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In Memoriam | People & projects
|Remember 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.
Barbara Kent Smith ’32 of Milan, OH, died December 30, 2008. She was a home-economics major. She is survived by three sons and a daughter, six grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. Her husband, Chester, predeceased her.
Helen Cole Netter ’32 of Pine Plains, NY, died April 2. An English major, she earn an MS in library science from the State University of New York at Albany. She taught English at Pine Plains Central Schools before becoming librarian for the Pine Plains Free Library and the Mid-Hudson Library System. She served Skidmore as a longtime class secretary, class president, Reunion volunteer, and class agent. Husband Matthew predeceased her; she leaves a daughter and grandson.
Marjorie Yetter Walls ’33 of Binghamton, NY, died June 10. An art major, she was a volunteer at Binghamton General Hospital (now United Health Services) for more than 50 years. In 2004 the hospital newsletter published an article recognizing her service, including a photo of her sitting atop her son’s motorcycle and wearing her granddaughter’s leather jacket. She served Skidmore as class president, Reunion volunteer, and longtime class secretary, a position she held until the day she died. She is survived by two sons, granddaughter Mariel Wall Bentley ’99, niece Jean Lockwood Davidge ’59, and several grandchildren.
Jane Shepard Fast ’34 of Pacific Grove, CA, died April 22. An art major, she exhibited her work in many juried shows and was a member of the Central Coast Art Association, Carmel Art Association, and Monterey Peninsula Watercolor Society. She leaves three children, three grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. Both her husbands predeceased her.
Marian Volkhardt Powers ’35 of Greenwich, CT, died May 14, 2007. Predeceased by husband Robert, she leaves no known survivors.
Anne Tooker Genssler ’35 of Irvington, VA, died October 18, 2008. An English major, she was an avid traveler and reader. She co-founded a library at her retirement community and enjoyed book clubs. Her husband, Harald, predeceased her. There are no known survivors.
Jane Randolph Twyman ’36 of Naples, FL, died January 7, 2008. Predeceased by husband Thomas, she leaves no known survivors.
Elizabeth Fowler Avery ’37 of Needham, MA, died January 7. An English major, she was an active community volunteer and local garden-club president. She leaves a daughter, a son, three grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
Ruth Yeaw Gray ’37 of Bedford, NH, died January 21. A music major, she taught music in schools in Chatham, NY, and West Hartford, CT, before serving as chair of music for the Medford, MA, public schools from 1946 until her retirement in 1981. For Skidmore she was a Reunion volunteer. She leaves three nieces and several grandnieces and grandnephews.
Marjorie Page Powell ’38 of Pine Point, ME, died April 16. A home-economics and nutrition major, she assisted her husband, John, in running his security consulting firm. She was an avid gardener. John predeceased her; she is survived by a sister and several nieces and nephews.
Caroline Brooks Winston ’38 of Minneapolis, MN, died March 26. A business and history major, she earned a master’s in education from the University of Minnesota and enjoyed careers in education and philanthropy. A longtime docent at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, she was an avid genealogist and enjoyed golf and tennis. She was a class agent for Skidmore. She leaves two sons, two daughters, 11 grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren. Her husband, John, predeceased her.
Virginia Daniels Wall ’38 of Williamstown, MA, died March 19. A theater major, she also studied at the Katherine Gibbs School in NYC and later at the Royal School of Needle Work in London, England. She was a well-known crewel needlepoint artist. A civic volunteer, she made costumes for local theater groups and was a member of the Berkshire Hills Sweet Adelines. She was also an avid horsewoman. She is survived by daughters Nancy Wall Thorne ’65, Virginia Wall Van Steemburg ’75, Marjorie Wall Wood ’63, and Patricia Wall Wynkoop ’68; 13 grandchildren, including Gregory Thorne ’97; and four great-grandchildren. Husband Robert predeceased her.
Ann Brooks Sheldon ’38 of Claiborne, LA, died February 7. A music major, she was a longtime church organist and community volunteer. She served Skidmore as a class agent. She is survived by a son and several nieces and nephews. Her husband, Marshall, predeceased her.
