous civic and professional honors. For Skidmore she served as class historian and reunion chair. She is survived by daughter Barbara Burgess Maier ’71, a son, and a grandson. Her husband, William, predeceased her.

Ann VanRiper Steele ’37 of Tucson, AZ, died May 16. A business major, she bred and trained racehorses. She is survived by three daughters. Husband Ulysses predeceased her.

Lenore Hurth Waldron ’39 of Vashon, WA, died May 19. She was an English major. She is survived by three sons, two daughters, and ten grandchildren. Her husband, Van,
predeceased her.

Dorothy Fish Markay ’40 of Schenectady, NY, died April 13. A nursing major, she retired as associate director of nursing at Long Island Jewish-Hillside Medical Center in 1985. She is survived by a son. Her husband, Charles, predeceased her.

Jeanne Maguire Rieger ’41 of South Portland, ME, died May 23. A theater major, she was a homemaker who taught Sunday school for 20 years. An accomplished golfer, she also enjoyed boating and painting. She is survived by husband Paul, a son, two daughters, a sister, a brother, five grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.

Patricia Moseley Trepagnier ’41 of Medford, MA, died July 11, 2004, after a long struggle with Alzheimer’s Disease. A phys-ed major, she was director of physical education for the Tower Hill School of Wilmington, DE. She was an active volunteer for the Wilmington Junior League and Wilmington Memorial Hospital. She is survived by two sons; her husband, Hardoncourt, predeceased her.

Dorothy Collins Wollmuth ’42 died October 19, 2004. She leaves husband Edmund and two daughters, including Susan Bennett ’74.

Mary-Louise Latham Blank ’42 of Orient, NY, died April 7, 2003. She is survived by husband Peter, two sons, two daughters, a brother, two sisters, and two grandchildren.

Marjorie Durwood Grant ’43 of Prairie Village, KS, died March 12, 2004. A French major, she earned a master’s in social psychology from the University of Missouri at Kansas City. She was vice president of community relations for American Multi Cinema (AMC Theaters), a family business, where she spearheaded the establishment of major philanthropic programs such as “Read for the Stars” and other efforts focused on children’s issues. She served on the boards of Union Station, the ALS Association, Partnership for Children, and DeSalle Education Center. Predeceased by husband Bayard, she leaves a brother, a daughter, a son, and two grandchildren.

Helen Cameron Judson ’44 of New York, NY, died June 18, 2004. She is survived by her son.

Virginia Nichols Schutz ’45 of Tinton Falls, NJ, died October 15, 2004. A business major, she was a personnel manager prior to her marriage. A devoted church and civic volunteer, she was president of auxiliaries for the Family and Children’s Society and Monmouth Memorial Hospital. She is survived by two sons; husband Carl predeceased her.

Carolyn Dangler ’45 of New Orleans, LA, died; the college was notified in May. A biology major, she was a retired nuclear medical technologist. She is survived by a niece and cousin Janet Bloom Harrington ’42.

Mary MacIver Crabtree ’46 of Bedford, NH, died May 20. An English major, she earned a master’s in library science from Syracuse University. She taught middle-school English and was librarian for several public school systems in the Syracuse, NY, area for many years. She retired as librarian for the Hospital Association of New York State in Albany. She was especially interested in genealogy. In addition to husband James, she leaves two sons and two grandchildren.

Bette Guilfoil Hanmore ’47 of Newburgh, NY, died March 5. A sociology major, she owned and operated Hoffman’s Stationary and Hanmore’s Cards-N-Candy, with her husband. She was active in the Junior League and other local civic groups. Predeceased by husband Louis, she is survived by a son, a daughter, and three grandchildren.

Bernice Soares Schreck ’48 of West Roxbury, MA, died April 27. An English major, she earned a master’s in education from SUNY-Albany. She enjoyed a long career as a high-school English teacher in Saratoga Springs, NY. She was an avid golfer and bridge player. She is survived by two daughters, two stepchildren, and seven grandchildren. Her husband, Harry, predeceased her.

Verna Dick Stassevitch ’48 of San Rafael, CA, died in May. A music major, she was former music director and headmistress of the Wilson School in Clayton, MO. She also taught music at Fontbonne College and St. Louis Community College, authored several music-education resource books, and was president of the Education Confederation of St. Louis. After moving to California in retirement, she performed with the San Francisco Opera and was involved in several music groups there. An accomplished gourmet cook, she was also fond of gardening. For Skidmore she was a longtime class president, class agent, and club volunteer. She is survived by husband Paul, a daughter, and three sons.

