Emmett Richard Harmon was born on March 27, 1944, in Monrovia, Liberia, the first child of Ambassador Emmett Lafayette Harmon and Irene Malvina Wiles. As a boy, Emmett was bright and athletic and excelled in most all endeavors he engaged in. When Emmett was 8 years old, he was enrolled at the Institut auf dem Rosenberg in St. Gallen, Switzerland. When Emmett arrived in St. Gallen, he did not speak German. That soon changed and ultimately, Emmett became a polyglot speaking French, English, and German fluently, while also being conversant in Italian and Romansh. While in boarding school Emmett would split his summers with his friends from boarding school in Germany and with his family at home in Monrovia. Emmett maintained his relationships with his boarding school friends for over 65 years as they held bi-annual reunions throughout Europe that Emmett still regularly attended; he had recently traveled with his son Michael to France for a reunion. As a child, when Emmett would return to Liberia, he would spend time with his cousins, who were like his brothers and sisters. There was a large group of cousins from the Wiles family that stayed at the house of Richard and Mae Wiles at 99 Broad Street in Monrovia, Liberia. Emmett would spend his time at home from boarding school with his cousins, Maakai, Neshee, and Myrna, who were like sisters to Emmett. Emmett also grew up with the children of his uncle and aunt, Ambassador George Padmore and the Ambassador’s wife Mai Padmore, Arthur, Edward, Gerald, Ronnie and James. Emmett was very close to the Padmore boys and they grew up as brothers. Although a few years younger, Emmett was fond of his cousins Mimah and Bill and their dear father Uncle Pipi, who served as Liberian Ambassador to the Court of St. James (UK) where Emmett would spend holidays as a boy. Emmett and his cousins founded their social group, The Literary Club, in Monrovia and lived a jet-setting life style between the U.S., Europe, Liberia and Africa’s west coast during the 1950s and 1960s. Upon graduating from boarding school, Emmett followed his cousins Arthur and Gerald Padmore and moved to the United States and enrolled as a post graduate student at the Williston Northampton School in Easthampton, Massachusetts, where he played soccer and prepared to take American college entry exams. Emmett was an active member of the Williston Northampton alumni community and regularly donated and kept up with developments at the school. Upon completion of his post graduate year at Williston Northampton, Emmett enrolled at Columbia University in New York, New York where he received his bachelor’s degree. Emmett’s children fondly remember their father singing the Columbia University Fight Song, “We Are the Stuff (AKA “Who Owns New York”)” in his baritone. Coincidentally, “Stuff” is a nickname that Emmett’s cousins Arthur and Gerald lovingly used to refer to him. In May 1967, Emmett was introduced to Cecily Judith Sawyer at the wedding reception of his cousin Pitman Harmon to Cecily’s college mate and dear friend Jackie Hardaway. Emmett and Cecily married in 1970 in New York before returning to Monrovia to raise a family. Emmett and Cecily ultimately had three sons, Michael Emmett, Kiadii Hale, and Lami Matthew. Michael was born in Liberia while Kiadii and Lami were born in the United States. Upon moving back to the United States in 1973, Emmett began working at Simplicity Patterns as a sales representative covering the Mid-Atlantic states. Emmett and Cecily always planned to return home to Liberia and during Christmas of 1979 they returned to Liberia with their sons Michael and Kiadii. In April of 1980 there was a coup in Liberia. Emmett and Cecily returned to the United States and their home in Delaware became a haven to many Liberian family members. Several years later, Emmett was offered a position in Financial Services with Wilmington Trust in their Corporate Client Services division as an assistant vice-president. He was the first person of color hired as an assistant vice-president at Wilmington Trust. Twenty-five years later, Emmett was named the Managing Director of Wilmington Trust Europe and expanded Wilmington Trust’s business to the Channel Islands, the Cayman Islands, and throughout Europe while also establishing and forming Wilmington Trust’s office in London, United Kingdom. Emmett was regarded by his professional colleagues as a gentleman who did not need the spotlight to shine on him and as someone who was dedicated to helping younger professionals advance their careers. Outside of work, Emmett was an avid athlete well into his 70s, until his sight began to fail him. He was a regular at the Rodney Street Tennis Courts in Wilmington, Delaware and at the Brandywine Racquet Club in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. He was also a youth coach for all of his sons in soccer and was a ski instructor at a local ski mountain in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. Ever the devoted father, Emmett also instilled his athleticism in his children. He could regularly be found with his sons at the park, playing soccer, tennis, lacrosse and basketball, often all of those sports in the same day. Emmett was also a known and regular entity on the sidelines of The Tatnall School in Greenville, Delaware, from the 1990s through the aughts watching his sons compete and succeed in sport for the Tatnall Hornets. Emmett also took great pride in being on the sidelines of the University of