Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIII, No. 26
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
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Alec M. Gallup

Polly Figueroa

Sheldon Thaler

Frank J. Darago

Dominique Royce

Lucy Mackenzie

Margaret C. Fiori

Alec M. Gallup

Alec Miller Gallup, 81, of Princeton, died at home June 22 of heart failure. He was the son of Dr. George Gallup, founder of The Gallup Poll.

Mr. Gallup was chairman of The Gallup Poll in the United States. He was responsible for many of Gallup’s most ambitious and innovative research projects, including the first global survey ever conducted, “Human Needs and Satisfactions,” which covered more than 70 nations and two-thirds of the world’s population. His global surveys also included a 35-nation survey of attitudes towards AIDS, a “Health of the Planet” survey of global attitudes about the environment, and the first nationwide studies of consumer attitudes and lifestyle trends in the People’s Republic of China.

He also managed the widely-referenced annual surveys of attitudes of parents and students toward their schools, conducted by Phi Delta Kappa since 1969.

His educational background included undergraduate work at Princeton University and the University of Iowa. He undertook graduate work in communications and journalism at Stanford University, and studied marketing and advertising research at New York University. His publications include The Great American Success Story (with George Gallup Jr., 1986), Death Penalty Sentiment in the United States (with Hans Zeisel in the Journal of Quantitative Criminology, 1989), Presidential Approval: A Source Book (with George Edwards, 1990), and The Gallup Poll Cumulative Index: Public Opinion 1935-1997, in 1999.

As a footnote to his career, Mr. Gallup was the person to come up with the idea to represent the Republican and Democratic states as “red” and “blue.”

His wide-ranging interests included a love of old cars, jazz, animals, and a strong attachment to his 90-acre farm.

He is survived by his wife, Barbara; a sister, Julia; and a brother, George, all of Princeton.

A memorial service is planned for July 8, at 11 a.m. in the Princeton University Chapel.

Polly Figueroa

Pauline Ann “Polly” Figueroa, 80, of Raleigh, N.C., formerly of Princeton, died May 28.

Born in Sturgeon Bay, Wis., she was the only child of Pauline Angeline Kutzra and Frank Kwapil. Her father, a lumberman, died when she was two years old, after which her mother worked as a clerk in a department store while Polly was raised by her grandmother, Anna Shimek.

As a young girl, Mrs. Figueroa enjoyed the outdoors, skating, and picking fruit. She majored in Spanish at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, where she met her future husband, Juan Francisco Figueroa, of Huaraz, Peru. They were married in Sturgeon Bay in 1951, and shortly thereafter moved to Peru where their first three children, Diane Christina, Mary Louise, and Juan Alberto, were born. In 1957, the family moved to New Rochelle, N.Y., when Mr. Figueroa accepted a position as a veterinarian with American Cyanamid. While in New Rochelle, Margaret Elizabeth and Eric Benjamin were born.

In 1962, the family moved to Wyckoff, N.J., and six years later to Princeton, where all five children graduated from high school. 

Mr. and Mrs. Figueroa were active in the World Veterinary Association, and attended numerous veterinary congresses around the world. In addition to assisting Mr. Figueroa in his position as President of the WVA, Mrs. Figueroa was active in the International Veterinary Auxiliary, serving as the seventh IVA President from 1975 to 1979 and authoring a history of the IVA.

After her children left high school, Mrs. Figueroa took a job as a secretary in the Romance Language Department of Princeton University, where she worked closely with graduate students and the faculty.

In 1997, the Figueroas moved to Raleigh to be closer to their daughters, Diane and Margaret. They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 2001. Mr. Figueroa died in 2004.

Mrs. Figueroa loved coordinating her family’s activities, gardening, and her beloved Green Bay Packers. She will be remembered by all who knew her as a gentle spirit.

She is survived by her five children and ten grandchildren.

A memorial service was held at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church on June 6. Memorial donations may be sent to Saint Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, 11401 Leesville Road, Raleigh, N.C. 27613; or to Saint Raphael the Archangel Catholic Church, 5801 Falls of the Neuse Road, Raleigh, N.C. 27609.

Sheldon Thaler

Sheldon S. Thaler, 76, of Skillman, died June 12 in Stonebridge at Montgomery.

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., he was a resident of Princeton for 32 years.

He was a graduate of Stuyvesant High School, City College of New York, and the University of Connecticut.

He was a prolific inventor of aerospace and medical devices who contributed significantly to the development of the pacemaker, holding close to 30 patents.

The proprietor of PtA Enterprises at the end of his career, Mr. Thaler had previously worked with a number of biomedical and aerospace companies.

Husband of the late Beverly Casper Thaler, he is survived by a daughter, Melinda Milberg of New York City; a son, Seth Thaler of Olympia, Wash.; a brother, Bob Thaler of New York City; a sister, Myrina Marenghi of Wakefield, R.I.; three grandchildren; and a step-granddaughter.

Funeral services were held June 14 at The Jewish Center, 435 Nassau Street.

Memorial contributions may be made to any dementia related charity or to the Princeton Jewish Center.

