Their Light Lives On

These are the alumni death notices received by the College during this issue's production cycle. To report a death notice, email

Yearbook photo of Catherine Birdsall Knight

Catherine Birdsall Knight ’40

Catherine Birdsall Knight ’40, a pioneering occupational therapist, loving mother, and avid folk dancer, died Nov. 10, 2017.

A veteran Girl Scout leader, Polly was a constant correspondent, fan of Native American culture, and dauntless navigator for extensive family road trips.

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Black-and-white photo of William Longaker

William Longaker ’42

William Longaker ’42, an esteemed psychiatrist and Renaissance man with an excellent sense of humor, died Dec. 1, 2017.

His secret for living to 97, per his obituary: “Accentuate the positive/ Stay close to your family/ Live with a cat/ Have a little gin/ Value peace and quiet/ Visit the ocean and the mountains/ Listen to music everywhere/ Drive a tractor and a fast car/ Pay attention to politics/ Tell jokes/ Have lots of cookbooks and use them/ Make your own bread and wine/ Grow your own grapes, tomatoes, and dahlias/ Live in the country in a college town/ Admire flowers & fishes, birds & animals/ Look at the moon/ Never stop learning /Read voraciously/ Enjoy your work/ Listen well/ Be glad your mother lived to be 100!/ Live life on your own terms and have no regrets.”

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Robert Hecht

Robert Hecht ’43

Robert Hecht ’43, a loving family man, executive vice president, and civic pillar, died Nov. 2, 2017.

Awarded four ribbons and three battle stars for his service as a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy, Robert was a dynamo who loved giving back to the community as well as ballroom dancing, swimming, and playing tennis.

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Elizabeth Paine Sawyer in a purple sweater next to purple flowers

Elizabeth Paine Sawyer ’44

Elizabeth Paine Sawyer ’44, admired by many for her youthful spirit, unwavering faith, sharp mind, and active lifestyle, died Oct. 21, 2017.

An avid reader, Betty also loved to garden, bake, and create beautiful quilts and braided rugs. As her classmates described her in the 1944 Halcyon, “quiet, glowing Betty” had a “friendly nature and affectionate interest that made her a valuable member of any group.”

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Closeup of Ernest Reock Jr.

Ernest Reock Jr. ’45

Ernest Reock Jr. ’45, a Rutgers University professor nationally acclaimed for his unparalleled knowledge of state government—as well as for his efforts to educate and empower citizens accordingly—died Nov. 12, 2017.

Despite his round-the-clock reputation as a tireless worker and champion of equality, Ernest was just as devoted to his family and enjoyed joining them on adventures, especially by boat.

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Elise Knaur Brigham with a group of children

Elise Knaur Brigham ’45

Elise Knaur Brigham ’45, a beloved mother and cherished volunteer who was as deeply adventurous as she was mischievous, died Nov. 28, 2017.

A woman of action who cut down trees, hunted, and skied, Elise adored wolves and advocated for their conservation, “adopting” two of them.

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Sally MacLellan Councill

Sally MacLellan Councill ’46

Sally MacLellan Councill ’46, a beloved wife, mother, and grandmother who fondly remembered her time as president of Swarthmore’s student government, died Nov. 19, 2017.

An elder in the Presbyterian Church USA since 1973, she dedicated herself to volunteering in the community, including longtime service in the Junior League of both Richmond, Va., and Washington, D.C.

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Yearbook photo of Phyllis Kinkead Kelley

Phyllis Kinkead Kelley ’46

Phyllis Kinkead Kelley ’46, the beloved mother of six, grandmother of 17, and great-grandmother of 11, died Oct. 30, 2017.

While she was at Swarthmore, Phyllis was an accomplished varsity athlete who swam and played basketball, field hockey, and tennis.

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Yearbook photo of Beverly Brooks Floe

Beverly Brooks Floe ’46

Beverly Brooks Floe ’46, an adventurous spirit who traveled the world—and battled saltwater crocodiles—as a freelance journalist in the 1940s before later becoming an editor of the MIT Press, died Jan. 1, 2018.

Deeply independent and intellectually curious, Beverly was a fierce advocate for the arts, archaeological research, and excellence in education, particularly for women.

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Marjorie Moerschner ’47

Marjorie Moerschner ’47, a teacher turned real-estate title examiner who loved summering on Cape Cod, died Oct. 9, 2017.

A tireless volunteer for many organizations, Marjorie served her community in countless ways, including as a church deacon, a driver for older adults attending medical appointments, and an activist for education and restorative programs for prisoners.

