May 17, 2023

Obituaries 5-17-23

Merle Block Rose

Merle Block Rose, 83, beloved and admired, died peacefully at home of metastatic breast cancer on April 18, 2023 surrounded by her family.

She is survived by her devoted husband of 62 years, Irv; cherished daughters Amanda (David Campbell) and Abigail (Adam Seiden); adored grandchildren Zandra, Josh, Jacob, and Leah; bothers Robert (Merlyn) Block and Fred (Hedi) Block; as well as many nieces and nephews. Along with her family, she will be mourned by scores of friends and dozens of alumni from Princeton High School, where she taught for 24 years.

Merle was the middle child of the late Ada and Bertram Block. She was born on December 6, 1939, and grew up in the Strawberry Mansion section of Philadelphia. She graduated from Germantown High School and earned a full scholarship to Temple University, where she completed a B.A. in English Education, and a minor in Art History as well as an M.A. in the Psychology of Reading.

In 1960 she married her college sweetheart, Irv Rose, and soon after moved from Philadelphia to her second great love, New York City. They left NYC to raise their daughters in Roosevelt, NJ, where they lived until moving to the Princeton area in 1990. In Roosevelt she was an active member of the community, serving on the Roosevelt Public School Board of Education and writing for the local Borough Bulletin.

Prior to joining the faculty at Princeton High School (PHS), Merle was a reading therapist with the Merwick Communications Disorders unit, part of the care and rehabilitation department of Princeton Hospital. In 1977 she began a 24-year tenure in her dream job — teaching English at PHS. At the high school she co-founded the Writing Workshop and taught English and English as a Second Language. “Mrs. Rose” was a popular teacher who supported, guided, and nurtured hundreds of students. As a teacher she was transformative: she birthed writers. She saw qualities in students that other teachers didn’t see and reveled in accompanying her students as they made their own way, discovered their own passions. Many of her former students went on to make livings as writers, or at the very least, credit her with teaching them how to write. Finally, as a teacher, while she supported all of her students, she was especially drawn to enhancing the well-being of the most vulnerable among them.

After she retired, she devoted considerable energies to her many interests, including photography, gardening, cooking, travel, bridge, and card making. She was an active member in House 4 of Community Without Walls, where she was program chair and facilitated a Women In Transition group. As program chair she organized presentations from renowned and accomplished guests, including former students John Popper of Blues Traveler and ABC News anchor Michelle Charlesworth; Theresa Brown, RN, frequent contributor to The New York Times and author; actor Hal Linden (Barney Miller); Princeton Professor and CNN Political Analyst Julian Zelizer; and Judge Philip Carchman of the New Jersey Superior Court. Few could resist her invitation to speak, charming and persuasive as she was.

When COVID-19 upended everyone’s world, Merle was among the first octogenarians to master Zoom. The pandemic did not keep her from maintaining close ties with both far-flung family and local friends. From the start of lockdown, she scheduled regular group Zoom meetings with family in France, Costa Rica, Israel, Arizona, California, Florida, and New York City, and continued playing online bridge with her friends.

Though fully engaged during her post-retirement life, her family remained her priority. She often remarked how lucky she was that both daughters returned to raise their children in Princeton. She was a whirlwind of energy — the kind that can never disappear, or be forgotten.

When she was was diagnosed with recurrent terminal breast cancer in June 2021, Merle approached her illness and treatment with courage, always realistic, but also hopeful. She faced this unexpected recurrence without fear or bitterness. Instead of being angry or depressed that the cancer had returned, she felt grateful that she lived 32 years longer than she had expected. She remained curious about everything — including her illness. After meeting her oncologist she’d comment, “I wish I didn’t have cancer, but this is all so interesting.” In more solemn moments, she said, “I’m not scared of dying, but I’m not ready either — I’m greedy for more.”

Always a teacher, she donated her body to Drexel Medical School (daughter Abigail’s alma mater) so that future doctors can develop their skills and learn more about the widespread affliction of metastatic breast cancer.

A memorial service was held in Princeton, New Jersey, on Sunday, April 23 at The Jewish Center.

