April 15, 2020


Robert Jefferson Wolfe

Robert Jefferson Wolfe, 72, died on March 31, 2020 in West Palm Beach, Florida. He and his wife Barbara have also been residents of Ringoes, New Jersey, since 1980. The cause of death was complications from myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), a rare form of bone marrow cancer which he had battled courageously and cheerfully for 15 years.

Bob was born on April 13, 1947 and was raised in South Orange, New Jersey. His parents, Albert Lewis Wolfe and Olga Maurer Wolfe, pre-deceased him. Bob graduated from Columbia High School, South Orange, NJ, in 1965, where he was senior class president. He graduated from Princeton University in 1969 with a degree in Philosophy. At Princeton, he participated in crew for two years, and sculling became one of his interests later in life.

After graduation, he joined the Army Reserves and was on active duty at Fort Sam Houston in Texas from October 1969 until February 1970. Then he attended Stanford University Graduate School of Business, where he met his wife and fellow student Barbara Burgess. They were married in December 1973. After graduating with an MBA in 1972, Bob worked for Stanford University before returning to NJ in 1974 to work as Assistant Treasurer of Princeton University.

In 1976, Princeton launched a 2,000+ acre mixed use real estate development project, the Princeton Forrestal Center. Bob, as a partner of the consulting firm K. S. Sweet Associates, was instrumental in leading the development of this project throughout his career. In 1993, he formed his own company, Picus Associates, which continues to this day (under new ownership) to manage the Princeton Forrestal Center on behalf of Princeton University. Bob enjoyed seeing the physical results of his work materialize over time, and he believed that real estate development should be concentrated in areas with appropriate infrastructure, while rural lands should be protected and the natural environment preserved.

Bob believed in contributing his time and expertise to his community. He served on the Boards of McCarter Theatre (Princeton), the Stony Brook Millstone Watershed Association, and Princeton In Community Service (PICS, placing undergraduates with nonprofit internships for summer work experiences). At the time of his death, he was a member of the Board of NJ Conservation Foundation and its Treasurer.

He enjoyed tennis, travel, photography, and sculling. He also enjoyed spending time with extended family at a cabin on Garnet Lake in the Adirondacks. Bob was very supportive of Barbara’s equestrian interests and passion for dressage. They have owned a horse farm outside of Princeton since 1980. They began spending winters in Wellington, FL, in 2000, initially for equestrian activities, until Bob discovered sculling on Lake Wellington. With two partners, he purchased and managed the Florida Rowing Center, a winter sculling school based in Wellington, which continues today. After he retired in 2018, Barbara and Bob became Florida residents.

Bob is survived by his wife of 46 years Barbara (Burgess); his sister Susan Wolfe Lauffer (spouse Don Lauffer) of Bartlesville, OK, and Madison WI; his brother William A. Wolfe (spouse Elizabeth West Wolfe) of Princeton, NJ; a nephew Andrew Wolfe who lives in Paris, France; and a niece Amy Powell Burruss who lives in Muskogee, OK. He is remembered for his wonderful smile, consistently optimistic approach to life, kindness, and generosity.

An online video memorial service for immediate family members was held on Sunday, April 5. A memorial service for friends and colleagues will be held later this year in Princeton, after the coronavirus pandemic has subsided and travel restrictions have been lifted.

Charitable contributions may be made in his honor to MDS research at Columbia University, where one of his doctors oversees an MDS research program doing cutting-edge research to understand and combat the disease. An alternative for charitable contributions is the New Jersey Conservation Foundation, one of the premier land conservation organizations in the U.S. Since 1960, NJCF has protected over 125,000 acres of natural areas and farmland in New Jersey.

Check payable to: Trustees of Columbia University; mail to Dr. Azra Raza, MDS Research Program, Columbia University Medical Center, Milstein Hospital Building, 6GN-435 177 Fort Washington Avenue, New York, NY 10032.

Check payable to: New Jersey Conservation Foundation; mail to Michele Byers, Executive Director, Bamboo Brook, 170 Longview Road, Far Hills, NJ 07931.


Marion E. Bruschi

Marion E. Bruschi of West Windsor, NJ, passed away peacefully on April 7, 2020, four days before her 97th birthday. She was born on April 11,1923 in Brooklyn, NY, and was raised in Summit, NJ, where she met and married her husband, William.