Denver Pioneers soccer team, watching his son Lami excel at the sport that was also Emmett’s first athletic passion. Emmett was also a gourmand and his life experiences and travel afforded him the opportunity to sample some of the finest foods and wines the world has to offer. Emmett translated this experience into the kitchen himself as an excellent cook and he taught each of his sons their culinary skills. Additionally, Emmett was an avid skier ever since his days in boarding school in Switzerland. Emmett taught all of his sons to ski from a young age and it was an activity Emmett engaged in for over 70 years. He took his family all over the world to ski, whether Kitzbuhel in the Austrian Tyrol, Aspen Mountain in the Colorado Rockies or Val D’Isere in the French Alps, Emmett was at his happiest on the piste with his family. In addition to being a role model for his sons, daughters-in-law, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and cousins, Emmett was the senior statesman for the Harmon family and had served as the Chairman of the Harmon Family Reunion Committee. Along with his talented cousins, Emmett was instrumental in planning and organizing the Harmon family reunions. He was a primary source for understanding and explaining the Liberian socio-political environment and the Harmon family’s historical and significant role in Liberian society and history. Emmett’s father was an Ambassador for the nation of Liberia, his maternal grandfather Richard Wiles was Speaker of the Liberian House, his paternal grandfather Hale Lafayette Harmon was a Liberian Senator from Grand Bassa County and a senior Liberian diplomat who had an audience with Queen Victoria, his paternal great grandfather Samuel George Harmon was the Vice-President of Liberia, and Emmett’s uncle Louis Arthur Grimes was the Chief Justice of the Liberian Supreme Court. Emmett spent his formative years listening to and learning from his family who held a number of prominent positions in Liberian government and society. It was primarily via Emmett’s oration that many of us learned the stories of our relatives or the intricacies of the Liberian Constitution of 1986, or the impact of the 1765 Stamp Act on the formation of the United States, or the myriad topics which Emmett had an expert level of knowledge of. He was a stalwart example of intellectualism, self-reliance and positivism. Emmett was a voracious reader and had a quiet countenance that belied the vastness and depth of his knowledge which was complemented by his ability to teach and share that knowledge. Emmett was preceded in death by his parents and is survived by a host of loving family including his ex-wife: Cecily Sawyer Harmon. His sons and daughters-in-law: Michael Emmett Sawyer Harmon (Annie Elizabeth Hellerstein Harmon), Kiadii Hale Sawyer Harmon (Mary Kathryn (Kate) Hodges Harmon), and Lami Matthew Sawyer Harmon. His grandchildren: Edina Rose Harmon, Emm Charlie Harmon, Eliana Mae Harmon, and Lafayette Kateswill Harmon. His sisters: Jewel Harmon, Esquire, Mariet Harmon, and Dr. Ruby Harmon. And a multitude of cousins, nieces and nephews that formed the core of Emmett’s life. Dad, Grandad, Grandaddy, Cousin Emmett, Uncle Emmett, Mr. Harmon or just Emmett he was loved, respected and he lived a full life that has inspired his family members to love one another, be kind, and live our best lives. He will be missed and remembered. A celebration of Emmett’s life will be held on Saturday, July 10th 2021 at 11 a.m. at St. Thomas Episcopal Church Newark, DE 19711. In lieu of flowers, please donate to the St. Thomas Episcopal Church Discretionary Fund which can be located at the following website. www.stthomasnewarkde.church
David Howells, III, 72, passed away suddenly on Saturday, June 5, 2021. Born in Troy, NY, he was the son of the late David Howells II and Elizabeth McBride Howells. He was a graduate of Williston Academy in Northampton Massachusetts, St. Lawrence University, and the University of Albany. He was a longtime resident of Niskayuna, NY. David was married for 47 years to Janice Mazzochi Howells. He is survived by their two sons Brian D. Howells (wife Laura) of Milton, MA and Derek M. Howells (wife Kate) of Millersville, MD; his beloved grandchildren Evelyn, Sydney, Caden, and Hadley; and his sister Lynda B. Howells (wife Claire) of Randolph Center, VT. David worked as a planner, project team member, and grantsman for the Eddy Health Heath System in Albany, NY. He most recently served as the Director of Planning for Northeast Health. Concurrent to his planning duties, David held numerous positions in operations as the administrator of the Eddy Memorial Geriatric Center, Director of the Home Aide Services of Eastern New York, and Senior Planner for the Eddy PACE Program as well as numerous Eddy Visiting Nurse Association programs. He enjoyed skiing, golf, and classic cars. He was a member of the Porsche Club of America. Following his nearly 40 years of supporting the Eddy / Northeast Health / St. Peter’s Health Partners growth, David joined the Board of Directors of the Albany Guardian Society, a program to foster all aspects of an age-friendly community. Private services will be held for the family. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in David’s memory to: Eddy Memorial Geriatric Center, Resident Activity Fund, at 2256 Burdett Ave., Troy, NY 12180 or The Albany Guardian Society’s educational programs, 14 Corporate Woods Blvd., Suite 102, Albany, NY 12211.
