Herman Louis Brav
“July 4, 1949 was the greatest day of my life,” the quiet wonderful man would often proclaim during his last years. That was the Monday 70 years ago that Herman Brav met Adele, the love of his life, at the old New Yorker Hotel on Eighth Avenue in Manhattan. She was a tall and beautiful young woman who had lost much of her family in the Holocaust but herself survived in a Siberian forced labor camp, arriving in America three years earlier and working at nearby Macy’s Herald Square. He too had come from Europe in 1946, returning with the Fighting 69th Infantry after 16 months of heavy combat from Normandy through France and Germany and the Elbe River meeting with the Russians that signified the end of the war in Europe, earning a Bronze Star and French Legion of Honor for the Liberation of France.
Having lost his father at 4 years old and his identical twin brother Seymour to a car accident and sister Nanette to illness by the time he turned 13, Herman was forced to grow up early in Depression Era Brooklyn. These tragedies, and the wartime deaths of his Army brothers, would always haunt but never stop him from building a life out of struggle. After marrying Adele in 1950, they bought a house, raised two children on Long Island, and embraced the relative normalcy and tranquility of their postwar years. Herman became well known for his almost 60 years as a hollow metal door salesperson in the New York area large construction trade, employed full-time until he was 85 years old. He was an active member of Temple Hillel in North Woodmere, New York, and a casual weekend biker on his old Schwinn three-speed.
Forced in 2011 by his wife’s illness to move closer to his longtime Princeton resident son Peter, he was beloved at Stein Assisted Living in Somerset, New Jersey, where he spent his final years, visited often by his son and his daughter Miriam. He no longer had his head for numbers or any memory of what had been said or eaten five minutes earlier. Yet he never lost his love of family and always expressed appreciation for the daily efforts of the nurses and aides, something marveled at for its genuine affection. His smile would always widen when one would mention his wife of 65 years or ask about his military service. “I don’t play Bingo, son,” he would say when his son would arrive every Wednesday evening to call the games at his facility. “Just come sit with me,” his son would reply always. He would come along, he would play and win more than his share, place the few quarters in his son’s hand, and all was good. After years of worries and an instinct to protect that never faded even as his body wound down, in his last years he found for the first time a relaxed peace and an awesome appreciation for the simplest of things, be they kind words, a half hour in the courtyard sun, one scoop of butter pecan on a sugar cone, or a visit by one of his son’s dogs looking for a lap to sit on.
Over his 96 years, he had said goodbye to so many loved ones, including Adele who passed four years ago. Now his two children, beloved daughter-in-law Janet, five grandchildren Zarah, Julia, Nathaniel, Gregory, and Seth, and three great-grandchildren Orianna, Josephine, and Luna Adele, say goodbye to him with the greatest of love and admiration for this humble man who always thought of everyone but himself.
His family requests that any donations in his honor be made to UJA-Federation of New York and/or the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
The Rev. Dr. A. Orley Swartzentruber
Orley Swartzentruber passed away peacefully on June 28, surrounded by his family. He was 93.
Born in Argentina, he was the son of the Rev. Amos and Mrs. Edna Swartzentruber, Mennonite Missionaries from Canada. After completing primary and secondary school, he came to the United States for College and Biblical Seminary in Goshen, Indiana. After graduation, he was sent to Brussels, Belgium, then to Paris, France, where he spent the post-war decade of the 1950s in work for the Mennonite Board of Missions and Charities, founding a congregation in the Parisian suburb of Châtenay-Malabry.
Upon returning to America, Orley settled in Princeton, NJ, where he studied the Old Testament at Princeton Theological Seminary (1960-62 MA), then, under Dr. R.B.Y. Scott, earned a PhD in Religion from Princeton University (1970). In 1963, while serving as chaplain of Saint Agnes School in upstate New York, he was ordained to the priesthood of the Episcopal Church by the Rt. Rev. A. W. Brown, Bishop of Albany.
Orley returned to and remained in Princeton, where he served in the ministry of the Episcopal Church, first as Vicar of All Saints’ Chapel of Trinity Parish, then as its first Rector, as it became the newly self-supporting All Saints’ Church. He enjoyed serving as Chairman of the Committee on Rules of Order and Dispatch of Business in the NJ Diocesan Convention and was twice elected Deputy to the General Convention.
Orley retired to Sarasota, FL, in 1994, where he was grateful to find a vibrant appreciation of the arts and the Church of the Redeemer. He joyfully made his home there until 2016, when he moved to The Evergreens in Moorestown, NJ, nearer to his children.
Orley is survived by Jane, his wife of 68 years, three daughters and sons-in-law, Anne and Jay Lewis, Emily and Peter Urquhart, Francine and Jonathan Storck, one son and daughter-in-law, Eric and Johanna Swartzentruber, and seven grandchildren.
A Requiem Eucharist will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, August 3 at All Saints’ Church, 16 All Saints’ Road in Princeton, followed by interment in Trinity-All Saints’ Cemetery.
Diana Christine Fredericks (Didi) Waltman
Diana Christine Fredericks (Didi) Waltman, 91, passed away on Sunday, June 30 with all four of her children gathered closely around her at the Stonebridge Senior Living Community in Skillman, N.J. She fiercely loved life. She lived life to the very fullest.