Elizabeth Bonney Stratton ’38 of West Palm Beach, FL, died October 30, 2007. An art major, she did graduate study in art at the University of Buffalo. She taught art for many years and in retirement served as a docent at the Norton Art Gallery in West Palm Beach. For Skidmore she was a class secretary and class agent. She leaves husband Leaword and a son.
Eleanor MacKenzie Healy ’39 of Fairfield, CT, died April 15. A biology and chemistry major, she was active in Bridgeport civic life, including the Ladies Charitable Society and Meals on Wheels. She is survived by two sons, four grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.
Agnes Gregson ’39 of Dallas, PA, died February 21. A sociology major, she was
a travel agent and AAA representative until her retirement at age 70. She was an alumna trustee for Skidmore and served as president of the alumni association; she was the recipient of an Outstanding Service Award and spent countless hours raising funds for the College. She is survived by a brother and several nieces and nephews.
Rosalind Levine Miller ’39 of Great Neck, NY, died February 7. She was an education major. She is survived by sister Marilyn Levine Traubner ’41 and three sons.
Barbara Lord Richmond ’39 of Los Altos, CA, died November 28, 2008. A home-economics major, she also earned a fine arts degree in fashion from Foothill College in 1991. She enjoyed careers in advertising, as a dialect coach for regional theater, and most recently in fashion design. She was an active civic and cultural volunteer. She is survived by a daughter, a son, and seven grandchildren. Her husband, George, predeceased her.
Betty Brown Vigour ’39 of Charlottesville, VA, died November 27, 2008. A biology major, she enjoyed a lengthy career teaching high school biology. She is survived by three sons and a daughter. Her husband, Hervey, predeceased her.
Elfriede Bernhard Biebers ’39 of Chagrin Falls, OH, died February 29, 2008. An art major, she was an administrative assistant at Rice University. She is survived by her husband, Carl, and three daughters.
Elizabeth Birge Cornet ’39 of Hilton Head, SC, died September 23, 2007. A fine and applied arts major, she earned certification in marine engineering and drafting from the University of Pennsylvania during WWII. She chaired the Connecticut chapter of the American Instrument Designers and the national board of the Illuminating Engineering Society. She owned an interior design consultancy. She is survived by two sons.
Ethel Howie Reebel ’40 of Burbank, CA, died May 1. She was an art major. Predeceased by husband David, she leaves a daughter.
Elizabeth Fowler Farrington ’40 of Jamesville, NY, died February 14. She also studied at Syracuse University, from which she graduated. She was an active member of the Syracuse Alumni Association, the university’s sports booster programs, and the Syracuse Women’s Golf Association. She is survived by husband Charlie, two daughters, a son, five grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.
Emmeline Moody Lowell ’40 of West Bath, ME, died November 12, 2008. An English major, she attended Tufts Medical School and, after raising a family, was a tax preparer. She was also an avid golfer and bridge player. She leaves three daughters, seven grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren; husband Stuart predeceased her.
Janice Porter Cornell ’40 of Normandy Park, WA, died May 13, 2008. A business major, she was a supervisor at Sears Roebuck & Co. for many years. She is survived by her husband, George, three sons, and a daughter.
Louise Herrick Donhauser ’40 of Rockville, MD, died on March 11, 2008. A nursing major, she earned a master’s in nursing from Catholic University of America and enjoyed a long career in public-health nursing. She is survived by two sons and two daughters including Eliza Donheiser ’69, niece Luisa Pujol ’84, and sister Mary Herrick ’51.
Ruth Jensen McWilliams ’41 of Danvers, MA, died May 2. A business major, she worked during WWII as the executive secretary to the patent attorney and corporate counsel of the Electrolux Corp. and volunteered as a nurse’s aid. She volunteered for the League of Women Voters and other civic organizations. She co-founded the Fairfield County (CT) Skidmore club, served as the second and third vice president of Skidmore’s alumni board, and was a fundraising volunteer. Predeceased by husband Alden, she leaves two sons and four grandchildren.
