Obituaries from the Spring 2007 Colby Magazine
Christine Booth '26
F. Christine Booth ’26, April 10, 2007, in Lawrence, Mass., at 101. A lifelong resident of Lawrence, she taught Latin and mathematics at Chelmsford (Mass.) High School for 43 years. Survivors include her cousin Eleanor King Clark ’41.
Kathleen V. Poland '26
Kathleen V. Poland ’26, January 6, 2007, in Weld, Maine, at 101. She taught school for 47 years in Rumford, Maine, and in the Oxford Hills school system. She was an avid reader and at the time of her death was the holder of the Livermore Falls Boston Post Cane, presented to the oldest resident of the community. She is survived by five nieces and four nephews.
Amelia M. Bliss Theriault '31
Amelia Bliss Theriault ’31, March 1, 2007, in Waterville, Maine, at 97. She earned her degree from Acadia University in Canada and returned to Waterville to work at the Maine Children’s Home for Little Wanderers. She was predeceased by her husband, Joseph F. Theriault ’28.
Helen Simmons Dempsey '32
Helen Simmons Dempsey ’32, February 26, 2007, in Brewer, Maine, at 96. While raising her family she taught fourth grade in Bangor until she retired in 1975. She volunteered with Literacy Volunteers and sat on the board of the Philip Strickland House. Predeceased by her brother Dana M. Simmons ’31, she is survived by her daughters, Rae McKechnie and Dee Osgood, a stepdaughter, 14 grandchildren, and 28 great-grandchildren.
Dorcas Paul Frost '32
Dorcas Paul Frost ’32, January 29, 2007, in York, Maine, at 96. For more than 35 years she worked as an executive secretary at General Electric. Predeceased by her mother, Clara Norton Paul 1906, survivors include her brother, Roger.
Ruth Stubbs Frazer '34
Ruth Stubbs Frazer ’34, January 3, 2007, in Pittsburgh, Pa., at 93. A school teacher in Maine and Pennsylvania, she was a sponsor of the Colby Book Award for many years. Widowed twice, she raised four children. She was predeceased by her brother-in-law, Robert F. Estes ’35.
Helena Tebbetts Bessette '35
Helena Tebbetts Bessette ’35, March 30, 2007, in Lake Placid, Fla., at 92. She worked as an executive secretary for General Electric in Burlington, Vt., for more than 40 years. She rode horses and was a member of the Vermont 251 Club, having visited all the towns in the state. Predeceased by her sister, Annette Tebbetts Audette ’36, she is survived by her son, David Simonds, and five grandchildren.
Elinor Chick Ross '35
Elinor Chick Ross ’35, February 20, 2007, in Concord, Mass., at 94. She taught English and history in Maine and Massachusetts until she married in 1946, at which time she devoted herself to her family. She was active in her church, knitted and crocheted, and was a baseball and hockey fan. Predeceased by her husband, Elbridge R. Ross Jr. ’35, she is survived by her son, Gordon, her daughter, Wilma, and one grandson.
Elizabeth Wilkinson Ryan '37
Elizabeth Wilkinson Ryan ’37, October 26, 2006, in New York, N.Y. at 90. She received her master’s in zoology from Columbia in 1939 and became a freelance editor with a focus on science. She traveled widely and lived in New York City until her final days. Survivors include her nephew, Alan B. Moss ’71.
Clifford R. Nelson '38
Clifford R. Nelson ’38, January 27, 2007, in Star, Idaho, at 90. He held various positions in manufacturing and was involved with the American Kite Flying Club. He and his wife, Bernice, raised two children.
Helen Carter Guptill '39
Helen Carter Guptill ’39, January 18, 2007, in Newton, N.C., at 88. After raising her children she became a kindergarten teacher in Connecticut. Survivors include her husband of 69 years, Rev. Nathanael M. Guptill ’39, two daughters, Judith Guptill Simmons ’65 and Lois Smith, a son, Timothy, five grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild.
