February 2, 2022

Obituaries 2/2/2022

William R. “Bill” Adams

William R. “Bill” Adams of Burlington Twp., passed away on Sunday, January 30, 2022 at Virtua Hospital Willingboro at the age of 89.  Born in Burlington on October 12, 1932 to the late William S. and Harriet (nee Stilts) Adams, Bill remained a lifelong resident. He was a graduate of Burlington High School, Class of 1952 and attended Rider College.

Bill served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, stationed in Baumholder, Germany. He attained the rank of Staff Sergeant and served as a tank commander in the 2nd Armored Division.  He retired from McGuire AFB, Wrightstown as the supervisor in charge of the Heating Shop.

In his spare time, Bill enjoyed Thursday morning trips to Columbus Market with his brother Elmer and Friday night local football games. He was also a fan of the Phillies and would take yearly February trips to spring training in Florida. He was also a season ticket holder for many years. In addition to the Phillies, he also loved watching other sports, traveling to New York City and the theater and throughout the United States, Central Islands, and Europe. 

Not only did he love his family, he was loved by so many including his many nieces and nephews. 

In addition to his parents, Bill was predeceased by his first wife, Rose (nee Spanelli) Adams, and his siblings, Elmer Adams, Doris Brant, Wilamina Vitrano, and Betty Raiselis. He is survived by his wife Amelia Conte Adams, who he met in 1979 and were married in 1983; his sons William (Kelly) Adams of New Hope, PA, Dennis (Teana) Adams of Summerfield, FL, and Joseph (Deirdre) Adams of Burlington; his grandchildren Brandie (Matthew) Kulp, William, Jr. (Ashley) Adams, Rose (Paul) Esposito, Jaime (Will) Patterson, Ryan (Nicole) Adams, Nikki (Mandy) Cloud; his great-grandchildren Brayden, Caleigh, Tyler and Justin Kulp, Anna Rose Esposito, Payton and Jaxson Adams and Nash Patterson. Bill is also survived by his sister-in-law Rose Adams of Beverly, brother-in-law Joseph (Karen) Spinelli of Newark, DE, and sister-in-law Mary Lou Schachte of North Carolina. 

A viewing for Bill will be held Thursday, February 3, 2022 from 9-10:30 a.m. at the Page Funeral Home, 302 E. Union Street, Burlington. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. in St. Paul R.C. Church, 223 E. Union Street, Burlington. Burial will follow in Princeton Cemetery, Princeton, NJ. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions made to the Alzheimer’s Association, 23 Vreeland Road, #105, Florham Park, NJ 07932 would be appreciated by his family. Messages of sympathy may be sent to the family through pagefuneralhome.com.


Millie Harford

Millie Harford passed peacefully in her home surrounded by family at sunset on Tuesday, January 18, 2022. 

A lifelong student, teacher, and artist, Millie was born in Jersey City in 1929 to Ernestine and Joseph Waters. She enjoyed a life based in faith and was quick to make friends. 

Majoring in Art History, she graduated from the University of Richmond in 1951. Her love for art and education remained a pillar throughout her life.

The summer after her graduation, Millie met her husband James “Jim” Harford in Manasquan, NJ. Together they embarked on their life’s adventure. After marrying in 1952, they spent a year in Paris, France, before
returning to New Jersey and raising a family in Princeton. 

Gentle, funny, and kind, Millie loved Princeton and was an active participant in its community. When Millie and Jim completed their long winning streak on Johnny Carson’s TV show Do You Trust Your Wife? they spent their prize money on throwing Millie’s Ball — a huge soiree for all her friends to enjoy.

Millie was a member of many groups including Pretty Brook Tennis Club, Community without Walls, Princeton Contemporary Garden Club, book clubs, and the former Princeton Mini’s group that won several Philadelphia Flower Show ribbons.

After receiving her Montessori certification from the pioneering Whitby School in Greenwich, Connecticut, she established Griggstown Montessori in 1961. Along with Peggy McNeil and Mary Murray Garret, she is celebrated as a founding mother of Stuart Country Day School of the Sacred Heart where she taught preschool for 14 years. Later on, she volunteered at Ned O’Gorman tuition-free schools in Harlem, NY, and Trenton, NJ’s Martin House Learning Center.

