Vol. LXIII, No. 2
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
John (Jack) Alston Ellis Jr., 85, of Princeton, died January 9 at home.
Son of John Alston Ellis Sr. and Helen Mary Becker, he was born in Raleigh, N.C. and grew up in Sherman, Texas, where his father was the pastor of the First Baptist Church.
After graduation from high school he entered the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1941. In January 1942 he enlisted in the U.S. Navy, entered the V-12 program, and went to Midshipmans School in Plattsburgh, N.Y. After graduation Ensign Ellis became Director of the Second Division on a troop transport ship, the USS Westmoreland. He served in the Pacific from the fall of 1944 until his release from the Navy in the summer of 1946. Promoted to Lt. Jr. grade, he served as navigator of the vessel in his last year of service.
Returning to UNC, he completed his undergraduate degree with a major in music, becoming a Phi Beta Kappa graduate. He then entered the Juilliard School of Music in 1948, graduating with a BS in piano in 1950. After graduation he was appointed to the piano faculty of the Pre-college Division of Juilliard, where he taught until 1964. In 1953 he completed his studies for an M.A. degree in musicology from UNC. From 1950 to 1954 he taught piano part-time at the Westtown School in Westtown, Pa.
Following his 1954 marriage to the former Hanni-Lore Levi, the couple moved to Princeton from New York City. Mr. Ellis then taught piano in a studio at his home for several years. In 1960 he established a music studio over the Army/Navy Store on Witherspoon Street, operating it until 1988.
He began teaching piano at The Lawrenceville School in 1960 and was appointed chairman of the Music Department in 1967, a position he held until his retirement in June 1990. While at Lawrenceville he created a curriculum that joined music with art history, politics, and architecture. He established the Advanced Placement Program in music in 1972. He built the first electronic music studio on campus with the assistance of Milton Babbitt. He also created the Schools first dance program.
He brought the Mercer County Symphonic Orchestra to the Lawrenceville campus in the 1970s when the orchestra was having problems rehearsing at the Trenton War Memorial. He also established the tradition of student string quartets, which survives to this day, as does a student orchestra. In 2002 he was honored with the Masters Award for Distinguished Teaching by the Lawrenceville School. He was an honorary member of the Lawrenceville class of 1973.
Mr. Ellis was active as a performer and lecturer in the Princeton community. For more than ten years he was the pre-concert lecturer for the Princeton Chapter of the New Jersey Symphony. On several occasions he gave a series of lectures on listening for the Princeton Adult School. For 12 years he served on the Development Committee for Advanced Placement in Music for the College Board, for six years as its chair. For two six-year terms in the 1970s and 1980s, he was a member of the Concerts Committee of Princeton University, serving as chair during both terms.
Beginning in 1981, he served as founding chairman of the Opera Festival of New Jersey and was active in the organization from its first production year in 1984 through its final year in 2003. He was also a member of the Music Club of Princeton and the Nassau Club.
He was pre-deceased in 2007 by his wife of 52 years. He is survived by a daughter, Alison Ellis of Somerville, Mass.; a sister, Mary Ellis Livingston of Dallas, Texas; and his partner, Marc E. Angers of New York City.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Lawrenceville School, P.O. Box 6125, Lawrenceville 08648. A private memorial to celebrate his life will be scheduled at a future date.
Arrangements are by the Kimble Funeral Home.
Jeanette H. Haggerty, 91, of Plainsboro, died January 8 at home.
Born in Hasbrouck Heights, she was a resident of Arizona before moving to Plainsboro in 2006.
She was a self-employed interior decorator for many years.
Daughter of the late Charles Henry and Mary Graf Hasselkuhn, and wife of the late Luther Haggerty, she is survived by her daughter, Kate Vanderbush, and three grandchildren.
A memorial service was held January 10 at the Mather-Hodge Funeral Home.
Billy Rene Henslee Loye, 82, of Culver City, Calif., formerly of Princeton, died December 30 in her sleep, at home.
Born in Konawa, Okla., she graduated from Wesley Hospital School of Nursing in Oklahoma City. She lived in Princeton from 1960 to 1974, where she was a mother, orthapaedic nurse, and political activist.
Daughter of Jack Ira Henslee and Tinny Guein Henslee, she is survived by her children, Jenella Loye of Davis, Calif., Kathryn Loye of Highland, N.Y., Christopher Loye of Novato, Calif., and Jonathan Loye of Buckley, Wash.; and a brother, Jack Henslee.
A memorial gathering was held on January 4 in Culver City. Another family memorial will be held in Washington State this spring to scatter her ashes.
Eleanor H. Werenfels, 84, of Princeton, died January 5 at the University Medical Center at Princeton.
Born in Traverse City, Mich., she lived in Princeton for 60 years.
She received her B.A. in Psychology from Swarthmore College in Swarthmore, Pa.
Mrs. Werenfels worked for E.T.S. in Princeton for more than 25 years, retiring in 2003 as a Senior Test Editor. She was a longtime volunteer at Princeton Hospital and served on the board of the Mercer Street Friends Center Trenton. She was also a longtime member of Princeton Friends Meeting, where she served as clerk for several years.
Predeceased by her husband, Peter H. Werenfels, in 1986, she is survived by two daughters, Libby W. Caes of Madison, Wis. and Martha L. Werenfels of Providence, R.I.; a son, Frederic H.S. Werenfels of Ewing; a sister, Virginia Karl of Chatham, N.J.; and three grandchildren.
A memorial service was held January 9 at the Princeton Friends Meeting House.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Princeton Friends School Tuition Aid Fund, 470 Quaker Road, Princeton 08540.
Arrangements were under the direction of the Kimble Funeral Home.
The age of Laura Lee McClure at her death was given incorrectly by the funeral home in the obituary that appeared in last weeks issue (Town Topics, January 7). Mrs. McClures correct age was 81.
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