Category Archives: 1940s

Bruce L. Thomas ’49


Bruce Lorrey Thomas, 88, a columnist for the Warren (Ohio) Tribune Chronicle, died Oct. 9, 2018, of natural causes at his home at Shepherd of the Valley in Howland. He was born in Boston, Mass., on April 4, 1930, the son of the late Louise Lorrey Thomas and Frank Bryan Thomas.
He graduated from Williston Academy in Northampton, Mass., in 1949. He received his B.A. from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1953 and his Master’s in Social Work from the University of Connecticut in 1957. He served as a Sergeant in the United States Army during the Korean conflict stationed in the Panama Canal Zone, from 1953 to 1955. Bruce delighted in learning, especially about people’s lives, some of whom he profiled in his popular column. He discovered his talent for journalism in retirement and was ever on the look-out for a good story, which he found in parking lots, at church and outings in the community. He conducted his last interview days before his passing with the help of his wife of 57 years, Sally, who marveled at watching him work: “He knew how to ask the question, and he always had questions.” He began his career as a social worker in Pittsburgh, Pa., at Family and Children’s Service and the Veteran’s Neuropsychiatric Hospital and later served as executive director of the Western Pennsylvania Multiple Sclerosis Society. He moved with his young family to Washington, Pa., in 1967 to serve as Executive Director of the United Way. He was a charter member of the National Association of Social Workers and served on the boards of many social welfare and community service organizations, both in Washington County, Pa., and Trumbull County, Ohio. He was a member of Rotary International and the Pittsburgh Council for International Visitors. Bruce was an avid reader of history and student of geology and, in retirement, volunteered in the Paleobotany Department of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, where he educated visitors about fossils and was named Volunteer of the Year. He was a docent at the Butler Institute of American of Art and a member of the Sutliff Museum, where his wife served as Curator. He loved gardening, spending time with his family and feeding the horses at his son’s farm in Johnston, Ohio.
He is survived by his wife, Sara Alice “Sally” Folger Thomas; his son, Richard Folger (Michelle) Thomas of Johnston, Ohio; his daughter Alice Thomas (Richard) Cervantes of Philadelphia, Pa.; grandchildren Alex, 29, of Howland and Marco, 9, Philadelphia; and step-grandchildren Brett Shipley, Keith Shipley and Courtney Collins.
A celebration of his life will be held at the First Presbyterian Church in Warren on Saturday, Nov. 3, at 11 a.m., where the family will receive visitors at 10 a.m. In lieu of flowers his family suggests contributions be made in his memory to the Shepherd of The Valley, in Howland, Ohio or the First Presbyterian Church of Warren.
Arrangements are entrusted to McFarland-Barbee Family Funeral Home, 271 N. Park Ave., Warren, Ohio 44481, 330-393-9621. Please visit www.mcfarlandbarbeecares.com to view this send condolences.
Donations may be made to: First Presbyterian Church 256 Mahoning Ave, Warren OH 44481 Shepherd of the Valley Foundation 4100 North River Rd., NE, Warren OH 44484

George N. Bissell ’41


George N. Bissell, age 96, of Bridgeport, CT, a WWII veteran and self-employed business man, passed away on Monday, April 30, 2018. He was born in Bridgeport and was a lifelong resident.
He is survived by his wife, Marilyn Bissell; his four children, Jay Bissell, Rebecca Rothenbulher, Elizabeth Ibos and Dr. Andrew Ziller; his daughter-in-law, Mary Ziller and his nine grandchildren. He was predeceased by his son, David Ziller.

Priscilla Parsons Finck ’43

 

Priscilla Parsons Finck, 92, died September 22, 2018 at Linda Manor Assisted Living in Leeds, MA. She was the daughter of the late Earle M. Parsons and Marguerite (Proctor) Parsons.

Born in 1926 in Northampton she was the 10th generational descendant of Cornett Joseph Parsons founder of Northampton. She attended local schools and graduated from Northampton School for Girls and Mt. Holyoke College.
Priscilla was a teacher at Leeds School after her children grew up. She is the wife of Richard W. Finck formerly of Florence. They had celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary this past June.

Survived by her husband Richard; sons Douglas and his wife Cherry, Roger and his wife JoAnne; daughter Marjorie and her husband John; four grandchildren and three great grandchildren. There will be no calling hours. A Memorial Service will be held at a later date. Czelusniak Funeral Home is in charge.