A docent for 40 years at Princeton University Art Museum, she was also a founding docent at the National Women’s Museum in Washington, DC. A painter and poet, Millie always carried a sketchpad and notebook in her bag. Millie was always enrolled in a course from Bible study to Spanish class to Chinese history to rowing. She always did her best and loved doing it. Millie and Jim invite you, to “Enjoy The View” from their bench donated to the D&R Canal State Park at Lake Carnegie opposite where they lived.

She is predeceased by husband James, son Peter, sister, Lois Smith, and is survived by her children Susan, Jim, Jennifer, and Chris; granddaughters Amanda Harford and Ayla Vo Peacock; great-granddaughter Sydney Jackson; and brother Roger Waters. 

A memorial mass is scheduled for February 19, 2022 at 10 a.m. at St. Paul Parish, 214 Nassau Street, Princeton, NJ, followed by a committal service at Princeton Cemetery. A reception will follow at its conclusion. For more information about the events, including online access, please contact the Kimble Funeral Home at (609) 924-0018, kimblefh@comcast.net, or TheKimbleFuneralHome.com

Family will be at home receiving friends in the days following services. For details, please contact (609) 924-4454 and milharford@gmail.com.

In lieu of flowers, suggested donations are welcome, in her name, to Father Tom Hagan’s Hands Together in Haiti  (handstogether.org), Princeton Senior Resource Center (princetonsenior.org), or Stuart Country Day School (stuartschool.org).


Judith Hillery Higgins 

August 20, 1936 — January 16, 2022

Judith Hillery Higgins passed away on January 16 at age 85 from Parkinson’s disease. She was a gifted writer, a loving mother, a witty and caring friend, who held a lifelong passion for art. She will be missed dearly by her family, friends, and devoted caregivers.

Born in 1936, Judith grew up in Boonton, NJ, where she loved to paint wistful watercolors of dream-like figures. And together with her brother Paul they invented dramatic games, such as crouching behind the bulky family radio to read the news, or by hiding in the garage from imaginary wolves.

At age eight, she discovered a love and talent for writing. Winning several awards for her writing while still in high school, Judith won a full scholarship to Brown University, where her uncle Victor had also attended.

She flourished at Brown, and graduated Summa Cum Laude with a B.A. in Writing and Psychology. At graduation, she was awarded the Anne Crosby Emery Fellowship to support a year of graduate study in creative writing and Anglo-Irish Literature at Trinity College, Dublin.

Moving to Manhattan, she became a textbook editor for Random House, where she made two dear friends. At a party she met Judiah Higgins, a financial analyst from Newcastle, Pennsylvania, who complemented her relative shyness with witty, animated conversation, propelled in part by his equally deep love of literature. Married in 1964, the couple moved to Paris, London, and then to Princeton (Jud’s alma mater, and close to New York) with their son, Ned. Judith and Judiah were married for 19 years, until they divorced in 1983.

Throughout her life, Judith worked very hard to be a full-time freelance writer. Her first published story, “The Only People,” won the “Atlantic First” prize, appearing in the Atlantic Monthly, and later re-published in The Best American Short Stories, 1968.

Judith was fortunate enough to befriend some of the Princeton community’s devoted supporters of literature. She contributed two short stories to the Quarterly Review of Literature, co-edited and managed by Princeton professor and poet Theodore Weiss and his wife Renée. In addition, she wrote an essay on Sylvia Plath’s growing popularity on college campuses for University, the Princeton Bulletin, while also publishing stories in the Texas Quarterly and the Southern Review, among others.

In 1984, her loves for art and writing professionally came together, when she was given the chance to write a feature profile of painter Alice Neel for ARTnews magazine. As a result, she wrote profiles and reviews for ARTnews and Art in America. In 1988, she contributed an essay to The New British Painting, a catalogue for a group exhibition that explored Britain’s 1980s resurgence of figurative painting, published by Phaidon Press.

Based on her work, she won two travel grants to research on contemporary art in England, Scotland, and Ireland in 1989. These trips abroad comprised a time of great professional fulfillment, for she discovered she loved interviewing artists as well. Her openness put them at ease. And when Judith offered a good insight, or when she and the artist discovered an insight together, the artist could say simply, “That’s right” or “That is one thing I’m trying to do.”