John Konheim passed away on Sunday, May 30, 2021, the day before Memorial Day, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, at the age of 78. John was preceded in death by his parents and his brother Bud, and by his wife Lynne (Taylor) Konheim, and his wife Jane (Sampson) Konheim. He is survived by his partner-in-life Anne Ekstrom, his dear family-by-choice Michelle Wood and her children, his loving sisters Barbara Kolb and Jane Kasov and his loving niece and nephews and their families and by certain people he regarded as family. John was generous in his love and concern for others. Throughout his life he collected people in a loving embrace. He did everything he could to aid or befriend them, and the people who were closest to him had that quality too.
He was given a good start in life by parents he always greatly admired, learned to achieve just by being one of four children in a home that was a busy hub, and was given a fine academic and spiritual education at Williston Academy in Easthampton, Massachusetts. He explored New York City when he was on vacation from Williston, mingling with and getting to know the work of all the many people who interested him.
He began to draw quick sketches with a Rapidograph pen, in art class. Soon he could quick-sketch entire scenes such as weddings or buildings such as a Japanese temple. (Visit konheim-art.com for a gallery of sketches from all over the world and his artist autobiography.) Fifty years later he could be seen amiably and routinely sketching folks in their friendship or family groups on a local Florida beach, or, now as a tourist, sitting and sketching the street scene in Saigon where children gathered round to see him work.
For college he chose a New York school, Columbia, his father’s alma mater, and studied while pursuing a wide variety of interests or working. John often drove a cab, once in a blizzard when there were no cabs out at all, he proudly told a nephew. An activist for student social rights at Columbia, he got coverage from Gael Greene of the “Times.” In his travels abroad in the Sixties, he acted boldly in Berlin when he saw help was needed to get friends out to the West. John was not risk averse when it came to stepping in quickly to help and often achieved dramatic successes.
In 1968, a few years after graduation, he joined the Army, went through training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma and completed a tour of duty in Vietnam. Already proficient in French, he applied himself now to acquiring Vietnamese language and dialect quickly and ultimately got to interview Montagnard children and record their music near where he was stationed. He also made audiotapes of battles, (for example: YouTube – Konheim – Vietnam Battle Field Audio November 1969). He and Lynne (Taylor) announced their engagement via a joint audiotape from Vietnam and Michigan, which they sent to parents and family around the U.S.
John lived in Columbus, Ohio and worked as an insurance broker/agent for many years. It was a great job for him, involving assessing risk and helping people. For fun, he and Lynne belonged to a friendship group that took lessons in social dancing at their gatherings. They also invited people onto their houseboat on the long, narrow reservoir near their home. They were deeply connected to Lynne’s family as well as his over the years.
As volunteers in Columbus, Ohio he and his wife hosted opera singers from all over who were engaged for rehearsals and performances in Columbus. As part of their hosting foreign economic visitors to Columbus, they visited Cuba with an economic mission from Columbus. On their last day in Havana, John was detained for sketching his hotel, the Hotel Nacional de Cuba. Luckily, he found a business card in his pocket (from a finance minister he’d just met with) to show the police, and they then whisked him out of jail in time to make the plane home. Lynne and John continued to take foreign trips accepting the risks that go with it.
When John lost his first wife, he was brought low but did not give up on life. In time, he met Jane. They celebrated their wedding with a crowd of friends and family on board a ferry that picked them up from their dock, cruised the Intracoastal in Fort Lauderdale, and at the end of the evening started to catch on fire a little bit. But all was well; he and Jane had many happy years together and moved permanently to Fort Lauderdale. He embraced her family, and she embraced his wide circle of friends in Fort Lauderdale and Columbus as well as his siblings and families. Together they created art, exhibiting with art societies in Columbus and Fort Lauderdale. Jane did a fine painting of John’s beloved cat Cristal, a beautiful white cat, smart enough to learn to ride on John’s bike to the delight of onlookers as John rode daily around Fort Lauderdale.
