Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXII, No. 46
 
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
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Obituaries

Bruce McClellan

Salvatore J. Lanzetta

Peter J. McCrohan

Robert G. Walker

David L. Tchorni


Bruce McClellan

Bruce McClellan, headmaster of The Lawrenceville School from 1959 to 1986, died peacefully October 31 in Peterborough, New Hampshire. He was 84.

“The entire Lawrenceville School community is saddened by the passing of Bruce McClellan,” said Lawrenceville School headmaster Elizabeth Duffy. “He was a scholar, a gentleman, and as he would often say, first and foremost a teacher, who led Lawrenceville with intelligence, wisdom, and grace. During his 27 years as headmaster, he preserved Lawrenceville’s traditional strengths in teaching, learning, and residential life, while ushering in important changes to reflect broader societal trends, most notably the admittance of African American students and girls. His legacy is evident in all aspects of Lawrenceville today and for that we are grateful.”

Mr. McClellan began his Lawrenceville career in 1950 as a member of the School’s English Department and became the Hamill Housemaster in 1953. He was appointed headmaster in 1959 at the age of 35.

During Mr. McClellan’s tenure as headmaster, the School’s endowment grew from $5.3 million to more than $76 million, and annual giving increased from $23,000 to $1.3 million. Under his leadership, the School’s academic calendar was modified to its current trimester system and the curriculum revised to become more varied and to encourage thoughtful discussion of issues.

Mr. McClellan continued to serve the School after his retirement, volunteering his expertise as a part of Lawrenceville’s Residential Initiative and Head Master Council. In 1998, he received one of the School’s highest honors, the Masters Award, presented by Lawrenceville’s Alumni Association to teachers who are retired or who have, in the past, distinguished themselves as teachers for a prolonged and sustained period of service at the School. A former Lawrenceville Trustee, he was an honorary member of the classes of 1912, 1957, and 1960, and of the John Cleve Green Society.

Born in Spring Grove, Pa., he graduated from Deerfield Academy in 1941 and went to Williams College as a member of the Class of 1945, graduating cum laude in 1946 with highest honors in English. At Williams, he was a member of the Gargoyle and Phi Beta Kappa and played varsity squash. Between his sophomore and junior years, he served as a pilot in the United States Air Force and was separated from service in September 1945 with the rank of Captain. He saw combat service over Europe with the Eighth Air Force, earning the Air Medal with clusters and the Distinguished Flying Cross.

He taught at Deerfield Academy for one year immediately after his graduation from Williams. He then studied for two years at New College, Oxford, as a Rhodes Scholar, earning his M.A. degree in English Language and Literature. From Oxford he returned to Williams College as Assistant Dean, a post he held one year before becoming a member of the Lawrenceville English Department.

He received honorary degrees from Williams College, Lafayette College, Rider University, and York College of Pennsylvania. He is a former Trustee of the Lawrenceville School, Williams College, Deerfield Academy, Historic Deerfield, “A Better Chance,” The Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, and the Monadnock Conservancy, which he co-founded. He was a past president of the Headmasters Association and American Association of Rhodes Scholars, and secretary of the New Jersey Committee for Selection of Rhodes Scholars. He was a trustee of the Heritage Foundation of Historic Deerfield and director of the Foundation’s Fellowship Project. He was also an executive assistant to New Jersey Governor Alfred E. Driscoll.

Upon his retirement from Lawrenceville, Mr. McClellan and his wife Mary Elizabeth moved to Dublin, New Hampshire, where he was active in conservation affairs, serving as chairman of Dublin’s Land Conservation Investment Program Committee and as one of three founders of the Monadnock Conservancy.

He was an active member of the First Church in Jaffrey, New Hampshire, serving terms as deacon and moderator. The McClellans moved to RiverMead, a continuing care retirement community in Peterborough, New Hampshire, in 2005.

He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Mary Elizabeth (Wisotzkey) McClellan; a daughter, Ann I. McClellan; two sons, William S. and Robert N.; and three grandchildren.

The first of two memorial services will be at First Church, Jaffrey Center, New Hampshire, on Saturday, November 15 at 2 p.m.; the second, at The Lawrenceville School on Sunday, May 3, 2009.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be sent to the McClellan Fund of the Lawrenceville School; or to a charity of the donor’s choice.

Salvatore J. Lanzetta

Salvatore J. “Sal” Lanzetta, 54, of Princeton, died November 8 suddenly at home.

Born in Princeton Borough, he was a lifelong resident of Princeton Township.

A 1973 graduate of Princeton High School, he enrolled at Lincoln Tech in Pennsylvania to obtain his certification as an auto mechanic.

He worked as an auto mechanic for the Ehart Gulf Service Station in Hightstown for 20 years, and was most recently employed in the inventory department at Best Buy in West Windsor.

A sports fanatic, he loved to bowl.

