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Winter 2000

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In Memoriam



Mary Taggart Schock ’17, of Lexington, MA, died Sept. 21, 1999. An art major at Skidmore and a longtime resident of Kingston, RI, she belonged to the South County Art Association and exhibited her watercolors regularly. Mary kept very busy with volunteer activities, including the PTA, Planned Parenthood, hospital women’s auxiliary, and church women’s guild. She served Skidmore as class president, secretary, and Boston club president. Mary is survived by two sons, 12 grandchildren, 20 great-grandchildren, and two great-great-grandchildren; husband Edson and a son predeceased her.

Helen Harder Gidge ’21, of Boynton Beach, FL, died March 12, 1999. She was a business major. A former resident of Longmeadow, MA, she was a member of the Skidmore alumni club of Springfield. Helen is survived by nieces and nephews; husband George predeceased her in 1996.

Dorothy Otstot McGregor ’25, of Rochester, NY, died Aug. 10, 1999. A longtime resident of Stockbridge, MA, she was personal secretary to Mary and Norman Rockwell and managed the Pink Kitty gift shop at the Red Lion Inn. She was a communicant of the First Congregational Church of Stockbridge. Dorothy is survived by a son, three grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren; husband Douglas and a son predeceased her in 1977 and 1998, respectively.

Priscilla Bates Skilling ’27, of Old Orchard Beach, ME, died Sept. 23, 1999. A history and social science major at Skidmore, she taught in high school prior to the birth of her first daughter. She was active in the Old Orchard Beach Art Association and Women’s Civic Group, Hope Circle, friends of the library, the women’s club, historical society, bridge club, and the First Parish Church in Portland. Priscilla is survived by a daughter; husband Donald and a daughter predeceased her.

Helen Ware ’27, of Guilford, CT, died Aug. 23, 1999. She was a physical education major. A longtime resident of Hingham, MA, she worked in the Massachusetts government many years, serving in the governor’s office, the department of natural resources, and the executive office of environmental affairs. Helen is survived by a niece and several grandnieces and grandnephews.

Marie Moore Veres ’28, of Endicott, NY, died July 3, 1999. A library science major, she worked as a school librarian. Marie is survived by husband Michael and two sons.

Mary Thompson ’28, of Hendersonville, NC, died Sept. 23, 1999, of a stroke. A physical-education major at Skidmore, she earned a master’s from Columbia University Teachers College and taught in public schools. She served Skidmore as class agent and reunion volunteer. Tommie is survived by companion Ruth "Nellie" Nelson, sister-in-law Helen Olwine Thompson ’28, and niece Joan Thompson Lauber ’54.

Isobel Scheuber Bates ’30, of Walpole, ME, died on Aug. 4, 1999, after a brief illness. She was a business major at Skidmore. Isobel was a longtime volunteer at Miles Memorial Hospital in Damariscotta, ME, was involved in various area activities, and was an avid bridge player. For the last five years, she spent winters in Marathon, FL, and continued her volunteer work at Marathon Hospital. Isobel is survived by two sons, eight grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren; husband Frederick predeceased her.

Alice Smith Ehemann ’30, of Spencerport, NY, died July 25, 1999. A nursing major at Skidmore, she was head nurse and an instructor at Mary McClellan Hospital in Cambridge, NY. She was active in the Red Cross, the Scouts, and her church. Alice is survived by three daughters; husband George predeceased her.

Eleanor Harding Thomas ’31, of Braintree, MA, died Sept. 9, 1999. She was a business major. A longtime resident of Marshfield, MA, she served on the Marshfield school committee, was a library trustee, former director of the Marshfield Women’s Club, and volunteer at the Marshfield Council on Aging. She owned a real estate agency in Marshfield and was a member of the board of the Plymouth County Board of Realtors. Eleanor was awarded the Realtors Service Award in 1970 and 1971. She served Skidmore as a class president, secretary, and class agent and was a member of the Boston alumni club. Eleanor is survived by a son, two daughters, six grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren; husband Richard predeceased her in 1984.

Dorothy Jones Adams ’31, of Rochester, NY, died March 8, 1999. A psychology major at Skidmore, she worked for the NYS Department of Mental Hygiene until World War II, when she joined the U.S. Navy as a Wave, working with blind servicemen. Following the war, she worked for an ophthalmologist in Rochester until her marriage to Kenneth Adams in 1966. Dorothy is survived by two sisters, four nieces, including Elizabeth Quinn Barnard ’75, and five nephews; husband Kenneth predeceased her in 1992.

