Jill Wasserman, of Princeton, NJ, passed away on Friday, April 16, 2021 surrounded by her loving family. She was 88 years old.
Born in New York City to Louis and Betty Hinden, she was raised in Sunnyside, Queens, and attended Long Island City High School and then graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology with a degree in fashion design.
She initially worked as a model and then had a stint as a private detective before she started a career as a fashion buyer for a number of leading department stores including Neiman Marcus in Dallas, Texas, where she set up the first gift boutique and Gimbels in Philadelphia, PA, where she specialized in ladies’ hats.
Later she was a successful real estate agent working in Princeton, NJ, and during that time decided to return to school in her early 60s, earning a Bachelor of Arts and Master’s in Counselling degrees from the College of New Jersey.
Jill loved meeting and talking to new people and old friends and she looked at the world and approached all people with curiosity and openness. She was passionate about helping people in need and worked as a counselor at Catholic Charities in Trenton, NJ, Jewish Family & Children’s Services in Lakewood, NJ, and Princeton House in Princeton, NJ.
She loved everything about Princeton and lived in the area for nearly 50 years. She loved books and reading and was an active supporter of the Princeton Public Library and was very active in Community Without Walls (CWW) in Princeton into her 80s.
Jill is survived by her brother Jon Hinden of Cherry Hill, NJ; her daughter Wendy Wasserman Perello and her husband Joseph Perello, of Princeton, NJ; her son Marc Wasserman and his wife Aimee Hartstein of South Orange, NJ; and three grandsons, Matthew Perello, Julian Perello, and Ari Wasserman.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, funeral services are private. A memorial service will be announced later this spring. Memorial contributions may be made to Lil Bub’s Big Fund (goodjobbub.org) which advocates for special needs companion animals and builds a community that celebrates and fosters the human animal bond.
To send condolences to the family visit Jill’s obituary page at OrlandsMemorialChapel.com.
Gordon A. Jacoby
Born November 8, 1934 in NYC, Gordon A. Jacoby died of cancer at home in Princeton on April 7, 2021. He leaves his wife of almost 58 years, M. Elaine Jacoby, Esq., his son, David N. Jacoby of Boulder, CO, and his daughter, Rebecca A. Jacoby, of Philadelphia. Shiva visitations and services were held on April 11 and April 12 at his home. The family is planning a celebration of his life in late summer or early fall.
Certain themes arise from memories of his life: adventure, theatre and all the arts, gardening/farming, food and above all, family; an improv specialist who reduced both adults and children to hysterical laughter, flâneur extraordinaire, traveler, mentor of hundreds, and devoted husband and father who supported his wife and children in whatever they chose to do; a Renaissance man who was interested in everything and would try anything, perhaps because of his background with an artist father and a mother who ran a rooming house in Greenwich Village where he met all kinds of characters. He was open to people of all kinds, no matter their race or ethnicity or sexuality.
He started out as an auto mechanic who aspired to become a NYC fireman or a NY state trooper but instead went to California, where he worked as a VW mechanic and took classes at Pasadena City College, returning to NYC to study at CCNY, where he majored in Speech and was drawn into theatre.
Gordon met Elaine on Labor Day, 1960, when he saw her at the Museum of Modern Art. They were married in the chapel at Mount Holyoke College the day after Elaine graduated, on June 3, 1963. In the fall, they went on to Ohio State University with scholarships for master’s degree programs, Gordon’s in Speech Science. But theatre still drew him, so he decided to continue for a Ph.D. in Theatre.
Their son, David, was born in 1966 shortly before Gordon started his college teaching career at Mansfield State College (now Mansfield University) in PA as Chairman of the newly-minted Theatre Dept. He was directing Brigadoon when daughter Rebecca was born in 1969. But Gordon also learned to hunt and started the first of many gardens, as the couple developed lifelong friendships that extended their family.
Because Elaine wanted to go back to school, Gordon left his tenured position to take a job as an Assistant Professor at CCNY, teaching acting and directing, and Elaine started law school at Rutgers-Newark. With the strong support of Arlene Green, who immigrated from Nicaragua to become the family’s housekeeper and eventually a U.S. citizen, Gordon supported Elaine’s more than full-time student work. He became interested in children’s theatre; relatively fluent in Spanish, he wrote and produced a bilingual play called A Donde Vas? But as NYC neared bankruptcy in 1975, Gordon left CCNY to pursue a series of visiting professorships, among them Drew University and Mason Gross School of the Performing Arts at Rutgers.
