Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIII, No. 8
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
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Sheila W. Hart

Frank C. Shoemaker

Lillian M. Durling

Luther P. McKellar

Sheila W. Hart

Sheila W. Hart

Sheila Whitestone Cook Hart, 81, of Princeton and Vero Beach, Fla., died February 18 in Vero Beach.

The daughter of the late Henry A. Whitestone and Eileen O’Reilly Whitestone, she was born by flashlight in New York City. She graduated from Holy Child Academy in her hometown and from Barnard College in 1948 with a B.A. in history.

She married the late Robert B. Cook Sr. at St. Patrick Cathedral. They raised their four children in towns from North Carolina to Rhode Island before settling in Princeton in 1962. A dedicated homemaker, she began to fill out her life first with substitute teaching at Princeton Borough schools, then found a vocation as a real estate agent and broker at Parsell’s Real Estate and Edmund Cook Realty. With her husband she traveled to most of the Caribbean Islands, took the Baltic Sea and North Cape cruises, and sailed the Mediterranean.

In 1988, she married James J. Hart in the presence of their nine children and spouses. The Harts wintered in San Juan, Puerto Rico for 13 winters, then moved to the mainland of Indian River County, Fla. for their cold weather sojourns. Maintaining residences in Princeton and New Fairfield, Mrs. Hart enjoyed duplicate bridge, reading, staging fashion shows, and social dancing.

A resident of Princeton for 47 years, she was a parishioner of St. Paul’s Catholic Church and a member of the Present Day Club.

She was proud of being the longest continuously living resident of Candlewood Isle, New Fairfield, Conn., where she and five generations of her family spent summers since 1931.

Predeceased by her sister, Kathleen W. Burrus, she is survived by her husband, James J. Hart of New Fairfield, Conn.; her children Kenneth B. Cook II of Pleasanton, Calif., Robert B. Cook Jr. of Chesapeake, Va., Amy C. Gavin of Los Altos, Calif., and William W. Cook of Englewood, Fla.; her stepchildren Kevin Hart, Maureen Jandorf, Roseanne Ashby, Brian Hart, and Joanne Hart; three grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

At her direction, she will be interred in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, Concord, Mass. at a future date.

A memorial Mass will be offered later at St. Paul’s Church, Princeton, and at St. Edward the Confessor’s Church, New Fairfield, Conn.

Memorial contributions may be made to The School of the Holy Child, 2225 Westchester Avenue, Rye, N.Y. 10580; or to the Candlewood Lake Authority, P.O. Box 37, Sherman, Conn. 06784.

Frank C. Shoemaker

Frank C. Shoemaker

Frank C. Shoemaker, 86, of Hightstown, a professor emeritus of physics at Princeton University and a leading high energy/elementary particle physicist, died February 11 at home.

He was born in Ogden, Utah, to Roy and Sarah Shoemaker, the second of their five sons who would go on to earn PhDs. He spent his high school years in Boise, Idaho where he met his future wife, Ruth Elizabeth Nelson. Both were later elected to Phi Beta Kappa at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Wash.

Following graduation and marriage, the Shoemakers worked on the development of radar for use in World War II at the Radiation Lab at MIT in Cambridge, Mass. After the war, Dr. Shoemaker received his PhD. in physics from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and moved to Princeton to begin his nearly 40-year career in Princeton University’s physics department. He was made a full professor in 1962.

Prof. Shoemaker was a founding member of the University’s experimental particle physics group, serving as Principal Investigator from 1972 to 1985. A dedicated teacher, he transformed introductory physics courses and served as the Director of Undergraduate Physics Studies from 1981 to 1989. A mentor to generations of students and junior faculty, he was the author or co-author of more than 100 papers and articles.

A prominent accelerator physicist, Prof. Shoemaker led the reconstruction of the venerable Princeton cyclotron following a fire in the early 1950s. In the course of his research, he performed pioneering experiments on the strong focusing of particle beams. A few years later he led the construction of the 3-billion volt Princeton-Pennsylvania Accelerator, serving as Associate Director of the accelerator program from 1962 to 1966. In 1968 he took a year-long leave of absence to head the group designing the main accelerator ring at the National Accelerator Laboratory (later named Fermilab) in Batavia, Ill.

After returning to Princeton, he continued to make important contributions to several experiments at the Brookhaven National Lab in New York and Fermilab, including work performed after his retirement from teaching in 1989.

In 1978 Dr. Shoemaker was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science by his alma mater, Whitman College. He was a Fellow of the American Physical Society and a member of Sigma Xi and Phi Beta Kappa.

In addition to physics, Prof. Shoemaker’s main passions were his family, classical music, sailing, and dogs. He considered a month of lakeside family camping in New Hampshire with his Flying Scot moored offshore, and sailing with his family as crew, to be the perfect vacation.

Following his retirement, he and his wife Ruth traveled the globe together, visiting all 50 states and five continents. After nearly 57 years of marriage, Mrs. Shoemaker died in 2001 and Prof. Shoemaker moved to the Meadow Lakes retirement home in Hightstown.

He is survived by his daughters, Barbara Shoemaker and Mary Mittnacht, both of Santa Fe, N.M.; and a brother, Sydney Shoemaker, of Ithaca, N.Y.

The family does not plan a memorial service. Memorial gifts may be sent to SAVE, 900 Herrontown Road, Princeton 08520; or to the Princeton High School Performing Arts Center and High School Music Programs, c/o Princeton Education Foundation, P.0. Box 176, Princeton 08542 (, specifying the Music Programs and Arts Center as the purpose of the gift.

Lillian M. Durling

Lillian M. Durling, 98, of Rocky Hill, died February 19 at home.

Born in Tullytown, Pa., she had resided in Rocky Hill since 1930.

Mrs. Durling retired after 14 years of service with the Firestone Library of Princeton.

She was a member of the First Reformed Church of Rocky Hill, Eastern Star of Princeton, and Ladies Auxiliary of the Rocky Hill Fire Department.

Wife of the late Raymond M. Durling, she is survived by a son, Raymond L. Durling of Princeton Junction; a daughter, Ruthann Conley of Aiken, S.C.; ten grandchildren, six great-grandchildren; and one great-great-grandchild.

The funeral service was February 23 at The Mather-Hodge Funeral Home. The Rev. Linda Pepe from The First Reformed Church of Rocky Hill officiated.

Burial was in Rocky Hill Cemetery.

Memorial contributions may be made to Rocky Hill First Aid & Rescue Squad, P.O. Box 175, Rocky Hill 08553.

Luther P. McKellar

Luther P. McKellar, 68, of Princeton, died February 16 at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, New Brunswick.

Born and educated in Lumberton, N.C., he graduated from Haywood High School. A resident of Princeton for 49 years, he retired from Ford Motor Company after 36 years of service.

He was a member of the First Baptist Church of Princeton.

He was predeceased by his parents, Luther J. and Beatrice McKellar; a son, Larry O. McKellar; two siblings, Charles B. and Shirley M. McKellar; and three grandchildren, Justin D., Johnny P. Jr. and Ace H. McKellar. He is survived by his wife of 47 years, Patricia McKellar of Princeton; four sons, Luther D. McKellar of Baltimore, Kenneth L. McKellar of Clearwater, Fla., and Keith McKelIar and Johnny P. McKellar Sr., both of Frederick, Md.; a sister, Shelby J. Osborne of Lumberton, N.C.; 21 grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.

The funeral service was February 20 at First Baptist Church. Interment was in Princeton Cemetery.

Arrangements were by Anderson Funeral Service, Trenton.

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