To honor Merle, the family would be grateful to those who are able to consider making a donation in her honor to the Princeton Breast Cancer Resource Center (at the Princeton YWCA) or to 101: The Princeton High School College Fund.


Ruth Schreiber Fath

Ruth Schreiber Fath, born November 10, 1937, passed away on May 12, 2023 (Iyar 21, 5783) at the age of 85. She was the loving wife of Joseph Fath (z”l) for 32 years.

Ruth attended The Jewish Center of Princeton during her 30 years as a Princeton resident.

In addition to her commitment to the Jewish Center, Ruth supported the Penn Medicine Princeton Medical Center and served as chairperson of the Commission for the New Jersey Children’s Trust Fund, whose mission is to prevent child abuse and neglect.

Ruth earned her undergraduate degree through a joint program at Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary. As a college student, she also spent a year in Israel, working with the Institute for Youth Leaders from Abroad. In Israel she studied Hebrew language and literature, taught new immigrants to Israel, and spent several months on the kibbutz Tirat Zvi. After returning to the U.S., Ruth earned her MSW from Hunter, and later her degree in psychoanalysis from the Psychoanalytic Training Institute of the New York Freudian Society. She built a thriving practice in New York City and continued practicing for several years after she and Joe moved to Princeton.

Generous to the core, Ruth supported her stepchildren, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews in her constant encouragement to pursue education and to excel at whatever they set their minds to. And as a good Jewish grandma, she doted on her grandchildren! She rejoiced at family and friends’ marriages, births, and other celebratory occasions, and shared compassionately in others’ sorrows when they happened. Most especially, she shared in the joy of her husband Joe’s art and writing accomplishments.

Aside from her community engagement, Ruth loved going to museums, the opera, theater, and traveling with Joe. Together they traveled across Europe, to Israel, and to South Africa. She still has many friends across the continents.

Ruth will be so very missed by her brothers Burton Schreiber and Sidney Schreiber, stepsons Dan Fath and Jon Fath (Lucie), stepdaughters Rebecca Singer and Deborah Fath, granddaughters Harmony Till (Jeff), and Jesse Singer (Jose), grandsons Samuel Francis-Fath (Kelsey), Maxwell Fath (Michael Hebert), Dylan Fath (Zachary Nollet), Darius Salehipour, Zachary Salehipour, great-grandson Ethan Till and great-granddaughter Phoebe Francis-Fath, nephews Stephen Schreiber,
David Schreiber (Carol Stutz) and great-niece Molly Schreiber, Gary Schreiber (Julie) and great-niece Miriam, Keith Schreiber (Naalla) and great-niece Lena and great-nephew Noam, and Joshua Schreiber (Sarah) and great-nephews Abraham and Theodore, nieces Ronda Schreiber (Jack Goldberg), Annie Schreiber, Karen Schreiber (Jacque), and Alissa Schreiber (Martin Williams) and great-niece Genna Williams, and by Shirley Verneuil, Ruth’s devoted and compassionate caregiver for the past six years, as well as her many dear friends.

Funeral services are on Thursday, May 18 at 9:30 a.m. at The Jewish Center of Princeton, 435 Nassau Street, Princeton, NJ. Burial will follow at Princeton Cemetery.

Memorial contributions may be made to The Jewish Center of Princeton (

For condolences, please visit Ruth’s obituary page at

Funeral arrangements are by Orland’s Ewing Memorial Chapel.


Alan Sussman

Alan Sussman passed away at the age of 90 on May 12, 2023 in Merwick Care and Rehabilitation Center in Plainsboro, NJ. Cause of death was presumably a heart attack.

Alan was born and raised in New York City and graduated from Stuyvesant High School. He subsequently received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from Yale University. He moved to the Princeton area in 1958 to accept a position as a Member of Technical Staff at the then RCA Sarnoff Laboratories (now SRI International).

During his long career at the Sarnoff Labs, Alan worked on several important problems on the optimal design of liquid crystalline materials and their use in displays of various types, including TVs. Liquid crystals also played an important role in his personal life, as he met his future wife Martha at a liquid crystal conference.