In 1977, the family moved to Montclair, which offered a diverse community and schools and proximity to a Reform temple, Sharey Tefilo, where they became active members. Gordon became affiliated with the Whole Theatre Company run by Olympia Dukakis and her husband, Louis Zorich, coaching the actors on a wide range of dialects. He added teaching at a repertory theatre company in Providence, RI, and New Paltz State College in NY, while developing his freelance work as a dialect coach for theatres in NYC and NJ, including McCarter, and on films such as Avalon. Meantime, family remained paramount: camping trips in the summer, then Merrymeeting Lake in NH with Mansfield friends. Montclair neighbors Jerry and Janet Eber became lifelong best friends, extending their family again.
In the early ’80s Gordon and Elaine started traveling to Europe, especially to France. Rebecca’s year abroad in the UK led to a family trip throughout Scandinavia. Many trips followed.
Through Elaine’s law colleague, Mickey Neuhauser, the family grew again, as they celebrated many years of Passovers and Rosh Hashanahs and met Mickey’s extended family in France, who took care of Rebecca when she traveled to Paris during her year in the UK and
adopted David when he went to Paris to study for a year.
Gordon never stopped gardening. He made friends at the greenhouses at Rutgers and learned to grow seeds under lights in the basement in Montclair. So it was natural for him to want a farm, and when Rebecca went to college, Gordon and Elaine bought a 10-acre farm near Stockton, NJ. Gordon farmed for 11 years, when Elaine prevailed on him to retire to the Princeton area where they could enjoy more cultural pursuits and resume traveling in the summers, as well as in winter. They settled in Pennington, where Gordon went back to coaching actors, executives, and foreign students at Princeton University, becoming an enthusiastic teacher of American speech in the ESL program at the YWCA and a member of the Evergreen Forum faculty at PSRC. He was also a strong supporter of the Princeton Art Museum and in recent years an enthusiastic traveler with Elaine on Docent Assn. trips to Germany and Italy. Road Scholar took them, most memorably, to the Netherlands and Belgium, to the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary, China, and Turkey.
Gordon maintained a productive garden in Pennington, giving extra seedlings to friends, as well as untold amounts of his favorite kale. He joined a writers’ group, RATTS, doing readings of his stories at the Mercer County Library and publishing one in the annual fiction edition of US 1 News.
In 2018 Gordon and Elaine moved to the Avalon Apartments in Princeton, where they enjoyed being in the center of town, joining the Garden Theatre, frequenting restaurants in town and McCarter Theatre – until the pandemic shut down most of those favorite haunts. So Gordon’s last year was a bittersweet one, as he and Elaine still took drives and walks, until his illness required him to enter hospice at home. Family remained preeminent, as Rebecca made weekly trips from Philadelphia to help and David and his fiancée, Zen Nickle, came from Boulder, CO. He enjoyed Zoom visits with step grandsons, Adam and Nick Snow, and talks with his nephews Seth and Philip Aaronson and beloved friends Jerry and Janet Eber. As his son, David, said, “He was a man of the streets and of the earth” but most of all a lover of people.
Peter Charles Drago
September 24, 1992 – April 7, 2021
Peter Drago, 28 years old, was killed by a drunk driver on April 7 in North Carolina on his adventure journey home from Florida. His parents, Michael and Meghan, as well as his two brothers, Henry and George, are profoundly affected by this tragic loss.
Peter grew up in New Jersey attending Princeton Day School, The Cambridge School, and Princeton Latin Academy. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Sculpture from The Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University, where he earned the Paul Robeson Award for Emerging Young Artists. Peter was a gifted artist and mechanic with a specialty in restoring vintage British automobiles.
Peter’s passing has scarred his immediate family, neighbors, and his many friends from college, high school, and 18 summers at Nassau Swim Club. Also mourning is his extended family. He was loved by all who knew him.
There will be a celebration of his life and a retrospective of his artwork on Sunday, May 2, 2021, at The Boathouse at Mercer Lake in Mercer County Community Park from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. There will be plenty of outdoor space for Covid-19 concerns: https://www.boathouseatmercerlake.com.
Peter embraced his dyslexia and learned how to advocate for himself. In lieu of flowers, we believe he would appreciate donations made in his honor to Learning Alley: https://learningally.org.
In the early hours of April 6, Dr. Anita Edith Sicroff passed away at Alcoeur Gardens at Toms River in south Jersey. She was 96, an early survivor of Covid-19, and — but for Alzheimer’s — in excellent health and spirits.
