Obituaries from the Winter 2008 Colby Magazine
Thomas W. Kopp, November 10, 2007, in Rome, Maine, at 69. A Colby employee for 29 years, Kopp was senior associate dean of admissions when he died in a boating accident on Great Pond. He was a graduate of the University of Connecticut who played professional baseball for two years in the Minnesota Twins system. First hired in 1978 as a coach, he served for several years as head football coach before joining the admissions staff in 1983. A mentor to colleagues, he was known for his good humor, strong work ethic, and prodigious energy. He is survived by his wife of 46 years, Mimi Brown Kopp, by two sons and two daughters, by 14 grandchildren, and by two sisters.
Miriam Rice Schulze '27
Miriam Rice Schulze ’27, August 20, 2007, in Southbury, Conn., at 101. She taught high school French in Maine and Connecticut until 1970. She was a 53-year member of the Newtown (Conn.) Congregational Church, volunteered at the Fairfield Hills Hospital, and was a cellist in the Danbury Symphony Orchestra. She was predeceased by her grandfather, Charles E. Owen 1879, and her mother, Edna Owen Rice 1902. Survivors include her son, Lawrence Schulze ’64, two grandchildren, and several great-grandchildren.
Ethel Henderson Ferguson '29
Ethel Henderson Ferguson ’29, July 30, 2007, in Houlton, Maine, at 98. She taught school in Houlton for 12 years then moved to Concord, N.H., with her husband. She was active in her church and with AAUW, belonged to the Order of the Eastern Star, and in retirement was a member of the Houlton Garden Club. Her daughter, Jean Ferguson Cole ’65, two grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren survive her.
Forrest M. Batson '30
Forrest M. Batson ’30, November 4, 2007, in Fair Lawn, N.J., at 98. He earned a doctorate in chemistry from Brown and worked as manager of technical services at Allied Corporation, now Honeywell, until retiring in 1972. He belonged to the Central Unitarian Church of Paramus, N.J., for more than 60 years. His daughter, Barbara Frey, a sister, and four grandchildren survive him.
Maxwell D. Ward '32
Maxwell D. Ward '32, September 3, 2007, in Brunswick, Maine, at 96. He started teaching in a one-room school in Clinton, Maine, then taught for more than 35 years in Clinton, Fairfield, and Waterville. He served as principal in Oakland, Maine, and was the last principal at Clinton High School. He enjoyed travel, belonged to the Lions Club, and was an active member of several genealogy societies. Survivors include his wife of 67 years, Amanda, his son, and two granddaughters, including Rebecca Pease Henning ’91.
Kathryn Davis Harper '36
Kathryn Davis Harper ’36, September 26, 2007, in East Dennis, Mass., at 94. The owner and manager of the Snack Port in East Dennis during the 1960s, she became a caterer for 25 years, retiring at age 82. She did crosswords, gardened, and volunteered at the Dennis Senior Center. Survivors include her son, Edward Harper, and her daughter, Ann McCarthy, a brother and two sisters, three granddaughters, and a great-granddaughter.
Kermit S. LaFleur '37
Kermit S. LaFleur ’37, October 27, 2007, in Clemson, S.C., at 92. He worked as a research chemist at Milliken Research Corporation until 1966, when he left to complete his doctorate in soil chemistry from Clemson University. He then taught at Clemson and conducted research, receiving international recognition. He retired in 1980 but continued to write, paint landscapes, and study science and philosophy. He is predeceased by his father, Daniel K. LaFleur ’14, his brother Robert ’43, his brother-in-law Henry L. Crowley ’26, and his sister-in-law Ruth Crowley Brandmire ’24. He is survived by his wife of 68 years, Mary Crowley LaFleur ’39, his daughter, Karen LaFleur Stewart ’66, a brother, and two step-grandchildren.
Bernerd H. Burbank '39
Bernerd H. Burbank ’39, M.D., September 20, 2007, in Windham, Maine, at 88. He served as a battalion surgeon in Europe during World War II and was promoted to major in the Army Medical Corps. He worked for nine years in general medicine followed by a 31-year career in New York City as a corporate medical director. He sang bass solos, played various instruments, and traveled widely, including to Antarctica where, in 1965, he flew a Colby pennant at the South Pole. Predeceased by his wife, Hannah Putnam Burbank ’41, he is survived by sons Jonathan and David and a daughter, Jane, and nine grandchildren.