Lucia Dana Simpson Eastman ’41 of Sherman, CT, died in April after suffering
a stroke. A French major, she was an active volunteer in numerous environmental and wildlife conservation groups, including the National Audubon Society, Nature Conservancy, and Kulze Preserve in Norwalk, which she helped to establish. An avid birder, she traveled to Siberia in her seventies and Antarctica in her eighties, on bird-watching expeditions. She served on the nominating committee of Skidmore’s alumni board. She leaves daughters Loriane Simpson Houston ’79 and Lucretia Simpson ’69, a son, two stepsons, eight grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. Husbands Baird Simpson and Allen Eastman predeceased her.
Martha Phillips ’41 of Scranton, PA, died March 15. A phys-ed major, she earned a master’s in guidance counseling from Pennsylvania State and did additional graduate study at Temple University. She forged a career in education as a teacher and later as a guidance counselor, a position from which she retired in 1982. A golf enthusiast, she was women’s golf champion at the Elmhurst Country Club from 1952 to 1955. She was a Skidmore club and Reunion volunteer. She is survived by several nieces and nephews.
Amy Bush Caldwell ’41 of San Diego, CA, died December 21, 2008. She was a Reunion volunteer for Skidmore. She is survived by a daughter and a son. Her husband, Gerald, predeceased her.
Dorothy Bruning Herrmann ’41 of Williamsburg, VA, died November 15, 2008. A business major, she was a corporate contract analyst for Exxon Research and Engineering. She held leadership roles in many civic and cultural organizations. She served Skidmore as class president, club officer, Reunion volunteer, and class agent. She leaves a son and daughter; husband William predeceased her.
Helen Schwenker Suffern ’42 of Midland Park, NJ, died May 15, 2008. A music major, she was a librarian for the Lodi Memorial Library. She also helped husband Richard, a minister, serve several Reformed Church in America congregations over the years. Predeceased by Richard, she leaves a daughter and a son.
Barbara E. Mathews ’43 of Saunderstown, RI, died November 15, 2008. A biology major, she earned master’s degrees from Yale University School of Nursing and Boston University, the latter in nursing administration. Her lengthy career included positions as assistant director of nursing services at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and supervising OR and pediatric nurse in hospitals across New England. She served Skidmore as a club president and class volunteer. She leaves several cousins, nieces, and nephews.
Jane Kain Oberst ’43 of Keene, NH, died January 16, 2008. A biochemistry major, she was a chemist at Dupont during WWII. She is surived by three sons, a daughter, 14 grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. Husband George predeceased her.
Harriet Hebden Avery ’44 of Lansdale, PA, died March 17. A phys-ed major, Hebbie was one of a few collegiate women to earn All-American honors in field hockey and lacrosse. She worked at Wells College for many years and served her community as a Girl Scout Leader and Sunday school teacher. For Skidmore she was a class president, fund chair, Reunion volunteer, and class agent. She was also an avid golf and tennis player and an accomplished sailor. She is survived by three daughters and three granddaughters. Husband Baldwin predeceased her.
Marion Booz McGee ’45 of Washington, DC, died February 4. A business major, she completed her degree at Northwestern University. She is survived by two sons and four grandchildren. Husband Harold predeceased her.
Janet Hutton Sargent ’46 of New Haven, CT, died in December 2008 of Alzheimer’s disease. An art major, she was a former assistant to designer Vera Maxwell. She leaves husband John and five sons.
Nancy Starrett Bolmer ’46 of Traverse City, MI, died February 10. A phys-ed major, she was a self-described “housewife-executive” and a community volunteer and talented athlete. She leaves husband Maurice, a daughter, three sons, a brother, and several grandchildren.
Adelaide Conlon Pendleton ’47 of Naples, FL, died May 9. A home-economics major, she worked in retail and interior design. She was a longtime docent at the Villa Vizcaya Museum and chaired its renovation committee. She also served as docent at the Lowe Art Gallery at the University of Miami and researcher for a local history society. She was a club volunteer for Skidmore. She is survived by husband Arthur, a son, a grandson, and sister Barbara Conlon Bulger ’44.
Natalie Wolf Goetz ’47 of Los Altos, CA, died May 5. A philosophy and psychology major, she earned a master’s in modern European history, researching the history of the Russian Communist Party with a former member of its provisional government. She taught English at Hartnell Junior College before a career in counseling at Planned Parenthood. A community volunteer, she was president of the Los Altos Morning Forum and the public library. She leaves husband Abraham, a son, a daughter, and two grandchildren.
