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Vol. LXV, No. 49
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
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

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Iris Interiors

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Donald M. Wilson

Virginia M. C. Wilkinson

Catherine K. McGrath

Barbara W. Meyers

Jo Ann S. Agle

Marion E. Steinmetz

William H. McNeely

Patricia S. Echeverria

Audrey S. Staats

Donald M. Wilson

Donald M. Wilson, 86, of Princeton, died November 29 at home from a stroke following years of struggle with Alzheimer’s. He was the last surviving member of the Executive Committee of the National Security Council (ExCOMM), a specially created policy group that advised President John F. Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962.

Born on June 27, 1925 in Montclair, N.J., he graduated from Deerfield Academy in 1943. He then enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps and was commissioned a second lieutenant as a B-17 navigator. With the 303rd Bomb Group, he flew six missions over Europe before the war ended.

He enrolled at Yale and gravitated to journalism, writing a column for The Yale Daily News. In 1949 he graduated and was hired by Life as a reporter working in New York and Detroit. He became a foreign correspondent for the magazine in Asia, and covered the Korean War and French Indochina War. In 1956, he was named Life’s Washington bureau chief, in charge of coverage of the U.S. government.

In 1960, he joined the Kennedy campaign, and when Kennedy was elected, he appointed Wilson deputy director of the United States Information Agency (USIA) in 1961. He served in the post under Presidents Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson until 1965. As deputy director of the USIA in ExCOMM, he advocated releasing reconnaissance photographs of Soviet missile sites being built by Communist Cuba, secretly taken by an American U-2 spy plane. Publication of the classified photos was approved by ExCOMM and was credited with turning the tide of British press opinion decisively in favor of the U.S.

Returning to Time, Inc., he became general manager of Time-Life International. In 1968 he briefly worked for Robert F. Kennedy’s presidential campaign, and was named Time Inc. Corporate Vice President for Public Affairs in 1970, a position he held for 19 years.

In 1987, along with former Time magazine business editor George Taber, he launched NJBIZ, a business paper covering the state of New Jersey. NJBIZ was acquired in 2005 by Journal Publications Inc. of Harrisburg, Pa.

In 1991, he and longtime friend and former member of the editorial board of The New York Times, James L. Greenfield, co-founded the not-for-profit Independent Journalism Foundation. For the last 17 years (as of 2009) IJF has operated training programs for journalists in Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia.

He was a member of the Century Association and the Council on Foreign Relations of New York City. His autobiography, The First 78 Years, was published in 2004 by Xlibris.

He is survived by his wife of 54 years, the former Susan M. Neuberger; his son, Dwight M. Wilson; two daughters, Katherine L. Wilson and Penelope Wilson; and five grandchildren.

A service of remembrance will be held on January 28, 2012 at 2 p.m. in the Lawrenceville Presbyterian Church, 2688 Main Street, Lawrence Township.

A reception in the Fellowship Center of the church will follow.

Contributions in his memory may be made to the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights for the Donald M. Wilson Fellowship.

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

Virginia M. C. Wilkinson

Virginia Mary Corio Wilkinson, 90, died December 2, 2011 at Acorn Glen assisted-living in Princeton.

Born on March 8, 1921, in Jersey City, she grew up in East Orange before moving with her family to Princeton Junction in 1937. She graduated from Princeton High School in 1938.

During World War II, she worked at the RCA Laboratories where she met her husband-to-be. She was married to Wm. C. Wilkinson Jr. on February 9, 1946. They lived briefly in Trenton, Penns Neck, and in 1955 they moved to their new home in Princeton.

With her wonderful sense of humor and warm nature, she was well known in Princeton, and always had time for her many friends. She was an active member of the St. Paul’s Parish Altar and Rosary Society for many years, and a member of the Catholic Daughters. She worked at the Cummings Shop on Nassau Street for a number of years, and as a travel agent in Lawrenceville. She was also a volunteer at the Princeton Medical Center and a Grand-Pal at the Littlebrook School.

She was a naturally gifted artist who studied painting in the Princeton area for over 40 years. She was very accomplished in both oil and watercolor, with over 100 works produced.

Her favorite pastimes included gardening, reading, and travel. Her children grew up listening to her singing in the kitchen while she produced wonderful meals, seemingly without effort. She enjoyed telling jokes and loved to laugh. One of her most daunting skills was the ability to spell anything. Happiness meant time at the shore and if she was anxious, she would bake.

