Obituaries from the Summer 2008 Colby Magazine
Robert A. Gillespie
Robert A. Gillespie, April 28, 2008, in San Jose, Costa Rica, at 69. He taught English at Colby in the 1970s and ’80s. He was an associate professor and, from 1986 to 2005, college editor. He logged more than 35,000 miles running including several marathons. He canoed the Mississippi, live briefly in the Northwest Territories, and shared his home in Benton, Maine, with huskies. An inspiring teacher and meticulous editor, he published stories and verse including a 1979 book of poems, The Man Chain. He is survived by his companion, Professor Christine Wentzel (theater and dance), a brother, and a stepdaughter.
Evans B. Reid, March 27, 2008, in Waterville, Maine, at 94. At Colby (1957-78) he was Merrill Professor and chair of the Chemistry Department. He taught at and directed the NSF summer institute at Colby (1958-83), and was the Smith-Mundt Visiting Professor of Chemistry at the University of Baghdad (1960-61). He earned his bachelor’s and doctorate at McGill and became a U.S. citizen in 1941. He was a violinist with the Vermont Symphony Orchestra and the Colby Community Orchestra, an oil and acrylic painter, and a poet. Survivors include his son, Nicholas, and a granddaughter. He was predeceased by his wife, Dorothy M. Pearson, by one day.
Rosalie Mosher Reynolds '29
Rosalie Mosher Reynolds ’29, February 28, 2008, in Huntington Station, N.Y., at 100. She taught school in New Hampshire and Connecticut before working as a research assistant at Pfizer for 16 years. While living in Connecticut, she belonged to the Entre Nous Literary Society, the Indian and Colonial Research Center, and a needlework guild. Predeceased by her husband, Verne E. Reynolds ’25, she is survived by her daughter and son-in-law Dorothy Reynolds ’59 and William C. Gay Jr. ’59, daughter Bethia Reynolds Morris ’57, six grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren.
Flora Trussell Larrivee '31
Flora Trussell Larrivee ’31, March 27, 2008, in Manchester, N.H., at 99. She worked for the Works Project Administration after the Depression. During World War II she was a social worker and a secretary at Grenier Airfield. She was active in her church, where she taught Sunday School, and belonged to the Daughters of the American Revolution. She was a classical pianist, researched her genealogy, and once shook hands with Teddy Roosevelt. Survivors include her daughter, Barbara Tappin, two grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
George C. Putnam '34
George C. Putnam ’34, March 9, 2008, in Naples, Fla., at 95. He earned his master’s in chemical engineering from MIT and built a successful career in oil refinery design. For 40 years, he operated Alden Camps in Oakland, Maine, with his wife. He collected clocks and antiques, was active in Rotary, and enthusiastically supported Colby. Described as a wily cribbage player, classical music fan, and witty storyteller, he loved family and a steaming plate of lobster. Survivors include his wife of 70 years, Vesta Alden Putnam ’33; five children, Elizabeth Hinebauch, Priscilla Putnam Minkel ’63, Deborah Putnam, Carol Putnam ’69, and James R. Putnam ’73; 12 grandchildren including Kristin E. Putnam ’05 and Garret A. Hinebauch ’88, and nine great-grandchildren.
