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People & projects | UWW | In Memoriam

In Memoriam


Marion Ahern ’21 of Troy, NY, died in September 1977. A home-economics major, she enjoyed a 38-year career as chief dietetic director at the US Veterans Administration in Washington, DC. She is survived by niece Elizabeth Villacorta Fleming ’83.

Vivian Jensen Behrman ’28 of Woods Hole, MA, died December 15. An art and education major, she studied dance with Perry Mansfield in Steamboat Springs, CO, and was invited to join the Martha Graham Dance Company. She instead embarked on a career in education, teaching high-school art until her marriage in 1934. Vivian spent several years in China with her husband, prior to returning to the US to study engineering at Columbia University. She became the first female faculty member at Williams College to teach mechanical drawing to students in the Navy V12 program. After World War II she returned to the Far East. She continued to study art and was an avid sailor and golfer. Secretary for the International Women’s Club in Japan, she taught English to the wives of local businessmen and judged English-language high-school debates. She returned to her native Cape Cod in later years. She is survived by a daughter; husband George predeceased her.

Elizabeth Butterworth Gordon ’31 of Largo, FL, died July 21, 2002. An English major, she earned a degree in library science from Columbia University in 1933. She was a member of Lakewood Country Club and her church. She is survived by a niece; husband O’Neal predeceased her.

Alice Green Schryver ’31 of Elk Mound, WI, died July 27, 2001. She leaves two sons; husband Martin predeceased her.

Evelyn Marotta Root ’31 of Redlands, CA, died December 28, 1988. A Latin major, she taught French and Latin at Saratoga Springs High School from 1931 to 1938. An active community volunteer, she was president of the Saratoga Springs AAUW. She leaves a daughter and son. Her husband, Charles, predeceased her.

Dorothea Luce Hoff ’32 of Hackettstown, NJ, died January 12. A music major, she was a longtime teacher of elementary school music for the Bogota school district. She leaves three sons, seven grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.

Sybil Shearer ’34 of Northbrook, IL, died November 17. An English major, she became a leading experimental dancer and choreographer and was often compared to Merce Cunningham. She established her own dance company in 1959. She gave many solo performances that are recorded and archived in the Morrison-Shearer Foundation and Museum, which she established in 1989. In recent years, she was a dance critic for Ballet Review magazine and authored an autobiography due for release this year. She was nominated for the alumni association’s Distinguished Achievement Award in 2004. There are no known immediate survivors.
Nellie Hegeman Teale ’35 of Lebanon, NJ, died November 24. She was a physical education major. She is survived by a daughter and several nieces and nephews; husband Harold predeceased her.

Hilda Caldwell Gonnella ’36 of Fairfield, CA, died July 30, 2004. An art major, she was a volunteer with Hospice. She is survived by husband Airo, two sons, and a daughter.

Frances Watkins Davidson ’39 of Derry, NH, died November 24. A home-economics major, she was honored by the Lighthouse Association for the Blind for 50 years of volunteer service. She served Skidmore as a club president and Wide Horizons Campaign volunteer. She is survived by two sons; four grandchildren, including Kelly Davidson Papas ’93; and two great-grandchildren.

Dorothy Reuter Bennett ’40 of Paso Robles, CA, died January 31, 2005. An art major, she was an interior designer for Ethan Allen Gallery in Ventura, CA, before opening her own art gallery. She served as a draftsman during World War II. For Skidmore she was a class agent. She is survived by a son and daughter; husband Thomas predeceased her.

Dorothy Rose Murphy ’41 of Glens Falls, NY, died December 18. A business major, she had been editor of the Mobil Travel Guide. She was a member of several civic organizations and served Skidmore as class fund chair. She is survived by husband Gordon, two sons, a sister, eight grandchildren, and 10 great-grandchildren. Her sister Margaret Rose Shedrick ’44
predeceased her.

Jeanne MacDonald Bruggeman ’42 of Elkins, NH, died December 9. A home-economics major, she earned a master’s in nutrition from Columbia University in 1943 and taught home economics in NYC schools. In retirement, she ran a rental cottage business. She is survived by three children, a brother, and seven grandchildren. Husband George predeceased her.

