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People & projects | UWW | In Memoriam

In Memoriam

Alumni

Eleanor Harbeck Gaylord ’25 of Rochester, NY, died July 26. An art major, she did not start painting until the age of 60, when she began producing watercolors. Her work spent many years unseen in a basement until the mid 1990s, when a local art dealer convinced her to exhibit her work at a gallery. She participated in the 1996 Alumni Art Exhibition. She is survived by a daughter, several grandchildren, and a great-grandson. Husband Herbert predeceased her.

Elizabeth Griffith Vessey ’32 of Downsville, NY, died November 24. A history major, she earned a master’s in education from SUNY-Oneonta. She taught first grade for Downsville Central Schools for more than 20 years, retiring in 1975. She was active as a library volunteer and with her church. She is survived by two sons, two grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. Husband Clifford predeceased her.

Aileen O’Brian Howe ’34 of Gardner, MA, died February 5 after a brief illness. An English major, she owned an antiques business. She was a longtime volunteer and trustee of the Gardner Public Library and the Gardner Museum. She loved to garden, read, and play bridge. She is survived by daughter Margaret Howe-Soper ’61, a son, three grandchildren, and niece Camille Christian Malamud ’51. Her husband, Volney, and sister Genevieve O’Brian Harrington ’27 predeceased her.

Catherine Getman Goodrich ’35 of Tyler, TX, died January 2, 2004. She was a home economics major. She is survived by a daughter and a son; husband Cleon predeceased her.

Virginia Byers Cooper ’35 of Olathe, Kansas, died August 21, 2003. She leaves two daughters and a son; husband Jack predeceased her.

Lois Corry Bitter ’37 of New London, NH, died January 27. She was an English major. A former board member of the Tracy Memorial Library in New London, she also served on the town’s hospital auxiliary and summer residents committee. She represented Skidmore at a 1978 presidential inauguration at Colby-Sawyer College. She is survived by daughter Katherine Bitter Phillips ’66 and granddaughter Katherine Hughes ’89. Her husband, Howard, and daughter Jan Bitter Hughes ’63 predeceased her.

Shirley Ives Ripsom ’38 of Louisville, KY, died March 7, 2004. An art major, she wrote advertising copy for Young & Rubicam and later worked for her husband’s real estate firm. She belonged to the AAUW and was active in her church. She is survived by a daughter and three sons. Her husband, T. Bleecker, predeceased her.

Betty Jones Stern ’39 of Claremont, CA, died January 28 of ovarian cancer. An English major, she worked as personal secretary to orchestral conductor Leopold Stokowski, about whom she later authored several articles for California Crossroads magazine. She also worked for the Walt Disney Company on the re-release of the movie Fantasia, and in her seventies became a substitute teacher and tutor of English as a second language. She volunteered for the League of Women Voters, American Civil Liberties Union, and local PTA. Along with husband Al, she reactivated the ACLU Chapter of Bakersfield. The couple received the Activists of the Year Award from the Southern California ACLU in 2004. She served as 1939’s class secretary for over a decade. She is survived by three daughters, a son, and six grandchildren.

Lenore Clark Hamilton ’39 of Durango, CO, died May 22, 2004. An art major, she studied at the Art Career School in Chicago. She was a founding member of the Durango Art Association and exhibited her work throughout the area. Her portraits hang in many local homes. She is survived by three sons and a daughter. Her husband, E. Bentley Sr., predeceased her.

Ellen Gandsey Cornwell ’42 of Portsmouth, RI, died January 14. She was a biology major. A longtime class agent, she was also a former president of the Chicago Skidmore club. She leaves husband Grant, daughter Mary Cornwell Lundberg ’66, three sons, sister Mary Gandsey Coffin ’46, and nieces Mary Coffin Murray ’78 and Ellen Coffin Rakes ’74.

Katharine Lahr Hill ’42 of Englewood, FL, died January 7. A nursing major, she served in the Pacific theater during WWII, achieving the rank of first lieutenant. She returned home to work as assistant clinical instructor for Skidmore’s nursing program in NYC and later became a public health nurse. She is survived by a brother, five daughters, seven grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. Husband William predeceased her.

Jeanette Davis Watson ’44 of Lee, NH, died January 14. A phys-ed major, she taught at Tufts University and the University of New Hampshire during the 1940s. She enjoyed golfing and swimming well into her senior years. She is survived by a daughter, three sons, and granddaughter Kelly Watson ’00. Husband Richard predeceased her.

Margaret Rose Shedrick ’44 of Wilmington, DE, died January 12. A biology major, she was active in the women’s association of her church and AAUW. She was a Meals on Wheels volunteer for many years. She is survived by two sons, a daughter, and sister Dorothy Rose Murphy ’41.

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.

Lucy MacPherson Proctor ’46 of Winter Park, FL, died January 1. She was a member of the Junior League, the Country Club of Orlando, and the Interlachen Country Club. She is survived by husband Richard, a son, and a daughter.

