April 7, 2021

Obituaries 4/7/2021

Ann K. Beneduce

Ann K. Beneduce, a longtime resident of Princeton, died on March 18th at Penn Medicine Princeton Medical Center. She was a 102.

Her friends and family will remember her as a person who never promoted herself but always looked out for others. She was incredibly knowledgeable — a google before google — and her family constantly turned to her for answers about the most obscure things and she never failed to have an answer. She read voraciously. She was incredibly elegant. Most importantly, she was positive and supportive of everyone she came in contact with, and an absolute joy to be around.

Professionally, Ann was a noted editor of children’s picture books. She supported many authors and artists but is probably best known for her work with Eric Carle, who wrote and illustrated The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Eric came to show Ann his work when he had a first draft of book he wanted to write as well as illustrate. Ann was absolutely “blown away” by the illustrations but felt the story, centered around a worm at the time, needed help. She made gentle suggestions — such as changing the worm into a caterpillar — and continued to help him tweak the story. The book is now famous, one of the most beloved children’s books in the world. Ann and Eric became lifelong friends and worked on many other projects together.

Ann came to publishing in the 1950s when it was difficult for women to rise to senior positions. She overcame these challenges and became an editor in chief at many prestigious publishing companies. She was an “internationalist” in her approach to children’s books, finding talents across the globe. She moved beyond a conservative approach to the art, working with innovative and sophisticated artists. Folk tales from around the world were reimagined. After becoming known and highly respected in the publishing world, she was given the well-deserved honor of being able to form her own “imprint,” choosing a list of books to edit and publish. It is called Philomel from the Latin word for nightingale, and continues to this day under successors to Ann, after she retired. Some of the other wonderful authors and artists with whom Ann worked are Tasha Tudor, Ed Young, Jane Yolen, Mitsumasa Anno, Satomi Ichikawa, and Virginia Hamilton. Many books from her list have won major awards.

Ann also was a writer and translator.  She adapted folk tales and plays for Princeton local artist, Gennady Spirin, to illustrate.  Her writing skills were evident as she translated works from French for Rizzoli as part of a children’s series about famous artists, as well as writing original text.

In addition to her professional accomplishments, Ann was an artist who worked not for commercial success, but for her own enjoyment. She created portraits of friends, which she gave away as gifts, and beautiful still lives and landscapes. When she traveled, she brought her pencils and watercolors with her and returned with lovely images of places she had visited. She loved Paris in particular and visited there many times.

Ann will be sorely missed by her friends and family and all who knew her. She was a mentor to many as well as a great, great friend. She is survived by Joel L. Lebowitz, the noted scientist, and her two daughters, Wendy Worth and Cynthia Beneduce. Her cat, Pussycat, also survives her.


Seymour Becker

Dr. Seymour Becker, historian, died October 5, 2020, in NYC at the age of 86. A specialist in 19th and early 20th century Russian history, he taught Russian and European history at Rutgers University from 1962 until his retirement in 2002.

He was among the pioneers in the field of nationalities and empire studies regarding Russia, when very few people realized the importance of studying Russia as an empire. Over his career, he wrote two books and many articles. His first book, Russia’s Protectorates in Central Asia: Bukhara and Khiva, 1865-1924, published in 1968, became a classic in the field and was reissued in 2004 due to a renewed interest in Central Asian studies. His second book, Nobility and Privilege in Late Imperial Russia, was published in 1985. Select chapters from his unfinished, third book are being posthumously published in the most recent issues of the international journal Ab Imperio, a journal “devoted to the interdisciplinary and comparative study of the history of nationalism and national movements in the post-Soviet space”; he served on the journal’s board since its inception in 1999.

