November 6, 2019

Obituaries, 11/6/19

Frieda Gilvarg

Frieda Gilvarg died during the night on October 10th, at the age of 97. Widow of Charles, mother of Karyn, David, Martin, and Gail, sister of Elizabeth Mueller, she remained active, engaged, and “feisty” until the end, living independently in Skillman.

Frieda Marie Mueller was born June 30, 1922 in LaGrange, IL, to William Mueller and his second wife, Lily Daiss, the second of five children, in addition to three from William’s previous marriage. Her early years included quarantine for scarlet fever, and a prolonged recovery from being struck by a car, but Frieda emerged unscathed from both.

She attended Lutheran schools through eighth grade, Lyons Township HS, and then Valparaiso University, earning a degree in Biology in December 1943, and promptly enlisted in the women’s auxiliary of the U.S. Navy, known as the WAVES. Having led a relatively sheltered life, the Navy opened her eyes to the wider world, and she particularly enjoyed her time in San Diego at the bustling wartime naval base, including the Officer’s Club!

After her discharge in 1946, she taught language arts to eighth graders at the Harvard School for Boys while living at home, and enrolled for a Masters in Zoology at the University of Chicago. While at the university she met Charles, and an unlikely post-war romance between a Midwestern German Lutheran and a Jewish New Yorker blossomed. Frieda’s family was very cool to the pairing, and her father imposed a one-year cooling off period, which Frieda shortened to three months, absent the “cooling.” They were married in NYC in 1949, and Frieda was welcomed by the Gilvargs.

Back in Chicago, Frieda took a job teaching at Elmhurst College before giving birth to Karyn in 1951. The following August they moved to New York, had David in 1952, and bought a home in Jackson Heights in 1956. In the summer of 1958 Frieda and Charles took a magical extended vacation in Europe while her in-laws babysat, going over on the Ile de France, a luxury liner on its last voyage, and returning with enough rolls of film to create a closet full of slides and memories. Frieda continued teaching in the NYC public schools as a one-year replacement for teachers on maternity leave, but after the birth of Martin in 1959 she put her career on hold to handle the demands of three children and a tight budget. A fourth child, Gail, was born in 1962, making the little row house a very crowded place, so when Charles was offered a full professorship at Princeton University the following year, the family sold their home and embarked on a six-month sabbatical in Israel, returning to a new life in suburban NJ in the summer of 1964.

In Princeton, Frieda oversaw the building of a new home, and began an association with the League of Women Voters that would last until her death, include countless voter registration drives, two terms as president of the Princeton chapter, recruitment of dozens of new members, and ignite a lifelong passion for liberal causes. Frieda also was an avid supporter of Planned Parenthood, driving to Trenton to counsel young women until she was 75. She also did substitute teaching, including a long-term replacement stint at Stuart CDS teaching biology. A nine-month sabbatical was spent in Zurich, with Gail and Martin attending school in Switzerland. She then worked as an employment counselor and as a realtor for Audrey Short.

After Charles retired from Princeton he retained his grant-funded lab, but they were free to travel a bit more, and began spending the winters in Scottsdale, AZ, eventually buying a condo near Camelback Mt. Frieda loved the climate, the smaller space to maintain, the frequent visitors and new friends, and politics remained a passion she and Charles shared. Back home in Princeton Frieda volunteered for Meals-on-Wheels for several years, at an age when she should have been receiving them, and continued her LWV activities. Grandchildren started to arrive in 1984, and she ended up being a grandmother of eight, whose lives she followed avidly.

After Charles’ sudden death in early 2013, Frieda moved to Stonebridge, a retirement community in Skillman where many of her friends were residents, and continued to live independently. During this period her grandson Thomas took her on two epic journeys starting from Arizona, one to visit long-lost relatives and friends in California and Oregon, and most recently a whirlwind tour of the South from New Orleans to Princeton, stopping in North Carolina to see her beloved younger sister, Bethy, and sample the cuisine of Alabama and the sights in Nashville. Childhood memories of long trips from Chicago to her mother’s family in San Francisco often came bubbling up on road trips, and Frieda’s love of movement and new landscapes never flagged. She was looking forward to Christmas in La Jolla, a fond memory from her wartime posting, and then driving out to Scottsdale to welcome a new decade.

Since her death, her children have fielded a flood of messages, from family, in-laws, LWV colleagues, and residents in the halls at Stonebridge. People remember different things about her but indomitable, feisty, and engaged are always among the words they use. It seems an odd thing to say about a 97-year-old, but it is a tribute to her vitality and spirit that her death came as a complete shock to so many.

Anyone wishing to honor Frieda’s memory with a charitable donation should consider Planned Parenthood or the League of Women Voters. A memorial service is planned for the summer of 2020; if you are likely to attend, please let us know.


Josephine Antoinette LaPlaca

Josephine Antoinette LaPlaca of New York City was born March 6, 1922 in Monmouth Junction, NJ, and passed away on November 3, 2019 at NYU Langone-Tisch Hospital at the age of 97.

Josephine is the 10th born of 12 children. She became the matriarch as last survivor of the Mary and Giuseppe La Placa family. Josephine was a New Yorker, was inspired by, active on the vibrant city scene, and resided there for all her adult life. She worked as a model in the ’40s, served as volunteer on the stateside World War II war effort, and in her later years had a career in real estate.

Josephine is survived by her nephews Jim, Tony, and David La Placa; great-nephews Paul and Leo La Placa, Clayton George and Jawed La Placa BenMoussa; her nieces Laraine, Geraldine and Rosemary La Placa, Laurie L Holladay, Claudia L George,Trinna LaPlaca B; great-nieces, Lauren, Anna, Pia, Lee LaPlaca and Noor La Placa BenMoussa.