Ralph E. Delano '40
Ralph E. Delano ’40, June 24, 2006, in Benson, N.C., at 90. After serving as a sergeant in the Army during World War II, he built a career in the newspaper industry. He became editor and publisher of the Four-Oaks Benson News Review and taught journalism for 10 years. A Kiwanian and a Sunday school teacher, he also sang in barbershop quartets. Along with his wife, the late Muriel Howe Delano ’42, he raised two sons.
Ruth Rowell Higgins '40
Ruth Rowell Higgins ’40, January 1, 2007, in Ellsworth, Maine, at 87. She received a degree from Simmons College School of Library Science and, aside from two years of service in World War II as an Army librarian, worked in the New York Public Library, retiring as principal librarian in 1979. Predeceased by her sister, Eleanor Rowell Dorsett ’33, and her brother Howard Rowell ’43, she is survived by her daughter, Eleanor Kuhns, and her sons, Howard and Robert; her brother Robert C. Rowell ’49; four grandchildren; and several nephews and nieces, including Janet Dorsett Wachsman ’69.
Catharine P. Fussell '41
Catharine P. Fussell ’41, March 22, 2007, in Kennett Square, Pa., at 87. After earning a master’s from Cornell and a doctorate from Columbia, she became a biological researcher at Fels Research Institute in Philadelphia and later taught biology and conducted research at Penn State. She helped preserve historic Woodlands Cemetery in Philadelphia and enjoyed ocean voyages. Predeceased by her sister Sarah Fussell Cobb ’42, she is survived by her sister Anna Fussell Lang and nephews and nieces, including Shirley Cobb Rich ’64.
Thomas J. Huse '41
Thomas J. Huse ’41, December 16, 2006, in Belmont, Mass., at 91. He served with the military police during World War II, then worked as an interviewer for the Massachusetts Division of Employment Security until he retired in 1984. He leaves his sister, Barbara Stackpole, and several cousins including Lawrence P. Fitton ’42.
Virginia B. Mosher '41
Virginia B. Mosher ’41, April 20, 2007, in Waterville, Maine, at 86. She was an x-ray technician for 14 years and ran the training school for x-ray technicians at Central Maine General Hospital. Later she worked as a chemist. A champion bowler, she was inducted into the South Carolina State Women’s Bowling Hall of Fame. Predeceased by her brother, Bertram G. Mosher ’36, she is survived by many nieces, nephews, and cousins, including Elizabeth Connor Bullard ’87.
Robert S. Rice '42
Robert S. Rice ’42, January 24, 2007, in Seattle, Wash., at 87. A pilot for the Navy in World War II, he retired as a lieutenant commander having earned five battle stars. He worked in banking, sales, and later was president of Thoren-Rice, Ltd. He served as a class president and class agent for Colby and was awarded a Colby Brick in 1987. He traveled worldwide, hitchhiked across the country six times, played duplicate bridge, and flew for pleasure. Survivors include his children, Judy Simon, Bill Rice, Shelley Rice, and Gordon Thoren, two grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.
Charles G. Barletta '43
Charles G. Barletta ’43, February 18, 2007, in Eastchester, N.Y., at 85. He left Colby to serve as a radio operator in India during World War II. After the war he managed his mother’s floral business in Mt. Vernon, N.Y., eventually becoming its owner. In retirement he wrote essays for his local newspaper. His wife, Evelyn, two children, and four grandchildren survive him.
Jeannette Nielson Braddock '43
Jeannette Nielson Braddock ’43, October 4, 2006, in Rochester, N.Y., at 85. She was employed at the University of Rochester in the department of pharmacology and was active with AAUW. Predeceased by her husband, Thomas R. Braddock ’43, she is survived by her children, Allan ’70, Douglas, and Carolyn, a sister, and two grandchildren.
Philip C. Buck '43
Philip C. Buck ’43, March 29, 2007, in Manchester, N.H., at 86. After serving in the Air Force during World War II, he returned to Waterville and worked for the Harris Baking Company. Predeceased by his wife, Mary Reny Buck ’42, he is survived by his son, Michael, and a brother.
