Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXI, No. 49
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Coldwell Banker Princeton Office

Prudential Fox and Roach, Realtors

Gloria Nilson GMAC Real Estate

Henderson Sotheby's International Realty

N.T. Callaway Princeton Office

Stockton Real Estate, LLC

Weichert, Realtors

Advertise in Town Topics

Iris Interiors

Advertise in Town Topics

Weather Forecast


Melcon Garabed Melconian

Robert Gutman

John M. Greene

Kay Krites Swaim

Isabel M. Harvey

Helen H. Yard

Anne O’Neill

Stephen Hinds

Joseph Frediani

Lorraine D. Feher

Memorial Service for Victoria F. McCarthy

Melcon Garabed

Melcon Garabed Melconian

Melcon Garabed Melconian, 78, of Princeton, died peacefully November 23 at home, with his family at his bedside. He was a former executive of Mobil Oil Corporation and an active member of the Armenian-American community.

Born in Baghdad, he was the eldest of the three children of Garabed and Aznive Melconian, prominent members of the Armenian community in Iraq. After high school at the American Jesuit College in Baghdad, he was educated at the University of Birmingham in England, where he graduated with a bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering. He then came to the U.S. for post-graduate studies, earning a master of science degree in petroleum engineering from the University of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Following in the footsteps of his father, Mr. Melconian dedicated his 45-year career to the oil industry. He entered the industry as a chemical engineer, working several years at Phillips Petroleum and then Foster Wheeler. In 1962, he joined Mobil Oil, where he worked for 32 years. Over the course of his career, he played a critical role in the development of major refinery projects throughout the world, including the U.S., Europe, New Zealand, and the Middle East. The primary focus of his work was process engineering, a field in which he spearheaded innovative work and was awarded several U.S. patents on behalf of Mobil Oil. Later, he established an oil consulting firm and developed a lecture series delivered to chemical engineers around the world.

Soon after moving to New York City in 1959, he met Hilda Berejikian. They married two years later and enjoyed the 1960s together in Manhattan, Los Angeles, and London. Their first son, Gregory, arrived in 1969, promptly followed by their second son, Philip. Shortly afterward, they moved to Princeton. The Melconians emphasized the importance of family, faith, and community service.

Mr. Melconian proudly served the Armenian community over the course of his life, participating in and consistently supporting the Armenian General Benevolent Union as a member of the President’s Club, the Armenian Assembly of America as a board member, the Armenian Missionary Association of America, and the Armenia Fund USA. He also exhibited a keen interest in Middle East affairs, serving as president of the Princeton Middle East Society, inviting prominent scholars and dignitaries for lectures, and participating as an NGO at the United Nations.

Reared in the Armenian Apostolic Church, Mr. Melconian was a man of God who actively practiced his faith throughout his life. He joined his wife Hilda regularly for services at the Armenian Evangelical Church of New York, where he also served as moderator and, most recently, as chairman of the ministerial search committee.

In 2004, he managed the translation, from Armenian to English, and sponsored the publication of the memoirs of his great uncle Zaven Der Yeghiayan, the Patriarch of Constantinople from 1913 to 1922. Believing in the importance of recorded history, he distributed My Patriarchal Memoirs to all the Armenian churches in the U.S., with the assistance of the Diocese of the Armenian Church.

An intellectually curious man, he was a lifelong student of history who regularly attended lectures and participated in panel discussions at Princeton University. He also remained an avid reader, particularly of history, and enjoyed many cultural activities in Princeton and New York. His friends and family will remember him as congenial, gregarious, enthusiastic, and motivated.

He is survived by his wife of 46 years, Hilda; two sons, Gregory and Philip, both of New York City; a brother, Vahe of Downingtown, Pa.; a sister, Marlene Setrakian of Beirut, Lebanon; and a grandson.

Funeral services were held at St. Vartan Cathedral in New York City and at the Lawrenceville Cemetery in Lawrenceville. Arrangements were under the direction of The Mather-Hodge Funeral Home.