In 1959 Marion moved to Princeton, NJ, where she and William raised their three children. William’s career as a CPA provided both of them many opportunities to travel, which was one of her of greatest joys. After becoming a widow in 1992, she continued to pursue her love of travel and especially enjoyed cruises and sightseeing trips with her family and friends. Marion adored her granddaughters and great-grandchildren and glistened with pride while celebrating milestones in their lives.

A devoted Catholic, Marion was a member of St. Paul’s Church in Princeton, NJ, for 45 years.She and her husband always attended the 8:30 mass on Sundays.

Marion was preceded in death by her husband William C. Bruschi, her parents George and Emma Zimmerman, and her brother George F. Zimmerman. She is survived by her three children and their spouses, Robert and his wife Linda, Lauren and her husband Rod, Paul and his wife Katrin; her two granddaughters, Amy Jablonski, Kristen Wade and her husband Chris; and her beloved great-grandchildren, Will and Emma Jablonski and Gavin and Amelia Wade. She is also survived by her sister, Juliet Zimmerman, and many nieces and nephews.

Due to COVID-19 a memorial mass and a celebration of Marion’s life will celebrated at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent in Marion’s memory to: Johns Hopkins Medicine for COVID-19 Research at www.hopkinsmedicine.org/coronavirus/giving.html or St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105;



Claudio Spies

Longtime resident of Princeton and Skillman, Claudio Spies, Professor of Music, Emeritus at Princeton University, died peacefully on April 2 at his home in Sonoma, California, just one week following his 95th birthday.

He had come to Princeton in 1970 with his family, and moved to Sonoma in 2013 to live with his eldest daughter, Caterina. Claudio was a prominent composer and music theorist engaged at the forefront of 20th-century music during a time of dramatic change. He was considered a leading expert on Igor Stravinsky, with whom he enjoyed close friendship and collaboration for nearly 30 years, and facilitated the premiere of one of Stravinsky’s last major works, ”Requiem Canticles,“ at Princeton’s McCarter Theatre in 1966. Claudio’s own compositions were performed often at Princeton as well as in several other venues both nationally and internationally.

Carlos Claudio Spies was born on March 26, 1925, in Santiago, Chile, of German-Jewish immigrant parents. He came to the United States in 1942, at age 17, driven by a passion to study music; and he attended the New England Conservatory of Music and the Longy School of Music. After earning undergraduate and master’s degrees from Harvard,  he taught at Harvard, Vassar, and Swarthmore before joining the Princeton faculty. Following his retirement from Princeton in 1998, he continued to teach at The Juilliard School until he was 85. Claudio became an American citizen in 1966.

As a scholar, Claudio wrote a series of seminal articles on the serialism of Stravinsky, and subsequently a number of important articles on Schoenberg, Berg, Brahms, and others. He was fascinated by language, and spoke five of them fluently while continuing to study others. His compositions often combined his multi-lingual and musical talents, setting to music the poetry of Celan, Enzensberger, Yehuda Halevi, May Swenson, Shakespeare, Dylan Thomas, Paul Auster, and others.  He set works in English, Spanish, German, Old Italian, Hebrew, and Latin.

At Juilliard, Claudio created its first course in the study of manuscripts. He always loved perusing original manuscripts with handwritten notes, for insights into the composers’ thinking.  His excitement about these studies was captured nicely by an interview he gave for a New York Times article in 2009:  “There’s hardly a page in which there isn’t something to stimulate a musician’s imagination. Even the color of the ink.”  Claudio also referenced discovering an adjustment Mozart had made within an opera to have the most critical word in a phrase coincide with the highest note, and said,  “That’s a glaringly lovely case,  and the difference is a gleaming composition lesson. Seeing that, one smiles for a full week.”

Claudio was pre-deceased by his beloved daughter, Tatiana, and former wife, Emmi Vera; and is survived by his children Caterina (Myron Reece), of Glen Ellen, California; Michael (Claudia) of New York; Leah (Alex Winck); and Susanna, both of Los Angeles; as well as grandchildren Jake, Elijah, Ben, Olivia, and Julia.

A memorial service will be planned at a future date.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to: www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.com or www.musiciansfoundation.org.