Mary Earle McConnell Wiant ’48 of Haddonfield, NJ, died January 10. An art major, she earned a master’s in library science from Drexel University in 1966. She was a librarian and media specialist for the Haddonfield Middle School, retiring in 1991; she was also a member of the National Education Association. For Skidmore she was an admissions correspondent and career mentor. She is survived by husband Ross; two daughters, including Susan Taylor ’74; and granddaughter Katherine Jacobs ’08. Her first husband, James Taylor, predeceased her.

Sally Thompson Fernald ’49 of Easthampton, MA, died March 17. An art major, she was a cartographer and advertising assistant prior to her marriage. She is survived by husband John.

Careth Anderson Marsland ’50 of Carlisle, PA, died June 13, 2003. She was a longtime travel consultant. She is survived by four daughters and nine grandchildren.

Margaret Clark MacDonald ’51 of Briston, VA, died September 25, 2004. She was a theater major and longtime club volunteer for Skidmore. Predeceased by husband John, daughter Cornelia MacDonald Roberts ’76, and mother Blanche Plummer Clark ’21, she leaves a son and daughter.

Lois Jenkins Tompkins ’51 of Millbrook, NY, died June 26, 2004. A home-economics major, she was a volunteer director of the Vassar Hospital Association and a member of the Boynton Beach (FL) Women’s Club. For Skidmore she was a club officer. She is survived by husband James, two sons, and two daughters.

Be a friend

Friends of deceased alumni may wish to make contributions in their memories to the Yellow Rose Memorial Fund, Skidmore College, 815 North Broadway, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866. Please include the name of the person being memorialized and,if appropriate, include the name and address of a relative to whom the college can send an acknowledgment.

Sarah Beekman McKeige ’53 of Stuart, FL, died August 14. A history major, she earned a master’s in anthropology from Hunter College at the age of 60. She was a founding member of the Southeast Florida Archaeological Society, serving as its president for many years. An avid sailor, outdoorswoman, and archaeologist, she was committed to environmental conservation and historical preservation. She is survived by husband Bruce, a son, a daughter, and five grandchildren.

Barbara Newton Towner ’55 of Tavernier, FL, died June 3. An art major, she completed her education at Rochester Institute of Technology’s School for American Craftsmen. She was an accomplished metalsmith, jewelry designer, and calligrapher. A former trustee of RIT’s alumni board of directors, she was an active volunteer for the Rochester Museum and Science Center and several other civic organizations. She enjoyed canoeing and skiing. She is survived by husband Hugh and two sons.

Mary Wickman Huntsman ’56 of Red Bank, NJ, died December 10, 2003. An art major, she was an accomplished sailor who served as fleet captain, district commodore, and race official for US Sailing, the national governing board of competitive sailing. President of the International Lightning Association in 2000 and 2001, she was instrumental in acquiring the historic craft Lightning #1 and donating it to the Mystic Seaport Maritime Museum. She is survived by husband Sandy, a daughter, a son, a brother, a sister, and five grandchildren.

Gertrude Hankinson Briggs ’57 of Poughkeepsie, NY, died May 10 of Alzheimer’s Disease. A theater major, she went on to earn a master’s in educational administration from SUNY-New Paltz. She taught in the Poughkeepsie and Wappingers Falls school districts for more than 20 years, retiring as principal of Vassar Road Elementary School. An environmentalist and community activist, she worked closely with folk singer Pete Seeger as an advocate for the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater Conservation Association. Seeger wrote and performed two songs in her honor at a ceremony held on the Clearwater in September. Active in the Cuneen Hackett Cultural Center, Trudy was a youth-group leader in the Unitarian Fellowship and former president of a local chapter of the American Association of University Women. She was an honorary life member of the New York State Congress of Parents and Teachers. She is survived by husband Ken, two sons, and two granddaughters.

Barbara Johnston Smith ’59 of Glenmont, NY, died December 1, 2003. She majored in chemistry. There are no known survivors.

Patricia O’Rourke Murrell ’59 of New Orleans, LA, died in August. A psychology major, she was a former social worker and housing director for the Friends’ Alliance for the Mentally Ill in New Orleans. A board member of the New Orleans Opera Association, she also served as advertising director for the New Orleans Ballet. Her many volunteer roles included crisis intervention counselor, founder of an inner-city tutoring program, and hospital volunteer; for Skidmore she had been a vice president of the Springfield (MA) club. She is survived by her husband, Michael, and a son.

Charlotte Jones Fraas ’68 of Alexandria, VA, died May 10 of brain cancer. A government major, she worked for the Congressional Research Service in the Library of Congress for 20 years, serving as lead policy analyst and specializing in the Higher Education Act. She subsequently became legislative director for US Rep. George Miller (D-California), and was involved with Social Security, education of children with disabilities, and reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. For a year prior to her retirement in 1997, she was director of legislation for the US Department of Education. She is survived by her husband, Phillip, a son, and a daughter.