Judith’s hobbies included swimming, walking in the woods behind the advertising company she worked for in later life, seeing plays (mostly dramas) in New York with her son (who loved them as well), taking life-drawing classes, visiting her beloved cousin Philip and his family in New Jersey and Virginia, and making amusing holiday cards. Often the cards depicted tender caricatures of the recipients, such as depicting a friend with a rather longish head and curly hair as a smiling buffalo.

She loved using different materials too. For one birthday card for her son — who, thin at the time, was nicknamed “Wire Man” — she depicted his arms and legs by stapling two bent pipe cleaners to the card — and adding, too, a (taped-on paper) smiling face.

And people who knew her liked her subversive humor. In one such display, she dressed up in Jud’s businessman “uniform” — suit, shoes, briefcase — to impersonate him returning home from work. At his usual arrival time, she walked in the front door, and ignored Jud’s startled reaction and “Hey!”, as she marched silently, heavily, up the front stairs. [As for Jud not recognizing his wife, it should be noted that he wore very thick glasses.]

Judith wanted to be cremated, and so her ashes will be interred at St. Mary’s Cemetery, in Boonton, in April. Judith is survived by her son Ned; her brother Paul Hillery, and his three children; and by her cousin Philip Hillery’s wife, Ginger, and their five children.


Mary Ann Opperman

Mary Ann Opperman, 83, of Princeton died Tuesday, January 25, 2022 at home surrounded by her loving family. Born in Connellsville, PA, she was a lifelong Princeton resident. She and her husband Joe enjoyed a long life together, first meeting in first grade, then as high school sweethearts followed by 63 years of marriage. Their wonderful life was built around this enduring, unique love for 79 years. Their odyssey began when Joe dipped her pigtail in an inkwell  in first grade at Southside Elementary School in Connellsville, PA, and ended with Joe holding her hand as she left this world.

Mary Ann attended Bucknell University, but after two years transferred to Penn State University to be with Joe. Married while still in college, the young couple moved to New Jersey after graduation when Joe began his career at Johnson & Johnson.

She worked at Princeton University for 21 years as a research assistant in the Social Psychology Department. She worked with professors and graduate students while managing the human subjects for research. She also volunteered at the children’s section of the Hospital Fete and Princeton High School as a tutor.

She devoted herself to raising four children in Princeton. She was involved in many volunteer organizations but is best known as the mom to whom her children’s friends would talk to, spending many hours at the kitchen table helping them navigate the social landscape of childhood. Mary Ann comes from a long line of gardeners. She loved to spend time in her perennial garden in Princeton, producing the year-round show despite the clay soil and abundant shade.

She loved to travel for ski and beach vacations with family and friends including summer trips to the Jersey Shore and ski trips to Vail and Telluride, CO, and Jackson, WY. Later, she and Joe traveled extensively together in Europe and the Caribbean and celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary at Phantom Ranch in the Grand Canyon.

Family was her priority. She went all out at family gatherings, especially Thanksgiving and Christmas, at her home in Princeton. She loved having her children and grandchildren home to eat, drink, and laugh together.

In 1997 Mary Ann and Joe built, with her sister and brother-in-law, a house in Culebra, Puerto Rico. She loved to walk on the beaches and sit on the deck to watch the moon and sun rise over the water.

Mary Ann is the daughter of the late James and Mary (Keagy) Banning, mother of the late Joseph Anthony Opperman, sister of the late Jane Katselas. She is survived by her husband of 63 years Joseph J. Opperman; a son Jim Opperman and his partner Sharon Reiman; daughters Julie Opperman and her partner Andrew Eills, Jane Moynihan and her  husband Michael Moynihan; and five grandchildren, Nicholas Cooney, Michael Moynihan, William Squires, Katherine Moynihan, and John Moynihan.

A private graveside service was held on Friday, January 28, 2022 at the Princeton Cemetery. A memorial service is planned for later this year. 

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


Charles P. Flesch Jr.

Charles “Chuck” P. Flesch Jr., 58, of Mercerville, passed away on Sunday, January 23, 2022, at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in Hamilton, NJ. 