Anne Hayes Huppuch ’47 of Saratoga Springs, NY, died February 10. A Romance languages major, she came back to Skidmore to work in the admissions office from 1982 to 2000. She is survived by two sons, a daughter, six grandchildren, two brothers, and several nieces and nephews.

Mary K. Turner ’48 of Albuquerque, NM, died January 11. A nursing major, she was head nurse at Germantown Hospital in Pennsylvania until switching to a career in personnel in the late 1950s. She retired in 1990 as personnel director at Dun & Bradstreet Companies in King of Prussia, PA. She is survived by a sister and six nieces and nephews.

Barbara Lee Gardner ’49 of Signal Mountain, TN, died February 4. An economics major, she was an accountant with the family firm of Gardner & Meredith and was active in the Chattanooga Junior League. In 1988, the Gardners were named Family of the Year by the Southeast Division of Family Service Agencies for their participation in a program for runaway youth. Barbara’s volunteer efforts also benefited the Children’s Home of Chattanooga and the Chattanooga Hospice. She enjoyed skiing, travel, and needlework. She leaves husband Warren, three sons, a daughter, and 12 grandchildren.

Elizabeth Ann Wagman ’50 of North York, Ontario, died November 24. She leaves cousin Sarah Wagman Hoge ’55 and a brother.

Elizabeth Ellis Butler ’50 of Stuart, FL, died February 18. A nursing major, she practiced in New York until her retirement in 1989. She subsequently opened a college financial-aid consultancy in Syracuse before moving to Florida in 1995. She was active in her church and served Skidmore as a class agent and class secretary. She is survived by a son, three daughters, eleven grandchildren, and two brothers.

Elisabeth Booth Young ’50 of Glen Rock, NJ, died November 12 after a long illness. A biology major, she earned a master’s from Mount Holyoke College in 1952 and for more than a decade was a laboratory researcher at Columbia University and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. After her children were grown, she became an editor and photographer for The Churchwoman, traveling internationally to report on issues of social and economic justice and women’s rights. She is survived by three sons.

Alison Beyea ’50 of Weston, CT, died January 3, 2003. An English major, Poni was an editor for a number of publications and organizations including American Girl and Simplicity Patterns, and was an assistant professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC. She served Skidmore as a reunion volunteer. She is survived by a brother.

Sarajane Roche Kennedy ’51 of Oakmont, PA, died December 4 of cancer. A nursing major, she worked as a public health nurse in NYC, in rural upstate New York, and at a state correctional facility before becoming a school nurse. She retired from the Riverview School District in 1975. A local legend for her extraordinary commitment to volunteer service, she was named Oakmont Citizen of the Year in 2002 for her work in battered women’s shelters and other organizations serving the needy. She is survived by husband Allen, four daughters, a son, and 10 grandchildren.

Joan O’Neill Grady ’51 of Boca Grande, FL, died September 29 from thyroid cancer. A psychology major, she earned a master’s in elementary education from Harvard in 1952. She taught in the White Plains, NY, school district and was an executive interviewer with Louis Harris. She did volunteer work for the Children’s Dispensary Board in South Bend, IN, and at a school in Darien, CT, and was a participant in the Guardian Ad Litem program in Florida for 15 years. In 2002 she was the first recipient of the Charlotte County Guardian of the Year Award. A past president of the Boca Grande Art Alliance, she was a member of its board of directors and several other area clubs. She leaves husband James, three daughters, and two sons.

Elizabeth Bishop Teulings ’52 of Pittsboro, NC, died February 12. A home economics major, she did volunteer work assisting disadvantaged children and unwed mothers and served on the board of the Fearrington Home Owners Association. She is survived by husband William and two daughters.

Dorothy Brun Spender ’53 of Punta Gorda, FL, died February 10. She majored in home economics. She is survived by husband George, two sons, and a daughter; sister Betty Brun Baldwin ’49 predeceased her.

Oretta Davis Todd ’54 of Detroit, MI, died January 28. A nursing major, she earned a master’s from Wayne State University in 1963 and a doctorate in education from the University of Michigan in 1986. She retired as dean of nursing at Highland Park Community College in 1995 but continued working as a consultant to the Kellogg Foundation on African health initiatives. An expert in arthritis and musculoskeletal diseases, she was appointed by the Clinton administration to serve on an advisory council at the National Institutes of Health. She is survived by two daughters, including Kara Todd Partridge ’78, and a son.

Elizabeth Rousch Brumm ’57 of Cincinnati, OH, died January 17. A history major, she taught at two preparatory schools in Richmond, VA, and authored several children’s books. She was past president of the Cincinnati Opera Guild and her condominium association. She is survived by a stepson; husband Louis predeceased her.

Ann Hubbard Delaney ’59 of Gouldsboro, ME, died January 24. A theater major, she earned a master’s in elementary education from the University of Maine in 1984. She taught in her later years and was very involved in her church. She is survived by husband Harland, two daughters, a son, two stepchildren, and 10 grandchildren.

