Emilie Elizabeth “Betty” McNally Hartnett ’38 died on Jan. 10 at her home in Lake Geneva, Wis. She was 103.
Betty followed her mother (Almira Smith Morgan McNally 1912) to Wellesley. Betty’s memories of her years at Wellesley remained, to the end of her life, indelible and sustaining. She recalled singing in the choir at chapel, sitting bells at Munger, studying Wordsworth under Ella Keating, and the lifelong friendships she made, including the “Munger 12.”
She was a master teacher and a respected colleague and mentor. She will be remembered for her kindness, her serenity, her decency, her good sense of humor, and her devotion to family and friends.
Betty’s full obituary can be seen online at Derrickfuneralhome.com.
Emilie Hartnett Downs, daughter
Katherine Forsyth Walton ’38 died on Jan. 23 at age 103. She studied history at Wellesley and passed her passion for history on to me and my children. Mother adored Wellesley and was president of the Shakespeare Society and Student Government. Her warmth, creativity, and optimism made her loved and admired, whether she was serving on boards, running parents committees, volunteering at Independence Hall Visitor Center, creating programs through her church for college students, or doing tours of the stained glass windows of the church. Widowed at 48, she raised her five children on her own, and was a magical grandmother for her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Three generations were blessed to have her in their lives; we will miss her.
Margaret Walton Ralph ’68, daughter
Louise Annette “Nancy” Ahrens Yarnell ’39 died on Nov. 29, 2019. Wellesley’s motto, Non Ministrari sed Ministrare, could well have hung over the entrance to the house where Nancy lived for most of her 101 years. Led by Nancy’s mother, Edith Keiser Ahrens 1906, this house in Reading, Pa., was an important focus for all seven of Nancy’s Wellesley relatives for formative parts of their lives. In addition to her mother, Nancy’s Wellesley relatives included an aunt, two sisters, two nieces, and a grand-niece. In good Wellesley tradition, Nancy herself pursued constructive social, liberal, and environmental causes throughout her long life.
Anabel Leinbach Dwyer ’62, niece
Marjorie Turner Almy ’42 died on Nov. 20, 2019, at the age of 98. After raising four children with her husband, Kenneth, in N.J., she had a career teaching her beloved Latin at St. John Baptist School in Mendham, N.J. She and Ken traveled to Rome, Ireland, Scotland, and Austria during their happy retirement years in Pennsylvania near family. Marjorie was a devoted wife and mother who was immersed in family. She had a lively, positive, independent spirit, and loved to be “in charge.” She promoted loyalty and devotion to all things Wellesley.
Anne Mather Jenkins ’43 passed away peacefully in Needham, Mass., on Jan. 16 at the age of 98. She majored in chemistry. Two weeks after graduation, she married Francis Jenkins, with whom she had three children, Sarah (Wellesley ’73), Russell, and Stephen, and seven grandchildren. They were married for 53 years.
While residing in Williamstown, Mass., she played tennis and bridge, earning in bridge the status of Silver Life Master, and served as a docent at the Clark Art Museum. She was president of the Berkshire Wellesley Club and later chaired the Cape Cod Summer Rally for many years.
Sarah Jenkins Sammis ’73, daughter
Virginia Koch Senear ’45 died peacefully at home surrounded by family on Dec. 13, 2019. She was 96 years old and was preceded in death by the love of her life, Allen Senear. She is survived by her four children, their spouses, and five grandchildren. With her husband, she traveled to all 50 states, every continent, and 100 countries. She was a renowned hostess, a passionate gardener, and an active participant in and supporter of the Seattle performing arts. For more than 50 years, she was an integral part of the Washington State Wellesley Club and NW Scholarship Fund.
Virginia Schmidt Parker ’70
Mary Witcher Athens ’50 died on Aug. 7, 2019.
Although Mary left after sophomore year, she made a lasting impression. She was president of our sophomore class and she came to NYC after graduation to live and work with several of us. She remained a loyal alum and returned for reunions. She was strong but gentle, funny, direct, and always completely genuine. She returned to Tulsa, Okla., married, had three children, and was very much a leader there both in political life and in the arts. She especially loved the opera, and spearheaded their efforts for many years. Our last trip together was four years ago on a Hudson River cruise. We were nicknamed “the two Marys from Wellesley.” She was a wonderful woman.
