January 11, 2023

Obituaries 1/11/2023

William D. Kraft, Jr.

William D. Kraft, Jr., 87, of Cranbury, NJ, died peacefully at home on Friday, December 16, 2022. He was the son of the late William David and Thelma V. (Ringlaben) Kraft and brother of the late Sarah Kraft Bond.

Bill grew up in and had great affection for the town of West Hazleton, PA, where his family owned a lumber business for several generations. After graduating from Drexel University where he enjoyed many friendships as a member of Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity, he went on to serve as a cryptographer in the US Army at forts around the Southern U.S.

In the late 1950s when there was only one book in the Philadelphia public library on computers and it was about the bomb sights of WWII, he started work at RCA’s computer group in Camden, NJ, on the pioneering BIZMAC. After several years of working on those early RCA machines, he took an opportunity to move to a growing operation in Princeton called Educational Testing Service (ETS). He was at ETS for 31 years as a creative technology person working on many different kinds of systems including those for processing and grading millions of the tests that became standard in schools across the country, like the PSAT, SAT, and AP. He was always an innovator and earned several U.S. patents and kudos from colleagues for systems designed for document storage to test taker identification to the essay grading model.

After leaving ETS he became an entrepreneur. He was asked to consult on a problem that the Episcopal Diocese of NJ had in getting the results of their important convention elections in a speedy fashion. He worked with Bishop Mellick Belshaw and church officers to develop a system for New Jersey first using bar code technology then later optical scanning and called it Votescan. Eventually Episcopal dioceses all across the country adopted his system and he spent the next 20 years working with his team to assist those dioceses in their elections.

He was married to the late Miriam Stecker Kraft with whom he had a son, William D. Kraft III of Buckingham, PA. He has been married to Katherine M. Kish for the last 37 years. He and Katherine enjoyed a very happy marriage sharing interests in business, in technology, in creating a special home and property in Cranbury, and in travel to all 50 states in the U.S. and most provinces of Canada in their motorhomes.

His great passion was driving and collecting antique cars like Studebakers and Hudsons. He had an original Ford Mustang convertible bought new in 1988 which he drove with pleasure until 2021. His latest pride and joy was a pristine 1997 Jaguar convertible. He was a member of the Central Jersey Antique Car Club and enjoyed showing his cars and driving in local parades.

He had a wonderful voice and was a soloist growing up and in college and the Army. And as an Eagles fan, both the band and the NFL football team, he enjoyed this winning season.

In addition to his loving wife and son, Bill is survived by his son-in-law Steve Frahm, his brother Robert H. Kraft and his wife Rebecca Goldfield, his brother-in-law L. Stephen Kish and his wife Beth. and nieces and nephews across the country.

The family would like to thank the physicians of the Princeton Medical Group, the staff at Penn Medicine Princeton Medical Center, the staff of the Gardens of Monroe and Holisticare Hospice, and his wonderful home caregiver.

A Celebration of Life will be held at 2 p.m. on Sunday, February 5, 2023 at the Mather-Hodge Funeral Home in Princeton, NJ. Valet parking available.

Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society-Prostate Cancer Research or to the national Alzheimer’s Association for research which Bill supported in honor of his mother.

Funeral arrangements are by Mather-Hodge Funeral Home, Princeton.


Robert “Bob” L. Tignor

Robert “Bob” L. Tignor, 89 years old, passed away after a short illness on December 9 in his home in Princeton, NJ.

Bob, a dedicated father, husband, and scholar, was born in Philadelphia on November 20, 1933. His father, Bob M. Tignor, was the minister of the Yeadon Presbyterian church and his mother, Martha, taught high school Latin. The oldest of five, Bob was a natural leader whose work ethic emerged in childhood — from the classroom to the sports fields to his first job at the Breyers ice cream factory. Bob earned his bachelor’s degree from the College of Wooster in 1955 and his Ph.D. at Yale University before joining the faculty at Princeton University, where he taught for 46 years until 2006. He was the Rosengarten Professor of Modern and Contemporary History, Emeritus, and a pathbreaking scholar of British colonialism and its aftermath, world history, and the modern histories of Egypt, Nigeria, and Kenya. He was also affiliated with the Program in Near Eastern Studies and the Program in African Studies and served as director of the latter from 1970 to 1979.

As a teacher, Bob offered Princeton’s first courses in African history. As a scholar, he immersed himself in the study of the continent, learning Arabic and exploring new historical methods, including ethnographic accounts of the roles of the Kamba, Kikuyu, and Maasai peoples of East Africa in the rise and fall of the British empire in Kenya. His research took him to Egypt, Nigeria, Sudan, England, and Kenya, countries where he and his family would live during sabbatical years.

His 14 years as chair of the Department of History was considered transformative, as he helped push the intellectual frontiers of the department beyond Europe and North America. He supported the creation of new kinds of courses, in new fields, with connections and support for interdisciplinary international studies, especially in African, Asian, and Latin American studies, and initiated graduate and undergraduate courses in world history. He focused on empire and capitalism before either topic was fashionable, writing seven books on African history. His book Worlds Together, Worlds Apart: A History of the Modern World: 1300 to the Present (Norton, 2002), a two-volume history of the world, is generally regarded as the defining scholarly work in the field and the leading college-level textbook on global history.