June E. Donna '43
June E. Donna ’43, March 15, 2007, in Arlington, Va. She worked in Washington, D.C., as a secretary for the Veterans Administration, the Commerce Department, and the office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. After she retired in 1979 she wrote and published poetry. Survivors include nieces and nephews.
Ralph K. Harley '43
Ralph K. Harley Jr. ’43, January 1, 2007, in Sandwich, Mass., at 85. He served in the Army in Europe during World War II and afterward established a career in sales. He belonged to the Masons and loved the game of golf. His wife of 60 years, Ruth, a son and two daughters, and two grandchildren survive him. He was predeceased by his father, Ralph K. Harley ’20.
Ernest G. Weidul '43
Ernest G. Weidul ’43, April 22, 2007, in Kennebunkport, Maine, at 86. During World War II he served in the Army in China and the Far East. After the war he worked for the State Department as a foreign service attaché in Taiwan, Iran, India, and Thailand. He retired to Kennebunkport, where he ran a gallery and antique store with his wife. He wrote poetry and was a charming storyteller. His children, Linda Ketcham, Lori Jackson, and Brian Weidul, three grandsons, and one great-granddaugther survive him.
Eloise Knowlton Handy '45
Eloise Knowlton Handy ’45, December 2, 2006, in Tucson, Ariz., at 83. After leaving Colby she earned two degrees in education from Wheelock College. She taught in schools in New York, Germany, and Connecticut before retiring in 1987. Survivors include her husband, Elmer.
Betty Riker Howell '46
Betty Riker Howell ’46, February 14, 2007, in Englewood, Fla., at 82. She graduated from Cornell, earned a certificate in physical therapy from Columbia, and worked in New Jersey schools as a physical therapist. Her husband of 57 years, Monroe, a son, her sister, and five grandchildren survive her.
N. Paul Bromley '47
N. Paul Bromley ’47, July 25, 2006, in Huntington, W.Va., at 81. He served in World War II in the medical corps. He received degrees in law and business, worked as an attorney, and later as a professor of finance at Marshall University. He and his wife raised four children.
Mary E. Ellison Leavitt '47
Mary E. Leavitt ’47, January 13, 2007, in York Harbor, Maine, at 80. She taught school for several years before marrying and having children. She kept her hand in teaching through substituting yet participated fully in her children’s lives. Known for her ability to bat a homer and catch flounder, she also bottled homemade root beer and was a vegetable gardener. She leaves her three sons, David, Scott, and Mark, and their six children.
William R. Atherton '48
William R. Atherton ’48, January 17, 2007, in Schenectady, N.Y., at 83. He served in the Navy during World War II, then received a master’s in education from Trinity College and another from Union College in science education. He taught chemistry and physics at schools in Maine, Massachusetts, and Connecticut and served on various boards and committees promoting science education. Predeceased by his wife, Virginia Howard Atherton ’44, and his aunt, Ninetta Runnals 1908, survivors include his children, William, Peter, Leslie Reed, and Gail Harting, nine grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, his niece Ann Atherton Poulin ’77, and his cousin Priscilla Hathorn White ’42.
Burton J. Hinckley '48
Burton J. Hinckley ’48, March 5, 2007, in Merrimack, N.H., at 83. He was a radio operator for the Air Force during World War II. He earned his master’s in education from the University of Maine and was an ordained minister. He taught and coached high school, served as a minister for four years, and was a guidance counselor for 22 years. He played the organ and enjoyed Big Band music. Survivors include his wife of 61 years, Jean, a daughter, two brothers, a sister, two grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.
Gertrude S. McKusick '48
Gertrude McKusick ’48, February 28, 2007, in Old Town, Maine, at 81. She earned her master’s in business from Husson College and taught business administration at Beal College in Bangor. She worked with the Girl Scout Council, first in Brewer, Maine, then in Schenectady, N.Y. Survivors include numerous nieces and nephews.
