Dr. Allen H. Kassof
Dr. Allen H. Kassof, 90, of Princeton, died on November 22, 2021 of heart failure.
He was the founding director of the International Research & Exchanges Board (IREX), which administered the foremost exchanges of scholars with the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe during the Cold War. He headed IREX from 1968 to 1992.
In 1991 he founded the Project on Ethnic Relations (PER) in anticipation of the serious interethnic conflicts that were to erupt following the collapse of Communism. As president of PER from 1992 to 2005 he led negotiations and mediated ethnic conflicts in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.
PER’s greatest impact was in Romania. He played an essential role in preventing Romania from experiencing the horrors of ethnic conflict that affected so many of its neighbors. His extraordinary breadth of vision and humanitarianism enabled him repeatedly to accomplish the seemingly impossible by bringing together antagonistic majority government officials, minority representatives, opposition leaders, security authorities, and human rights activists, and helping them find nonviolent ways to reconcile major differences.
He was born in New York City to Morris and Sophia (née Baron) Kassof, and the family took up chicken farming in Toms River, New Jersey, where he grew up. He credited his childhood on the farm for the pragmatism that was his hallmark skill as a negotiator. In a 1999 oral history with Carnegie Corporation of New York, he said, “I learned very early that if you didn’t feed or water the chickens they died, and it did not matter how good your ideas were; there was an absolute and fundamental necessity just to get certain things done in the real world.”
He received his B.A. from Rutgers University in 1952, and in 1960 he earned his Ph.D. in sociology from Harvard University, where he studied at the Russian Research Center. He taught sociology at Smith College and was recruited in 1961 to join the sociology faculty at Princeton University.
He remained on the Princeton faculty until 1973, serving as an assistant dean of the college from 1965 to 1968. He supervised Princeton’s Critical Languages Program (which brought women to study there before they were first admitted as undergraduates in 1969), referring to himself tongue-in-cheek as Princeton’s “first dean of women.” In 1978-1979 he served as a member of President Jimmy Carter’s Commission on Foreign Language and International Studies.
To all of his interactions, whether on the world stage or at the kitchen table with good friends, he brought perspective shaped by coming of age in a time of American optimism and honed by decades of world travel. His self-assurance and sense of humor put everyone at ease.
He had a joke (usually off color) for every occasion and a ridiculous nickname for almost everyone. His own nickname, bestowed with great affection by his family, was “Big Al.” A devoted and enthusiastic husband, father, grandfather, and uncle, “Big Al” showered us all with love and generosity.
He and his wife — the former Arianne Scholz, whom he married on Valentine’s Day, 1953 — were legendary for their hospitality, hosting family, friends, and colleagues from all over the world in their Princeton home. He maintained that tradition even after Arianne died in 2013, seven months after their 60th anniversary.
He was an avid photographer and technology enthusiast, a Fellow of Princeton’s Forbes College, a Friend of the Institute for Advanced Study, and an active member of the Harvard Club of Princeton, the Old Guard of Princeton, and Community Without Walls.
He spent the last several years of his life with his partner, Trudy Glucksberg. After her sudden death in May 2021, his health declined precipitously. In accordance with his wishes that he leave his house “feet first,” he died surrounded by family in the home he loved and that had been the site of so many lively gatherings.
He is survived by his sister Rhoda Kassof-Isaac; daughters Annie, Arlen Hastings (Tom), and Anita (Josh Neiman); grandchildren Deja Kassof, Sara (Dan Hayes-Patterson) and Kevin Hastings, and Sophie and Daniel Neiman; great-granddaughter Jordan Carroll; nephew Jeffrey Isaac (Sophie Clarke); and great-nephew Elias Isaac. In addition to Arianne, he was predeceased by a grandson, Julian Harned.
A memorial service will be scheduled in spring/summer 2022. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Princeton Public Library (princetonlibrary.org); or to PER’s successor organization, the Council for Inclusive Governance (CIG), by check to 2 Hillside Road, Newtown PA 18940, with “in memory of Allen Kassof’’ in the memo.
Alice S. Keizer
Alice S. Keizer, 103, of Cornwall, PA, formerly of Princeton, NJ, passed away peacefully November 12, 2021, at Cornwall Manor. Born August 26, 1918 in Council Bluffs, IA, she was a daughter of the late Frank and Charlotte Schley.