Jane Carter Watt ’48 of Swampscott, MA, died April 21. She worked for the Swampscott public schools, most recently as district accountant. She was active in the local historical society, public library, and environmental conservation efforts. Predeceased by husband John, she leaves a son, two daughters, a sister, and several nieces and nephews.
Carolyn Long Cotton ’48 of Denver, CO, died February 25. She was a psychology major. She is survived by a sister.
Joan Cummings Koven ’48 of Washington Depot, CT, died February 15. An economics major, she earned a master’s from Columbia Teachers College. After years of leadership positions with the Brooklyn Local 22 School Board and the League of Women Voters, she earned a JD from Brooklyn Law School, where she edited the Law Review. She was an associate at the NYC firm of Poletti, Friedin, Prashker, Feldman & Gardner before teaching and later becoming associate dean of Brooklyn Law School. She served Skidmore as a class agent. She leaves two sons, a daughter, seven grandchildren, and one great-grandchild; husband Leo predeceased her.
Barbara Willetts Torey ’49 of West Hartford, CT, died February 27. A nutrition major, she taught at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Larchmont, NY, for 32 years. She was a longtime volunteer with the Youth Employment Service at Mamaroneck High School. She leaves a son, daughter-in-law Jennifer Cox Torey ’80, a daughter, three grandsons, and a brother. Her husband, Donald, predeceased her.
Patricia Bowen Perry ’49 of Dallas, TX, died February 1 of pancreatic cancer. A psychology major, she traveled around the world with husband George and was an avid gardener. In addition to George, she leaves three daughters, including Sally Perry Pemrick ’74, a son, six grandchildren, and a great-grandchild.
Sandra Worley Brown ’49 of Bayonet Point, FL, died January 31. An art major, she worked as a substitute elementary art teacher before opening her own dog obedience school. She is survived by a son and daughter.
Judith O’Connell Mongeluzzi ’49 of Huntington, NY, died October 30, 2008. An English major, she completed her bachelor’s at Utica College and earned a master’s from C. W. Post University. She taught English at Huntington High School. She was a board member of the Visiting Nurse Service and Hospice of Suffolk County. She is survived by her husband, Fred, five sons, two daughters, and 11 grandchildren.
Clayton Williamson ’50 of Hemet, CA, died April 9. A business major, he worked in the lumber and construction industry for over 40 years. He was an avid golfer. He leaves a son, two daughters, seven grandchildren, six great-grandchildren, and a sister; wife Joan predeceased him.
Joan Eisner Garb ’50 of Buckingham, PA, died February 14 after a long illness.
A history major, she earned a master’s in American history from New York University. She was a well-known community activist, serving on the boards of Planning Parenthood of Bucks County, the Fox Chase Cancer Center, and the Mapleleaf Learning Center. She was chair of the Democratic Party’s 143rd legislative district in Bucks County, spearheading the preservation of agricultural lands and serving as delegate to the 1996 National Democratic Convention. A regular author of articles and essays in local papers, she was a researcher for the Pulitzer Prize–winning history of the American cigarette business Ashes to Ashes by Richard Kluger. She served Skidmore as a Reunion volunteer and class agent. She is survived by husband Isaac, a son, and sister Gretchen Eisner Rachlin ’48.
Anne Allardice McCourt-Lewis ’50 of Berlin, MD, died December 26, 2008, of Alzheimer’s disease. A textiles and clothing major, she earned a master’s in elementary education from Syracuse University, reading specialist certification from the University of Maine, and a PhD in reading from Syracuse University. She was associate professor at the University of Maine before joining the faculty of the University of Delaware, where she taught for 25 years. She was the co-author of four reading education textbooks. She is survived by husband Kenneth, a son, and a daughter.
