Category Archives: 1950s

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

shane

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.

John L. Peakes ’52

peakes

“He was a man, take him for all in all, I shall not look upon his like again.” Hamlet

A very bright light in the regional theater world went out on January 26, 2017, when John Peakes slipped peacefully away at his home in Merchantville, NJ, surrounded by people who loved him, an undramatic ending to a wonderfully entertaining life.

John grew up in Weston, MA, son of the late Herman Lawrence Peakes and Marion Jenny Chinn Peakes, and rascally younger brother of Doris (Kendall). He graduated from Williston Academy in 1952 and from Wesleyan University in 1956 where he joined Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. ROTC in college led him to service in the US Navy and colorful travels and adventures while serving his country. On a leave in NYC, he attended a couple of plays and realized that theater without a doubt was what he wanted to do with the rest of his life. So he did it. After his discharge as a Lieutenant JG, John attended the Boston Conservatory while teaching at Plymouth Academy commuting in a car so tiny, his students were able to pick it up and leave it on a porch roof. He moved to NYC where he worked in a couple of off-off Broadway shows but returned east to get his MFA from Tufts University performing and directing in many productions there before moving again to Iowa City to work on getting a doctorate in theater at the University of Iowa. Along the way he acquired his first wife Connie and their two sons, Jonathan in 1967 and Ian in 1969, three Siamese cats and a beagle named Irma la Dog. In Iowa they met Richard and Barbara Thomsen and decided to hell with those PhDs and moved to Michigan in 1966 to run the old barn summer theatre, The Ledges Playhouse in Grand Ledge. In 1970, the somewhat foolhardy decision was made to go year round first in a small church in Grand Ledge and finally in 1976 to the newly built BoarsHead Theater in the Center for the Arts in downtown Lansing, MI. Somehow, miraculously, it all worked. Over 300 productions later, many in which John either performed or directed, the little theater-that-could had earned strong community support and was a well-respected star in regional theater. Thomsen left for NY in the early 80s and in 1987, John’s second wife Judith became the BoarsHead’s indomitable Managing Director leaving John free to be Artistic Director and avid golfer. The pair won many awards including the Detroit Free Press Award for Life Time Achievement and the Michigan Governor’s Award for Art and Culture. They retired from their BoarsHead roles in 2003 and moved to Merchantville NJ just across the bridge from Philadelphia where John continued performing in several Philly theaters. His final performance however was back in Chelsea, Michigan at Jeff Bridge’s Purple Rose Theater where he played the old curmudgeon Norman in On Golden Pond with grace, humor, and great distinction. John himself was a strong and confident man and he brought to vivid life hundreds of unforgettable characters including Shakespeare’s Falstaff, Prospero, Hamlet, and King Lear, Dylan Thomas’s Captain Cat, and leading roles in Death of a Salesman, Waiting for Godot, The Lion in Winter, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf and many, many more.

John was predeceased by cherished son, Jonathan, who died in 1984.

He is survived by Judith, his loving wife of over twenty years, Connie; his former wife of over twenty years; his son, Ian Merrill Peakes, an extraordinary actor in his own right; Ian’s equally talented wife, Karen (Krastel); grandsons, Owen Peakes and Carson Hunn; stepchildren, Amanda Hunn and Matt Gentry; sister, Doris Kendall; and a passel of charming nieces and nephews.

John J. Schumacher ’59

Schumacher

John J. Schumacher, 76 years old, of Chatham, MA and Naples FL, died on Tuesday, December 27, 2016 at Cape Cod Hospital after suffering a heart attack at his home.

Born in Boston, the 2nd son of August and Mary Schumacher, John was the beloved husband of Judith Blake Schumacher for 49 years. John was also the devoted father of Michael and his wife Gayle of Sherborn, Jennifer Harper and her husband Mitch of Pembroke and David and his wife Susan of Duxbury. Dear brother of August Schumacher of Washington, DC, Ellen Schadegg of Hancock, NH and Mary Megson of Arlington, MA. Above all else, he was the adored Grandfather of Weston and Riley Schumacher, Travis and Tessa Harper and Abigail, Meghan and Dylan Schumacher.

John graduated from Cornell University in 1963. In 1967, John married Judy and founded his second love: Landscaping By Schumacher, Inc., which he owned and operated for over 30 years. During that time, Landscaping By Schumacher became New England’s largest commercial landscape firm, winning a number of both national and local awards; two of these awards landing John at the White House for presentations by First Lady Rosyln Carter and First Lady Barbara Bush.

John was also a successful fourth generation farmer, purchasing historic Lookout Farm in South Natick in 1978, and working with the Commissioner of Food and Agriculture to organize one of the early Massachusetts Agricultural Preservation Rights development restrictions with the purchase.

In his retirement, John divided his time between Chatham and Naples. He loved real estate and golf, but more than anything loved spending time with Judy on their front porch in Chatham, surrounded by his children and grandchildren, whom he adored.

Helen Haase Tompkins ’58

Helen Elizabeth Tompkins, 75, of Ellenton, FL passed away on April 23, 2015. She was the widow of Thomas H. Tompkins and is survived by her sons; Thomas H. and Ronald L. (Sherry) of Florida. Also surviving are grandsons; Christopher (Abby) and Dylan as well as her precious great-granddaughter, Arya Lynn Tompkins, all of Coldwater, Michigan. Additionally, Helen leaves her sister, Mary (David) of Tampa and her brother, Bill (Nancy) of Pennsylvania as well as four nieces and nephews and their families.

Jo Milton Williams ’52

williamsJo Milton Williams, 83, of Shelburne Falls, MA and Pinehurst, NC, passed away unexpectedly November 28, 2016 at Baystate Franklin Medical Center, Springfield, MA. She was the daughter of George Thurlow Milton and Grace Kelley Milton of Boston, MA and was graduated from Northampton School for Girls. After attending Connecticut College and later receiving a degree from N C State University, she was employed as a counselor for Alcoholism Treatment Center, Raleigh, NC. Surviving kin are three daughters: Susan Perkins Stark of Shelburne Falls, MA, Karen Kelley Perkins of Pacific Palisades, CA, Elizabeth Perkins Macat of Shelburne Falls, MA and Sherman Oaks, CA, and husband Carl Rush Williams, Pinehurst, NC, and eight grandchildren. Jo was a devoted and effective counselor in North Carolina. Once retired she love summering in New England where she vacationed as a youngster and traveling, particularly motoring across the states and to Canada and Alaska. Preeminent also in her retirement was the nurture and happiness of her grandchildren. They adored her.