Seymour, or “Sy,” was born in Rochester, NY, in 1934 to Aaron P. Becker and Lena Saperstone Becker, Jewish immigrants from Russia who met in the U.S. His father graduated from Rochester’s East High in 1920 and sold life insurance; his mother worked as a seamstress. Sy graduated from Benjamin Franklin High School where he was valedictorian, and then earned his BA from Williams College (1956, Summa Cum Laude) and his MA and PhD from Harvard University (1958 and 1963). While at Harvard he met Carol Cohen whom he married in 1957, and they had two children. After accepting the position at Rutgers, he moved with his family to Princeton, NJ, where he lived until 1980. During that time, in 1967-1968 as part of an IREX exchange program, he spent a year in Moscow doing research, and also traveled to Central Asia. In 1980, Sy moved to NYC with Alla Zeide, a Russian émigré and fellow academic, and the two married in 1981. He and Alla spent 2003-2004 in Florence, Italy, while he was Director of the Rutgers Study Abroad Program in Florence.

Sy was known not only for his scholarship, but also for his kindness and generosity as a teacher and PhD advisor, and he maintained relationships with many of his former students as they pursued their own academic careers. He and Alla were frequent hosts in their apartment in NYC to colleagues and friends over the years. He loved classical music and opera, classic movies, National Public Radio, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, travel, and good conversation. Most of all, he loved his family. A constant and avid reader, his knowledge of world history was as wide-ranging as it was deep; he was a dedicated intellectual. Sy owned more books than he had shelves for, but that never stopped him from acquiring additional ones, and he could not walk past a sidewalk display of used books without stopping to see whether there was a title he needed to buy.

He is survived by his wife of 39 years, Alla Zeide; his children, Susan Becker of North Brunswick, NJ, and Geoffrey Becker and his wife, Nora Sturges, of Baltimore, MD; his grandson, Bruno Becker; his brother, Herbert Becker and his wife, Carol Becker, of Washington, DC; his nephew, Scott Becker and his wife, Flora Qian, of Hong Kong; and his cousins Judy Gordon Hersh, of Denver, CO, and Sanford Gordon, of New York, NY.

A memorial service may be held later in 2021. Tribute gifts can be made to The Yiddish Book Center at yiddishbookcenter.org/join-support. Alternatively, an in-memoriam gift to benefit Rutgers’ Alexander Library can be made by making a check payable to “Rutgers University Foundation.” In the memo line, write “Alexander Library Gift Fund in memory of Seymour Becker.” Mail checks to: Rutgers University Foundation, PO Box 193, New Brunswick, NJ 08903-0193.


Carolyn S. Bledsoe

Carolyn Schafer Bledsoe, 74, died peacefully on March 25, 2021 at the Marjorie P. Lee Senior Living Community in Cincinnati, Ohio, after a brief battle with cancer. She was the beloved wife of Michael D. Bledsoe; dear sister “Moon” to Carla (Bruce) Hogg and Susan (Dean) Carmeris; devoted mother of Matthew (Jessica) Bledsoe; the best Nana ever to Ellery, Jacob, and Finn Bledsoe; and a loving aunt to many nieces and nephews. 

Carolyn was born on November 21, 1946 in Princeton, New Jersey. An immensely gifted artist in a variety of different media, Carolyn received a Master’s degree in Art from Butler University and went on to teach at a variety of schools. Carolyn became the Activities Director at Marjorie P. Lee in 2003, and used her incredible talents in arts and crafts, music, and popular culture to brighten the day for hundreds of seniors throughout her career. No crossword puzzle was a match for her profound knowledge and intellect, no golf course was safe from her smooth, sweet swing, and her radiant smile outshone even the sunniest day at the Jersey Shore.

Carolyn was preceded in death by her loving parents Carl C. Schafer and Muriel Silcox Schafer, and her dear son Carl Richard Bledsoe. A family picnic will be held in her honor at a later date. In lieu of flowers, her family suggests that donations be made to the National Hemophilia Foundation.


John (Jack) Goodfellow de Grouchy

John (Jack) Goodfellow de Grouchy, 99, of Princeton died Friday, March 26, 2021. Born in Upper Darby, PA, he resided much of his life in the Philadelphia area, later settling down in Newtown, PA, and Princeton, NJ.

