September 16, 2020

Obituaries 9/16/2020

Robert Harold Atkinson

Robert Harold Atkinson, age 89, passed from this life into Heaven on Friday, September 11, 2020, at home surrounded by his family. He is now with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

He is survived by his loving family, his wife of 69 years, Verna (Raymond) Atkinson; two daughters, Denise Atkinson and Dezra Richmond and son-in-law Curt Richmond; granddaughter Tae Richmond-Moll and grandson-in-law Jeff Richmond-Moll; great-grandson Beck Richmond-Moll and great-granddaughter Willa Richmond-Moll; a sister Donna Hieshima; two brothers, Richard Atkinson (Bonnie) and Charlie Atkinson (Sharon) and sister-in-law Carolyn Tice; and many nieces and nephews.

Born in Mt. Holly, NJ, on July 14, 1931, and raised in Vincentown, he served in the United States Army in Korea, where he found his faith in Jesus. He worked in construction for more than half a century and pursued higher education in related fields at Rutgers (New Brunswick) and Rider College. His career – including as Project Manager for Marriott Corporation and the New York State Thruway – allowed him to travel throughout the United States, from Maine to Hawaii, and many endeavors in between.

Bob and Verna built their house in Lumberton together and lived there for 55 years until they moved to Princeton in 2012. Throughout their marriage they enjoyed serving in their local church as long-standing members of Shawnee Baptist and most recently Stone Hill Church of Princeton.

His spirit of generosity made him quick to help and support others. Bob was a gentle, humble man, a true “Barnabas,” a son of encouragement and comfort. He greeted everyone he met with the most genuine smile and would almost daily say, “Thank you Lord for everything.”

Always the adventurer, he rode motorcycles most of his life, only parting with his Gold Wing bike when he was 80 years old. He picked up downhill skiing in his forties and learned to fly a plane in his seventies.

He was loved dearly by his family and friends and will be missed tremendously.

His favorite Bible verse was John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

A service honoring his life will take place at Stone Hill Church of Princeton, after the lifting of COVID restrictions. There will be a private ceremony at Princeton Cemetery on Friday, September 18, 2020.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to America’s Keswick ( and/or  Princeton Medical Center Hospice Care (

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


John Suydam Kuhlthau

John S. Kuhlthau, a retired Judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey, passed away on September 4, 2020.

Born in New Brunswick, May 16, 1937 he spent his early life in Milltown in the New Brunswick area. He attended Rutgers Preparatory School, graduated from Princeton University in 1958, and from Rutgers University Law School in 1962. He married Carol Collier Kuhlthau and they raised three daughters joyfully together in North Brunswick. After retirement he and Carol moved to Princeton, NJ, in 1999 and made that community their home. He was a wonderful husband and father with a generous heart and spirit. He was quick with a warm smile and beloved by the many lives that he touched in each community where he lived and served.

John earned his J.D. at Rutgers University Law School and served as Public Defender and as Middlesex County Prosecutor prior to his appointment in 1976 to the bench as a Judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey sitting in Middlesex County. He retired from the bench in 1997 after many years of public service.

He was a lifelong member of the United Methodist Church, trained at Drew Theological Seminary, and demonstrated his faith in his actions throughout his life. In his retirement he devoted his efforts to numerous charitable causes. He supported community programs at Turning Point United Methodist Church in Trenton. He established scholarships for minority students at the Pennington School. He was a founding member of the Board of the Petey Greene Prisoner Assistance Program at Princeton University. He founded the John Suydam Kuhlthau Bioethics Conference at the New Brunswick Theological Seminary which has convened annually since 1997 to explore ethical and spiritual issues in medicine especially for end of life.

He is survived by Carol, his wife of 62 years, his daughter Eleanor Molloy and her husband Christopher, and their children Emma, Jack, and Owen; his daughter Ann Caspari and her children Elizabeth and Charles; and his daughter Leslie Maniotes and her husband Bill and their daughter Lily; and his brother Kearney Kuhlthau and sister-in-law Carolyn Kuhlthau. A private funeral was held at The Elmwood Cemetery in North Brunswick. Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Quackenboss Funeral Home, New Brunswick. A memorial service will be held in the future.

Memorial donations may be made to the John Suydam Kuhlthau Bioethics Conference at the New Brunswick Theological Seminary, Princeton United Methodist Church, or Petey Greene Prisoner Assistance Program at Princeton University.