Mary Small Copithorne '35
Mary Small Copithorne ’35, February 27, 2008, in Exeter, N.H., at 95. After earning her M.S.W. from Smith College in 1937, she worked in several agencies before establishing a private practice and focusing on individual and marital counseling. She was named New Hampshire Social Worker of the Year in 1984. A long-time member of her church, she was active with New Hampshire NOW, marched on Washington D.C., and loved the power of ideas. Predeceased by her son David M. Copithorne ’60, she is survived by her children Joan Copithorne Bowen ’65, Elizabeth Copithorne Lewis, and Stephen Copithorne. She leaves 12 grandchildren, including Charlie E. Bowen ’96 and his wife, Elizabeth Low Bowen ’96, and seven great-grandchildren
Ellen Dignam Downing '35
Ellen Dignam Downing ’35, April 23, 2008, in Appleton, Wis., at 94. During World War II she began a 30-year career with the Treasury Department as a security officer for international affairs. A faithful alumna, she received a Colby Brick in 1976. She was predeceased by her brothers Walter ’33 and Charles ’39 and her sisters Mary Dignam Murphy ’31 and Alice Dignam Grady ’39. Survivors include her nieces Judith L. Dignam ’60, Janice Dignam Mauer ’72, Joan Dignam Schmaltz ’63 and Joan’s husband, Richard R. Schmaltz ’63, and nephew Kevin W. Flynn ’93 and his wife, Laura Silverman Flynn ’94.
Virginia Swallow Seepe '35
Virginia Swallow Seepe ’35, May 1, 2008, in Boothbay Harbor, Maine, at 95. After graduating from Colby, she graduated from Katherine Gibbs Secretarial School in 1936 and worked as a secretary in Maine, including two years for Ninetta Runnals 1908, Colby’s first dean of women. She was a mother and homemaker who was involved in her church. She was predeceased by her husband, Arthur W. Seepe, treasurer and professor at Colby. Survivors include her children, Virginia S. Crane and A. William Seepe ’64, three grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.
John Roderick '36
John P. Roderick ’36, L.H.D. ’66, March 11, 2008, in Honolulu, Hawaii, at 93. An Associated Press correspondent whose career spanned five decades, he was an expert on Red China and the Far East and was the first American to report on Communist China. He interviewed Mao Zedong in the caves of Yenan, reported on the Sino-Indian war and the emergence of South Vietnam, and accompanied the American pingpong team’s 1971 visit to China. Posted to Asia, Europe, and the Middle East, he was bureau chief in Hong Kong and reopened the AP’s Beijing bureau in 1979. Colby gave him an honorary degree in 1966 and a Distinguished Alumnus award in 1991. He divided his final years between Hawaii and his Japanese farmhouse, restored by his adopted son, Yoshihiro Takishita, who survives him. Roderick was predeceased by his brother, Ernest ’36.
Walter Zukowski '37
Walter H. Zukowski, March 8, 2008, in Topsham, Maine, at 93. He taught in Colby’s Administrative Science Department from 1952 to 1982, serving as chair for a dozen years. He earned his master’s and his doctorate from Clark University, where he also taught. In 1958 he received a Rockefeller Foundation grant and was a visiting professor in Baghdad, Iraq. In 1965-66, he taught in Istanbul, Turkey, and in 1972-73 he was a visiting professor in Tehran, Iran. He continued to travel following his retirement. Predeceased by his wife, Lucille Pinette Zukowski ’37, he is survived by his daughter, Mary Zukowski Hurd ’79, two grandchildren, a sister, and a brother.
Myra Mallett Snyder '38
Myra Mallett Snyder ’38, January 28, 2008, in Worcester, Mass., at 91. For 35 years she worked with her husband in Worcester selling wholesale flowers. She belonged to the Hadwen Park Congregational Church in Worcester for 50 years, was a skilled quilter, and designed miniature doll houses. She is survived by her children, Gordon E. Snyder Jr., Carol Ann Hoffman, and Marilyn Wimmergren, and by two brothers, a sister, five grandchildren, and a great-grandson.
Charles H. Card '40
Charles H. Card ’40, February 9, 2008, in Amarillo, Texas, at 90. He earned a teaching certificate from the Farmington (Maine) Normal School and a B.A. from Colby. He was a second lieutenant in the Army during World War II, serving in North Africa and Italy. After receiving his M.B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh, he became a civilian trainer at Amarillo Air Force Base. He belonged to the Lions Club, was a driver for Meals on Wheels, and loved animals, especially dogs. Survivors include his Lions brothers and many friends.
