Category Archives: 1940s

Jane Kremers Thompson ’46

Jane K. Thompson, accomplished genealogist, beloved mother and grandmother, age 92, of Norwell, MA, passed away on December 14, 2021, in Providence, RI. Born Jane Gerrit Kremers on May 28, 1929, in Niagara Falls, NY, she was the daughter of Margaret Grace (Burling) and Ernest Kremers. As a child, she lived in Lewiston Heights, NY, where she recalled “jumping around in the hay and playing make-believe games.” She attended the three-room schoolhouse in Lewiston Heights and eventually attended Northampton School for Girls (MA) for one year in preparation to enter Smith College, where her mother had registered her at birth. In 1950, she graduated from Smith and married Jack Monroe Thompson. She raised four children while earning a Master of Social Work at Boston College and starting a career as a licensed clinical social worker. In the 70’s while working at Brown University, she became a trailblazer for equal pay – winning a lawsuit against the University for sex discrimination in salary. Once retired from social work, she devoted herself to genealogical research, publishing the award-winning “The Burling Books: Ancestors and Descendants of Edward and Grace Burling, Quakers (1600-2000).” Jane married Henry Irvin (Hank) Stahr, Jr., in 1986. They shared a love of family, reading, games, competitive croquet, Scrabble, sailing and travel. She and Hank lived on First Cliff, Scituate, for 28 years. Jane was predeceased by her husband Hank, in 2014; and her elder sisters Martha Burling (Kremers) Whitmore and Ann Lee (Kremers) Currie. She is survived by her children Andrew Thompson (Loren Brigham) of Providence, RI, Christopher Thompson (Deborah Waters Thompson) of Smithfield, RI, Mary Thompson (Joan Connors) of Moose Pass, AK and Geneva, Switzerland, James Thompson (Pamela Storey) of Jamestown, RI; and stepchildren John Stahr (Jennifer Jonas Stahr) of Hingham, MA, Carol Stahr Savage (James Savage) of Winchester, MA, and Tricia Stahr (Mark Cwetna) of Nederland, CO. She is also survived by seven Thompson grandchildren: Jessica Rohrbaugh (and daughter Mia), Adrian (Caroline Wheeler), Garrett (fiancée Sara Plotkin), Benjamin, Julia (Fletcher Bonin), Lily and Aimei Thompson; as well as six Stahr grandchildren: Stephen, David and Alexandra Stahr and Laura, Elizabeth (fiancé John Hibbard) and Emily Savage. Donations can be made in Jane’s name to Hope Health Hospice, 1085 N Main St., Providence, RI 02904, or to your local food pantry.

Frances Abbott Reynolds ’46

Frances Abbott Reynolds, 92, of Leicester, MA, died peacefully Tuesday, December 28, 2021, in her home.
Her husband, Thomas H. Reynolds ’44, died in 2007 in Wayland at the home where they raised their children. She leaves two sons; William Reynolds and his wife Diane of Agawam and Thomas Reynolds and his wife Susan of Plymouth, three daughters; Anne Leake and her husband David of Kaneohe, HI, Frances Nolan and her husband Daniel of Naples, FL and Susan Olivo and her husband John of Leicester with whom she lived, 13 grandchildren and 15 great grandchildren.
Frances was born in Springfield, the only child of Edwin K. and Frances Krause Abbott and was close friends with her cousin Edward Hobbie of Deerfield. Fran graduated from the Williston Northampton School and Wellesley College class of 1950. She was active in the Trinitarian Congregational Church in Wayland and volunteered with the Girls Scouts, as well as, serving in various leadership positions in
the Sudbury Wayside Inn Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution for many years. She became a member of the First Congregational Church upon moving to Leicester. During her life she enjoyed bible studies, going to church, listening to hymns and praying, reading, camping, traveling, and spending time with her family and friends.
Burial was in Olde Hadley Cemetery, Hadley, MA, on January 4, 2022. There will be a memorial service at the First Congregational Church of Leicester on May 28, 2022 at 11 a.m. In lieu of flowers memorial donations may be made to the First Congregational Church of Leicester Memorial Fund, P.O. Box 122, Leicester, MA 01524.

