November 28, 2018

Obituaries 11/28/18

Diana Morgan Olcott

Diana Morgan Olcott passed away at her home in Manchester, VT, surrounded by her family, on November 18, 2018, just shy of her 90th birthday. She was born November 25, 1928 in the beautiful Georgian house designed by her father, Professor Sherley Warner Morgan, Director of the Princeton University School of Architecture. Her mother, Ethel Palmer Morgan, was the daughter of Lowell Mason Palmer, of Brooklyn, NY, and Stamford, CT, where he had a large botanic garden estate. This heritage imbued Diana with a lifelong love of architecture and horticulture. Her father’s parents were Mr. and Mrs. Asa Bushnell Morgan of Cincinnati, Ohio.

Having attended Miss Fine’s School in Princeton and graduated from The Shipley School in Bryn Mawr, PA, in 1946, she embarked on a life of, as she put it, “Chronic Volunteerism.” Her first volunteer position was as a courier with the Frontier Nursing Service in Kentucky.

Diana married Alfred Van Santvoord Olcott, Jr. of Riverdale, NY, on April 21, 1951. They lived and raised their family in an 18th century farmhouse in Hopewell, NJ, and created a lovely rose garden amidst the ruins of its large stone barn. After the death of her parents, the Olcotts returned to Princeton and enjoyed restoring and enlarging her ancestral home and gardens.

Two organizations shaped her life: The Garden Club of America and The Colonial Dames of America. Over the years she served the GCA as its Zone IV (NJ) Director; Representative to the Conservation, Flower Show, and Horticulture committees; and Vice Chairman of the Judging Committee. She compiled and authored the GCA 75th Anniversary history: “Winds of Change.” She was also a Flower Arrangement and Horticulture Judge and a Master Judge for the National Council of State Garden Clubs. She toured the USA, from Maine to California, giving lectures on horticulture, abstract flower arranging, and how to judge them. She was President of the Hopewell Valley Garden Club, President of the Garden Club of Princeton, Co-president of the Garden Club of Manchester, and a member of the Bennington Garden Club.

As a descendant of three Royal Governors (two from the Massachusetts Bay Colony and one from Connecticut) she was a member of the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America and President of the NJ Society. She also served for 14 years as a regent of Gunston Hall, the 18th century home in Lorton, VA, of George Mason, where she chaired the Garden Committee and was President of the Gunston Hall Foundation.

In 1985 the Olcotts purchased “Glebelands” in Manchester, VT. Diana revitalized and enhanced the lovely and unique Italianate gardens complete with statuary, fountains, and two ponds. For several years, she opened the gardens to the public to benefit the Garden Conservancy.

A voracious reader and an intrepid world traveler, she was also a great lover of music. She served as a trustee of the American Boy Choir for many years. Following the death of her beloved husband in 1990, she moved permanently to Manchester, VT, in 1996 and became greatly involved in the community. She was a trustee of the Manchester Music Festival and served twice as President. A member of the Village Planning Committee for 14 years, she retired after being Chairman for 10 of those years, always advocating to keep the beauty and historical quality of the Village intact.

Diana was predeceased by her husband Van (A.V.S. Olcott Jr.), her sister Eleanor (Mrs. Wells Drorbaugh Jr.), and her brothers, Arthur P. Morgan and Dr. Richard S. Morgan. She is survived by her devoted children C. Townsend Olcott II (wife Jody and grandchildren Lowell Palmer Olcott (wife Jessica) and Olivia Easton Olcott), Richard Melville Olcott (wife Betsy and grandchildren Emma Claire Olcott and Sarah Ruth Olcott), and daughter Leslie Harrison Olcott (partner Tracy Sloan).

A memorial service will be held at First Congregation Church of Manchester, VT, at 2 p.m. on Saturday, December 29.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Manchester Community Library, 138 Cemetery Street, Manchester, VT 05255; Taconic Music P.O. Box 732, Manchester, VT 05254; or the Community Food Cupboard, P.O. Box 864, Manchester Center, VT 05255.


Dorothy A. Martin

Dorothy A. Martin of Ledyard, CT, died on November 19, 2018 at her home. She was born in Waterbury, CT, on June 2, 1929 to George and Cora Wagner. Dorothy proudly served in the military from 1949 to 1953.

She is survived by her children Deborah Martin Norcross of Princeton, NJ; Samuel (Mickey) Martin of Hope Valley, RI; and Kim Martin of Plainfield, CT. She is also survived by six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. After raising her family, Dorothy obtained her LPN nursing degree and worked until retirement at the Westerly Hospital.

Dorothy will be buried with full military honors at a later date in West Cemetery, Bristol, CT.