Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXI, No. 34
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Coldwell Banker Princeton Office

Prudential Fox and Roach, Realtors

Gloria Nilson GMAC Real Estate

Henderson Sotheby's International Realty

N.T. Callaway Princeton Office

Stockton Real Estate, LLC

Weichert, Realtors

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Iris Interiors

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Weather Forecast


Elaine Y. Brower

Bettie R. Gaston

Alice Anne Navin

Joan F. Thompson

Elaine Y. Brower

Elaine Yuenger Brower, 84, a resident of the Princeton area since 1954, died August 19 at home.

Born in Omaha, Nebraska, she was the daughter of Walter and Corinne Yuenger. She attended the University of Omaha, then worked for AT&T in the company's Omaha office before moving to New York City in 1941. During World War II she worked as an executive secretary for several architectural firms in New York, and later for the Prudential Insurance Company.

In 1946, she began a brief career as an actress. It was at the Ivoryton Playhouse in Connecticut that she met William Brower, to whom she was married in 1948. The couple lived in New York until moving to Princeton when Mr. Brower began his teaching career at Princeton Theological Seminary.

She graduated from Rutgers University summa cum laude, later earning her master's degree in speech at the College of New Jersey, where she was a member of the Honor Society. She then worked as a speech therapist at numerous schools throughout central New Jersey.

She was a founding member of the Princeton chapter of the American Ethical Union, and later of the Princeton Ethical Humanist Fellowship.

She is survived by her husband of 59 years; three sons, Walter of Pennington, Dana of Princeton, and Raymond of Denver, Colo.; and two grandchildren.

A memorial service will be planned for a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to a charity of the donor's choice.

Bettie R. Gaston

Bettie Roper Gaston, 92, of Petersburg, Virginia, formerly of Princeton, died August 13.

The youngest daughter of Paul and Jessie Edwards Roper, she grew up in Petersburg and attended Bryn Mawr College and the Philadelphia School of Music, becoming an accomplished pianist.

She married John M. Gaston Jr. in 1941. After World War II they made their home in Princeton, where they lived for 30 years while raising two children.

She was a member of the Princeton Community Players, the Present Day Club, and the Coral Beach and Tennis Club. She also served as a volunteer for Princeton Hospital.

After Mr. Gaston's retirement in 1965, the couple moved to Weybridge, Surrey, England. Upon her husband's death in 1986, she moved to Cohasset, Massachusetts, where she lived for 19 years before moving back to the place of her birth, Petersburg, Va.

She is survived by a daughter, Harriet; a son, John; six grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.

A graveside service was held August 17 at Blandford Cemetery with the Rev. Boston M. Lackey Jr., Rector Emeritus of Christ and Grace Episcopal Church, officiating.

Memorial donations may be made to the Petersburg Home for Ladies, 311 South Jefferson Street, Petersburg, Va. 23803. Condolences may be registered at

Alice Anne Navin

Alice Anne Navin, 82, of Hightstown, died peacefully August 14 of lung cancer at Meadow Lakes. Before moving to Meadow Lakes in 1996, she had been a resident of Princeton for 39 years.

Born in Chicago and raised outside of Detroit, she was a Liggett School graduate thanks to a scholarship in mathematics. She attended Swarthmore College for two years before graduating from the University of Michigan in 1945. She then served with the American Red Cross in the Philippines at the end of World War II.

In 1949 she married Robert E. Navin, a mechanical engineer with a Harvard MBA.

From 1960 to 1968 she was the officer manager for Lloyd Free, Hadley Cantril, and Sir Arthur Lewis at the Institute for International Social Research. She also prepared statistical tables and prepared the galleys for their many publications and books. During the nascent years of computer technology in the mid-1960s, she learned Fortran programming at Rutgers University and became a computer programmer and technician at Princeton University and the Woodrow Wilson School from 1968 to 1981.

A voracious reader, she was also an avid needle pointer, often creating her own designs. She was also an active volunteer who developed the first computerized members' database for the Princeton Historical Society. She served as a Pink Lady at Princeton's University Medical Center for many years, and served on various committees at Meadow Lakes.

She is survived by three sons, Robert E. of Vienna, Va., Thomas R. of New York City, and Richard C. of Montgomery; a sister, Jennie Q. Madden of Rochester Hills, Mich.; a brother, Buel T. Quirk of Debary, Fla.; and five grandchildren.

Interment will be at Princeton Cemetery in a family ceremony.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be sent to the American Arthritis Association, the American Cancer Society, or a charity of the donor's choice.

Joan F. Thompson

Joan Farrington Thompson, 82, of Tampa, Fla., formerly of Princeton, died peacefully July 1 at home. She previously lived in Princeton, Singer Island, and North Palm Beach, Fla.

Born in White Plains, N.Y., she was the daughter of Herbert and Edna Farrington Simmonds. Her father was president of Paper Corporation of the United States.

Mrs. Thompson graduated from Mary Burnham School for Girls in Northampton, Mass. In 1946, she married Col. Richard Pierce, who now resides in Viera, Fla. They had one daughter, Susan Thompson of St. Petersburg, Fla. Her second marriage was to the architect Bill Thompson. They lived in Princeton, where she taught first grade at Miss Mason's School while her husband was in graduate school. They enjoyed many travels including the last Atlantic crossings on both the Queen Mary and the Queen Elizabeth. Mr. Thompson now resides in Wiscasset, Maine.

A dedicated golfer, she was a member of Springdale Golf Club.

After her divorce, Mrs. Thompson moved to Singer Island to be near her mother. She then lived in the Palm Beach area for 20 years until 2004, when she moved to Tampa to be near her family.

She is survived by her daughter, Susan Thompson; a granddaughter; and two great-grandsons.

A celebration of her life was private. Condolences may be expressed at the online guestbook at

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