Leland C. Burrill '39
Dr. Leland C. Burrill ’39, M.D., October 20, 2007, in Menlo Park, Calif., at 89. He earned his medical degree in 1944 from Tufts and served in the U.S. Public Health Service during World War II. A general practitioner and a surgeon, he worked at Stanford Medical Center and Sequoia Hospital, both in California. He loved sports, gardened, and played golf. Survivors include his twin sons, Richard and Robert, his daughters, Michelle and Susan, and several grandchildren.
Clarence E. Dore '39
Clarence E. “Doggie” Dore ’39, M.D., November 6, 2007, in Sidney, Maine, at 92. A football player at Colby and a DKE, he earned his M.D. at Thomas Jefferson School of Medicine. In the Army Medical Corps he survived the Battle of the Bulge and other conflict in World War II, earning praise as a “hell of a soldier” from Gen. George Patton. He returned to Waterville to practice and served as College physician from 1939 to 1982, receiving a Colby Brick in 1965 and an honorary doctorate in 1974. Known as an enthusiastic outdoorsman, the colorful country doctor in his signature flannel shirt was portrayed in the novel M.A.S.H. Goes to Maine. Predeceased by his wife, Marjorie, and son Peter, he is survived by five daughters, 13 grandchildren, and 12 great-grandchildren.
Nathanael M. Guptill '39
Rev. Nathanael M. Guptill ’39, September 16, 2007, in Newton, N.C., at 90. He was ordained in 1943 and served as pastor in Maine and Massachusetts. In 1962 he became Connecticut Conference Minister for the United Church of Christ and oversaw the church’s growth. Colby awarded him an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree in 1959 and a Colby Brick in 1982. He was predeceased by his father, Orville J. Guptill 1896, and his wife, Helen Carter Guptill ’39. Survivors include his daughter, Judith Guptill Simmons ’65.
Maynard Irish '39
Maynard M. Irish ’39, D.M.D., August 24, 2007, in Brunswick, Maine, at 91. He earned a D.M.D. from Harvard in 1943 and then served in the U.S. Army for three years during World War II. He moved to Brunswick and practiced dentistry for 36 years, retiring in 1983. Active in his church and local Rotary club, he loved baseball, gardening and raising gladiolas, skiing, and sailing the Maine coast. He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Shirley, a daughter and two sons, including Allen M. Irish ’68, five grandchildren, and two great-granddaughters.
June Saunders Marshall '39
June Saunders Marshall ’39, August 22, 2007, in Sturgeon Bay, Wis., at 90. After raising her children, she became owner and operator of a gourmet cooking shop in Naperville, Ill. She was an avid reader, a gardener, and a member of the Christian Science Church. Survivors include her husband of 68 years, Scott, three children, a brother, 11 grandchildren, and 19 great-grandchildren.
Robert W. Pullen '41
Robert W. Pullen ’41, October 24, 2007, in Waterville, Maine, at 88. He earned a Ph.D. in 1949 from MIT, where his teaching career began. He taught economics at Colby for 35 years, chaired the department for six, and served as faculty representative to the Board of Trustees. He was appointed administrative vice president in 1973 and was secretary to the corporation for four years. He served on numerous committees and boards on campus, in Waterville, and for the state. The College awarded him a Colby Brick in 1971 for his long service. He was predeceased by his father, Horace M. Pullen 1911, and his brother John S. Pullen ’38. Survivors include his wife, Marjorie, two daughters and two stepdaughters, his brother Richard D. Pullen ’50, two grandchildren, eight step-grandchildren, a nephew, and four nieces, including Lynne Pullen Carlisle ’68.
