Remembering members of the Williston Northampton community

Dr. William Joule ’50

jouleDr. William Walter Joule quietly passed away Tuesday, May 19, 2015, having led a full and accomplished life.

A proud veteran that served as a medical officer with the United States Army during the Korean War.

Dr. Joule went on to have a long and successful career as a Louisville radiologist, eventually retiring from practice while affiliated with the VA Medical Center.  Dr. Joule was an avid reader, and believed strongly in the power of education to better the human condition. He was beloved by all that knew him. 

He is survived by his devoted wife JoAnn, sister Betty Frances Joule, his step-son Stephen Carson, daughter Kristina Suttles and sons Tom and David Joule. He was also a proud grandfather and great-grandfather.

William Opsahl ’54

OpsahlWilliam Gerald Opsahl,  age 79, of Minneapolis, passed away Sept 1, 2015.

Preceded in death by parents Morris and Eileen, Bill attended Duluth East High School, graduating from Williston Academy and Yale University (’58). He sang with the Yale Glee Club, Bakers’ Dozen and Whiffenpoofs.

His lifelong involvement with the arts included president of the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra, performances with the Minnesota Chorale, and Basilica Choir. He was an appointee to the Minnesota State Arts Board, served on the Board of the Minnesota Parks and Trails Council and Duluth Zoo, advocated for passage of Minnesota’s 2008 Arts and Cultural Heritage Legacy Amendment, and was active in Minnesota’s Republican party.

He was Minnesota representative for the Yale Alumni Association and trustee emeritus of The Williston School. He was the Executive Vice President of Superwood Corporation and later engaged in venture capital and consulting.

He is survived by his wife, Karen Voss; his children Lee Stubenvoll (John), Laura Bordelon (Brett) and Michael Opsahl (Lisa); grandchildren Megan Knetsch (Jonathan), Michael Stubenvoll, Ari Opsahl (Harley), Matthew and Thomas Opsahl, and Maxwell Bordelon; and great granddaughter Ella Knetsch.

Leila Shapiro ’52

ShapiroLeila P. Shapiro, 80, of Springfield, MA passed away peacefully on May 27, 2015.

Daughter of Faye and Benjamin Shapiro, she is survived by her four sons Eric, Brian, Steven and Robert Zeller; daughters-in-law Allie Belser and Mela Zeller and her four grandchildren Rebecca Zeller, Benjamin Zeller, Madison Zeller and Dania Zeller.

She was an advocate for children and the disadvantaged. She was politically active and served as President of the Springfield Chapter of the League of Women Voters in the 1970’s. She was proud of her Jewish heritage and was a former member of Sinai Temple. Her passions included music, art, and cooking. She leaves behind extended family and friends too numerous to be named and will be greatly missed.

Frank Schwelb ’49

schwelbFrank E. Schwelb, a onetime Justice Department civil rights lawyer who became a D.C. judge for more than three decades, known for his sometimes floridly written judicial decisions, died Aug. 13, 2015 at a Washington hospital. He was 82. He had Parkinson’s disease and complications from cardiopulmonary ailments, said his wife, Taffy Schwelb.

After fleeing his native Czechoslovakia with his family on the eve of World War II, Judge Schwelb grew up in England before coming to the United States in his teens. He served as an attorney with the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division from 1962 to 1979, when he was appointed to the D.C. Superior Court. Judge Schwelb quickly became known for his lengthy and sometimes verbally inventive writings from the bench. He turned to Shakespeare to brighten a decision on juvenile justice, John Keats in a case about trash collecting and composers Gilbert and Sullivan in a landlord ­tenant dispute. Quoting from the operetta “The Mikado,” Judge Schwelb wrote, “My object all sublime / I shall achieve in time / To let the punishment fit the crime / The punishment fit the crime.”

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Alan Hall, Former Faculty

HallAlan Neidlinger Hall, of Bath, Maine, formerly of Hopkinton, N.H., for many years a teacher and administrator at St. Paul’s School, died peacefully on Saturday, August 22 at the age of 89.

He was born on June 10, 1926, in Orange, N.J., the son of Helen Isabel Neidlinger Hall and Edwin Martin Hall. His early education was in the East Orange, N.J, public schools and later at Willington School in Putney, England, where he lived from 1936 to 1939. He graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School, Washington, D.C., in 1942, where he was Class Poet, and from Deerfield (Mass.) Academy in 1943. He matriculated at Dartmouth College in June 1943 with the Class of 1947; during the accelerated war-year 1943-1944 he co-managed the varsity soccer team, sang in the Glee Club, played varsity lacrosse, worked at the Baker Library reserve desk and as a Cohen Scholar of the Dartmouth Dining Association, and was elected to Cabin and Trail of the Dartmouth Outing Club.

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Marion Montague, former staff

montagueMarion W. Montague, 88, of Westhampton, died Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015, at her home.

