June 8, 2022

Obituaries 6/8/2022

Diana Joy Crane

Diana Joy Crane, 80, of Princeton died peacefully on May 17, 2022. She was a caring daughter, wife, mother, granny, teacher, and friend. She was born September 29, 1941 during WWII in Devon, England, to Joyce and James Wharton. Diana grew up in London and attended Notting Hill and Ealing High School for girls on scholarship and received a B.A. in Modern Languages from the University of Leicester and a M.A. in Education from the University of London.

She met Giles Love Crane at a concert in Vienna and they were married on Christmas Eve, 1965. They lived in Princeton for over 50 years where they raised their two daughters.

Diana loved teaching German, French, and Acting. She was first female teacher at the Lawrenceville School and also taught German oration to professionals at the Siemens corporation. Diana’s pride, however, was in her work at Westminster Choir College, the music school of Rider University, where she taught for 26 years. At Westminster, she was the Director of Arts and Sciences and an Associate Professor of German and Fine Arts, and was affectionately known as Frau Crane. There she shared her passion for learning with thousands of students. Upon her retirement, a scholarship was created in her honor to provide students with an opportunity to study abroad.

As a talented actress Diana performed in regional theaters, numerous cabarets, and one-woman shows of her own creation. She became well-known to Princeton audiences for her popular work with The Inn Cabaret at the Nassau Inn. Her cheeky British humor and brilliant theatrical performances often brought the house down with laughter. She sang songs like “Nobody Loves a Fairy When She’s Forty,” “Send in the Clones,” “The Warthog,” and “Hard-Hearted Hannah” and often had her audience in stiches with her comedic timing. She relished performing in many PJ &B productions at McCarter Theatre, often with her children and Giles in the orchestra.

She worked as a dialect coach at McCarter Theatre and for several Rider University theater productions, and for many professionals in the entertainment industry. Her lovely English accent was heard by many taking the TOEFL exam as she provided voice-over work for the Educational Testing Service.

She directed and performed in plays for the Young Audiences of NJ and the Family Service Agency, and contributed to
Westminster’s annual Readings and Carols performances at the Princeton University Chapel. She also did readings for the English-Speaking Union Princeton Branch, and was a judge for the National Shakespeare Competition.

In her later years, she served as secretary for The Old Guard of Princeton, New Jersey.

She loved to play bridge, participated in a Friday Night Tennis group, and threw lively parties that were well remembered by her many friends.

Diana is survived by her husband Giles; her daughter Gillian and son-in-law Ed Roberson of the Woodlands, Texas; and her daughter, Rebecca, son-in-law Matthew Kim, and granddaughters Ellen and Sarah of Wellesley, Massachusetts.

In lieu of flowers, please take the time to contact a former teacher who made a difference in your life and thank them for their efforts.


Nancy Moffat Lifland

Nancy Moffat Lifland, 93, of Skillman, NJ, passed away peacefully on February 28, 2022. The daughter of the late Marion Adams Moffat and Abbot Low Moffat, she was predeceased by her husband William Thomas Lifland in 2012. Born in New York, she spent her childhood on a farm in Fitzwilliam, NH, but lived with her grandmother in Manhattan during the academic year from the age of 9 so that she could attend the Brearley School. She attended Vassar College, majoring in Applied Economics, and following graduation in 1948, moved to London where she took classes at the London School of Economics and learned to fly glider planes.

Returning to Washington, DC in 1950, Nancy went to work as an economist in the State Department, where she wrote monographs on various matters of interest to policymakers. There she met her husband Bill Lifland, an attorney then working in the Air Force General Counsel’s office. After marrying in 1954, the couple moved briefly to New York and then back to Washington, where Bill clerked for Supreme Court Justice John Harlan and the couple had the first of their four children, daughter Carol. After the clerkship, Bill and Nancy moved to New York where Nancy taught at the Brearley School, and Bill joined the law firm of Cahill, Gordon & Reindel. Their second child, Charles, was born during their New York years. Nancy and Bill then moved abroad for a two-year stint at the law firm’s Paris office, where their third child, Kerin, was born. Returning to the States in 1960, they moved to Princeton where son David was born.

