Alan R. Epstein ’64

It is with great sadness that we share the loss of Alan R. Epstein, who passed away in his sleep on the afternoon of December 15, 2021. He was born to Ethel Baume Epstein and Sidney Epstein. He graduated from Williston Academy and attended Columbia University.

At the age of 13, Alan decided he wanted to become a photographer. And, as he would say, he lived photography every day for decades. He opened his first studio, called The Studio, in 1970 on Maple Street in Holyoke. He operated there for ten years. He then opened Epstein Photography with his wife Laura (Angie) Roy-Epstein. It was a gathering place for artists and creatives, who still speak of him fondly.

Alan was an award-winning visual collaborator and photographic artist who created powerful images. In his studio, Alan recreated the morning light and made cut flowers look like they were dancing in the wind.

Alan will be deeply missed for his inappropriate sense of humor, his cooking, his wild intelligence, and his capacity for long and inspiring conversation. And he will continue to be loved for all these things and so many more.

There is simply no one else like him.

He is survived by his partner Carole Guthrie; his four children, David Epstein, Audra Epstein, Mischa Epstein, and Max Epstein; and grandchildren Isabella Epstein, Gabriel Epstein, and Alexa Wilson.

Frances Hazlehurst Taylor ’48

Frances Hazlehurst Taylor passed peacefully on December 6, 2021. She was born June 7, 1931 in Colorado Springs to Edith Billings Farnsworth and George Blagden Hazlehurst. Frances enjoyed a lifelong love of reading beginning at her mother’s bookstore in Colorado Springs. She also developed a love of art through her Grandfather, Francis Drexel Smith, an early Colorado artist. Frances attended Northampton School for Girls and Wellesley College, graduating in 1952. She married Erik Sprague Taylor in 1954. Frances worked as a legal assistant for the Denver District Attorney and for the state of Colorado Attorney General’s office. She was active with the Crow Canyon Archeological Center, Hotel de Paris Museum, National Trust for Historic Preservation, Four Mile Historic Park and the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in Colorado. She enjoyed tennis, skiing, the family cabin in South Park, the great outdoors, traveling, and researching family history. Her passion for preservation led to the designation of her Denver family’s home as a historic landmark. She was a member of the Denver Fortnightly Club and several beloved book clubs. Frances is survived by her three children: Erik S. Taylor Jr., Ann M. Taylor (Cheryl Ayres) and Jennifer T. Fox (William); her four grandchildren, Madeleine and Charlie Fox, Kari and Bryan Ayres; her brother John Hazlehurst and several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband, Erik Taylor. Services will be held Thursday, January 20, 2022 at 11:00 am at St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral, 1350 N. Washington St., Denver CO. Memorials may be made to the Hotel de Paris Museum, the National Trust for Historic Preservation or the Crow Canyon Archeological Center.

James D. Ross ’47

James Ross died Sept. 19, 2021, peacefully at home in Middlebury with his loving wife Ann by his side.

James “Jim” D. Ross was born April 9, 1929, in Proctor, Vt., and raised in Rutland, Vt., son of Stewart and Lauren (McAdam) Ross. He graduated from Middlebury College in 1951 and received his Master’s degree from the Syracuse School of Business Administration in 1952. He attended Officer Candidate School and served in the Navy during the Korean Conflict.

Jim served as a Middlebury College Financial Officer and Business Manager from 1956 to 1991. He married Ann (McGinley) Ross and the couple had three children: Peter, Lauren, and Patty.

Throughout his entire life Jim’s greatest passions were his family and his community. He served as a volunteer on many community organizations, including 26 years on the Porter Hospital Board and 25 years on the Addison County Chamber of Commerce. He was a fierce advocate for education at all levels, serving on the Addison Central Supervisory Union School Board, and playing a lead role in conceiving, raising the funds for, constructing, and operating the new Anna Stowell Sunderland Bingham Memorial School in Cornwall in the early sixties. Jim ran the Mid-Vermont Skiing Council, guiding countless young skiers into ski racing. The last decade of his life he volunteered for the Vermont Center for Independent Living, installing wheelchair ramps across the state. He received the Governor’s award for distinguished service from the Vermont Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities for that work.

Many adults from around Middlebury remember Jim as the person who drove them to ski races throughout central Vermont every winter weekend as they were growing up in the sixties. And the person who made them laugh no matter how well they raced, and made them feel safe and loved as they trekked across the state to compete. Hundreds of other former MUHS field hockey players remember Jim as the person cheering them on at every home game long after Jim’s two daughters had graduated from high school and stopped playing the sport. He loved supporting young kids having fun.