Julianne Dye Trenholm ’51 of Abbeville, SC, died March 20. A sociology major, she earned a master’s in education from Tufts University and started her teaching career at Harvard Preschool. She also helped husband Peter run an investment firm. A community volunteer, she served organizations such as the Cranbrook Museum, South Carolina guardian ad litem program, Meals on Wheels, and the Abbeville Medical Center. She was past president of the board of the Abbeville Opera House Players. For Skidmore she was an admissions correspondent, club volunteer, and member of the Friends of the Presidents. Predeceased by Peter, she is survived by two sons, a daughter, a brother, and sister Phyllis Dye Turner ’49.
Kathryn Bossler Childs ’52 of Bedminster, NJ, died March 28. A home-economics major, she served Skidmore as a Reunion volunteer. She is survived by a daughter, a son, sister Louise Bossler Cervon ’46, and two grandchildren. Her husband, Kenneth, predeceased her.
Virginia Martin ’52 of Warwick, NY, died December 20, 2008. A theater major, she helped pioneer the field of therapeutic riding and early in her career founded a company that produced the films Saddle Pals and Challenged Equestrians. She was instrumental in the creation of the Winslow Therapeutic Riding Center. A former program inspector for the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association, she was the recipient of the James Brady Professional Achievement Award, among many other honors. She is survived by a brother and a brother-in-law.
Joan Bodman Millspaugh ’54 of Pensacola, FL, died March 22 of a heart attack. A nursing major, she worked as head nurse and supervisor in hospitals across the nation. She spent countless hours as a volunteer for churches, schools, and community organizations. She leaves a sister; husband Donald predeceased her.
Susan Henderson Hendrix ’55 of North Pomfret, VT, died December 8, 2008. An art major, she was a renowned artist and owner of the OK Harris Works of Art gallery in NYC. She is survived by a daughter, two stepsons, and a stepdaughter. Her husband, Gene, predeceased her.
Carol Brown Brodrick ’57 of New Canaan, CT, died May 23. An English major, she was a talented artist. She served Skidmore as a class agent. She is survived by a son, two daughters, three brothers, and three grandchildren. Husband Richard predeceased her.
Gretchen Wright Zeh ’57 of Greenfield Center, NY, died April 9. A music major, she also did graduate studies at Syracuse University and Russell Sage College. She was an assistant for the Legal Aid Society. Among her many civic advocacy roles were volunteer for Literacy Volunteers of America, co-chair of volunteer service for Saratoga County Mental Health Center, board member of Transitional Services Associates, and chair of the Saratoga Economic Council. Predeceased by husband Walter Zeh ’50, she leaves three sons and four granddaughters.
Marcia Mattson Todd ’60 of Galway, NY, died April 21 after a long illness. She completed her degree at the National College of Education in Evanston, IL, and taught elementary school for several years. She was active in numerous civic organizations and her church. She raised and bred horses and served as district commissioner and regional supervisor for the US Pony Clubs’ board of directors. She was twice honored as a USPC Legend, its highest award, for her service. For Skidmore, she served as class secretary, class agent, and Reunion volunteer. She is survived by her husband, Doug, a son, a daughter, and four grandchildren.
Gail Baker Gilbert ’61 of Hartford, NC, died November 10, 2008, of cancer. An art major, she earned a BFA in interior architecture from the Rhode Island School of Design and enjoyed a long career as an interior designer. She was a former trustee of the Colonial Symphony in Madison, NJ. She leaves husband Bob, a daughter, a son, a brother, and two grandchildren.
Kathryn Zucker Epstein ’62 of Houston, TX, died January 30 of cancer. An American studies major, she trained therapy dogs and was an accomplished athlete. She was a Reunion volunteer for Skidmore. She is survived by her husband, Michael, a son, and a daughter.
Anne Vogt Coggio Fisler ’69 of Jericho, VT, died March 27 of cancer. A phys-ed major, she taught health and phys ed at Edmunds Middle School and Burlington High School for 25 years. She was a volunteer for the Humane Society and the founder of the Stockettes, an investment club for women. She served Skidmore as class president, class agent, and member of the Reunion Gift Program Advisory Committee. She leaves husband Frank, a daughter, a stepdaughter, brother Michael Vogt ’77, and two grandchildren.
