Alumnae Memorials

Photography of a Wellesley lantern with Alumnae Hall in the background

Ruth Bluthenthal Toff ’44 died on Jan. 9. She grew up in Memphis and graduated from Wellesley with special honors in economics and political science. She worked as research secretary for the Council of Social Agencies in Memphis and then was invited to join the national office of Community Chests and Councils of America in New York. In 1953, she married Ira Toff, a principal in the NYC public schools. They had one daughter, Nancy. The consummate volunteer, Ruth was active in a multitude of school and community organizations, including Wellesley-in-Westchester. She edited the Edgemont School District newsletter for 37 years, beginning as a volunteer and then in a paid capacity. Ruth was a generous, gracious woman of enormous energy who attended exercise classes and did volunteer work until she was 91.

Nancy Toff, daughter

Jean Audrey Graburn Waterbury ’46 died on May 31, 2022. Audrey loved Wellesley. Even as her memory grew dim, she would gaze at pictures of the College and declare, “I loved that place.” Her three daughters grew up with scrapbooks of her days in Shafer, stories of dreadful fear for classmates on the night of the Cocoanut Grove fire, and tales of the servicemen housed in the quad. She lived and taught her daughters the life lesson of Non Ministrari sed Ministrare. Audrey was employed as a social worker in the New York state welfare department. She earned a master’s in education and an M.S.W., both from Syracuse. For many years, she worked as a school social worker in the Utica, N.Y., public schools. She is survived by three daughters, six grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

Audrey Waterbury Romaso ’74, daughter

Judith “Judy” Randal Hines ’51 died on Feb. 3 at her home in Lovettsville, Va., after a brief illness. A trailblazing science journalist, after attending Columbia University’s advanced science writing program, Judy was the science and health correspondent and the chief science writer for the Washington Star from the late 1960s through the mid 1970s; a former medical and science writer for the Newhouse National News Service; a contributing writer to the Economist and the Journal of the National Cancer Institute; and a former syndicated columnist on health and health policy with Princeton Features. Judy was also a devoted Wellesley alumna, serving as co-class secretary since 2016.

Nancy Mandelker Frieden ’51

Karen Hall Orr ’53 passed away peacefully, after a brief illness, on Dec. 29, 2022, at age 91. Karen was born in Hutchinson, Kan., to Pearl and Charles Hall. She graduated as valedictorian from Hutchinson High School and attended Kansas University, where she was a proud member of Kappa Kappa Gamma. She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband of 66 years, Robert Collins Orr; and her great-granddaughter, Molly Porter Crow. She is survived by her son, Robert Collins Orr Jr., and wife Charlotte; daughter, Jennifer Orr McCann, and husband Bill; grandchildren Katie McCann Crow and husband Peter, Molly McCann Kyser and husband Kaleb, Jennifer Orr, Collins Orr, and Kelley Orr. Karen is also survived by great-grandchildren Jack, Annie, and Charlie Crow and Kate and Hadley Kyser.

Jennifer Orr McCann, daughter

Donna Hieftje Tillotson ’54 left this world on Dec. 30, 2022, ever faithful to Wellesley and the class of 1954, having already laid exciting plans for our 70th reunion. She had been our reunion chair since 1968—over 50 years! Who can forget the year she and her husband, Ted, brought us an oyster feast from their home on Nantucket? In later years, she welcomed classmates to her condo in Cambridge, Mass., or the summer house on the Cape, zipping us around in her faithful Jeep. She loved our many farflung mini-reunions, always enlivening them with her special pizzazz.

Lois Burnham Pomeroy ’54

Patricia Reid Lorimer ’54 passed away on Jan. 24 at the age of 90 in Richmond, Va. She was preceded in death by her husband of 54 years, Ian Lorimer. She is survived by her children, Elizabeth Bahner, James Lorimer, Kathleen Lemelin, and Robin Lorimer; six granddaughters; four great-grandchildren; and her cat, Mai Ling. She was an active member of St. Edward’s Catholic Church, an enthusiastic sales consultant for Longaberger Baskets, a lover of cats, and a dedicated volunteer for many community organizations, including the Richmond Animal League, Call 12, Woodmont Recreation Association, and various theater and choir groups.