Jim is survived by his wife and three children, six grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. He was predeceased by his brother, Gordon Ross ’47.

There will be a celebration of Jim’s life on Saturday, Dec. 4, at the Champlain Valley Unitarian Universalist Society in Middlebury at 10 a.m. The church has asked that everyone wear a mask if attending the celebration.

Joan Shaw Propst ’46

After a happy and adventuresome life, Joan Pierson Shaw Propst, passed away on September 7, 2021. Joanie was a dedicated wife, mom, grandma, great grandma and horsewoman.

Joanie was born in 1929 to Kenneth and Margery (Field) Shaw and raised in Easthampton, Massachusetts. Joanie had a love of horses early on. She babysat, weeded tobacco and picked strawberries among other jobs, to earn money for a horse. One of her later horses was trained to pull a cart, so she drove her brother to summer camp in order to save gas due to gas rationing during World War ll. Joanie was determined to move “out west” for college and to marry a cowboy. Much to her mom’s worries, Joanie boarded the train for Colorado A&M (now CSU, Fort Collins) to graduate with a degree in Animal Science. She did meet her cowboy, Allen Douglas Propst. Together they helped to get a rodeo arena built and organize college rodeos and other events. Joanie was the rodeo’s “All Around Cowgirl” in 1949.

Married in 1950, Doug and Joanie worked on various ranches in Colorado and Montana, before accepting the opportunity to take over ranch management for the Santa Catalina Island Company. Interviewed in Chicago in the Wrigley building, the Propsts moved sight unseen to Santa Catalina Island. When they got off the boat, the prospects didn’t look too great as the island was horribly overgrazed, but they stuck it out to make the improvements. There is a whole lot more to this story, but suffice it to say, that it was really rewarding in many ways, challenging in others.

Joanie was well-known for raising Welsh show ponies, teaching riding lessons and establishing the Catalina Island Pony club of which she was the District Commissioner. She was also in the egg business, providing eggs to island residents. Joanie provided endless hours and effort in support of Doug’s efforts in improving Catalina’s interior, and later in getting the Catalina Conservancy up and running. Joanie made countless jeep tour lunches, and buffalo stews for range tour groups. After 44 years, Joanie and Doug retired to Modoc County to be closer to family and also to not have to ride any more cross channel boats or ocean going barges.

Joanie was predeceased by husband Doug, and granddaughter Jessica Younger Dickens. Left to celebrate a life well-lived are her brother Ken Shaw ’51, sister Margery Shaw ’58; daughters Susi Younger(Jay), Barbie Read(Dick), Robin Paine, (Ernie); grandchildren; Ruby Uhart(Domingo), Elizabeth Younger, Doug Paine(Kristin) and three great grandchildren; Marcus Uhart, Hadley Paine, and Walker Paine.

private family celebration will be held. Please remember Joanie in your own way. If you wish, donations in remembrance can be made to: Santa Catalina Island Pony Club, PO Box 395, Avalon, California 90704. This pony club is an affiliate of the United States Pony Club which encourages children to have a knowledge of horses as they become good riders. The Catalina Pony Club appreciates funds to help sponsor local kids who aren’t able to afford riding lessons.

Robert H. Sammis ’51

Robert H. “Bob” Sammis, 89, of Lansdale, Pennsylvania, died Tuesday, November 30, 2021 at Abington-Lansdale Hospital. He was the husband of the late Joyce E. (Miller) Sammis.

After graduating from West Virginia Wesleyan College and completing his military service, Mr. Sammis began a lifelong career in finance. Initially on Wall Street as a security analyst after completing advanced programs with the New York Institute of Finance and then as a broker and manager with a regional NYSE member firm in the greater Bridgeport area. He then moved on to become the first Trust Investment Officer for the original Connecticut National Bank and subsequently a Senior Vice President at Union Trust Company (now a part of Wells Fargo). He also completed advanced studies at Williams College under the New England Banker’s Trust program. In addition to his professional career, he was heavily engaged in the area of community service. He served over his career as a Director of Family Services-Woodfield, the Greater Bridgeport Council of Churches, the Stratford VNA and a founder of the Community Foundation. He served as President of the Stratford Jaycees (Junior Chamber of Commerce) and was awarded their prestigious Distinguished Service Award. He was a Director and President of PYE (Protect Your Environment) during the early years of environmental awareness. He was a Founder of Housatonic Community College and the Connecticut Harbor Management Association. He was the longest serving member and Chairman of the Stratford Waterfront and Harbor Management Commission and was recognized by both Governor M. Jodi Rell and the State Legislature for his service to the state and community in that role.

