Mary Virginia ‘Gina’ Everhard Tillett Wilson
Mary Virginia ‘Gina’ Everhard Tillett Wilson died peacefully at her Princeton home on September 1, 2019 with her children comforting and thanking her.
Born during a rare spring snowstorm April 2, 1924 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Gina was lovingly devoted to her family and friends. They were her greatest pleasure. She was raised to become a woman of boundless energy and good will, by her parents, Dr. Will D. and Helen (Lowry) Everhard with her brothers Bill and Bob. She graduated from John Harris High School and attended Penn State.
In June of 1945 she married Paul D. Tillett Jr., the brother of Bob’s best friend. They moved to Washington, DC, and then to Chicago, where Paul earned his law degree. In 1950 their friend, H.H. Wilson (Hube), brought Paul to the Politics Department at Princeton, where he earned a PhD. Paul and Gina were immediately active with schools, civil liberties, civil rights, and local politics. In 1957 Paul became associate director of the Eagleton Institute at Douglass College. They remained in Princeton and eventually bought their dream home on Ewing Street in 1961. The house was part of the 1958 Maplecrest integrated housing development.
In the ’50s and early ’60s Gina worked for George Gallup at Gallup & Robinson. After Paul died in 1966, she worked for Tony Cline, the Director of Research at ETS. She retired after 20 years. Well before retiring, she trained as volunteer for CONTACT, the Mercer County crisis and suicide hotline. She took overnight shifts, and enjoyed the intrinsic value of volunteering and making a difference in peoples’ lives. She became a volunteer trainer, helped write the training manual, and enthusiastically served on the board. Her 27 years with CONTACT also gave her the opportunity to make more lifelong friends and travel to conferences in South Africa and Australia.
In 1969, she married her good friend Hube Wilson and later moved to his home in Solebury, Pennsylvania. Gina was a gracious hostess, entertaining her husbands’ colleagues, guest speakers, graduate students, politicians, her book club friends, and extended family.
Among her guests were those who fought to oppose the House Un-American Activities Committee, the House Internal Security Committee, and the abuses of the FBI. They succeeded in closing those committees and brought about passage of the Freedom of Information Act. In the late ’70s and ’80s, Gina served on the board of the National Committee Against Repressive Legislation (NCARL), which continued the effort to protect civil liberties and dissent.
A civil liberties and civil rights activist, she believed in individual and civil responsibilities. For Gina, it was not enough to talk, she had to show up. She lived it. Her moral compass was strong and true. She gave generously to civil rights, consumer rights, educational, environmental, and sane nuclear policy causes. She supported common decency. Gina attended the 1963 March for Jobs and Freedom in Washington, DC. She was active in the PTA, a room mother, a helpful neighbor, a poll watcher for 30 years, a volunteer driver, and a member of many civic groups.
Gina loved to travel. Most school vacations with the family involved swimming and camping in state and national parks in 46 states and Mexico. Later, she traveled with her children and grandchildren on special trips to Canada, the Caribbean, India, Nepal, and Europe. Her trips with friends included Japan, Thailand, Greece, and the second public tour of China in 1978. She especially enjoyed traveling with Paul’s sister Nancy, and with her cousin Helen Plone, who were like her sisters growing up.
She never complained for herself. She fought for the underdog and under-represented. Demanding her voice be heard, she had the most polite way of making her point. Eastern Airlines discovered that she could not be dismissed.
Through difficult times, Gina and Paul enjoyed life. She said, “What choice did we have?” They were role models to other parents raising children with disabilities. They made wonderful friends everywhere they lived. In Princeton the Allens, Darrows and Jacobs were the core of friends who enjoyed near weekly dinner parties and dancing into the wee hours to Armstrong, Basie, Ellington, and Sinatra. Children were always welcome at the table, in discussions, and at parties.
She is loved dearly by four grandchildren. She deeply influenced them growing up. They know a bathing suit goes into your suitcase first, to always find the best parking spot, to take a good swim, and to love ice cream and chocolate covered nuts.
The family is extremely grateful for the extraordinary care she received from her wonderful caregivers during this past year.
She is survived by her sister-in-law Nancy (Tillett) Albright; son Jeff Tillett; daughters Susan Tillett and Meg Tillett Trendler (Gary); grandchildren Jessie Tillett, Shelby Tillett Gallo (Matteo), Jody Trendler (Eli Lotz), Paul Trendler (Sarah); and great-grandchildren Amerie Tillett, Odin Trendler, Selah Trendler, and Micah Lotz, along with many nieces and nephews.
