August 26, 2020

Obituaries 8/26/2020

Jean S. Cheng

Jean S. Cheng passed away peacefully in her home on August 9, 2020, at 97 years old. She had been a full-time resident of Princeton for over 70 years. Most of her life she was inseparable from her high school sweetheart and then husband Professor Sin-I Cheng of Princeton University, who pre-deceased her in 2011. 

Born in the village of Wangli, China, she grew up amidst the turmoil of war, with first the Sino-Japanese War and then the Communist Revolution. She was the first in her family to strive for self-improvement through schooling, an extraordinary ambition when the education of girls was at best an afterthought. She attended a boarding school, needing to walk for days to get from home to school in the countryside at a time of war. She had decided for herself that education was a must, and nothing was going to get in her way.

Luck was with her when the Catholic Church chose to sponsor her for college in the United States, where she could join Sin-I who was already in the U.S. having won one of the few Chinese Government scholarships for studies abroad. For each of them, it was a once in a lifetime opportunity to achieve dreams that had been previously inconceivable. She was forever grateful for the generosity afforded to her by the Church, a priceless gift she never forgot. After graduating from the College of New Rochelle, she followed Sin-I to Princeton, and proudly relished his accomplishments over decades as a renowned professor in the Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Sciences at the University.

She is survived by her daughters Doreen and Irene and her son Andrew, seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. She often measured her own success by the success of her children and then theirs. She could not be more proud, or feel more fulfilled, than to see her life’s devotion to family bear such fruit. She never forgot where she came from, while also never taking her sights off the need to do better. She lived the motto “You make your own luck,” a lesson she passed on to all her family.

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Leighton Laughlin

Leighton Laughlin passed away at home in South Hero, VT, on Friday August 21, 2020 at the ripe old age of 93. He was born the son of Roberta Howe and Ledlie I. Laughlin in Buffalo, NY, on November 27, 1926, but moved with his parents at the age of 2 to Princeton, NJ, where he spent his childhood and most of his adult life. 

After service in the Marine Corps, he was a graduate of the class of 1949 from Princeton University. At the end of his sophomore year he married Carin Moore, with whom he was married for 51 years until her passing in 1998. In 2000 he married the former Ann Niebling Bartle; they celebrated their 20th anniversary earlier this year.  

Leighton had a varied career with his degree in psychology: he worked for Opinion Research, he had an administrative position at Project Matterhorn at the Plasma Physics Project of Princeton University, and was part of the formation of Princeton Applied Research Cooperative. Most of his professional life was spent as an investment advisor with various companies including Clark Dodge, Tucker Anthony, and finally Royal Bank of Canada (RBC). Leighton was very involved in the Princeton community, the Princeton Association of Human Rights and Trinity Episcopal Church. Much of his personal and financial involvement was behind the scenes of many organizations.

Leighton was predeceased by his first wife Carin Moore Laughlin, his parents, and two of his brothers, Ledlie and Robert. He is survived by his wife Ann of South Hero, VT; his four children Toby (Nancy) of Skillman, NJ, Buzz of Keene, NH, Al (Janet) of Hopewell, NJ, Carin and Dale Hoffman of Starksboro, VT; also 10 grandchildren and numerous great-grandchildren. He is also survived by Ann’s children Amanda (Greg) Mazaleski of Medford, NJ, Fred (Erin) Bartle of South Hero, VT, and Matt (Kristen) Bartle, also of South Hero, VT, and six grandchildren. Also his brother Jim of Skillman, NJ.  

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Isles, Inc., a community development and environmental organization supporting youth and families, 10 Wood Street, Trenton, NJ, 08618, or Trinity Episcopal Church, 33 Mercer St, Princeton, NJ, 08540. The burial and memorial will be private. Arrangements are made by Stephen C. Gregory and Son Cremation Services.


Richard Stockton Snedeker

Richard Stockton Snedeker, of Princeton, NJ, passed away on August 16, 2020.

Born in Brooklyn, NY, on April 14, 1927 to Leonard and Annis Snedeker, “Dick” attended Poly Prep Country Day School. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1945 to 1946. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering from Princeton University in 1951 and received a master’s in 1961.

Initially employed by the Princeton University Press as a technical illustrator and editor, Dick moved on to work at Aeronautical Research Associates of Princeton (ARAP), where he spent his 40-year career working in the field of experimental fluid dynamics. He published nearly 100 papers and received five U.S. patents. He retired from ARAP in 1997.

Dick married Mary Ellen Burroughs in 1952. They moved to West Windsor in 1957 where they raised their three children. Dick added two major additions to their Grover’s Mill home, doing all the carpentry, plumbing, heating, electrical, and roofing work himself. 

A beloved fixture in many aspects of the local scene, Dick served as a board member for the Princeton Small Animal Rescue League for three years. He was also a member of the West Windsor-Plainsboro School Board for 12 years, serving as president for four. He co-authored the plan to regionalize West Windsor with Plainsboro and played a significant role in the construction of the first West Windsor-Plainsboro High School.

Dick was chairman of the Grover’s Mill Pond Task Force, which successfully revitalized the pond. He also served as a board member for the Friends of West Windsor Open Space (FOWWOS) which protected areas of the township from development.

After retiring from ARAP, Dick gave walking tours of Princeton for the Princeton Historical Society and was a docent at the Morven Museum.  He helped found the West Windsor Arts Council and constructed large “Fabulous Forms” sculptures in his home woodshop for township children to paint during the council’s spring celebration. He also wrote the popular column “Looking Back” for the West Windsor-Plainsboro Community News, relating fun facts and anecdotes about West Windsor history.

An IC4A champion miler while at Princeton, Dick competed in area road races for many years, usually winning his age group. He officiated Princeton cross-country and track meets and received the Larry Ellis Alumni Award for his service. 

Dick enjoyed taking his family on camping trips to places such as Nova Scotia, Lake Michigan, and Cape Hatteras. Later in life, he and Mary Ellen found immense pleasure in semi-annual trips to numerous destinations around the globe, with western and eastern Europe as particular favorites. Dick was a master woodworker and his hobbies included building furniture, making art, and family genealogy. He and Mary Ellen especially loved German band music, Gilbert and Sullivan, and John Philip Sousa.

Dick and Mary Ellen were married for 60 years until her passing in 2012.  Dick is survived by his children Jenky Snedeker and her partner Kevin McCue of Essex Junction, VT, James Snedeker of Sunderland, MA, and Amy Snedeker of Pennington, NJ; three nephews: Robert Taylor of Asbury, NJ, Robert Snedeker and his wife Fran of Larchmont, NY, Don Snedeker and his wife Victoria of Falls Church, VA; two grandchildren: Laurel Jenkins, her husband Matthew Kent and their son Desmond of Middlebury, VT, and Peter Dugan, his wife Angela, and their children Siena and Caleb of Hopkinton, MA.

The Snedeker family offers thoughts and prayers to all those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Dick and Mary Ellen were huge animal lovers all their lives. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to SAVE, A Friend to Homeless Animals, 1010 Route 601, Skillman, NJ 08558.

A family service will be held on Tuesday, September 1, 2020 at 1 p.m. followed by burial of ashes in Princeton Cemetery, 29 Greenview Avenue, Princeton, NJ 08540, that everyone is welcome to attend at 2 p.m. A Zoom service will take place on Tuesday, September 1, 2020 at 1 p.m. A link for the service will be available in the service information section of Richard’s obituary on

Arrangements are under the direction of Mather-Hodge Funeral Home, Princeton.