In Princeton, Nancy and Bill joined the congregation of Trinity Episcopal Church and Nancy became active in many local activities. She managed fundraiser sales of plants for Trinity and household goods for Princeton Hospital. She taught sixth grade at the Chapin School and served as its volunteer librarian. She ran many of the book fairs held at both Chapin School and Princeton Day School, which her children attended, and worked on all manner of school projects, from managing publicity for the PDS Festival of the Arts, to building scenery for the theater department and constructing a fun house for the PDS fair. A self-taught builder, Nancy supervised construction projects at home too, hiring her children and their friends to implement her design for a bluestone patio and teaching them stone-laying techniques at the same time.

In the community, Nancy had numerous leadership roles. She served on the board of the Religious Ministries PHCS for almost 30 years, many as its treasurer, providing chaplains at local hospitals. She was a member of the Trinity Vestry Committee and chaired its Christian Action Board’s Grants Committee, rewriting its mission statement and guidelines for evaluating grant requests. She also served as treasurer for the Princeton Festival and the Princeton Women’s College Club. She volunteered at the Trinity Altar Guild and worked part-time for Princeton’s Town Topics newspaper.

Nancy was a lifelong music lover. She learned piano as a child and sang for many years in the Trinity Church choir. In her spare time, she played soprano, alto, and tenor recorder in a quartet called Recorders Four. She encouraged all of her children to learn an instrument and sing and imbued in all of them a love for music of all kinds. She especially loved classical music and regularly attended performances of the New York Philharmonic, the New Jersey Symphony, and the Princeton Symphony, among many others.

An avid outdoorswoman, Nancy described herself as “horse-crazy” in her youth. As an adult, she enjoyed tennis, including Seniors Mixed Doubles, as well as hiking and skiing with her children and bike riding around New Jersey with her husband. She loved theater and was a regular at the Shaw Festival in Ontario, Canada, first with Bill and later with various children and grandchildren. She was also a committed bridge player, making a grand slam just two weeks before her passing! A lifelong learner, she took classes virtually every semester through the Evergreen Forum of the Princeton Senior Resource Center on a broad range of topics, including poetry, literature, opera, Chilean politics, and Islam. She was a generous philanthropist as well, supporting many local and national organizations.

Nancy was a beloved mother, grandmother, aunt, cousin, and friend. She is survived by her four children, their spouses Daniel Giesberg, Alison Lifland and Cathy Radmer, eleven grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, and by her brother, Burnham Moffat. A lover of travel, nature, and culture, she hosted trips to the Galapagos, the Baltic countries, and Africa for many of her family over the years, deepening their bonds with her and each other, something she considered her greatest legacy.

A memorial service celebrating her life will be held at Trinity Church in Princeton on Sunday, June 12 at 2 p.m. A reception will follow at the Present Day Club.

Donations in Nancy’s honor may be made to the Princeton Women’s College Club, HomeFront, or to the charity of your choice. Condolences may be sent to Carol Lifland at 218 Bronwood Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90049, or to cmlifland@gmail.com.


Elizabeth Anne McClelland

Elizabeth Anne McClelland (Betty), 91, of Charlotte, NC, passed away at home on May 26, 2022. Betty was raised in Summit, NJ. Her first husband Carl Lindquist was killed in the Korean War shortly after their marriage. She attended Allegheny College and worked in New York City for NBC. In 1958, she married Richard Lee McClelland (Dick), Princeton Class of 1950, and moved to Princeton, NJ, where she lived for close to 50 years.

Betty was actively raising three sons and establishing and helping to manage Dick’s dental practice. She earned her BA degree in Music from Thomas Edison College. Music and specifically the piano were always a vital part of Betty’s life. During this time, she also became a licensed realtor, was an active community volunteer of Trinity Church, and was President of the Present Day Club.