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John Cairns Jr.

John Cairns Jr. ’47

John Cairns Jr. ’47, a man of science, vision, and compassion whose legacy is immortalized at, died Nov. 5, 2017.

As his family writes, “John will be remembered as a husband, father, and grandfather, distinguished professor and academic mentor, ecological pioneer, prolific author, champion of social consciousness and sustainability, fly-fishing enthusiast, avid hiker, experienced folk dancer, and proud United States Navy veteran of World War II.”

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Jeanne Fischer Winch

Jeanne Fischer Winch ’47

Jeanne Fischer Winch ’47, who grew up in Swarthmore, Pa., and was one-half of a matchbox marriage with the late Ray Winch ’45, died Jan. 13, 2018.

In the 1947 Halcyon, her classmates described her as “the gal for whom the phone always rang on the fourth east,” who had an “intuitive feeling for people and all things beautiful” and who, with Ray, built “a romance with a happy ending.” The loving mother of four, grandmother of 11, and great-grandmother of 17, Jeanne also enjoyed traveling, sailing, playing piano, tennis, reading, and staying active in community service.

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Black-and-white photo of Janet Hotson Baker

Janet Hotson Baker ’47

Janet Hotson Baker ’47, an ace copyeditor who built a stable of high-profile authors turned fans dependent on her expertise, died Nov. 3, 2017.

Working closely with the major publishing houses, Janet polished and perfected the prose of Ken Kesey, Stephen King, Elmore Leonard, Joyce Carol Oates, Lisa Scottoline, and E.B. White, among others.

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George Lutz

George Lutz NV

George Lutz NV, who ultimately graduated from The Citadel with a degree in civil engineering, died Dec. 17, 2010.

A U.S. Navy veteran of World War II and the Korean War, George was also an active Mason and Shriner.

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Samuel Hays

Samuel Hays ’48

Samuel Hays ’48, a sensitive historian and prolific author who cared deeply about the environment, died Nov. 22, 2017.

A lifelong gardener and lover of the outdoors, Sam was also a huge baseball buff. He first listened to Cubs games on an old Zenith radio in his grandfather's room, attended the last Pirates game at Forbes Field, and celebrated his 80th birthday with the Rockies at Coors Field.

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Portrait of Mary Westergaard Barnes ’48

Mary Westergaard Barnes ’48

Mary, an acclaimed researcher of radioactive waste disposal who also won awards for her civil service on a zoning commission, died Oct. 21, 2017.

A classical music devotee who spoke multiple languages, Mary also loved to travel, visiting six continents and skiing on four.

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Lucy Hoisington Carver

Lucy Hoisington Carver ’48

Lucy Hoisington Carver ’48, an artist and cartographer, died Nov. 23, 2017.

Described as “refreshing Lucibelle … candid and honest … a loyal friend … romantic … artistic” by her classmates in the 1948 Halcyon, Lucy was also praised for having “a glow that comes from inside.”

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Arthur Richards Jr.

Arthur Richards Jr. ’48

Arthur Richards Jr. ’48, a distinguished veterinarian who loved his work so much he titled his autobiography Tale Waggings, died Dec. 18, 2017.

A pioneer in innovative surgical techniques who was named Pennsylvania Veterinarian of the Year in 1977, Art was described by his loved ones as “a shining example of how to live a life full of health, family, hard work, social awareness, and righting wrongs.”

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Portrait of William Will ’49

William Will ’49

William, who served as a medic in World War II before attending Swarthmore, died Aug. 11, 2017.

Devoted to teaching and social justice, Bill was also a prolific writer, amateur poet, and passionate activist for health-care policy concerns, founding Citizens for Informed Decisions in Healthcare in 1991.

Portrait of William Derr ’49

William Derr ’49

William, who served in World War II as a Navy aviation cadet and launched his own men’s leather goods business, died Dec. 17, 2017.

Proud of circumnavigating the Eastern U.S. by way of the Erie Canal and Mississippi River, William loved spending time on a boat with his family so much that they occasionally lived on their craft, Tobi III.

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Portrait of Donald Gordon ’49

Donald Gordon ’49

A beloved brother, husband, father, and grandfather, Donald died Jan. 24, 2018.

In his Halcyon listing, classmates wrote that he “takes his realism with a sprinkling of stardust” and is “on laughing terms with the world”; in his obituary, his loved ones summed him up as their adored “true gentleman.”

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Portrait of Franklin Stow ’50

Franklin Stow Jr. ’50

“Bud,” who ultimately graduated from Gettysburg College after his Army service in World War II interrupted his Swarthmore education, died Nov. 6, 2017.