Born in Trenton, he was a lifelong area resident and attended Steinert High School. Chuck began his roofing career as a roofer with Cooper and Schaffer Roofing and was with them for 13 years. He then founded Flesch’s Roofing and Sheet Metal Company, Inc. and has been serving all of Mercer County proudly for 26 years. Chuck’s business was voted Town Topics Readers’ Choice Award: Best Roofing Company four years in a row. 

Over the years, Chuck was involved in many hobbies. He started from a young age in the racing community which later in life, led him to a stock car of his own. In the ’90s you would see “Chargin’ Chuck” Flesch in the #28 at many dirt tracks in the tri-state area. Chuck enjoyed meeting friends for a bite to eat and a cold drink. Chuck’s true passion was being down the shore at Lanoka Harbor with his family. He found his peace on the water on the bridge of his boat, Reel Spoiled, feeling the wind in his hair and the salt air on his face. He loved to fish for tuna and large fish as well as sharking. He loved riding his Harley and later in life, fixing up the dune buggy with his son, Chuckie. 

Predeceased by his parents, Charles P. Sr. and Joan (Bowker) Flesch; he is survived by his wife of 42 years, Colleen Thomas of Mercerville; his children, Sara Flesch and her fiancé, Martin Rutledge, of Yardville and Charles “Chuckie” P. Flesch, III and companion, Stephanie Dileo, of Hamilton; his two grandchildren, Bryce and Aubrey Rutledge; his brothers, Dave and Terri Flesch of Mercerville and Robert Flesch and his companion, Mari Denko, of Yardville; his beloved aunts and uncles, Marge and Jim Struble of Hamilton Square and Bob and Regina Bowker of Mercerville; his half-brother, Scott Flesch and half-sister, Wendy Smith; his mother-in-law, Peggy Thomas of Hamilton; and several cousins, nieces, nephews, and loving family members and dear friends.  

A Memorial Gathering was held on Sunday, January 30, 2022 at the Saul Colonial Home, 3795 Nottingham Way, Hamilton, followed by a Celebration of Life Service. 

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Chuck’s memory to a charity of the donor’s choice.


Liam O’Callaghan

Liam O’Callaghan was born in Co. Limerick, Ireland, in 1946, shortly after the death of his veterinarian father, and shortly before the death of Liam’s sister Madeleine. Liam spent much of his early childhood in the care of his uncle Vincent, while his mother worked in London and Dublin. He survived two bouts with pneumonia, and one with tuberculosis, before the age of 4. Experience working at his family’s railway bar and dairy farm led Liam to apply himself keenly to the study of mathematics and physics at the (then all-boys) Christian Brothers School at Westland Row in Dublin.  

He received his BS Hons, MSc in Mathematics from University College Dublin in 1969 and then studied mathematics at Wesleyan University (Middletown, CT) on a Fulbright Fellowship, receiving his PhD in 1976. Liam’s life was forever changed by his time in graduate school. At Wesleyan, he met fellow mathematics PhD student Robin, whom he married in 1975. Furthermore, upon finding that in the U.S. one could easily store a half-gallon of ice cream in the home freezer, Liam formed an intention to become a U.S. citizen, a goal he realized in 1986.

Liam and Robin lived for 40 years on Battle Road in Princeton, NJ, where they raised three boys and three girls. During his time in Princeton, Liam worked as a software engineer at RCA (later GE) Astrospace, and Telos (later Engility and L3 Communications), primarily working on orbit determination for communication satellites. He also received an MBA from Rutgers in 1983.

Not long after attending their youngest daughter’s college graduation, Liam and Robin put their plans for a well-deserved rest on hold so Liam could help his oldest daughter raise her two young girls in Northern California. After four years of indulging his granddaughters’ every whim, Liam moved on to San Diego to spend time with his oldest son and his grandson. Finally, in 2017, Liam returned full time to Princeton. Three more granddaughters soon arrived, to Liam and Robin’s delight. Liam and Robin entertained their grandbabies regularly, spoiled their irrepressible Boston Terrier, Spike, and also enjoyed travel to California, Ireland, and points on the East Coast.