Benjie Nathans ’78 of Bensalem, PA, died February 19, 1998. A graduate of University Without Walls, he held an associate’s degree from the Culinary Institute of America. A certified executive chef, he was coordinator of the hotel, restaurant, and institutional management degree program at Cheyney State College and an independent consultant to the hospitality industry. He had previously held faculty positions at the Community College of Philadelphia and American Business Institute. He was a member of the American Academy of Chefs and director of the International Food Service Executives Association in Philadelphia. There are no known survivors.

Barbara Yuter ’86 of Garden City, NJ, died March 26 of pneumonia after years of chronic illness. She was a psychology major. She is survived by her father, a sister, and a brother.


Faculty & Staff

Helga B. Doblin of Saratoga Springs, died July 1; she was 94. Professor emerita of foreign languages, she came to Skidmore in 1963 to teach German, French, and linguistics; she retired in 1981. A native of Freiburg, Germany, Doblin earned an MA and PhD in linguistics at Harvard. Her special research interest was in the designations of musical instruments in Romance languages. Her dual interests in music and linguistics prompted her to travel widely—to Europe, the Near East, North Africa, Mexico, and Puerto Rico. She toured England and Denmark as a member of a string quartet. She also made trips to the Amazon and China.

Many in the Skidmore community remember Doblin for her key role in establishing what is now the Classics Department. In recognition of her exceptional teaching and her work in classics, the Skidmore chapter of Phi Beta Kappa elected her to honorary membership in 1978. After her retirement, Doblin was hired by the Saratoga National Historic Park to translate original documents from the American Revolution; she was awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to support that project. She also taught Latin and linguistics at the Great Meadows Correctional Facility, as part of UWW’s Inmate Higher Education Program, and she taught German to students in kindergarten and first grade at the Spring Hill School in Saratoga Springs.

Doblin was predeceased by her husband, Rudi, who taught cello at Skidmore.

Janis Skog Ritorto ’72 of Queensbury, NY, died July 4 of cancer at her summer home in Long Beach, NJ. She was 55. A biology and chemistry major, she was a senior teaching associate in Skidmore’s chemistry department. After graduation she taught high-school science in Glens Falls and Hartford, NY, before returning to Skidmore as a lab assistant in 1984. She served as the college’s chemical hygiene officer since 1994 and, for the past three years, was a consultant employed to design training for EPA hazardous-waste management and OSHA Hazardous Waste Communications on campus.

She is remembered warmly by the many chemistry students she taught over the years and by her Skidmore colleagues. Paul Walter, professor emeritus of chemistry, recalls that Ritorto “took more courses with me than any other student, and came back as a wonderful colleague.” Chemistry professor and chair Vasantha Narasimhan adds, “Janis has been a source of strength and positive determination to all of us, even through her ordeal with cancer. It is hard to imagine the department without her.”

In her community Ritorto was active in Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts. For the Queensbury Elementary School she developed a series of “Science in Action” activities, and for the middle school she presented a program on supporting girls in math and sciences.

She is survived by husband Vincent, daughter Michelle ’99, son Mark ’05, two brothers, two nieces (including Kiersten Skog ’94), and two nephews.

Trustees

Arthur Zankel of New York City died July 28; he was 73. A trustee emeritus, he earned an MBA from Harvard. Following a period at Hallgarten & Co., where he became a general partner in 1962, Zankel joined the research and investment firm of First Manhattan Co., where he worked for 35 years, becoming senior partner. Most recently he was managing partner of High Rise Capital Management LP. He also served as board member of White Mountains Insurance Group and chair of the board of MSL Industries.

Zankel was well known for his generosity to Carnegie Hall, which he served as vice chair. His $10 million gift helped fund the Judy and Arthur Zankel Hall, a widely heralded underground concert auditorium that has hosted performances by an array of international artists and earned acclaim for its acoustics and high-tech design. That same generosity and vision, coupled with his legendary sense of humor, guided his work at Skidmore, where he was a trustee from 1990 to 1999. He provided Skidmore with significant gifts for scholarship support and special programs; the Zankel Chair in Management for Liberal Arts Students, for a faculty member who exemplifies the affinities between the liberal arts and management; and the Zankel Lecture Series for the discussion of business issues from a societal and ethical perspective.

In 1999, Zankel was awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree from Skidmore. Survivors include his wife, Judy, and four sons, including Kenneth ’82 and James ’92.