Mary Lazarus ’50
Joan Alison Cooledge ’52 passed away on Feb. 19. Wellesley held an important place in her life. Joan’s mother, Sara Louise Price Cooledge ’29, was a Wellesley graduate, as are two granddaughters, Adelaide Polk-Bauman ’08 and Mary Polk-Bauman ’15. Joan attended many class reunions, the last in 2017. She spent the first 10 years after graduation with her husband William Polk in Iraq, Lebanon, Egypt, and England. Her next 10 years were spent with her second husband, Rev. Rudolph Nemser, in Virginia, as she pursued her graduate degrees. She then returned to her hometown of Arlington, Mass., and worked as a psychiatric social worker at Cambridge City Hospital. She greatly enjoyed traveling in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, which she often did with Wellesley classmates.
Milbry Polk, daughter
Genevieve Young ’52 died on Feb. 18.
I first met Gene at Abbot Academy (now Phillips Academy Andover). Gene’s first job after graduation was as a secretary at Harper & Bros. She advanced rapidly to the role of editor. She held prominent positions at Harper & Bros., Little Brown, and Bantam Books. She reached the top of her profession, numbering among her authors Harrison Salisbury, Herman Wouk, Henry Kissinger, Ava Gardner, and Gordon Parks, whom she subsequently married. She received Wellesley’s Alumnae Achievement Award, and Phillips followed with the Alumni Award of Distinction. We will remember Gene as a loyal, glamorous friend who cheered us by, in her mid-80s, donning a red sequined dress and winning a ballroom dance contest.
Jane Kenah Dewey ’52
Joanne Sheehy Hoover ’54 died on Feb. 26 in Corrales, N.M., after a long battle with Alzheimer’s. She is survived by her husband, Cameron, daughters Erin and Jennifer, grandsons Gavin and Connor, and their father, Mark.
A music major, Joanne graduated Phi Beta Kappa and earned a master’s degree in music from the University of Texas. She was a music critic for the Washington Post and the executive director of the Levine School of Music in Washington, D.C. After retiring to New Mexico, she was active in the local music and arts scene, including writing for the Albuquerque Journal.
Jennifer Hoover ’82
Helen “Hallie” Stith Howell ’57, a civic volunteer who played a key role Buffalo, N.Y., city development projects, died on Jan. 8 after a chronic illness. Born in Baltimore, Hallie attended Bryn Mawr School and studied at Wellesley and the University of Rochester. She married Edward Davison Howell and lived in Colombia, Mexico, Louisville, Ky., and Buffalo.
Hallie worked in real estate, was a docent, led classes on living with chronic diseases, and was a member of a Wellesley book club.
Hallie is survived by her children, Ce, Emerson (’80), Edward, and Peter; her brother, Wilmer; and eight grandchildren.
Emerson Howell Nagel ’80, daughter
Ann Lee Smith Bugbee ’58 died on Nov. 17, 2019, after a brief hospitalization. She leaves her husband, Dick, and two daughters and their families: Elizabeth Abrahams and her sons Nathaniel and Benjamin; Sally Keidel, her husband, Phil, and their children, Charlie and Maggie; and two sisters.
Ann Lee volunteered at Winterthur, worked at John Harris Mansion, and was treasurer of the Dauphin County Historical Society and curator of Old Swedes Church. For nearly 35 years, she was senior guide at Winterthur. A former officer of the Delaware Wellesley Club, Ann Lee was lively and fun, and will be sorely missed by family and friends.
Denny Rainie Donovan ’79, cousin
Katherine “Kay” Walker Butterfield ’62 died on Sept. 26, 2019.
Kay lived and breathed horses; I sneezed. Kay was thin, lithe, and immaculately dressed and groomed; I was not. Kay was quiet, shy, and introspective; I was not. Kay was from a social Washington, D.C., deb background; I was from a Missouri farm. Yet over 61 years, we worked at summer camp together, traveled in Europe, were in each other’s weddings, and stayed in contact through visits, phone, and mail. Sophomore year, we were joined by Ann “Andi” Silverman Moskowitz, Nancy Bourgerie Meo, Muffy Levinson Kleinfeld, and Angie Forbes Freeze. The six of us played bridge together, raised a little Cain together, and lived in each other’s pockets. The four of us left miss Kay, as well as Nancy.
Judy Lorenz Tisdale ’62
Kay King Valentine ’66 died on July 24, 2019. Her singing had delighted her church in Jackson, Miss., for many years. She acted in, wrote, and directed church drama, while appearing occasionally in the local professional theater. She excelled with more serious material, such as class and race relations. As a paralegal, she could imitate the writing style of each of the lawyers she worked for, so well it would fool the other lawyers. She hid her deeper struggles with depression and self-doubt by keeping the room entertained wherever she went.
Alec Valentine, husband
Bonnie Roberts Davies ’66 died on Feb. 6.
