Barbara Clayton Grahn Garretson
Barbara Clayton Grahn Garretson, 89, a life-long Princeton resident, died peacefully at home on April 21, 2014. Born in Tenafly, New Jersey on October 20, 1924 to John Amiel Grahn and Belle Clayton Grahn, she graduated from Princeton High School in 1942 and Wellesley College in 1946. In 1952 she married Everett B. Garretson, her lifetime partner in marriage and in business as joint proprietors of H.P. Clayton, Inc., a landmark women’s department store on Palmer Square in Princeton. Clayton’s was a multigenerational business founded in 1915 by her grandfather Henry P. Clayton. The store was managed for 30 years by her mother Belle, and in the early 1960’s through the 1980’s, expanded by Barbara and Everett into the largest family-operated retail business in Princeton. They sold the store in 1989 and thereafter enjoyed retirement, independent living, and continuing participation in the community.
Her affiliations included The Woman’s College Club of Princeton, Soroptimist International, The English-Speaking Union, The Present Day Club, The Nassau Club, The Wellesley College Club, The Princeton YWCA, and the Princeton Women’s Investment Club. For decades she was a dedicated volunteer at the annual Wellesley Antique Show and Bryn Mawr-Wellesley Book Sale in Princeton. She was a member of Nassau Presbyterian Church, and represented the fourth generation of Claytons with membership at Trinity Episcopal Church.
Barbara took particular pride in being an independent businesswoman. Like her mother Belle before her, through her position as a leading retailer she socialized across the entire fabric of the community. There were few employees and customers in whom she did not take a personal interest.
She was an avid tennis player, swimmer, gardener, bridge player, knitter, and needle worker. She and her husband enjoyed special trips together to England, Scotland, Egypt, China, and Italy. Some of her fondest travel memories were of summers with her family on Martha’s Vineyard and visits to Colonial Williamsburg.
She is predeceased by Everett Garretson, her husband of 59 years, and by half-sisters and half-brothers Jenny, Anna, Ruth, Amiel, Harold, and Leslie Grahn. Close living contemporary relatives include Ruth and Wesley Davis of Exeter, N.H. and Anene and Arnie Seymour-Jones of Harrington Park, N.J. She is survived by sons David Clayton Garretson and John Everett Garretson, David’s wife Silvia Garretson, John’s wife LaRae Raine Garretson, and a granddaughter Lisa Sendrow.
A memorial service followed by lunch will be held at noon on Saturday, May 17 at Trinity Episcopal Church, 33 Mercer Street in Princeton. In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory may be made to SAVE Animal Shelter of Princeton, 900 Herrontown Road, Princeton, N.J. 08540, or to the charity of your choice. Arrangements are under the direction of The Mather-Hodge Funeral Home, Princeton.
Martha Moon van Deusen
Martha Moon van Deusen (94) died in Princeton on May 5, 2014. She had moved to Princeton in 2010 to live with her daughter and son-in-law, Deborah and George Hunsinger. She died peacefully in bed, surrounded by those she loved. Princeton Hospice was a blessing for the last month of her life, supporting both her and her family in many ways, enabling them to fulfill her strong desire to die at home.
Martha Moon was born March 16, 1920 in Chicago, Illinois to Ralph Emerson Moon and Dorothy Jackson Moon. She moved to Crawfordsville, Indiana as an infant and spent most of her childhood there. When multiple trials of sickness plagued the family, Martha and her beloved younger brother, Ralph, lived with their aunt and uncle, Josephine and Jack Harnish, in Anderson, Indiana, for about 18 months. She always remembered this time with warm gratitude.
Martha graduated from Purdue University in 1941. She joined the Women’s Army Corps in 1943 and served in U.S. Army Intelligence during World War II. She married Robert Holt van Deusen on November 19, 1944 in Crawfordsville. Together they had five children, Cynthia, Robert, Deborah, Thomas, and Diana. Her husband’s work as a city manager took them first to Green Cove Springs, Florida; then to Clarinda, Iowa; Mount Holly, New Jersey; and Glenview, Illinois. When Robert retired in 1982, they moved to Rockport, Maine, where Martha loved living near the ocean. After her husband died in 1990, Martha moved to Iowa City and then to Williamsburg, Iowa to live near her son, Robert, and his family.
Martha was a life-long learner, an avid reader, a musician, and an artist. She created beauty all around her through the arts, collected beautiful stones, and filled her home with gorgeous paintings, sculptures, pottery, and artifacts from the sea. Her hand-made garments were works of art.
Martha was entranced when she heard the harp for the first time as a three-year-old. Her love of music blossomed as a young girl when she learned to play the family violin, passed down for generations. While still a teenager, she told her violin teacher that J. S. Bach was her favorite composer, a love that lasted her entire life. She played the French horn in the high school band and sang alto in various choirs for 50 consecutive years. In mid-life she took piano lessons, rounding out her musical career by playing percussion (at age 75) and trumpet (at age 78) in the New Horizons Band in Iowa City.
Martha had a gift for friendship, making many dear lifelong friends. Her gentle listening, emotional warmth, and commitment to honesty drew people to her. She enjoyed people from a wide variety of cultures and had notable affection and respect for the Native American peoples.
Martha is survived by her five children and their spouses, Anand Shanti (née Cynthia), Robert (married to Bobbi Jo van Deusen), Deborah (married to George Hunsinger), Thomas (married to Theresa Latini), Diana (married to Frank Cirrin). She was blessed with six granddaughters, Amy Merickel, Rachel van Deusen, Rachel Schmeltzer, Katy Monteith, Megan van Deusen, and Eleanor van Deusen (who was born the day Martha entered hospice, April 3, 2014) and a great-nephew, Matthew Moon, who inherited the family violin. She has two great-grandchildren, Will (3) and Vivian Monteith (1).