Betty was predeceased by her husband Dick, her parents Alfred and Hazel Michon, and her brother Ted Michon. She is survived by her three boys and their spouses, Scott and Marilyn, Bill and Annie, Craig and Penny, as well as her nine grandchildren and one great-granddaughter. Betty is also survived by her sister Carole Little of Washington state.

Graveside service will be held on Saturday, June 11, 2022, at 2 p.m. at Princeton Cemetery, 29 Greenview Avenue, Princeton, NJ 08540.

In lieu of flowers memorial donations may be made to St John’s Episcopal Church, 1623 Carmel Road, Charlotte, NC 28226 or Westminster Choir College, Princeton, NJ.

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


Kit (Christopher White) Raymond


On May 9, 2022, Kit Raymond died after protracted battle with a rare blood cancer, at the medical center near his home in Fort Kent, ME at age 71. The son of Macpherson and Ramsay Raymond and the sixth of eight children, he grew up on Dalhousie Farm in Princeton, NJ, where he attended Princeton Day School, then South Kent School where he excelled in sports and served as Head Prefect. At Princeton University he majored in politics, studied sculpture, and rowed crew, graduating in 1974.

After college, Kit coached rowing for Rutgers, Princeton, and the Carnegie Lake Rowing Association. Meanwhile, he was making bronze sculptures that drew commissions and gallery shows. This marked the start of his life as an artist and craftsman. He became a painter, photographer, musician, lyricist, woodworker, luthier, inventor, and storyteller. He loved trees and supported his creative endeavors by working as a “Branch Manager” tree surgeon.

After time in Colorado, he returned to the family farm where his inventiveness and kinship with nature were well met. A unique, troubled soul, he was charismatic, funny, voluble, opinionated, generous, and forthright. His keen psychic sensibility was often overshadowed by his strong opinions. In late midlife, he strove with siblings to preserve ownership of the farm through a conservation easement. This succeeded, but the farm was eventually sold. Kit’s cancer surfaced soon after.

Before long he found a new home with his family of golden retrievers on a small farm in Fort Kent where he harvested oats. His connection with nature soothed his struggles with health. In his last years, while living off the land and coping with chronic illnesses, he continued to write, paint, work wood, follow world news, and communicate with his circle of friends/family. He held close to his heart a golden retriever named Tonto, his black sheep named Walnut, his brother, Whit, a few new friends, and the whole starry firmament.

Kit is survived by his siblings Moke, Cherry, Peter, Whit, and Josh.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, June 25, Hopewell Presbyterian Church, 80 West Broad Street, Hopewell NJ.  A private ceremony will occur at Kit’s home in Maine.

For more information or to send a message, email ramsay@tpc.earth. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Friends of the Earth or a charity of your choice.


David Lee DeGeorge

David Lee DeGeorge, 78, of Charlottesville, Virginia, passed away on May 30, 2022, at home surrounded by family after a brief battle with cancer.

David was born on May 7, 1944, in Buffalo, New York, to the late Nicholas and Corinne Shirey DeGeorge. David grew up in Erie, Pennsylvania, and Fremont, California. He graduated from Washington High School and served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War. David served for, as he would say, “three years, 10 months, and 15 days, but who’s counting.”

After the Navy, David attended San Francisco State University, earning a bachelor’s in mathematics and then went on to attend Wesleyan University and Yale University, earning a Ph.D. in mathematics. He taught at Rutgers University and then worked for the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA) in Princeton, New Jersey, from 1983 until his retirement in 2017. Whenever asked about his job, David would always say that he loved it but he couldn’t tell you what he did.

David met Dora Coleman, his “first” wife of almost 53 years, in San Francisco, California. They were married on August 23, 1969, and later moved to Plainfield, New Jersey, while David was teaching at Rutgers. During that time, they welcomed daughters Susan, Pamela, and Jane.