Beth Lorimer Bahner, daughter

Elinor Greer Constable ’55 died on Dec, 8, 2022. My mother lived her life to the fullest. She was brilliant, fierce, strong, and also deeply compassionate and thoughtful—a model to her family for how to truly live. Twenty-five years ago, she and my father began an annual tradition of bringing their children and grandchildren on an excursion somewhere exciting, including Jamaica, Hawai‘i, Kenya, Patagonia, and Mexico. This proved to be an incredible gift of time and connection in a world where both can be hard to find. She forged deep relationships with each of her grandchildren and gave them a lifetime of memories that will forever connect them.

Julia Constable, daughter

Margery “Maggie” Crouch Rendahl ’57 passed away on Nov. 25, 2022, in Tacoma, Wash. Maggie was an avid reader of poetry and literature, a follower of news, politics, and history, and a lifelong naturalist. She was interested in the world around her and loved to share her discoveries. Maggie was an engaging conversationalist, a caring friend, a loving mother of Kate, Ann (class of ’84), and Justin, and a doting grandmother to her seven grandchildren. She would be thrilled to know her granddaughter, Anya Marie Rendahl, will be continuing the Wellesley tradition in the class of 2027.

Ann Rendahl ’84, daughter

Barbara “BJ” Johnston Berkenfield ’57 passed peacefully at home in Santa Fe, N.M., where she had lived since 1989. BJ went to New York after graduation, where she met and married John Berkenfield. They shared a wonderful life of love, fulfillment, and often adventure. After two years in San Antonio, Texas, they lived for seven years with their two sons in Paris, where John worked for IBM. When John retired from IBM they moved to Santa Fe, N.M. BJ and John, often with their sons, traveled to six continents and had friends around the world. BJ was involved in the fascinating arts and culture of Santa Fe from day one there, published four books of her poetry, and wrote a biography of a well-known Southwestern artist. BJ always marveled about how far she had come from the quiet street in Pittsburgh where she was raised. Truly, BJ had a life well lived.

John Berkenfield, husband

Carolyn Smith Murray ’57 passed away on Dec. 27, 2022. She was actively engaged with family, church, and the Larchmont, N.Y., community where she lived for over five decades. She loved travel, particularly to France, where she visited friends she had made during their stays in Larchmont. Cape Cod was a favorite summer destination, dating back to her days growing up outside Boston. She played the piano throughout her life and was an active tennis player and swimmer into her 80s. She is survived by Alan, her husband of 63 years, whom she met at Wellesley, and by three sons, their wives, and five grandchildren.

Alan Murray, husband

Doris M. Sherburne ’58 of New Ipswich, N.H., passed away on Dec. 11, 2022, following a life devoted to helping others. After Wellesley, she earned a master’s in social work at Simmons College. Her career included helping children at the New England Home for Little Wanderers, facilitating housing for clients at the Solomon Mental Health Center in Lowell, Mass., and counseling clients at the Seven Hills Foundation. Her interests outside work included going for long walks (which she did into her 80s), bird-watching, and keeping informed about environmental concerns. When I visited her several years ago, an owl was perched on a tree outside her window. Seeing her “extra guest,” Doris couldn’t have been happier. She is survived by her son, two sisters, and one brother.

Maxine Sherburne Williams, sister

Elise Feldmann Rockart ’59 of Newton, Mass., formerly of Weston, Mass., died peacefully on Jan. 26, surrounded by loved ones. Elise grew up in Webster Groves, Mo., and her dry Midwestern wit endeared her to many classmates, including Dare Paige Farrington, Rosamond Brown Vaule, Carol McCune Kirtz, and Claire Thompson Zuckerman. She and her husband of 53 years, Jack, whom she met at IBM, spent two years in Nairobi, where she helped start a school and set up computer systems in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. Elise held leadership positions in the First Parish Church of Weston and the Unitarian Universalist Urban Ministry of Roxbury, Mass. She leaves her daughter, Liesl; son, Scott; and three grandchildren, including Elise “Ella” Rockart ’23.

Carol McCune Kirtz ’59

Judy Lorenz Tisdale ’62, who died on April 6, 2021, spent her career as an elementary school teacher, first in St. Louis city schools, then moving to Community School. Judy was a believer that an excellent education at a young age would allow anyone to succeed in life. She brought this philosophy to more than a thousand children, including those in the Wellston schools, where she volunteered after retirement. (Wellston is one of the 10 poorest cities in Missouri.) Judy served as president of the St. Louis Wellesley College Club and as chair of the board at the Eliot Unitarian Church in Kirkwood, Mo. Judy and I attended the same high school, and in September 1958 we headed east together on the train from St. Louis to the small station in Wellesley Square (now a post office).