Jane Lodge Stradley '43
Jane Lodge Stradley ’43, October 10, 2007, in Kemblesville, Pa., at 87. A frugal and humble woman, she was a teacher and a farmer who lived off her harvests. For many years she owned and operated her own airport in Cecil County, Maryland. She valued antiques and art and favored bloodhounds. Described as an independent woman, she outlived her first husband, Richard B. Irvine ’43, and married several times.
Donald M. Johnson '44
Donald M. Johnson ’44, September 25, 2007, in Windham, Maine, at 86. He served on a Navy destroyer in the Pacific during World War II, then taught school in Maine and earned a master’s from Harvard. He built a career at Rand Corp. and Systems Development Corp. in computers and the defense industry during the Cold War. After retiring he resumed teaching and was a lacrosse coach in Maine. Remembered for his big smile and red hair, he had a passion for art. With his wife, Mary, he raised three children.
Edward H. Smith '45
Edward H. Smith ’45, August 26, 2007, in Portland, Maine, at 86. He served with the Coast Guard in the Pacific during World War II and was awarded five battle stars. He ran a hotel and cabins in Old Orchard Beach, Maine, for more than 25 years, working nights and winters as a news and sports reporter. An avid sports fan and reader, he worked as a freelance writer in retirement. He and his wife raised three children.
Priscilla Weeks Currier '47
Priscilla Weeks Currier ’47, October 28, 2007, in Exeter, N.H., at 81. She lived much of her life in Plaistow, N.H., teaching at the town’s Pollard School, worshiping at its First Baptist Church, and serving as a trustee at the Plaistow Public Library. Survivors include her husband, Clayton E. Currier ’47, a son and two daughters, and four grandchildren.
Paul A. Choate '48
Paul A. Choate ’48, August 16, 2007, in Auburn, Maine, at 79. He served in the Navy during World War II then earned an LL.B. degree in 1951 from Boston University. He practiced law and became partner of Linnel, Choate & Webber in Auburn. He was predeceased by his parents, John F. ’20 and Bertha Cobb Choate ’22, his first spouse, Virginia Yorke Choate ’39, his sister, Constance Choate Trahan ’46, and his brother John S. ’49. Survivors include his wife, Irene, his son Andrew B. ’79, his brothers David A. ’48 and Philip S. ’64, and several cousins including Virginia Hill Field ’48 and Joanne Price Rockett ’60.
Alice Crooks Austin '49
Alice Crooks Austin ’49, September 18, 2007, in Eliot Maine, at 79. She was a homemaker and a mother who worked for New Hampshire Insurance for 14 years. She was a member of the First Congregational Church, and she followed New England sports teams and cheered for her children’s teams. Survivors include her companion, John Sargent, five children, nine grandchildren, and a sister.
Samuel T. Horne '49
Samuel T. Horne Jr. ’49, November 3, 2007, in Waterville, Maine, at 83. He served as a Navy medic during World War II and received a Purple Heart for fighting in the South Pacific. He earned a law degree from Boston University and practiced in Maine with Allstate Company. He fished and hunted, was a Maine Guide, and played saxophone for dance bands. Predeceased by his sister, Donna Horne Ellis ’41, he is survived by his niece, Madonna Ellis Browne, a grandnephew, and a grandniece.
Ivan A. Yeaton '49
Ivan A. Yeaton Jr. ’49, July 31, 2007, in Concord, Mass., at 86. He served in World War II in the quartermaster corps in the Philippines. He received an M.B.A. in 1950 from the Wharton School, worked in various finance roles for Raytheon Company, and was a lecturer at Northeastern University. He held committee positions with his church, served as national director for the National Association of Accountants, and was a substitute teacher during his retirement. His children, Richard and Linda, two sisters, a granddaughter, and two great-grandchildren survive him.
James F. Doughty '50
James F. Doughty ’50, October 26, 2007, in Scarborough, Maine, at 83. He served in the Navy during World War II, then came to Colby. He worked in insurance and became vice president and treasurer at Blake, Hall & Sprague in South Portland. He had a passion for sports, loved reading and music, was a Mason, and introduced his family to golf. Survivors include his wife of 58 years, Florence, two sons and a daughter, a sister, seven grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.