Edward Whiteside ’75, of Greenwich, NY, died March 19. A University Without Walls graduate, he served in WWII, completing his education at the Crane School of Music and Skidmore. He was an accomplished bassoonist and music instructor who played with the Philadelphia Philharmonic, the Berkshire Symphony of Williamstown, MA, and the Sage Symphony of Bennington, VT. He is survived by two son, a daughter, three grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren. His wife, Elsie, predeceased him.
Jeffrey Armstrong ’76 of Delmar, NY, died suddenly on February 4. A history and government major, he earned a JD and later an LLM, summa cum laude, both from Albany Law School. He was a partner with Whiteman, Osterman & Hanna LLP, specializing in intellectual property, sponsored research, and technology transfer. He served as external counsel to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and general counsel to other colleges and universities. He was a Reunion volunteer for Skidmore. He leaves wife Pam, two sons, his mother, and a sister.
Nancy Bankauf Baker ’76 of Sarasota, FL, died May 26, 2008. An art major, she was a legal assistant and also served as a Skidmore club volunteer. She is survived by her parents and a daughter.
Carolyn Brett ’77 of Portland, ME, died February 14. A history major, she worked for the New York State Legislature in Albany before moving to Waterford, ME, where she developed a tourist publication and subsequently helped develop and manage several theatrical companies with producer Tony Montenaro, Theater of Fantasy, and the Celebration Company. She eventually became executive director and owner of the renowned mime theater the Celebration Barn in South Paris, ME. She is survived by sister Nancy Brett ’77 and aunt Linda Gorham Harvey ’57.
Susan Latimer Gibson ’77 of Stuart, FL, died in November 2008. A biology and psychology major, she earned a nursing degree from Towson State University. She was a medical/surgical nurse at Martin Memorial Hospital. For Skidmore she was a campaign volunteer and class agent. She leaves husband Nicholas, a daughter, a grandson, a brother, and her parents.
Christopher Bou ’80 of Telluride, CO, died May 7. A government and political science major, he was VP at the Studley commercial real-estate development firm in Washington, DC, from 1980 to 1994. He later moved to Telluride to sell real estate. He is survived by his brother.
Robin Mattoon Moyer ’80 of Corinth, NY, died April 24 of cancer. A psychology major, she was a teacher at Hadley-Luzerne Central Schools before going to work for the US Postal Service in Corinth. She was also employed as a youth pastor at the First Presbyterian Church of Corinth and most recently as a lay pastor for the Albany Presbytery. She is survived by husband John and a son.
Anne Bissell ’80 of Venice, FL, died suddenly on April 3 after a car accident. A biology major, she was an accounts manager for several investment firms, most recently Smith Barney. She is survived by her mother, a brother, a sister, and several nieces and nephews.
Alice Flanagan Davis ’80 of Seattle, WA, died January 24. An art major, she earned a BFA in graphic design from the University of Washington and owned a custom porcelain painting business. She is survived by her husband, Fred, her mother, a sister, and a brother.
Lisa Zelinsky Berger ’85 of Greenwich, CT, died July 28, 2008. She was a business major. She is survived by husband Cliff, four children, her parents, and a sister.
Natalia Fox Hogan ’91 of Saratoga Springs, NY, died suddenly on May 30.
An English major, she taught junior- and senior-high English and coached hockey at Saratoga Springs High School. She served as advisor for the Class of 2010.
An accomplished athlete, she was an avid runner, biker, skier, and hockey player. She leaves husband James, a son, a stepdaughter and stepson, a stepmother and stepsister, and several nieces and nephews.
Faculty, Staff. Trustees
Myles Cane of New York City died April 2. A longtime member of the board of trustees, he was the father of Susan ’81 and stepfather of Joan Fioravanti ’75 and Kimberly Skeen-Jones ’82. He joined Skidmore’s board in 1978 and served on every committee and in all major fundraising campaigns. He was a member of the 1986 presidential search committee that brought in David Porter, and in 1992 he became the board’s chair.
Porter, a close friend, says, “Myles… was as sophisticated and cosmopolitan a man as one would ever meet, a brilliant lawyer, and a tough-minded businessman and leader. But he also had great warmth, compassion, and humanity, and was a wonderful listener. He instinctively understood and appreciated the qualities that made Skidmore unique, and in his quiet but forceful way, and with his instinctive understanding of his listener, he was a powerful advocate for the College.”