He is survived by his parents, John and Mary Mazzelli Lanzetta, with whom he lived; a sister, Anna C. Prete of Princeton; and his companion, Susan Vaughan of Pennsylvania.

The funeral service will be at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow, Thursday, November 13 at the Kimble Funeral Home, 1 Hamilton Avenue, Princeton. It will be followed at 11 a.m. by a funeral Mass at St. Paul’s Catholic Church, 214 Nassau Street. Burial will be in Princeton Cemetery.

Relatives and friends are invited to attend the visitation on Wednesday evening from 6 to 8 p.m. at the funeral home.

Peter J. McCrohan

Peter J. McCrohan, 95, of Palm Coast, Florida, Princeton’s former Chief of Police and eyewitness to most of the town’s last century, died November 4, peacefully, at home.

Born in 1913, he grew up in the house his grandfather built at 209 Nassau Street. In his youth he was a gifted athlete. He attended St. Paul’s School, Cathedral High in Trenton, and graduated from Princeton Prep, where he captained the football and basketball teams. He also distinguished himself at the Hun School where he rowed in a championship boat.

When Word War II broke out, he enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard and served in both the Atlantic and Pacific over three years. Stateside, at a USO club in Sea Girt, he met Edna Morris of Manasquan. They were married for 64 years. She survives him as do his children, Mary McCrohan of San Francisco, Patti McCrohan of Princeton, and Peter McCrohan of Chestertown, Md.

Mr. McCrohan served his hometown most of his life. He joined the Borough Police force in 1935. After years as a college and school basketball official, his good relations with the town’s youth led him to be appointed as Juvenile Officer in 1953. Over the years he held every job on the force, advancing from Patrolman to Sergeant to Lieutenant. In 1960, by unanimous choice of the Mayor and Council, he was appointed Chief, prompting Town Topics to name him Princeton’s Man of the Week. He retired in 1973.

Mr. McCrohan was a founding officer in the First Aid and Rescue Squad, originally operated by the Police Department. He served as Commander of Princeton’s Post 76 of the American Legion and as a member of Mercer Engine Company No. 3 for 65 years. In retirement he frequently returned to Princeton from Florida to participate in the Firemen’s Parade. At his death he was the oldest surviving member of the squad.

He had a good ear for a story and enjoyed a good time. He had a sentimental heart and a fondness for reciting poetry, such as Kipling’s “Gunga Din.”

A Mass of Christian burial was celebrated at St. Paul’s Church November 11. Burial followed at St. Paul’s Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to St. Vincent de Paul Society, c/o St. Paul’s Church, 214 Nassau Street, Princeton 08542.

Arrangements were by The Mather-Hodge Funeral Home.

Robert G. Walker

Robert Gill Walker, 89, of Princeton and Menemsha, Mass., died November 5 in Hightstown, of complications from emphysema.

He was born and raised in Meadville, Pa., a city founded by his ancestor, David Mead, and where his grandfather, Lewis Walker, started what became Talon Inc., the first company in the world to develop the zipper. 

He graduated from The Taft School and Princeton University, Phi Beta Kappa, Class of 1941. At Princeton, he was a member of Cottage Club and the Triangle Shows of 1938 and 1939. During World War II he served in the U.S. Naval Reserve on the USS Langley. He then went to Yale Law School and joined Reed, Smith, Shaw & McClay of Pittsburgh. In 1952, he was employed by the Intelligence Bureau of the Department of State, then entered the U.S. Foreign Service, serving from 1957 to 1966 in U.S. Embassies in Brazil, Argentina, and Chile. 

He served on the boards of the Green Acres School, Nido de Aguilas School in Santiago, and the Washington International School. 

He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Barbara Martin Walker; his children, Mead, Polly, Tertius Gill, Martin, Nicholas, and Jennet; 12 grandchildren; and 6 great-grandchildren. 

For service information, call The Mather-Hodge Funeral Home, 40 Vandeventer Avenue, at (609) 924-0242. 

Memorial donations may be made to The World Federalist Movement and/or The Washington International School in Washington, D.C.

David L. Tchorni

David L. Tchorni, 54, of Princeton, died November 6 at his parents’ home in Lawrenceville.

A Princeton High School graduate, he attended the University of Denver. He spent over 30 years working in various operational capacities at Educational Testing Service.

Among his passions in life were politics, gambling in Las Vegas and Atlantic City, and attending lacrosse games at Johns Hopkins University.

He is survived by his parents, Bernard L. and Jacquelyn G. Tchorni of Lawrenceville; a son and future daughter-in-law, Michael J. Tchorni and Lia Toback, both of New York City; a sister, Ellen Lowenthal of Summit, N.J.; and his former wife, Kathy Tchorni.

A memorial gathering to celebrate his life was held November 9 at the Kimble Funeral Home.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be sent to the American Cancer Society, P.O. Box 7, East Syracuse, N.Y. 13057; or to Princeton Hospice, 208 Bunn Drive, Princeton 08540.

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