July 24, 2019

Obituaries 7/24/19

Martha E. Peck

Martha Ehlkes Peck, widow of John G. Peck, Jr., died on July 17, 2019. She was born in Morristown, New Jersey, but spent most of her life in the Griggstown, Kingston, and Princeton areas.

She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Jersey City University, and a Master of Education from Rutgers University, School of Education. She served 43 years as an elementary teacher in Metuchen, teaching grades three and four.

She served on the board of Church Women United and was an active member of the Lutheran Church of the Messiah in Princeton.

Martha is survived by her brother-in-law, Wm. Robert Peck; godchildren, Deborah Krocheski of PA, and William R. Taylor of VA; and many relatives in Germany.

There will be a memorial service at the Lutheran Church of the Messiah, 407 Nassau Street, Princeton, NJ 08540 on August 19, 2019 at 11 a.m., followed by graveside committal in Princeton Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Lutheran Church of the Messiah; Christ Congregation, 50 Walnut Lane, Princeton, NJ 08540; or St Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St Jude Place, Memphis, TN, 38105.


Louise Grafton


Louise Grafton died peacefully at home in Princeton on July 20, 2019. The cause of death was pancreatic cancer.

Born in Philadelphia on December 12, 1941, Louise studied English at the University of Pennsylvania, where she took her BA with highest honors, in 1962, and at Indiana University, where she received her MA in 1964. She then joined the founding faculty at Jefferson County Community College, now Jefferson College, in Hillsboro, Missouri. In 1967 she moved to De Paul University in Chicago, where she was awarded tenure in the Department of English and taught until 1975.

In Chicago Louise started on what became her real career in technical theater. Since her childhood, she had practiced crafts of many kinds. Beginning as a volunteer maker of props at Court Theater, then the summer Shakespeare theater of the University of Chicago, she taught herself to make just about anything needed for a play that was not part of a set or a costume: furniture, armor, weapons, food, statuary. Her summers at Court and a season at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, where she worked with James Bakkom, equipped her with formidable skills.

In 1975, Louise moved to New Jersey with her husband Tony and found a position as a prop maker at the New York Shakespeare Festival. In the decades to come she worked on several Broadway shows and for the McCarter Theatre in Princeton, the Prospect Theatre Company at the Old Vic in London, the Big Apple and Royal Hanneford circuses, the Westminster Choir College’s Opera Theatre, and the Philadelphia Shakespeare Festival.

For many years she taught prop making at the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University. From 2014 to 2019 she made props for the Musical Theatre program at Rider University, for which she had a special affection. She also built historical reconstructions for the New York Public Library, the Princeton University History Department, and PBS, and worked on the Academy Award-winning film A Beautiful Mind.

Louise kept many of her favorite creations. Visitors to her house encountered marvel after marvel: a red dragon, a she-devil, a giant pickle, and a statue of the Madonna and child (which appeared in a number of productions of Tosca). A devoted and beloved teacher, Louise gladly shared everything she knew with colleagues and students. In 1973-74 she studied upholstery in London with a gentleman she knew only as Mr. Marshall, the retired upholsterer to King George VI. He taught her the traditional craft, starting with bare wood and horsehair. For decades afterwards she initiated Rutgers students into what she called “the way of Mr. Marshall.”

Making and hearing music were central to Louise’s life. As a student she was the first woman to march with the Penn band, in which she played the clarinet. In later life she sang with many choral groups, most recently The Masterwork Chorus, with which she several times performed Handel’s Messiah in Carnegie Hall. Music and prop-making came together for her in the Westminster Opera Theatre: working closely with gifted young singers gave her great joy.

Louise spent long periods in London, Oxford, Pasadena, Berlin, Hamburg, and Vienna with her husband and family, and traveled to Australia, the Galapagos, Alaska, and Russia with her sister Nancy.

She is survived by her husband, Tony; her sister, Nancy; her son, Sam, of Washington, DC, his wife Amanda and their daughter Catie; her daughter, Anna, of Brooklyn, NY, her husband David and their daughter Alice.

A celebration of her life will take place in the fall. In lieu of flowers, contributions in her memory may be made to Partners in Health or the Rescue Mission of Trenton.


Nancy Davis

Nancy Davis of Princeton, New Jersey, passed away on July 17th, 2019 at home surrounded by her family after battling ovarian cancer for over 2 ½ years. Nancy was born in 1943 in Phillipsburg, NJ, and is predeceased by her mother, Katheryn Eisenhauer and father, Harold Eisenhauer. She is survived by her husband of 55 years A. Douglas Davis, two sons Douglas and Devin, daughters-in-law Alejandra and Neelam, and four grandchildren who she could not see enough of, Samantha, Cameron, Carina, and Andrew.

Nancy graduated from Phillipsburg High School in 1961 and later continued her education at Churchman’s Business College in Easton, Pennsylvania. In 1963, she met A. Douglas Davis of Belvidere, NJ, and the two were married in 1964. In 1969, Nancy moved to Princeton with her husband and young son Douglas, where she worked as a bookkeeper for several businesses and managed Polly’s Fine Candy on Palmer Square. She served as a supportive baseball mom and assistant coach to her son’s teams for seven years and was a loved member of her community with her involvement in the Princeton Fire Department and the Princeton School District. Her favorite pastimes were sitting on a pile of dirt planting her flowers, baking cakes for her grandchildren, and caring for her dog Mindy.

Nancy was a devoted wife, a loving mother, and an adored grandmother. She will be honored on Thursday, July 25th from 5-8 p.m. at the Mather-Hodge Funeral Home. The family requests that in lieu of flowers donations be made to cancer research.


Harriet Smith Stuart

Harriet Smith Stuart, 80, died after a sudden but brief battle with cancer on July 14, 2019 at her home in Princeton. She had been able to enjoy the weekend surrounded by family and friends.

She is survived by her son Doug Stuart (Lisa) of Lake Oswego, OR, her daughter Betsy Antonellis (Mike) of Franklin, MA, and four grandchildren, Taylor and Wyatt Stuart, and Mickey and Lilly Antonellis.

Harriet was born in South Bend, Indiana, the daughter of Wayne Smith and Harriet Bury. Her family moved to Omaha, Nebraska, then to Anderson, Indiana, before settling in Cazenovia, New York, in 1946 where she lived through high school. She was a member of the National Honor Society and was active in drama and sports. She was especially proud of a trophy she won for “Best All Around Senior Girl Athlete.”

Harriet graduated from the University of Michigan in 1961 then worked at Procter and Gamble in market research before moving to Chicago where she worked at the Harris Bank. She married in 1964 and moved to New York and worked at the 1964 World’s Fair. The next year she got a job with Sperry Univac as a systems analyst then left that job to raise a family. The family lived in Illinois, Missouri, New York, and Texas before moving to Princeton Junction in 1974. She has lived in the Princeton area ever since.

After divorcing in 1976 she held several jobs before settling into the religion department at Princeton University. She admired both the students and faculty and retired in 1999. She has always enjoyed volunteering, travel, the theatre, playing bridge, and crafts, especially basket weaving for the last several years.

Harriet was member of Trinity Church in Princeton for 45 years where she volunteered through her final months. A memorial service will be held there at 11 a.m. on Saturday, July 27, 2019 at 33 Mercer Street, followed by a reception in Pierce Hall.

In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the 24 Club of Princeton: http://24-club.org/club/bequests-to-support-the-24-club/810-2.