Category Archives: 1950s

William E. Gwatkin ’59

William “Bill” Gwatkin, 76, died Sunday, April 2, 2017 at Orlando Regional Medical Center. Bill was born in New Haven, Connecticut. He and his wife Nancy have been “snowbirds” between Cape Cod and Titusville and traveled the country visiting family and friends for over 20 years. Bill owned a Food Distributorship in Cape Cod. He was an avid golfer and loved traveling in his RV.

Bill is survived by his wife Nancy; his children Kristen Reed and her husband Ed of Colorado Springs, CO; Wesley Gwatkin of Massachusetts; David Gwatkin and his wife Betty Ann of Vermont; his grandchildren Emma, Tyler and Cambell; and his stepsons Jon and Greg Whyman.

 

Daniel M. Doolittle ’55

doolittleDaniel M. Doolittle, 81, of Kennebunk, Maine, originally of Darien, Connecticut, died on Monday, March 6, 2017 at Gosnell Memorial Hospice in Scarborough, Maine following complications from surgery. Mr. Doolittle was born on May 20, 1935 to Dwight N. and Dorothy M. (Smith) Doolittle in Stamford. He attended Darien High School, class of 1953, and graduated from Williston Academy, Easthampton, MA, in 1955. Mr. Doolittle attended St. Lawrence University in Canton, NY. He married Cynthia Crider in 1971 and they lived in Darien until his retirement 2001.

Mr. Doolittle learned how to skate and played hockey on Darien ponds in his youth. He taught youth skating and hockey to local children, some of whom would later join his hockey team at Darien High School. He was Darien High School head coach for a number of years, finally winning the state championship for Darien High in 1969. Mr. Doolittle played hockey for Williston Academy and also for St. Lawrence University. He was also a member of the Home Oilers, a semi-pro team made up of players from Fairfield County.

Mr. Doolittle worked for Pitney-Bowes as a service repair technician before being drafted into the United States Army. He spent two years stationed in France using skills he learned with the U. S. Army Signal Corp and worked installing and repairing phones at his base. Mr. Doolittle was home for almost a year before being recalled into active duty during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Mr. Doolittle returned to Pitney-Bowes as a technical service writer. He became manager of technical publications and continued employment with the copier division.  After 40 years, Mr. Doolittle retired from the company. The next day, he and Cynthia moved to Kennebunk, Maine.

In Maine, Mr. Doolittle belonged to The Church on the Cape in Cape Porpoise and to Laudholm Farm in Wells. He was an avid wood turner and loved creating things out of wood. He was always fixing or building something. Mr. Doolittle loved his family around him and enjoyed his summers on the water in Maine, often kayaking with the loons.

Mr. Doolittle is survived by his wife of 46 years, Cynthia Doolittle of Kennebunk; two daughters: Alyssa M. Doolittle of Newark, Vermont and Robin Illian and her husband Randy of Portland, Maine; six grandchildren: LunaMay Doolittle Waterman, Gordon Simpson Doolittle, Jack Simpson, Francesca C. Illian Sparrow, Leonard Daniel Illian, and Sequoia Shriver Illian; one sister, Donna E. Rajczewski of Darien, Darien’s Town Clerk; two nieces: Lee R. Richardson of Burlington, North Carolina and Dana Turton of Richmond, Virginia; and many cousins.

 

Lolita Machon Williams ’50

lolitaLolita Jane Williams (Lee), of Bridgewater, died on March 4, 2017, at the age of 84. She was born in Providence, Rhode Island on April 2, 1932, to the late Elsie and Norman Machon. Lee grew up in Providence and in Andover, Massachusetts. She graduated from Northampton School for Girls in Northampton, Massachusetts, in 1950. Lee’s family summered at Newfound Lake in New Hampshire, and there she met her future husband Robert (Bob) Williams. She attended the University of New Hampshire for two years, leaving to marry Bob and settle permanently in New Hampshire. Lee was a homemaker, caring for Bob and their three sons while Bob established a family lumber business, R.P. Williams and Sons. Lee’s life revolved around her family, and many weekends were spent skiing at Ragged Mountain, hiking in the White Mountains or boating on Newfound Lake. Lee was active in the Bristol Federated Church for many years, and also served as a trustee of the Newfound Lake Association. During a long retirement, Bob and Lee enjoyed traveling around the country in their RV and spent winters in the Florida community of Estero. During the late 2000s, Lee gradually descended into dementia; Bob took care of her at home until shortly before his own death of cancer in 2014. Lee is survived by three children, Robert Penn Williams III of Bridgewater, Steven Williams of Bridgewater and Bruce Williams of San Francisco, California; four grandchildren, Travis Williams, Kiersten Williams, Alicia Williams and Kyle Williams; as well as three great-grandchildren.