Frank J. Darago

Frank Joseph Darago, 88, of Manasquan, formerly of Princeton, died June 21 at home.

Born in Edison, he was one of the physicists for the Manhattan Project. He worked in Princeton until his retirement.

He is survived by a sister, Angelina Stella Darago.

The funeral was June 25 at Neary-Quinn Funeral Home, Manasquan. Interment followed in St. Peter the Apostle Cemetery, New Brunswick.

Dominique Royce

Dominique Royce

Dominique Jeanne Marguerite (Domi) Royce of Princeton died June 21 at home of a heart attack, bringing to an end her 12-year battle with metastatic breast cancer.

Born in Clamecy, France in 1942, she was the youngest daughter of Marcelle and Rene Vallee. After completing her education in Europe with a degree in industrial chemistry, she came to the United States to extend her experience by working for the FMC corporation. She met her husband at the International Club at the Princeton YWCA; they were married in 1964. She became an American citizen in 1992.

After the birth of their first son she devoted herself to her family. For the next several years after the birth of her second son, her children’s education and the integration of the several cultural backgrounds of the family became her primary focus. When the children started school she decided to return to work, using her knowledge of the French language, literature, and culinary arts as the basis for her language school and classes in French cooking at the Princeton Adult School. After several years she joined with other colleagues to found the Princeton Language Group, finally becoming its director. In this role, she coordinated the independent native speakers through which the group offered instruction in 27 languages as well as literature studies and a technical translation services. The Group was disbanded when the demands of her cancer prevented her from continuing as its director.

As a teacher and friend, Mrs. Royce’s love of her cultural heritage was infectious, leading people of all ages to understand France in a special way and incorporate a small part of it in their own lives. As a translator, her meticulous research and technical understanding permitted her to create clear transliterations of computer texts, medical protocols, and other specialized topics for several international companies.

She is survived by her husband, Princeton University professor emeritus Barrie S. H. Royce; two sons, Vincent R.H. Royce of Bennington, Vt. and Marc E. H. Royce of Hollywood, Calif.; a brother, Olivier Vallee of Bourges, France; a sister, Renee Clarisse of Fontevraud, France; and four grandchildren.

As her final act of generosity, Mrs. Royce donated her body to the UMDMJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School Anatomical Association.

A gathering to celebrate her life will be held in the fall.

Lucy Mackenzie

Lucy Mackenzie, 82, of Princeton, died June 23 in the Princeton Care Center.

Born in New Rochelle, N.Y., she was a resident of Princeton for more than 39 years. She retired in 1993 with over 27 years of service as a lobbyist with the New Jersey Association of School Boards.

Ms. Mackenzie graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Romance Languages from the University of Michigan in 1947 and received a Master’s Degree in Urban Studies from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, in 1986.

She was passionate about public service, serving in many local and statewide organizations such as the League of Women Voters, the Criminal Justice-Alcoholism Coalition of New Jersey, the Consumers League of New Jersey, the Advisory Board of the Middlesex County Migrant Health Program, the Regional Planning Board, the Regional Health Commission, and the Princeton Township Board of Adjustment. She was a candidate for the New Jersey Assembly in 1975 and served as a Princeton Borough Councilwoman from 1989 to l992.

Her real love, however, was the Princeton Public Library, on whose board she served for 17 years. She even tended to the flowers around the Library building.

Having grown up on the Mexican border, she had a particular passion to protect the rights of migrant workers and worked tirelessly to pass state legislation to that end. Locally, she founded the Latin-American Task Force.

Daughter of the late Douglas and Jessie Wood Fraser, she is survived by a son, Douglas Mackenzie of Florida; her former husband, Dr. James Mackenzie of Princeton; and good friends Marian Bakoulis, Kay McGrath, and Rosemary O’Brien.

A memorial service was held June 29 at the Mather-Hodge Funeral Home. Burial will be private and at the convenience of the family.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Princeton Public Library or to a charity of the donor’s choice.

Margaret C. Fiori

Margaret Cox Fiori, 92, of Princeton, died June 24.

Born in Princeton, she was the daughter of James P. and Amanda Lundin Cox.

She graduated from Princeton High School in 1935 and began a career with Princeton University in Career Services. She retired in 1981 after 46 years arranging interviews for graduating Princeton students. At her retirement party, Princeton President Robert Goheen said, “Margaret touched the lives of more Princeton graduates than anyone in the history of the University.”

She was predeceased by her husband, Albert Fiori, and her brothers Nicholas and James J. Cox. She is survived by a nephew, Donald J. Cox Sr. of Ewing and his children, Donald J. Cox Jr. of Princeton and Elizabeth Bauer of Lambertville.

The funeral service will begin at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow, Thursday, July 2 at the Kimble Funeral Home, 1 Hamilton Avenue. It will be followed by an 11 a.m. funeral mass at St. Paul’s Catholic Church, 214 Nassau Street. Burial will be in Princeton Cemetery.

Visiting hours for relatives and friends are prior to the services on Thursday from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. at the funeral home.

Condolences may be sent online by visiting

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