September 25, 2019

Obituaries 9/25/19

Mary Osborne Witherbee

Mary Osborne Witherbee of Baltimore, MD, and Greensboro, VT, formerly of Princeton, NJ, died peacefully at her home in MD surrounded by her children on September 6, 2019 after a long illness.  Born in Bronxville, NY, on February 23, 1931, she was the daughter of the late Elizabeth Ide Osborne and Stanley de Jongh Osborne of New York.

During her long and colorful life she ran her own interior design business and was one of the first breeders of Shih Tzu dogs in the United States. She was involved in and volunteered at many charitable causes such as a children’s hospital in Baltimore, the tutoring of children in Trenton, NJ, and sat on the boards of Sterling College and the Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium in Vermont. She was active in her book and garden clubs in Princeton and a former member of Bedens Brook Club. She was married three times: to James Bedford Downing, Jr, of Hobe Sound, FL, from whom she was divorced; to the late Edmund Ruffin Beckwith of Princeton, NJ; and to the late John Hemenway Witherbee, of Nantucket, MA, from whom she was divorced.

All who knew Mary recognized her as a “life force” and a woman of passion, with a wicked sense of humor and strong opinions. Her energy and zest for life affected all those close to her. She had a great ability to befriend people of all ages and walks of life. Mary’s great loves were her extended family, her wide circle of friends, her many dogs, and her gardens. Mary was devoted to all things Vermont, especially her farm in Greensboro.

She is survived by her four children James Bedford Downing III (Liz) of London, England; Elizabeth “Lisa” Downing Sartorius of Baltimore, MD; John Osborne Downing (Francie) of Green Pond, SC; and Lily de Jongh Downing (David Yudain) of North Stamford, CT; as well as three Beckwith stepchildren (Ruffin, Jean, and David); eleven grandchildren and seven great grandchildren. She is also survived by her sister, Cynthia Osborne Hoskin of Cold Spring, KY, and her brother, Richard de Jongh Osborne of New York, NY.

The family would like to thank her devoted caregivers Yolanda Addison, Renee Tuck, Iris Rosa, and Nancy Githinji. A Memorial Service will be held Saturday, October 26th, at 4 p.m. at St. John’s Western Run, Butler, Maryland. Donations in her memory may be made to the Greensboro Land Trust.


Robert Marius DeMartino

Robert Marius DeMartino died at his home in Princeton on March 3, 2019. The son of Mario and Emily DeMartino, Bob’s childhood years were spent in Jersey City. He attended Rutgers University in New Brunswick, where he met Ellen Calhoun. They were the centers of each other’s lives until her death in December 2015 at age 66. They had lived in New Hope and South River before moving to Princeton in 1992. Ellen earned her Master’s of Library Science from Rutgers and made a lifelong career as a tenured librarian there.

After earning his PhD in Classical History from Rutgers in 1985, Bob turned to administration and worked in grants administration and sponsored research at Monmouth College, Rutgers-Camden, and Seton Hall before retiring to enjoy a quiet life in Princeton with his wife Ellen and their Pyrenees dogs. They enjoyed canoeing or kayaking on the lake, antiquing at the Lambertville Flea Market and at estate sales around the area, and gardening. Their house was notable for the number and variety of daffodils in their front yard each spring, to which they added new varieties every year.

Bob was an active member of Toastmasters and enjoyed teaching English conversation groups at the Princeton Public Library. He was a respected member of the Princeton community, a good friend and neighbor, and enjoyed meeting new people through social groups such as Meet Up. Princeton residents may remember him walking his Pyrenees and then his very large white Komondor puppy.

A private gathering of Bob’s friends and neighbors will be held Saturday, October 5 at his home in Princeton. Please RSVP to if you would like to come and remember our good friend. Donations in the DeMartino’s memory can be made to National Pyrenees Rescue


Hazel V. Rhodes

Hazel V. Rhodes, devoted wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and great-great-grandmother, peacefully passed away at home surrounded by family members on Saturday, September 14, 2019 at the age of 93.

