July 15, 2020

Obituaries 7/15/2020

Harriet E. Bogdonoff

Harriet Joy Eisenberg Bogdonoff passed away peacefully on July 5th in Portland, Maine. Beloved by many for her quiet wisdom and caring presence, she listened and rarely judged. Harriet will be deeply missed and always remembered.

Harriet was born December 14, 1922 in New York City and spent her early years living on the beach in Edgemere. She attended Hunter College as a math major, and worked in the statistics lab teaching others how to use the new computing machines. She was head of the math honors society, and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts, cum laude, in mathematics in 1943. Thinking she would find employment in one of the research labs nearby, she was told they were not hiring women.

Harriet ultimately found a job with the US Government at NACA, the precursor to NASA, and she left for Langley Field in Virginia, her first time out of NYC. She was to work for Seymour Bogdonoff, a young aeronautical engineer designing airplanes for the war effort, who had requested an engineer, not a mathematician. They overcame that obstacle and soon were inseparable. They married in October 1944.

In 1946 Seymour accepted the offer of a research assistant position at Princeton University, where over the next few years he built one of the foremost labs in the world for wind tunnel research into supersonic and hypersonic gas dynamics — then a new field. For more than 60 years, Seymour and Harriet were both active in the Princeton community, and were founding members of the Jewish Community Center.

Harriet worked at the forerunner of ETS (Educational Testing Service), in the math construction department, creating questions for the college board and SATs, and in the computer lab at Princeton University. After the birth of her first child, she turned to volunteer work. She was instrumental in starting a holistic health organization, a new approach at the time. She was interested in alternative health options, practicing yoga for many years and holding weekly meditation groups in her living room years later.

As a volunteer, she provided job placement advice for recently divorced homemakers and underemployed older women. Truly a lifelong learner, Harriet took a counseling class to improve her skills, and continued on to receive a Master of Education in Counseling and Guidance, from Trenton State College, in 1977. After graduation, she worked on a literacy grant to teach older adults how to read. She found such pleasure in helping others and had wonderful stories of the people she had met.

At the Mercer County Community Action Council, she provided training, jobs, and follow-up for people in poverty.  When the grant was not renewed, she went back to school for her social work degree. In 1982, at age 60, she graduated from Rutgers, Graduate School of Social Work, with a Master of Social Work.  She did her internship at Cornerhouse in Princeton, a counseling center for teenagers, and then at Jewish Family Services in Trenton, working with the elderly population, where she found her life’s work. She was there for many years, leaving only when her two weeks of vacation made world travel difficult. She started a private practice that she continued until she moved to Maine.

As part of her practice she worked with one of the first retirement communities in the area, providing residents with counseling and discussion groups around isolation, health concerns, and issues with their children. She was among the first group of social workers to work specifically with the elderly and to recognize that they had their own set of needs and issues. She became a National Certified Gerontological Counselor in 1991. She was also active in the Princeton Senior Resource Center where she received an award for outstanding achievement, and represented Princeton at the White House Conference on Aging. During that time, she started an information and referral service for corporate workers dealing with issues with their elderly parents. Funded initially by IBM, many other companies signed up for this service, her database surpassing anything else available. 

In 1992 Harriet, and three friends decided something had to be done to promote aging in place in Princeton. Community Without Walls (CWW) came into being. Starting with one house (chapter) of 75 – 100 members, they wrote a constitution and by-laws, and became a 501c3. Harriet served as resident gerontology expert, nudge, muse, President, and Board member. CWW continues, now with six houses, and is a national model for aging in place.

In 2001 Harriet was the New Jersey Geronotogist of the Year. Her keen mind, generosity, and quiet persistence profoundly changed the lives of seniors in Princeton and the surrounding communities.

Travel was a lifelong love. When Seymour was asked to lecture on his research in each NATO country, off they went with their three children (ages 2, 5, and 7), for seven months of travel throughout Europe — doing reading and math lessons as they drove. Five years later, they took off again with their family for another seven months (having toured the U.S. the summer before). From then on they planned a trip or two every year, often traveling with their good friends Roz and Norm.