A career-management employee of the U.S. Pipe and Foundry Co. who resided in Birmingham, Ala., Bud was the son of Franklin Stow Sr., Class of 1919, who played end and punted for the Swarthmore football team that upset Penn, 6–0, at Franklin Field in October 1916.

Portrait of Robert Osborn ’51

Robert Osborn ’51

Robert, an acclaimed scholar of Russia and the former Soviet Republics who was a long-serving professor and chair of the political science department at Temple University, died Dec. 11, 2017.

An avid violinist who played in several community orchestras as well as a well-traveled birder, Bob was also devoted to community service and his family.

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Portrait of Suzanne Braman McClenahan ’52

Suzanne Braman McClenahan ’52

Suzanne, a gifted teacher of languages and literature, died Feb. 10, 2018.

In her Halcyon, classmates summed “Suzi” up as a “bright-eyed, bright-hearted, self-possessed” light who “radiates vivacity” with “boundless energy and imagination.” Her friend Ken Kurtz ’51 added that she was “a staple of the LTC, and had lead in Lady Precious Stream, which introduced the phrase ‘don’t stand on ceremony’ to campus.”

Portrait of Ronald Maddox ’52

Ronald Maddox ’52

A loving husband and father who ran a law practice in northern Virginia, Ronald died Aug. 28, 2017.

Ron loved all sports—particularly football and the Washington Redskins—and was an avid reader and writer of science fiction.

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Portrait of Robert Hamilton ’52

Robert Hamilton ’52

Robert, a respected law professor, lawyer, and legal-education writer with an impish sense of humor, died Jan. 13, 2018.

An introvert who loved teaching, Bob spent more than 40 years at the University of Texas at Austin School of Law, astounding his students and colleagues with his unparalleled work ethic. In fact, the school created a memorial scholarship in his honor: Bob was active in local politics and summered with wife Dagmar Strandberg Hamilton ’53 on Cushing Island in Portland, Maine.

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Portrait Geoffrey Hazard ’53

Geoffrey Hazard Jr. ’53, H’88

A giant in the field of legal ethics, Geoffrey died Jan. 11, 2018.

During his distinguished career, he served as Sterling Professor of Law at Yale (where his students included future leaders like Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton); directed the American Law Institute; and taught at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. He was described as “a gifted scholar, teacher, institutional leader, and citizen.”

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Portrait of Susan Marx March ’54

Susan Marx March ’54

Beloved for her devotion to family, her passion for social service, her generosity, and her sharp intelligence, Susan died Feb. 11, 2018.

The former executive director of Hackensack, N.J.’s YWCA, Sue enjoyed traveling, visiting friends, reading good books, and spending time with her children and grandchildren, embodying the description her friends provided of her in the Halcyon, of having “unfailing good taste in all things.”

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Henry Cowell ’54

Henry Cowell ’54

Henry, who went on to earn both an M.D. and a Ph.D. after Swarthmore, died Sept. 2, 2017.

In his Halcyon listing, Henry’s classmates warmly described him as “everybody’s friend.”

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Portrait of Lydia Ratcliff ’55

Lydia Ratcliff ’55

Lydia, who chose to leave behind a lucrative career as a ghostwriter to become a trailblazer in sustainable farming, died Feb. 13, 2018.

Fluent in several languages, Lydia was educated at the Putney School, Swarthmore, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the Sorbonne. After graduation, she rose through the publishing ranks to become the assistant—and ghostwriter—to Sylvia Porter, known as America’s original personal finance columnist. Although a dispute over royalties and credit ended their working relationship, Lydia wrote a brilliant new chapter in her life when she created and ran a working farm that pioneered farm-to-table humane ethos and became a top provider to some of New York’s best restaurants.

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Portrait of Horace Reeves Jr. ’55

Horace Reeves Jr. ’55

Horace, a licensed architect, professional engineer, and Marine veteran better known as “Harrie” to his family and “Hal” to his friends, died Nov. 25, 2017.

An ardent sailor active in the International Yachting Fellowship of Rotarians, and co-founder of the Willingboro (N.J.) International Festival, Horace also loved photography, classical music, and opera.

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Portrait of Marjorie Jones Fooks ’56

Marjorie Jones Fooks ’56

Marjorie, a medical secretary and beloved wife, mother, and grandmother, died Nov. 8, 2017.

A political science major from Jamaica, Marjie was described in the 1956 Halcyon by classmates as having a “reserved British exterior” that hid her true nature as “a classical clown and wit.”