The family moved to Princeton in 1985 where David was active in the community, serving on the housing commission in Princeton and volunteering at the Battleship of New Jersey in Camden. David and Dora moved to Charlottesville, Virginia, in the summer of 2020 to be closer to their grandchildren, who David lovingly referred to as “the babies.” 

David always had the latest technology, was a skilled chef, taught himself how to read music and to play numerous instruments and loved Small World Coffee, the New York Yankees, and traveling with his wife and close friends the Kershners. He was actively involved in amateur radio (known by his call sign WQ2Q, which he personalized on all of his belongings) and recently served as the national training officer for Air Force Military Auxiliary Radio System (AFMARS). David was a special person to all who knew and loved him. His charm, witty banter, and kindness will be greatly missed.

In addition to his parents, David was preceded in death by his younger brother, James DeGeorge.

David is survived by his wife Dora DeGeorge; daughters Susan DeGeorge (Philip Shortal) of St. Louis, Missouri, Pamela DeGeorge (Brendan McKeown) of Burke, Virginia, and Jane Centofante (Andrew) of Charlottesville; grandchildren Olivia and Theo Centofante and Imogen McKeown; sister Susan Faust and brother-in-law and best friend Dick Faust of Denver, Colorado; aunts Susan West of Erie, Pennsylvania, and Nelrose Mahoney, of Moraga, California; and many other family and friends who dearly loved him.

A celebration of David’s life will be held later this summer in Charlottesville.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Washington High School Alumni Foundation or to the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society.


Dr. Austin Newton

Dr. Austin Newton died on May 13 in Princeton at 85. He was born in Richmond, Texas, the son of Dr. Edward P. and Catherine W. Newton. After graduating from the University of Texas–Austin in 1959 and with a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of California–Berkeley in 1964, Dr. Newton joined the group headed by the Nobel Laureate Jacques Monod at the Pasteur Institute in Paris.

Dr. Newton pursued his postdoctoral studies during the Golden Age of molecular biology, a time when much could be imagined, and clear thinking and experimental elegance were highly prized. Dr. Newton showed how an outstanding puzzle in gene regulation could be solved by the clever utilization of simple genetic tools. In Paris, he also discovered an abiding passion for sub-Saharan and West African sculpture and textiles. Princeton’s Lewis Thomas Laboratory being but one of the fortunate beneficiaries of his expertise and practiced eye.

At Princeton, where Dr. Newton began as an assistant professor in 1966, he published several classic papers of fundamental importance to understanding coordinated gene translation. His studies led him to hypothesize that genetic approaches could be used on fundamental problems in developmental biology.

Dr. Newton pioneered a new field, using genetic and molecular analyses to study the origins of asymmetric cell division — a characteristic of stem cells and cancer stem cells but also one that distinguishes Caulobacter, a tiny fresh water bacterium. Dr. Newton and his group made ground-breaking discoveries on the mechanisms governing asymmetric cell division, cell polarity, cell cycle organization, and the conversion of cells from one morphology to another. 

Dr. Newton’s research was marked by vision and scientific imagination, traits that characterized his interactions with students and colleagues, as well as his life in general. Many of his students have gone on to leading scientific roles in graduate and medical school departments. Many also lead distinguished career in biomedical industries. Dr. Newton’s students revere and credit him with teaching them how to identify and tackle scientific problems.

Dr. Newton was a connoisseur who successfully mixed his broad interests in science, music (piano and Bach were favorites), art (especially African art), travel, and good wine, not to mention, gin and tonic. Together with his longtime collaborator and wife, Dr. Noriko Ohta, Dr. Newton shared a full and exciting life, welcoming a generation of students, postdocs, faculty, and friends from around the world.

With Dr. Austin Newton’s death, as one of his former colleagues puts it, we have lost a true Princeton gentleman. He will be sorely missed by our community and warmest thoughts are with his wife Dr. Noriko Ohta. He is also survived by his sister, Margueritte Dell Newton of Texas.

