Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIV, No. 5
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
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


John Potter Cuyler Matthews

Stanley Kelley Jr.

Peter M. Martinson

John P.C. Matthews

John Potter Cuyler Matthews

John Potter Cuyler Matthews, 80, a Renaissance man of the world whose values reflected a strong mix of family, the town and gown of Princeton, N.J., and a career that made him an expert on the politics and character of Eastern Europe, died January 29, 2010 at his home on Poor Farm Road following several weeks of illness caused by the cancer which was discovered throughout his body late last year. A journalist with early career experience at Radio Free Europe in the 1950s, in Munich, Germany, which broadcast western programs throughout the Soviet bloc in Eastern Europe, Matthews drew upon this experience to write two books, Tinderbox, published in 2005, and the definitive, 600 page account of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, entitled Explosion, published in 2007, which is being translated into many languages, including Hungarian. In the months before his death he was writing his autobiography. Matthews was Princeton through and through, beginning with his birth here in 1929. The second son of the late Thomas S. Matthews and Juliana Cuyler Matthews, his paternal grandfather Paul Matthews was the Episcopal Bishop of New Jersey and his maternal grandfather was the late John Potter Cuyler, a noted Princeton artist in the 1920s and the father of five children, four of whom graduated from Princeton. Matthews was the third generation to graduate from the hometown University.

In an interview with Town Topics in 2005 he described a happy childhood made up of movies, friends and games, all components of a college town much smaller than the Princeton of today. His father was the managing editor of Time Magazine from 1942 to 1949 and his mother, who died in 1949, was widely known for her gracious personality. After attending Miss Fines School and PCD, Matthews entered South Kent School, a Connecticut boarding school co-founded by his uncle, Richard Cuyler, where he distinguished himself as an athlete and school prefect. At SKS, the seminal moment came in his senior year where he helped lead the Varsity football team to its historic undefeated year, with a last minute victory over The Gunnery School, which remains to this day one of the great games in New England prep school lore.

Graduating in 1947, he then entered Princeton, graduating in 1951. An English major, he also continued to participate in various sports and was a member of the Charter Club on campus. His life took a new direction in 1949 when he fell in love with a Wellesley student, the former Verna Damon from Pittsfield, MA. They were married in 1951 in Pittsfield, MA.

In August 1951 he joined Radio Free Europe at its offices in New York, a job that engendered a life-long fascination with the politics, culture and history of the Eastern European countries, all of them then part of the Soviet bloc as part of the fallout from World War II. RFE, a US. government backed private organization, broadcast cultural and political news from the western world to listeners in what were then known as the Soviet satellite countries. In 1954, Matthews was reassigned to Munich, Germany, the RFE headquarters where he worked as an editor at its Central News Desk, and then as head of its Free Europe Press print division. He later came to question the role of the CIA in its covert funding of RFE.

Absorbed by the work, he gained a profound understanding of Soviet Communism and its impact on Eastern European cultures. “I was especially fascinated by a speech Kruschchev made in 1956, and did an analysis of it,” he told Town Topics. “I decided it was a very defensive speech, and that our work was being effective.”

In 1959 the family that included three sons, Philip, Cuyler and Christopher, returned to the U.S. where Matthews had accepted a job as Program Director of the Foreign Policy Association’s World Affairs Center in New York.

For the next several years Matthews became even more deeply involved with Eastern European culture, commerce and politics through a series of assignments and subsequent jobs which included four years with Princeton University’s Development in International Affairs program and subsequently a scholarly exchange program, the International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX), where Matthews served as the organization’s first deputy director and headed the East European scholarly exchange operations involving 160 American colleges and universities.

Matthews was instrumental in negotiating some of the first exchange agreements with Hungary, Romania, Czechslovakia, Yugoslavia, Poland, and East Germany and became an authority on the politics of educational and research institutions in those countries.

Following his service with IREX, he entered the private sector, where he pioneered small business contacts beween American enterprises and trading partners in several East European countries.

Over the years of his involvement with Eastern Europe, he also developed his talent for languages, becoming fluent in Hungarian as well as in the German he’d learned in Munich.

Matthews’s deep abiding sense of justice and peace in the world was forged early on at Trinity Church in Princeton: serving in roles from Acolyte, to Choir, Sunday School teacher, Canvas Member, usher, serving twice on the Vestry, the Hospital Visitors program, and up until his death, The Prison Ministries. He was also a tireless campaigner for stronger gun control laws, ever since the JFK assassination. He was a longtime member of the Princeton Coalition for Peace Action.

John and Verna lost two sons over the years, Thomas in 1954 and recently, their oldest son, Philip, who died suddenly earlier this month at his home in California.

He leaves his wife of almost 59 years, Verna Damon, two sons, Cuyler and Christopher, two daughters-in-law, Kristi Lyn Matthews and Jill Matthews, and four granddaughters, Aurora, Pilar, Esme’ and Rhys Matthews. There will be a memorial service on Saturday, Feb 6, at Trinity Church, Princeton at 2 PM. Donations in lieu of flowers can be made to Trinity Church and/or The Coalition for Peace Action, 40 Witherspoon St., Princeton, NJ 08542.