Jack was an accomplished athlete throughout his life and spent summers of his youth lifeguarding with his brothers in Stone Harbor, NJ. In addition to wrestling, he played football at Haverford High School. Jack was a proud graduate of Lehigh University, where he lettered in football and swimming. He was also very active in the Chi Phi Fraternity. Jack was a United States Army World War II Veteran having served in the Pacific Theater. Jack started his career at WR Grace in New York, went on to start his own firm as a Certified Public Accountant and then a partner for many years at deGrouchy-Sifer & Co. Jack was a founding member of National Junior Tennis and Learning of Trenton and continued to serve on the Board of Directors, a past member of the Newtown Borough Council, Past President of the Newtown Rotary, member of Pretty Brook Tennis Club and Springdale Golf Club.

Son of the late William and Gertrude (Kelly) deGrouchy, husband of the late Janet E. deGrouchy, brother of the late R. Travis deGrouchy and Richard deGrouchy, he is survived by his sister Sally L. McCaffrey, and his three daughters Felice Kincannon, Janine deGrouchy-Hraska, and Suzanne deGrouchy, son-in-law, Paul Hraska, and grandchildren, Zoe Hraska, Thomas Siller, and Georgeanne Siller.  He is also survived by his stepchildren Richard Tomlinson, David Tomlinson, Elizabeth Bartels, Andrew Tomlinson, their spouses, and more grandchildren: Sarah, Coleman, and Sophie Bartels; Chloe, Trevor, Emily, Samuel, Will and Drew Tomlinson, and three great-grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to the Jack de Grouchy Scholarship fund at NJTL of Trenton, 949 W. State Street, Trenton, NJ 08618, https://www.njtloftrenton.org.

A graveside service will be held 11 a.m. on Wednesday, April 7, 2021 at the Washington Crossing Veterans Cemetery, 830 Highland Road, Newtown, PA.


Dr. Geddes W. Hanson

Dr. Geddes W. Hanson, affectionately known as Guy, passed away on Saturday, March 27, 2021, at Penn Medicine Princeton Medical Center. 

Geddes was born in the Bronx, NY, on May 17, 1934. He was a graduate of Stuyvesant High School in New York City and often spoke proudly of being among the city kids known for their shoulder bags and slide rules. He double-majored in Physics and Philosophy at Howard University before earning a Master of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School in 1958. On June 6, 1959, Geddes married Carrie McCullough at the Third Baptist Church in Alexandria, Virginia. This marriage would last the rest of his days.  

After pastoring congregations in New York, Philadelphia, and Indianapolis, in 1966, Geddes and Carrie relocated to Princeton at the behest of the Reverend James I. McCord, then president of Princeton Theological Seminary. Beyond being among the first African Americans to earn a Ph.D. in Theology from Princeton (1972), Geddes became the first permanent African American teacher at the seminary. Here he helped organize the first “Conference of Black Seminarians” on campus in 1968, which led to the development of the Association of Black Seminarians.  

With a focus on church administration, conflict, and theories of change, Dr. Hanson held various administrative and teaching roles since 1969. He was both Director of the Center for Continuing Education and a cohort leader for the Doctor of Ministry program. Dr. Hanson retired as the Charlotte Newcombe Professor of Congregational Ministry in 2009. Before his retirement, the Association of Black Seminarians instituted the Geddes W. Hanson Lecture, a biennial lecture in honor of his legacy and contributions to the seminary.  

Geddes and his wife Carrie were avid international travelers, often visiting museums and art exhibits. His two favorite places were Paris and Vienna. He is predeceased by his parents, Geddes H. and Adele (Gumz) Hanson, as well as two sisters, Ivy and Avis Hanson. He is survived by his loving wife Carrie Hanson and an intentional family comprised of former students and their children known as the “The Hanson Kids.” 