He was also a member of the Board of Directors of the American Festival Theater the successor to the Shakespeare Theater in Stratford. Because of its rich tapestry of aviation history, Bob and fellow enthusiasts formed the Connecticut Air and Space Museum covering the contributions of both lgor Sikorsky and Dr. Anselm Franz.

Mr. Sammis continued his post retirement activity acting as a portfolio consultant to other financial advisors, municipalities and charitable endowments in addition to individual clients. He takes particular interest in promoting a more global approach toward investments. Much of this interest stems from the travels with his wife, Joyce, to many corners of the world.

He has worked closely with various institutions including the University of Bridgeport where he was elected a Fellow of the International College dedicated to expanding the awareness of business potential of the Pacific Rim, principally China. He was also the sponsor of the Robert Sammis Lecture Series on doing business in China at the University of Bridgeport. He was a member of the committee, Trade and Diplomacy in Asia Pacific, which developed the certification of a graduate level curricula and parameters, thereto.

Upon retiring from banking, he continued to manage a number of portfolios and was instrumental in guiding many clients toward major gifts at various post secondary institutions.

Joyce and Bob retired once again to Lansdale, Pennsylvania so as to be nearer both children and grandchildren. They stayed active and continued to travel around the globe.

Surviving are his children, Nancy Hellendall (Kenneth) of Melrose Park and Jeffrey Sammis (Christine) of Leonia, NJ; four grandchildren, and sister, Martha Sammis of Allentown. He was predeceased by brothers, Donald S. Sammis Jr., and Wilson F. Sammis; and a sister, Martha.

A celebration of life will be held at a later date.

James M. Gangemi ’48

James “Marvin” Gangemi, 92, of Williamstown, MA, died peacefully on Tuesday, November 23rd 2021 surrounded by family at the Bennington Veterans Home in Bennington, VT. Marvin was born in North Adams, MA, son of the late Dr. Michael A. Gangemi and Evelyn (O’Neil) Gangemi, and was about to celebrate 68 years of marriage with his loving wife Mary (Morrissey) Gangemi.

Marvin graduated from Williston Academy in 1948, Tufts University in 1952, and received a Master’s Degree in Education from North Adams State College in 1960. Marvin served in the US Air Force during the Korean War.

Marvin was fulfilled by sharing his passion for the outdoors and was in his element when surrounded by his students and family. He was known for his love of all creatures, especially his loving labradors. He was dedicated to the Williamstown community, serving in the Williamstown Public Schools from 1956 until his retirement in 1992 where he positively impacted many young lives as a beloved coach, teacher, principal, and superintendent. He took pride in being a co-founder of the Williamstown Little League. He, along with his wife Mary, served on the board of directors of A Better Chance. Marvin was also on the board of directors of the Williamstown Boys Club, serving as its president for several years, and later served on the board of directors for the Hoosic River Watershed Association.

In the 1960s he and his wife Mary founded Camp Tamarack in Florida, MA which they operated for 20 years, welcoming youth from surrounding towns to experience the joys of the outdoors and develop lifelong friendships. In 1984 he and Mary started a successful bed and breakfast at Steep Acres Farm, which became a gathering place for Williams College Alumni, and attracted visitors from all over the world.

Marvin was a devoted husband, father, and friend and loved gathering with his large extended family. He married Mary (Morrissey) Gangemi in 1953 and they raised a family of six children. Marvin is survived by his wife Mary (Morrissey) Gangemi of Williamstown, MA, son Daniel Gangemi of Sarasota, FL, daughter Sarah Bardo and husband Seth of Stamford, VT, daughter Johanna Gangemi-Brown and husband Boyd of Gold Hill, CO, son John Gangemi and wife Robin Bissell of Columbia Falls, MT, son Anthony Gangemi and wife Dabney Langellier of Whitefish, MT, and daughter Mary Kate Bronder and husband Michael of Andover, MA. Marvin is also survived by 10 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren. He is preceded in death by his sisters Annetta Gleason, Mary E. Ramm, Jeanne Durocher, and his brother Michael Gangemi.

A celebration of life will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his name to the Berkshire Humane Society at