John R. Bruno ’50

john bruno correctJohn Robert Bruno, of Whispering Pines, NC died peacefully Saturday, March 18, 2017.
John was born the day after Christmas, 1930, in Paris, France, to Germaine and Sylvan Bruno. Germaine and Sylvan were French born, but naturalized American citizens. John’s two older siblings, Evelyne (deceased) and Phillip (Clare) were also born in France. When John was four, the Brunos returned to America and lived in Scarsdale, N.Y.
In 1950, John graduated from Williston Academy in Easthampton, Mass., and in 1954 received his bachelor’s degree from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. While at Penn, John was captain of the soccer team, and an All-American. In 1953, he was voted the outstanding team player. John was a natural athlete who also played a great game of tennis.
After college, John joined the Army. He was an artillery officer at Fort Sill, Okla., after graduating from OCS. He went on to be an instructor at the school. After serving for four years, John left the Army and moved to New York City where he started a career in advertising. His favorite account was the U.S. Army.
In NYC, John met Joan Mallett. They were married 55 years ago this May in the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church. They lived in NYC until their son, J. Robert Bruno Jr. ’81 (Teresa) was a year old, when they moved to an old farm house in Stamford, Conn. Elizabeth Bruno Hyer (Ken) and Gigi Bruno (Jeff Heisner) were born while they lived in Stamford. In 1970, the family moved to Rochester, N.Y., where John worked for the Rumril-Hoyt advertising agency. Besides advertising, John did sales and marketing for a number of Rochester area companies. For several years, he also was publisher of a group of local newspapers in the Finger Lakes Region. Sailing on Lake Ontario was a favorite pastime for John during the Rochester years.
In 1999, John and Joan retired to Whispering Pines. John enjoyed volunteering for Meals On Wheels and was on the board of the Department of Aging. He also served on the Board of Adjustments in Whispering Pines. Touring the country back roads of Moore County on his 1979 Honda motorcycle or sailing his Sunfish on Pine Lake were a relaxing way for him to spend an afternoon.
Wherever he was, John enjoyed greeting and talking with people. Whether at the Reservoir Park or Walmart, he was friendly with all and will be remembered for his good sense of humor.
John always loved dogs. However, when he and Joan were married, cats entered his life and he learned to love them too. There was always a mix of animals in the house, from Siamese cats to Great Danes.
“Bops” will be missed by his three grandchildren, “Woody” Bruno (Kristin), Michael and Ally Wood, and by his entire family.

Jean Fowler Winsor ’50

winsorJean (Fowler) Winsor, 84, of Newport, the Florida Keys and Ft. Myers passed away surrounded by her family on Saturday, June 6, 2015. She was predeceased by her husband of 62 years, The Reverend Edward S. Winsor. Born in Westerly RI on February 11, 1931, she was the daughter of the late Wells and Esther Fowler. Jean graduated from Wheeler and RI College and taught first grade in the Portsmouth Schools for twenty years.
Jean was a lifetime member of the Newport Yacht Club. She was an experienced yachtswoman. She met the love of her life, Edward, while sailing in Weekapaugh, RI and they continues their lifelong love of the water, sailing from Nova Scotia to the Florida Keys into their seventies. Jean was a political activist, past president of the Newport National Organization for Women in the 1970’s, an active member of the Ft. Myers Democratic Club, and a strong and tireless advocate for the poor, volunteering at meal sites wherever she resided.
Jean’s lifelong commitment to the church gave her strength, energy and spiritual fulfillment that she shared generously with all she met.
Jean leaves behind her daughter Susan and her children Gordon, Amy-Elizabeth and Sarah; son Frank, his wife Theresa and their children Andrew and Daniel; daughter Elizabeth and her son Samuel Slesinger; son Gregory, his wife Barbara and their children Meredith, Mitchell and Maxwell; great grandchildren Nathin Johnson, Mylee Santos and Abigail Winsor; and sister-in-law Anne Doskow of CA. Jean was predeceased by her sisters Bickey Pile and Barbara Rossell.

John H. Spencer, Jr. ’55

spencerOn Sunday, February 19, 2017, John Haines Spencer, Jr. passed away. And the world will never be the same. Born September 15, 1936 to John Haines Spencer and Pauline Simmons Spencer, Jack was raised in Adams, Massachusetts. After graduating from Williston Prep School and Amherst College, he received a Masters in Education from Purdue University. While teaching at Williams High School in Stockbridge, he had the good fortune to meet and fall in love with Social Studies teacher Judith Leahey. On February 20, 1965, he had the good sense to marry her and continue a love affair that spanned more than fifty years. Mr. Spencer was an educator for 47 years. He taught Social Studies at Williams High School and Monument Mountain Regional High School and was Principal of Searles Middle School. He encouraged students to be conscious seekers and doers, to be disturbers of the universe. He was chair of the Monument Social Studies department from its inception in 1967. The department created the first Holocaust curriculum for high school students in the country. Jack and Roselle Chartock coedited the anthology that came out of that curriculum. Jack had a love of Stockbridge and its citizens, community activism and participation in government. He served on numerous committees and boards, including the Stockbridge Planning Board (chairman) and Zone of Appeals, The Stockbridge Library (president and member of the Board of Trustees), The Fund for Excellence and School Center, Inc. He was instrumental in writing the zoning bylaws for Stockbridge. Jack is survived by daughters Ann Marie (Scott) Miller, Kathy (Fred) Erickson, sisters Judy Burbank and Cyndie Spencer (Denny Lund), Pat and Buz Hanley, Mike and Sally Leahey, Fred Wigge an exchange student who became part of the family, grandchildren Eric, Kristen and Amanda Miller and Emily Erickson, many close cousins, nieces and nephews and grand nieces and nephews, the lucky 13 and generations of well-educated students, an astounding number of loving friends and a grateful community. He is predeceased by his parents Haines, Pauline and Louise Spencer, his wonderful wife Judy, and his step-mother Pat Swann.