A full list of Bob’s publications and academic honors are included in the Princeton University obituary: princeton.edu/news/2022/12/21/robert-tignor-distinguished-egyptologist-and-historian-wonderful-mentor-and.

Beyond his own scholarship, Bob was a dedicated mentor to generations of undergraduate and graduate students in modern African history and modern world history. Among his graduate students, many of whom went on to prestigious academic careers, he is remembered for his wry-sense of humor and no-nonsense approach.

The easy athleticism and competitive spirit that Bob showed as a child — from the swimming pool to the basketball court to the football field where he played quarterback on his intramural college team — continued into his adulthood. Among colleagues and friends he was known as a fierce and fearsome tennis and squash player. His childhood loyalty to Philadelphia sports teams never wavered, and he was equally devoted to his Princeton Tigers as an adult. A passionate spectator, Bob’s game-watching moods ranged from sheer glee to total exasperation. He never shied away from letting the refs know when he disagreed with a call — which was not infrequently — or voicing his opinions when watching games on TV (and sometimes waking up his sleeping children in the process).

Bob was fair, honest, and deeply committed to helping others, most especially through education. Not one to slow down in “retirement,” he continued writing, publishing books on the Nobel-winning economist W. Arthur Lewis, a short history of Egypt, and a biography of Anwar al-Sadat. He also completed revisions of Worlds Together, Worlds Apart and wrote a companion volume. Bob continued his work as a member on the Board of Trustees for The College of Wooster, a role that brought him great pleasure. He volunteered as a reader for the blind; worked with struggling elementary school learners in the read-aloud program at a local elementary school, and helped women living in a shelter get their GED. Bob offered adult education lectures to the Princeton community and held advanced group history discussions in his home for a group of motivated high school students.

Among many things, his family will remember his commitment to summer vacations on Cape Cod spanning 60 years and countless trips taking children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren to the Brewster General store.

Bob’s wife of 66 years, Marian, suffered a fatal stroke on December 15, just six days after Bob’s death. He was predeceased by his son, Jeffrey David Tignor, who died in 2003. He is survived by his brother, Richard Tignor; his sisters, Joan Tiernan and Judy Russo; his daughters, Laura Tignor and Sandra Selby and husband Trevor Selby; four grandchildren, Hilde McKernan, Sam Cobb, Owen Selby and Isabel Selby; and two great-grandchildren, Hunter and Harper McKernan.

A memorial service will be held at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Princeton, 50 Cherry Hill Road, Princeton, New Jersey, at 2 p.m. Sunday, February 19, 2023.

Donations may be made to the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Princeton (uuprinceton.org), Thirteen – New York Public Media (WNET/PBS – thirteen.org), and The College of Wooster.


Christopher Rhoades Kagay, M.D.

Christopher Rhoades Kagay, M.D., died suddenly on January 2 in San Francisco at age 50 from a rapidly progressing glioma.  At the time of his passing he was surrounded by his wife Sarah, children Eleanor and Wilder, and close friends.

Chris grew up in Princeton, graduating from Princeton High School in 1990, where he was a trumpeter in the Studio Band, and editor-in-chief of The Tower newspaper. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University in 1994 where he majored in Social Studies and was a founding member and president of the Harvard Review of Philosophy.

Chris received his M.D. degree from the University of California, San Francisco in 2004 and completed his residency and fellowship training in radiology at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston where he served as Chief Resident. 

Dr. Kagay returned to San Francisco in 2010 to join California Pacific Medical Center as a clinical radiologist. As a dedicated and compassionate physician, he was elected Chairman of the Department of Radiology in 2015 and President of California Advanced Imaging Medical Associates in 2021.

Nothing compared to the joy he experienced being a husband and father. His children’s extracurricular activities inspired his passion for photography, and he cherished capturing his family’s musical and athletic accomplishments as well as ordinary moments. Chris loved the natural beauty of his Outer Richmond neighborhood where he enjoyed cycling with friends and walking with his wife and dog on the beach.

His legacy of kindness will continue to uplift all who knew him, from his colleagues and patients to his neighbors, friends, and family.

Chris is survived by his wife of 17 years, Sarah White, their two children, Wilder and Eleanor Kagay, and his parents in Princeton, Carol and Michael Kagay.

Chris was passionate about education and enjoyed a lifelong love of learning. Donations in his name may be made to the PHS scholarship program at the 101 Fund, c/o Princeton High School, 151 Moore Street, Princeton, NJ 08540.

A memorial service will be held in San Francisco.