John J. Ratoff '52
John J. Ratoff ’52, October 26, 2007, in Exeter, N.H., at 81. During World War II he served in the Navy as a crew member on a PB4Y Liberator aircraft. He earned a degree in pharmacy from Northeastern and operated Toby’s Drug Store in Hampton, N.H., for 20 years. He served in the New Hampshire legislature for two terms and held other positions in the state, including liquor commissioner and commissioner of the Department of Employment Security. His children, Andrea Checovich, Nancy Johnson, and John A. Ratoff, three brothers, two sisters, and 10 grandchildren survive him.
Mary Ellen Betts Harrison '53
Mary Ellen Betts Harrison ’53, September 8, 2007, in Springfield, Vt., at 76. She graduated from Andover Newton Theological School in 1956 and became an ordained minister that same year. Her work focused on youth ministry. Along with her husband, Harold, she raised two sons.
Aaron B. Schless '58
Aaron B. Schless ’58, September 14, 2007, in East Hampton, N.Y., at 70. He received his law degree in 1961 from Columbia University and practiced law in Connecticut. He also served as the assistant town attorney for Fairfield, Conn. Survivors include his wife, Phyllis, and son, Daniel ’03.
Suzanne Burleigh Meyer '62
Suzanne Burleigh Meyer ’62, September 3, 2007, in Fairfax, Va., at 66. She received her master’s in education from the University of Maine and taught art at elementary schools in Maine, New York, Ohio, and Virginia. She belonged to the Methodist church for 27 years and participated in adult education. Survivors include her husband, David, two sons, a sister, and one grandson.
Philip E. Stearns '67
Philip E. Stearns ’67, September 2, 2007, in West Hartford, Conn., at 62. An English teacher for 35 years at Manchester (Conn.) High School, he mentored his students in independent study projects, through AFS Intercultural Programs, and during summer trips to Europe. Described as full of life and words, he relished conversation, good food, and cats. His partner, Stephen Purdy, and a cousin survive him.
Thomas G. Maynard '69
Thomas G. Maynard ’69, August 25, 2007, in Durango, Colo., at 60. He earned a master’s from Hunter College and worked as an urban planning consultant. A jazz musician and a composer, he served on the board of directors for the San Juan Symphony. He was also a runner, competing in triathlons, marathons, and cross-country ski races. Survivors include his wife, Lorna Gail LaDage, five children, his parents, a brother and two sisters, and one aunt.
Susan Gernert Gernert Adams '78
Susan Gernet Adams ’78, August 26, 2007, in Chappaqua, N.Y., at 51. A television producer for Dateline NBC, she was a four-time Emmy Award winner. She also worked for Nightline and Primetime Live at ABC and covered the 1988 Olympics in Seoul. Survivors include her partner, Pope Brock, two daughters, and a sister.
Janice Miller Thorpe '79
Janice Miller Thorpe ’79, August 6, 2007, in Montclair, N.J., at 50. Employed by Automated Data Processing, Inc., she developed a passion for tennis at Colby and it continued through her life. She played in several adult leagues and was an instructor. A natural left-hander, she relearned the game right-handed after a wrist injury. Her husband, William, two stepsons, her mother, her sister, and two nephews survive her.
Shawn E. Gager '92
Shawn E. Gager ’92, September 14, 2007, in Boston, Mass., at 36. She received her M.B.A. from Babson and was an IT consultant for Darwin Partners. She played ice hockey and coached hockey at the Brookwood School. A dedicated athlete, she was an avid runner, a mountain biker, a scuba diver, and an expert skier. Photography and travel were other passions. Her sudden death was a result of an infection that entered her spinal fluid. She is survived by her father and stepmother, John and Linda, a sister, two uncles and two aunts, a niece, and her fiancé.
Robert S. Silberman '03
Robert S. Silberman ’03, September 26, 2007, in Stamford, Conn., at 26. A media buyer for OMD in New York, he died from Ewing’s sarcoma. Adventurous and energetic, he played hockey and lacrosse, snowboarded, hiked, and cycled. He is survived by his parents, Mary and Alan ’50, two sisters, Lauren and Alison ’00, and his dog, Molly.