Luise Ella Heiba

Luise Ella Heiba, 92, passed away peacefully on Monday September 7, 2020.

She was born and raised in Leipzig, Germany. Prior to coming to the United States, she achieved her Abitur from Leipzig’s Fachshule fur Wirtschaft und Verwaltung.   She moved to Princeton in 1963, where along with her husband, El-Ahmadi Heiba, she raised her family.

Luise is survived by her three sons, Adel Heiba (Irvine, CA), Karem Heiba (Bridgewater, NJ), and Tarek Heiba (Yardley, PA), their wives, eight grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

Funeral services and interment will be private.

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John Lowell Johnson

John Lowell Johnson died peacefully on September 6, 2020. John was born on March 18, 1926 in Butte, Montana. He graduated from Butte High School in 1943, received a BS in Engineering Physics at Montana State College (now Montana State University) in 1949, an MS in Physics in 1950 and a PhD in Physics in 1954 from Yale University.

His college education was interrupted for two years when he served in the United States Navy, becoming an ETM1/c and serving on the Destroyer Minesweeper USS Carmick, DMS 33, as it swept mines in the South China Sea. While in school, John was elected to membership in several honorary societies, the National Honor Society, Phi Eta Sigma, Order of Collegiate Knights, Tau Beta Pi, and Sigma Xi, which he served as Secretary-Treasurer, Vice President, and President of the Princeton Chapter.

John joined the Commercial Atomic Power Department of Westinghouse Electric Corporation in 1954 and was lent to Princeton University in 1955 to work at Project Matterhorn, the University’s fusion energy program, for one year. His stay was extended annually for the next 30 years, at which time he retired from the Westinghouse Research and Development Center as a Consulting Scientist (the corporation’s highest non-managerial title) and joined Princeton University as a Principal Research Physicist in the Theory Division of its Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (the name given to Project Matterhorn when the fusion program was declassified). He retired in 1995 but continued to work for several years as a consultant.

While at Princeton he served as Chairman of the Laboratory Patent Committee, on the Space Committee, and as a member of the Program Committee. His interests centered on magnetohydrodynamic equilibrium and stability studies of toroidal systems with an emphasis on tokamaks and stellarators, on which he published over 100 refereed papers. He collaborated with many physicists internationally, and spent significant periods at the Culham Laboratory in England, Nagoya University, Kyoto University, and the National Institute for Fusion Studies in Japan, the Australian National University, Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics in Germany, Trieste University in Italy, and Los Alamos National Laboratory.

John was a Fellow of the American Physical Society and served as Secretary-Treasurer of its Division of Plasma Physics. He chaired the organizing committee for several meetings of the APS Division of Plasma Physics and associated fusion theory conferences, organized two Atomic Energy Agency International Conferences on Plasma Theory and Controlled Nuclear Fusion Research, and served on the Board of Editors of the journal Plasma Physics.

His major community contribution was through the Princeton United Methodist Church, where he served as delegate to the Southern New Jersey Annual Conference, financial secretary, and a member of its Board of Trustees. He was very proud of his activity with Boy Scout Troop 88, for which he was Committee Chairman, an Assistant Scoutmaster, Eagle Advisor, and Scoutmaster (for 16 years) as well as a member of the Stony Brook District Advancement Committee. He was honored for this service with the George Washington Council’s Silver Beaver Award. Under his encouragement his son, godson, and grandsons all achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. 

During their 69 years of marriage, John and Barbara were blessed with the opportunity to travel extensively in Europe, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and North and South America. He loved spending time hiking in the Rocky Mountains and visiting children and grandchildren.

John was pre-deceased by his parents, Lowell Wallace and Esther Thornwall Johnson, his sister, Genevieve Jean Johnson, and his brother, Robert Clifton Johnson. He will be missed by his wife, Barbara Hynds Johnson, and his children, Lowell John Johnson and Michelle Dansereau Johnson of Raleigh, North Carolina, Lesley Johnson-Gelb and Steven Gelb of Oakland, California, and Jennifer Johnson Goodall and David George Goodall of Mill Valley, California, seven grandchildren, and one great-granddaughter. 

