November 18, 2020

Obituaries 11/18/2020

Martha B. Hartmann

Devoted to her family, community, and to the advancement of civil and human rights in New Jersey.

Martha Bothfeld Hartmann died quickly and peacefully from old age on November 11, 2020 at Stonebridge at Montgomery. She was 97 years old.

Born in 1923, Martha had a happy childhood in Wellesley, MA. She liked to tell stories of how she played ice hockey with her siblings on the neighborhood pond and spent time with her cousins at her grandfather’s farm and by the sea in Duxbury, MA. In 1941 she entered Smith College where her grandmother had been a member of the first graduating class. Her college years were profoundly shaped by World War II. Because of labor shortages, she helped organize students to assist in the harvesting of local crops. In 1942, she joined the Vermont Volunteer Land Corps founded by famous journalist Dorothy Thompson. She spent the summer working on a small dairy farm in northern Vermont where her main job was to ride the hay rake.  This experience deeply affected her. She bonded closely with the family she lived with and remained in touch with them for many years. She took pride in her capacity for hard physical work and from that time on liked wearing a blue-jean jacket. 

“It was a wonderful summer but also one that made me realize the hidden rural poverty that existed in farming communities,” she wrote in a short memoir. She
decided she wanted to work for the Farm Security Administration and did her senior thesis on the subject. The thesis won Smith’s Government Department prize. After graduation she embarked on a graduate degree in Agricultural Economics at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. She left the program to marry Marine Corps Captain Thomas Hartmann when he was back on leave from serving as a dive bomber in the Pacific. 

Martha and Tom had a long and close marriage until his death in 2007. They met at a party during her senior year at high school. She was bored and wanted to go home, the story goes, and he looked bored too, so she asked him to walk her home. From that point until their wedding they saw each other for a total of 20 days. Their romance blossomed through their war-time correspondence. Both were becoming avid New Deal Democrats and wrote about their changing views. Throughout their marriage they shared a passion for politics. When Tom worked as an adviser to Bill Bradley’s first Senate campaign, Martha co-chaired the Princeton campaign office.

With the war’s end, the couple moved to Princeton, NJ, where Tom finished his undergraduate degree at the university and then took a teaching and administrative job at the Hun School. Their three daughters — Anna, Darcy, and Betsy — were born in Princeton. Tom’s career then took the family to Wilmington, Delaware and Dallas, Texas. In 1963 they moved back to Princeton. Tom left private school education for anti-poverty work in state government and subsequently became a professor at Livingston College and Rutgers University.

Like so many women of her generation, Martha helped build her husband’s career, but she established herself in her own right as a forceful advocate for racial and social justice. She described herself as a “professional volunteer.”  Martha was a founding member of the Human and Civil Rights Association of New Jersey, the Princeton Youth Center, the Princeton Youth Fund, and the Witherspoon-Jackson Development
Corporation. She was also active in the Princeton Area Council of Community Services and the YMCA’s Soupcon and Interim Homes.  She was on the board of the Princeton Nursery School and on the Princeton Committee of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. For 16 years she proudly served on the board of the Princeton Joint Commission on Civil Rights. She assisted in the development of the video “The Princeton Plan” honoring the 50th anniversary of the integration of the Princeton elementary schools. Martha remained political until the very end, casting her ballot in the recent presidential election. She was especially thrilled to hear of Kamala Harris’ historic victory.

Martha was known for her graciousness and compassion, and she gave wise counsel to friends and family members of all ages.  At the height of the 1960s generational divide, her daughters’ teenage friends could often be found confiding to her at the kitchen table. She had a strong aesthetic sense and was an excellent seamstress and gardener. She also had a wickedly wry sense of humor. 

Martha was a much beloved grandmother. Family always came first for her. In a turbulent world, she was a bedrock of sanity and unconditional love. 

Martha is survived by her daughters, Darcy Hartmann of Monterey, CA, Betsy Hartmann of Amherst, MA, and Anna Wexler of Jamaica Plain, MA; her grandchildren Elizabeth Murtagh, Blakely Simoneau, Jamie and Thomas Hartmann-Boyce, and Jonah Wexler; five great-grandchildren; and her son-in-law James K. Boyce of Amherst. She is also survived by her siblings Laura Tracy of Kennet Square, PA, and Henry Bothfeld of Duxbury, MA.

The family would like to thank the staff of Stonebridge at Montgomery, where Martha lived for 17 years, for their kindness and care, and Andrea Didisheim for her help and companionship as Martha’s health declined. The family is especially grateful to Denise Johnson whose dedication, humor, and love brightened the last years of Martha’s life and kept her smiling, laughing, and even dancing until the end.

Because of COVID, a celebration of Martha’s life is being planned for a later date.  Memorial contributions can be made to NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund,

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


Dora Celli

Dora Celli, 92, passed away peacefully at her home in Princeton, NJ, after a brief illness.

She was born in Pettoranello di Molise, Italy in 1928 and came to the United States soon after WWII. She quickly learned to speak English and became an expert Dressmaker. In 1952 she married the love of her life, Cosmo Celli, and they had 52 happy years together before his death in 2004. They raised their two children in Princeton.

Dora worked for many years at Merrick’s, a Women’s Boutique, and was renowned and appreciated for her perfect alterations. She was a great cook, a devoted Church attendee, and loved hosting family gatherings at every holiday and for all special occasions. She was famous for her home made Christmas cookies of many varieties. She will be missed by all who were lucky enough to know her and by her adoring family.

Dora leaves a daughter, Maria Iacono (partner, Billy), and a son, Roberto Celli (Laura); three grandchildren, Marco Iacono (Megan), Ariana Iacono Ferris (Jim), and Carlo Iacono (Monica, fiancée); as well as numerous nephews, nieces, and cousins.

Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, November 20, 2020 at St. Paul’s Church, 216 Nassau Street, Princeton, NJ 08542. Burial will follow in Princeton Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations in Dora’s memory to St. Jude’s Hospital for Children or Doctors Without Borders.

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


Sanaa El-Bakry Abdallah

Sanaa El-Bakry Abdallah, resident of Princeton, NJ, died on Saturday, October 24, 2020 at 71 years of age, with her devoted husband and two sons by her side. Sanaa was laid to rest in her place of birth, Cairo, Egypt. Sanaa lived an exemplary life of love, dedication, and virtue. Her incredibly kind and welcoming spirit gave joy and comfort to family, friend, and stranger alike.

Sanaa was born in Cairo, Egypt in 1949, the daughter of Mohamad and Saedia El-Bakry. She was deeply devoted to her husband, Mahmoud, who credits his distinguished career to her steadfast love and counsel. Sanaa was the first woman in her family to graduate college, earning her degree in pharmacy from Cairo University in 1971 with honors, a career reflective of her intelligence, grit, and compassion.

Sanaa was a skillful and dedicated pharmacist, gaining the respect of her peers as she advanced her career in Egypt before immigrating to the U.S. with her husband in 1977. They eventually settled in Philadelphia, PA, where she worked while raising her two boys, Nader and Amir, and completed her degree from the Philadelphia School of Pharmacy & Science with honors. Sanaa passed her pharmacy exam just a few days after giving birth to her second son.

Sanaa and her family moved to Princeton, NJ, in 1989, where she was able to dedicate herself fulltime to her family, which she believed to be her true vocation. She stopped at nothing to secure the health and happiness of her two sons, daughters-in-law, and six beloved grandchildren.

Sanaa honored the traditions of her Islamic faith while living its teachings everyday through selfless acts of service and generosity. She never hesitated to give of herself for the betterment of others. She cherished nothing more than having loved ones close, under her care, showering them with comforts and delicious food celebrating her Egyptian heritage.

Sanaa had a refined taste for art, culture, and fashion. She honed her own unique style that radiated elegance, modesty, and grace.  Sanaa traveled the world but loved the comforts of home most, and wherever she traveled, she dedicated herself to making others feel at home. 

Sanaa exuded strength and decency. She balanced kindness with an unwavering will to protect those she loved and stand up for what she believed was right. Loved and respected by so many, Sanaa was a true matriarch of the Abdallah and El-Bakry family; a wise and honest custodian to her husband, sons, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, and friends.

Sanaa will be dearly missed. Thank you for your tireless love and care. We will cherish you always.


Ellis B. Anderson

Ellis B. Anderson was born (in 1926) and raised in Michigan City, Indiana, the son of Esther (nee Nicholson) and Ben (August Bernard) Anderson. Ellis served in the Infantry during World War II, first on Okinawa and then in Korea, where his unit participated in the surrender of the Japanese and the occupation of the country after the war. He returned to college and received an AB with Honors from Indiana University, where he was very active in campus affairs. He was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He then received a JD degree from Indiana University’s Law School and served on the Board of Editors of its Law Journal. In 1990, the Law School honored him by electing him to its Academy of Alumni Fellows.

Following graduation, he practiced Law in Evansville, Indiana for nine years, becoming a partner in the firm of Butt, Bowers & Anderson, oil and gas specialists. While in Evansville, he was active in local, state and national politics, and spent three months in Washington, D.C., with the Special Senate Committee on Chronic Unemployment Problems.

Ellis then was recruited to join the Law Department of Baxter Laboratories in Illinois, a pharmaceutical specialty company. A few years later, he was recruited by another pharmaceutical company, Hoffmann-LaRoche Inc., Nutley, N.J., to become General Counsel and head of both General and Patent Law Departments. He was elected Secretary and a member of its Board of Directors and of the Board’s Executive Committee shortly thereafter. He was elected, successively, Vice President and then Senior V.P. Roche sponsored his participation in the Advanced Management Program of the Harvard Graduate School of Business. He served Roche for 24 years. During that time, he was given responsibilities in addition to law which included taxes, corporate planning and development, corporate licensing, risk management, government and public affairs,
human resources, and served as chair of Roche Board’s Fiduciary Review (Investment) Committee.

Ellis married twice. His first wife, Adrienne Scotchbrook Anderson, died in 1991. He is survived by their two daughters, Rebecca J. Smith and Katherine A. Nestor, by four grandchildren: Allison, Tyler and Harrison Fontan, and Ben Smith, and four great-grandchildren. Following the death of Adrienne, in 1993 he married Jermain J. Andrews, who predeceased him in 2019. He is survived by two step-children, Jermain J. Steiner and John F. Mueller, and four step grandchildren and three step great-grandchildren. He has lived in Evansville, Indiana, Winnetka, Illinois, Essex Fells, New Jersey, and, for over 30 years, in Princeton, New Jersey. He also had a home in Mantoloking, New Jersey for many years.

During most of his adult life, Ellis was active in civic affairs and organizations, including service on boards of schools, family service, churches, and social and cultural organizations including The Nassau Club, McCarter Theatre, and the Nassau Presbyterian Church, where he had served on its Session and as chair of its finance committee. Douglass College, his first wife’s alma mater, awarded him the Douglass Medal. He was a member of The Nassau Club, Springdale Golf Club, and the Bay Head Yacht Club. At time of death, Ellis was living in The Princeton Windrows, a retirement community, of which he was one of the founding residents and was the first resident member of its Board of Trustees, from which service he derived great satisfaction and to which he provided great benefit.

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