Mary Rhodes Goodwillie ’31, of Edgecomb, ME, died Nov. 7, 1999. An English major at Skidmore, she worked in retail for many years, first at Macy’s in NYC and later as the first woman vice president of Bamburgers in Newark, NJ. She won the Navy E Award for excellence for keeping the store open 24 hours a day when Navy ships were in port. Years later, she was executive director of New York’s oldest and largest thrift shop, which supports research on rheumatic fever. In 1960, she earned a master’s degree from Stanford University and served as associate dean of admissions and counseling at Columbia University. She retired in 1976 and moved to Cape Cod, where she did volunteer work. In 1996, she moved to Maine to be near her daughter and son-in-law, her only survivors.

Katharine Buek Haines ’32, of Farmington, CT, died Oct. 4, 1999. She was an English major. A longtime resident of New Rochelle, NY, and Melbourne, FL, Kit was active in the Red Cross, Community Chest, the New Rochelle League for Service, and the Republican clubs of both cities. She was a member of the Appalachian Club and the Welles Family Association. She served Skidmore as a class agent. Kit is survived by a stepdaughter and stepson and seven grandchildren; husband Charles predeceased her.

Esther Pike Torrey ’32, of Windsor, VT, died Sept. 13, 1999. She was a physical-education major. She worked as assistant to the dean at Dartmouth College. Esther served as director of volunteers at Mt. Ascutney Hospital and Health Center and was a member of the Republican town committee, Old South Congregational Church choir, and the Windsor community chorus. She was also involved with the Red Cross. She served Skidmore as class president and class secretary. Esther is survived by husband Ronald, a son, and three grandchildren.

Marian Miner Warner ’33, of Penfield, NY, died May 14, 1999. An art major at Skidmore, she taught art at Northampton School until her marriage. She was involved in the PTA, Red Cross, Community Chest, Scouts, church, and garden club. Marian is survived by husband Hobart, two daughters, and five grandchildren.

Virginia Cassidy Starbuck ’35, of Honolulu, HI, died March 20, 1999. She was active in the Honolulu chapter of Achievement Rewards for College Scientists, a national organization devoted to raising funds for scholarships for exceptional students in the fields of science, and served as president. She was also a member of the Hawaii Historic Foundation and Honolulu garden club. Virginia is survived by three children and nieces Kathleen Cassidy Martineau ’63 and Eileen Cassidy ’63; husband George predeceased her in 1992.

Lulu Hazard Coulter ’39, of Schenectady, NY, died in July 1997.

Katherine Rathbun Hoxsie ’40, of Westerly, RI, died July 3, 1999, of cancer. She was treasurer of the Denison Society Inc. and volunteered at the Stonington, CT, landowners’ association. Kay is survived by husband Raymond, a son, daughter Julie Hoxsie ’79, another daughter, and five grandchildren.

Gillett Spencer Weichsel ’42, of Fort Worth, TX, died June 8, 1999. An art major at Skidmore, she also studied at the Albright Knox Art School in Buffalo, NY. She was a member of the Dallas Down-River Canoe Club, the North Texas River Runners, and Alamo City Rivermen and was a co-sponsor with her husband of the Weichsel Annual Trophies for Most Miles Paddled and the Outstanding Paddler of North Texas. Last year, at age 79, she paddled the Green River in Utah, the Colorado River, the National Scenic Waterways in Minnesota, and Adirondack lakes. Gill volunteered to be the first woman to receive a stent graft repair for an abdominal aortic aneurysm, a procedure developed at Stanford’s medical research center in Palo Alto, CA. This procedure prolonged her life for five years. An unexpected rupture resulted in her death. She was proud to contribute to medical science in hopes of providing a simple abdominal aneurysm repair. Gill is survived by husband Hans, a daughter, two sons, and two grandchildren.

Marian Britton Preston ’44, of Watertown, CT, died on July 4, 1999. A physical-education major at Skidmore, she was a physical therapist. She was active in the League of Women Voters, the Red Cross, and her local library, hospital, and church. Marian is survived by husband Nicholas, two sons, and a daughter.

Carol Noble Kalsen ’44, of Phoenix, AZ, died July 22, 1999. A theater major at Skidmore, she worked for the former American Poetry magazine and later wrote for Arizona Horseman magazine. Carol, who was skilled in many areas of fabric arts, showed her stitchery in galleries and taught embroidery at the YWCA. She was active in the 4-H riding group in Phoenix and raised and trained horses. Carol is survived by three daughters; husband Karl predeceased her.