Predeceased by her husband of 62 years, Wm. C. Wilkingson Jr.; she is survived by her sister, Mercy A. Bruestle; four children, William C. Wilkinson III, Penelope A. Wilkinson, Henry T. Wilkinson, and Matthew A. Wilkinson; seven grandchildren; and six great grandchildren.

Services will be held at St. Paul’s Church in Princeton on December 7, with Visitation at 8:45 a.m. and a funeral mass at 9:30 a.m. Burial will follow.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Altar and Rosary Society of St. Paul’s.

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

Catherine K. McGrath

Catherine K. McGrath

Catherine Kay McGrath, 87, of Princeton, died December 1 at Princeton Hospital after a brief illness.

Born and raised in Boston, her father was an Irish émigré who worked as a cement finisher and as an active labor leader, serving as the business agent for the American Brotherhood of Cement and Asphalt Workers. She graduated from Boston University.

She was the founder and, for more than 20 years, the executive director of the Mercer Council on Alcoholism and Drug Addiction, building the council with a $5,000 bank loan, the use of a borrowed brownstone in Trenton, and only herself on the staff, to a county-wide organization with more than 50 employees and million dollar budgets.

The council achieved a series of “firsts” in Mercer County with programs that emphasized prevention and early intervention as well as treatment. The Council established the first school-based drug education and counseling program, the first off-site employee assistance program, the first fetal-alcohol syndrome program and the first congregational assistance program. She also served on the Governor’s Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse and was a founding director and past president of the New Jersey Alliance of Councils on Alcoholism, a statewide prevention network.

She was an active member of the League of Women Voters and a lobbyist for the New Jersey Retail Merchants Association. In 1997, she served on the original Princeton Consolidation Study Commission, which studied and ultimately recommended the consolidation of Princeton Township and Princeton Borough. She lived in Princeton for 52 years.

She was a regular guest columnist for The Times of Trenton and the host of a weekly radio program, “The Many Faces of Life” on WDVR.

She was a recipient of the Princeton YWCA’s “Tribute to Women in Industry” Award for leadership abilities; the Executive Service Award from the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence; and the Mary Mulholland “Volunteer of the Year Award” from the Governor’s Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse. She also received the Market Leaders Award from the Times of Trenton, which wrote that “McGrath has always been known to roll up her shirt sleeves to get the job done” and that “McGrath has probably done more to raise community awareness about the disease of alcoholism and drug addiction, its prevention and treatment, than any other Mercer County resident”.

She was a loving wife and mother who pursued her passions vigorously throughout an active life. She was married to the late Thomas J. McGrath for 53 years.

She is survived by her sons, Brian, Richard, and Neal McGrath; her daughters, Maureen and Carol McGrath; and one granddaughter.

A mass of Christian burial will be held at Saint Paul’s Church, 214 Nassau Street, Princeton, at 11 a.m. on December 7.

Burial will be in Princeton Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Mercer Council on Alcoholism and Drug Addiction, 447 Bellevue Avenue, Trenton, N.J. 08618.

Barbara W. Meyers

Barbara W. Meyers

Barbara Wojciechowski Meyers, 59, of South Amboy, died December 3 at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, New Brunswick.

Born in Perth Amboy, she had resided in South Amboy, and then Florida before moving back to South Amboy.

She was a graduate of Miami International University of Art and Design in Florida, where she received her BA in fashion and merchandising. She had also attended Long Island University. She was employed for the past 20 years as a graphic designer for Raritan Printing Company, South Amboy.

She was a creative and tireless entrepreneur as well as a talented artist and cook. She loved dogs and many miniature long-haired dachshunds were lucky to be loved by her.

Predeceased by her husband, John P. Meyers in 1981, and by her father, Joseph R. Wojciechowski in 2006; she is survived by her son, David Meyers; her mother, Frances J. Wojciechowski; her sister, Joanne Corridon; and her brother, Frank Wojciechowski.

Funeral services will be held on December 9 at 8:45 a.m. by the Carmen F. Spezzi Funeral Home, 15 Cherry Lane, Parlin, N.J. A mass will follow at 9:30 a.m. at Sacred Heart R.C. Church in South Amboy. A private cremation will follow.

Calling hours at the funeral home will be December 8 from 4 to 8 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations be made to the Wounded
Warrior Project, C/O

Messages of condolences may be left for the family at

Jo Ann S. Agle

Jo Ann S. Agle

Jo Ann Sayers Agle, 93, died November 14 in Princeton.

Born Miriam Lilygren in Seattle, Wash. in 1918, she grew up with music and dance lessons, and homegrown theatrical productions.