She lived through many tragedies and hardships with grace and humor, and she would tell you she lived a charmed life. A memorial service with ice cream will be held on October 12, at 11 a.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Princeton, 50 Cherry Hill Road.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to CONTACT of Mercer County (www.contactofmercer.org) or The Seeing Eye (www.seeingeye.org/you-can-help).
Ellen Viner Seiler
Ellen Viner Seiler, who lived most of her 94 years in Princeton, died on August 31 at Stonebridge at Montgomery in Skillman.
A career woman before the feminist movement made it common, Ellen was editor of publications at Princeton University’s International Economics Section (formerly the International Finance Section) from 1971 to 1990, and before that managing editor at Public Opinion Quarterly at Princeton from 1958 to 1968. She also worked at the Russell Sage Foundation in New York and The American Sociologist at Northwestern University, as well as at other publications.
“My father, Jacob Viner, was a longtime professor at the University of Chicago before he came to Princeton University and the Institute for Advanced Study,” Ellen recalled in 2004, “so I was born in Chicago and am mostly a product of the University of Chicago Lab Schools.” She also spent two years at the International School in Geneva, Switzerland, as a child.
Ellen’s years at Smith College exactly coincided with the American involvement in World War II. After graduation, she worked in Paris as a translator for the Organization for European Economic Cooperation before moving to New York City in the late ‘40s, where she worked as an editor at McGraw-Hill and enjoyed the city’s vibrant cultural and social life. She married Frederick E. Seiler III, a publisher and editor, in 1954, moving from New York to Princeton, where her father and his wife Frances Viner were living already. Of their early years in Princeton Ellen later recalled, “We made many friends and had a lot of fun.”
A politically active progressive Democrat, Ellen got involved in the civil rights movement by helping to write and edit a newsletter for the Princeton Association of Human Rights (PAHR). She was a member of the Princeton Committee of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and a lifelong member of the League of Women Voters. She co-wrote the short documentary film The Princeton Plan: Fifty Years Later, an oral history of how Princeton integrated its elementary schools in 1948 through busing, becoming the national model when many school administrators — most notably the New York City Board of Education — adopted it.
Ellen eventually found herself involved in so many causes that she kept a bumper sticker that said, “Stop me before I volunteer again!” She was a skilled raconteur and will be remembered for her terrifically funny anecdotes, her love of NPR and PBS, and her fondness for theater, classical music, and the American (and French) pop music of her youth. Even in her final weeks, and suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, she could manage a chorus of Charles Trenet’s song Je Chante.
In addition to her family, Ellen maintained connections her entire life with a long list of friends in the United States as well as Great Britain and Europe. Her friends were enormously important to her, as well as their spouses and children, and she kept up with all of them with great interest and enthusiasm.
Ellen was predeceased by her parents and husband, and by her brother, Arthur W. Viner and his wife, Ann Welch Viner, and sister-in-law Dorothy Compton. She is survived by daughter Margaret, of Northampton, Mass. (Leonard); son Andy of Washington, DC (Susan); two grandchildren, Julia Melnick and William Melnick; two step grandchildren, Emily Melnick and Alison Melnick Dyer; and two step great-grandchildren. She is also survived by a nephew and two nieces and their children.
The family would like to thank Anne Allen for her extraordinary companionship with and care of Ellen in her final years, as well as the staff at Springpoint at Home and Stonebridge.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Ellen’s memory may be made to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the League of Women Voters, or the Alzheimer’s Association.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, November 9 at 1 p.m. at Stonebridge at Montgomery in Skillman, New Jersey.
Bernard Caras, 90, passed away on August 28, 2019 at Princeton Medical Center.
Bernie was born on July 18, 1929, in Lawrence, MA. He grew up in the larger Boston area, and graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1951 with a degree in Physics. While studying at RPI, he met Phyllis Jackson, whom he married in 1953, shortly after getting his Masters in Physics.
Bernie worked for Sylvania Electric after graduation, and shortly after moving to the Glenn L Martin Company in Baltimore, Maryland, he was one of three Americans invited to join Eisenhower’s Atoms for Peace program (the International School of Nuclear Science and Engineering). His participation in the program required him to move his family 11 times in 16 months. As part of this program, Bernie received a post-doctoral degree. After the program ended, the Caras family moved to New York where he worked at Radiation Research in Manhattan for a few years. Bernie and his family then moved to Princeton in 1959, where he lived for the next 60 years.
