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Spring 2002

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On campus

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Alumni affairs
and development

Class notes



In Memoriam

Faculty and Staff


     Mildred McClurg Magavern ’23 of Buffalo, NY, died January 18 following a long illness. A secretarial science major, she was an active community volunteer who served as chair of the Hamburg Red Cross and the community United Way. A board member of the Buffalo Red Cross and Millard Filmore Hospital, she especially enjoyed playing bridge. She is survived by two daughters, including Julie Magavern Smith ’58, a son, 11 grandchildren, and 20 great-grandchildren. Her husband, Willard Magavern, predeceased her.

     Ruth Jager Robinson ’31 of Northampton, MA, and Naples, FL, died February 2. A French major, she lived in Longmeadow, MA, for 60 years with husband George and family. She was the proprietor of a successful woman’s clothing store, The Separate Shop, and was featured twice in Women’s Wear Daily, for her creative windows and merchandising savvy. She is survived by her two daughters.

     Margaret Basch Smith ’32 of New York City died October 11 after a long illness. Majoring in English, she later earned a master’s degree in educational psychology from Columbia Teachers College. She was a benefactor, board member, and vice president of the Children’s Blood Foundation, an organization founded by her late husband, Carl Smith. She is survived by a son and daughter, a sister-in-law, and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

     Elizabeth Reed Baker ’32 of Chino, CA, died April 27, 2001. She earned a degree in physical education. She is survived by husband Robert, two children, and several grandchildren and great grandchildren.

     Marie Strand Davison ’32 of Queensbury, NY, died November 19. A biology major, she worked as a secretary for the Hartwell & Shackelford and J.E. Roohan insurance companies. She was active in the American Association of University Women, the Saratoga Hospital Guild, and the Bethesda Episcopal Church. She is survived by daughter Ann Davison McDonough ’60, a son, and several grandchildren.

     Helen Swan ’32 of Saratoga Springs, NY, died December 30. Graduating with a bachelor’s in English, she went on to earn a master’s in library science from Columbia University. She was a reference librarian at the Schenectady Public Library, from which she retired after decades of service. A resident of the Wesley Health Care Center since 1994, she enjoyed the friendship of many staff members and residents and remained active in residence council until her death. There are no known survivors.

     Harriet Welden Delavan ’32 of Syracuse, NY, died June 26. A history major, she was a founding member of the St. James Episcopal Church Thrift Shop in her hometown of Skaneateles, NY, where she was also active in Girl Scouts, the Monday Evening Club, and civic affairs. Known for her unique flair in celebrating special events, holidays, and birthdays, she sewed lace trim onto each yellow and white Skidmore umbrella given to classmates during her 50th reunion. A competitive croquet player into her later years, she also maintained a keen interest in studying the American Civil War. She is survived by two daughters and a son; husband William predeceased her.

     Eugenie Guilmette ’33 of Wyckoff, NJ, died January 20. A music major and pianist, she taught music in Islip and Yonkers public schools for 35 years. She was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Yonkers Federation of Teachers, and the Delta Kappa Gamma Society. She is survived by a brother and a nephew.

     Jane Comstock Ramsbottom ’37 of Kirksville, KY, died July 3. She majored in art. She is survived by a son and daughter; husband John predeceased her.

     Marion Lynch Quellmalz ’37 of Menands, NY, died December 18. An English major, she did graduate work at Columbia University. She was president and owner of Boyd Printing Company Co. and founder of Q Corporation—both located in Albany, NY. A well-known community volunteer, Marion served on the boards of numerous agencies, including the Center for the Disabled, St. Agnes School, the YMCA, the Junior League, and the Albany Institute of Art and History. She authored the book Hail St. Agnes. She and her husband earned a special service award from the Hudson Mohawk Association of Colleges and Universities in 1995 for five decades of supporting higher education. In addition to husband Henry, Marion leaves three daughters, including Lynn Quellmalz Johnson ’65.

     Lucy Margaret Jackson Dayton ’38 of Wayzata, MN, died February 21 of natural causes. A dedicated civic volunteer, she was involved with the Junior League of Minneapolis, American Red Cross, Greater Twin Cities United Way, and Minnetonka Garden Club. An accomplished golfer in earlier years, she was a Woodhill Country Club women’s championship winner and served the Minnesota and Women’s Western Golf Associations in leadership roles. She is survived by three sons and daughters-in-law, including Joan Layng Dayton ’63; ten grandchildren, including Tobin Dayton ’90 and Scott Dayton ’93; nephew Alexander Brandt Dayton ’02; and eleven great-grandchildren. Her husband, Donald, predeceased her.

     Frances Snevily Johnston ’38 of Scottsdale, AZ, died June 18. A sociology major, she was president of her class and the campus sociology club. While residing in the Stanton, NJ, area, she served as chair of the Riverview Hospital Guild and co-chaired fund drives for polio and heart disease re-search. She enjoyed swimming and playing bridge. She is survived by her husband, James, and daughters Pamela Johnston Keating ’63 and Jennifer Johnston Theobold ’66.