William D. Williams ’45

William D. “Bill”/”Opa” Williams was born January 14, 1928 and passed away August 27, 2018 in Hingham, MA at the age of 90.

William was the son of Dora Louise Williams of East Hampton, MA and William Oppenheim of Orange, NJ. Bill was predeceased by his wife and soulmate of 49 years, Gertrud (Gerdi) August 8, 2016. Bill was valedictorian of Williston Academy (1945) in Easthampton, MA where he was raised by his grandparents, Dr. Edward and Bertha Williams. He served as a Corporal in the Army WWII, honorably discharged in October 1947. Bill then attended and graduated from Harvard, class valedictorian, 1950. He went on to get his MBA at Harvard Business School and worked may successful years as a chemical analyst for major firms in Boston and New York. Bill/Opa will be greatly missed by all that knew him, especially his two daughters Alexandra (Shura) Williams and Dr. Hilary (Nina) Williams, her husband Gary Culkins and their children Daisy and Wells.

Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to attend the visiting hours Saturday, October 6, 2018 from 12-1 PM at the Pyne Keohane Funeral Home, 21 Emerald St. (off Central St.), Hingham, followed by a memorial service from 1-2 PM. Burial at Hingham Cemetery to follow.

 

 

Kenneth M. Coleburn ’46

Kenneth Meeker Coleburn died on August 19, 2018, in Redding, Connecticut. He was born in Norwalk, Connecticut, on June 22, 1928, the youngest of three children of Kenneth Meeker Coleburn, Sr. and Emily Eleanor Coley Coleburn.

Ken grew up in Norwalk. He attended Williston Academy in Easthampton, Massachusetts. He graduated from Middlebury College in Vermont in 1950.

At Middlebury, Ken met Carolyn Sackett; they married in 1952. They raised their family in Rye, New York, where they lived for 46 years. Ken was a partner and sales manager at Stiles Business Products, selling and maintaining business equipment in Westchester, Putnam, and Dutchess counties. Ken would say that he drove a car for a living. He knew every mile of those counties, and was appreciated by his customers for his strong handshake and extensive knowledge of his adding machines, calculators, and mailing equipment. Instead of business cards, Ken gave his customers seven-inch rulers printed with his contact information.

Ken and Carolyn moved to Ridgefield, Connecticut, in 2000 and then to Meadow Ridge in Redding, Connecticut in 2015.

Some of his favorite hours, from childhood into his seventies, were spent playing tennis with family and friends. While captain of the Middlebury tennis team, and at public courts, Shenorock Shore Club, and Thompson’s Point, Charlotte, Vermont, Ken was well known for both his powerful forehand and his lack of fashion sense on the court. Ken’s talents with a racquet in his hand extended into his 80s. He was still playing, and winning, at ping-pong at 89.

Ken volunteered with Meals on Wheels in both Rye and Ridgefield. He enjoyed bringing good food and good cheer to people who could not shop or prepare food for themselves. He liked to think of his bringing meals to his elderly clients as extending the time they could stay in their own homes by six months. He also volunteered with the Ridgefield Visiting Nurse Association. He so enjoyed making people happy that after moving to Ridgefield he got a part-time job delivering flowers.

Ken was a devoted and loving husband, father, and grandfather. He will be remembered by family and friends for his sunny disposition and genuine gratitude for what is good in life.

Ken is survived by his children, William, Jacqueline, Robert, and Carolyn; their spouses, Mary Lou Coleburn, Robert McDonough, Robin Coleburn, and Harry Philbrick; and his four grandchildren, Andrew, Cameron, Kara, and Charlie.