Helena Ritter Fitzsimmons ’42 of New York, NY, died November 7. A home-economics major, she earned a master’s in education from Columbia University and taught for many years. She served Skidmore as class president and class agent and was active in the League of Women Voters and the Saratoga Springs Historical Society. She is survived by four daughters and
seven grandchildren.

Angela Phillips Suter ’42 of Fairfield, CT, died October 14. An art major, she served the college as a reunion volunteer. She is survived by a daughter and a son.

Madeleine Ducharme Davis ’43 of West Chester, PA, died December 12. A French major, she was active in numerous civic and school associations. She leaves husband Richard, a daughter, and two sons.

Millicent Cameron Breen ’43 of the US Embassy in Moscow, Russia, died November 3. An anthropology major, she had been an assistant to the athletics director at Williams College. She leaves a daughter.

Helen Crum Hodge ’45 of Wilton, CT, died January 1. She volunteered for the Child and Family Thrift Store in Simsbury and the Wilton Historical Society. She is survived by four sons; husband Richard predeceased her.

Dorothy Porlier Cell ’45 of Bethesda, MD, died December 3. A home-economics major, she was secretary for Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company in the Washington, DC, area. She leaves husband Robert, two sons, and two grandchildren.

Natalie Stonington Ferguson ’45 of Orange, CA, died April 23, 2000. A sociology major, she earned a master’s in marriage and family therapy in 1980 and practiced in that field for many years. She is survived by husband John, two daughters, and sister Dorothea Stonington Lathrop ’41.

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.

Annette Smith Barber ’46 of Greenwich, NY, died January 11. A nursing major, she was a longtime staff member of the Washington County Public Health Department. She was active in the Battenkill Art League and well known for her animal portraits. She is survived by two daughters, including Susan Barber Gordon ’81, and a son. Her husband, Robert, predeceased her.

Patricia Kahan Mirisch ’46 of Los Angeles, CA, died April 30, 2005. A sociology major, she was a social worker prior to her marriage. She is survived by husband Walter, a daughter, and
two sons.

Joyce Young Wiggins ’46 of Ithaca, NY, died October 2, 2000. A nursing major, she worked in her profession until entering the hospitality industry. She was co-owner of Auberge du Cochon Rouge, an inn and restaurant, and La Tourelle Steakhouse, both in Ithaca. She is survived by husband Walter, two daughters, and two sons.

Joanna Turner Lawrie ’46 of Denver, CO, died November 7, 1994. A music education major, she completed her degree at Northwestern University and became a teaching assistant at the University of Illinois. She is survived by a daughter. Her husband, Charles, predeceased her.

Phyllis Pountney Gillette ’48 of East Greenwich, RI, died November 17. A nursing major, she worked at Skidmore as an instructor, and was a special-care RN for the Polio Foundation and clinical nurse specialist for the Institute of Rehabilitative Medicine at NYU. For Skidmore she was a club officer, admissions correspondent, and class agent. She is survived by a son, two daughters, and six grandchildren.

Phyllis Rowe Brulett ’49 of Avon Park, FL, died December 18, 2003. A sociology major, she earned a master’s in education from Springfield College and a master’s in library science. She was a media specialist for Avon Park Middle Schools for many years. She is survived by a son, a daughter, and four grandchildren.

Dorothy Stephan Kellsey ’50 of Longmont, CO, died November 4. A nursing major, she earned a teaching credential from Russell Sage College. She retired after 24 years as a school nurse at Charlton Heights Elementary School in Ballston Spa, NY. She was a longtime member of her church choir and served Skidmore as class president, reunion volunteer, and class agent. She is survived by three daughters, including Charlene Kellsey ’73; six grandchildren; and one great-grandchild. Her husband, Kenneth, predeceased her.

Gennett Manville Coffin ’50 of Nantucket, MA, died May 25. She is survived by four sons.