The list of places they visited reads like a world atlas, and includes destinations like the Soviet Union, South America, Egypt, China, India, Vietnam, Laos, Jordon, Indonesia, Antarctica, Kenya, Mongolia, and Mali, actually traveling to Constantinople and Timbuktu.  Harriet continued traveling after Seymour died, visiting Guatemala, Alaska, the Netherlands, Japan, and Budapest into her late 80s and early 90s.   

In 2008, three years after her husband died, she left her close community in Princeton to move nearer to her daughter in Portland, Maine, where she made a new life for herself. She volunteered at Osher Life Long Learning, continued to take classes, served on the community board at The Atrium, an independent living community where she settled, and made many new friends. She ate numerous lobster rolls, a long-time favorite.

Harriet is survived by her daughter Sondra Bogdonoff (Jamie Johnston), and her son Alan Bogdonoff (Estelle Gross Bogdonoff), five grandchildren (Nemo, Caitlin, Jake, Emma, Noah) and two great-grandchildren (Scout and June). She is predeceased by her sister Doris Silberstein, her adored husband Seymour, and her beloved daughter Zelda.

She included many others among her extended family, from younger friends, to relatives’ children to her friends’ children and grandchildren. Across the generations, all received her love and attention. She was curious and open-minded, never satisfied with an easy answer. She was always there when someone needed to talk, and shared her knowledge and expertise with grace and generosity. 

Memorial contributions can be made to: The Good Sheppard Food Bank of Maine, P.O. Box 1807, Auburn, ME 04211-1807 or to the charity of your choice.


Hedwig H.C. Dekker

Hedwig H.C. Dekker, a longtime resident of Princeton, died peacefully at her home on July 10th, 2020 at the age of 99. Her death followed that of her beloved husband of 53 years and all of her siblings.

Hedwig, known to all as Henny, was born on June 10th, 1921 in Indonesia to Dutch parents. While she had very fond memories of her childhood in Indonesia, adequate local schooling was not available so her parents decided that it was best for her and her siblings to get an education in The Netherlands. At the age of 7, she and her older brother were brought to Holland to attend school. Life without her parents was difficult and got even worse when the Germans occupied Holland. Henny lived in Amsterdam during most of the war and endured the Dutch Famine of 1944-1945 (Hongerwinter) while half a world away her father was a Japanese prisoner of war. These memories of her early life were very vivid to Henny and she talked about them constantly and in great detail to those who cared for her in her final years.   

After the war, Henny studied physical therapy at the Mensendieck Institute in Amsterdam. By the time her parents returned to The Netherlands, she had met her future husband, the mathematician Jim Dekker, whom she followed to the U.S. in 1949. They were married in 1951. As a young academic couple they lived in Syracuse, Chicago, Princeton, Kansas City, and New Brunswick until they finally settled in Princeton in 1969. 

For many years Henny worked as a physiotherapist at Roosevelt Hospital in Edison, NJ, where she was well loved and respected by the staff and patients alike. She retired in 1986. 

Henny was a very giving person. There was not a charity that knocked on her door that was left empty-handed. She also helped friends and family whenever they needed it. She felt very blessed in her life and was grateful for everything that came her way. She will be missed by all of those that had the good fortune of knowing her.

A memorial gathering will take place when it is safe to do so.

Burial arrangements will be under the direction of Mather-Hodge Funeral Home, Princeton, NJ.


Carol Hamilton

Carol Hamilton, age 80, passed away at home in the early morning of July 6th, 2020 after a two-year struggle with ovarian cancer. She passed in the home she’d lived in for nearly 50 years, surrounded by her family.

Carol Hamilton (nee Dudrick) was born on March 11th, 1940 in Nanticoke, Pennsylvania, a town centered around Anthracite coal mining with a strong legacy of Polish American immigrants. She graduated from Nanticoke High School and received her undergraduate degree from Penn State University. She was teaching at Widener Memorial School (Philadelphia, PA) when she met her future husband, S. Sutton Hamilton III, who was a resident in psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania.

Carol had a lifelong interest in cooking and baking and originated a catering business, “Scandinavian Flair,” with her dear friend, Sue Johnson. Carol cooked along with Sue for years until returning to teaching, where she taught children with learning disabilities at the Newgrange School and finishing her teaching career at the Bridge Academy in Trenton, New Jersey. She cultivated expertise in the instruction of children experiencing difficulty in learning to read and was known for her patient and caring manner. While never a particular fan of travel by prop plane, she traveled all over the United States — including trips over the Rockies to Alaska — in the co-pilot seat of the Cessna flown by her husband.

