Elizabeth Johnson Wray ’39 died on Jan. 26 at the age of 100.
My mother always marveled at the many changes she had seen during her long lifetime. What she found to be wonderfully ageless was the similarity between her Wellesley experience and mine. She inspired me as she marveled at the beauty of the campus, rejoiced at the privilege of such a rigorous education, and cherished her lifelong Wellesley friends. She was an elementary school teacher, received her M.S. in education in her 50s, and was an environmental champion for local issues until her 90s.
Laura Wray ’74
Jeanne Maurer Shutes ’46 died on Dec. 29, 2017.
Jeanne received a M.A. in English (Stanford), married, and had two children. She single parented in the ’50s and ’60s while creating the first daytime adult education classes in California, for which she even provided daycare. These classes, “Self Awareness Through Literature,” evolved into the longest running private book seminars in the country. At 55, she undertook a Ph.D. in psychology and became a private practitioner in Palo Alto for 30 years. She and her soulmate of 42 years, Jill Mellick, traveled worldwide, often returning to Kyoto, the Cyclades, Kaua’i, and New Mexico. Dry-witted, stoic, mistress of the one-liner, astute yet nonjudgmental, wise, curious, and warm, her charisma inspired many, including her granddaughters.
Anne Thomas Sears ’42 died at home in Concord, Mass., on Aug. 13, 2017, with husband Douglas H. Sears and children Douglas, Deborah, and Pamela at her side. She leaves five grandchildren. Anne, like many Wellesley women of her generation, chose providing a home for children, volunteering, and pursuing interesting hobbies over a career. A zoology major, Anne, an accomplished photographer, lectured on her travels to wild places on all continents that included 500+ dives over 100 feet. Anne particularly loved photographing wildflowers mentioned in Thoreau’s journals.
Douglas W. Sears
Mary Hugessen Keynes ’50 died on Dec. 30, 2017, in Leeds, England.
Two pictures: We’re sitting looking out over a valley in Uganda, and a line of warthogs parades past. In London, Hugie is in the chorus for a performance of Beethoven’s Ninth. Hugie, a Canadian, made England her home after college, married Stephen Keynes, had five children, and after they were reared, spent 14 years in Uganda training teachers. Always interested in world peace, she worked fiercely toward that goal: At 71, with a group protesting debt obligations imposed on poverty stricken countries, she bicycled, in sleet and snow, over the Alps. Hugie: brilliant, determined, brave, generous, kind. My friend.
Barbara Carlson ’50
Mary Mengert Brooks Harding ’51 died on Jan. 5.
She obtained an M.A. in history from the University of Pennsylvania in 1954. She married Howard W. Harding, Jr., and traveled the world with him on many of his business trips and during his retirement. In 1973, they moved to her childhood summer home in Jamestown, R.I., to live year-round. As a volunteer and past president of the Jamestown Historical Society, she pursued her interest in history researching for exhibits and fund-raising for full restoration of a windmill built in 1787. She played tennis regularly into her 80s. Three daughters and four grandchildren survive her.
Emily Harding, daughter
June Paulison Nacey ’54 died on Jan. 12 due to complications related to Alzheimer’s disease. She arrived in Wellesley in 1950 from her hometown of Ridgewood, N.J., and ended up living in the town of Wellesley until 2016, when she moved to Pompano Beach, Fla. While at Wellesley, she met and later married an MIT undergraduate. Although the marriage did not last, the couple had two children, whom June raised in Wellesley. June loved her family (which grew to include three grandchildren), her wonderful friends, and all the dogs she had over the years. June will be missed.
Scott and Susan Nacey, son and daughter
Betty Jean Zahn Benedict ’54 died on Jan. 4.
Betty Benedict, chemist and librarian, aptly called herself “Busybee.” She earned M.B.A. and M.L.S. degrees from Fairleigh Dickinson and Rutgers, belonged to the Delta Mu Delta National Honor Society in Business Administration, and was named in Who’s Who of American Women. After retiring in 1996, she traveled extensively, enjoyed theater performances frequently, and kept up with a multitude of friends and relatives. She was an avid supporter of Wellesley and the Scleroderma Research Foundation. The widow of Joseph Benedict, she is survived by many cousins and devoted friends.
Norma Solimene Raffaele ’54
Kathleen “Kathy” Brown Thielens ’56 died on Dec. 20, 2017.
Kathy was petite, blond, and somewhat ethereal, but her appearance and soft Southern accent belied an exceptional and tenacious intellect. She had a quirky sense of humor—late on a Saturday night when we arrived at the dorm with our dates, there was Kathy in her white nightgown, hanging from the second-floor banister, where she had secured herself with the fire escape rope. In later life, she overcame difficult circumstances by using her strength and resources to develop a high-level career in computers. When she moved to New York, we resumed our friendship. A big talent, a great cook, and a terrific friend!
Laura Ginsburg Strauss ’56
Mary Carlton Croghan ’60 died on March 9.