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.

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

Samuel Ansell ’40

Cartoonist, ad man and business man Samuel Ansell, 99, of Waltham, died on August 1st, 2021. Sam Ansell’s career changed course many times but cartooning was always part of it. Mr Ansell grew up in Newton and attended Newton High school where his humorous essays filled the pages of the Newtonian magazine. His love of George Herriman’s Krazy Kat drew him to cartooning and his style and humor saw him published in numerous magazines of the 40s, such as “Colliers”, “Look”, and the “Harvard Lampoon”. Mr. Ansell attended Harvard as an undergrad in English Literature at a time when quotas for Jews made that a rare occurrence. His writing and cartooning made him a perfect candidate for the editorial board of the reinvigorated humor magazine “Harvard Lampoon”. Upon graduation in 1944, he enlisted and served in the Pacific as an ensign in the US Navy. After the war, he went on to receive an MA from Columbia University’s School of Journalism. It was while in college that his cartooning career blossomed. His cartoons and humor columns were regular features in the “Harvard Lampoon” and the “Columbia Jester”. Through syndication, other college humor magazines across the country picked up his cartoons as well. After Columbia, Mr. Ansell stayed in New York and turned his writing talents to public relations, landing a job as a PR man for the New York Metropolitan Opera, a stint that was cut short after the wife of the featured tenor insisted he be fired for neglecting to bring her the coffee she demanded. He then spent the remainder of the fifties and early sixties on Madison Ave as a copywriter and illustrator, continuing to employ his cartooning skills in many of the ads he created. It was during this time that Mr. Ansell met and married Na’ama Lubin with whom he remained for the next sixty-nine years until his death. As TV ramped up, the downturn in print advertising forced his next career move, a return to the Boston area to lead the sales and marketing effort for the family business, S. H. Ansell & Son, a South Boston-based wholesale container company founded by his grandfather Solomon Ansell in 1888. Those driving in Boston in the 70’s and 80’s were likely to have seen bright yellow trucks with “Someone’s getting bottles Fast from Ansell” on the side. His cartooning skills again became a fixture in the marketing pieces he created. A voracious reader and prolific writer, Mr. Ansell was also an avid outdoorsman. He skied, biked, canoed and somehow found time to hike all forty-eight 4,000 foot or higher mountains in New England earning entry into the exclusive Appalachian Mountain Club Four Thousand Footer Club. After retiring, the Ansells moved to a small mountain town in Umbria, Italy where his interests in opera, wine, hiking, great food and medieval architecture were well indulged and rewarded. They returned to live in Waltham when travel became difficult. In his last decade, Mr. Ansell continued his lifetime of education by attending Brandeis’s adult learning center and contributing cartoons to the program’s publication the “Bolli Banner”. Mr. Ansell leaves his wife Na’ama, daughter Aliza Ansell and son-in-law Ric Nudell, son Seth Ansell, son Gideon Ansell and daughter-in-law Mary Rutkowski and grandchildren, Adeline Ansell and wife Ashley Mallon, Ivan Rukowki-Ansell and Leya Ansell. Those wishing to read more about Mr. Ansell’s life can visit his memorial page at In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to one of his favorite charities: Doctors Without Borders or the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Philip D. Holmes ’41

