November 25, 2020

Obituaries 11/25/2020

Elli Walter

Elli Rambow Walter, 93, of Plainsboro, New Jersey, very sadly passed away at the Plainsboro Hospital on Friday evening, November 20.

Elli Walter was born on January 27, 1927 in Meichow, Germany, to Karl and Bertha Rambow. Her family heritage was German, French, and Eastern European. Elli attended the University of Marburg in Germany. She met her American husband Paul Walter in Germany when he was working there for the United States government. Prior to moving to Princeton in 1963, Elli worked for Johns Hopkins University and for the University of Pennsylvania.

Elli Walter lived in Princeton in the same beautiful house on Loomis Court from 1963 until 2012 when she moved to the lovely Princeton Windrows retirement community. Elli enjoyed classical music, art, reading, films, and gardening. Elli worked as a dedicated staff member in the Princeton University library system for many years (first in Firestone Library, and then from 1978 until 1996 in the Marquand Art Library where she was highly appreciated and valued).

Elli Walter’s greatest accomplishments were being an exceptionally kind, compassionate, and generous-hearted person; being a wonderful, nurturing, devoted, and supportive mother of her son Hugo, a 1981 graduate of Princeton University, who loved, cherished, admired, and adored her; having an extraordinary appreciation for beauty in everyday life and in art; and having a noble mind, a gracious heart, and a benevolent spirit which enhanced the character, decency, stature, and quality of life in any place or situation in which she was present.

Elli Walter is survived by her devoted and loving son Hugo and by the three daughters, Hannelore, Heidi, and Ute, of her deceased brother Karl and his wife Liesbet and their families in Germany and other parts of Europe, and by several relatives in South Carolina and Maryland.

Memorial donations may be made to the Marquand Art Library of Princeton University — please see the instructions about making a donation in Elli Walter’s obituary on the Mather-Hodge Funeral Home website.

A memorial service will be held for Elli Walter in the Princeton University Chapel in the future when the pandemic has subsided. The funeral arrangements are under the direction of the Mather-Hodge Funeral Home in Princeton.

Elli Walter was such a wonderful and lovely person and will be deeply and profoundly missed.


Thierry Verhaegen

Thierry Verhaegen, 68, passed away on November 20, 2020 in Princeton, New Jersey.

Thierry was born in The Hague, Netherlands, to Baudouin and Anne-Michelle Verhaegen on August 14th, 1952. As the child of a diplomat, Thierry lived in many countries including Chile, Turkey, Morocco, and Ireland. Thierry received a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Philosophy and a License en Droit (JD) from Louvain University in Belgium. He received his Master’s Degree (LLM) from the London School of Economics in England. After moving to the United States, he studied for and was admitted to the New York Bar.

Early in his career, he made the switch from law to business. Thierry worked at Munich Reinsurance America, formerly American Reinsurance, for almost 30 years. During his career, he rose to become a Senior Vice President and Account Manager. Thierry was a proud participant in multiple professional activities, both internationally and locally. He was a U.S. delegate to the International Labor Organization in Geneva, Switzerland. Locally, he was a Trustee Advisor for the Princeton University School of Public and International Affairs and a Board Member for the Princeton Water Treatment Plant.

In 1981, Thierry met the love of his life, Milka Petrovich Verhaegen, in an unexpected place: on a transatlantic flight. They married on May 11th, 1986 in Crestwood, New York. Thierry lived in Princeton with his wife and three children for over 30 years. He enjoyed gardening and riding his bicycle along the D&R Canal. He was an avid reader of both French and English literature as well as a listener of classical music, especially of the WWFM Classical Radio Station.

Thierry volunteered for a number of local organizations. He was quiet about his work but proud to serve the annual June Fête Fundraiser for the Princeton Medical Center. He also supported Eden Autism Services and would participate in their 5K run fundraiser. Many weeknights he would volunteer recording audio textbooks for the visually impaired. He was also involved in the Blue Mountain Festival, a local nonprofit to bring musical education to the underprivileged.

Thierry is preceded in death by his parents, Baudouin and Anne-Michelle; and sister Chantal Verhaegen.

Thierry is survived by his wife, Milka Verhaegen (Petrovich), of Princeton; son Samuel Verhaegen; daughter Nathalie Emerle (Verhaegen) and her husband Colin Emerle, daughter Anna Verhaegen; and sisters Beatrice De Patoul (Verhaegen) and Helene Buchen (Verhaegen); as well as nephews, nieces, and cousins.