Phyllis Smethurst ’44, of Longboat Key, FL, died Oct. 6, 1999. Phyllis was an English major at Skidmore and, beginning in 1958, she was a computer programmer for General Precision and Honeywell EDP and worked in sales and new business development at Drug Distribution Data. She retired in 1989 after consulting for several pharmaceutical companies. A former resident of Glen Ridge, NJ, she was active in the Republican party and served as vice chair in the town government. She served Skidmore as a class agent. Fifi is survived by sister Grayce Smethurst Elgar ’48.

Martha Lynn Doe ’45, of Harvard, MA, died Aug. 30, 1999, of CNS lymphoma. A home economics major, she was a dietitian at Skidmore after graduation. She was involved in her church, hospital auxiliary, and historical society. She served Skidmore as class agent and on the committees for her 40th and 45th reunions. Marty is survived by husband Bill, two daughters, including Lynn Doe Shipway ’70, and a son.

Natalie Walker Hauserman ’45, of Cleveland, OH, died in October 1996. She was a business major at Skidmore and worked as a receptionist and secretary. She was active in her children’s schools and scouting activities and volunteered for a number of charities, including her favorite, the March of Dimes. Natalie is survived by three sons, a daughter, and four grandchildren; husband Bob predeceased her in 1987.

Faith Hackwell Ernst ’46, of Snyder, NY, died July 13, 1999. A nursing major at Skidmore, she was a clinical nursing educator at the College of St. Rose in Albany, NY, and later returned to Buffalo, NY, to join the Visiting Nurses Association. She was a member of the Junior League, the children’s guild, women’s club, Park Country Club, and canoe club. She was a member of the boards of the Amherst Symphony, Erie County Board of Mental Health, and the Twentieth Century Club. She received the Dewitt Clinton Award for Community Service for non-Masons. In the 1950s, she served as vice president and then president of the Skidmore Alumni Club of Buffalo. Faith is survived by husband Frank, a son, three daughters, including Teresa Ernst Waterman ’74, nine grandchildren, and sister Judith Hackwell Cornell ’55.

Ruth Jaynes Munson ’48, of Syracuse, NY, died. She was a psychology major. She had served Skidmore as treasurer of the alumni club of Syracuse. Ruth is survived by husband Howard, two sons, and a daughter.

Gladys Derby Falconer ’49, of Somerville, MA, died June 8, 1999. A home economics major at Skidmore, she earned a master’s in nutrition from Cornell University and was a nutrition researcher at Tufts Nutrition Research Center on Aging. Dibby is survived by two sons, two daughters, and four grandchildren.

Mary Olmsted Tibbitts ’50, of Madison, WI, died on June 22, 1999, from Pick’s disease. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Mary was a member of Covenant Presbyterian Church, receiving the Silver Halo Award for 20 years of service with the Attic Angel Association, and was a member of the Daughters of Demeter at the University College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. She volunteered at Meriter Hospital and Madison Children’s Museum. Mary is survived by husband Ted, four children from a previous marriage, two stepchildren, and nine grandchildren; first husband George predeceased her.

Hartwell Rhodes ’51, of S. Glens Falls, NY, died suddenly on Sept. 30, 1999. An economics major at Skidmore, he was a services technician at NYNEX, retiring in 1997. Hart was president of the Local #1127 Communications Workers of America, AFL-CIO, for 25 years until 1998. He was most recently appointed to the Town of Moreau Ethics Board, and he was a member of the men’s fellowship group and served on the administrative board at the S. Glens Falls United Methodist Church. Hart is survived by three daughters, two sons, three stepsons, and three grandchildren; wife Monika predeceased him in 1996.

Elaine Forgie ’55, of Tequesta, FL, died unexpectedly on Aug. 30, 1999. A physical education major, she was an avid golfer and belonged to the Turtle Creek Country Club in Tequesta, the Delray Dunes Golf Club in Boynton Beach, and the Fore County Women’s Golf Association of Florida. Elaine is survived by a sister, nieces and nephews, and grandnieces and grandnephews.

Nancy Crosier Newell ’57, of W. Hyannisport, MA, died Oct. 11, 1999, after a long illness. An English major at Skidmore, she worked at a radio station for 17 years before earning a nursing degree from Cape Cod Community College in 1984. Nancy is survived by a son, daughter, and three grandchildren; husband Henry predeceased her in 1980.

Margaret Landby Keller ’58, of Dunedin, FL, died June 1999. She had multiple sclerosis. An art major at Skidmore, she taught in the Ossining, NY, school system. Margaret is survived by husband Davidson, a son, a daughter, and sister Jean Landby Peffers ’56.