Philip Dearborn Holmes died at home in the early evening of Monday, October 18, 2021 with Jean, his wife of 76 years holding his hand. Philip was born in Whitman, Massachusetts on October 30, 1922 to Carrie E. Chamberlain Holmes and J. Albert Holmes. He was a graduate of Whitman High School, Class of 1940, where he was active in its sports program and played on the football team during his junior and senior years. Dad attended Williston Academy after high School in preparation for his acceptance to Brown University. With the outbreak of WWII Dad left Brown to volunteer for the Navy who promptly rejected him as he could not pass the physical exam. The Coast Guard did the same. Determined to serve his country Dad entered the Maritime Service, a training organization for the Merchant Marine. He was trained as a radio operator and served as such of three Liberty ships and one Victory Ship. The (first) SS Henry Austin took him to the British beach heads Gold, Juno and Sword during the invasion of Normandy. He shuttled between London and the French coast with soldiers through August when the areas were considered secured. On other ships he covered great and dangerous distances off Iran, Antwerp, Mozambique, through the North Atlantic, the Suez Canal, Red Sea, Persian Gulf to bring needed fighting personnel and equipment. Returning home from the war Philip and Jean Harper were wed on November 6, 1945. Their first home together was in Providence, Rhode Island as Philip returned to Brown University and received his BS degree in Civil Engineering in 1949. Philip and Jean brought their young family to Cape Cod in the mid-1950s when Dad took a Civil Engineering job at, the then, Otis Air Force Base located in Bourne. After several years at Otis, Dad decided to start his own company called Philip D. Holmes Registered Civil Engineer and Land Surveyor in the town of Falmouth. His work took place during a period of changes in all areas of town. As his company grew Dad chose a partner and the name changed appropriately to Holmes McGrath, Inc. Michael McGrath bought the company when Dad retired. In 1983 Philip and Jean moved to Dover-Foxcroft, Maine where they managed their 250-acre woodlot and grew several acres of balsam fir Christmas trees. These were sold in their dooryard where families came to choose-and-cut their own tree, have a snowy sleigh ride and hot chocolate in the warm barn. Truly a magical time. In 1999 Philip and Jean returned to Cape Cod to be closer to their children and growing families. Dad is survived by his wife Jean Harper Holmes, daughter Martha Nickerson, and her partner Gail Donaldson, Nancy Sweeney, Susan DeJong, Judith Abbruzzi (Lawrence) and James Philip Holmes. There are six grandchildren; Matthew Sweeney (Allie), Sarah Allers (Philip), Thomas John Abruzzi (deceased), Lauren Medeiros (John), Molly Holmes, Rory Holmes and Taylor Holmes. AND six greatgrandchildren. A memorial service will be held at the Falmouth Congregational Church, 68 Main Street, at 11:00 AM on October 30, 2021, Philipss birthday. A private burial will be held at a later date. Donations are encouraged to both: Hospice of Cape Cod ( and Neighborhood Falmouth (,). The Holmes family cannot say enough about these two organizations and how much they helped comfort Dad in his declining years. From the bottom of our hearts; Thank You to all the volunteers, nurses and home health aides.

Natalie Brown Denton ’41

Natalie Brown Denton passed away on Friday, February 12, 2021. Nonnie was born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1925, the daughter of Lois Hoffman Brown and Wayland Wickliffe Brown. She was a long-time resident of Elmira and was deeply engaged in numerous civic activities and Grace Episcopal Church, where she was a member. Nonnie was the widow of Richard Denton and is survived by numerous nieces and nephews. The family suggests that gestures of remembrance may be made to Grace Episcopal Church, 375 West Church Street, Elmira, NY 14901, or to Meals on Wheels of Chemung County, 409 William Street, Elmira, NY 14901.

Charles L. Robitaille, Sr. ’43

Charles Laurier Robitaille, Sr. of Shelburne, VT, closed his final flight plan on July 8, 2021. He passed away at McClure Miller Respite House in Colchester, VT.

He was born on July 25, 1925 in Holyoke, MA. He was a veteran of the Army and served tours in the Pacific Theater during WWII. He married Freola Katherine Files in 1946. He is survived by his children, Gary Robitaille of North Carolina, and Susan Wolff of Florida, as well as his 10 grandchildren and 19 great grandchildren and his companion Sally Luedeke. He was predeceased by his wife, Freola (Kitty) and his son, Charles Jr.

“Chuck” had a deep love for flying, especially giving airplane rides to many enthusiastic children of the Young Eagles. He enjoyed the friendship of many like-minded pilots who met weekly at the “Coffee Klatch.” He loved his family and friends deeply and will be missed by all.

The family would like to thank the McClure Miller Respite House for their love and compassionate care during the final days of his illness. There will be a private service for family at his interment ceremony. In lieu of flowers, any donations may be made to the McClure Miller Respite House, 3113 Roosevelt Hwy, Colchester, VT 05446.