A funeral service was held on Tuesday, November 24 at the St. Paul Roman Catholic Church in Princeton. The family suggests memorial contributions be sent to the Eden Autism Foundation or Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.


Michael N. Jolley, MD

Michael N. Jolley, MD, of Princeton, died peacefully in the early hours of November 18, after a long and difficult battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

He was the son of Dr. Henry Arden Jolley, and Mary Maureen, nee Begley Jolley. His father, a British army surgeon from Chile, and his mother, a British army nurse from Ireland, met during World War II, and married in Nairobi, Kenya.  After the war, they returned to Chile, where Mike was born in 1947. Growing up in a medical family, he knew at an early age that he would follow in his parents’ footsteps.

The Jolley family, including Mike’s younger brother and two sisters, moved to the U.S. in 1958, and eventually settled in Oradell, New Jersey. He was graduated from Riverdell High School, and a proud graduate of the University of Notre Dame, where he majored in pre-med studies.  He was graduated with honor from New Jersey College of Medicine and Dentistry, now Rutgers School of Biomedical and Health Sciences.

While in college, he met his wife, Wendy, nee McCaughan, on a blind date, and they were married in 1973. They moved to New York, where Mike did an internship and one year of a general surgery residency at NYU Bellevue Hospital. They then moved to Pasadena, California, for Mike’s four-year orthopedic residency at the University of Southern California. Their first daughter was born in 1976. After returning to New Jersey, Mike completed a hip fellowship at The Hospital for Special Surgery. Their second daughter was born in 1979.

In 1980, the Jolleys moved to Princeton, Wendy’s hometown. Mike joined the Princeton Orthopedic Group, where he practiced until a merger with Princeton Orthopaedics in 1992.  Their third and fourth daughters were born in 1982 and 1983. He remained at Princeton Orthopaedic Associates until his retirement in 2016, after practicing for 36 years.

Mike was a consummate professional. He did everything precisely, and with purpose and skill.  He was a gifted surgeon, specializing in hip and knee replacements, and over the years, he took care of many older patients, both in the office and at various clinics. He was an “old-fashioned doctor,” in the sense that he treated his patients himself, from start to finish, and developed a lasting relationship with them and their families. He cared deeply, and always did his best for them.

Mike was generous to a fault, always glad to lend a hand, financial support, or just his presence.  He had great respect for many of the excellent doctors and nurses he worked with over the years. He was a lover of Notre Dame football, classic cars, ’60s music, a funny joke, a good cigar, and a glass of Chardonnay. He greatly enjoyed spending time on Long Beach Island with friends and family members. He was a loyal friend to all. His greatest joy was his family; he was a devoted husband, doting father of four daughters, and he adored his six grandchildren. 

He was predeceased by his parents and his brother, Henry Vernon Jolley. He is survived by his wife of 47 years, Wendy; daughters Dr. Jennifer Jolley (Dr. Marcelo Hinojosa) of Irvine, CA; Katharine Milford (David) of Lawrenceville; Caroline of Philadelphia; Lindsay Ambriz (Jesse) of Pennington; and his beloved grandchildren Eve, Alexandra, Landon, Max, Olivia, and Scarlett.  He is also survived by his sister Patricia Orlovsky (Brian) of Newport Richey, FL; and sister Moira Swallow (Eric), of Saybrook, CT. He will be greatly missed by his sisters-in-law Carey Hoover (Stuart) and Marny McCaughan, and many nieces and nephews.

A celebration of Mike’s life will be held at a future date when it is safe to gather. Burial in Princeton Cemetery will be private. Donations in his honor may be made to Corner House Behavioral Health, 1 Monument Drive, Princeton, New Jersey 08540; or the American Nurses Association.


Alton H. Bassett

Alton H. Bassett passed away peacefully, with family by his side, on November 16, 2020, just shy of his 90th birthday. He will be remembered as a devoted family man.

Alt was born November 27, 1930 in Hartford, Connecticut, son of Martha and Arthur Bassett. He graduated from Middlebury College in 1953, with a BS Degree in chemistry. In his junior year he met and dated his future wife, Joan Tolley. After graduation, he served two years in the Marine Corps ending at the Marine Corps Institute in Washington, DC, teaching math. In 1956, he married Joan, stopping at the Princeton Inn on the first night of the honeymoon, never realizing this would become their hometown. Alt worked briefly at American Viscose Corporation in Front Royal, VA, where his first daughter was born. He then began a job with Chicopee Manufacturing Company (Johnson & Johnson) and  moved the family to New Brunswick, NJ, where his second daughter was born. They bought a “starter” house in Princeton in 1962, which became the “home” he lived in for the rest of his life. 

