September 22, 2021

Obituaries 9/22/21

Albert J. Raboteau Jr.

(Photo Courtesy of Princeton University)

Albert J. Raboteau Jr., 78, was a lifelong scholar and man of faith who authored five books, co-edited two books, published numerous academic papers, and taught and mentored generations of students as a professor in the Department of Religion at Princeton University from 1982-2013.

Known as Al to friends and loved ones, he died peacefully at home on September 18, 2021, following a years-long battle with Lewy Body Dementia. Al was born in 1943 in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, but largely grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Pasadena, California. He was intensely dedicated to his studies, entered college at age 16, and went on to earn bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. degrees from Loyola Marymount University, Marquette University, and Yale University, respectively. Raised Catholic, Al was deeply inspired by the writings of Thomas Merton. Al converted to the Orthodox Church later in life. He found great inspiration and solace in the Orthodox faith and was one of the founders of the parish church, Mother of God Joy of All Who Sorrow, in Princeton, N.J. Al was predeceased by his father, Albert Jordy Raboteau; his mother, Mabel Ishem Raboteau; his stepfather, Royal Woods; and his sisters, Alice Warren and Marlene Raboteau.

Al is survived by his wife, Joanne Shima, four children — Albert J. Raboteau III, Emily Raboteau, Charles Raboteau, and Martin Raboteau — and two stepchildren, Jane Bennett Smith, and Annie Bennett. Al is also survived by seven grandchildren: Albert J. Raboteau IV, Oliver Raboteau, Magnus Raboteau, Lucia Raboteau, Paz Raboteau, Geronimo LaValle, and Ben LaValle. Al will be dearly remembered by all of them, as well as by his former wife and the mother of his children, Katherine Murtaugh; and numerous members of his extended family, including daughters-in-law Jane Machin and Cara Mafuta Raboteau, and son-in-law Victor LaValle.

Al will also be fondly remembered by numerous colleagues, former students, and friends. Al will forever be recalled as a patient and attentive teacher; a caring father; a diligent, creative, and influential scholar; a generous friend; and a lover of the arts, film, literature, poetry, the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team, and a wide range of music spanning centuries, from Gregorian chant, to spirituals, to Bob Dylan.

The viewing will be held Thursday, September 23, from 6-9 p.m. at Mother of God Joy of All Who Sorrow Orthodox Church, 904 Cherry Hill Road, Princeton, N.J. The Office of Burial will be held at the same church at 10 a.m. on Friday, September 24. The ceremony is open to well-wishers and will also be streamed online at The burial will follow at Highland Cemetery, 95 Hopewell-Wertsville Road, Hopewell, N.J. In-person attendees for all events are asked to wear masks in consideration of the health of all present.

In lieu of flowers memorial donations may be made to Arm In Arm, formerly known as The Crisis Ministry, in Trenton, N.J., which can be contacted at or (609) 396-9355.


Joan Stewart Hicks


Joan Stewart Hicks lived a rich and committed life, deeply devoted to family, friends, and social justice. Born in Abington, PA, Joan spent her early years in Huntington Valley, PA, and her adult and married years in Princeton, NJ. She spent the last 18 years with her wonderful friends at Stonebridge in Rocky Hill, NJ. Joan died on September 12, 2021, at home, with her family by her side. She was 94 years old.

Brilliant, elegant, quick witted, and fun, Joan loved life, her family, and her friends. She experienced the world passionately through conversation, music, language, and art. Joan was an engaged and entertaining conversationalist. You could be sure that she would listen to you attentively, be genuinely interested in your point of view, and ask thought-provoking questions. Joan spent countless hours at her table reading, writing, painting, and sketching, and connecting remotely with loved ones. When not at her table, Joan could be found at her keyboard, composing original tunes, or at her computer, firing off missives in English, French, and even Spanish. Joan was deeply connected to her family’s lives. She often pored over the pages of her atlas, tracking a loved one’s travels. Joan was drawn to life’s adventures. From learning to fly planes to aid war efforts during WWII, to sailing around the globe with her beloved husband of 70 years, A.C. Reeves Hicks, and their five children, Andrea, Ted, Lindsey, Daren, and Libby, Joan explored life with a fierce curiosity and a desire to experience everything.