Louise Benton Wagner ’59, of Chicago, IL, died June 7, 1999. She was an art major at Skidmore and graduated from Finch College in NYC with a degree in English. She served as vice president and board chair of Encyclopedia Britannica Educational Corp., until retiring in 1988. She also served on many other boards including the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, Reading is Fundamental, and the Art Institute of Chicago. Louise is survived by husband Ralph.

Ellen Sussman Kovak ’66, of New York, NY, died on Sept. 25, 1999, of cancer. A government major at Skidmore, she earned a master’s degree from Brown University in 1967. In 1985, after many years as a freelance writer and public relations executive, she started her own public relations firm. She had served on Skidmore’s leadership gifts committee. Ellen is survived by husband Stanley, a daughter, and sister Carole Sussman Heller ’61.

Barbara Marleau ’71, of Chazy, NY, died Oct. 16, 1999. She was an art major at Skidmore and worked in retail. Barbara has no known survivors.

John Mathenge ’82, of Mombasa, Kenya, died in 1997. He was a business major at Skidmore. John is survived by his parents.


Sayra Benson (Nikoloff) Lester, associate professor emerita of education, died at her residence in Glenville, NY, on December 31, 1999.

Lester joined the Department of Education in 1966. She taught at the State University of New York at Buffalo for three years before coming to Skidmore, and she taught primary grades in Ohio and New York in the 1950s. Her major area of interest and expertise was children’s literature and the teaching of reading to elementary school children. Her course in children’s literature was a favorite with Skidmore students from the time she introduced it into the curriculum in 1981. A generation of student teachers in the elementary education program were guided by her supervision and many stayed in touch with her. She was also very active in professional associations in her field, giving papers, making presentations, and leading workshops.

Born in Baltimore, Md., Lester completed a bachelor of science degree in education at the University of Cincinnati, received a master’s degree from Xavier University in Cincinnati, and earned a doctorate of education from SUNY-Buffalo.

Lester served widely on campus committees and as president of the local chapter of the American Association of University Professors. She was an active supporter of the University Without Walls program from its inception, serving as advisor to many students. She was an advocate of safe, affordable day care for children of working mothers, and she was a foster mother.

When she retired in 1987, President Palamountain observed, "Sayra’s teaching has always been marked by compassion for her students, particularly those having difficulties of their own in the classroom. She has always been a champion of the ‘different’ student, whether underprivileged, handicapped, unusual or just plain different."

She is survived by a daughter, Lysle Nikoloff Perry; a son, Robert Gottsche ’84; and four grandchildren.


Fenton Keyes, a member of the Skidmore College administration from 1946 to 1956, died in Philadelphia on November 26, 1999. He was the grandson of Charles Henry Keyes, Skidmore’s first president. Fenton Keyes’s father, Harold Brown Keyes, served for many years on Skidmore’s board of trustees.

Born in New York City in 1915, Fenton Keyes was a graduate of Yale University, earning an A.B. degree in 1937 and a Ph.D. in 1941. His first teaching experience was as an instructor in sociology at Colgate University.

A captain in the U.S. Army in World War II, he was awarded the Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster. He served on the staff of General A. C. Wedemeyer in both Chunking and Shanghai.

Following the war, Keyes joined Skidmore as assistant professor of sociology and assistant to President Henry Moore. The next year, he relinquished his teaching duties and became business manager as well as assistant to the president. In 1953,he was named to the newly created position of vice president of the college.

He resigned in 1956 to become dean of the faculty and dean of the graduate school at Texas Woman’s University. From 1960 to 1969 he was president of Coker College in Hartsville, S.C., and he later worked in education and sociology at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. He retired to Pennswood Village in Newtown, Pa., where he continued his writing and research.

Keyes wrote a biography of his grandfather titled Charles Henry Keyes: Cal Tech and Skidmore, which he published in 1990. His other works include a memoir of his father, career guides in various allied health fields, and numerous journal articles.

During retirement, Keyes and his wife–with whom he shared a keen interest in art and architecture–traveled extensively in Europe, the Near East, China, and Japan. From his wartime sojourn in China he had a special interest in Chinese art and collecting jade.

In addition to his wife, Elizabeth Dix Keyes, he is survived by a son, Charles Fenton Keyes; a daughter, Janet Keyes O’Connell; four grandchildren; and greatniece Jennifer Scott Allen ’95. He was predeceased by his sister, Joan Keyes Scott ’39.


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