Alan had many interests and abilities outside of science, beginning with his passionate love of classical music. He played clarinet and oboe and was a longtime subscriber to the Metropolitan Opera and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. He also loved collecting African art, spending annual vacations in Italy, and visiting New York museums, the Bronx Zoo, and the New York Botanical Garden. Finally, Alan was a skilled carpenter and electrician, who almost single-handedly renovated the old house he purchased in 1969 and in which he lived until his death.

Alan is survived by his wife of 48 years, Martha Cotter, by a nephew, Robert Stewart of Washington, DC, and by several cousins. His brother Robert passed away in 2015.

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Sylvester Sutton Hamilton III

Sylvester Sutton Hamilton III died peacefully from complications of Parkinson’s disease in his home of nearly 50 years on May 3 at the age of 87. He was under the care of Greenwood hospice and died surrounded by friends and family.

He was born June 9, 1935 in Punxsutawney, PA — proud home of the famous weather forecasting groundhog. As a child and teen, he was fascinated with the rapidly developing fields of electronics and photography, often spending afternoons experimenting in the sunroom of his childhood home. He was likely one of few in town with a large Van De Graaff generator. After graduating high school, he attended the University of Pittsburgh where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa. He attended medical school at the University of Pittsburgh as well, graduating with AOA honors. He was accepted into residency in Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania; he reported having no address or abode apart from the hospital during his internship. He graduated from residency after serving his final year as chief resident.

In 1966 he married Carol Julie Dudrick and moved to San Antonio, Texas, to serve as a psychiatrist in the Air Force. They were married until her death in 2020.

After his time in the service, he returned to the University of Pennsylvania as residency director. Tired of his long commute, he accepted a position in 1976 as the director of Princeton House in Princeton, New Jersey, where he served for 20 years before transitioning to private practice. Finding great joy in the practice of psychiatry, he practiced well into his 80s, only ending when his voice — weakened by Parkinson’s disease — no longer possessed the strength to continue. The few patients he worked with during his 80s included patients from residency some 50 years earlier.

Piloting the family in an inline twin engine Cessna 337, he flew to destinations including the Bahamas and the Alaskan panhandle. Aviation highlights include a near fiasco after the family dog jumped onto the controls, and an unsuccessful attempt to land at the LBJ ranch in Texas. Logging several thousand hours of flying, he became a licensed instructor as well as a float plane pilot. He finished his aviation experience with an aerobatics plane, the American Champion Decathlon, and a WW2 trainer, the iconic “taildragger” Piper J-3 Cub.

His other hobbies included amateur radio, computers, and hiking. To the dismay of neighbors, he constructed a large antenna beside our house to extend the “ham” radio range. As a fitness jogger, he entered 5 and 10K races where, largely by preserving his middling pace, he often found himself a top finisher in the 70 and over segment.

Parkinson’s limited his mobility in his final years, but he remained busy with frequent guests and phone calls, and he maintained an active and curious mind until days before his death. He is survived by his two children, Sylvester Sutton Hamilton IV and Julie Carol Hamilton, and five grandchildren: Sophie, Micah, Cleo, Aiden and Liam. They will all look up when they see small planes flying overhead and think of him and imagine for a moment that it’s him, flying gently and joyfully above them.

A memorial service is planned for May 27 at 4 p.m. at Stone Hill Church in Princeton.

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


Harriet Fein

Longtime Princeton resident Harriet Fein passed away peacefully, after a brief illness, on May 4, 2023, with her three children by her side at her home at Princeton Windrows. She was 91 years old. After several years teaching grade school, she made the choice to stay home and raise her three children in Rocky Hill and then in 1972, moving to Princeton, where her husband, Arthur Fein was a physician with Princeton Radiology.

Harriet was a lifelong member of Hadassah, a volunteer with adolescents at Carrier Clinic, and an adventurous traveler. She and Art traveled the world and were especially appreciative of going places off the beaten path. She described her favorite trip was one to New Guinea because it was so different from any place she’d ever been and she loved learning about different cultures. Above all, Harriet was a loving and supportive mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother and took an active role in their lives and activities. To Harriet, her family and friends were everything.