Joan was deeply committed to social justice. She treated all she knew with respect, dignity, and care. This was reflected in her relationships with family and friends, in her service to her community, and in her philanthropic efforts. Joan was committed to her work with children at the Grant School in Trenton, the Stuart School, the Rock Brook School, as well as to her involvement with the Princeton Arts Council, the Princeton Public Library, the YWCA, where she helped run Soupcon, a cafe for incarcerated young women, and countless other community projects. A lover of music, Joan was a longtime supporter of the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the New Jersey and Princeton symphonies. An avid tennis player, Joan played competitive youth tennis and was known locally for her wicked forehand.

A loving wife, mother, aunt, grandmother, great-grandmother, and friend, Joan will be deeply missed. She believed in the power of love, respect, and wit as avenues for making the world a better place.

Joan was predeceased by her husband, Reeves, her son, Ted, and her sister, Patricia.

Joan left us with the following thoughts:

“So where am I going, what shall I do, send you some kisses, adieu adieu.”

Donations in Joan’s memory may be made to the Stoutsburg Sourland African American Museum in Hopewell, NJ ( and to the Boys and Girls Club of Mercer County, NJ (


Gioconda Escalona

Gioconda Escalona, age 85, died peacefully at her home in Lawrence Township, NJ, on Sept. 12, 2021. She was the wife of the late Alfredo Escalona. For 28 years Gioconda has longed to rejoin her late husband, and continue their love story.

Gioconda was born in Havana, Cuba, in 1936. She was a high school graduate of Colegio Baldor in Havana. A young bride when she married, she and Alfredo fled communist Cuba in 1961 with their two eldest children, two suitcases, and $60. This painful decision was motivated by a strong desire to raise their children in freedom.

Together they rebuilt their life with years of hard work. She and her husband founded and operated The Village Store on Plainsboro Road for 25 years.

Gioconda was a member of St. Paul Parish in Princeton, and was a daily communicant for many years at the Church of St. Ann in Lawrence. A devout Catholic, she dedicated much of her time praying for her loved ones and others in need of prayer. While living in Puerto Rico, she and her husband ministered together as Cursillistas.

An avid reader of mystery novels, she also enjoyed true crime stories on TV. She loved old-time Cuban music and sharing family history with her children and grandchildren. Gioconda will be remembered for her high intelligence and sense of humor. She balanced a no-nonsense approach to life with her wit and banter, enjoyed by all who were fortunate enough to know her.

She is survived by her children: Alfredo Escalona (Cassy) of Lawrence Township, Alida Escalona of Hainesport (Joseph Fadule II of Robbinsville), Lisa Gutro (James) of Lincoln, NH, and Paul Escalona (Jerilyn) of Croydon, PA; seven grandchildren: Joseph, James, Nicholas, Matthew, Samuel, Alexa, and Brian; and great-grandchildren: Anthony, Athena, and Aubrey Nicole. She was predeceased by her granddaughter Aubrey Pappas and Aubrey’s unborn baby, Niko.

A funeral mass was celebrated at St. Paul Parish, Princeton, NJ, with burial following in Princeton Cemetery

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Patricia Dickson Tappan

December 18, 1935 — September 9, 2021

Patricia Dickson Tappan passed peacefully on September 9, 2021 at her home in Hilton Head, South Carolina, after 11 days of hospice care and a battle with dementia.

She is survived by her loving son Thomas Dickson Edgar. Patty is beloved by many, many dear friends. A celebration of her life will be held December 15 at Sea Pines Country Club.

Born north of Boston, Patty grew up in Brooklyn Heights, NY, and lived in Grosse Pointe, MI; Chappaqua, NY; Paris, France; and was a longtime resident of Princeton, NJ, before moving south in 2012. She worked as a teacher, manager, and realtor.

She published a fun novel, A Fine How Do You Do, under Patty Dickson.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Friends of Caroline Hospice in Port Royal, SC.


Alban Forcione

Alban Keith Forcione passed away Tuesday, September 14. Born in Washington, DC, in 1938 to Eugene Forcione and Wilda Ashby, he prepped at the Landon School. He received his B.A. from Princeton University in 1960, majoring in the European Civilization Program and writing his senior thesis on Cervantes’ Don Quixote. He received an M.A. from Harvard in Comparative Literature (Spanish, Italian, English), studied on a Fulbright scholarship in Spain and Germany, and returned to Princeton for his doctorate, writing his Ph.D. thesis on Cervantes and the Humanist tradition.

After completing his graduate studies Alban was asked to join the Princeton faculty in the Department of Romance Languages and the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, where he spent the majority of his 50-year career as the Emory L. Ford professor of Spanish and Comparative Literature. He also had interim appointments as Distinguished Visiting Professor at other universities such as Stanford, Columbia, Penn, Dartmouth, and Harvard.