Nannabelle Gray Carter '40
Nannabelle G. Carter ’40, October 2, 2007, in Machias, Maine, at 88. She taught English and debate in several Maine towns including, for 32 years, Presque Isle. During World War II she worked for Colby teaching physics and aerodynamics to servicemen in training. In 1978 she earned her master’s in education. She was a painter and printmaker and taught ceramics. She knitted bandages for lepers and blankets for newborns, was a four-star member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and belonged to the Machiasport Historical Society. Survivors include her children, Benjamin and Candace, a brother, and cousins including Jane G. Rollins ’47.
Barbara Towle Wheeler '40
Barbara Towle Wheeler ’40, April 1, 2008, in Waterville, Maine, at 90. A lifelong resident of Oakland, Maine, she involved herself in town affairs and the historical society. A mother and a homemaker who loved nature and animals, she enjoyed physical activities, was active in All Souls Universalist Church, and delighted in summer campers at the family cabins. Survivors include her husband of 67 years, Alfred H. Wheeler ’37, a son, John A. Wheeler ’66, and a daughter, Marilyn Wheeler, and four grandchildren.
Charles E. Barnfather '41
Charles E. Barnfather ’41, April 19, 2008, in Biddeford, Maine, at 90. He served in the Army during World War II and was awarded a Bronze Star. He lived in West Springfield, Mass., for 77 years and worked as director of computer operations for John S. Lane and Son in Westfield. He was an activist and proponent of civil and human rights, served on community and church boards, and was dedicated to his family. He also loved the Red Sox. Survivors include his wife of 60 years, Eva, two daughters, and three grandchildren.
Norris E. Dibble '41
Norris E. Dibble ’41, February 20, 2008, in Springfield, Mass., at 88. During World War II he served with the Army Medical Administration Corps. He received his J.D. from Yale in 1947 and practiced law in Springfield until 1991. He was class president for his Colby class from 1946 to 1991 and received a Colby Brick in 1975. He was an instructor at Western New England College and a volunteer at Baystate Medical Center. Survivors include his wife of 63 years, Helen, four children, a brother, and eight grandchildren.
Elizabeth Coles Harris '42
Elizabeth Coles Harris ’42, February 21, 2008, in Nashua, N.H., at 87. An elementary school teacher for 22 years in Pepperell, Mass., she made her home in Hollis, N.H., where she was active in organizations related to church life, town issues, and teaching. She was instrumental in establishing the first kindergarten program in Hollis. She read, played bridge, traveled, and hooked rugs. Predeceased by her husband, Laurie Harris Jr. ’42, she is survived by her children, Laurie Harris III, Judith Harris, and Bonnie Gondola, three grandchildren, and a great-grandson.
Ronald D. Lupton '43
Ronald D. Lupton ’43, April 21, 2008, in Slocum, R.I., at 89. He worked in sales for the U.S. Rubber Company and retired in Florida. Along with his wife, Lynn, he raised three children, Ronald ’71, William, and Carol Lupton Morgan ’77. He was predeceased by a brother, Walter ’46.
Maurice E. Towle '43
Maurice E. Towle ’43, April 17, 2008, in Bangor, Maine, at 87. He left Colby to be a pilot in the U.S. Army Air Forces and retained a lifelong interest in airplanes. He was a potato farmer in Aroostook County, Maine, until he retired in 1983. He played golf, followed the Yankees, and loved to read. Survivors include his children, Nancy Coffey, Earl Towle, Penny Hawkins, Scott Towle, and Gerry Bayat, a brother, a sister, Marjorie Towle Stinchfield ’39, seven grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.
Tacy Hood Finney '44
Tacy Hood Finney ’44, March 24, 2008, in St. Johnsbury, Vt., at 85. She earned her bachelor’s from the University of Connecticut. She was a homemaker and an active volunteer with her church, a women’s club, her local hospital, and the Girls Scouts. She received the Thanks Badge, the highest adult award in Girl Scouts. Survivors include her daughters, Melissa Stachacz and Cynthia Davidson, and three granddaughters.