The family wishes that any memorials made in his name be directed to the Rocky Mountain Conservancy ( or the Princeton United Methodist Church’s Appalachia Service Project (

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


Richard Stephen Blofson


Richard Stephen “Dick” Blofson, a Broadway production manager and New Jersey filmmaker, died peacefully on September 3, 2020, of complications of non-COVID pneumonia at the University Medical Center Princeton in Plainsboro, NJ. He was 87 years old.

As stage manager of Michael Todd’s blockbuster 1957 party at Madison Square Garden to celebrate the premiere of the film Around the World in 80 Days, he cued Marilyn Monroe’s entrance on an elephant. Blofson remembered that someone presented Elizabeth Taylor, Todd’s wife at the time, with a raccoon. “Here, take this,” she hissed at Blofson as she exited the stage. He also said he never saw so many rich people argue so vociferously over glasses of cheap champagne. The New York Times in 1999 called the event one of the “10 Parties that Shook the Century.” Although it was the most prominent production he worked on, it was not the one of which he was most proud.

Blofson’s career started when he was a student at Antioch College majoring in anthropology and creative arts, spending half the year in Yellow Springs, OH, and half the year in New York City working at the Phoenix Theatre. The director Arthur Lithgow (later artistic director at McCarter Theatre in Princeton) was his mentor at Antioch and deepened Blofson’s lifelong appreciation of Shakespeare. Among the many shows Blofson worked on at the Phoenix were The Golden Apple (1954), the first off-Broadway show to win the Best Musical Award from the New York Drama Critics’ Circle; and Once Upon a Mattress with Carol Burnett (1959); both went on to Broadway. In 1955, he worked with Bernard Gersten on the New York City Center production of Guys and Dolls, starring Walter Matthau. 

At the American Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, CT, Blofson worked on a number of productions, including a 1957 tour of Much Ado About Nothing with Katharine Hepburn and Alfred Drake, directed by John Houseman. During the tour, Hepburn paid for Blofson’s transportation back to New York to spend time with his infant son, who had a medical issue.

He was the stage manager for Barbara Streisand’s Broadway debut production, I Can Get It for you Wholesale (1962), in which Elliott Gould also played; for the gospel musical Tambourines to Glory (1963) by poet,
author, and playwright Langston Hughes;  for Strange Interlude (1963) directed by Jose Quintero with actors Jane Fonda, Franchot Tone, and Ben Gazzara; and Baby Want a Kiss (1964) with actors Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward.

Other artists he worked with include actors Jean Arthur, Richard Boone, Katherine Cornell, Richard Easton, Merv Griffin, Eliot Feld, Carol Lawrence, Nancy Marchand, Roddy McDowell, Geraldine Page, Jason Robards, and Fritz Weaver, as well as directors Sidney Lumet, Arthur Penn, and Ed Sherin; and playwrights Tennessee Williams and Sean O’Casey.

An inveterate traveler, he then embarked a freelance career as a camera operator for CBS, ABC, WNET, and the USIA that took him to Turkey and many countries on the African continent. For the USIA, he followed tennis players Arthur Ash, who was Black, and Stan Smith, who was white, during a series of exhibition games in various countries in Africa. Ashe was the first Black American male to win a NCAA tennis Championship, the first to win a Grand Slam Title, and the first to represent the United States in the Davis Cup; Smith was a World No. 1 American tennis player and two-time Grand Slam singles champion. 

For CBS, Blofson followed candidate and former Vice President Richard Nixon in the 1968 film version of The Making of the President. He also filmed productions for the National Theatre of the Deaf with his former Broadway colleague, lighting designer David Hays. 

In 1968, Blofson and filmmaker Nigel Noble formed Arden Productions. Several years later, he and Scott Nielsen cofounded The Production Staff, succeeded in 1977 by Telequest Inc., which specializes in documentary films. Among the productions for WNET were Clash of Cultures, which won a Cine Golden Eagle and a Eudora Welty American Award. Two of 16 animated shorts made for the CBS program Captain Kangaroo won a Silver award at the Houston International Film Festival and as a Best Children’s Program award for animation sequence.  

Director and cameraman for the New York Times History Project, Blofson worked on three films: Abe, about the career of the former executive editor Abe Rosenthal, who presided over the publication of the Pentagon Papers; Reston, about James “Scotty” Reston, the Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist who had been executive editor and columnist at the Times; and Hirschfeld, a celebration of the 85th birthday of Al Hirschfeld, caricaturist for the theatre section of the New York Times, whose hidden tributes to his daughter Nina were eagerly sought after by his followers. The footage was developed into The Line King, a full-length documentary written and directed by Susan Dryfoos that was nominated for an Academy Award. 