Memorial donations may be made to the Armenian Missionary Association of America, 31 West Century Road, Paramus, N.J. 07652; or to St. Vartan Cathedral at 630 Second Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10016.

Robert Gutman

Robert Gutman

Robert Gutman, 81, of Princeton, died unexpectedly in Princeton November 23. An influential sociologist, professor, and critic of architecture, he held faculty positions at Princeton and Rutgers Universities for more than five decades and was known as a pioneer in bringing social science into the field of architectural education and practice.

Although trained as a sociologist, Prof. Gutman’s greatest influence and passion was in architecture, the focus of his research since the early 1960s. He explored the relationships among architectural design, architects, buildings, their uses and users, as well as how public policy affects design. He studied and wrote extensively about the impact of the built environment on the people who occupy buildings.

Born in New York City and raised in Long Beach, N.Y., he attended Columbia University, receiving a B.A. in 1946 and a Ph.D. in Sociology in 1955. After completing his graduate course work, he began teaching sociology at Dartmouth College in 1948. He married Sonya Rudikoff, an author with strong interests in literature and art, in 1950. They were friends with the leading artists and intellectuals of their generation in New York, especially many of the first and second generation Abstract Expressionists including Robert Motherwell and Helen Frankenthaler.

The Gutmans moved to Princeton in 1957 when he joined the Sociology Department at Rutgers University, where he taught until 1996. Reflecting the interest in the 1960s about the interactions between architecture and sociology, he received a grant from the Russell Sage Foundation to become a special student of architecture at Princeton and at the Bartlett School of Architecture in London in 1965. He was subsequently recruited in 1969 by Princeton’s School of Architecture to explore this topic as a visiting lecturer with rank of professor, a position he held until his death. He also held visiting professorships at Stanford University, the University of Michigan, the Bartlett School of Architecture of the University of London, and the University of Stockholm. For two terms, he was Visiting Member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. He was also an honorary member of the American Institute of Architects. He served as chairman of the Environmental Design Research Association, and was a member of the advisory councils of the architecture schools at Cornell, Harvard, Parsons, Rice, and Washington University (St. Louis).

Predeceased by his wife Sonya in 1997, he is survived by a son, John Gutman; a daughter, Elizabeth Gutman; and three grandchildren.

Burial was at a private ceremony at the Princeton Friends Meetings burial ground on November 27. A memorial service will be held on January 19 at the Princeton University Chapel at 3 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Society of Architectural Historians, 1365 North Astor Street, Chicago, Ill. 60610; or to Princeton Project 55, 12 Stockton Street, Princeton 08540.

John M. Greene

John M. Greene

Dr. John M. Greene, a distinguished research physicist and applied mathematician who worked for many years at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, died October 22 in San Diego. The cause was complications from Parkinson’s disease, exacerbated by the smoky atmosphere of the recent southern California fires.

Born in 1928 in Pittsburgh, Pa., he received a B.S. in physics from the California Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Rochester in 1955.

A longtime resident of Princeton Junction and Princeton Township, Dr. Greene spent 27 years as one of the leading theoretical physicists at PPPL, where he worked with colleagues to make pioneering contributions to plasma physics and fusion energy. An internationally recognized scientist, he was awarded the distinguished Maxwell Prize for Plasma Physics by the American Physical Society in 1982. In 2006, together with his colleagues Clifford Gardner, Martin Kruskal, and Robert Miura, he was awarded the Steele Prize by the American Mathematical Society.

Upon leaving Princeton in 1982, Dr. Greene joined the theoretical physics group at General Atomics in La Jolla, Calif., and was an adjunct professor of physics at the University of California, San Diego. He continued to work productively with and inspire many colleagues there until his retirement in 1995.

He was an Eagle Scout, hiker, camper, and bird watcher. He was active in the Sierra Club in New Jersey and took part in many local conservation projects wherever he worked, including the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Italy, Russia, Australia, and Japan.