Gail Titcomb ’60 of Brookline, MA, died December 25. A sociology major, she taught in Boston public schools for 33 years. She was a member of Mensa, the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, and the American Begonia Society. She was an accomplished quilter. She is survived by a sister, a brother, and four nephews and nieces.

Thomas Houston ’74 of Fort Myers, FL, died February 27, 2004. A business major in Skidmore’s University Without Walls program, he was a comptroller for Naval Air Technical Services in Philadelphia, PA. He is survived by his wife, Doris.

Charlotte Spanos ’79 of Lake Winnesquam, NH, died February 28, 1994. A dance major, she pursued a master’s in dance education at NYU. She was owner of the Shalimar resort and restaurant. She is survived by brother Peter Spanos ’82.

Melissa Bowne Gulitti ’83 of Cold Spring Harbor, NY, died suddenly on February 18. She was a dance major. She is survived by husband Joseph and a son.

Stephanie White ’90 of West Nyack, NY, died suddenly on November 22. An English major, she received the Joseph C. Palamountain Jr. Prose Award in 1989, and in 1990 won the Edwin Moseley Prize in English and the Frances Steloff Poetry Prize. She held a doctorate from Brandeis University. She is survived by her parents and two sisters.

Jerry Krauss ’95 of Ithaca, NY, died January 18, 2003. A library science major in Skidmore’s University Without Walls program, he was a residential counselor at Glove House, an organization serving troubled children and their families. There are no known survivors.

Jordan Fish ’01 of Northbrook, IL, died November 20. He majored in business. He is survived by his parents, a brother, a grandmother, and aunts, uncles, and cousins.

John Hall ’03 of Wellesley, MA, died November 26 of cancer. An English major focusing on creative writing, he was a member of Skidmore’s jazz ensemble and studied under artist-in-residence Chris Brubeck. As a high-school senior, he founded and played bass for the jazz funk group the Addison Groove Project; the band recorded its second album at Falstaff’s and went on to tour at top national venues. He is survived by his parents, a sister, and grandmother.

Megan Rogers ’03 of Woolrich, ME, died November 20 of leukemia. A summa cum laude graduate who majored in English, she wrote a novella titled Adrift for her honors project and designed art posters for the English department’s “Evolving Canon” events. She is survived by her parents and a brother.

Faculty and Staff

Lee Canfield of Mechanicville, NY, died July 15. She worked at Skidmore for many years as phys-ed department secretary and in the dean of studies office. In addition to husband Ben, she leaves two daughters, including Susan Canfield Barber ’71; a son; and nine grandchildren.

Anthony Otrembiak of Milton, NY, died February 1. He began his career at Skidmore College in 1953—first as a boiler man on the Scribner campus, then as a maintenance mechanic. He also provided assistance with audio-visual technology. He retired in 1978. Otrembiak is remembered for his part in extending the faculty-tuition waiver to all full-time staff members, with the support of several members of the foreign languages department. His daughter Monica Otrembiak Varley ’72 was the first child of a nonfaculty employee to graduate from Skidmore. Among other activities, Otrembiak was involved in 4-H, Adirondack Squares, Southern Adirondack Bee Keepers Association, and the American Legion. He enjoyed farming and gardening and often joined his sons at the Saratoga Farmers Market, where they sold plants and produce—including honey—from the family farm. He enjoyed harness racing and trained and drove his own horses.
In addition to Monica, he leaves three other children, including Stephen, a member of Skidmore’s media services staff (whose wife, Nancy Osberg-Otrembiak, is a secretary in the American studies department); grandchildren, step-grandchildren, and several nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Harry Prosch of Saratoga Springs, NY, died March 11. Professor emeritus of philosophy, he joined the Skidmore faculty in 1962, was department chair for 15 years, and retired in 1987. He served on a number of college committees and was elected a founding member of the Skidmore chapter of Phi Beta Kappa in 1971. Also that year he was selected by colleagues to deliver the Faculty Research Lecture, titled “Cooling the Modern Mind: Polanyi’s Mission.”

Eric Weller, professor emeritus of philosophy and former dean of the faculty, recalled that Prosch was “a curmudgeon who spoke his mind, but a softie underneath that exterior. He would bend over backwards for his students; the brighter they were, the farther he’d bend.” Longtime colleague Warren Hockenos added, “He had respect for his students, and respect for what a philosopher does and thinks, and he had the ability to bring the two together and show how one depends on the other.”

Prosch’s research specialty was the philosopher Michael Polanyi, with whom he studied at Oxford, and with whom he taught a course as Willett Visiting Professor at the University of Chicago in 1970. Prosch also wrote three books: The Genesis of Twentieth Century Philosophy, Michael Polanyi: A Critical Exposition, and Meaning (co-authored with Polanyi).
In addition to his wife, Doris, he is survived by son Michael ’82, daughter Christine ’78, two grandchildren, and a great-grandchild. Memorial contributions can be sent to the Luzerne Music Center, PO Box 35, Lake Luzerne, NY 12846.