August 21, 2019

Obituaries 8/21/19

Robert John Levine

Robert John Levine, 97, died at his home in Princeton on July 7, 2019, after a year of declining health.  He had lived there since moving to Princeton in the 1964. Born in 1921 to Helen Langendorfer Levine and Sol Levine in Riverdale, New York, he graduated from DeWitt Clinton High School, completed a B.S. in Engineering from Manhattan College, and went on to earn a Masters of Industrial Engineering from Columbia University. While studying at Columbia, he met Virginia (Ginny) White Arnold of Bethel, Vermont. They were married in 1948.  

During World War II he served in the U.S. Army Signal Corps, where he created the first mobile radar unit. After the war, he developed a wide range of gauges and detectors, from a chocolate gauge for Hershey and Nestle to a hydrogen detector that is now leaving the solar system on the Voyager space probe. He combined his love of engineering and teaching as the vice president of the Center for Professional Advancement in East Brunswick, New Jersey, and the founder of Princeton Technical Publishers. He enjoyed children and teenagers and was an advisor to the R.E.S.I.S.T.O.R.S., one of the first high-school computer clubs. 

Always a defender of the rights of citizens, he helped prepare a case against property owners who closed a path that neighborhood children used to go to and from school and that residents used to walk to the Princeton Shopping Center. The pedestrians prevailed; the path now belongs to the town and remains in active use.

Bob was also a passionate wine enthusiast and a friend of winemakers all over the world. He taught wine appreciation courses both at his home and at the Princeton Adult School for many years. He went on to co-found the Society of Wine Educators to create professional standards for wine courses. He brought a similar energy to many other interests, from ballet and opera to skiing and sailing. He taught generations of youth to sail on a series of day-sailor boats in Barnegat Bay, and continued to sail his own boat there until he was 95. 

During the 1960s and 1970s he was active in the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Princeton,
including time on the Board of Directors and terms as treasurer. During that time he and his family started to attend family retreat conferences at Star Island in New Hampshire. Always sensitive to issues of inclusion and fairness, he and his wife Ginny made changes to guarantee the attendance of new families in the conferences, and created open and public social gatherings. Upon Ginny’s death in 1989, he established the Ginny Levine Scholarship Fund to provide financial assistance to those otherwise unable to attend the conferences.

Through the 1990s he was an active volunteer with various groups in the Princeton area, and ultimately did a number of projects under the auspices of the National Executive Service Corps. In later decades he assembled a fine collection of glass art, getting to know artists and gallery owners and traveling to sales and exhibitions. 

Bob was predeceased by his first wife, Virginia A. Levine, and his sister, Mary Levine Harnett. He is survived by his second wife, Diane Sherman Levine of Seattle, Washington; son John Robert Levine and daughter-in-law Antonia Saxon of Trumansburg, New York; daughter Margaret Levine Young and son-in-law Jordan M. Young II of Cornwall, Vermont; brother Richard Levine and sister-in-law Nancy Levine of Ringwood, New Jersey; grandchildren Margaret Virginia Young of Portland, Maine, Sarah Saxon of Trumansburg, New York, Christopher Isaac Young of Los Angeles, California; and 11 nieces and nephews. 

A memorial service will be held at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Princeton at 1 p.m. on Sunday, October 20, 2019. 


Joan Hicks Mitchell

Joan Hicks Mitchell, of Princeton, NJ, passed away on August 12, 2019, just a few days after celebrating her 90t​h​ birthday. Born in Spring Lake, NJ, on August 7, 1929, she was the daughter of Mary L. Reeves and Thomas Edward Hicks. Joan attended Princeton Public Schools, Dana Hall School in Wellesley, MA, Goucher College in Towson, MD, and Rider College in Lawrenceville, NJ.

Joan resided most of her life in Pennington, Lawrenceville, and Princeton. She was married to John R. Mitchell and moved to Brevard, NC, with their two children, Jody and David. After her divorce, Joan returned to the Princeton area where she lived for the remainder of her life.

Joan enjoyed the outdoors, playing tennis, horseback riding, and taking walks. She was an avid reader, card player, dog owner, and expert in American history and family genealogy. For most of her adult life, Joan followed the principles of Joel Goldsmith, the American spiritual author, teacher, mystic, and founder of the Infinite Way movement.

Joan was predeceased by her daughter Joan “Jody” R. Mitchell of Winston-Salem, NC; sister Patricia H. McNitt of Annapolis, MD; nephew Thomas Edward Hicks III of Elkton, MD; and her brother A.C. Reeves Hicks of Princeton, NJ. She is survived by her son David Mitchell, sister-in-law Joan S. Hicks of Princeton, NJ, and a dear friend, Preston Brady Evers, of Princeton, NJ.

“Aunt Joanie” has seven nieces, and a nephew, who, along with their families, will miss her gentle spirit, crystal blue eyes, quick wit, and sense of humor. She was the “go-to” source for Hicks family history.

There will be a family gathering to celebrate Joan’s life at a future date. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).