Bonnie grew up in Sewickley, Pa., and attended the Ellis School and Wellesley. Her career was in publishing, although her favorite and full-time job for most of her life was homemaker and mother.
Bonnie volunteered at Friends Select School for many years, and she was an avid city dweller, living in the Rittenhouse Square area for more than 50 years. When she wasn’t in Philadelphia, she was often visiting friends around the country or her horse farm in Maryland.
Bonnie was a loving mother to three children, and a doting grandmother to six grandchildren.
Francie Jain, daughter
Kathryn Blecatsis Erskine ’67 died on Feb. 15.
I met Kathy our first day of freshman year in Claflin. We became close friends immediately, sharing dinners together at Athens Olympia Restaurant and baklava that Kathy brought back from home in Manchester, N.H. When I got a blind turtle from Secret Santa, Kathy and I named him Milton, and she took care of him over break. It was great to spend time with Kathy at reunions, and we were fortunate to visit when I was in Portland, Maine, with family several years ago. Kathy helped me get through that first year with laughter and support. She is missed.
Kathy Chaikin Bernstein ’67
Marjorie “Missy” Schmelzer Chenu ’68 died on Jan. 15.
Missy helped found our small Wellesley group in Brussels over 40 years ago with Kathy Harter Webster ’51, and through the years she welcomed newcomers, kept track of everyone’s comings and goings, and rallied us all around what became the traditional annual Wellesley event in Brussels: Thanksgiving at Missy’s.
We will miss Missy’s heartwarming generosity and wonderfully anachronistic attitude to life. She never forgot a birthday or anything you told her. She was so proud of having studied at Wellesley, and always managed to work it into the conversation. Missy was a true friend and advocate for many young alums who came through Brussels or settled here.
Missy’s Wellesley sisters in Brussels
Cynthia McCormick Williams ’77 died on Nov. 22, 2019. Cindy, as she was known to all of us, was a vivacious go-getter. In addition to majoring in political science and economics at Wellesley, she was instrumental in formulating Mezcla—the on-campus student organization for Chicana, Puerto Rican, and Native American students. Her political acumen was prominent at Wellesley when early on she served on Senate and during her campaign and ultimate election to the position of College Government president. Her desire to stay involved in political activism continued throughout her life, and she always greeted you with her radiant smile.
Michele Tinsley Leonard ’77
Jennifer Marie Patton ’90 died on Nov. 21, 2019.
Genuine, intelligent, caring, and ethical, Jen made a positive difference in her community and the lives of those she encountered. She was a true and great Walthamolian. Jen was a world traveler throughout her life, having first experienced another part of the world during some of her formative years in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Never afraid to express her opinion, she also was thoughtful and always had an encouraging word and a wicked sense of humor. She was a proud Wellesley alumna and enjoyed attending reunions. The world has lost a very special person.
Maureen and Tom Patton, parents
Theresa Wing-Kay Mann Bouey ’96 died on Feb. 3 after a long and painful eight-year battle with cancer. During her 17 years in Los Angeles, Theresa proceeded, by the grace and strength of the Lord Jesus, to make every community in which she participated better, more close knit, and a greater reflection of the love of God. She is survived by her husband, Bendukai; three children, Kaiya, Caeleb, and Chelsea; parents William and Caria Mann; and sister Margaret. A homemaker and anchor in her community, she proudly lived the Wellesley motto, Non Ministrari sed Ministrare.
Bendukai Bouey, husband
Judith A. Garner CE/DS ’99 died on Dec. 21, 2019.
After hiring me in 2007, Judi became my greatest advocate and, later, a friend. She was passionate about history and a voracious reader. Judi returned to college later in life and was fiercely proud of being a Wellesley graduate. Shortly after we met, she realized I was an apathetic voter and encouraged me to be more engaged in politics—women, she argued, must always exercise their hard-won right to vote! She was remarkably patient, loyal, and tenacious—having worked hard for all she had, she took nothing for granted. I’m grateful to have known her.
Eleanor MacKinnon Hochanadel CE/DS ’83 passed on Oct. 18, 2019, at age 94. Born on April 13, 1925, she grew up in Newton, Mass. During World War II, she worked at a warplane factory assembling bomber engines and kept a lookout as an enemy plane spotter. She met and married Navy Lieutenant Paul Hochanadel at age 19, interrupting her college education. Married for 59 years, they raised five children. Eleanor returned to college in her early 50s, graduating from Wellesley in ’83 magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa and as a Durant Scholar. She was a talented artist in painting, sculpting, and photography.
Deborah Hochanadel ’78, daughter
Maria Siciliano ’83