Visitation will be held at Mather Hodge Funeral Home, 40 Vandeventer Avenue, Princeton, NJ 08542 on Friday, November 8, 2019 from 5-8 p.m. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. Paul’s Church, 216 Nassau Street, Princeton, NJ 08542 on Saturday, November 9, 2019 at 10 a.m. Burial will follow in St. James Cemetery, Jamesburg, NJ.

Memorial donations may be made to the Lenox Hill Senior Center, NYC.


Peter J. Dungan

Peter Joseph Dungan, 66, died on October 2, 2019 following a short illness.

Peter was born November 15, 1952, in Washington, D.C., the second child of Mary (Rowley) Dungan and Ralph A. Dungan, Jr. Pete lived in Virginia until 1964, when the family moved to Chile. In 1967 the Dungans returned to the States and settled in Princeton, where Pete graduated from Princeton High School.

Following high school, he enrolled at Stockton State College, and in 1978 he graduated from the University of Illinois with a bachelor’s in psychology.

After college, Pete ran a furniture restoration business in Chicago. In 1984, he moved to Washington, D.C., where he lived with his mother until her death in 1987.

Peter then moved to Kodiak, Alaska, where he worked as a commercial fisherman and a substance abuse counselor. He earned his master’s in social work from Eastern Washington University in 1995, after which he worked as a therapist in Nome, Alaska, before returning to Kodiak in 1999. Peter lived in Kodiak, where he maintained a counseling practice, for the next 15 years.

In 2014, Pete relocated to Salida, Colorado.

Both of Peter’s parents died before him. Pete leaves behind his six siblings: Chris, Nancy, Jim, Moira, Paul, and Jenn, and his stepmother Judith. He is also mourned by his nieces and nephews, aunt, uncle, and cousins.

Peter loved helping people through his counseling. He also enjoyed meaningful conversation; a steak from the grill; his dogs; playing guitar; taking drives around his beautiful homes in Alaska and Colorado; and a good sleep.

A thoughtful and sensitive introvert with a strong sense of himself, Pete lived his life independently and on his own terms. He prepared to leave this world similarly, attending to the business of wrapping up his life and arranging his hospice and end-of-life plans.

Pete spent his last months visiting with family and friends in Alaska and Colorado. He died peacefully at the Howard, CO, home of his sister Moira and brother-in-law Bill, with his brother Paul and hospice nurse Kayla also at his side, enjoying a view of the mountains. He was well cared for in his last days, and left his life quietly and without fuss, free from fear and with few regrets. He was much loved, and he will be missed.

In keeping with Pete’s wishes, there will be no funeral service.

Remembrances can be shared at:


Peter Douglas Halstead
March 17, 1942 – October 28, 2019

Peter “Pete” Halstead, 77, of Washington Crossing, PA, passed away on October 28, 2019. His unwavering determination to meet every health obstacle was an inspiration to everyone. Pete valued the deep friendships that spanned decades.  Whether in business or treasured personal relationships, he felt so blessed to live life and live it well.

Pete had a genetic kidney disease that took the life of his father in 1970, but was determined to do everything he could to live a long and productive life with his wife, his four children, and seven grandchildren, and his furry friend, K.C.

Pete was born March 17, 1942, in Newark, NJ, and moved to Bloomfield, NJ, where he met his childhood sweetheart and wife, Linda, and they recently celebrated 55 years of marriage. Pete loved to play baseball, basketball, and discovered singing when he was asked to be a part of the Colgate 13 A Cappella singing group at Colgate University. He continued singing with a newly formed Vintage 13 group who met annually for their friendships and love of performing.

Pete graduated with a BS major in Economics from Colgate University in 1964. He then studied for his MBA at NYU and Farleigh Dickenson, after which he entered the banking world at Manufacturers Hanover in NYC. He stayed in commercial lending until his retirement in 2000, as an EVP of Summit Bank Corp, at which time he became co-founder of Capital Consulting Networks, LLC, focusing on crisis management. Over the years, Pete sat on many boards such as McCarter Theatre, Colgate University Alumni Board, Stony Brook Millstone Watershed, Corner House of Princeton, Cancer Care, and National Kidney Foundation of Delaware Valley. He also served on the boards of MetLife Bank, First Bank of New Jersey, American Sensor Technologies, and Interpool, Inc.

Pete is survived by his beloved wife, Linda, and his children, Deb Cusma (and son-in-law, Stephen) of Titusville, NJ; Amy Willett of Duxbury, MA; Karin Telegadis (and son-in-law, George) of Tampa, FL; and David Halstead (and husband, Andrew Mrakovcic) of East Meadow, NY.  Pete was especially proud of his seven grandchildren: Will, Jay, Catherine, Lauren, Christian, Grace, and Sophia.  “Pop Pop” will surely be missed. They were the happiest kids alive when at “their” lake house being pulled on inner tubes behind his boat.

In lieu of flowers, donations can go to the National Kidney Foundation ( or NKF, 30 E. 33rd Street, New York, NY 10016), and/or the Polycystic Kidney Research Foundation ( or via mail at PKD Foundation, 1001 E 101st Terrace, Suite 220, Kansas City, MO 64131).

Celebration of Life service will be held at Nassau Presbyterian Church, 61 Nassau Street, Princeton, NJ, on December 7, 2019 at 10:30 a.m. Arrangements are by the Wilson-Apple Funeral Home, 2560 Pennington Road, Pennington. Condolences are welcome at