Alt was a Research Director at Chicopee for 30 years, developing non-woven fabrics for surgical and medical supplies, and recorded three patents. He retired in 1988 and consulted for five more years. After retiring, he and Joan purchased an old 32’ Bristol sailboat, enjoying 25 years cruising the Toms River and Barnegat Bay waters. Every February, the two would travel to Venice, Florida, to enjoy the beach in a relaxing location. Alt developed lasting friendships that he cherished for a lifetime: in college, business (“The Old Farts”), Princeton, boating, and Florida.

Alt inspired his family with a sense of adventure and exploration. He proposed marriage to Joan, who was afraid of heights, on a waterfall cliff near Middlebury. On family vacations they went tent camping along the East Coast, and skiing in New England. Weekends were spent canoeing, hiking, or exploring New Jersey and Pennsylvania, or testing his homemade model airplanes, rockets, and sailboats. Alt amused everyone with creative activities, like mock baseball in the kitchen (the sport he played in high school), or sand games at the beach. He pursued his love for the desert southwest by climbing Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park and taking his entire family on an RV trip to Death Valley. Because of his talent with a camera, he captured all of his adventures on film.

Alt is survived by his wife Joan Bassett, his two daughters, Linda Bassett and Bobbie Erdman, sons-in-law Billy Erdman and George Morris, and two grandchildren, Jamie and Drew Erdman.

Alton’s family gives thanks to the Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad, Penn Medical Center, and Park Place Center for their exceptional care during his final months. There will be a small family service in the Princeton Cemetery at a future date, due to Covid-19 concerns. Arrangements are under the direction of the Mather-Hodge Funeral Home, Princeton.


Mort Darrow

Mort Darrow passed away on Saturday, November 21st at Stonebridge Senior Community, Montgomery, New Jersey from complications stemming from a soft tissue sarcoma and Parkinson’s disease. He was 94 years old, as is his surviving spouse Maureen Darrow, who sat with him as he died painlessly in his sleep.

A longtime Princeton resident, Mort taught at the University following the completion of his PhD at Columbia. Repelled by the anti-Semitism he encountered, he leapt at the chance to help elect a democratic governor, who offered him a cabinet post once in office. Mort was 28 years old.

Throughout his life, Dr. Darrow progressed at an accelerated pace due to his extraordinary intelligence. He entered college at the age of 15. Following his political career, his rise to becoming a vice president at Prudential Insurance was meteoric. While there, he became a renowned futurist, giving extemporaneous, humorous keynote speeches and presentations at major conferences around the world. Once he retired from an executive position, Mort founded a consulting firm whose clients included cities, state governments, universities, and corporations.

Mort was born and raised in Brooklyn, the son of immigrant parents – Russian Jews from a small town in Ukraine. The family was poor and frequently moved as their small businesses failed. Education freed him, beginning at Townsend Harris, a school for gifted children. Mort served in the U.S. Army stateside during World War II, held back by vision and foot issues. With the GI bill, he was able to pursue a serious academic career, where he met the love of his life, Maureen Grace Sullivan, a teacher in training from the Bronx. Their connection transcended their disparate backgrounds and it didn’t hurt that his future wife resembled Snow White, and has retained her outer and inner beauty throughout her life.

The couple produced two children, Nancy Whiteside of Brunswick, Maine, and Marc Darrow of Aptos, California, both of whom pursued successful careers as psychotherapists. Mort is also survived by a nephew he helped raise — Robert Goldberg of Livingston, NJ, whose entire family has cared for the Darrows during their recent medical challenges — and for decades before. He is survived by two other nephews as well — Richard Goldberg and Charles Goldberg. Mort and Maureen have one grandson, Daniel Whiteside of Brunswick, Maine, who has clearly inherited Mort’s intellect.

In lieu of a memorial service, perhaps anyone who had the pleasure of knowing him can simply reflect on Mort’s kindness, generosity, humor, authenticity, integrity, and incredible knowledge base. He touched the lives of many people, often helping them in ways they couldn’t have imagined. A lot of obituaries make claims such as these. In Mort’s case, they are simply facts — ask anyone whom he inspired to become a better person as he role modeled traits we all admire.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Mercer Street Friends, 151 Mercer Street, Trenton, NJ 08611.