Carol’s life centered around her family and her deep Christian faith. She was particularly active at the Stone Hill Church where she led weekly Bible study. Perhaps, above everything, she is best known and loved for her extraordinary kindness and patience. It is difficult to meet someone who knew Carol who did not comment on her remarkable concern for the wellness of others over herself. She was famous for her handwritten notes that she wrote — without expectation of return — to anyone she thought was suffering or might otherwise benefit from a personal and concrete example of kindness. 

Carol will forever be beloved and remembered for her exemplary kindness, extraordinary concern for others, and her endless capacity to put the needs of others ahead of her own. She is desperately mourned and missed by her husband of over 50 years, S. Sutton Hamilton III as well as her two children — S. Sutton Hamilton IV (Jessica) of Haddonfield, NJ, and Julie C. Hamilton (Alex) of Arlington, VA. She is also survived and similarly missed by her brother Jack Dudrick, her sister Joan McBean and her grandchildren Sophia, Micah, Cleo, Liam, and Aiden.

Special thanks to Richard Lee, MD and Laurie and Carmella of Princeton Hospice.

A celebration of life memorial service is planned for 2021.


Sally Hagen Schmid

Sally Hagen Schmid, 77, passed away peacefully on July 1, 2020, at Sandhill Cove Retirement Community in Palm City, Florida, where she was an active resident for the past 10 years.

Sally grew up in Princeton, New Jersey, and graduated from Ms. Fine’s School then attended Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York. She married in 1961 and had three children.  Following a divorce, she relocated to Hawaii to be near her family.  She worked in banking and married Albert Schmid in 1976. She was a long-term member and supporter of the Junior League of Honolulu, serving a term as President. In 1994, Sally moved back to the mainland, eventually settling permanently in Florida in 1998. During her time at Sandhill Cove she served on several committees and enjoyed living in the community.

Sally had a remarkable memory and a thirst for knowledge. She was once a contestant on Jeopardy and carried that skill throughout adulthood as an avid trivia player (and frequent champion). She was inquisitive and adventurous – she loved traveling the world on cruise ships and, in later years, reading multiple books a week, doing jigsaw puzzles and socializing with friends. She always loved meeting, talking to, and learning about people and was easy to share her quick wit. Sally (aka Gigi) especially loved watching her three grandchildren grow into adulthood.

She was preceded in death by her husband Albert; her son Thomas; and parents Ruth and Ralph Hagen. She is survived by daughters Kathleen Kerney and Barbara Kerney Phelan, son-in-law Stephen, and grandchildren Sara, Timothy, and Kevin Phelan as well as her sister Nancy Hagen Spaulding.

Sally’s wish was to have a celebration of life at Sandhill Cove which may be scheduled at a later date. She was an advocate of education and donations in her memory can be made to provide scholarship assistance to employees and their children: Sandhill Cove Foundation, 1500 SW Capri Street, Palm City, FL 34990. 


William E. Vandermark

William E. Vandermark passed away suddenly, at the young age of 70, on Friday, July 10, 2020, surrounded by his loved ones.

Billy was born and raised in Princeton and resided in Lawrenceville for the past 12 years. He was a fan of classic cars, was an ace mechanic, and was an avid camper.  He also enjoyed spending time with his family and friends.

Billy was the son of the late Warren P. and Daisy Bastedo Vandermark. In addition to his parents, Billy was preceded in death by his brothers Warren P. Vandermark and Arthur D. Vandermark.

He is survived by his loving wife, Pamela L. Vandermark; two daughters Anne Kahwaty (Albert) and Susan Vandermark; and one son Robert Vandermark (Kelly). Billy is also survived by his grandchildren Ronald and Katelyn Heil and Michael Kahwaty; two step-daughters Kimberly McBride and Katie Furfey; and several cousins, nieces, and nephews. In addition to his family, Billy is also survived by his lifetime friends, the Moore Brothers, several other close friends, and his sidekick, Casey.

At this time there will be no services.

Donations may be made in Billy’s name to the American Cancer Society, P.O. Box 22478, Oklahoma City, OK 73123 (donate3.cancer.org), Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation at JDRF, PO Box 37920, Boone, IA 50037 (JDRF.org), or to a charity of donor’s choice. 