 

Nancy Traill Soderberg ’40

Nancy Soderberg, whose life was characterized by her devotion to her family; her commitment to service, especially to public libraries and to the Girl Scouts; and her enthusiasm for outdoor endeavors, particularly swimming, sailing, and picnicking, died on June 23, 2018 in Camden, Maine. She was 96 and had recently moved from her Camden home to the memory care unit at Quarry Hill, where she died. Nancy Traill Soderberg was born on March 16, 1922, to Mabel White Traill and Frederick Balcolm Traill in Spencer, Massachusetts, where she grew up and graduated from David Prouty High School. After a gap year at the Northampton School for Girls, she attended Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts, graduating in 1944. She worked for two years at the Harvard Medical School and then joined the American Red Cross, serving that organization on the island of Okinawa (now part of Japan), South Korea and outside of Hartford, Connecticut. In 1950 she married Carl Richard (Dick) Soderberg, Jr., with whom she had five children. Her husband’s work took the family to many places, including, chronologically, Lincoln, Massachusetts; Old Greenwich, Connecticut; Houston, Texas; New Canaan, Connecticut; Lake Forest, Illinois; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Concord, Massachusetts; and Sao Paulo, Brazil. With every move, Nancy, well served by her unfailingly positive spirit and keen managerial and organizational skills, energetically established the family, connected with the community, became an active member of the local Episcopal Church, and supported the Soderberg family’s love of sailing, on oceans and lakes across the Americas. When living in Minneapolis, Nancy, always eager to learn, earned a master’s degree in children’s literature at the University of Minnesota, which informed her future involvement with libraries and bookstores (and with her grandchildren). Drawn to Maine by the opportunity for great sailing in a beautiful seaside location as well as proximity to family, they moved from Brazil to South Brooksville, Maine when Dick retired in 1988, and to Camden in 2003. In both places Nancy relished welcoming her children and their families to yet another community she called home. Her survivors include her husband of 68 years as well as their five children: Lisa Soderberg (Richard Brown) of Doylestown, Pennsylvania; Carl R. Soderberg of Simsbury, Connecticut; Leif G. Soderberg (Jill) of Lake Forest, Illinois; Inga Soderberg-King (Jeff) of Gloucester, Massachusetts; Erik T. Soderberg of Bedford, New York. Ten grandchildren and one great granddaughter also survive her. She was predeceased by her brother Frederick Balcolm Traill. The family is grateful to the cadre of loving caregivers who attended Nancy in her final years.

Elisabeth Ward Gilroy ’46

Elisabeth Ward Gilroy of Marco Island, Florida, and Bedford, New Hampshire passed away at her home in Bedford on July 31, 2018, after a lengthy illness. She was born in Brooklyn, New York on October 14, 1929, the daughter of Henry C. Ward and Marion (Nicholson) Ward. She attended the Northampton School for Girls and graduated from Wellesley College, class of 1950. She married Gordon, her husband of 65 years, in 1953. Gordon and Liz originally lived in New York and moved to New Hampshire in 1976. She was devoted to her friends and family, raising three children. Liz participated in many volunteer roles. She served as president of the Wellesley Club of Naples for many years. She was an avid bridge player and a devoted crossword fanatic. She was famous in the family for completing the New York Times Sunday puzzle in ink in less than an hour. She was predeceased by two children, Gordon “Chip” Gilroy and Elisabeth van Duren. She is survived by her husband, Gordon C. Gilroy, her son Scott N. Gilroy and nine grandchildren and two granddaughters-in-law.

Hubert H. Cadle ’43

Hubert Haskell Cadle, 93, passed away on Wednesday, April 25, 2018 at the SECU Jim & Betsy Bryan Hospice Home of UNC Health Care in Pittsboro, NC. He was born on April 8, 1925 in Westfield, MA to Hubert Attwater Cadle And Hazel Rust Cadle. He was a U.S. Army veteran and retired as a mechanical engineer from the Naval Training Device Center in Orlando, FL. Hubert was a previous member of Heidelberg United Church of Christ in Thomasville and a present member of United Church of Chapel Hill. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his wife of 69 years, Virginia Trott Royce Cadle on February 13, 2017. Surviving is his son, Robert and his daughters, Barbara and Patricia, two grandsons, and four great-grandchildren.

Reginald L. Sylvester ’48

Reginald (Reg) Latimer Sylvester of Auckland, New Zealand, formerly of St. George’s, Bermuda passed away on July 7, 2017 at 87 years of age in Auckland, New Zealand.

Born in Bermuda in 1930, Reg lived and was educated in Bermuda before his family sent him overseas to the US to attend Williston Northampton School to finish the last few years of his school education. He was on the soccer, swimming and tennis teams, an active member of the Radio Club and graduated as a member of the Cum Laude Society in 1948. Reg’s time at Williston was a very special time in his life, he always talked frequently of it and he made a number of lifelong friendships and even attended a few reunions, flying in from New Zealand.