Dr. David M. Smith

Dr. David M. Smith, of Princeton, New Jersey passed away on December 31, 2022. Born at home in Fort Valley, Georgia, on January 4, 1940, Dr. Smith was predeceased by his mother, Rubye Crews Smith; his father, James Hoke Smith; and his younger brother, Jere Crews Smith. Dr. Smith is survived by his beloved wife of 59 years, Marjorie Lang Smith; his daughters, Cindy Smith Wilson and her husband Chip Wilson, Kathy Smith, and Amy Smith Rogers and her husband Cal Rogers; and his two nephews, who he came to consider his own sons, Jere Crews Smith, Jr. and Brian David Smith and their families. He was proud of and loved all his grandchildren: Sam and Nick Wilson, Tess Turbeville, and Calvin and David “Story” Rogers. He will be missed by his extended family members, friends, and colleagues in both Pocono Lake Preserve and the Princeton community.

David attended Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, and received his medical doctorate from the Emory University Medical School in 1965. From 1965 to 1967, he completed his general surgery residency at Roosevelt Hospital in New York City and was then commissioned as a Lieutenant in the United States Navy from 1967 to 1969. He proudly served his country as a battleship surgeon, treating wounded U.S. Marines in the Vietnam War from 1968 to 1969, and was awarded a Bronze Star for meritorious service in a combat zone. He is featured as “The knife man” in the 2004 book Patriots by Christian G. Appy.

Upon his return from Vietnam, Dr. Smith completed his residency in orthopaedic surgery at the New York Orthopaedic Hospital at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in New York City from 1969 to 1972. After completing his residency and receiving his board certification, Dr. Smith, Marge, and their young family moved to Princeton, New Jersey. There he co-founded Princeton Orthopaedic Associates in 1974, and was later an instrumental leader in the design and establishment of Sports Medicine of Princeton and the Neck and Back Institute of Princeton. He practiced orthopaedic surgery in Princeton until his retirement from treating patients in 2004. In “retirement” he continued to help others and enjoyed testifying as a medical expert witness in many legal cases until 2016. He defended many surgeons but never failed when asked to support a patient when he felt the standard of care had been violated.

In addition to being a consummate doctor with a wonderful bedside manner, David was accomplished in many other arenas. He was a skillful pilot with certificates in multi-engine, commercial, and instrument ratings. He was an active business partner (or as he liked to say, “part-time farmer”) in the Indian River citrus industry down in Florida. He owned grapefruit and orange groves and was part owner in a successful packing house until this industry was hit by hurricanes and canker. In his “downtime,” David was a runner, beekeeper, family photographer, tennis player, skier, fly fisherman, outdoorsman, avid reader, writer, football fan, music lover, angel investor, and entrepreneur.

David was a man who could light up the room with his humor, his booming voice and laugh, and his storytelling. He was respected, loved, and a mentor to many. David made a positive difference in countless people’s lives. But, most importantly, he was a loving husband; a devoted father, grandfather, and uncle; and an exceptional friend. “Dr. Dave” will be missed by all.

In lieu of flowers, the family would like people to contribute to a scholarship or memorial fund of their choice in his honor and/or simply step outside to watch a sunset and pause with awe, gratitude, and splendor.

A celebration of his life will be held in late spring in Princeton and a Quaker-type service will be held in the summer in the Poconos.


Marilyn Medwin

Marilyn Medwin, age 95, of Skillman and formerly of Princeton, passed away on Saturday, January 7, 2023. She was a beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, as well as a trailblazing engineer.

Born in New York City, Marilyn studied mechanical engineering at City College of New York and became a founding member of the Society of Women Engineers, which now has over 40,000 members. Throughout her career, she held various engineering positions in the New York and New Jersey area and was skilled at solving geometric problems, which allowed her to manually design complex, multilevel integrated circuit chips. As technology evolved, Marilyn adapted to using computer-aided design software to continue her work in chip design.

At a mechanical drafting class at City College, Marilyn met her future husband, Albert Medwin. They were married in 1947 after Albert returned from serving in World War II. In 1957, they moved to Whippany, New Jersey, where they raised their sons, Lawrence and Steven. Every summer, Marilyn and Albert took their sailboat and the family to Lake George, New York, to camp on the islands.

In addition to her work as an engineer, Marilyn was also creative and enjoyed knitting, crocheting, and building models. After Albert built a greenhouse, Marilyn spent many hours planting orchids and other flowers. The couple were members of The Jewish Center of Princeton and actively involved with Recording for the Blind for many years. They were also members of the Princeton Macintosh User Group and Marilyn often volunteered to read stories to children at her neighborhood school.

Marilyn is survived by her two sons, Steven (Rabbi Michele) Medwin and Lawrence (Ellie Hertzberg) Medwin; four grandchildren, Dan Medwin, Allison Steele, Rachel Witriol, and Sam Medwin; and five great-grandchildren, Zimra, Gavi, Teddy, Jasmine, and Julian. She is predeceased by her sister, Selma Hechtlinger. Marilyn will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved her.

Private Funeral services and burial were held at Princeton Cemetery, in Princeton, New Jersey. Memorial contributions may be made to Springpoint Foundation (online at springpointsl.org/foundation/donate or by mail to Springpoint Foundation, 4814 Outlook Drive, Suite 201, Wall Township, NJ  07753).

Funeral arrangements are by Orland’s Ewing Memorial Chapel. For condolences please visit the obituary page at OrlandsMemorialChapel.com.