     Janet Stapf Soch ’38 of Clearwater, FL, died May 6. She is survived by her husband, James, a son, and a daughter.

     Jean Follett Stockwell ’39 of Fort Myers, FL, died January 8. She was a physical education major. She is survived by a son as well as several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

     Barbara Hamlin Andrews ’40 of Pharr, TX, died July 7. A biology major, she was a medical technologist for the State of Connecticut at Cedarcrest Hospital, a career she retired from in the late ’80s. President of a local American Legion outpost, she was also a Girl Scout leader. She enjoying sewing, boating, and building model railroads. She is survived by her husband, Doug, a son and daughter, and niece Elizabeth Hamlin Holloway ’60.

     Elaine Oberwager Johnson ’40 of Somers, NY, died May 26. An English major, she was a marketing executive for California Texas Oil Co., headquartered in New York City. An active civic volunteer, she served as board director of the Girls Club of New York and vice president of a Port Washington, LI, family service agency. She served the alumni community as a Skidmore club president, Friends of the President chair, and reunion volunteer. She is survived by a son and two grandsons. Her husband, James III, predeceased her.

     Janet Cross Keyes ’41 of Stuart, FL, died December 3. A nursing major, she was also an instructor at Skidmore from 1942 until 1947, later teaching nursing at New York Post Graduate Hospital (now University Hospital) in New York City. She is survived by husband Paul and two children.

     Elizabeth Patch Mitchell ’41 of Bozeman, MT, died December 13. A biochemistry major, she worked for Sharpe & Dohme and Johnson & Johnson during the 1940s as a clinical research assistant, documenting the efficacy of sulfa compounds as antibiotics. She was a volunteer ambulance driver for the Philadelphia Red Cross during World War II. She served Skidmore as class president and reunion volunteer. In 1997 she moved to Montana, where she enjoyed spending time with her grandchildren. She is survived by two children; a sister, Priscilla Patch Weber ’47; and several nieces and nephews. Her husband, James III, predeceased her.

     Eleanor Little ’42 of Amherst, NY, died August 1, 2000. A history major, she worked for the Red Cross as a hospital recreation worker in Washington, DC, Japan, and Korea. She especially loved attending the opera and watching baseball. She is survived by a sister and several nieces and nephews.

     Olive Williams Kamnitzer ’44 of Greenwich, CT, died May 8, 2001. A fine arts major, she also attended the Franklin School of Professional Arts in New York City, earning a certificate in design. She was owner of Décor of Greenwich, a design firm that she ran for over 30 years. She is survived by her husband, Dick, and two children.

     Alice Ackerman Kennedy ’45 of Houston, TX, died October 18, 2000. She is survived by husband Thomas.

     Nancy Schuster ’45 of Muncie, IN, died November 19. She majored in sociology. Her sister Becky Schuster Pfeiffer ’40 predeceased her; she is survived by a cousin.

     Betty B.J. England Olsen ’46 of Santa Rosa, CA, died November 7. An economics major, she earned a master’s in special education from San Francisco State University. A nationally recognized innovator in the field of teaching visually impaired students, she was cited in Who’s Who in American Education for the instructional model she created for the City of San Francisco School District, which was subsequently adopted by school programs for visually impaired students nationwide. She is survived by a son and daughter.

     Jean McPherson Blankinship ’48 of Peacham, VT, died February 2. After receiving her degree in nursing, she was a health consultant for the City of White River Junction, VT, retiring in 1998 after working for a federally sponsored ad campaign encouraging breast self-examination. A member of several professional associations, she served Skidmore as class president and class agent. She enjoyed travel, gardening, and landscape painting; she was a juried member of the Historical Society of Early American Decoration and executor of the estate of illustrator Horace H. Gilmore. She is survived by a daughter, Martha Blankinship Ide ’73, and three sons. Her husband, Stanford Jr., predeceased her.

     Jeanne Shallow Wickes ’48 died May 21 after a prolonged illness. A nursing major, she managed a laboratory for the U.S. Forest Service in North Carolina and served as chair of an area chapter of the United Fund. She is survived by her husband, Pere, two daughters, and a son.

     Lois Walters Sims ’49 of West Babylon, NY, died April 17, 2001. Husband Robert predeceased her, and she leaves no known survivors.

     Elizabeth Hanson Hendrickson ’50 of West Hartford, CT, died December 6 after a long illness. A nursing major, she worked as a registered nurse at the Hughes Convalescent Home in West Hartford for many years. She is survived by a daughter and two sons, a brother and sister, and three grandchildren. Her husband, Ward, predeceased her.

     Forrest LaValley ’50 of Lindenhurst, NY, died April 14, 2001. A business major, he retired as vice president of the former Long Island Savings Bank. He is survived by his wife, Helen, six daughters, and three sons.