John found himself bereft when Jane passed away suddenly. His ability to move forward and reclaim life was never more striking than in these years. With time, he went out and about. He served as president of his co-op organization, worked at his insurance business innovating a way to do health insurance economically for the buyer. He joined Single Sailors and met Anne Ekstrom, who served as Vice Commodore of the sailing association. She was an inspiration to him. John and she found new happiness together. They traveled to Italy; they went on a cruise to Colombia. John bought a sailboat and daringly sailed it up from Miami running aground along the way. After that he worked on it till both he (the captain) and the boat’s auxiliary electric motor were shaped up and ready to go out through the Intracoastal and into the ocean, and, of course, guests could come aboard.
As John grew older, he found a way to connect with his much older brother Bud: He called him every day to talk. Bud said at lunch with a cousin a few years ago that he found John’s loyalty remarkable and moving. For John there were no tests to meet when it came to love. There was only love. As his sister Barbara said of him, John made the world a better place because he lived in it.
Walter Gardner Russell, age 73, of Biloxi, Miss., passed away on Friday, March 26, 2021. Walter was born on April 7, 1947, in Springfield, Mass. He obtained a bachelor degree from UMass Amherst. He was Chairman of the Zoning Board of Appeals for Peru, N.Y., and was a member of the Knight of Columbus. He was the Regional Director of the United Cerebral Palsy of the North Country. He was also the Director of Training at TW Express. He served in the U.S. Air Force as an Instructor Pilot, Squadron Commander and retired as Major. While serving in the Air Force he was awarded with Air Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, Combat Readiness Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Air Force Longevity Service Award Ribbon, Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon, Air Force Training Ribbon, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal and Meritorious Service Medal. Walter was an avid dog lover. He enjoyed golfing, swimming and loved the NY Giants. He attended Williston Academy in Easthampton, Mass., where he was a first-round inductee into their sports hall of fame for being a team member of the undefeated boy’s football team in 1963. He is preceded in death by his parents, Aldea Russell and Leo Russell. Survivors include his spouse, Janet Russell; daughter, Noelle Russell Sanger; son-in-law, Luke Sanger; grandchildren, Felicity and Morgan Sanger; and pet, Mr. Puggers. Funeral service will be held on Wednesday, March 31, 2021, at Bradford-O’Keefe Funeral Home, Howard Avenue in Biloxi at 1:30 p.m. Friends may visit from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. The funeral service will be livestreamed on Facebook under Bradford-O’Keefe Funeral Home at 1:30 p.m. Interment will follow at Biloxi National Cemetery at 2:30 p.m.
In Wallingford, John Leslie Julian “Jack”, age 73, passed away on March 21, 2021. He was born in Bristol, CT., the eldest son of Pearl and Leslie Julian. He leaves his wife, Susan and his siblings, Pamela Gleason (Bruce), Mark Julian, and Leslie Julian (Noreen), as well as several nieces and a nephew. He was a graduate of Williston Academy and Clark University before serving in the US Army in Vietnam. Until his retirement, he owned and operated Julian’s Custom Painting and Wallpapering for many years.
Arrangements are private. His own wish was that, in lieu of flowers or contributions, we should all find some goodness in every day. Be at peace, Jack.
James C. Carlson, 72, of Hyannis, MA and formerly of Harwich, passed away after a brief illness at Cape Cod Hospital on Friday, February 26, 2021. Born in Hartford, Connecticut, he was the son of the late Barbara (Cahoon) and Paul E. Carlson. James was a 1967 graduate of Williston Academy in Easthampton, MA and attended American University in Washington, D.C.
Known by his friends as “Jim” he was an avid amateur astronomer. He was the past Director of the Cape Cod Astronomical Society and helped to build and establish the Werner Schmidt Observatory at Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School in South Yarmouth, MA. His involvement included hosting star parties at various locations across the Cape and conducting classroom outreach in Cape school systems. Jim was an observer for The American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO) and regularly contributed data and technical information to that organization. He was recognized by AAVSO at their 1999 and 2011 Annual Meetings for his significant work in recording sunspot activity.
James is survived by his siblings, Joel Carlson of Holliston and Janet Newton and her husband, John of Carlsbad, CA. He also leaves behind many nieces and nephews. He is predeceased by his twin brother, Jon Carlson. Private family arrangements are being held and are under the care of the Chesmore Funeral Home of Holliston.
