Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIV, No. 8
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Coldwell Banker Princeton Office

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Christine Gianacaci

George K. Horton

Ann A. Greer

Hilda Ronel

Mel Silberman

Barbara S. Hewsonn

Robert L. Trelstad

Christine Gianacaci

Christine Gianacaci

Christine Marie Gianacaci, 22, of Hopewell, died January 12 in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Born in Princeton, she was a lifelong Hopewell resident.

Ms. Gianacaci and 11 other students and two professors had traveled to Haiti during her J-Term with Journey of Hope Food for the Poor, representing Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla. When the earthquake hit, she was staying in the Hotel Montana, which was destroyed.

She graduated from the Lewis School of Princeton and was a junior at Lynn University majoring in broadcast communications. She spent the past two summers interning for radio station WPST in Princeton.

A member of the Hopewell Presbyterian Church, Hopewell Ladies Auxiliary American Legion, and Springdale Golf Club, Ms. Gianacaci was active at Lynn University in the American Cancer Association’s Relay for Life, Food for the Poor, and the Knights Activities Club. She was a generous, caring girl who loved to help others. She had a wonderful sense of humor, a beautiful singing voice, and loved music, cooking, and traveling with her family. She also loved golf, Lynn University, spending time with her girl friends, and most of all being with her family.

The granddaughter of the late Constant and Mary Gianacaci, she is survived by her parents, John and Jean (Hall) Gianacaci; a brother, John; her grandparents, James and Marie Hall; and many aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends.

A memorial service will be celebrated at 11 a.m. this Saturday, February 27 at St. Paul’s Church, 214 Nassau Street. Burial will be private and at the convenience of the family.

Friends may call on Thursday, February 25 from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 9 p.m. at St. Paul’s Church.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be sent to Christie’s Hope for Kids Foundation, c/o Bank Financial Services Group, 731 Alexander Road, Suite 203, Princeton 08540, or to the Foundation at its website,

Memorial Meeting for George K. Horton

A memorial meeting for former Princeton resident George K. Horton will be held on Friday, March 12 in the Physics Lecture Hall at Rutgers University. A program of talks and music from 3 to 5 p.m. will be followed by a supper reception.

Professor Horton was the originator of the Rutgers University Health Plan at a time when there were few HMOs in the country. He founded the Math and Science Learning Center and the Gateway courses for underprepared students. When he was president of the AAUP he helped to restructure the University’s salary scale and to initiate the sabbatical program which continues to flourish.

To attend, RSVP to Peter Lindenfeld at

Ann A. Greer

Ann A. Greer, 75, of Princeton, died February 18, surrounded by her family. She succumbed to stroke, which she had fought for nearly two decades.

She was born in Parkersburg, West Virginia, where she lived with her parents, Sally and Edward, and brothers Ted and Frank. She graduated at the top of her class from Parkersburg High School in 1952 and earned Phi Beta Kappa from Duke University in 1956. She was honored as Forest Festival Queen for the State of West Virginia in 1956.

She met her husband Joseph in West Virginia; they were married in 1957 in Parkersburg. They lived in Ravenswood, West Virginia and started a small law practice. In 1963, they moved to Rye, New York, living there for 12 years. Work at Liggett & Myers Tobacco Company moved the family to Durham, N.C. in 1974. Her husband died of lung cancer in 1985.

Following several years of stomach surgery, Mrs. Greer moved to Princeton in 1997. Following a stroke in 1999, she resided at Pavilions Assisted Living.

She made countless contributions to community, church, and family, and to the many lives she touched with advice and encouragement. She was treasurer or president of the Rye Garden Club and led fundraising for United Hospital near Rye.

She was an avid tennis player in Rye and golfer in Durham, rarely missing the fairway. Also an expert bridge player, she taught dozens of couples how to have fun playing cards.

She was an active Episcopal member of Christ Church in Rye, St. Stephen’s Church in Durham, and Trinity Church in Princeton.

She enjoyed historical fiction and traveled extensively in Europe with friends, particularly enjoying Portugal and the UK. She also took cruises to Scandinavia and Egypt.

She is survived by a son, Joseph H. Greer Jr.; two brothers, Edward E. Alexander and Frank L. Alexander; and two grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. this Friday, February 26 at Trinity Church, 33 Mercer Street, followed by a reception at the family home.

Memorial donations are being accepted at Trinity Church in lieu of flowers.

Arrangements are under the direction of The Mather-Hodge Funeral Home.

Hilda Ronel

Hilda Ronel

Hilda Ronel, 72, of Princeton, died February 10 after a courageous battle against cancer, surrounded by her family.

Born in Metz, France, she and her family survived the Nazi occupation when they were among the lucky few who were smuggled to Switzerland and accepted as refugees. After the war she returned to France, where she finished school. In her teens she joined a Zionist youth group where she met her future husband. The couple married and emigrated to Israel to join in the construction of a new Kibbutz in Upper Galilee. They later moved to Haifa where her husband completed his graduate studies with a Ph.D. in chemistry, while she taught French at the Alliance Francaise. They moved to Princeton in 1970.

While raising a family, Mrs. Ronel obtained a master’s degree in French literature from Rutgers University. In 1972 she joined the staff of The Stuart Country Day School, where she taught French for 34 years. She took her students to France on numerous occasions and devoted her talent and energy to introducing them to French culture.

Her dedication to family and teaching was matched only by her passion for reading and knitting. She had many friends and even in the throes of her long illness she remained cheerful, optimistic, interested in world affairs and literature, and intellectually active.

She is survived by her husband of 52 years, Samuel (Hanan) Ronel; a daughter, Erella Bregman; a son, Daniel Ronel; two sisters and a brother living in France; and eight grandchildren.