Mary and I bonded over music. She played the piano beautifully, and I have happy memories of our attempts to sing Bach fugues while occupying adjoining shower stalls in Stone Hall. We shared an apartment in New York during her year there, where one memorable experience was entertaining a college friend and her husband and watching in horror as a mouse ran across the living room floor. In later years, Mary switched her passion from the piano to the flute and became a founding member of the Raleigh Flute Choir. She will be remembered for her elegance, her impeccable sense of style, and her delightful sense of humor.
Peggy Jackson Sweeney ’60
Judith Hinson ’60 died on June 25, 2017, in Scottsdale, Ariz., of metastatic breast cancer.
Judy is survived by her husband, Bruce Martin, and by her first husband, Paul Zeiger. She had two children with Paul, five grandchildren, and one step-grandson. She had a Ph.D. in psychological counseling and held positions in the Department of State of Colorado and in the Experiment in International Living. She was a volunteer for the Peace Corps and she served as a volunteer ranger with the National Park Service.
Judy was our Comedy Central: Always upbeat and funny, she endowed us with amusing nicknames that stuck with us until we graduated. She was a warm and caring person who followed the Wellesley motto, Non Minestrari, sed Minestrare.
Lynda Gregorian Christian ’60
Rita Holecek Hamilton ’63 died on Jan. 3.
Rita came from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and majored in economics. A serious student, she could be very quiet about who she was and what she was thinking.
After graduation and marriage to George, she worked at TWA airline in NYC. She predicted passenger loads and selected appropriate Boeing planes. In 1969, the couple returned to Coeur d’Alene, where two daughters were born. Rita wrote self-insurance contracts for hospitals and school districts.
Rita was happy and excited to be accepted at Wellesley. She spoke fondly about the friendships and education that gave her the opportunity to expand how she saw the world.
Margot Deck ’63
Betsy Dawson ’65 died on Nov. 21, 2017, of a late-detected cancer. She was the quintessence of the kind of woman Wellesley would be proud of: curious, creative, and passionate in her work (a classics scholar) and in her relationships with family and friends. She leaves behind a husband and four sons, plus a bevy of devoted students and friends.
Leslie Jordan ’65
Margaret “Margo” Donaldson ’71 died in New York City on Nov. 21, 2017.
Margo’s career was devoted to arts administration, including numerous years at the Pacific Northwest Ballet in Seattle, the Miller Institute of St. Luke’s Hospital in New York, and the Museum for African Art in New York. Margo and Barbara Taylor, her longtime companion who predeceased her, loved living in New York and took full advantage of its many cultural offerings. They shared a weekend retreat in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, where they frequently entertained a wide circle of friends. Each of them had a sharp mind and a great sense of humor and was hard to beat at Jeopardy! or the New York Times crossword puzzle.
Anne Henry, twin sister
Carolyn Meskell Grayson ’77 died on March 25, 2017.
As sunny as Southern California, from which she hailed, Carolyn belonged to a close-knit group of friends who resided during sophomore year in Cazenove Hall’s “Closet.” After Wellesley, she obtained an M.B.A. from UCLA, which she used in a professional career that included being a literary agent and the owner of Criteria Consulting, a high-tech consulting firm.
Carolyn was funny and fun to be with. She was a good friend and we miss her. We are grateful to her husband, Ashley Grayson, for the loving care he provided to her during her illness.
Devon Myneder Thein ’77
Karen Bell ’78 died on Oct. 20, 2017, following a long, courageous battle with chronic kidney disease.
Karen earned her M.A. in labor and industrial relations from Michigan State University, and embarked upon her career—from vice president, JP Morgan; to director, human resources, Children’s Television Workshop; to vice president, talent management, Pitney Bowes. Karen traveled the world before making her home in Toronto with her partner, Rosamund—gaining a daughter, a son, and, ultimately, six grandchildren, all of whom cherished her. We lovingly remember those skinny legs and that spectacular pair of red polka-dot shorts—worn without regard to weather or occasion. We will miss her kind, charismatic, playful, and opinionated self—and hold the gift of her friendship in our hearts forever.
Joan Ashley ’78
Sharon Scott ’78
Sheron Thompson ’78
Brenda Darrell ’78
Cheryl Nelson ’78
Lisa Phillips ’78
Leslie Wolf-Creutzfeldt ’78
Patty Brown ’78
Doris Drescher Cook died on Feb. 14.
Doris spent 46 of her 93 years as a cherished member of the Wellesley community, serving for many years as secretary of the College and clerk of the Board of Trustees. Beyond Wellesley, she was active with the Girl Scouts, the Simmons College Alumnae Association, the Needham Historical Society, and the Congregational Church of Needham, where she was a member for over 80 years. Doris arrived on the Wellesley campus as a graduate of Simmons College, and she began her career as the administrator in the office of Student Life. She will be forever remembered for her welcoming presence, can-do attitude, and warm greeting for all.
Marianne Brons Cooley ’81