Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXV, No. 23
Wednesday, June 8, 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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Weather Forecast


John F. Bales II

Douglas M. Coombs

William E. Hopkins Jr.

D. Victoria Ellis

Adra A. Fairman

John F. Bales II

John Foster Bales II, 100, died June 3 at Meadow Lakes in Hightstown, N.J.

Born in the farming community of Circleville, Ohio on January 5, 1911, he was the younger of two children of Robert Rea Bales and Minnie Westenhaver Bales. He graduated from Circleville High School and Lake Forest Academy, and then graduated Magna Cum Laude from Princeton University in 1934 where he starred as an All-American tailback on the Princeton University undefeated National Champion football team of 1933.

After his college graduation, he joined the Prophylactic Brush Company as a junior sales trainee and traveled through the South during the Depression selling tooth and hair brushes to drug stores. In 1938, he met and married Jean Torrence from Xenia, Ohio, beginning a long and mutually-devoted relationship. In 1944, he was hired by Johnson & Johnson as the Director of their Tek Division and rose to the position of Executive Vice President of its Tek-Hughes subsidiary. He joined Yardley of London, in New York City, as Vice President of Sales and Marketing in 1949. Over the next 20 years he assumed various positions of increased responsibility, retiring in June 1969 as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. There, he was the architect of the “London Look” which swept the cosmetic industry in the 1960s, capitalizing on the British invasion of fashion and popular music into the United States during that period.

After his business career, he immersed himself in community affairs. For many years he served as a Trustee and Vice President of the Princeton Public Library and as President of the Friends of the Library. He was an active member of the Nassau Club of Princeton where he served as its Treasurer for 17 years, and as its president from 1992 to 1994. He was also active in Princeton University Alumni affairs, serving as his class president from 1974 to 1979 and receiving the “Outstanding Achievement Award” of his Class in 1981. He was Vice Chairman and Secretary of the Friends of Princeton Football for many years, and from 1983 until 1996, he served as Director of the Class of 1934 Special Assistance Fund for Princeton Undergraduates.

A strong and thoughtful man with a wonderful common touch, quick wit, and generous manner, he spent his life fully engaged in the lives of others. He left an indelible impact on his family and many friends, and on his wide range of community and business interests.

Predeceased in 2003 by his wife of 65 years, Jean Torrence Bales; he is survived by his three children, John F. Bales III, Robert T. Bales, and Richard F. Bales; seven grandchildren; and 12 great grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent in his memory to Princeton University.

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

Douglas M. Coombs

Douglas McLeod Coombs, formerly of Princeton, died May 28 at home in Orlando, Fla.

The son of Ralph Douglas Coombs and Mary McLeod, he was born September 4, 1922 in Princeton. He was enrolled in Princeton University in 1941 when World War II began, and left to serve his country in the U.S. Marine Corps as a radar technician in the Asian Pacific Theater and became a scholar of World War II history in the years that followed.

He returned to Princeton and distinguished himself by earning a B.S. in chemical engineering in 1947 from Princeton University. In 1951, he went on to graduate from Harvard Law School. He was a member of the bar in New York, Connecticut, and the District of Columbia.

He and his wife, Carol Coombs, were joined by their daughter, Karen Coombs and founded their longtime family home in Irvington, N.Y. He worked at Simmonds Precision where he was a Vice President & General Counsel. He also called Boston and Orlando “home” too.

Fueled by his daily New York Times ritual, he was always abreast of global current events and enjoyed traveling the world, sailing, and reading. His favorite book was the Bible and his Christian faith sustained him to the end.

He is survived by his daughter, Karen Coombs; and his sister, Katherine Boger.

His family extends a warm welcome to all who would like to join them in celebrating his life with a military service held graveside at the Bourne National Cemetery, Bourne, Mass. on Wednesday, June 8. A procession will leave the Nickerson-Bourne Funeral Home at 2 p.m. sharp, 40 MacArthur Boulevard, Bourne, Mass. 02532.

William E. Hopkins Jr.

William E. Hopkins Jr. died June 4 at his farm in Bethel, Pa. after a month-long illness.

Born on June 13, 1954 in Atlanta, Ga., his family moved to Norfolk, Va. in 1962. He received a BS in mathematics from The College of William and Mary in 1975. Three years later he received an MS in mathematics. He also received an MS in electrical engineering in 1979, both from the University of Maryland. He was awarded a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the Univeersity of Maryland in 1982. He married that same year.

He joined the faculty at Princeton University, and later at Drexel University, before changing fields to work as an actuary in 1994. His actuarial career was entirely with Mercer, first in New York City and later in Princeton at Mercer Health & Benefits LLC.

His favorite leisure activity was working with the land and trees at the small Pennsylvania farm that he had owned since 1987.

He is survived by his wife, Alice Deanin; his sons, Peter, David, and Mark; and his brother, Stephen Hopkins.

A graveside service will be held at the cemetery in Woodville, Va. on Saturday, June 11 at 11 a.m.

Memorial donations may be sent to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, P.O. Box 807, Harpers Ferry, W.Va. 25425.

D. Victoria Ellis

D. Victoria Ellis, 82, of Princeton, died May 27 at Buckingham Place in Monmouth Junction, N.J.

She was born on October 25, 1928 in Washington, D.C. to the late Walter Dympsie Toms and DeElla Broome Toms, and attended Dunbar High School in Washington, D.C. She received a B.A. degree from Howard University in 1948, and a PhD from Northwestern University in 1953. One year later she married Dr. Robert A. Ellis Jr.

After teaching at Tennessee State University, she moved to Princeton with her husband. She worked at Educational Testing Service and taught German and English in the Princeton Regional Schools from 1956 until her retirement in 1993, with time away to raise her family.

Predeceased by her husband in 1989; she is survived by two sons, Robert A. Ellis III and Walter C. Ellis; two daughters, Dolores Meliani and Julia Ellis; and six grandchildren.

A private interment will be held in the Princeton Cemetery. A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. on June 24 at the Witherspoon Street Presbyterian Church, 124 Witherspoon Street, Princeton.

To extend condolences or share memories in the guest book, please visit

Adra A. Fairman

A Memorial Service will be held for Adra Armitage Fairman at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 18 at the Unitarian Church of Princeton.

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