The funeral was held on Tuesday, April 6 at Trinity Church in Princeton. 

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Edler Garnett Hawkins Prize at Princeton Theological Seminary. This award celebrates African American academic achievement among the seminary student body. Gifts can be addressed to Princeton Theological Seminary, Attn: Advancement Office, 64 Mercer Street, Princeton, NJ 08542-0803.


Benjamin Ari Sandler

Benjamin Ari Sandler, of Kansas City, MO, and Princeton, NJ, passed away suddenly and tragically on April 1, 2021 at the age of 39.

Ben was born in Philadelphia, PA, and spent his childhood growing up in Princeton, NJ. He graduated from Princeton High School and Wesleyan College in Middleton, CT. He received his MBA from Kellogg at Northwestern University.

In high school, Ben was in the orchestra, playing percussion and double bass. He also was part of a garage band, playing drums which toured. Upon finishing college, he worked in a job that allowed him to pursue his two great loves, music and cars. He managed rock bands and also helped maintain a collection of vintage cars and even appeared in a movie with a small role driving such a car.

He was especially gifted in the tech world. Ben was a one-man IT Support resource for family and friends alike. Aside from his love for music and cars, he enjoyed reading and was a relentless seeker of intellectual pursuits.

Ben had a very good heart and was generous with his time and talents. He had a wonderful sense of humor and was always fun to be around. He will be deeply missed by his family and friends.

Benjamin is survived by his mother Deborah Sandler (Crosby Kemper), his father Sheldon (Katie) Sandler, and his sister Shira (John) Ruppert and two nephews, Samuel and Henry Ruppert.

Private funeral services and burial were held at Princeton Cemetery.

Memorial contributions may be made to: NAMI – National Association for Mental Illness (nami.org) or to Golden State Greyhound Adoption in Walnut Creek, CA (goldengreyhounds.com).

To send condolences to the family visit OrlandsMemorialChapel.com.


Calvin L. Hodock

Calvin L. Hodock, 87, of Skillman, passed away on March 31, 2021 at home surrounded by his loving family. He was born in Chicago, Illinois, and was a resident of Skillman for more than 40 years. Calvin was an Army Veteran who served during the Korean War. He attended the University of Cincinnati as an undergrad and received his MBA from the University of Illinois. 

He launched an illustrious advertising and marketing career in Chicago with Lavidge & Associates, where he met his wife Diane. During his career he worked at Gillette, Clairol, Carter Wallace, Johnson & Johnson, Coke, and Campbell’s. He had a passion for market research and new product innovation. After Calvin’s corporate adventures, he continued his passion for education and mentorship by taking on various teaching positions at Berkeley College, New York University’s Stern School of Business, and was a guest lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. He is the former chairman of the board of the American Marketing Association, creating The Edison Awards, a prestigious event recognizing companies and individuals for their contribution to design and innovation.

Calvin was an avid sports fan, cheering for The Cubs, The Bears, Notre Dame Football, and Villanova Basketball. He played college basketball for a brief period of time and remained active throughout his life. He worked out daily and could often be seen chatting it up with various people in the lobby of Princeton Fitness and Wellness Center. He was the kind man that treated everyone with compassion and respect. He could always find topics in common with the people he came across and enjoyed sharing his thoughts and opinions. He was well loved by everyone and was often referred to as “The Professor” and “Big Cal” by those that knew him.

Predeceased by his parents Lester and Helen Hodock; wife Diane I. Hodock; and Stanley Hodock; he is survived by his daughters Shannon (Kerry) Hodock-McCoy and Courtney Hodock; his grandchildren Reagan and Calvin; and dogs Roxy, Beau, and Greta.

Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, April 7, 2021 at St. Paul’s Church, 216 Nassau Street, Princeton, NJ 08542. Burial will be private.

In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Michael J. Fox Foundation at michaeljfox.org/donate.

Arrangements are under the direction of Mather-Hodge Funeral Home, Princeton.