Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIII, No. 14
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
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John L. Falk

Leora Stepp Tower

Chester A. Steen

Mary Elizabeth Thompson

Anna Frances Brown

Olof W. Hogrelius

Mary Cornforth

Memorial Service for Cynthia Woodger

John L. Falk

John L. Falk

John Lionel Falk, 81, of Minneapolis, formerly of Princeton, died March 23 at home.

Born in Toronto, Dr. Falk was a distinguished research psychologist in psychopharmacology. In 2001 he retired after 31 years as professor of psychology at Rutgers University, where he taught and developed a laboratory for research in psychopharmacology of drug abuse.

He was educated at McGill University in Montreal where he received a B.A. degree in psychology and English and an M.A. in psychology. His Ph.D. degree was awarded from the University of Illinois Urbana in experimental psychology.

He held a post-doctoral position at Harvard Medical School in the Departments of Pharmacology and Nutrition. Before his appointment at Rutgers he held academic positions as Assistant Professor at University of Colorado, Boulder; University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; and Associate Professor at the University of Arizona, Tempe.

He was a longtime member of a Study Section for the National Institutes of Health and was a member of the Advisory Council for NIDA. In 1981 he was elected president of the Psychopharmacology Division of the American Psychological Association.

His many awards and honors included Research Scientist Award from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the Solvay Award for Psychopharmacology, and the Board of Trustees Award for Excellence in Research at Rutgers.

Dr. Falk was also a talented poet who published two collections, Snow and Other Guises in 2000 and Holding Out in 2005. He was also published in various poetry magazines. His involvement with poetry began in the 1980s when he joined the Delaware Valley Poets, taking part in their monthly meetings and workshops. In 1995, he began to attend the U.S. 1 Poet’s Cooperative in Princeton. He completed a third book just prior to his death, From Quiver to Notch, which his family plans to include on a web site dedicated to his poetry.

He was married to Viivi Papp from 1951 to 1960 when they divorced. They had one daughter, Lise Mara. In 1965 he married Atsuko Nishino, who died in March 2004. A third marriage to Deborah Mitchell also ended in divorce.

He was predeceased by a sister, Norma Gilbert of Denton, Texas, in 2008. He is survived by his daughter, Lise Mara Thompson of Santa Monica, Calif.; two sisters, Eleanor Quirt of Minneapolis and Rosalind Cartwright of Chicago; a granddaughter; and a great-granddaughter.

A memorial will be held at a date to be determined.

Leora Stepp Tower

Leora (“Lee”) Stepp Tower, 81, of Edmonds, Washington, formerly of Princeton, died March 29.

Born in Connecticut to Dorothy and Howard Stepp, she moved to Lawrenceville with her family when her father began his long career with Princeton University. As a schoolgirl, she attended Miss Fine’s School in Princeton, then spent some memorable years in pre-war Poland when the family was there for a temporary assignment. Her time in Poland began her lifelong love for travel.

After high school, she attended Moore College of Art in Philadelphia. Then, in 1951, she married Everett “Ted” Tower, who had also grown up in Princeton. Mr. Tower’s subsequent career with American Airlines frequently had the couple on the move, living variously in California, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Texas. After his retirement, they settled in Edmonds, to be near their children and enjoy the Northwest.

Throughout their 55 years of marriage, Lee and Ted shared a love of travel, and were often planning their next adventure. When not traveling the world, Lee liked to garden, enjoyed many arts and crafts, and doted on her family. She is survived by her two children, Cynthia and David, both of Seattle; and two grandsons.

Chester A. Steen

Chester Andrew (Chet) Steen, 93, of Walla Walla, Wash., formerly of Plainsboro, died March 24 in Walla Walla.

Born in Walla Walla, he was the son of Loren and Lucretia Troyer Steen. He attended Washington State University where he married Ruth Carriker in 1939 and graduated with a degree in Dairy Science. The couple moved to the 1939 New York World’s Fair where Chet was one of the Borden Boys at the Borden exhibit for two years. After managing dairy farms in New York State, he spent 34 years in Plainsboro as vice president of operations at Walker Gordon Farms, managing the largest dairy herd in the state. He also served as the first full-time clerk of Plainsboro Township.