Telequest went on to make a series of documentaries for WNJN, Harvard University, Princeton University, independent schools, and various nonprofit organizations, including the Arts Council of Princeton, the Princeton Public Library, Womanspace of Mercer County, and a number of organizations based in Trenton, NJ, including the Children’s Home Society, and Isles. The company also made a pro-bono film called Before You Enlist to provide young people and their families a more complete picture of the life-altering consequences of joining the military, especially in wartime.

Born in Philadelphia in 1933, Blofson attended Central High School. During the Korean War, he served in the U.S. Navy on the USS Putnam. A member of the Actors Studio and the Actors Equity Association, among other organizations, he lived in New York from the 1950s until 1988, when he moved to Princeton. After he retired from Telequest, he came out from behind the curtain and the camera to become a player in Onstage Seniors (McCarter Theatre), whose members create and act short documentary stories collected from community members.

He is survived by his wife, Scotia MacRae, his son Tony Blofson from his marriage to Betty Hellman (which ended in divorce), wife Denise Paasche and grandsons Caleb and Pete Paasche; his daughters Kate Blofson (Thomas Case) and Beth Blofson (Ben Dickey) both from his marriage to Eleanor Harter Ruma (who died in 1982), and stepdaughter Aurora MacRae-Crerar (Vinayak Mathur). He was predeceased by his sisters Lorraine Blofson Brown and Jane Blofson Rudofker.

Contributions in Blofson’s honor may be made to the Arts Council of Princeton (, Friends of Princeton Open Space (, or Veterans for Peace (


Barbara M. Spalding

Barbara M. Spalding, age 61, a longtime resident of Princeton, New Jersey, died Tuesday, September 1, 2020 at home surrounded by her loving family after a long and valiant battle against breast cancer.

Barbara will be remembered as a devoted wife, mother, and friend, who loved life and refused to be defined by the disease she spent almost two decades fighting. Barbara’s determination to overcome challenges was lifelong and her greatest joy came from helping others overcome obstacles in their own lives.

Barbara encouraged others to start businesses, return to school, live healthily, and stay positive even in the most trying times, an example she set for herself.

After earning a bachelor’s degree from Tufts University and a master’s from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Barbara moved to Princeton in 1986 with her husband Keith Spalding. While balancing the demands of life as a young wife and mother, Barbara founded and grew her own Princeton-based insurance brokerage. Some of her children’s earliest memories are of sleeping on the floor of the “CEO’s” office when they were too sick to go to school.

Barbara was a successful local entrepreneur by the time she was first diagnosed with cancer. After beating the disease, she was inspired to sell her business in 2004 to return to university in mid-life to become a registered dietician, a career that married her twin passions of cooking and healthy living. Despite being more than 25 years older than many of her classmates, Barbara graduated summa cum laude from Rutgers and went on to also earn her master’s degree from the university.

As a dietician, Barbara combined her training and personal experiences to help other cancer patients stay healthy and resilient during recovery. She ran two blogs, Second Act Kitchen and Breast Cancer Wonderland, where she shared recipes she loved and gave advice to others struggling with their health.

Barbara loved spending time with her family at Lake George where she shared her passion for the natural world with her husband and children. Having grown up in Westport, Connecticut, Barbara loved sailing and swimming in open water and long hikes through the Adirondack forest. Most of all, she loved cooking and sharing a meal with family and friends on the dock, which she considered one of life’s simple but great pleasures.

Although she is gone far too soon, Barbara’s determination meant she was able to attend her daughter’s wedding and son’s college graduation, all while battling metastatic cancer. Her endless energy, resilience, and courage will always serve as an inspiration for her family, especially in this time of deep grief.

Barbara is survived by her husband of 34 years, Keith R. Spalding, son Holt Spalding of Princeton, NJ, daughter Rebecca Spalding and son-in-law Alexander Plough of New York, NY,  and brothers Brook Manville of Bethesda, Maryland, and Reed Manville of Paradise Valley, Arizona. She is predeceased by her father, Richard Manville, and mother, Mary Harbord Fox.