Alice attended Iowa State University where she received a Bachelor’s Degree. She served on various committees in the Methodist Church in Princeton, NJ, where she lived from 1941-1992. She took an active role there volunteering in her community. She taught inner-city children to read, she housed Vietnamese refugees in her own home, and she helped to settle those families. After she moved to Cornwall in 1992, she was a member of the Cornwall Methodist Church, where she played in the bell choir. She volunteered at Cornwall Manor where she was involved with the gardening club as a leader and a member.
Surviving are her sons, Richard (Sharon) of MN, and Alan (Susan) of the U.K.; and her two grandchildren, Vivian and Shelby.
In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, Eugene; and two children who passed in infancy.
Due to the pandemic, there will be no services.
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made in her memory to the Alzheimer’s Association, 225 N. Michigan Avenue, Fl. 17, Chicago, IL 60601.
Arrangements by Cremation & Burial Society of PA, Inc.
Mary Ann Pirone
Mary Ann Pirone, 91, of Princeton passed away on Saturday, November 27, 2021 at home surrounded by her loving family. She was born in Pettoranello Del Molise, Italy, and moved to Princeton, NJ, in 1947. On September 13, 1952, she married Domenico Pirone at St. Paul’s Church in Princeton. She was a lifelong parishioner and member of the Altar Rosary Society at St. Paul’s Church. She was a member of the Italian American Sportsman Club Lady Auxiliary. Mary Ann was a homemaker and loved being a mother and grandmother.
Predeceased by her parents Felix and Giulia (Pinnelli) Pirone; sisters Alberina Procaccini and Caroline Pirone; and brothers Domenic Tamasi and Umberto Pirone; she is survived by her daughter Dana M. Pirone; son and daughter-in-law Mark A. and Susanne Pirone; five grandchildren Katherine and Julianne Garrity, and Caroline, Peter, and Christopher Pirone; sister Evelyn Tamasi;
brother Ralph Pirone; and many extended family.
Visitation will be held on Wednesday, December 1, 2021 from 5-8 p.m. at The Mather-Hodge Funeral Home, 40 Vandeventer Avenue, Princeton, NJ 08542. Funeral will begin at 9 a.m. on Thursday, December 2, 2021 at the funeral home. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. at St. Paul’s Church, 216 Nassau Street, Princeton, NJ 08542. Burial will follow in the Princeton Cemetery.
Memorial donations may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association at alz.org.
Herbert H. Hagens
Herbert H. Hagens, 99, of Princeton, NJ, crossed the Threshold on Friday, November 26, 2021 at Stonebridge at Montgomery.
Herbert was born in Princeton, NJ, on July 1, 1922 and was a lifelong resident. His father, Henry Hagens, was an early practioner of biodynamic farming and gardening. His mother, Emmy Hagens, was a Waldorf teacher. Herbert attended the Rudolf Steiner School in New York City and graduated from the Hun School in Princeton. He was a member of the Class of 1945 at Princeton University.
After serving as a Navy officer in World War II, he married Velva A. Hagens (nee Helms) in East Randolph, New York. In 1950 they moved back to the family home on Lower Harrison Street in Princeton where they raised their two sons. With his background in electrical engineering and acoustics Herbert established Hagens Recording Studio, Inc. in 1952. The business began with music recording, record cutting, and sound and film mixing. It expanded to full scale video postproduction and incorporated the advances in digital technology. His two sons continue to operate the company.
Herbert was a member of the Anthroposophical Society in America and hosted the activities of the Princeton Group for many years. He took a special interest in supporting the Waldorf School of Princeton and produced a series of videos about Rudolf Steiner’s approach to education and the art of eurythmy.
Herbert was predeceased by his wife, Velva Hagens (October 7, 1997). He is survived by his son and daughter-in-law Herbert O. and Adelaide B. Hagens of Kingston, NJ, his son Peter R. Hagens of Princeton, and a cousin Inge Karl of Berlin, Germany.
Funeral services were held on Tuesday, November 30, 2021 at the Kimble Funeral Home, Princeton, NJ. Reverend Liza Marcato of The Christian Community Church officiated. Burial will take place in East Randolph, NY.