Hilda Robertson Lyons '46
Hilda Robertson Lyons ’46, February 5, 2008, in Fountain Hills, Ariz., at 83. She worked as a statistician and administrative assistant before dedicating herself to her home and children. Along with her husband, Gilbert, she raised two daughters, Allison and Karen.
Richard D. Sampson '47
Richard D. Sampson ’47, March 1, 2008, in Appleton, Wis., at 85. He served in Italy with the 135th Infantry Regiment during World War II. After earning an M.L.S. from Columbia Library School, he became head catalog librarian at the Appleton Public Library. He was an active member of the Democratic Party, belonged to the League of Women Voters, was an avid bicyclist, and loved classical music. Survivors include his wife of 51 years, Alice, a daughter, and four grandchildren.
Philip J. Shulman '48
Philip J. Shulman ’48, February 21, 2008, in San Francisco, Calif., at 84. He served in the Navy during World War II, then returned to Colby to finish his degree. In 1958 he enlisted in the Army and, six years later, upon his discharge from active duty, joined the Army Reserve, retiring at 60 as a sergeant major. He also worked as a mail carrier, traveled extensively in Russia, the Orient, Africa, and the Middle East, and studied Japanese woodblock prints. He was married with two stepchildren.
William L. Mitchell '49
William L. Mitchell ’49, March 27, 2008, in Saco, Maine, at 81. He served in the Army during the 1950s. He was a recreation director in New Hampshire and Maine, then taught and coached at the Maine Youth Center. He enjoyed golfing and playing cards. Survivors include his son, William B. Mitchell, and two grandchildren.
Donald J. Zabriskie '49
Donald J. Zabriskie ’49, February 12, 2008, in Newburyport, Mass., at 84. A marine during World War II, he won the Bronze Star and earned five combat stars. He earned a master’s in education from Boston University and was a teacher, coach, and principal in the Newburyport school system. Survivors include his wife of 53 years, Ann, two sons, two brothers, and two granddaughters.
Lois Bragg Holway '51
Lois Bragg Holway ’51, April 20, 2008, in Biddeford, Maine, at 89. She came to Colby after serving in the Women’s Army Corps during World War II, a period when she also played semipro basketball. She worked at Keyes Fibre in Waterville, was an avid tennis player, and belonged to the Getchell Street Baptist Church. Survivors include her daughter, Linda Busby, a sister, Ethel Bragg Williams ’33, and two grandchildren.
William H. Carter '52
William H. Carter II ’52, October 24, 2007, in Medfield, Mass., at 77. He served in the Army from 1953 to 1955 and earned an M.B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania. He established a career at The William Carter Company, a clothing manufacturer begun by his grandfather, retiring as senior vice president. Survivors include his wife, Jane, two daughters, a brother, and five grandchildren.
Mortimer M. Guiney '52
Mortimer M. Guiney ’52, February 14, 2008, in Paris, France, at 78. A lifelong Francophile, he taught French for more than 20 years at the University of Connecticut and was instrumental in creating its study-abroad program in Rouen, France. He specialized in 20th century French literature, was passionate about art and music, and made Paris his home after his retirement in 1989. Survivors include his children, Louise Asherson, Mortimer and Patrick Guiney, and Elisabeth Tamarkin, three grandchildren, and his second wife, Elaine Jacques.