Stanley Kelley Jr.

Stanley Kelley Jr., 83, a Princeton University political scientist, died January 17 in Princeton from complications of Alzheimer’s disease. He left an indelible mark on the University after chairing a key committee on governance in the late 1960s.

A professor emeritus of politics, Prof. Kelley led the Committee on the Structure of the University from 1968 to 1970. The student-faculty group, which became known as the “Kelley Committee,” was appointed by President Robert F. Goheen after demonstrators at a rally in front of Nassau Hall called for a body to “determine a way of restructuring the decision-making apparatus of the University.”

Implementation of the committee’s 99-page report transformed governance at Princeton, instilling a more open process and greater participation by students and non-tenured faculty members.

Prof. Kelley was also known as an accomplished scholar and teacher on topics such as the American party system, elections, and voting and mass communications.

“He was a superb teacher, and his friendships with undergraduates were very special,” said William G. Bowen, who served as Princeton president from 1972 to 1988. “But it wasn’t just students who learned from him. I don’t think I would have served as president of Princeton for 16 years had it not been for his tutelage and unfailing support and encouragement. In a time when so many faculty are caught up in their own work and in their own disciplines, he was the consummate university citizen. He was one of a kind.”

Changes made because of the Kelley Committee include the installation of students on faculty committees; the creation of the broadly representative decision-making body, the Council of the Princeton University Community; and the annual election of a graduating senior to the Board of Trustees as a “young alumni trustee.”

Prof. Kelley, who had joined the faculty in 1957, was happy to return to teaching and research after that task. His scholarship, according to Fred Greenstein, his longtime colleague in the Department of Politics, “was marked by quality rather than quantity. His Professional Public Relations and Political Power (1956) was the pioneering study of the role of professional consultants in politics. His Political Campaigning: Problems of Creating an Informed Electorate (1960) is a highly original analysis of what would be involved in equalizing the information citizens brought to their political participation. And his laconically titled Interpreting Elections (1983) uses polling data to reveal the diversity of motivations that account for electoral majorities. He also had an intellectual impact through a series of gem-like articles, a number of which have spawned entire bodies of literature.”

Prof. Kelley won a President’s Distinguished Teaching Award in 1995, the same year he transferred to emeritus status. The teaching award in the Department of Politics is named for him. In 2001, an anonymous donor established the Stanley Kelley Jr. Visiting Professorship for Distinguished Teaching at the University. He also received a Guggenheim Fellowship and was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Center for Advanced Study in Behavioral Sciences.

Born in Detroit, Kans., he attended the University of Kansas in 1944-45, then served in the U.S. Army in the Pacific theater during World War II. He returned to earn his A.B. and M.A. from Kansas in 1949 and 1951, respectively. He went on to study and serve as an instructor at Johns Hopkins University, spending a year as a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Rome. He earned his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins in 1955, and worked for two years at the Brookings Institution before coming to Princeton.

Predeceased by a sister, Shirley Wood, he is survived by his brother, Glenn, of Hannibal, Mo., and five nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Stanley Kelley Teaching Prize, Princeton University, Department of Politics, 130 Corwin Hall, Princeton 08544. Checks may be made payable to the Trustees of Princeton, and in the memo field donors should write: Stanley Kelley Teaching Prize.

A memorial service is planned for 5 p.m. on Friday, February 26 in the Princeton University Chapel. A reception in the Chancellor Green Rotunda will follow.

Peter M. Martinson

Peter M. Martinson, 63, of Stamford, Conn., formerly of Princeton, died January 27 at the Veterans Administration Hospital in West Haven, Connecticut, following a yearlong struggle with leukemia.

Born in London, he was the first child of Major Carl E. Martinson, military attaché to the American Embassy, and Anne Driscoll Martinson. The family returned to the United States in 1947.

After residing in Chicago and Arlington, Virginia, the family settled in Princeton in 1958. Mr. Martinson attended local schools and became a Princeton High School graduate with the class of 1964. He subsequently graduated with a bachelor of science degree in industrial engineering from Lehigh University, where he was a member of Psi Upsilon fraternity and participated in the Reserve Officer Training Corps. He received his United States Army commission as a Second Lieutenant, following graduation and after completing basic training at Fort Benning, Ga.

After earning his commission, Mr. Martinson earned his MBA degree at New York University from the Stern School of Business and began a long career with Xerox Corporation in Stamford, Conn. in its tax department. Shortly before his death, he was working at the Mestek Corporation in Westfield, Mass. in its tax department. Mr. Martinson is survived by two children from a prior marriage, David and Lesley, both of Atlanta, Ga.; his current wife, Patricia, of Stamford, Conn.; his mother, Anne Martinson of Skillman; and three siblings, Charles of Princeton, Joanna Jacobs of Swarthmore, Pa., and Richard of Westfield, N.J.

A Mass of Christian Burial was held February 1 at St. Catherine of Siena Church, West Simsbury, Connecticut. Burial is planned at a later date at Arlington National Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Veteran’s Administration Hospital, Voluntary Services, 950 Campbell Avenue, West Haven, Conn. 06516.

For online condolences, visit

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.