In late 2020, Liam received a diagnosis of Glioblastoma Multiforme, from which he died on January 2, 2022. In his last year, Liam often remarked with incredulity on his luck at meeting and marrying Robin; he said he could not have recruited a better partner with whom to share a life and raise a family. Being surrounded by his children and grandchildren was his greatest joy. His second greatest was recounting stories about his family’s achievements and notable characteristics, many of which are preserved in his series of comprehensive Christmas newsletters and thoughtful speeches at his children’s weddings. 

Liam is survived by his wife, Robin; his children, Liadan (Matt), Aindrais (Oksana), Lasair (Mike), Conall (Lucile), Ciaran, and Aishlinn (Ricky); his grandchildren, Evy, Didi, Vladimir, Célèste, Hélène, Birdie, and Mila; and one grandson expected in April. 

Liam’s family took him back to his birthplace of Effin, County Limerick, Ireland, where a Mass of Christian burial was celebrated on January 16. He was laid to rest in Ardpatrick Cemetery alongside generations of his family. A Mass will be said in Liam’s memory at 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 12, 2022, at St. Paul Roman Catholic Church in Princeton, NJ.


Rhoda L. Isaac

Rhoda Kassof Isaac, 93, died of age-related illnesses as well as Covid-19 on January 26, 2022.

She was born in New York City and grew up there before moving to a chicken farm in New Jersey. She studied textile design at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and was the mother of Jan Luss (1949-1996, son of her first husband Gerald Luss). She married Henry Isaac in 1954 and her son Jeffrey Isaac was born in 1956.

The family moved to Switzerland in 1963. She resumed her studies in mid-life culminating in a degree in analytical psychology from the CG Jung Institute, specializing in picture interpretation. In 1988 she moved to Princeton, New Jersey. Her career included work as an artist in various media including drawing, painting, ceramics, and photography. She taught art to adults and children in the U.S. and Switzerland as well as for several years at the American International School of Zurich. She practiced psychoanalysis and continued her work as an artist until shortly before her death.

She is remembered by her extended family, her son Jeffrey, his wife Sophie Clarke and grandson Elias Isaac, her three nieces Annie Kassof, Anita Kassof, and particularly Arlen Kassof Hastings who was her daily caregiver in the last months of her life, and by the many people whose lives she touched as a friend, teacher, analyst, and mentor.


Charles A. Baer

Charles A. Baer died peacefully on January 27, 2022, at the Atrium of The Village at Penn State at the age of 100. He was a chemical engineer with many patents, his last obtained at age 95. He was a man who gave generously of his time, talents, and money.

Born in Burnham, PA, to Clarence (Cub) Baer and Caroline Shirk Baer on May 20, 1921, Chuck moved with his parents to Ellwood City as a child. He graduated from Ellwood City High School in 1939 and attended Pennsylvania State University, receiving his Bachelor’s Degree in chemical engineering in December 1942. Upon graduating, he received a job offer from Bausch & Lomb in Rochester, NY, and worked there from 1943 to 1951.

In May 1943, Chuck, later called Charlie, married Martha Potter at Calvin United Presbyterian Church in Ellwood City, PA. They had two children, David and James.

Charlie worked at National Research Corporation in Boston, MA, from 1951 to 1959, before leaving for Texas Instruments in Dallas, TX. Many of Charlie’s patents came when he worked on processes of vacuum-coating films and fabrics used in a variety of materials. His patents include “Process of coating a refractory body with buron nitride and then reacting with aluminum” (1963); and “Disproportionation production of nano-metal powders and nano-oxide powders” (2016).

Later Charlie moved to Princeton, NJ, where he resided for more than 30 years. He worked for National Metalizing, and then Standard Packaging before beginning his own consulting business, Charles A. Baer Associates. He worked internationally with the International Executives Business Corps in Latin America, Europe, Egypt, India, China, and South Korea.

Charlie and Martha were members of the St. Andrews Presbyterian Church in Princeton. They supported the local hospital, gave generously to individuals, and became a central part of their neighborhood.

After retiring and moving from Princeton, Charlie continued to maintain professional contacts and helped companies with problems related to vacuum metalizing. As one of the pioneers in the field, his expertise covered generations of machinery and systems. He continued to field questions well into his nineties.

Charles Baer was preceded in death by his wife of 70 years, Martha, and his eldest son, David. He leaves behind Heather Fleck, whose friendship and love enriched his later years, as well as a son, six grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren, along with loving friends and colleagues around the world.