He is survived by his wife of 51 years, Alice; a daughter, Emily; a sister, Priscilla; and two grandchildren,

Memorial contributions may be sent to the Nature Conservancy, Attn: Treasury (Web/Support), 4245 North Fairfax Drive, Suite 100, Arlington, Va. 22203.

Kay Krites Swaim

Kay Krites Swaim, 68, of Princeton, died peacefully November 30 surrounded by loving family and friends.

Born in Winston Salem, N.C., she spent the last 20 years as a resident of Princeton, and many delightful days sailing the Chesapeake.

She was a realtor for Prudential Fox & Roach, a member of the Realtors Association, the Great Oak Yacht Club, and Daughters of the American Revolution.

She will be remembered for her energy, love of socializing, golf, boating, and a good card game. She cherished spending time with her grandsons and her many friends.

Predeceased by her parents, Ivey E. and Evelyn Masten Krites, and a daughter, Jennifer Lynn Swaim, she is survived by a son, Kevin Swaim of Pennington; a brother, Jim Clodfelter of Winston Salem; and two grandchildren.

A memorial service was held yesterday at Nassau Presbyterian Church. Interment will be private.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society, 3076 Princeton Pike, Lawrenceville 08648. To send a condolence, visit

Isabel M. Harvey

Isabel Moore Harvey, 77, of Hopewell, died November 16 at home.

Born and raised in Trenton, she had been a resident of Hopewell since 1955.

Daughter of the late Franklin F. and Barbara Moore, she is survived by her former husband, Ashton Harvey; two sons, Benjamin D. Harvey of Katonah, N.Y. and Edward A. Harvey of Lakeville, Conn.; a daughter, Julia Esty of Park City, Utah; a brother, Franklin Moore of Monmouth Junction; and six grandchildren.

A private memorial service will be held by the family.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Princeton Hospice, 208 Bunn Drive, Princeton 08540.

Arrangements were under the direction of the Mather-Hodge Funeral Home.

Helen H. Yard

Helen H. Yard, 87, of West Windsor, died November 10 in Bear Creek Assisted Living, West Windsor.

Born in Trenton and a lifelong Princeton resident, she owned and operated the Rug and Furniture Mart and the Ivy Manor with her late husband Arthur. She was a member of the Rossmoor Community Church, Springdale Golf Club, and Rossmoor Golf Club in Jamesburg.

Daughter of the late Alvin W. and Marion R. Harris and wife of the late Arthur B. Yard, she is survived by two daughters, Alison Purvis of Pennington and Linda Y. Sheldon of Alexandria, Va.; six grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

The funeral was private.

Memorial Contributions may be made to the Hospice Program of the Princeton Home Care Services, 208 Bunn Drive, Princeton 08540; or to Lawrence Animal Hospital, 3975 Princeton Pike, Princeton 08540.

Arrangements were under the direction of the Mather-Hodge Funeral Home.

Anne O’Neill

Anne O’Neill, 81, of Simsbury, Conn., formerly of Princeton, died peacefully November 22 at home, surrounded by her family.

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., daughter of the late Anthony and Beatrice Haran, she had lived in Brewster, N.Y. for 25 years and in Princeton for ten years before moving to Simsbury.

She had been a member of St. Lawrence O’Toole Church in Brewster, N.Y. and St. Paul’s Church in Princeton.

Predeceased by her husband, Dr. Hugh J. O’Neill, and her brothers James, John, and William Haran, she is survived by her seven children, Anne Gates of Princeton, Hugh O’Neill of Princeton, Kevin O’Neill of Pound Ridge, N.Y., Kathleen Jamieson of Washington, D.C., Eileen Lagrotteria of Scituate, Mass., Timothy O’Neill of Gorham, Maine, and Mary Downs of Simsbury; two sisters, Elizabeth McCabe of Albuquerque, N.M. and Kathleen Grimes of Rockville Centre, N.Y.; and 15 grandchildren.