Roberta Longley Mahoney '49
Roberta Longley Mahoney ’49, March 22, 2007, in Caribou, Maine, at 79. A mother and a housewife, she worked at Head Start teaching children to read. Survivors include her children, David, Katherine, and Patricia, six grandchildren, and her sister.
Daniel J. Shanahan '49
Daniel J. Shanahan Jr. ’49, January 16, 2007, in Springfield, Va., at 81. He worked for the Army Corps of Engineers and is survived by his wife, Barbara Hart Shanahan ’49, five children, and 12 grandchildren.
Francis N. Blondin '50
Francis N. Blondin ’50, January 25, 2007, in Manchester, N.H., at 82. He served as a Marine in both World War II and the Korean War and later became a claims supervisor for Equifax. He was active with the Knights of Columbus and with his church. In addition, he coached little league, was interested in genealogy, and rooted for the Red Sox. His wife, Dorothy, a son and two daughters, his sister, and two grandchildren survive him.
Joseph Verrengia '50
Joseph Verrengia ’50, February 27, 2007, in Farmington, Maine, at 84. During World War II he served in the Army in the Philippines and Australia. He worked as a sales manager for Warner Lambert for more than 30 years before retiring in 1984. His wife, Christine Winter Verrengia ’50, and a brother survive him. He was predeceased by his cousin, Remo M. Verrengia ’44.
James C. Tabor '51
James C. Tabor Sr. ’51, January 3, 2007, in New Haven, Conn., at 79. An Army veteran of World War II, he worked for more than 35 years at Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. He was a member and past president of the Jaycees and a former commissioner of the Park and Recreation Department in Cheshire, R.I. His wife of 56 years, Mae, two sons and two daughters, a sister, seven grandchildren, and one great-grandson survive him.
Robert Vergobbi '51
Robert C. Vergobbi ’51, January 19, 2007, in Brooklyn Heights, N.Y., at 80. He received an MBA from Columbia University in 1957. He was an economist and worked for IBM Corporation until he retired. For several years he lived in Nice, France, but lived out the last 50 years of his life in New York City. Survivors include his twin brother, Richard, a niece, and a nephew.
John H. McGowan '52
John H. McGowan, Jr. ’52, February 22, 2007, in St. Louis, Mo., at 79. He was drafted into the Army and served in Japan during World War II. He studied philosophy and math at Columbia University then taught at Colby, the University of Northern Illinois, and Biddeford High School. He retired in Waterville and continued his lifetime tradition of spending summers on Snow Pond. Survivors include two brothers, David J. McGowan ’72 and Robert G. McGowan, two sisters, Terry McGowan Heavey and Rosemary McGowan Phillips, and his step-mother.
Norma Shea Black '53
Norma Shea Black ’53, April 9, 2007, in Natick, Mass., at 76. After raising her children, she worked as a receptionist for the Wellesley College Club. A member of the Natick Garden Club, she played bridge and loved her dog, Gertie. Survivors include her children, James, Allen, Bruce, Robert, and Nancy Blume, a sister, and five grandchildren.
Marcia Leland Coleman '55
Marcia Leland Coleman ’55, March 10, 2007, in Falls Church, Va., at 73. She worked for the CIA from 1955 to 1958, was a homemaker until 1972, then began working as a library aide and reading assistant in public schools. She learned to speak Spanish in 1979 for her job mediating housing disputes for the county government. She belonged to AAUW and the Northern Virginia Fair Housing Commission. Survivors include her daughter, Cardie MacDonald, a brother, and three grandchildren.
Bruce M. Sullivan '55
Bruce M. Sullivan ’55, January 7, 2007, in Old Field, N.Y., at 77. He served in the Army before he came to Colby. After Colby, he earned his law degree at Yale University and became a self-employed lawyer. His wife, Margaret, and his son, Angus, survive him.
J. Wood Tyson '55
J. Wood Tyson Jr. ’55, January 25, 2007, in Roswell, Ga., at 74. He served in the Army then established a career in sales with Koppers Company. Survivors include his wife, Lynn, four children, a brother, Richard D. Tyson ’60, a sister, six grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews, including Chandler C. Tyson ’95.