Reg was interested in pursuing a future as an aeronautical engineer and it was perhaps his greatest regret following his success at Williston that he was not able to attend university to pursue this future however, the economic situation of post war Bermuda put a serious damper on his aspirations. He returned to Bermuda to pursue a future in accounting with Esso Standard Oil in Bermuda.

In the mid 1950s Reg met his Irish wife Nancy, a nurse, recently moved to Bermuda with a number of her friends. They married and had two daughters in the 1960s. During this time he had a posting to the Caribbean area but later left ESSO because he did not enjoy the significant travel required with a young family. He then worked for the British Overseas Airways Corporation in Bermuda, which later became British Airways.

In 1970, at a time when Bermuda was undergoing significant political upheaval Reg moved his young family to New Zealand. For a Bermuda island boy this was a huge decision taking him far from his friends and family.

Reg had an interest in amateur (HAM) radio and the family recalls many nights hearing the dots and dashes as he developed his Morse Code skills and the crackle of the radio as he communicated with people all over the world. He had a room full of HAM radio equipment and it was only in the last 5 years that he took down the huge aerial in the backyard and packed away his radio equipment.

He was a very keen gardener and spent his spare time if not on the HAM radio, then in the garden. His family had an endless supply of beautiful roses, homegrown vegetables, citrus fruit, apples, plums and fejoas which he grew so much of that he bagged and delivered a great amount of his produce to the neighbors.

Regardless of the 47 years that he spent in New Zealand, Bermuda was always in his heart, and his true home. Following a service in New Zealand, his ashes were brought back to Bermuda. As he requested, a memorial service and interment of his ashes was (recently) held at the St Peter’s Church Cemetery followed by a Masonic tribute. A bagpiper played Scottish music on the hill above the grave.

Reg is survived by his wife Nancy in New Zealand and his two daughters Lee and Shauna and grandchildren Keagan and Fallon Woolley in Bermuda.

 

Alan Kennedy ’43

Alan Kennedy, 91, died April 11, 2018 at Swedish Medical Center in Edmonds, WA of complications from esophageal cancer.

Al was born June 7, 1926 in Worcester, MA to Madelene (Bell) and Owen W. Kennedy Sr. He had an older brother Owen W. “Bill” Kennedy Jr. (’41) who he loved and admired.

He served in the Navy and was a Lt. Commander in the reserves until his death. In 1946 he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Case School of Applied Science in Cleveland, OH.

Al moved to Seattle finding work with The Boeing Company where he helped design the landing gear for the Boeing 707. Al later transferred into the Marine Systems Division working on Hydrofoils mainly on the military side. He remained with MSD for the rest of his 36-year career.

Al married Mary Patricia “Pat” Nollan. They adopted two children and raised their family in Bellevue, Washington. Al is survived by son Thomas Alan Kennedy and his wife Margaret Kennedy and their two children. He was preceded in death by son Keith Henry Kennedy and survived by Keith’s wife Jill Kennedy and their two sons.

He later married Janice “Jan” Cleveland  and continued to live in Bellevue, WA. Al and Jan were married 36 years. On retirement, they moved to Whidbey Island where they spent 20 years living in Green Bank on Honeymoon bay. Al and Jan later relocated to Panorama City in Lacey, WA. They remained there till Jan passed away.

Al is survived by Jan’s two sons Robert Scott Cleveland, wife Pamela Cleveland and their daughter and Frederick Earl Cleveland, wife Kathy Cleveland and his children.

Recently, Al moved to Chateau Pacific in Lynnwood, WA to be closer to family.

Al loved nature, mountains to sea. As a longtime cabin owner at Crystal Mountain, he was an avid skier, active with the ski resort, and an early Ski Patrol volunteer. He enjoyed camping, fishing and exploring Mount Rainier National Park. The Sunrise area was special to him. You could often find him eating his lunch admiring a last look at Mount Rainier before heading home.

On Whidbey he enjoyed clamming, crabbing, building oyster beds and eating a ton of mussels. He was an enthusiastic volunteer at the local Lighthouse working at the visitor center.

He was very generous with his time and support of causes close to his heart including his passion for education.

The family would like to thank everyone at Chateau Pacific for their kindness and friendship and Swedish Medical Oncology in Lynnwood for the care and medical treatment Al received.