Services were private. Dr. Newton will be interred in the family plot in Richmond, TX.

Extend condolences and share memories at TheKimbleFuneralHome.com.


John Edward Ricklefs

John Edward Ricklefs passed away on May 25 from issues related to Parkinson’s. He was born and raised in Salina, KS. After graduating from Kansas State University, John went into the air force as a pilot. He left the family’s nursery/landscape business for the big city. New York City was only a transition to years abroad; first as an architect, then as a project manager for a new United Nations program at a seaport in Yugoslavia.

Over the next years, John earned three master’s degrees in planning and economics from universities in Belgrade, Yugoslavia; Paris, France; and New York City’s Columbia University where he also obtained his Ph.D. in economics. He had nearly 50 years of experience in the fields of master planning, economic evaluation, management, and financing of infrastructure projects, as well as supervising economics, marketing, commercial, operational, and technical studies for national, regional, and local development projects. John guided the study, development, and funding of projects in 27 countries and authored articles and books on economics and technological change. In addition, he wrote numerous publications and papers concerning transportation and the economic development of ports and their regional impact. John spent the majority of his professional life with Frederic R. Harris, Inc and Moffatt and Nichol, Inc.

After five years in Taiwan, John and his wife, Nancy, settled in Princeton and he commuted to New York. John’s diagnosis of Parkinson’s in 2001 did not stop him from becoming active in the community.

His passions were in music and art. John served on the boards of the Princeton Symphony Orchestra and New Jersey Opera Festival. He also provided guidance to the composer and marketing for The Firmiana Rain, an opera that was premiered in Taiwan and other Asian countries. As John had mentored colleagues for years, he continued with mentoring Princeton University Ph.D. graduate students from China and maintained lasting relationships with them.

With retirement, his time was spent reading (the classics and favorite authors D. Graeber and P. Krugman), auditing music courses and attending concerts, and watching the Yankees and pro tennis games. Most of all he returned to sculpting wood and entered many exhibits. It was said his passion for creating his art extended his life.

John was known to tell an endless variety of stories, stories which painted colorful and poignant pictures in the mind; stories that contained kernels of truth about humanity, about human nature, and the consistency of that nature over time and across cultures. He will be remembered by his stories, as well as his jokes, his artwork, and the depth to which he cared about other people and the world.

John is survived by his wife Nancy Greenspan; stepdaughters Peggy Johansen of Livingston Manor, NY, Elizabeth Ahle of South Brunswick, and Randi Greenspan of Wilmington, VT; his five grandchildren; and a great-grandson.

Memorial donations may be made to the Parkinson’s Foundation, Princeton University Concerts, or the Princeton Symphony Orchestra.


Catherine Ann Holmes Johnson

Catherine Ann Holmes Johnson, age 90, passed away peacefully on May 26, 2022. Kate (known as Cathy in her earlier years), was born on March 30, 1932, to Hannah and Carroll Holmes in Hertford, North Carolina.

Kate’s childhood friends and the Hertford community were dear to her. She had fond memories of playing basketball in high school and marching as chief majorette of her drill team. Kate was a proud graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she was captain of her debate team. Always an adventurous and independent young woman, she left the South to pursue a career and experience the culture of 1950s New York City. There she worked at a brokerage firm, made many lifelong friends and met her future husband. For the rest of her life, she enjoyed investing in the stock market. Kate married Robert Hains Johnson (deceased, ex-husband), and they raised their four children in Princeton, New Jersey.

Kate had a personality that was bigger than life. She could and would talk to anyone and everyone, often embarrassing her children, but just as often helping them get to know the humanity of those around us. To Kate, there were no strangers, only people that she had yet to meet and to delight with her wit and friendliness. Kate was famous for putting people at ease and making them so comfortable with her that they often shared their life story. She would always start with “When’s your birthday?” and then launch into an analysis of their personality based on their astrological sign. With her lovely Southern drawl, her warm personality, and desire to truly know people, she forged wonderful, lifelong relationships.

