Julian Tao Knipper
It is with great sorrow that we announce the August 31, 2020 death of our beloved Julian. Julian Tao Knipper died of a tragic accident on his family farm in Crampagna, France. He was born on April 29, 2017 to parents Jonathan Knipper and Eugénie Baudon. His family, on the farm and in the States, was large and loving. Living next door to his grandparents Papé and Mamie, he would excuse himself from the dinner table and run next door for the chance of enjoying a second dinner and to sit and read comic books with Papé at their table.
Julian was smart. From walks around the farm with his Papé he learned the names of all the plants and grasses – with a keen eye for his favorite, edible champignons. With his Mamie he would eat all the strawberries, raspberries, raw green peppers, and edible flowers. He peered into the stars and the universe with his mom on his bedroom balcony wrapped in a blanket at night. He loved helping his dad on the farm, riding together in his tractor and feeding the cows. He was very proud that he could speak both English and French with his parents and would take joy in testing his teachers at the Creche (Nursery School) on how well they knew English!
Julian also had a love for music and knew Bach, Vivaldi, and Beethoven, whom he preferred to Tchaikovsky, but also listened, on repeat, “Despacito” and most recently “Paw Patrol.” He was curious about everything, open, and loved meeting new people. He showed us that if we didn’t impose adult limitations on a child’s speech, it was possible for him to give us insight into life’s most complicated questions.
Even separated by the Atlantic and with no travel possible due to COVID, he loved his father’s parents and would look forward to their video calls, enjoying puppet shows, reading books, and sharing laughter and love. For indeed, Julian was loving, kind, and gentle to everyone in his life — but especially to his younger sister, Bloom, who just turned one. One of his first English phrases he used regularly with his family was “I love you so much, forever time.”
Julian leaves behind his parents and sister; his maternal grandparents, Doris Leuenberger and Sylvain Baudon of Crampagna, France; his paternal grandparents, James and Teresa Knipper of Washington Crossing, PA, and Barbara Beaumont and George Newton of Somerset, NJ; and many aunts, uncles, and cousins. A private family funeral service celebrating his life, his light, and his love was held in France.
The family has established the Julian Knipper Memorial Fund at the University of Virginia Children’s Hospital, which will go to supporting their Child Life Services for their pediatric patients with cancer and/or bone marrow transplantation and thus ease the pain and suffering of many children for years to come. To make a donation to his fund please go to: http://get-involved.uvahealth.com/goto/Julian.
Richard A. Ragsdale
Richard A. Ragsdale (Dick), 77, of Skillman died Thursday, September 10, 2020 at Penn Medicine Princeton Medical Center of Plainsboro. Born in Vancouver, Washington, he grew up in Medford, Oregon, and resided most of his life in Skillman.
Dick received his undergraduate degree from Stanford University where he was captain of the football team and was selected to play in the East-West Shrine Bowl. He subsequently attended Hong Kong University for a year on a Rotary International scholarship. Dick received his J.D. from Stanford Law School, during which time he also played rugby (he was later inducted into the Stanford Athletic Hall of Fame for rugby). He then served in the U.S. Army for three years before beginning his legal career.
Dick was a partner at the law firm of Davidson, Sochor, Ragsdale and Cohen, LLC, located in Skillman and Elmwood Park. His practice focused on commercial litigation, real estate, commercial transactions, and First Amendment law. He was named one of the top First Amendment lawyers in New Jersey in The Best Lawyers in America. Dick was also a member and past president of the Montgomery-Rocky Hill Rotary Club.
Son of the late Lee Verdell Ragsdale and Elizabeth (Crow) Ragsdale, he is survived by his wife of 50 years Cathi (Artandi) Ragsdale; two sons and two daughters-in-law — David and Jennifer Ragsdale of Wilmington, MA, and Daniel and Amy Ragsdale of Brooklyn, NY; a sister, Dana Kramer of Medford, OR; and four grandchildren — Eleanor, Vivian, Catherine, and Charlie Ragsdale.
Funeral Arrangements are private under the direction of the Mather-Hodge Funeral Home.
Rodney Allen Fisk
Rodney A. Fisk, 79 of Princeton, NJ, and New York City passed away on September 9, 2020 at Calvary Hospital in the Bronx after battling brain cancer.
He was born in Birmingham, Michigan. He graduated as valedictorian from Detroit Country Day School. Rodney attended the University of Vermont where he was ranked third in his class before transferring as a junior to the University of Michigan. He majored in transportation economics at University of Michigan, graduating with deans list honors and a commission in the Army Ordnance Corps. Rodney entered into active duty in the Army achieving rank of captain. He served three years in Germany commanding the Third Armored Division (Spearhead). He learned German well enough to serve as battalion interpreter. Shortly after being released from active duty he taught middle school in the inner city of Detroit. After his job as a teacher he was quickly promoted to an assistant divisional manager of the country’s fifth largest department store J. L. Hudson Company.
Rodney entered into Harvard Business School where he received his MBA in 1969. After Harvard, he went on to join Trans World Airlines in New York full time. At TWA he moved up over the years to head the Internal Consulting Group and Management Appraisal and Arbitration. Rodney used to take day trips to surrounding areas outside of New York City. On one of those trips he discovered Princeton and became enamored of this small university town in New Jersey. He relocated to the Witherspoon-Jackson Neighborhood where he and his partner Karl renovated two houses, one of which was a Sears Roebuck Kit Home. After over ten years at TWA, he went on to tend to his investment properties in Princeton.
Rodney went on to work for National Interurban Consortium from 1980-1999. He headed a group of companies (Siemens Transportation, GE Signal, RJ Corman Railroad Construction) to operate some 50 miles of commuter-rail service in the greater Philadelphia area. Rodney then went on to work for Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage from 1999-2004. He was number one in buyer-controlled sales by his second year with the company. Rodney was also a U.S. Census Bureau Field Representative in 2008 and Enumerator (assistant coordinator) in 2010.
Rodney was a Princeton Borough Councilman from 1987-1989 who had worked with airlines and other transportation ventures. He advocated for privatizing the “Dinky” (the short line railroad between Princeton and Princeton Junction for service to New York City). His efforts gained extensive media coverage both locally and nationally.
He was a member of many originations including Mensa, Rotary, American Ordinance Association, Harvard Club, and Metropolitan Association of Railroad Superintendents. Rodney was also a member of the Tri-State Weimaraner Rescue of NJ, DE, and PA. Rodney and Karl have had Weimaraners for over 30 years, getting their first puppy in 1976 and many more rescued Weimaraners have followed.
Rodney is predeceased by his parents Fredrick Besancon Fisk and Margaret Barthel Fisk. He is survived by his loving partner of 45 years, Karl Lessig, three nieces, and his beloved dog Sara who is now in the loving care of his partner.
Arrangements are under the direction of the Mather-Hodge Funeral Home.