She was born Oct. 18, 1926, in Williamsburg, the daughter of George V. and Hazel M. (Damon) Warner. She was educated in local schools and graduated from Helen E. James (Williamsburg) High School in 1944. Mrs. Montague was a member of Westhampton Congregational Church for more than 50 years.

Mrs. Montague worked for William Fiske at Outlook Farm and later worked in the Dean’s Office at Williston Academy, Easthampton, for many years. Following her time at Williston Mrs. Montague worked in the admissions office at Smith College before retiring in 1992. Mrs. Montague also served on the Westhampton School Board and as secretary to the selectmen and to the board of assessors.

After her retirement she took great pleasure in creating many lovely and lasting hand-knitted sweaters, afghans, socks and other knitted wear for her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She made intricate and fine baskets and braided many rugs for her home and family.

Mrs. Montague is predeceased by her husband of 53 years, Frank B. Montague, an infant daughter Faye-Ann, a sister Jean Norris of Westhampton, and a brother George Warner of Pelham. She leaves a son, Peter Montague of Westhampton, and three daughters, Sandra Sluman of Lake Worth, Florida, Deborah Montague of Gilford, New Hampshire, and Sylvia Montague of Westhampton; a daughter-in-law Mary Montague of Westhampton; and a son-in-law D. Randolph Lawton of Gilford, New Hampshire; two brothers, Marshall Warner of Southampton, and Russell Warner of Williamsburg; a sister Evelyn Arnold of Goshen; five grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.

Joyce Stedfast Taylor ’47

Joyce StedfastJoyce Stedfast Taylor, 86 of LaConner, passed away Monday July 27, 2015 at Island Hospital with her loving husband, Ted at her side.

She was born in Winthrop, Massachusetts to Albert M. and Marion T. (Tabor) Stedfast.

Joyce grew up in the Boston area, attended Northampton School for Girls and then went on to Mt Holyoke College, graduating in 1951 with a B.A. in Economics.

A desire for new horizons took her to Southern California, where she worked for Douglas Aircraft and the Rand Corporation.

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Paul Bechard ’44

BechardPaul Bechard, CDR, USN, C.F.P., joined his beloved, Polly in heaven, July 11, 2015.

Born September 8, 1926 in Holyoke, Ma. to Joseph and Zelda Bechard, and survived by his three daughters; Paula (David) Hirst, Pamela (Cole) Hanner and Marie-Anne (Ted) Layne, grandchildren Avery (Joel) Solomon, Adam (Dorothy) Willis, Townshend Hirst, Phillip (Rebecca) Hanner, Ginnie (Greg) Stawicki, Whitney (Nate) Heatwole, Paul and Renee Layne, 7 great grandchildren and many family members and friends.

After graduating from Williston Academy (44), Ma. Maritime Academy (47), he served as a Merchant Service Officer for a year before being called to active duty in 1949 on USS Midway until 1951.

He met his wife Polly in Norfolk and married her in 1951. She predeceased him two years ago after 62 years of marriage.

Paul lived in Plymouth, Ma., after his marriage, completing his MS from Babson (53) and running the family insurance agency. While living in Norfolk (1954 to 1969) he ran Brown, Bechard Insurance agency, was active in Kiwanis, and had an unsuccessful run for House of Delegates. The family moved to Birdneck Point in 1969 where 40 years of making wonderful memories and having fun were spent. His career included serving on many financial boards as well as starting a Mutual Fund Company, owning an insurance agency, serving in the Navy reserves as an intelligence officer. He was a scrabble and chess aficionado and very difficult to beat, a wonderful husband, father, grandpa, uncle and friend. He leaves a legacy of life lessons.

Paul was lovingly cared for by Hazel, Maribel, and Mila during his extended illness.

Charles Ryan ’35

RyanCharles Francis Ryan, of Framingham, 100, died peacefully surrounded by his family on Friday, August 7, 2015.

He was the born in the family residence on December 10, 1914 in Williamstown the son of the late Anne (Fleming) Ryan and Francis A. Ryan.

He graduated from Williamstown High School and Williston Academy in 1935 and from Bentley College in 1937.

He served his country proudly as a Technician | 4th Grade with the United States Army during World War II in the European Theater of Operation from Dec. 1942 to Jan. 1946.

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Donna Robertson Clark Godfrey ’62

godfreyDonna Clark Godfrey, 71, of Yarmouth and formerly of Raymond,MA passed away on May 3, 2015, at Gosnell Memorial Hospice House in Scarborough, from a nine-week battle with cancer.

Donna was the mother of two loving children, Donald and Deborah Perkins, both of Maine.

Born in New York state on April 21, 1944, Donna was the daughter of the late Donald Clark Godfrey and Ellen Pegues Godfrey. Donna never knew her biological father who died on a training flight as a navigator-bombardier in the U.S. Army Air Corps. The 22-year-old airman left behind a newly-pregnant wife. He and Donna’s mother were married only five months.

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Remembering members of the Williston Northampton community