Born in 1924 to Rose and Paul Grossman, Anita grew up in the Bronx. Anita loved animals, and expected early on to be a biologist, but fell under the spell of French and French literature in her early teens. She majored in French and Spanish at Hunter College High School and Hunter College in New York, and undertook graduate studies at Syracuse University (French and Philosophy), the University of Madrid, Middlebury College, and Vanderbilt (MA and PhD in French and Spanish literature). Anita was a gifted scholar and teacher: she was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, served as president of the Society of French Teachers of New Jersey, and was honored with the Ordre des Palmes Académiques, an order of knighthood bestowed by the French government on exceptional academics and cultural figures.
In Syracuse, Anita fell in love with Albert Sicroff, a brilliant young Hispanist and philosopher whose research provided the excuse for years in France and Spain. Days after their marriage in August 1947, they left for France, residing in the outskirts of Paris — a dream come true! They were joined by Wipsy, an English cocker spaniel, and later by their sons, Elan, Seth, and Jonathan.
Anita had a successful career as professor of French and Spanish, and later English as a second language, at Fisk University, Adelphi, Trenton State, Rider, Mercer County Community College, Middlesex, and Rutgers.
After more than 30 years of marriage, Anita spread her wings, embarking on new professional and romantic ventures. Her Corporate Language Institute landed lucrative contracts for customized instruction in a range of communication skills; clients included AT&T Bell Laboratories, Educational Testing Service, BASF, Mitsubishi, American Express, PSE&G, and many others.
Anita was a devoted daughter, mother, spouse, friend, teacher, mentor, colleague, and dog-owner. She loved music, art, history, animals, and travel. She was kind, witty, competent, adventurous, humane, convivial, curious, intellectual, loyal, grounded. She was fortunate to find these same qualities in Jean Houston, her partner for 32 years.
Anita Sicroff will be missed by all who knew her.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Alzheimer’s Association.
Frank Perley Reiche
Frank Perley Reiche, 91, a longtime resident of Princeton and the surrounding communities of Pennington and Plainsboro, died peacefully at The Elms of Cranbury on April 17, 2021. Raised in Bristol, Connecticut, he attended Bristol High School and then matriculated to Williams College, graduating with a Political Economics major in 1951. He subsequently earned a L.L.B. degree from Columbia University School of Law, a M.A. degree in Foreign Affairs from George Washington University, and a L.L.M. degree in Taxation from New York University School of Law.
Frank was active in the U.S. Navy from 1952-1956 and in the naval reserves from 1960-1966. Moving to Princeton, New Jersey, he joined the law firm Smith, Stratton, Wise & Heher as an Associate from 1962-1964 and a Partner from 1964-1979. In 1979, President Jimmy Carter nominated and the U.S. Senate confirmed him to a six-year term on the Federal Election Commission (FEC), including a year as FEC chairperson in 1982. When his FEC term ended, he returned to New Jersey as a practicing attorney with law firms based in Lawrenceville and West Trenton. He then became Of Counsel to the law firm Archer & Greiner (now Archer Law) in its Princeton office. Throughout his legal profession, Frank specialized in tax law, estate planning, and charitable giving. He also wrote extensively on campaign finance law.
Frank was engaged in a variety of philanthropic and charitable activities on both a local and national level. He was a member of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel where he served at one time as New Jersey chairperson, acted as a Director of the Center for Responsive Politics, and was appointed as the first chairperson of the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission by Governor William Cahill. Frank was former national chairperson of planned giving for Williams College and a former trustee of Wells College. Locally, he was former trustee emeritus at the Center of Theological Inquiry, former trustee of Westminster Choir College, and former member of the Stuart Country Day School Advisor Board.
Frank was a devoted husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and uncle. He was married to Janet Taylor Reiche for 67 years. He is survived by Janet; his daughter Cynthia Schumacker of Newtown Square, Pennsylvania; his son Dean Reiche of Pennington, New Jersey; his two grandsons Alexander Schumacker of Honolulu, Hawaii and Christopher Reiche of New York, New York; two great-granddaughters; and nieces and nephews.
A private family burial service will be held on Saturday, April 24 at Princeton Cemetery. A memorial service for family and friends is planned for a future date at the Lawrenceville Presbyterian Church.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to either the Princeton Medical Center Foundation, 5 Plainsboro Road, Suite 365, Plainsboro, New Jersey 08536 or Williams College, 75 Park Street, Williamstown, Massachusetts 01267. Contributions can include the notation “in memory of Frank Reiche.”
Arrangements are under the direction of Mather-Hodge Funeral Home, Princeton.