     Louise Prout Ganther ’50 of Virginia Beach, VA, died May 28, 1999. She is survived by two daughters and three sons.

     Joan Reid LaFleur ’51 died July 7. She leaves her husband, Joe, two daughters, two sons, and a son-in-law. Joan was active in the League of Women Voters in Montgomery County, MD.

     Elizabeth Newman Strong ’53 of Manchester, MA, died December 26. After graduating with a degree in history, she worked for several years as an administrative assistant at the Central Intelligence Agency in Washington, DC, and for the State Department in Bangkok, Thailand. She is survived by two children.

     Mary Ellen Corbett Kunz ’55 of Edina, MN, died December 23. An art major and Skidmore Sonneteer, she was a founding member of the League Aires, a Junior League chorus she organized in Minnesota. She especially enjoyed international travel, visiting Greece, the Ukraine, Turkey, Romania, and Bulgaria in 1997. She was a longtime volunteer, serving most recently as a class agent. She is survived by two sons, a daughter, two brothers, and five grandchildren. Her husband, Walter Jr., predeceased her.

     Natalie Westwood Sullivan ’58 died December 29 of breast cancer. An art major, she also studied art history at the Institute of Fine Arts and at the Art Students League in New York City. An accomplished painter, she held private exhibitions and sold her work from studios in her two homes. A board member of the Chautauqua Center for the Visual Arts, she served Skidmore as a class agent. She is survived by her husband, Jack, two children, and three grandchildren.

     Constance Doyle ’63 died November 21 from intestinal cancer. In addition to Skidmore, she attended Parsons School of Design and the New School, both in New York City. A graphic artist who held editorial positions at Knopf and American Heritage publishing companies, she was also an accomplished jewelry designer. She is survived by two sisters and a brother.

     Deborah Slaton Tompkins ’65 of Dallas, TX, died August 12. She was president of Bloom and Tompkins, a fashion collections firm. She is survived by husband David, two children, and niece Kimberly Tompkins Bickley ’87.

     Jacques Schwartzbach, UWW ’75, of Poughkeepsie, NY, died May 18, 2000. He earned a Skidmore degree in liberal studies. He is survived by his wife, Elise, two daughters, and a son.

     Elizabeth Keyser Evans ’77 of Marion, MA, succumbed to cancer on November 17. She majored in physical education. For Skidmore, she helped coordinate a memorial scholarship in honor of friend and classmate Nancy Hildebrand ’77, who perished in an auto accident in 1980. She is survived by her husband, John, and five children.

     Edward Wilkinson ’93 of Wellesley Hills, MA, died November 17 after a long illness resulting from a head injury. An American studies major, he was a member of Skidmore’s varsity ski team. He is survived by his parents, Harold and Alice Wilkinson, and a brother.

Faculty and Staff

     Erwin Levine, professor emeritus of government, died January 12 after an extended illness; he was 75. Skidmore President Jamienne S. Studley wrote that Levine “epitomized the faculty ideal of teacher, scholar, and citizen. He was passionate about his teaching, insightful and productive in his scholarship, and effective and tireless in his service to the Skidmore and Saratoga Springs communities. He was demanding of and devoted to his students, and generations of Skidmore students responded with respect, loyalty, and gratitude.”

     Levine, who received his Ph.D. from Brown University, joined the Skidmore faculty in 1961 and taught until his retirement in 1988. He chaired the Department of Government from 1979 to 1986. A specialist in American presidential politics and government, he wrote several books, including An Introduction to American Government (considered a definitive text for government students) and a two-volume biographical study of the Rhode Island politician and statesman Theodore Francis Green. He and Elizabeth Maiden Newell ’68 were co-authors of the Public Law 94-142: An Act of Congress, The Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975, published in 1981. In addition to his essays in academic journals, he wrote several articles for Grolier’s American Government Encyclopedia. In 1972 he was selected as the Edwin M. Moseley Faculty Research Lecturer, the highest honor that can be bestowed upon a Skidmore faculty member by his or her colleagues.

     During his time at Skidmore, Levine served on and chaired multiple committees on educational policies, tenure, appointments, and sabbaticals. He frequently participated in special programs coordinated by the alumni, development, and admissions offices. Beyond the campus, he was active in a number of civic and governmental pursuits. In 1998, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Capital District chapter of the National Society of Fund Raising Executives.

     In addition to his wife, Mary Ellen Fischer, professor emerita of government at Skidmore, Levine leaves his daughter-in-law and grandson. Son Dana predeceased him.

     Mary Hartmann, a secretary in Skidmore’s Plant Operations for 17 years, died January 16. Hartmann came to Skidmore in 1956. After retiring she was active in the Wilton Senior Citizens group and enjoyed playing the piano and writing poetry. Husband William and seven siblings predeceased her; she is survived by two nieces, a nephew, and three stepchildren.


© 2002 Skidmore College