When attending the University of Washington, she participated in the drama program where she was spotted by a Hollywood talent scout. After successful screen tests, she was contracted by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) and given the stage name Jo Ann Sayers.

She spent 1938-1940 performing increasingly-important roles in over a dozen movies and documentaries produced by MGM and Columbia. During this time, she worked with many of Hollywood’s leading luminaries, including Rosalind Russell, Mickey Rooney, Boris Karloff, Lionel Barrymore, Victor Jory, George Burns, and Gracie Allen.

In 1940, during a visit to New York, she auditioned for the new Broadway play, “My Sister Eileen”. She was chosen to play the lead role of Eileen opposite Shirley Booth. The play, which opened in December 1940, was a smash hit and had a successful 18-month run.

While doing appearances to support the war effort, she met lawyer Anthony A. Bliss, who was serving in the Navy. They were married in 1942. In subsequent years, while giving up full time acting, she participated in summer stock in Pennsylvania and Connecticut, and performed in occasional theatrical appearances on Long Island where the couple moved after the war.

While raising three children in Locust Valley, N.Y., she continued her life-long interest in the arts. She co-founded the Children’s World Theatre of New York, was president of the Long Island Little Orchestra, and was a co-founder and president of the Pro Arte Symphony Orchestra. She was a member of the Advisory Council Department of Art & Archeology at Columbia University from 1964 to 1970; served as a trustee of Hofstra University from 1965 to 1974; and was a board member and Vice President of the American National Theatre & Academy (ANTA) from 1946 to 1965.

After her marriage to Mr. Bliss ended in divorce in 1967, she moved to Princeton and married architect Charles K. Agle in 1968. She continued to support the arts and was a member of the Princeton University Concerts Committee, the president of Friends of Music at Princeton University, and a community fellow of Mathey College at the University.

She is survived by her sister, Mary K. Ramsey; two children, Eileen B. Andahazy-Chevins and Anthony A. Bliss Jr.; five grandchildren; and two great grandchildren.

Donations may be made to Princeton University Concerts, Room 301, Woolworth Center for Music Study, Princeton, N.J. 08544.

Marion E. Steinmetz

Marion E. Steinmetz

Marion Ettinger Steinmetz, 80, of Princeton, died November 27, 2011 after a long illness.

A native of New York, she was raised in Scarsdale, N.Y. She was the daughter of the late Barbara and Virgil Ettinger.

A graduate of Lasell College, Katherine Gibbs School, and the Lienhard School of Nursing at Pace University, she served as secretary to the Executive Vice President of Columbia Broadcasting System and later as a private duty nurse and Red Cross volunteer nurse. She was a member of Hitchcock Presbyterian Church in Scarsdale, N.Y., where she served as an ordained Elder on the Session and chaired the Weekday School Board.

In addition to living in Scarsdale, she lived with her late husband, John C. Steinmetz in Isle of Palms, S.C., where she served on the Community Association Board in the Wild Dunes community. She later lived in White Plains, N.Y. before moving to Princeton.

She is survived by her two children, Heather McDonald and Brian McDonald; three grandchildren; her sister, Jane Turley; four step children, Carol Seifert, Donna Tritt, John Steinmetz, and Patricia Steinmetz; eight step grandchildren and two step great grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held December 7 at 11 a.m. at Hitchcock Presbyterian Church, Scarsdale, N.Y.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in her memory to Hitchcock Presbyterian Church, 6 Greenacres Avenue, Scarsdale, N.Y. 10583; or Courageous Kidz, 230 Old Dominion Drive, Charleston, S.C. 29418.

William H. McNeely

William H. McNeely, 87, died November 22, 2011 in Princeton.

Born in Millen, Ga., he was a longtime resident of El Paso, Texas.

After spending a three-year tour of duty in the Marine Corps, he joined the Army in which he held various positions, from intelligence to air defense, around the world. While assigned to Korea during the Korean War, he was part of the team responsible for writing the Korean Peace Pact. He retired form the Army after 22 years of faithful and honorable service. He then served in the American Red Cross for 23 years, and became director in its Bremerhaven, Germany, installation.

A former athlete and avid sportsman, he played minor league and professional baseball and later officiated as an umpire and referee in various sports. He was also much loved and known for his dedicated community service.

Predeceased by his parents, Whaley McNeely and Ella Mae McNeely Davis; his brother, Matthew; and his sister, Dorothy; he is survived by his wife, Dorothy; his sons, Douglas, Herbert, and James; his daughters, Connie, Beverly, and Doris; three brothers, Walter, Robert, and Paul; 10 grandchildren; and several great grandchildren.