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portrait of Marilyn Modarelli Lee ’56

Marilyn Modarelli Lee ’56

Marilyn Modarelli Lee ’56, the esteemed longtime law librarian for Franklin County, Mass., died Nov. 19, 2017.

Active in Democratic Party politics and community service, Marilyn was a member of the Massachusetts Bar Association and was the shop foreman and lead negotiator for the union representing law librarians across Massachusetts.

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portrait of Peter Gragg ’57

Peter Gragg ’57

Peter Gragg ’57, a gifted poet, playwright, author of short stories, photographer, videoist, artist, and craftsman, died Oct. 22, 2017.

Over the course of his career, Peter served in the U.S. National Guard, taught mathematics, worked for the Boston Public Library, and was active at the Arlington Center for the Arts. As his loved ones wrote, “Peter was a friend, a talented writer and artist (as both Peter Gordon and Green Griffin), and a unique character. He will forever be remembered as ‘Peterish’ in our hearts.”

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portrait of Michael Predmore ’59

Michael Predmore ’59

Michael Predmore ’59, an internationally respected scholar of Spanish lyric poetry and beloved Stanford professor emeritus, died Dec. 23, 2017.

A recipient of many honors including Fulbright and Guggenheim fellowships, Michael was also an influential human-rights, peace, and social activist who helped free political prisoners in Chile, Argentina, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, and the United States.

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portrait of Robert Mayberry ’60

Robert Mayberry ’60

Robert Mayberry ’60, a vigorous professor of communications and philosophy at Michigan’s Grand Valley State University, died Dec. 8, 2017.

Robert frequently traveled the Rhone Valley in southern France and was an expert on the wines produced in the region, penning acclaimed books and articles on the subject. For his writing and research on wine, he received a knighthood from the French Ministry of Agriculture in 1998.

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portrait of Philip Momberger ’61

Philip Momberger ’61

Philip Momberger ’61, a beloved professor of English so well-read and eloquent he was called “a walking thesaurus,” died Feb. 5, 2018.

Described by a friend as “a brilliant gentle giant of a man with a huge heart and keen wit,” Phil had a lasting impact on countless students, including one who wrote in tribute that “no one taught Gatsby like Momberger. Even Fitzgerald would’ve been awestruck by his analysis.”

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portrait of Kristin Bergstrom Vessey ’61

Kristin Bergstrom Vessey ’61

Kristin Bergstrom Vessey ’61, an influential professor, researcher, and program director in environmental biology, died Jan. 11, 2018.

In addition to her lifelong love of science, Kris was a passionate volunteer who was especially active in the League of Women Voters as well as an excellent gardener, birder, and adventurer.

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portrait of David Thomas ’62

David Thomas ’62

David Thomas ’62, a mass spectrometrist who lived in Palo Alto, Calif., died Nov. 13, 2017.

Active in folk dancing at Swarthmore, Dave went on to earn a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from MIT.

portrait of Carol Finneburgh Lorber ’63

Carol Finneburgh Lorber ’63

Carol Finneburgh Lorber ’63, a homemaker and former math teacher, died Nov. 24, 2017.

The beloved wife of Bennett ’64, H’96 and loving mother of Samuel ’89 and Joshua Edward Lorber, Carol was also an active volunteer and board member of the Cheltenham Township (Pa.) Adult School.

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portrait of Carl Harner ’63

Carl Harner ’63

Carl Harner ’63, a distinguished pillar of Boyertown, Pa., who worked tirelessly for the city’s well-being, died Dec. 28, 2017.

A highly influential business and community leader, Carl launched several initiatives that have become local traditions—including Historic Haunted Walks to raise money for the Boyertown Area Historical Society—and was exceptionally proud to be a husband, father, and grandfather.

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portrait of Paul Booth ’64

Paul Booth ’64

Paul Booth ’64, an iconic union organizer and progressive activist who spearheaded the 1965 student march on the White House to protest the Vietnam War, died Jan. 17, 2018.

A Swarthmore student who founded a chapter of the antiwar group Students for a Democratic Society, Paul earned a place in the national consciousness as he rose to the top levels of SDS, but his “Build, Not Burn” ethos distanced more militant colleagues, so he left to become a community organizer in Chicago.

Paul spent the majority of his career working for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the nation’s largest public employee union, as the chief assistant to President Gerard W. McEntee and then executive assistant to successor Lee Saunders.

