Surrounded by a family full of love, Raymond Woodfield died at home in Princeton, NJ, on July 9, 2022. Born in Lakewood, NJ, in 1929, Ray spent most of his life in Rockland County, NY. After serving in the military as a youth, he attended college on the GI bill and pursued a degree in Engineering. He worked on the original Tappan Zee Bridge, and went on to oversee bridge and road construction in many high-profile projects, including the NY Thruway and Berkshire Spur, World’s Fair in Queens, Robert Moses State Park, Saw Mill River Parkway, and Queens Zoo. In Princeton, he worked on the original construction of the Jasna Polana estate.
In 2001, while working on Route 9A near the World Trade Center, he witnessed and survived the fall of the twin towers, barely managing to crawl through the dust cloud to safety. He then worked on the reconstruction of 9A for many years after.
In retirement, Ray took up table tennis at the Princeton Senior Resource Center, making many new friends and winning medals at the NJ Senior Olympics. An avid bike rider, he biked 22 miles shortly before his cancer diagnosis at age 91. Ray was also well known for his beautiful whistle. He whistled in the morning when he woke up and many times during the day. He lived his life to the fullest, relishing every day, and with the help of his doctor and devoted family valiantly battled leukemia for 20 months.
Ray is pre-deceased by wife and square-dancing partner Margaret (Peggy) Haldeman and survived by daughters Karen Woodfield (Angus Eaton) and Kathleen Woodfield (Alfred Gibbs), stepsons Edward Dobkowski (Georgia Glovatsky) and Arul Karttikeya, grandchildren Dylan Gibbs and Tina, Juanita and Sara Eaton, and many beloved nephews, nieces, and cousins, along with many special friends who were like family to him. He touched many lives with his infectious smile and twinkling blue eyes, and will be remembered for his love of life, love of people and love of food.
Services for family and friends to celebrate Ray’s life are being planned around his birthday in October. For donations, please consider the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLC).
Flora Ann Karhunen Varrin
Flora Ann Karhunen Varrin — a gracious, loving, and beautiful wife, mother, and grandmother — died on July 16, 2022 following a short illness. She was at the time a resident of Stonebridge at Montgomery in Skillman, having formerly lived in Princeton, New Jersey, and Newark, Delaware.
Flora was born on November 21, 1934 in Newark, New Jersey, to Anna Kutvonen Karhunen and Armas Karhunen who were immigrants from the Savo region of Finland. She was raised by her mother in Kearny, New Jersey, following her father’s untimely death in 1938. As her mother worked full-time, Flora was truly a latch-key child, fueling her independence and resilience. A natural beauty, she won a Shirley Temple look-alike contest as a child.
In 1952, Flora graduated from Kearny High School where she was a cheerleader captain and a scholar. Upon graduation, she received three out of the seven medals that were awarded for distinguished academic performance in various disciplines. She then worked in northern New Jersey as an executive assistant, initially at Fireman’s Insurance and then at Anheuser-Busch.
Wife, Mother, and Grandmother
Flora’s proudest accomplishment was as a devoted and loving mother, as well as a lifelong partner to her husband. Flora and Robert Douglas Varrin (Bob) eloped during his junior year at Princeton University to Elkton, Maryland, where they were married on February 26, 1955. They had first met in seventh grade, but did not reconnect until after their high school graduation. Together, they raised a family of three children — initially traveling across the U.S. before settling in Newark, Delaware, where Bob worked as a professor and associate provost at the University of Delaware and Flora managed the household.
Flora is survived by Robert Douglas Varrin, her spouse of 67 years, her children Diane Eshleman (Gregory) of Princeton, NJ, Mantoloking, NJ, and Stockbridge, MA, Robert D. Varrin Jr. of Reston, VA, and Middleburg, VA, Susan Deland (Alexander) of Pelham, NY, and New London, NH, and four grandchildren, Douglas Eshleman (Steven), Amanda D’Esterre (Alexander), Alexander Deland Jr., and Diane Deland.
Flora spoke fluent Finnish, which she learned as a child before learning English. She was strongly connected to her Finnish heritage and dear family in Finland, where she was proud to hold citizenship. Indeed, she truly had international credentials, as she was also a citizen of Switzerland through her husband’s family. Flora and her husband enjoyed travelling both domestically and internationally — with a special affinity for Finland and Switzerland.