Harriet was preceded in death by the love of her life and husband of 70 years, Art, who passed away two years ago. She is survived by her daughter Ren Fein and her husband Paul Kelly of Princeton; son Rick Fein and his wife Jackie of Mission Viejo, California; and son Doug Fein and his wife Debbie of Chapel Hill, North Carolina; six grandchildren, Skylar, Jillian, and Colton Kelly, Jarrett, Micaela, and Naomi Fein; and one great-grandson, Rowan Hanbury-Brown.

She will be missed by all. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to one of Harriet’s favorite charities; Feeding America, Make a Wish Foundation, or Doctors Without Borders.


Robert Garvey McHugh

Born in Baltimore, MD, July 24, 1925, “Bob” died peacefully at home in Lawrenceville, NJ, March 7, 2023 at 97. Graduating Trenton High School in 1943 and Princeton University in 1950, some of his Princeton Theatre Intime performances garnered great reviews, and his Senior Thesis in Philosophy won the McCosh Prize. He later earned his Master of Business Administration at NYU.

Enlisting in the United States Army Air Corp in 1943 and commissioned a Second Lieutenant, Bob was a navigator in World War II’s Pacific Theatre. In August 1945, he navigated the first Allied aircraft to land in Japan, accompanying Gen. MacArthur’s Honor Guard Escort for the Japanese Envoy to Manila and the initial surrender. He completed his service flying American prisoners of war to Yokohama for evacuation to Hawaii and home. He joined the United States Air Force reserve and was re-called to active duty during the Korean War, becoming a Top Gun F-86 Sabre jet fighter pilot.

Bob joined Hibbert Printing Company in Trenton, NJ, became Vice President of Sales and Marketing, and remained a top salesman for over 35 years until his retirement. He subsequently served as consultant to the Educational Testing Service in Princeton, NJ.

With a deep appreciation for Japanese culture, Bob was active in the Japanese community in Princeton, and learned to speak, read, and write the language. One class involved an essay contest explaining why you want to go to Japan. Bob’s “Why I Want to Return to Japan” won him the “all-expenses paid” trip to Japan. Bob also loved music. On returning to piano in his 80s, he combined interests studying with Japanese piano teachers, and performed in student recitals.

An avid reader, Bob read the WSJ daily into his 90s. He became devoted to one of his greatest joys, “GrandPals.” A Princeton Senior Resources Center education program connecting Princeton Public School children with older adults, they read to kindergarteners and first graders. Expanding Grandpals to the Lawrenceville, NJ Senior Center, Bob steadily pursued area schools, encouraging their program participation, and recruiting members of the Senior Center. During the COVID epidemic, Bob persuaded the schools to continue the Grandpals reading program via Zoom. He received numerous cards and letters from his little students addressed lovingly to “Mister Bob.”

Always active and alert to new interests, Bob was a member of the Lawrenceville Senior Center’s Memoir Group, and one of the founding members of its Poetry group, for which he composed numerous haiku.

Predeceased by his parents, Michael Joseph McHugh Jr. and Catharine Octavia Rourke McHugh; his sisters, Mary Aileen McHugh McClintock, Ellen Clare McHugh Kuser, and Jane Frances McHugh Barlow; and his brothers, Philip Neary McHugh, and Richard Nevin McHugh; and by his first wife, Jane Henry McHugh.

Predeceased by his parents, Michael Joseph McHugh, Jr. and Catharine Octavia Rourke McHugh; his sisters, Mary Aileen McHugh McClintock, Ellen Clare McHugh Kuser, and Jane Frances McHugh Barlow; and his brothers, Philip Neary McHugh, and Richard Nevin McHugh; and by his first wife, Jane Henry McHugh.

Bob is survived by his children with Jane, Katherine Anne McHugh, Meghan Jane McHugh, Robert Garvey McHugh, Jr. (and wife, Eileen McHugh), and those from his second marriage, Christine McHugh Nickels (and husband, Rob Nickels) and David Smith McHugh (and wife, Sarah McHugh), and their mother, Ellen Metzger, as well as nine grandchildren, six great-grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews.

Service will be private.