Daniel J. Sullivan '52
Daniel J. Sullivan ’52, February 22, 2008, in Salem, N.H., at 78. He served with the Navy in the Korean War and earned his master’s in electrical engineering from Northeastern University. He was an engineering program manager for Textron Inc. for more than 30 years. A sailor, skier and golfer, he was involved with the Salem Athletic Club and the Brookstone Golf Club. Predeceased by his father, Daniel J. Sullivan 1918, survivors include his children, Thomas Sullivan, Ann Sullivan, Jane Lawler, and Beth Nelson, two brothers and a sister, and eight grandchildren
Jess H. Smith '53
Jess H. Smith ’53, April 10, 2008, in Sarasota, Fla., at 75. He received his law degree in 1956 from Boston University and practiced law in Torrington, Conn., for 45 years as partner at Smith, Keefe, Morgan & Waterfall. Predeceased by a brother, Paul I. Smith ’48, he is survived by his wife, Marcia, three daughters, and seven grandchildren.
Leslie D. Stewart '53
Leslie D. Stewart Jr. ’53, March 27, 2008, in Vero Beach, Fla., at 76. He spent two years in the Army in France negotiating with European suppliers. For 40 years he worked in the investment field for companies such as Lehman Brothers and Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette. An energetic and humorous family man, he devoted time to the mental health association and the American Cancer Society. He had eclectic taste in music, interest in the arts, and a passion for the well-spoken word. Survivors include his wife, Gillian, two daughters, and four grandchildren.
George W. Huther '55
George W. Huther ’55, April 11, 2008, in Webster, N.Y., at 75. He served in the Army during the Korean War. He was founder and director emeritus of Huther-Doyle, a nonprofit agency serving the chemically dependent, and was chairman of Huther Brothers, Inc., an industrial cutting tools manufacturer. He won several human service awards and was an avid outdoorsman. Survivors include his wife, Rose, four children, and two grandchildren.
Mary Connelly Luney '55
Mary Connelly Luney ’55, March 22, 2008, in Tarrytown, N.Y., at 75. A wife and a mother, she worked at New York Life Insurance Company. She belonged to the Junior League of Westchester-on-Hudson and the Sleepy Hollow Country Club. Survivors include her husband, William, two children, two sisters, including Margaret Connelly Callahan ’55, and three grandchildren.
Nelson P. Hart '56
Nelson P. Hart ’56, January 30, 2008, in Waterbury, Conn., at 76. He served with the Navy in the Korean War. He worked as a purchasing manager for Rafferty-Brown Steel Company and later owned the Curtis Art Company in Waterbury. An active community member in Waterbury, he gave his time to the Silas Bronson Library, the Anderson Boys Club, and the Waterbury Foundation. Photography and traveling were his hobbies. Survivors include his brother, H. Spencer Hart.
Arthur E. Engdahl Engdahl '57
Arthur E. Engdahl Jr. ’57, February 28, 2008, in Dover-Foxcroft, Maine, at 73. He served as captain in the U.S. Air Force. He was a sales representative for A.A. MacPherson Co. until 1991, when he became part owner of Weatherbee’s Hardware in Dover-Foxcroft. He was an assistant scoutmaster, served on numerous committees for his church, and helped bring economic development to Dover-Foxcroft. For his work as a Kiwanian, he received the Tablet of Honor, the Morton Medal of Honor, and a Hixon Medallion. Survivors include his wife of 50 years, Rebecca Rowe Engdahl ’56, three children, four grandchildren, and a brother.
Thaddeus G. Alwyn '59
Thaddeus G. Alwyn ’59, March 22, 2008, in Baldwinsville, N.Y., at 75. He served in the U.S. Army’s 11th Airborne Division before graduating from Colby. He worked in sales and was an accounts manager for Chrysler Corporation. He played tennis, cheered for the Yankees, and was a longtime camper and counselor at Camp Timanous in Maine. Survivors include his children, Janet Whitten, Holly Werner, and Pete Alwyn, four grandchildren, and his wife, Marilyn Howarth Alwyn ’56.