He retired in 1984 and moved to Orondo, Wash., close to his wife Ruth’s childhood home of Wenatchee. Following Ruth’s death in 1995, he was drawn back to Walla Walla where he married Ibbie Switzer. She died in 2008.

A true patriarch, he led by example. He was the father of four children and stepfather to two, claiming bragging rights for all of their accomplishments. He was a leader in the advancement of dairy science, education, and the work of the church. He advocated quality education, serving as a member and president of the Plainsboro Board of Education for over 20 years, and as president of the board of managers of Cook College, the agricultural college at Rutgers University. He was elected president of the Mercer County Agricultural Society, the Plainsboro Lions Club, the Middlesex County Grand Jury, and most recently the residents’ board of the Washington Odd Fellows Home. He had also been a lay leader in the Plainsboro Presbyterian Church, the Orondo Community Church, and the Blue Mountain Community Church in Walla Walla.

He was predeceased also by a son, Harry L. Steen. He is survived by three children, Joan C. Olson of Spokane, Wash., Robert E. Steen of St. Louis, and Nancy H. Shelton of Peoria, Ill; a sister, Betty Lou Elkington of Lynn, Wash.; ten grandchildren; and 13 great-grandchildren. He is also survived by two stepdaughters, Carma Carlson of Olympia, Wash. and Martha Dybdahl of Puyallup, Wash.; six step-grandchildren; and nine step-great-grandchildren.

A celebration of his life will be held on Saturday, May 2 at 11:30 a.m. at the Blue Mountain Community Church, 928 Sturm Avenue, Walla Walla.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, Inland Northwest Chapter, 910 West 5th Avenue, Suite 256, Spokane, Wash. 99204; or by calling (509) 473-3390.

Mary Elizabeth

Mary Elizabeth Thompson

Mary Elizabeth Thompson, beloved mother, mother-in-law, grandmother, and great grandmother, died after a brief illness at the Princeton Medical Center on Monday, March 30, at the age of 101.

Born in Fort Worth, Texas, on January 5, 1908, Mary was the daughter of John Tancred, owner of a steel company, and Lena (Rogers) Tancred. She was always extremely proud of her Texas roots. She had two brothers — John and Mallory, and two sisters — Grace and Lucille. She married John Peters Thompson, a petroleum geologist for the Amerada Corporation. Mary and John first lived in several East Texas towns and then moved to Houston, where their daughter Mary Elizabeth (Betty) was born. The family later lived in Jackson, Mississippi, and in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Widowed after 55 years of a devoted marriage, she became a resident of Monroe Village in 1996.

Mary had a wonderful, positive attitude and a very happy disposition. While living in Tulsa she was active in her church circle and charity groups, her garden club, her investment club and several bridge groups. She was a longtime member of the Boston Avenue Methodist Church in Tulsa and, upon moving to New Jersey, became active in the church at Monroe Village. Mary loved her family, always enjoyed the company of friends and continued to play bridge until very recently. She was interested in many charities, especially those providing support to children and those fighting disease.

She will be remembered with love by her daughter Betty Roach; son-in-law William Ronald Roach; grandsons William John and Richard David Roach; granddaughter-in-law Mary Malecki Roach; great grandchildren Kaitlyn Elizabeth and Amanda Carolyn Roach; and John’s friend Lisa Eby. She also leaves behind a loving extended family in Texas, Ron’s brother, and many other wonderful friends. She will be interred next to her husband in a private service at the columbarium in Trinity Episcopal Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. A memorial service will be held at Monroe Village, Monroe Township, N.J., on May 2 at 2 p.m. Additional information may be found on the website, In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in her name to the Futures for Children, 9600 Tennyson St, NE, Albuquerque, N.M. 87122 or Alzheimer’s Association, 225 North Michigan Ave, 17th Floor, Chicago, Ill. 60601.

Anna Frances Brown

Anna Frances Brown, 78, of Princeton, died April 4 in the University Medical Center at Princeton surrounded by her loving daughters.

Born in Princeton, she was a lifelong resident. A homemaker for most of her life, she loved taking care of her family. Her leisure time was spent tending to her vegetable garden and flowers.