Extend condolences and share memories at TheKimbleFuneralHome.com.


Nancy S. Klath

Nancy S. Klath, age 79, of Princeton, New Jersey, died on July 11, 2020, at home.

She was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and resided in the suburbs of that city, where she attended public schools. She graduated from Wellesley College in 1963 where she majored in history, and received a master’s degree in information science from Drexel University in Philadelphia in 1968. After leaving Wellesley she worked for a year in Boston as a pension trust analyst for the New England Mutual Insurance Company, and following marriage to Norman in 1964 they moved to Brooklyn Heights in New York City, where she began part-time work as a researcher for the Grolier Society. In 1966 the couple moved to Princeton, NJ, where they have resided since.

Following her degree from Drexel, she began a career as a professional librarian at Princeton University. She spent 28 wonderful years working in various capacities both in public and technical services, ending up as Deputy University Librarian for eight years and finally as University Librarian for two years. She retired in 1996, one year after her husband retired from JP Morgan.

Together they pursued a long-standing interest in gardening, with a large greenhouse and extensive outdoor perennial gardens, where over the years they hosted many garden tours, primarily for benefits of local nonprofits but also for membership groups like the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society and the North American Rock Garden Society. The couple also traveled extensively following their retirements.  Even while both working, they took annual vacations in Barbados in February, a tradition that continued for nearly 45 years with over 50 visits. They traveled extensively throughout Europe, including the Baltic, Mediterranean, and Black Seas. England and Scotland were each visited at least once annually over a period of 15 years, along with numerous visits to France, Italy, Spain, and Norway. They also traveled widely in North America, particularly to the Northeast and Midwest, where they had family and close friends, as well as numerous times to Arizona and Canada. Nancy loved to swim, needlepointed continuously, and read widely, especially history and mystery books.

She served many years on the Council of the Friends of the Princeton University Library, including two years as President. She also served six years on the Council of the Friends of the Princeton Public Library, as well as numerous years on the Board of the Princeton Adult School and as co-chair of its lectures committee.  She was an active member of Community Without Walls House 5 from its initial establishment until her death.

Nancy was preceded in death by her parents, Marie G. Stark and Hawley E. Stark.  She is survived by her sister, Emilie Kaden and partner Nancy Tobias of West Newton, MA; by nephew Joshua Kaden and his wife Giulia Cox of New York City; by nephew Matthew Kaden of Memphis, TN; and by nephew William Schmiedeskamp and his wife Carie Levin of Mason City, IA. Also surviving is Nancy’s husband of 56 years, Norman R. Klath of Princeton, NJ.

Memorial donations may be made to the Princeton Medical Center Foundation or the Princeton Senior Resource Center. Arrangements are under the direction of The Mather-Hodge Funeral Home.


Barbara W. Pierce

Barbara W. Pierce, formerly of Princeton, died on June 29 at the age of 101 years. Following a brief illness, she died from natural causes at Bear Creek Senior Living in West Windsor, NJ, where she had resided in recent years.

Born June 9, 1919 to parents Ernest S. Winterburn and Jessie Hounslea Winterburn, Barbara was raised in Fairfield and Nichols, CT, where she attended local schools. A graduate of Warren Harding High School in Bridgeport, CT, she completed a two-year course of study at Weylister Junior College in Milton, CT, now incorporated as part of the University of Bridgeport.

At a young age, her father immigrated with his parents to Connecticut from Bradford, England. Her mother was a direct descendant of Roger Williams, founding father of the colony of Rhode Island and pioneer of American religious liberty. Barbara was predeceased by her husband of 56 years, Henry (Hank) Wilder Pierce, Jr., whom she married on June 28, 1941.

Barbara had an active mind and was an avid reader, creative homemaker, and accomplished cook. She was an exquisite, lifelong knitter and possessed a natural talent for flower arranging. A gracious hostess, Barbara loved to entertain, and her warm, easy hospitality was regularly enjoyed by her family, her many friends, and a steady stream of out-of-town guests. She had an outgoing, vivacious personality and, often surprising those who didn’t know her well, possessed a quick, clever, and incisive wit.

Barbara and her husband were frequent travelers, enjoying many international trips with Dartmouth College’s alumni travel program, and particularly with the Dartmouth Class of ’37 alumni trips. They also enjoyed spending winter months at their Caribbean home in Bequia, B.W.I.