Didi was born in Buffalo, N.Y., to James Torrey Fredericks and Alice Sibyl Lachmann Fredericks. As was her habit, Didi arrived early. Her parents were visiting Buffalo to attend the theater and rushed to the hospital mid-performance. The maternity ward at Buffalo Hospital was still under construction. With no available newborn incubator, Didi spent her first days in an instrument sterilizer.
Influenced by her father’s love for hiking, canoeing, and camping, Didi spent childhood summers bushwhacking and portaging through the Canadian wilds with her dad and brother Jim. She was also influenced by her European mother’s love for the arts, starting piano training at age 3 and maintaining a lifelong passion for classical music. Her father insisted she and her brother attend the “farm” school, just outside of Bradford, PA, and they were called “the Agricola” by other students upon transferring to Bradford High School. Didi excelled in academics and attended Smith College, majoring in Math and Art History, and graduating in 1949.
Didi saw the positive beauty in every person and situation. She was a generous friend and a dedicated member of every community in which she participated. She was a doer, with abundant energy, and she applauded this trait in others. Didi was proud to work for the Princeton University Music Department for 14 years, and in that time attended every orchestral concert and student rehearsal.
Upon retirement, Didi became a volunteer docent and then co-chair of the docent committee at the Princeton University Art Museum. She also became an avid post-retirement student, taking two to three university classes each year, focusing on Art and History. She traveled to the Yucatan Peninsula with Princeton’s Gillett Griffin to study the Mayan Ruins of Chichen Itza.
Didi loved to travel and organized numerous adventures through Europe, Canada, and the American West. Preferring to travel off the beaten path, she steered her husband, children, and friends onto French canal barges, Greek fishing boats, and Norwegian mail boats. She hiked Canadian glaciers, Norwegian fjords, and the Samaria Gorge on the island of Crete.
In their final years, Didi and her husband Bob moved to Stonebridge, proud members of the “pioneer” cohort of first residents. Didi was deeply grateful for all the dear friends and activities at Stonebridge. She quickly became involved with the Executive Committee, Program Committee, Stonebridge Singers, and numerous cultural and political groups. A passionate political progressive and strong women’s advocate, Didi engaged in political discourse with zeal.
Family was the center of Didi’s world, and Didi was the heart and soul of her family. She was the voice on the phone that could right the world. She believed the world was inherently good. She made the world a better place.
Didi is predeceased by her husband, John Robert (Bob) Waltman. She is survived by her daughters Susan Waltman, Sally (Bay) Waltman, and Martha O’Connor (and spouse Michael), and by her son James Robert (Jim) Waltman (and spouse Alicia) as well as by her eight adoring grandchildren Jack, Diana (Annie) and Matthew Simpson, Kelly, Duncan and John Patrick O’Connor, and Emma and James Torrey (Jimmy) Waltman.
Interment will be held privately. Arrangements are under the direction of the Mather-Hodge Funeral Home. A celebration of life ceremony will be held at Stonebridge at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Emily’s List.
My Mom, Claudia Guenther, passed away in her sleep the morning of July 1, 2019 while on vacation in Vermont. If there is a better way to go than peacefully in a place you love, Vermont, next to the man that you love, her husband Jim, I can’t come up with it.
Claudia was born in New York City on April 17, 1948. Her family (mother Maria, brother Eric, and sister Sharon) moved around during her early childhood years before settling in East Millstone, New Jersey, when her college professor father, Smith Palmer Bovie, was granted tenure at Rutgers University. She studied music in Boston as a freshman in college before returning to New Jersey to complete her education at Rider College (now University) with a degree in teaching.
Soon after she married her high school sweetheart George Sayler. She taught ninth grade until 1977 when she has her first daughter, Marie, I followed in 1979. When Marie and I were in middle school she rejoined the work force as a personal aide for disabled adults, first working with a wheelchair-bound young woman named Jenny as she completed high school and college and then with Archie, a young(ish) man with cerebral palsy. In the early ’90s Claudia met and married Jim Guenther, who turned out to be her “forever lover.”
They shared many interests and were (are) longtime members of the Lawrenceville Swimming Association, The Pennington Players, and the Hopewell Presbyterian Church. Claudia was a member of Hopewell Valley Chorus for decades and never missed an opportunity to sing “Happy Birthday.” She volunteered for Meals-on-Wheels and organized and performed holiday sing-alongs at various senior centers in central New Jersey.
Jim and Claudia were true partners. They traveled regularly, attended cultural festivals and free concerts, embracing every style and genre of music.
In 2013 Claudia suffered a massive brain aneurysm. The recovery process stretched well over a year and a half and encompassed stays in the ICU at Capital Health Medical Center in Hopewell, the Brain Trauma Unit at Lawrence Rehabilitation Center, and six months at Merwick Rehabilitation in Plainsboro. Jim visited her every day after work during this time. Jim provided full time caregiving for Claudia when she came home in August 2014. She continued to recover with his help and support, occasionally forgoing use of a wheelchair.
Claudia loved Vermont, a place she spent every summer during her childhood with her family. She and Jim were on vacation there when he called me to say she had died overnight, in her sleep.
Funeral services will be held a later date.
In lieu of flowers, please consider the spouse or the loved one who is a full-time caregiver and offer him or her a hand or a break of any duration. Living at home the last five years of her life would not have been possible without Jim’s unending support and care.
To send a condolence to the family or for directions, please visit www.poulsonvanhise.com.
Arrangements are under the direction of Poulson & Van Hise Funeral Directors, Lawrenceville.