Amos K. Hobby ’56

hobby

The following is a personal reflection from Dr. Michael B. Conant ’56 on the passing of his Williston roommate and close friend of over 60 years,  Amos K. Hobby, Jr., PhD.

 
Dr. Amos K. Hobby, Jr. died on August 18, 2016, just four days after his birthday. Both of us became psychologists in private practice, lived near each other, and had very close ties. His girlfriend told me that a day before his death, she started to read to him from The New Age book. Amos stated, “I don’t want anyone cramming that stuff down my throat.” She said to me, “That was Amos.” Absolutely. I’ll miss him a great deal.

Nancy DerGiragossian Craig ’55

CraigNancy S. (DerGiragossian) Craig of Northampton, and a longtime resident of Amherst, died Monday, Feb. 6, 2017, after a short illness at CareOne of Northampton with her daughter by her side and Frank Sinatra playing in the background.

Born Jan. 27, 1937, in Northampton, she was the daughter of the late Archie and Christine (Bodourian) DerGiragossian.

Nancy was a 1954 graduate of Northampton High School and also attended Northampton School for Girls, Holyoke Junior College and the University of Massachusetts.

She was a 20 year employee of UMass, lastly with the Department of Environmental Health and Safety, retiring in 2007. Before that, she held a variety of administrative positions in and around Northampton, and had also worked in 1960s New York City for the Public Broadcasting System and the Young and Rubicam Advertising Agency.

Nancy was someone who drew people to her because of her empathetic nature and her keen desire to understand the human condition. Everywhere she went, whether it was her favorite Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods or just on Main Street, she kindled interesting conversations and friendships with long-lost and new friends. She was known amongst family and friends for her creativity. A lifelong artist, she painted and sketched cityscapes and landscapes of Northampton and Amherst, memorializing sites such as St. Mary’s Church, Main Street, Northampton, the apple orchards of Atkins Farms, and the waterfall at Paradise Pond. One of her pen and ink drawings of pine trees was used in 1980 by the then Simon’s Rock Early College of Great Barrington, as its official holiday card. Additionally, Nancy wrote a column that reviewed and promoted various local businesses, “Consumer Carousel,” for her family’s 1970s regional magazine, Hampshire County Illustrated. She also used her creativity and people skills to assist her former husband, Paul Craig, in his bid for Mayor of Northampton in 1973.

Aside from her love of art, Nancy was a free spirit who adored the beach. Annual childhood family summer vacations in Narragansett, Rhode Island, began this love, and in later years she was fortunate to spend many holidays in Jamaica. A jazz lover, she combined this with her love of an ocean setting by attending the Newport Jazz Festival when she could. In 2007, she explored the beaches of Sydney, Australia, visiting her daughter, son-in-law and grandsons, and snorkeled at the Great Barrier Reef.

She is survived by her daughter Jennifer Craig Fletcher and son-in-law Thomas Fletcher of Sydney, Australia; four grandsons, William, Benjamin, Thomas and Theodore, also of Sydney; her sister Dawn C. Baker of Northampton; her brother William V. Derian of Deerfield Beach, Florida; her niece Christine D. Baker, M.D., of Northampton; her great-nephew Jay C. Anderson of Northampton; her former husband Paul M. Craig of Northampton; and several adored nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews of Maryland, Virginia and Florida.

 

Miriam Lind Shane ’51

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Miriam L. Shane, 84, of South Salem, NY, passed away on Tuesday, January 31, 2017. She was the loving wife of Mr. Arthur F. Shane.

Mrs. Shane was born on September 9, 1932 in Berlin, Germany; a daughter of the late William and Margery (Tyler) Lind.

A resident of South Salem, NY for the past 24 years since relocating from Pleasantville, NY, Mrs. Shane was previously a deacon at the South Salem Presbyterian Church. She was also a naturalist for the Teatown Lake Reservation of Ossining, NY. In her spare time, Mrs. Shane was an avid dancer and pianist and enjoyed exercise.

Mrs. Shane is survived by her husband of 60 years, Arthur and their children: Hugh Shane and his wife, Miriam; Benjamin Shane and Jennifer Shane Medina. She is also survived by eight grandchildren: Nadine, Rebecca, Vivian and Hazel Shane; Juliette and William Medina and Dustin and Collin Shane. In addition to her husband, children and grandchildren, Mrs. Shane is survived by a sister, Carol Dickey.