April 5, 2023

Obituaries 4/5/2023

Celebration of Life

William Davis Humes

A Celebration of Life for William Davis Humes will be celebrated from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 15, 2023 at Springdale Golf Club, 1895 Clubhouse Drive, Princeton, NJ 08540.

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


Margaret Sherry Rich

Margaret Sherry Rich of Ewing, NJ, age 77, passed away on March 19 from a sudden heart attack.

Meg, as she was known to her friends, was a retired reference librarian in the Rare Books and Special Collections division of the Princeton University Library. In a varied academic career, she previously taught English and/or Comparative Literature at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, the University of California at Riverside, and in the German Department at Princeton University. She held a BA in English from Cornell University, a PhD in Comparative Literature from the John Hopkins University, and a Masters in Library and Information Sciences from Rutgers University.

In retirement, she was an active member of Master Gardeners, the League of Women Voters, and the Belle Mead Friends of Music, as well as her church, St. Luke’s, Ewing. She loved early music and was writing an opera at the time of her death.

She is survived by her loving husband, Stuart Rich, and numerous nieces and nephews. She is also survived by her sister Nancy Lowe, her brother Robert Meyer, and, from a previous marriage, a son, Michael Sherry, and a granddaughter Isabelle Sherry.

A funeral service will be held at Grace-St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 3715 East State Street, Hamilton NJ 08619 at 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 8. This will be followed by an informal reception in the Fellowship Hall of the church.


Leslie Helene Smith

Leslie Helene Smith died March 26, 2023 from heart disease at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Leslie was born in Princeton, N.J., on December 15, 1958 to Beresford Smith and Barbara Smith (née Kowalski).

Leslie’s father Smitty was an electrical engineer and an avid science fiction fan. Leslie followed her father’s interest, spending 25 years active in the science fiction community. Leslie’s mother Barbara was a teacher and stained glass artist. She created fused stained glass jewelry and stained glass windows. She was also a part of the early 1960s folk music boom. Leslie learned about both visual and performing arts from her mother.

Young Leslie loved choral singing and piano. She sang with the All Saints Episcopal Church Choir and with the Princeton High School Choir under the renowned Musical Director Bill Trego and Associate Director Nancianne Parella.

Her stepfather Robert L. Siegel was a founding member of the Philadelphia Folk Song Society. He became an important part of her life and introduced her to the Philadelphia Folk Festival. As a teen, she performed ragtime piano at the festival, and she was reviewed in the New York Times. Working as a festival volunteer for many years, she edited performer biographies for the program book, helped with artist relations, and worked in her mother’s jewelry craft booth.

Leslie studied music at Rutgers University’s Douglass College and received a B.A. in art history. At Douglass she lived in the immersive French and German House residences, which helped her to become fluent in both languages. These skills contributed to her later singing career.

In Philadelphia, Leslie was a copyeditor for “TV Guide,” and later she was an assistant at the University of Pennsylvania alumni magazine. She was a compulsive spelling and grammar nitpicker. While in Philadelphia, Leslie performed several shows with the Rose Valley Chorus — a community Gilbert & Sullivan and musical theater company.

In 1987 Leslie moved to Ann Arbor to study choral conducting at the University of Michigan, and to be closer to her future husband Ken. Her studies shifted over time, first to musicology. Finally she found her calling in vocal performance, with a focus on opera. In the late 1990s she tackled a master’s degree in vocal performance at Michigan State University. Later, her wide-ranging musical studies would make her a fine voice teacher.

Leslie studied in eight summers of music workshops taking place in Austria, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, and Aspen. Her voice type was a dramatic soprano. In the Czech Republic, she sang in a series of Verdi opera concerts. In workshops and student productions, her roles included Lady Billows in the opera “Albert Herring,” Donna Anna in “Don Giovanni,” and The Witch in “Hansel & Gretel.” Her favorite local performance was Katisha in “The Mikado” for the University of Michigan’s Gilbert & Sullivan Society.

For many years, Leslie was a soprano section leader and occasional soloist with the Chancel Choir of First Presbyterian Church in Ann Arbor, and she had been looking forward to returning to the Choir when her health improved. Also locally, Leslie sang with the Vocal Arts Ensemble and the Bach Chorale.

Outside of classical music, Leslie enjoyed jazz, and 1970s and ‘80s rock. She was an early adopter of digital technology; she participated in online communities as far back as the mid-1980s, with dial-up BBS systems, and she was fearless in trying out new devices and software. She read books and articles passionately — her web browser tabs were often filled to overflowing. She loved to cook and she was an enthusiastic gardener. In recent years Leslie picked up knitting and crochet, and she loved the Kerrytown Crafters weekly knitting sessions. Leslie adored cats, and throughout life she shared her home with many lovely felines.

Leslie is survived by her loving husband Kenneth R. Josenhans of Ann Arbor, Michigan. She is also survived by her sister, Jennifer Smith Lohmann, originally from Princeton, and her nieces Amelia and Olivia Lohmann who all live in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Leslie’s memory can be made to the Sacred Music Fund at First Presbyterian Church of Ann Arbor, Michigan (firstpresbyterian.org/worship/ministry-music-and-fine-arts).