She was an active member of St. Paul’s Catholic Church for many years.

She was predeceased by her husband, Marvin Brown, in 2006, and by her parents, Candeloro and Frances Romeo, and sisters Theresa and Kate. She is survived by two daughters, Cherylann Brown and Lisa Carrier; a brother, Frank Romeo; a sister, Minnie Telese; and two grandsons.

The funeral service will be today, April 8 at 10 a.m. at the Kimble Funeral Home, 1 Hamilton Avenue, Princeton. It will be followed by a 10:30 a.m. funeral mass at St. Paul’s Catholic Church, 214 Nassau Street.

Burial will be in Princeton Cemetery.

Memorial contributions may be sent to Father Flanagan’s Boys Town, P.O. Box 7000, Boys Town, Neb. 68010. Condolences may be sent online by visiting

Olof W. Hogrelius

Olof W. Hogrelius, 101, of Hightstown, formerly of Princeton, died April 4 at Meadow Lakes in Hightstown. He was the husband of the late Elizabeth Dayspring Hogrelius.

Born in New York City, he had been a resident of New Jersey since 1912.

Mr. Hogrelius attended elementary school in Woodcliff on the Hudson, graduating in 1921, and Dickinson High School, Jersey City, graduating in 1925. He attended New York University from 1925 to 1937 earning his BA and MA degrees. He was a member of the NYU track and football teams.

He was employed at Chase National Bank, Fenner, Beane & Ungerleider (now Merrill Lynch), Equitable Life, and Pacific Mills.

His teaching career began as a teacher of history at the Hillsdale Public School, now the George G. White School, from 1938 to 1943. During this time he became active in the early years of the Credit Union, serving as a Director of the New Jersey Credit Union League from 1938 to 1943.

During World War II he left teaching to work at Wright Aeronautical Corp. from 1943 to 1945. Returning to teaching after the war, he taught history at Battin Senior High School in Elizabeth from 1945 until his retirement in 1973.

He served as vice president and a member of the Hillsdale Board of Education in 1937-38 and later as a member of the Pascack Valley Regional High School Board of Education from 1950 until the school opened in 1955.

His professional memberships include the New Jersey Education Association, the National Education Association, and the Union County Retired Teachers Association.

Moving to Princeton in 1960, in retirement, he became an active member of the Princeton Senior Tennis Group and was given the nickname “Ageless Ole,” eventually retiring from tennis at age 89. He was also an active member of the Nassau Club and an avid gardener.

He is survived by two daughters, Judith Hardardt of Davis, Calif. and Jennifer Dehlinger of Lake Mohawk, N.J.; a son, Olof W. Hogrelius, Jr. of Pagosa Springs, Colo.; six grandchildren; and eleven great-grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, April 8 at Trinity-All Saints’ Episcopal Church, All Saints’ Road. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be sent to the church.

Arrangements are by the Kimble Funeral Home. On-line condolences may be sent by visiting

Mary Cornforth

Mary Elizabeth Maskall Cornforth, 94, of Lake Worth, Fla., formerly of Princeton, died peacefully in her sleep on April 3.

She was married for 76 years to Charles William Cornforth, who predeceased her in 2007. They lived in Princeton for 53 years before retiring to be with their younger daughter in Florida.

Mrs. Cornforth was active in community affairs, especially with the Princeton Hospital Rummage Sale, and was a long-standing member and president of the Princeton Day Club. She also assisted her husband in his many efforts on behalf of the Princeton community, on the Borough Council and Sewer Committee.

She is survived by her daughters, Jo Cornforth Coke of Signal Mountain, Tenn. and Julia Cornforth Holofcener of Lake Worth, Fla. and Les Verreries de Moussans, France; five grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren.

Visiting hours for family and friends will be from 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, April 8 at the Kimble Funeral Home, 1 Hamilton Avenue, Princeton. Online condolences may be sent by visiting A private graveside service will take place at Princeton Cemetery.

Memorial Service for Cynthia Woodger

A memorial service for Cynthia Lake Woodger will be held on Saturday, April 25 at 10:30 a.m. at Trinity Church, 33 Mercer Street.

Mrs. Woodger died January 31 at home.

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