Miriam Kahn Harris ’54 of Great Neck, NY, died January 27. A sociology major, she earned a master’s in social work from Adelphi University. A longtime employee of the Great Neck Children’s Living program, she founded an intergenerational program there and was a trustee of the Great Neck Senior Citizens Center. She was an avid dancer throughout her life. She leaves husband Arthur, a son, two daughters, two brothers, and six grandchildren.

Ellen Thiberg Greenwood ’54, whose death was noted in the winter Scope, is survived by two nieces, a nephew, and grandniece Julie Steinman ’09.

Susan Dryfoos Koch ’55 of New York, NY, died September 19. An English major, she enjoyed a successful career as a stockbroker before becoming a well-known advocate for women and children. She was chair of the Family Violence Divisional Board and a trustee of the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services. She leaves two daughters and four grandchildren.

Ann Moses Douglas ’56 of Niantic, CT, died December 8. An English major, she earned a master’s in elementary education at the Bank Street College of Education in 1957. After a career in teaching, she co-founded and ran The Packet Boat Ltd., a retail garden and tableware business. A longtime civic volunteer, Ann was an advocate for higher education—particularly Skidmore. She established the Moses Trust Scholarship Fund and endowed the Douglas Family Chair in American Studies. She also served the college as class agent, fund chair, club
president, Friends of the Presidents committee chair, reunion and campaign volunteer, and alumna trustee. She was the recipient of the alumni association’s Outstanding Service Award in 1996. She is survived by husband Gordon, daughter Catherine Douglas ’88, two sons, and
several grandchildren.

Sandra Shaw Havill ’56 of Chapel Hill, NC, died in December. A nursing major, she earned a master’s in nursing at Seton Hall University and was director of specialty clinics at Children’s Medical Center in Dallas, TX. She served Skidmore as a club officer and career counselor. She is survived by husband Richard, a son, and two daughters.

Mary Virtue Hamill ’61 of Litchfield, CT, died February 8. An English major, she earned a graduate degree at Iowa State University and worked in the research department of Travelers Insurance Company. She is survived by husband John, two sons, a daughter, and five grandchildren.

Kirsten Kannenberg-Heasley ’62 of Berkeley, CA, died November 18. An art major, she worked in the dean of students office at UC Berkeley, where she became involved in the student-rights and free-speech movements. She earned a master’s in museum studies from the John F. Kennedy University. As a working artist she became the first curator of Creative Growth, a gallery featuring work by developmentally disabled adult artists. She subsequently worked as an adult education coordinator for 32 senior centers and started her own antiques business. She is survived by husband Richard, a son and daughter, and two grandchildren.

Christine Steinle De’ak ’68 of Alpine, CA, died December 14. An art history major, she earned a master’s in art history from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor in 1970. After a successful career with NBC as an operations manager and graphic engineer, she was a consultant for a national management-consulting firm and later founded her own marketing firm, Pen and Ink Inc. She is survived by husband Paul, a daughter, and three brothers.

Alesia Mayes-Owen ’99 of Mesa, AZ, died February 20, 2005. A graduate of Skidmore’s UWW program, she was an operator for the hearing impaired for AT&T and later Lucent Technologies. She enjoyed marathon running, hiking, and traveling. She was a 14-year member of Alcoholics Anonymous. She is survived by husband Stephen, her parents, two sisters, two brothers, and her grandmother.

Faculty & Staff

Charles Winney of New Rochelle, NY, died December 8. He joined the dining services staff in 1961 and retired as a roundsman in 1985. According to niece Debra Youngblood, textbook coordinator in the Skidmore Shop, Charlie “loved working at Skidmore.” His enthusiasm was so strong that “if his shift ended, and there was work to be done, he would stay to complete it,” she said. She also noted that Charlie was an avid walker and reader. Mary O’Donnell, public access assistant in the library, knew Charlie for a number of years and remembers his love of Saratoga news and history. “When prompted by people to write a book, Charlie would laugh and say he had ‘the unwritten history,’” she said. “He was such a nice man and had a good sense of humor and fun about him.”

Winney, whose wife, Thelma, died in 1997, is survived by two daughters, three grandchildren, six great-grandchildren, and a number of nieces and nephews.

His son predeceased him.