Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXII, No. 47
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Coldwell Banker Princeton Office

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Violet Fitch

George F. Stockdale

Yvonne S. VanPlateringen

Anna Mae Lappan

Marian B. Williams

Violet Fitch

Violet Fitch

Violet Fitch, 94, of Princeton and Meadow Lakes, Hightstown, died peacefully October 27 at the University Medical Center at Princeton after a brief illness.

Born in Monowi, Nebraska, she was the eldest of four sisters born to Frank Vaughn, M.D., a small town general practitioner, and Mabel Johnson Vaughn, a school teacher. The family eventually settled in Gordon, Neb., where Dr. Vaughn turned a Victorian house across the street from the family home into a 12 bed hospital.

Born into a musical family, Mrs. Fitch studied piano from an early age, played in the local church, and improvised on the piano at the local movie house, adding drama to silent movies. She majored in music at the School of Music at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, graduating in 1935.

She married Lyle Fitch, also of Gordon, in 1938. Mr. Fitch and his brother Val Fitch, later a professor of physics at Princeton University, spent their early years on a cattle ranch in northwestern Nebraska.

After their marriage, Dr. and Mrs. Fitch migrated to New York City where Lyle earned his Ph.D. in economics at Columbia University and Violet studied piano at Julliard. Dr. Fitch became a member of the economics departments of Columbia University and Wesleyan University. In 1957 he became City Administrator of New York City serving under Mayors Robert F. Wagner and John Lindsay. He left New York City government in 1961 to become president of the Institute of Public Administration, a private education, research, and consulting center in New York and Washington, retiring in 1982.

In 1958 the family moved from Middletown, Conn. to Princeton, where their two children, Linda and Devin, graduated from Princeton High School.

Mrs. Fitch created a family tradition of music-making in which Linda played flute, Devin the clarinet, Dr. Fitch the recorder, and Mrs. Fitch the piano. She taught piano, then taught herself recorder before joining the Princeton Recorder Society. She was the inspiration for music-making wherever she lived, believing that everyone should make music no matter what their level of skill. Friends who came to visit were invited to bring musical instruments.

In 1970 the family purchased a summer home on Isle La Motte, Vermont, the northernmost island of Lake Champlain, where friends and family gathered in the summer months and family music combined with Violet’s love of gardens and her husband’s love of the water. Twenty-five years later Dr. and Mrs. Fitch moved to Meadow Lakes. After her husband’s death in 1996, Mrs. Fitch became known throughout the community as the inspiration for music making, organizing Friday night sing-a-longs, playing for chapel, and finding other pianists with whom she played four hand duets. With Don Smith, a pianist, arranger, composer, and conductor from New York City who lived at Meadow Lakes, she enjoyed playing duets and creating musical happenings of every kind at the retirement community.

She is survived by her daughter, Linda Fitch of Princeton and Isle La Motte, Vt.; two sisters, Frances Myers of Kenniwick, Wash. and Betty Johnson of Fort Morgan, Colo.; two grandsons; and her beloved companion, Don Smith of Hightstown.

A memorial service will be held at Meadow Lakes on November 22 at 2 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be sent to the scholarship fund of Meadow Lakes; or to the Violet Fitch Memorial Fund of the Isle La Motte Preservation Trust, c/o Linda Fitch, 170 Linden Lane, Princeton 08540.

George F. Stockdale

George F Stockdale, 87, of Dayton, Ohio, formerly of Princeton, died November 10.

Born in Spencerport, N.Y. to Winifred Madeline Dennis and George Maychin Stockdale, he earned a bachelor’s degree in physics from Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y. and a master’s of science in ceramics from the University of Illinois.

In 1942, he joined the Corning Glass Works Research Laboratory where he worked on radio capacitors. He subsequently worked as a research associate professor of ceramic engineering at the University of Illinois before joining IRC in Philadelphia as technical director of the Minuteman High Reliability Resistor program. In 1961, he joined RCA Laboratories in Princeton, where he worked for the remainder of his career on glass manufacture, kinescopes, flat panel displays, and solid state devices.

In his free time, Mr. Stockdale was a private pilot who enjoyed traveling and spending time at his camp in the Adirondacks.

He was predeceased by his wife, Jean (Atchison) in 1990. He is survived by two daughters, Anne Gardner of Oakwood, Ohio, and Carol Haggans of Boulder, Colo.; four grandchildren; and his good friend and traveling companion Barbara Pinkham of Princeton.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the American Heart Association, 1313 West Dorothy Lane, Dayton, Ohio 45409.

Private services will be held at a later date.

Arrangements were by the Routsong Funeral Home, Dayton, Ohio. Condolences and other remembrances may be sent to the family by visiting

Yvonne S. VanPlateringen

Yvonne S. VanPlateringen, 80, died November 10 in Stonebridge at Montgomery.

Born in Aruba, Netherlands Antilles, she was a former resident of Miami, Florida.

She enjoyed crafts, ceramics, and painting.

Daughter of the late Ludwig and Lise Nunes and sister of the late Louis Nunes, she is survived by her husband, Marcus VanPlateringen; a daughter, Lisette Siegel of Princeton; a brother, Charles Nunes; a sister, Liette Fleming; and two grandsons.

The funeral service and burial were private.

Memorial contributions may be offered to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, Tenn. 38105.

Funeral arrangements were by Orland’s Ewing Memorial Chapel, Ewing Township.

Anna Mae Lappan

Anna Mae Lappan, 97, of Princeton, died November 6 at Princeton Care Center.

Born and raised in Trenton, she graduated from Cathedral High School in Trenton in 1929. She received a BCS degree in 1931 and a BS degree in 1947, both from Rider College. From 1942 to 1946 she worked in three defense plants in New Jersey. She taught at Westwood High School in Westwood from 1943 to 1946 before becoming the secretary to the director of public relations at the Lawrenceville School in 1946. She taught at the New Jersey State Home for Girls in Trenton from 1946 to 1947.

Daughter of the late Walter A. and Anna M. (Ribsam) Otto, and wife of the late Thomas A. Cahill and the late Peter A. Lappan, she is survived by ten children, Ann Caton of Florida, Maureen Stevens of Princeton, Peter Lappan of Michigan, Thomas Cahill of Rocky Hill, Daniel Cahill of Florida, Richard Lappan of Trenton, Charles Lappan of Texas, Robert Lappan of Somerville, William Lappan of Poughkeepsie, N.Y., and Gerald Lappan of Herdon, Va.; a brother, Walter Otto of Wilmington, Del.; 16 grandchildren; and 11 great-grandchildren.

A Memorial Mass was celebrated November 15 at St. Paul’s Church. Interment followed in St. Paul’s Cemetery.

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

Marian B. Williams

Marian Barclay Williams, 95, of Princeton, died November 1 at the Princeton Care Center.

Born in Nanticoke, Maryland, she relocated to Princeton at an early age.

She was educated in the Princeton school system, attending Witherspoon Street School.

She was employed by the Nassau Club and Ten Acres as a cook for many years.

She was a member of Mount Pisgah A.M.E. Church, where she was loved by all who knew her.

She was predeceased by her parents, James and Anna Barclay; a daughter, Dolores C. Oliver; and her husband, Edgar “Leroy” Williams.

She is survived by a son, Donald N. Williams of San Diego; five grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; and six great-great-grandchildren.

The funeral service was November 8 at the Hughes Funeral Home, Trenton. Burial was in Princeton Cemetery.

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