Peter M. Byrnes '56
Peter M. Byrnes ’56, April 2, 2007, in Pembroke, Mass., at 72. A self-taught carpenter, he owned a custom contractor business on Long Island. His wife, Virginia Birnie Byrnes ’56, two daughters, his mother, and two grandchildren survive him.
Joan Peppard Boehm '58
Joan Peppard Boehm ’58, April 19, 2007, in Portland, Maine, at 72. A housewife and mother, she was active with AAUW and volunteered to raise funds for the pediatrics department at Maine Medical Center. She was a reader, was talented at needlepoint and cross-stitch, and traveled extensively in Europe, the Middle East, and along the coast of Maine. Survivors include her husband, Charles G. Boehm ’59, her daughter, Melinda E. Boehm ’83, her son, Charles Boehm, a sister, and four grandsons.
Howard V. Clarke '58
Howard V. Clarke ’58, February 17, 2007, in Melvin Village, N.H., at 71. He left Colby in 1957 for the Navy and served in Taipei and in the Philippines. After graduating from Colby in 1963 he joined Hathaway Shirt Company and worked in sales, advancing to national sales manager for Christian Dior accessories. Later he worked in sales for Pendleton Woolen Mills. He golfed, played tennis, and was a scuba diver. He leaves his wife, Ann, his son, Howard, his daughter and son-in-law, Kathryn Clarke ’85 and Richard O. Anderson ’85, and four grandchildren.
Richard F. Estes '58
Richard F. Estes Jr. ’58, December 3, 2006, in St. Petersburg, Fla., at 70. He received a master’s from the University of Pennsylvania in 1967 and worked as a planner for the state of New York. His wife, Margaret, a son, a stepson, a sister and a brother, and two grandchildren survive him.
Sandra Doolittle Hunt '58
Sandra Doolittle Hunt ’58, April 17, 2007, in Branford, Conn., at 71. She received her MSW from the University of Connecticut and was a hospital social worker, had a private practice, and worked for 20 years at Lyman Hall High School. She sat on many community boards, including the Wallingford (Conn.) Symphony, and was an accomplished pianist. Her husband, Buell, a son and a daughter, and two grandchildren survive her.
H. Eugenia Hall Wormser '60
H. Eugenia Hall Wormser ’60, January 27, 2007, in Topsham, Maine, at 68. She earned a MLS degree from Carnegie Mellon University and worked in the Washington, D.C., public library system. She also was a librarian for the Audubon Society of the Mid-Atlantic States. She leaves her husband, Michael ’59, a son, an aunt, and several cousins.
Jo Ann Gantt Scanlan '61
Jo Ann Gantt Scanlan ’61, November 15, 2006, in Eliot, Maine, at 67. She was a housewife and a mother who loved to ski and motorcycle. Her husband, Jim, three daughters, and two grandchildren survive her.
Carrie E. Brooke '00
Carrie E. Brooke ’00, March 31, 2007, in Bozeman, Mont., at 29. She was working on her master’s in fisheries biology at Montana State University when she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. She loved to ski, bike, and rock climb. Survivors include her parents Lawrence and Donna Brooke, who established a scholarship fund in Carrie’s honor for students at Colby with learning challenges.
Matthew H. Todesca '00
Matthew H. Todesca ’00, April 14, 2007, in Milton, Mass., at 28. Preceding his sudden death he worked on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange for R.J. Murphy & Associates in New York. Survivors include his mother, Janine Hermsdorf, and his sister, Lauren Todesca ’06.
Meghan R. Kuhn '08
Meghan R. Kuhn ’08, May 5, 2007, in Plymouth, Mass., at 21. She died suddenly at home in her sleep. She was a history major with minors in environmental studies and in science, technology, and society. She is survived by her parents, Brian and Nancy Kuhn, two brothers and a sister, and her grandparents.