Deborah Berry Denniston '61
Deborah Berry Denniston ’61, February 16, 2008, in Albany, N.Y., at 68. She received a master’s in English from the University of Wyoming and taught junior high English for seven years. She worked as proofreader, writer, and editor for several small-town newspapers and, since 1977, wrote a country life column “Etcetera” for the Chatham Courier. She raised purebred dairy heifers and was a 4-H horse project leader for 31 years. Survivors include her husband, Roy, a daughter, and a brother.
Gordon C. MacDonald '61
Gordon C. MacDonald ’61, April 3, 2008, in Scituate, Mass., at 68. He served in the Naval Reserves and worked as a computer programmer analyst with the John Hancock Life Insurance Company, retiring in 1985. An environmentalist, he loved animals and volunteered at the Scituate Animal Shelter, where he was named volunteer of the year in 1998. Survivors include his wife, Nilah, a sister, and two nieces.
Robert P. North '61
Robert P. North ’61, April 19, 2008, in Birmingham, Mich., at 69. He was raised in Havana, Cuba, and was fluent in English and Spanish. He worked for General Motors for 33 years, 15 of them in Venezuela and Chile. When he retired he established Siboney Inc., a translation and relocation company that helped GM move workers from South America and Mexico to Detroit. He was involved with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and the Birmingham Jazz Festival. Survivors include his son, Scott, a brother, a sister, and a granddaughter.
Richard Sharron '63
W. Richard Sharron ’63, February 14, 2008, in Glen, N.H., at 67. He worked as a horticulturist and for many years owned Wellesley Farms Landscape. A birder and a hiker, he studied meteorology and was active with various weather-watching clubs. Survivors include a sister, Natalie Scruggs, a niece, and a nephew.
Richard S. Lewis '68
Richard S. Lewis ’68, May 17, 2008, in New York, N.Y., at 62. A public relations and advertising executive, he was executive vice president of Cove, Cooper, Lewis, Inc., and president and CEO of Richard Lewis Communications. He taught marketing and communications at St. John’s University for four years. A boater and passionate striped bass fisherman, he holds the Florida Keys record for most sailfish caught (and released) in one day. Survivors include his wife, Janet, a brother, and dear friend Sebsibe Mamo ’70.
Elizabeth Piper Deschenes '75
Elizabeth Piper Deschenes ’75, April 20, 2008, in Orange, Calif., at 54. She earned a doctorate in sociology, worked as a research consultant for UCLA and the Rand Corporation, and had a 14-year career as a professor and graduate advisor in the department of criminal justice at California State University, Long Beach. She was a triathlete, trail runner, and, in 2005, a nationally ranked master’s swimmer. Predeceased by her grandmother, Clara Collins Piper ’14, and her father, Wilson C. Piper ’39, she is survived by her husband, Ray, her mother, a sister, a brother, Charles Piper ’70, nieces, nephews, and cousins, including John P. Marriner ’70.
Mark E. Brefka '77
Mark E. Brefka ’77, April 6, 2008, in Verbank, N.Y., at 52. He earned an M.B.A. from Cornell in 1982 and established a career in investment banking, most recently with Everlands in New York. He was an expert sailor, belonging to the American Yacht Club and navigating Stampede, which twice won the J-44 Class in the Newport Bermuda Race. He loved fly fishing and bird hunting, supported the Atlantic Salmon Federation, and was a member of the Angler’s Club of New York and of Verbank Preserve, where he died unexpectedly while walking his dogs. Survivors include his parents, Paul and Ruth, two sons, a sister, his former wife, Cornelia Armbrecht Brefka ’80, and his companion, Jan Allardt.
John N. Nicoletta '04
John N. Nicoletta ’04, April 11, 2008, in Girdwood, Alaska, at 27. After Colby he moved to Aspen, Colo., where he tended bar and pursued his dream of becoming a professional skier. Described as passionate, warm, and outgoing , he was an intelligent skier who sought snow and big terrain. He died after falling at the 2008 Subaru World Freeskiing Championships in Alaska. Survivors include his parents, Stephen and Elizabeth, two sisters, and both grandmothers.