A long-standing member of Princeton’s Nassau Presbyterian Church, The Present Day Club, and The Nassau Club, Barbara was a devoted wife and mother, good and loyal friend and neighbor, and active community volunteer. As a young bride living in Stratford, CT, during World War II, she rolled bandages for the Red Cross in support of the war effort. Moving several times during her husband’s lifelong career with the General Electric Company until his retirement, she was a supportive, corporate GE wife, repeatedly packing up their growing family of three children and establishing a new home and life in a new community.

After her husband was transferred to York, PA, Barbara was an active member of the York County Hospital Women’s Auxiliary and the Junior Women’s Club of York. When later living in Verona, NJ, she co-founded a new chapter of the Junior Women’s Clubs (a branch of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs, a national organization); was active in the PTA of North Caldwell, NJ’s schools; was a board member of Princeton’s Present Day Club, at one time serving as its Treasurer; and volunteered at Nassau Presbyterian Church. A resident of Princeton for more than 50 years, Barbara worked for several years on the Princeton Medical Center’s annual Rummage Sale.

She is survived by her three children: Bonnie Pierce Stevenson and husband J. Robert Stevenson of Summit, NJ; Wendy Pierce Evans and husband Larry A. Evans of Princeton, NJ; and Jay Wilder Pierce of Denver, CO. Barbara is also survived by four grandchildren: Christine Stevenson Willeford of Benicia, CA; Andrew Pierce Stevenson of Summit, NJ; and Natalie Louise Pierce and Samuel Wilder Pierce, both of Denver, CO; as well as three great-grandchildren. Also surviving her is her sister Sally Arline Nichols of Shelton, CT, and two nephews.

A private service and burial were held at Princeton Cemetery on July 10. Arrangements were by The Mather-Hodge Funeral Home, Princeton. Donations in her memory may be made to The Present Day Club Preservation Fund through the Community Foundation of New Jersey, P.O. Box 338, Morristown, NJ 07963.


Susan (Suzy) Bell Trowbridge

Susan (Suzy) Bell Trowbridge, 78, of Princeton, NJ, passed away peacefully on July 4, surrounded by her adoring four sons and husband of 53 years, James W. Trowbridge. Suzy was born in Chicago, IL, the second daughter of Joseph and Sallie Bell, raised in Winnetka, IL, and educated at Woodlands Academy (‘59) and Newton College of the Sacred Heart (‘63), now Boston College.  

Suzy taught at an elementary school and then was a feature writer for the Chicago Tribune’s “Women’s Page,” before marrying Jimmy on April 1, 1967. Together, they embarked on an adventurous odyssey following Jimmy’s postings with the Ford Foundation’s regional offices in Jamaica, Mexico, Peru, Washington DC, and New York, which brought the family to Princeton, NJ, in 1978. Suzy next worked with the new Forrestal Village’s commercial marketing, followed by several years’ writing the Town Topics’ commercial column, “It’s New To Us,” and then for the past 35 years as a broker associate with the Henderson family’s real estate firms, now Callaway Henderson Sotheby’s International Realty.

Suzy’s bright light, warm smile, and her gracious, joyful manner immediately engaged and was loved by everyone she met, wherever she went. She was highly active in supporting her sons at each of their schools and was an enthusiastic participant in each community’s arts, music, and sports.  

She delighted in introducing her four sons and daughters-in-law, Jamie (Shannon O’Neil), Jeb (Ali Trowbridge), Mark (Sylmarie Trowbridge), and Matthew (Suzanne Cunningham), and nine grandchildren to her countless friends. Suzy lived for her relationships, exemplified being other-directed, and was always ready to lend support in her upbeat, cheerful way. She was fun and truly embraced life as an adventure. 

Suzy is also survived by her three sisters, Sallie Bulley (Kenilworth, IL), Bonnie Pacelli (Winnetka, IL), and Betsy Riley (Princeton, NJ).  

Gifts in Suzy’s memory may be made to HandsTogether.org, to support Susan Trowbridge Scholarships for the higher education and empowerment of selected young women living in Haiti’s poorest areas.

Arrangements by the Blackwell Memorial Home. For condolences, go to blackwellmh.com.