A memorial and celebration of her life will be announced later.


Richard H. Wood

Richard (Dick) H. Wood, Jr. passed peacefully in his sleep on Tuesday, December 20, 2022 in Prescott Arizona. He was 85 years old. Dick was born on St . Patrick’s Day, March 17, 1937 at his family home in Princeton, NJ, to Richard and Mary (nee Young) Wood. A Princeton High School graduate, Dick was a star athlete in basketball (guard), football (quarterback), and track (pole vault), the latter two coached by his father. He went on to play football for three seasons at the University of Pennsylvania, before graduating from the prestigious Wharton School with a degree in economics. Following college, Dick served two years in the Army National Guard in California before returning to New Jersey to work for IBM and ultimately a lengthy career with Mobile Oil.

A devoted father to two sons, Greg and Jeff, and one of six siblings, Dick valued hard work, family, and the importance of education, having had an Ivy League education himself. Those who knew Dick, knew him to be a highly intelligent and serious man with a delightfully wry sense of humor. A lifelong sports enthusiast, Dick led an active lifestyle enjoying hiking, gardening, and a deep appreciation for nature.

Dick raised his sons in Metuchen, NJ, with ex-wife Nancy, while commuting to work in New York City. Being the oldest of six siblings, Dick was devoted to his parents and grandparents and took a leadership role with their passing. He instilled in his sons the importance of family by demonstrating the value of participating in family events and celebrations.

Following retirement from Mobile Oil, Dick moved to Prescott, Arizona, with his longtime partner, Leona (Lee) Edenfield, to enjoy the dry climate and scenic beauty of the red rocks. Dick and Lee enjoyed day trips in the region and travel in their retirement, taking cruises to Europe, Russia, and Alaska. Dick and Lee shared an appreciation of art and sculpture, collecting pieces for their home. Dick’s love of nature was on display with his beloved Koi pond, which he designed, built and nurtured to maturity. Sharing this Koi pond with neighbors and visitors was one of his greatest joys. He religiously filled hummingbird feeders for the many winged friends who frequented his home. He shared his home with two cats, who held his heart for many years. Living so far from family, time spent on calls and visits were treasured, even if just to discuss the weather, sharing pancakes at his favorite breakfast place at Lynx Lake, or giving financial advice. Sharing information with family to help them make wise decisions to achieve a sound financial future was important to him. A lifelong Catholic, Dick worshipped most recently at St Germaine Roman Catholic Parish, in Prescott, Arizona.

Dick was preceded in death by his father, Richard, mother, Mary, and brother-in-law Dan. He is survived by his longtime partner Lee; son Greg (wife Karen), grandson Alex, son Jeff (wife Ann), grandchildren Dylan and Harper, ex-wife Nancy, five siblings Craig (wife Daryl), Allen (wife Priscilla), Tom (wife Sinda), Karen, and Peggy (wife Malissa), and many nieces and nephews. He was a loving son, father, grandfather, partner, brother, and uncle. He leaves a legacy of generosity, love, wit, and respect. He will be deeply missed by all who loved him.

A private memorial service will be held in Princeton, NJ, in April.


Hai-Tao Tang

Hai-Tao Tang, age 91, of Plainsboro, passed away at home of natural causes on Sunday, March 26, 2023. He was born August 27, 1931, in Shanghai, China.

Mr. Tang completed his master’s degree in Chinese Literature at National Taiwan University. He was a member of the Princeton University faculty as Lecturer in Chinese language in the Department of East Asian Studies for 22 years, becoming Lecturer Emeritus in 1996. He was coauthor of several books including Classical Chinese — A Basic Reader and Readings in Classical Chinese Poetry and Prose.

He is survived by his wife Nai-Ying Yuan Tang. There will be no memorial service.

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


John J. Tucker

John Joseph Tucker of Princeton died March 28, 2023 at 88. Born in Philadelphia, John was a longtime resident of Princeton. John was a graduate of La Salle University and The University of Notre Dame. He also served in the United States Army Reserve. He began his career with the Central Intelligence Agency in Washington D.C. He became a management consultant and worked for McKinsey & Company, and ITT in New York, NY. He was an avid follower of politics and served as town councilman in Westfield, New Jersey. He was founding partner in Tucker Associates, a Princeton based executive consulting firm. John volunteered for Catholic Charities and performed outreach and education to parishes in Trenton. John was an avid baseball fan and loved to play poker with his friends.

Son of the late John Henry and Elizabeth (Flood) Tucker, he is survived by his wife of 46 years Merlene (Keech) Tucker; two sons and two daughters-in-law John David and Lisa Tucker, Robert Nuttall and Kimberly Tucker; two daughters Letitia Jane Tucker, Courtney Jane Tucker; two sisters Janet Tucker, Bettee Sallee; and six grandchildren Charles Joseph Tucker, James Robert Tucker, Christopher John Tucker, Jacqueline Isabelle Tucker, Andrew Gene Tucker, and Ian Tucker Balutis.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated 10 a.m. on Friday, April 14, 2023 at St. Paul’s Church 216 Nassau Street, Princeton.