Peter Marvin Wheelock, age 72, died at Concord Park Memory Care Unit on January 19, 2021 from complications of COVID-19 and Alzheimer’s disease. The son of Dr. Frank Cawthorne Wheelock and Nancy Marvin Wheelock, Peter grew up in Newton, MA. From a young age, he was drawn to oceans and mountains, which he explored by sailing, hiking in all seasons, and backcountry skiing. He overcame early challenges with dyslexia to become an avid reader of books and news sources, including the Boston Globe, which he read in full each morning before 7am. After completing college with a major in Geological Sciences at Middlebury College, Peter worked as a ski patrol for a couple of years in New Mexico. He then went to the University of Massachusetts, earning a degree in Structural Engineering with high honors. He worked as an engineer for Weidlinger Associates, Inc. for 35 years, where he formed many friendships. Most of all, Peter was a devoted family man, a team player in family gatherings, as well as a very giving and supportive husband, and most proud father of his daughter, Alyse. Peter will be missed by his wife Susan Dutt Wheelock, his daughter Dr. Alyse Berk Wheelock, his sisters Debby Wheelock and Betsy Povtak, daughter-in-law Lauren Berk Wheelock, and extended family including Jim Dutt, Joan Lentczner, Chuck Paine, Nick Paine, Sophie Paine, Jessica Povtak, Micheal Nham, Mike Povtak, and Marika Povtak, as well as his close friends and neighbors. A Celebration and Remembrance of Peter’s Life will be scheduled at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in the name of Peter Wheelock to Clean Energy Innovation Policy Program at itif.org
James Merritt Hitchings, Sr. of Mount Pleasant, SC passed away on February 7, 2021. Jim was born September 28, 1948 to Frank and Jane Hitchings of East Aurora, NY. He attended Northeastern University. Jim is survived by his wife of 37 years, Margaret “Peggy”, his son James M. “Jimmy”, Jr., and daughter-in-law Lynn, his sister Betsy Hitchings Hampton (Brian), many cousins, nieces, nephews and his beloved dog Oscar.
Jim spent most of his adult life living and working in the Boston area before moving to South Carolina in retirement. He had many lifelong friends from school, work and golf who will miss his humor, political views and rabid support of the Buffalo Bills.
Jim loved traveling, playing golf with his son, hosting dinner parties, attending theatrical performances and concerts with his wife. He was a warm and exceptionally kind man whose love and devotion to his family will forever be treasured.
Due to the Covid pandemic, funeral arrangements will be private. Contributions in Jim’s memory can be made to the American Cancer Society (cancer.org) or First Tee (firsttee.org).
Nina Hart Griffiths, actor, singer-songwriter, airline pilot. Daughter of Joan Hart and Everett Hart, born in New York City on November 27, 1949; died in Miami, FL on December 23, 2020. She wrote and performed the hit song “I Believe in Love” in Milos Forman’s 1971 film “Taking Off,” played Meredith Halliday in “As the World Turns,” and toured the US in theater before becoming a commercial airline pilot. Educated at Friends Seminary and the Northampton School for Girls, Nina lived in New York City, San Francisco, Sharon, CT, and Key Largo. Twice married and divorced, she retired from United Airlines after 22 years with 11 years as a 767 and Airbus Captain. Generous, warm, talented, independent, and courageous, in addition to music and flying, she loved sailing, reading, and dinners with friends and family. Survived by her sister Laurie Kain Hart of Los Angeles and beloved nephew Murdo McGrath, she will be so deeply missed by all who knew and loved her.
Thomas J. Garstka , 69, of Southampton, MA, died on January 16, 2021 after a short illness. He was born July 3, 1951 in Northampton to Max and Dorothy Garstka. He attended Williston Academy graduating in 1969. Tom was a home builder with his father and brother Dave as Max T. Garstka & Sons for many years. He was a Deputy Tree Warden for the Town of Southampton for 40 years and in his younger years Tom was a member of the Southampton Volunteer Fire Department. He married Donna Syriac on September 7,1975 in the Williston Academy Chapel. In 2003 Tom and Donna started raising pastured poultry and sold their eggs to local stores under the name Cold Spring Chicken Ranch. He also sold firewood for a time as AX Man Firewood.
Tom loved gardening, country music and wearing western hats and boots. He will be remembered for his laughter, many stories about his dad in WWII, and love of the outdoors. He was a member of the Philadelphia Church of God. He served by giving opening and closing prayers. Tom is survived by his loving wife Donna, sons Randy and Paul, brother David and his wife Mary Ann and niece Jillian and sister Susan in Denver, CO. Donations may be made in Tom’s name to Philadelphia Church of God, P.O.Box 3700, Edmond,OK 73083.