The funeral was November 26 at the Vincent Funeral Home, Simsbury, followed by a Mass of Christian burial at St. Mary’s Church, Simsbury. Burial was November 27 at St. Lawrence O’Toole Cemetery, Brewster, N.Y.

Memorial donations may be made to Mclean Visiting Nurses, 75 Great Pond Road, Simsbury, Conn. 06070. For on-line condolences, visit

Stephen Hinds

Stephen Edward “Timmy” Hinds, 65, of Princeton, died November 15 at the Merwick care facility.

A graduate of Princeton High School, he was known as the falsetto voice of the popular singing group The Ecuadors that performed at Saturday night canteens.

He worked for Polychrome Press before spending the last 20 years of his work career with Hesco Electric Company.

Known for his quiet, unassuming warmth, friendly smile, work ethic, and concern for others, he was a best friend to many.

He was predeceased by his parents, Mary Hinds Gordon and Paul Hinds; three children, Tina, Mark, and David; and his stepmother, Pearl Hinds. He is survived by his son Steven Kendrick Hinds; sisters Paula Manuel, Mona Gordon, and Monica Gordon; a stepsister, Mary Louise Brown; a life companion, Teri Constance; a perpetual friend from childhood, Ronnie Wells; and a grandson.

Joseph Frediani

Joseph Frediani, 85, of Princeton Junction, died November 19 at Merwick Care Center in Princeton.

Born in Italy, he has been a resident of the Princeton area since 1948.

He served with the Italian armed forces during World War II. He was brought to the United States as a POW, where he later met his wife, Mary. He retired in 1983 from David Sarnoff Research Laboratories, where he had been employed as a plumber for 30 years.

He was predeceased by his son, Robert Joseph Frediani in 1997. In addition to his wife of 60 years, Mary Cervera Frediani, he is survived by nieces and nephews in Italy.

A Mass of Christian burial was celebrated November 24 at St. Paul’s Church. Entombment followed in Franklin Memorial Park Mausoleum, North Brunswick.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to a charity of the donor’s choice.

Lorraine D. Feher

Lorraine D. Feher, a lifelong resident of Rocky Hill, died peacefully November 14 in the home in which she was born 81 years ago.

A member of the Princeton High School class of 1943, she was known for her strong convictions and opinions. She was a caring and helpful neighbor and an active member of her community.

Mrs. Feher and her late husband Steve were avid naturalists, with a great interest in Native American culture. For many years they maintained a summer cabin in Grand Lake Stream, Maine.

She was retired from Belle Mead General Service Administration Depot in Hillsborough.

She was a member of the First Reformed Church of Rocky Hill and a vice president of the Rocky Hill Cemetery Association.

The only child of the late Anita and Leber Frank, she was predeceased also by her husband Steve Feher, who died in 2000, and her husband Andrew Daniels, who died in 1961. She is survived by two nieces and a nephew.

Interment was November 17 at Rocky Hill Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Rocky Hill First Aid Squad, P.O. Box 175, Rocky Hill 08553; or to the First Reformed Church of Rocky Hill, Washington Street, P.O. Drawer L, Rocky Hill 08553.

Arrangements were under the direction of The Mather-Hodge Funeral Home.

Memorial Service for Victoria F. McCarthy

A Memorial Service for Victoria F. McCarthy, who died November 22, will be held on Sunday, December 16 at 1 p.m. in the Cor Unum Center at Stuart Country Day School of the Sacred Heart, 1200 Stuart Road.

Return to Top | Go to People

Town Topics® may be purchased on Wednesday mornings at the following locations: Princeton — McCaffrey’s, Cox’s, Kiosk (Palmer Square), Krauszer’s (State Road), Olives, Speedy Mart (State Road), Wawa (University Place); Hopewell — Village Express; Rocky Hill — Wawa (Route 518); Pennington — Pennington Market.
Copyright© Town Topics®, Inc. 2011.