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


Patricia O’Connell

Patricia “Patty” Ann (Murphy) O’Connell, 65, of Princeton, passed away on Saturday, March 25, 2023 surrounded by her loving family and friends.

She was born in Passaic, grew up in Hasbrouck Heights, and settled in Princeton. She attended Immaculate Heart Academy in NJ and received a B.A. in Fashion Merchandising from Marymount College in Tarrytown, NY. Patty was a buyer at Macy’s in NYC, a pharmaceutical rep with Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a branch of Johnson & Johnson, Dictaphone, and was a real estate agent for Burgdorff and Coldwell Banker. She enjoyed playing golf and tennis and loved the beach, animals, and nature. She was a member of the Newcomer’s Club and Women’s Club of Princeton; and served as a Eucharistic Minister. She loved to travel and went to Ireland, Germany, (Oberammergau Passion Play 2010) Switzerland, and Austria.

Predeceased by her parents John J. Murphy and Evangeline DeWitt; she is survived by her husband of 38 years Dr. Joseph John O’Connell III; brother and sister-in-law John (Jack) and Wendy Murphy; sister and brother-in-law Diane and Richard McGrath Esq.; nieces and nephews, who were like children and meant the world to Patty, Brian, and Megan Murphy and their children Declan and Tierney; Sharon and Paul D’Anello and their children Alana, Olivia, Julia, and Sara; Erin and Ray Dunne and their children Clare and Liam; Katie and Elwyn Webb and their children Addie, Trent, and Graham; John and Kellie Murphy; Ryan and Kim McGrath and their children Kaitlyn and Connor, and Colleen McGrath.

Visitation will be held from 10-11 a.m. on Monday, April 10, 2023 with Mass of Christian Burial at 11 a.m. at St. Paul’s Church, 216 Nassau Street, Princeton, NJ 08542. Mass will be livestreamed on St. Paul’s Church website home page at stpaulsofprinceton.org.

Burial will be held on Tuesday, April 11, 2023 in Maryrest Cemetery, Mahwah, NJ.

Memorial donations may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital or Catholic Charities. 

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


George A. Gray, III

George A. Gray, III, internationally recognized opera singer, passed away at 75.

George A. Gray was born in Red Bank, NJ, on May 26, 1947, the eldest son of Judge George A. and Florence (née Carlson) Gray. He grew up on the Navesink River, where he was an avid boater, fisherman, and ice skater in a childhood some have described as right out of a Mark Twain novel. George took up archery in high school, and for most of his adult life, he was an avid deer hunter who never could bear to shoot a deer. He said he just liked being out in nature.

A talented musician, George began singing in the junior and senior choirs at Trinity Episcopal Church in Red Bank, NJ, and he performed in the Senior Choir and the Men of Note barbershop ensemble at Red Bank High School. In high school, George also learned to play guitar, banjo, and other stringed instruments, leading to a lifelong love of folk music and bluegrass. At age 18, he began studying the piano and organ. George completed his secondary education at the Ranney School in Tinton Falls, NJ. He attended Westminster Choir College as a voice major and subsequently received master’s degrees in voice and composition from Mannes College of Music and Juilliard School of Music, both on scholarships.

After graduation, George served as choirmaster at Trinity Lutheran Church, Brooklyn, and later became Artist in Residence at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. A rich and dynamic tenor, George’s singing voice turned heroic after he began studying with George McKinley, his dear friend and mentor.  His first major role was Max in Der Freischütz at Princeton University Opera. By the decade’s end, George had established himself as a force in Lyric and Wagnerian opera.

As his voice grew, George’s career blossomed. He sang the role of Énée in Les Troyens at the opening of the Opéra Bastille in Paris in 1990, performed at the State Theater in Karlsruhe, and, from 1988 to 1990, he sang at the Vienna State Opera. In 1988 and 1989, he achieved great success as Siegfried at the Zurich Opera House with similar accolades for his reprise of the role in Wiesbaden in 1994. After many other notable performances, in 1996 he performed to great acclaim as Siegfried in the performances of Wagner’s Der Ring Des Nibelungen by the Arizona Opera in Flagstaff.  Also in 1996, he starred in the world premiere of the opera Rashomon by Mayako Kuba in Graz. He performed as Tajomaru, a part written specifically for his voice.

After retiring from the opera, George taught voice for a number of years at the Boyer College of Music & Dance, Temple University, Drexel University, and from his home. From 2008 until 2022, he was Music Director at Morrisville United Methodist Church, Morrisville, PA.

George died on March 21, just at the beginning of Spring. He is survived by his beloved wife, Anne (née Ramus) Gray, Professor Emerita of Westminster Choir College at Rider University, her two daughters, Sarah Eslick and Annie Jain, their husbands, Jason Eslick and Deepak Jain, and his four grandchildren, whom he loved dearly.  He is also survived by his sister-in-law, Grace Ramus and his brother, Richard. Another brother, David, predeceased him.

A service will be held at Morrisville United Methodist Church, Morrisville, PA on April 22 at 1 p.m.  For a link to the livestream, visit the Kimble Funeral Home website at thekimblefuneralhome.com.  In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Smile Train (smiletrain.org).