In an email, Saunders wrote, “Paul was an organizer’s organizer, a man of great generosity and integrity, a friend and mentor to so many people in AFSCME, the labor movement and the progressive community.”

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portrait of John Simon ’64

John Simon ’64

John Simon ’64, an educator and poet renowned for his artistry and activism, died Jan. 16, 2018.

The author of nine full-length volumes of poetry, John won many plaudits for his work, including prestigious fellowships with the California Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts as well as the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Berkeley Poetry Festival.

Named 2013’s River of Words Teacher of the Year by U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Hass, John loved to share his gift, especially with children, and helped lead the People’s Community School in Berkeley, California Poets in the Schools, and Poetry Inside Out.

To quote his Berkeleyside tribute by J.D. Moyer, “John Oliver Simon touched the lives of thousands with his teaching, friendship, and poems. Mexican poet Alberto Blanco wrote, ‘The poems of John Oliver Simon, like all true poems, trace a map, a psychography, which allows us to enter, not only into another life but into the voyage of that life, and not only into another culture, but into other cultures: into another point of view.’”

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portrait of Howard Peelle ’65

Howard Peelle ’65

Howard Peelle ’65, an internationally respected professor and pioneer of math and computer science education, died Dec. 15, 2017.

Outside of the classroom, “Hap” excelled at racquet sports, winning New England senior tennis tournaments (alone and with his wife) and becoming the Massachusetts state racquetball champion in his age division 10 times, ranking nationally as high as No. 3.

He also loved to play backgammon, bridge, and Go, and once wrote a book explaining how to solve a Rubik’s Cube.

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portrait of Robert Champlin ’67

Robert Champlin ’67

Robert Champlin ’67, a professional cello player who, with his matchbox wife, Kit Ashburn Champlin ’67, made up two-thirds of the music majors in their Swarthmore graduating class, died Dec. 9, 2017.

Well-known with his family as the owners of the pet store Critter Hut—a 40-plus-year success story that began with one fish tank—Bob loved animals almost as much as he loved music.

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portrait of Faris Worthington ’68

Faris Worthington ’68

Faris Worthington ’68, an Army veteran who went on to earn two master’s degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, died Feb. 1, 2018.

Working at DuPont in a corporate-level industrial process analysis group until his retirement, Faris then worked at Blaze Systems, where he remained in some capacity for the rest of his life.

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portrait of Doris Ring ’70

Doris Ring ’70

Doris Ring ’70, an accomplished seamstress who loved reading and Sudoku, died Nov. 14, 2017.

Her journey to Swarthmore proved unusual—after serving as the head psychiatric nurse at Duke Hospital, she got married, moved to Delaware, and successfully petitioned the College for admittance, ultimately earning her bachelor’s in French.

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Robert Hay ’72

Robert Hay ’72, an art dealer who dearly loved the Crum, died Nov. 22, 2017.

The son of a matchbox couple, Robert had an especially large College contingent in his family that included Swarthmore-attending siblings, in-laws, and nieces.

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portrait of Emily Atkinson Green ’74

Emily Atkinson Green ’74

Emily Atkinson Green ’74, a birthright Quaker known for her compassion and capability, died Dec. 25, 2017.

In the course of her career, she played important roles at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Data General, and the Worcester Envelope Co. before joining her husband—her best friend—in running BellHawk Systems Corp., which provides software for manufacturing companies. 
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Julie Louis ’81

Julie Louis ’81, who battled cancer for five years, died March 20, 2016.

She was the sister of Susan Louis Eipper ’80 and the sister-in-law of Eric Eipper ’80.

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portrait of Warren Houghteling ’91

Warren Houghteling ’91

Warren Houghteling ’91, who preferred passion and honesty to small talk, died Jan. 8, 2017.

According to his family, “Warren was known for his love of theater, and in another life, he would have been a career actor. Instead he was a teacher, handyman, software developer, and computer programmer. His greatest job, challenge, and achievement was being a father. He gave it everything he had, and was proud to be a father first.

“Warren took great joy in being a part of countless plays and productions at the Los Alamos Little Theater. He greatly enjoyed the professional productions he did at the Santa Fe Playhouse, including his favorite, The Pillowman. His exuberance was contagious. He loved playing basketball, he loved to bike, he ran cross-country in school, and loved running, but his knees had other plans for him, and he traded it in for hiking.

“Warren’s life was a struggle, marred by tragedy, but his losses did not leave him bitter. He held on to his positive view of the world with extraordinary openness and vulnerability. He was a wonderful person, who will be missed. His depth did not always show, but when he shared it with you, you knew it was something extraordinary.”

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