Bernie was an active participant in his community. He was a member of the Jewish Center for over 60 years, and in his years at the Jewish Center, served as House Committee Chairman and a member of the Board of Directors along with being an active and participating member of the synagogue. He was Chairman of the Princeton chapter of the IEEE and a member of the American Vacuum Society, along with being a member of many other professional organizations.
While Bernie was trained as a physicist, he found his professional calling as an engineer. In the recent past, he worked for companies like Burroughs Corporation, Bell Labs, and Princeton Optronics. He often served in the role of “troubleshooting engineer,” helping advance and fix technology. Despite building such technology, he maintained his own ways of doing things, joking that he could build and fix a computer, but he couldn’t use one.
The funeral was held Friday, August 30, 2019 at the Jewish Center in Princeton, NJ. Contributions in his memory can be sent to the Jewish Center at 435 Nassau Street, Princeton, NJ 08540.
He is pre-deceased by his son Edward, and survived by his wife, Phyllis, his daughter Jana (Mark) Gelernt, his son Jay (Randi) Caras, and grandchildren Anya (Ezra) Gelernt-Dunkle, Eva Gelernt, Edward Gelernt, and Avi Caras. May his memory be for a blessing.
Andrew Spencer Bruno
Andrew Spencer Bruno, 87, died September 5, 2019, in Cranbury, NJ.
Spencer was born in New York City, the son of Andrew and Olive Bruno. He enjoyed his youth playing baseball in Central Park, going to Yankee games, and attending The McBurney School. He then matriculated at Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA, where he met his future wife, Elise Mueller. Upon graduation and marriage, the couple completed Spencer’s military obligation at Ft. Hood, Texas.
Returning home to New Jersey, Spencer was employed by Gallup and Robinson, where he learned the art of marketing. He then worked in New York at Compton Advertising for ten years. In 1970, he started his own business, Spencer Bruno Research Associates, which continues today as Bruno and Ridgway Research Associates.
In 1976, Spencer and his family were part of a group that founded Windsor Chapel. His other interests were golf, at Springdale and Peddie Golf Clubs, and opera. He was on the board of Boheme Opera NJ for many years.
He leaves to mourn him his wife of 64 years, Elise, and his family. Sons, Scott and wife, Karen, Peter and wife, Julie, and David and wife, Jennifer; his daughter, Kathryn and husband, Robert; his grandchildren, Amy and husband, Alex, Elizabeth, Jessie, Michael, Jack, Harry, Sarah, Luke, and Kate; and his great-grandchild, Anderson.
His was a life well lived.
Interment was held privately at Greenwood Cemetery under the direction of the Saul Colonial Home, 3795 Nottingham Way, Hamilton Square, NJ.
Dr. Walter Henry Waskow
Dr. Walter Henry Waskow, longtime resident of Princeton and Long Beach Island, NJ, and Marco Island, FL, passed on September 3, 2019, 21 days shy of his 91st birthday. Walter served as Chairman of the Department of Anesthesia at St. Francis Hospital in Trenton, NJ, and later at the Medical Center of Princeton. He also served as a U.S. Army Staff Sergeant from 1946 through 1948 at the Panama Canal Zone.
Walter was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Max and Julia Waskow and was the younger brother of Mary Maxin. After graduating high school, Walter attended the University of Pennsylvania, Class of 1952, and graduated from Hahnemann Hospital Medical College in 1956. While at Hahnemann he met his loving late wife, Geraldine.
Walter and Gerry were married on September 13, 1956 and together they had three children of whom he was very proud, Darryl Waskow married to Susan of Hopewell, NJ; Steven Waskow married to Valerie of Princeton, NJ; and Rosalind married to Michael Hansen of Princeton, NJ. His greatest joy was being a grandfather to Harry and Dorothy Waskow.
Walter was a devoted and loving son, husband, father, and grandfather. He enjoyed a full life that included extensive travel, sailing in the Virgin Islands and on the Chesapeake Bay, flying, rooting for the Philadelphia Eagles and Phillies, and entertaining his friends and family with his quick wit and never-ending jokes.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro. There will be a private ceremony for the family. Arrangements are under the direction of The Mather-Hodge Funeral Home, Princeton.