Kate was empathetic and generous and sought ways to make a positive difference in peoples’ lives. She was a feminist and a long-term supporter of and volunteer for Planned Parenthood. With an abundance of common sense and practical know-how, Kate worked at her children’s schools and many nonprofits over the course of her life. She was a self-described “tomboy” but also a Southern Belle – able to give advice on everything from how to avoid a water moccasin snake while fishing, to baking an award-winning lemon meringue pie. Kate spent many summers in Little Compton, Rhode Island, where she introduced her children to two of her favorite sports — tennis and sailing — and enjoyed epic family croquet matches and long walks on Brigg’s beach.

Kate’s curiosity was boundless – she was an avid reader, lifelong learner, and world traveler. Although she would often travel by herself, she would always return with new friends she had made along her journey. While raising her family she went back to school for her Masters in Counseling and provided free counseling to single mothers. She also became a substitute teacher and later became a successful real estate broker. Kate always had time for a long conversation with her family and friends, or a willing stranger.

In her later years she moved to Sandpoint, Idaho, to be closer to family. Kate immediately became a part of the community by volunteering as a teacher’s aide and working with other charitable organizations. She loved the outdoors and was able to share it with her dear friend, Fritz Holz, while traveling, camping, boating, and fishing. She adored her kids and being “Grandma Kate” – she was always there to cheer us on, or cheer us up, or just curl up on a sofa and talk.  Kate, with her optimistic outlook, supportive nature, and comforting aura, will be missed by all of us who loved her.

Our family extends our deepest thanks to Kate’s caregivers at Luther Park who took such good care of her in her final years. Kate is survived by her children: Carol Johnson (and husband David Schindler and grandchildren Nicki Schindler and Alex Schindler); Bruce Johnson; Neil Johnson (and wife Rosemary and granddaughter Julianna Johnson); and Paul Johnson (and wife Sera and grandchildren Hains Johnson, Grace Johnson, and Charlie Johnson).

Please share your memories on coffeltfuneral.com. In lieu of flowers, Kate would have loved a donation to plannedparenthood.org or heifer.org.


Rodolfo G. Aiello

Rodolfo Guillermo Aiello, died on October 28, 2021, at the University Hospital of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. He was accompanied by his loving wife, Gisela Kam, and their good friend Krikor Chobanian. The cause of death was a cerebral hemorrhage. He was 76 years old.

Rodolfo was born in Olivos, Buenos Aires Province. His father, Rodolfo Juan Aiello, was an obstetrician-gynecologist; his mother, Maria Edith Mira, was an elementary school teacher. Leaving Argentina in 1969 for travels throughout Europe, he met Kristin Skotheim; in 1970, he accompanied her to Washington. His introduction to the extended Skotheim family led to a relationship he cherished and sustained throughout his entire lifetime. His peripatetic life of work and study in the United States, culminated in 1989 when he received an M.Phil in Linguistics from Colombia University. Retired from teaching at NYU in 2010, he settled in Princeton, NJ. He is survived by a brother, Leo, and a sister, Diana. He was predeceased in death by his sister, Rosita (Rosa) in 2000.

Rodolfo’s imposing physical stature and direct gaze belied an innate modesty, a surprising innocence, and a startling, playful wit. He was a man devoid of pretense or guile; a polymath who could speak of a great many things in no small detail. In his resonant baritone, he spoke in the sincere belief that every person was his equal in intellect and interest: he never judged. As senior lecturer in the Spanish Department at Princeton University and later at New York University, his erudition and passion for language encouraged the many students he taught to pursue advanced degrees in Spanish who are now, teachers at academic institutions here and abroad.

In the small community, he shared with his wife, the little children, neighbors, and acquaintances mourn and remember the warmth and generosity of his regard and attention. A service of remembrance is planned for the fall.

“We make a dwelling in the evening air in which being there together is enough.”