Burial was private. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Hilda Ronel Educational Fund at The Stuart Country Day School; or to the Lev LaLevFund, a tax exempt, nonprofit organization that supports orphaned girls in Israel (

Mel Silberman

Dr. Mel Silberman, 67, of Princeton, died peacefully February 20 at home after a 13-year battle with lung cancer. He was a Professor Emeritus at Temple University, a pioneer in the field of educational psychology and training, and a founder of vibrant Jewish communities in Philadelphia, Princeton, and Ocean Grove,

Dr. Silberman grew up in Orange, N.J., married his high school sweetheart, Rosalind (Shoshana) Ribner, and earned a B.A. in Sociology at Brandeis University and a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Chicago. He taught for 41 years at Temple University, winning the Great Teacher Award in 2000. The author of 34 books on education and training, he was prominent internationally for his contributions to the field of training.

He is survived by his wife, Dr. Shoshana Silberman; three children, Steven Silberman and Gabriel Silberman of Brighton, Mass., and Dr. Lisa Silberman Brenner of Montclair; a brother, Albert Silberman of Roseland; and six grandchildren.

The funeral service will be Sunday at 11:30 a.m. at The Jewish Center, 435 Nassau Street. Burial will follow at Mount Lebanon Cemetery, Iselin.

The period of mourning will be observed at the Silberman residence in Princeton.

Memorial contributions may be offered to the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, Penn Medicine Office of Development, 3535 Market Street, Suite 750, Philadelphia, Pa. 19104, Attn. Shawn Kleitz; or to The Jewish Center of Princeton’s Adult Education Fund.

Funeral arrangements are by Orland’s Ewing Memorial Chapel, 1534 Pennington Road, Ewing Township.

Barbara S. Hewson

Barbara S. Hewson

Barbara Stanton Hewson, 94, a longtime Princeton resident and pioneer in the world of professional women, died in hospice in Stamford, Connecticut on February 3.

A native New Yorker, she graduated from the Packard Collegiate and Parsons School of Design. She was the daughter of Jay deLezai Stanton, an engineer, and Maud Vaughn Campbell Stanton.

After graduating from Parsons in the late 1930s, she pursued a career in the magazine publishing industry for 20 years, rising through the editorial ranks of Women’s Home Companion, Better Homes & Gardens, and McCall’s, crossing over into general circulation magazines and becoming Editor in Chief of Collier’s Magazine.

She was married in 1949 to William Beresford Hewson, and thereafter started her own business, Editorial Associates, working with Enid Haupt at Seventeen Magazine to produce first editions of The Seventeen Book of Young Living, The Seventeen Book of Etiquette, and The Seventeen Book of Decorating.

After the Hewsons moved to Princeton in the 1970s, Mrs. Hewson became active in the Garden Club, Springdale Golf Club, and all things related to the Class of 1933 at Princeton, Mr. Hewson’s alma mater.

She is survived by two daughters, Barbara C. Hewson of Larchmont, N.Y. and Jane M. Hewson of Riverside, Conn. and Jamaica, Vt.; a stepson, William B. Hewson Jr. of Darien, Conn. and Naples, Fla.; 13 grandchildren; and 17 great-grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held on June 12 at Noroton Presbyterian Church in Darien, Conn. Memorial gifts may be sent to the Princeton University Class of 1933 Scholarship Fund.

Robert L. Trelstad

Dr. Robert L. Trelstad, 69, of Princeton, a physician and academician who focused his research on cell biology, developmental biology, and innovation in medical education, died February 15 at home. The cause of death was Fronto-temporal dementia, diagnosed in 2007.

Dr. Trelstad’s professional and personal development reflected the prominent trends of the second half of the 20th century, starting in 1958 when he left Salem, Oregon and continuing into the 1980s when he sought methods to introduce emerging microcomputer technologies into medical education. His passion for the probing questions of science and direct dialogue on difficult social issues challenged him and those who loved him to strive for excellence and for a firm belief in one’s convictions.

He graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Columbia University, where he saw the first new images of the cell taken with the electron microscope. After graduation he entered Harvard Medical School, where he met some of the influential early forces in cell biology, Dr. Elizabeth D. Hay and Dr. Jean-Paul Revel. After graduating from Harvard Medical School in 1966, he entered a residency program in pathology at Massachusetts General Hospital, followed by a position at the National Institutes of Health in the U.S. Public Health Service.

In 1972, he joined the faculty of the Department of Pathology at Harvard Medical School as an assistant professor. From 1975 to 1981 he served as the Chief of Pathology at the Shriners Burns Institute in Boston. In 1981 he became Chairman and Professor of Pathology of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, later renamed the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, in Piscataway. He held those appointments until 1998 when he became founding director of the Child Health Institute of New Jersey.

He was the author of 175 publications.

In addition to research, Dr. Trelstad was passionate about medical education. As an early adopter of computers in the classroom, he was a co-founder and editor-in-chief of Keyboard Publishing, which produced several self-learning and reference products geared to medical students and the medical profession. He also served for several years as chair of the Health Professions Advising Committee at Princeton University, where he counseled hundreds of pre-med students. He received the National Distinguished Teaching Award in Basic Sciences from Alpha Omega Alpha and the Association of American Medical Colleges in 1992.

He is survived by his wife of 48 years, Barbara; two brothers, John of Salem, Oregon and Donald of Portland, Oregon; four sons, Derek of New York City, Graham of White Plains, N.Y.; Brian of Lambertville, N.J., and Jeremy of Boston, Mass.; and five granddaughters.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, March 20 at 3:30 p.m. at Richardson Auditorium on the Princeton University campus.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be sent to Isles, 10 Wood Street, Trenton 08618 (, which has a mission to foster more self-reliant families in healthy, sustainable communities.

Arrangements are by The Mather-Hodge Funeral Home.

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