A memorial service will be held in Niles Chapel at the Nassau Presbyterian Church, Saturday, May 24, 2014 at 3 p.m. with a reception to follow. Arrangements are by Mather-Hodge Funeral Home, Princeton, N.J.
Robert S. Bennett, Jr.
Robert S. Bennett, Jr., 78, of Princeton, died on May 9, 2014 after a valiant four-year battle against pancreatic cancer. Beloved husband and father, he is survived by his wife of 49 years, Bobbie G. Bennett, and his daughter, Laura Bennett. Born and raised in Bethlehem, Pa., he was pre-deceased by his parents, Alene Grace and Robert S. Bennett. He is also survived by his aunt, Dodie Massey Henry, and his two sisters, Deborah Moore and Cynthia Squire, in addition to many cousins, nephews, and nieces.
Bob graduated from Deerfield Academy in 1954 and earned a BA in architecture from Princeton University in 1958. After completing OCS in Newport, R.I., he served for four years as an ensign in the Navy’s Civil Engineer Corps. Following work in New York for Clark and Rapuano, a large city planning and landscape architecture firm, as well as time spent in commercial real estate development with the Uris Corporation, he opened his own residential architecture firm in Pennington in 1975. His houses and gardens can be seen in the Northeast and Florida. His passion for what he did was infectious; his houses, rooted in the Classical tradition, are a lasting testament to that passion.
He leaves a legacy of hard work, loyalty, stimulating conversation, and love of family, fun, and country. Ever humble and an optimist, he will be greatly missed.
A funeral service will be held at the Presbyterian Church of Lawrenceville on May 16 at 11 a.m. For those who wish, contributions may be made to Deerfield Academy, the Princeton Area Community Foundation, or the Pancreas Center, Columbia University, in honor of Dr. Stephen Schreibman. Arrangements are under the direction of the Mather-Hodge Funeral Home.
Gail Morrison Vielbig
Gail Morrison Vielbig, 74, died at her home on Shelter Island on May 7, 2014. Born in Queens, N.Y. on August 3, 1939 to Genevieve Burke Morrison and David Chalmers Morrison.
Living in Douglas Manor, she attended PS 98 in Douglaston, Great Neck High School and studied at Adelphi University. While raising her family, she went on to graduate with honors from The College of New Jersey. Married to Peter Vielbig in 1962, they moved to Princeton where they raised their three children. Peter and Gail lived in Princeton for 41 years before moving to Shelter Island.
Gail was always looking for ways to involve her family in the rich cultural environment surrounding her, immersing her family in all that Princeton, the Town and University, had to offer. She worked in several departments at Princeton University, retiring from the anthropology department in 2002. Gail taught childbirth education classes for 22 years, worked as a hospice volunteer, worked at the Princeton Ballet Society, the Arts Council and Familyborn Birthing and Health Center for Women. Sharing needlepointing and rug hooking with a few close friends was her recreation. She enjoyed travelling with her husband and children and made many trips to Europe.
Transitioning from life in a college town to life on a small island was an adjustment, but Gail quickly immersed herself in what Shelter Island had to offer. She volunteered for East End Hospice, the Shelter Island Garden Club, Camp Good Grief, and the Shelter Island Library. Her fertile mind was always suggesting new ideas or better ways to accomplish a goal. She was a valued member of the organizations she touched.
When Gail and Peter lost their son, she studied to be certified as a substance abuse counselor and then worked for Quannacut Outpatient Services at Eastern Long Island Hospital. Her clients remember her concern for them as individuals and her incredible professionalism. Gail was always a champion of the underdog.
Gail will be remembered for her quick wit, voracious appetite for books, compassion, intellect, and love of family and friends. She is survived by her husband Peter of 52 years, sister Eileen, daughter Leslie, and her husband Chris, son Alex, and grandchildren Charlotte, Lucy and Peter as well as many nieces and nephews. Gail was predeceased by her son Peter Laird.
A celebration of Gail’s life will be held on Shelter Island this summer.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Gail’s name to Friends of the Shelter Island Library P.O. Box 2016, Shelter Island, N.Y. 11964, or Shelter Island Emergency Medical Services P.O. Box 970, Shelter Island, N.Y. 11964.
Vance O. McNair
Vance O. McNair, affectionately know as “Mac”, passed away on May 1, 2014 in Lawrenceville. He was born in Plymouth, N.C., grew up in Wilmington, Del., and lived in the Princeton-Lawrenceville area for over 40 years. As a child, he was educated in the Wilmington, Del. public school system. He attended Shaw University, New York University, and the University of Connecticut. Mr. McNair was an English teacher for the State of New York and the State of New Jersey, retiring from the Hopewell Valley Regional School District. He was a U.S. Army veteran. Much of his time and passion was spent with his fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., in which he was an active lifetime member. Mr. McNair enjoyed fishing, reading, mind stimulating games, walking, outdoors, giving of himself, smiling, teasing, and spending time with family.
Son of the late William and Annie R. McNair, he was preceded in death by 12 siblings.
Mr. McNair is survived by his wife Mattie McNair, daughter Joni Waller, son-in-law Russell W. Waller, granddaughter Brittany Waller, grandson Russell M. Waller, and a host of other relatives and friends.
The funeral service was held at 11 a.m. on Friday, May 9, 2014 at First Baptist Church, John Street and Paul Robeson Place, Princeton. Calling hours were from 9 a.m. until time of service at the church. Interment was at Fountain Lawn Memorial Park, Ewing. Arrangements are by the Hughes Funeral Home.