Hazel was born on November 11, 1925 in Mt. Olive, NC, to Oscar and Katie Allen Winn. After completing her education in the Dudley and Mt. Olive, NC, Schools, she relocated to Allentown, NJ, in her early twenties. In January of 1947, Hazel moved to Princeton, NJ, where she met the love of her life, Emanuel Rhodes. On June 27, 1947, they were the first couple married by the late Rev. John W. Johnson in the Mt. Pisgah A.M.E. Church parsonage. Hazel and Emanuel were residents of Princeton, NJ, for over 70 years. Hazel was an active member of Mt. Pisgah A.M.E. Church for over 69 years serving as a choir member, usher, and member of the Pastor’s Aide.

Hazel retired from the Princeton School District in 1996 after 25 years as a teacher’s assistant. She enjoyed traveling, cooking, playing cards, board games, and the casino, but most of all, time spent with her family members (five generations) was her greatest joy. Hazel was an avid basketball fan and followed the 76ers. She was also an active member of the Zeta Amicae of Princeton-Trenton Auxiliary, Epsilon Xi Zeta Chapter, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., for 50 years; and a longtime member of the Princeton Senior Citizens Club.

Hazel is preceded in death by her parents, Oscar and Katie Allen Winn; husband of 71 years, Emanuel Rhodes; brothers Oscar Pink, Orbell, and Edward; sisters Katherine, Gwendolyn, and Helen; brother-in-law, Oscar Rhodes (Juanita). Also, close friends Inez Crawford, Barbara Hill, Florence Sharples, and Lillian Trotman.

Hazel is survived by three daughters, H. Patricia Rhodes, Lynet Dugger, and Lisa D. Miles; one son, Emanuel Derrick Rhodes; and son-in-law, Paul Miles. Six grandchildren: Gina Jackson-Beale (Corey), Ralph Jackson III, Mia Johnson (Gary), Nina Dugger (Melvin), Emanuel J. Jackson, Sr. (Nicole), and Skyler Dugger. Seventeen great-grandchildren: Shana Jackson, Sharesse Jackson, Gary Johnson Jr. (Erika), Sheldon Jackson (Ramona), Canaan Johnson, Chanel Johnson, Shaan Johnson, Cameron Johnson, Makye Pegram, Amirah Jackson, Yoana Jackson, Kayla Jackson, Emanuel “Jay” Jackson Jr., Aaron Pegram, Antonio Jackson, Zamarrion Gantt, and Shada Jackson. Five great-great-grandchildren: Kayden Taylor, Jai Johnson, Gavin Johnson, Kailee Taylor, and Kamryn Taylor.

Hazel is also survived by special nieces, Bertha Logan-Smoot and Vanessa Davenport; special cousins, Dorothy and Ralph Stevens, and Samirah (Holly) Abdul-Fattah. She embraced as daughters, Penney Edwards-Carter and Joanne Parker. Special friends include: Pete Burford, John Clark, Minnie Craig, Mardean Epps, Charlotte Gipson, Melva and Willie Moore, Leighton Newlin, Carrie Roque-Tucker, and John Washington, as well as many other nephews, nieces, cousins, and friends.

Hazel’s homegoing service will be held on Thursday, September 26, 2019 at 11 a.m., First Baptist Church of Princeton, John Street and Paul Robeson Place, Princeton, NJ. Calling hours will be 9 a.m. until time of service at the church. Rev. Dr. Deborah Blanks, Mt. Pisgah A.M.E. Church, is the officiate.

In lieu of flowers, the family of Hazel Rhodes requests donations be made to the Building Fund of Mt. Pisgah A.M.E. Church, 170 Witherspoon Street, Princeton NJ. 08542. Interment will be private. Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Hughes Funeral Home, Trenton, NJ.