Cane was a partner in Cane and Firstenberg and a venture-capital investor. He also developed a distinguished record of philanthropy in health and education. He helped Skidmore meet challenge grants, gave to the Parents Fund, built scholarship funds, and supported the summer residencies of the Boys Choir of Harlem. He also was instrumental in securing foundation funding for Skidmore’s collaborative-research program, the Early Childhood Education Center, and other initiatives. When Cane stepped down as board chair in 1998, Skidmore gave him an honorary doctorate of laws degree at Commencement. In 2004 the board gave him its Kemball-Cook Award, citing “his quiet wisdom, committed leadership, and absolute belief in Skidmore.” In addition to Susan, Joan, and Kimberly, he leaves his wife, Marilyn, son Jeffrey, and stepdaughter Cynthia.
Marie Costanzo of Saratoga Springs, NY, died May 21; she was 76. The mother of three Skidmore graduates, she was secretary in the music department from 1971 to 1993. Professor emerita Isabelle Williams, who chaired the department from 1979 to 1985, remembers, “When the College launched the Filene Music Competition, and there were so many details and deadlines surrounding that new initiative, Marie handled them all so capably. She had traditional secretarial responsibilities as well as extras like the concert box office, and she was so efficient. It was wonderful to have her as a colleague.” Professor Charles M. Joseph, who also chaired the department, recalls Costanzo’s friendly manner and willingness to assist. “She was often one step ahead of me. I cannot remember how many times I would start a sentence, ‘Marie, did you…’ and she would place a file folder in my hands. I found that indispensable.” He adds, “At every turn she was direct and professional. She knew the students and had a near-encyclopedic knowledge of the faculty and curriculum.” Predeceased by husband Anthony in 2008, she leaves daughters Paula, Christina ’83, Anita ’84, and Andrea ’86, a sister, and two sons-in-law.
Anne Ross Fairbanks of Troy, NY, died June 18; she was 85. Aquatics coach at Skidmore from 1967 to 1985, Fairbanks was the US national springboard diving champion from 1941 to 1944, earning acclaim for her grace and athleticism and winning nine Amateur Athletic Union titles. Also on the US team for the 1944 Olympics (canceled because of World War II), she was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1984.
When she began at Skidmore, having taught at several other universities, “we were eager to have that level of expertise—an Olympian and a full-fledged educator!” recalls former phys-ed department chair Bev Becker. “Anne was a master teacher in all phases of aquatics. She always looked first at what was right and best for the students.” Fairbanks was inducted into Skidmore’s Athletics Hall of Fame in 2007. She was a Red Cross volunteer and was active in her church, traveling frequently as part of its Haiti Mission. Her service caught the attention of President George H. W. Bush’s White House, which named her one of the country’s “Thousand Points of Light” in 1984.
Predeceased by husband Andrew, she leaves daughter Mary, partner Lise, a granddaughter, stepdaughter Berthaida, a step-granddaughter, and a brother and sister-in-law.
Robert Alan McGill, associate professor emeritus of English and a scholar of Native American literature, died June 14 in Gainesville, FL. He was 84. Ralph Ciancio, professor emeritus of English, was McGill’s neighbor in the department’s office on the old Scribner Campus. Ciancio recalls, “Alan had an unusual poetic sensibility and a keen eye and ear for finding poetry in unsuspected places—in discursive writings as well as short stories and novels. But first among Alan’s academic priorities was effective teaching. He was a strong advocate of student evaluations long before they became a policy at Skidmore. Many students praised especially his innovative pedagogy, and alumni from that era continue to remember his courses with great appreciation.” Don McCormack, former government professor and then dean of special programs, remembers lively discussions about African-American and other ethnic studies during the 1970s and says, “Alan’s interest in Native American studies was way before its time.”
McGill, who came to Skidmore in 1959, retired in 1984 and relocated to Florida, where he and his wife of 62 years, Mary, were active in civic and Unitarian choirs. They were also members of the American Recorder Society and the Adirondack Baroque Consort when they lived in Sartoga Springs. In addition to Mary, McGill leaves daughter Kathryn, son Douglas, two grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.