Alban was an eminent scholar of Seventeenth Century literature of “Golden Age” Spain, and the graduate students he mentored include many outstanding educators who maintain a community because of his teaching. Alban’s exhaustively researched books are all seminal works in his field. They include: Cervantes and the Mystery of Lawlessness, Cervantes and the Humanist Tradition, and, most recently in 2009, Majesty and Humanity in the Political Drama of Golden Age Literature.

In retirement Alban moved to the Windrows, where he enjoyed classical music and movies, playing the piano, and attending the opera and Princeton football games. (As an undergraduate he had played on the University sprint football team.)

He was predeceased by his wife, Renate, and one of his two sons, Mark. He is survived by his son Michael, his brother Eugene, a niece Erika Lubben Bucci, two nephews Stephen and Lawrence Forcione, and his companion, Joyce Gardiner.


Theodore B. Van Itallie, Jr.

Theodore B. Van Itallie, Jr., 70, died at home in Princeton on September 11, 2021. The cause was myelodysplastic syndrome, a blood cancer. 

An attorney, he had an accomplished and varied career in private practice, as corporate counsel, in government service, and as an arbitrator. He was a litigator for 19 years at Patterson, Belknap, Webb & Tyler in New York, where he became a partner in 1985. From 1996 to 2009 he was Associate General Counsel and head of global litigation for Johnson & Johnson.  He served as Director of the Division of Law, NJ Department of Law and Public Safety, in 2009.  He then became an arbitrator specializing in commercial disputes in the pharmaceutical and medical device industries, continuing that work until 2021.   

He was a co-founder and chair of the Chief Litigation Counsel Association, co-founder and president of the New Jersey Lawsuit Reform Alliance, and a board member of the Fund for Modern Courts, among other organizations. He taught advanced law courses at Seton Hall and Columbia Law Schools, and published pointed commentary on New Jersey legal issues. 

Known from childhood as Taysen, he was born September 13, 1950, in Boston, the second of five children of Barbara Cox Van Itallie and Dr. Theodore B. Van Itallie. He grew up in New Jersey, first in Franklin Lakes and later in Englewood, and spent idyllic summers on Long Island Sound in Fenwick, Connecticut. He graduated from Choate in 1968, then studied for a year at the American University of Beirut in Lebanon. He earned his B.A. cum laude from Harvard in 1973 and his J.D. in 1977 from Columbia, where he was a Kent Scholar.   

He met his wife, Jane Scott, when both were lawyers at Patterson Belknap; they married in 1988 and raised two children, the joy of Taysen’s life. He maintained strong bonds with his four sisters and their families, spending part of every summer under the same roof with them in Fenwick. He enjoyed warm relationships with his wife’s family and was a valued friend and counselor to all his nieces and nephews.

A graceful skier, a dedicated golfer, and an avid cyclist, he took pleasure in introducing his children to his favorite sports. He learned boating at a young age and felt at home on the water. In later years he took up fly-fishing. When these activities were precluded by his illness, he continued to enjoy reading, especially history; he was halfway through a biography of Lenin when he died.

He was also a talented photographer. He leaves behind a rich archive documenting the adventures of his youth — his year in Beirut, summers volunteering in a remote village in Quebec, a trip through Iran and Afghanistan in 1977 — and the growth of his beloved children. 

Taysen is survived by his loving wife Jane; by his daughter Elizabeth Van Itallie and son Michael Van Itallie of Brooklyn, NY; by his sisters Lucy Borge (Robert Lombardo) of Quogue, NY; Tina Van Itallie (James Anderson) of Guilford, CT; Elizabeth Van Itallie (Glenn Morrow) of New York, NY; and Katharine Van Itallie (Lars Klove) of Peterborough, NH; by his nieces Caroline Keenan (Richard) of Ridgefield, CT; Emily Anderson (Jake Sandmann) of Guilford, CT; and Gina Morrow of Brooklyn, NY; and nephew Jackson Morrow of San Francisco, CA; and by his grandnieces and nephews Zoe and Teddy Keenan and Hugo and Margot Sandmann; along with dear cousins from Maine to Arizona.

A memorial service will be held on Tuesday, October 19, 2021, at 1 p.m. at Trinity Church in Princeton. It will be live-streamed for those who cannot attend; a link will be available on the Church website the day of the service.

Donations in Taysen’s memory may be made to Housing Initiatives of Princeton and Send Hunger Packing Princeton, two charities he admired.