Funeral services will be conducted at 10 a.m. on Monday, December 12, 2011 at the Washington Crossing National Cemetery, 830 Highland Road, Newtown, Pennsylvania.

Visitation will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. on December 11 at the Kimble Funeral Home, 1 Hamilton Avenue, Princeton.

Condolences can be extended online at TheKimble

Patricia S. Echeverria

Patricia S. Echeverria, 93, died October 18, 2011 in Princeton.

Born on February 23, 1918, in Hankow (now Wuhan), China, she was the oldest child of Donald L. and Mildred Stevens Smith. She lived the first 16 years of her life in China, and moved to the United States in the 1930’s to attend the University of Washington, and, later, the King-Smith Studio in Washington, D.C.

A professional actress, she worked extensively in the theater for over 50 years. The venues in which she appeared include the Barter Playhouse in Abingdon, Va., the Theatre Intime in Princeton, and the Trinity Repertory Company in Providence, R.I.

She also taught French and Creative Dramatics, for 15 years at Princeton Day School and, prior to that, she taught at Lincoln School in Providence, R.I. for a decade.

She first moved to Princeton following World War II with her then husband, Durand Echeverria, who received a PhD in French from Princeton University. They moved to Providence, R.I., where he was on the faculty of Brown University for many years. She later returned to Princeton, where she lived for the remainder of her life.

In recent years, she had split her time between Stonebridge at Montgomery in Skillman, and her home in the village of Venasque in the south of France.

She had a large, varied, and geographically dispersed set of valued friends. In the last several decades of her life she traveled widely to destinations including Ireland, North Africa, Thailand, and Turkey.

Predeceased by her siblings, Barbara Diana and Edward Smith; she is survived by her brother, Donald L. Smith Jr.; her three children, Peter, Ana, and John; seven grandchildren; and two great grandchildren.

She donated her body to the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. The family plans to hold a memorial service in early 2012.

Audrey S. Staats

Audrey Smith Staats, 87, of Bucks County, Pa., formerly of Princeton, died December 4 at Doylestown Hospital.

Born in Staten Island, she was the youngest of five children of Carrie and Quimby Smith.

Raised in the Panama Canal Zone, where her father was a government employee, she was active in the Order of Rainbow for Girls, in her church in Ancon. She was also active in sports, in which she received awards in archery and tennis. She was a member of Quill and Scroll, an honorary society of high school journalists founded by George Gallup, and enjoyed aboard-ship interviews with various notables transiting the Panama Canal and reporting on these in her high school paper.

Upon graduating from Balboa High School in 1943, she attended Doane College and Lincoln School of Commerce in Nebraska, where she met her future husband, Vincent Staats. Following graduation, she returned to the Canal Zone and was employed in the Latin America Division of Pan American Airways while Mr. Staats served in the Pacific with the Army Air Force until V-J Day.

They married in 1946 and were residents of Princeton from 1955 to 1985. She was active in their church, Christ Congregation, founded in 1955 as Calvary Baptist Church, serving on Boards & Committees. She was a Cub Scout den mother, baked pies for the annual Princeton Hospital Fetes, and typed the papers of a number of university students.

She served as the first Joint Office Secretary of the Princeton YM-YWCA when the two organizations became housed in their Avalon Place facility. She was employed at Educational Testing Service from 1962 to 1984 as an executive secretary in the College Board Programs, the Division of Analytical Studies and Services, the International Office, and in the Officers Division. Along with her husband, she was a member of the ETS bowling league, a contributor of articles to the company’s paper, “The Examiner”, and had poetry published in their anthology, “Soundings”. At age 55 she took courses at Trenton State and Mercer County Community College “for the sheer joy of learning” and earned an AA degree.

Following retirement from ETS, she and her husband moved to Ft. Myers, Fla. and later returned to New Jersey in 1999 to be near family.

Predeceased by her husband in 2002; she is survived by her sons, Vincent, Gregory, and James; four grandchildren; and three great grandsons.

The funeral service will be held on December 10 at 11 a.m. at Christ Congregation Church, 50 Walnut Lane, Princeton, with the Reverend Jeff Mays officiating.

Friends may call on December 9 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Mather-Hodge Funeral Home, 40 Vandeventer Avenue, Princeton.

Burial will be in Princeton Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Christ Congregation Church, 50 Walnut Lane, Princeton, N.J. 08540; or to a charity of one’s choice.

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