Her maiden name, Karhunen, derives from the Finnish word for bear: fitting, given the strength of her love and devotion to her family. Through Flora, the family came to appreciate the meaning of another Finnish word “sisu” — which roughly translates into determination, tenacity, and bravery.
Flora was a proud and active Princeton spouse, gathering often with her husband’s 1956 classmates and their spouses. All three of her children are graduates of Princeton, as well as two of her grandchildren.
She was a longtime member of The Present Day Club in Princeton and also a member of Nassau Presbyterian Church, where she served on the Board of Deacons.
Burial at Princeton Cemetery is private and held under the direction of Mather-Hodge Funeral Home.
A memorial service for friends and family will be held at Nassau Presbyterian Church on Saturday, September 10 at 11 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Nassau Presbyterian Church, 62 Nassau Street, Princeton, NJ 08542 (nassauchurch.org).
Timothy James Forrester
Timothy James Forrester, of Bloomfield Hills, MI, died on July 10, 2022, after a battle with cancer; he is survived by his wife, Brittany. First in his heart and thoughts were always his beloved children, Blake, Macklin, Riley, and Claudia. They loved Saturday morning breakfasts, camping, swimming at the club, paddle boarding, and having Dad with them at swimming meets, concerts, recitals, and dances. He also leaves behind their devoted mothers: Kelley O’Rourke and Brittany Forrester. Tim follows his parents, Frederic John Forrester and Margaret Ann Forrester (nee Pitonyak), and his oldest sister, Mary Ann Forrester, in passing.
He was the youngest of nine children and leaves behind Eileen of Verona, PA; Rick (Linda) of Canonsburg. PA; Joe (Adriana) of Germantown, MD; Betty (Bill Bartos) of Rockford, IL; Dr. Patricia of Fenton, MI; Kathleen (Daniel Plott) of Tomball, TX; Tom (Paula) of Cohasset, MA; countless nieces, nephews, cousins; and many more extended family members. As the chief financial officer and executive vice president of United Wholesale Mortgage (UWM), Tim’s colleagues were also family to him and have been a constant support in good times and bad. We are forever grateful for their thoughtfulness, presence, and friendship throughout the years.
Born in Marietta, Ohio, Tim moved with his family to the Pittsburgh area and graduated from Peters Township High School in 1985, where he was both a decorated scholar and athlete. He continued his studies and matriculated from Michigan State University in 1990 with a degree in accounting. Before becoming CFO at UWM, he was a partner at Deloitte and Touché. He continued his passion for golf, baseball, basketball, and volleyball throughout his life.
Wonderful remembrances and stories have been shared with the news of his death: they ranged from trenchant and touching to ribald and hilarious, a perfect reflection of Tim in all his complexity. He was simultaneously private and sociable — disciplined and hardworking, yet outrageously, ridiculously fun. A common theme from younger professionals is that Tim’s mentoring or guidance are responsible for their successful career. He would insist that they were responsible, and he only had the honor to pass on what he had learned. We were a bit
surprised and touched to hear from other countries too, sometimes from people who had only met him in person once or twice and regarded him as a dear friend. They wanted to know if they could not travel for his memorial service, did we mind if they gathered to remember and raise a glass to Tim. He would have loved that.
We invite those who can join us in person to come to his memorial service on Thursday, July 21, 2022, from 2 to 7 p.m., with informal sharing and then a formal service starting at 5:30 p.m. The services will be at AJ Desmond & Sons, 32515 Woodward Avenue, in Royal Oak, MI 48073. We will host a social gathering after these services at a nearby establishment.
In lieu of flowers, the family encourages you to contribute in his honor to a fitting cause or nonprofit organization, including St Jude Children Research Hospital, Gamers Outreach, and Technoblades Sarcoma Foundation of America. If you can find a golf tournament supporting your charity, that seems particularly apt for Tim.
A singular light has gone out of this world but never out of our hearts. Tim, we love you, we mourn your passing, we remember you always.
View obituary and share memories at AJDesmond.com.