Anne Ruhoff Turtle ’62

Merrill Howe Leavitt ’69 died in January after a long illness, I am sad to report. She was my roommate in Caz and transferred to NYU after two years. She served in the Peace Corps in Central America after Wellesley. Upon her return to the U.S., she worked for Gates Rubber for many years until she decided to return to school so that she could teach elementary school. Merrill was unique (as were we all in our own ways) and a creative cook and crafter. She introduced me to Sherlock Holmes (there was a body in 325 Caz!) and the Byrds. I shall miss her.

Lorna Biddle Rinear ’69

Martha Reilly Hinchman ’73 died on March 10. Martha was the consummate Wellesley alumna: intelligent, thoughtful, kind, and full of life. I met Martha senior year when we both enrolled in Carolyn Shaw Bell’s Economics 301 class. Our friendship grew quickly from there. We did our “banking stints” in Manhattan and continued to keep in close touch as we moved about the country. For 40-plus years, we collaborated on many Wellesley club and class leadership activities. Giving back was in Martha’s DNA, and Wellesley was at the very top of her list. In fact, she was taking care of Wellesley matters from her bed at the hospice facility in her final days. We miss her profoundly, but promise to continue her tradition of service and do so with the smile she always wore.

Jane Risser ’73

Susan Luckey Bare ’74 passed away on April 22, 2022. Susan and I met while working on a study for Boston Legal Assistance Foundation (BLAF). Each week, we walked in South Boston and Columbia Point, attempting to determine the status of BLAF clients. We shared empathy for those without advantages and a sense of humor about the peculiarities of life in that neighborhood. Once, we saw a mattress smoldering on the sidewalk. Others walked around the mattress. Watching them, we did the same. In that moment, we felt we understood “Southie”! Susan had a great sense of humor and was a wonderful person! Hers was a bright light extinguished too soon.

Beth Schmakel Weiss ’74

Susan Dollar ’84 died on Nov. 22, 2022, in Pomona, Calif. With a Harvard Ed.M., Susan had an impressive career in college advancement, working at Harvard and Pomona College (becoming AVP, strategic operations), but it was her personal interests and devotion to family that truly set her apart. The daughter of professors, she loved museums, ballet, and poetry, but also old movies, crossword/jigsaw puzzles, travel, her lemon tree, Cape Cod, desert walks, Christmas, our virtual book group (reading women authors), and Wellesley. Family gatherings will never be the same without our fun, much-loved, beautiful sister and aunt. We’ll miss her always.

Meg Dollar Mullaley ’80, sister

Olivia Cortina ’97 died on July 30, 2022. Olivia and I became friends in Carlos Dorian’s sculpture class in 1996. She was hilarious, intentionally brash, and consistently sentimental. Olivia was such a culture maven and had widespread interests, from bettering expat seniors’ health care to knitting punk clothes to making up Korean-Spanish fusion dishes. I always enjoyed myself around her in groups and one-on-one. Our conversations routinely included laughing ’til we cried, tears of sorrow, and big questions of life paired with exhilarating reports on where Olivia had found dim sum in Ecuador and which Portuguese tango videos I had to see. I miss you and love you, Olivia.

Irene Yung ’98

Mildred “Millie” Baxter Perkins CE/DS ’87 died on Dec. 8, 2022 , after a long battle with cancer. A resident of Topsfield, Mass., Millie was born in New York City to Richard and Katherine Baxter. She grew up in Rye, N.Y., and attended the Masters School and Bradford Junior College. She returned to college in 1983 and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Wellesley the same year her son and daughter graduated from their colleges. She was a voracious reader and sang oratorio with the Chorus North Shore in Rockport, Mass. She appreciated the natural world and its myriad wonders, especially full moon rises and sunsets across Buzzards Bay.

Richard S. Perkins III, son


Charlotte Stern Conner, Jan. 12, 2023


Jane Cole Waldorf, Oct. 1, 2020
Barbara Jackson Allgeier, Feb. 2, 2023


Ruth Higdon Knudtson, Aug. 7, 2021


Ruth Bluthenthal Toff, Jan. 9, 2023
Mary Dawley Herberich, Jan. 8, 2023


Jane Ely Mace, Jan. 27, 2023
Shirley Fried Fishbach, Dec. 18, 2022
Claire Phillips Greene, Jan. 19, 2023


Carol Pride Lemeshewsky, Jan. 31, 2023
Virginia Rogers Holton, Dec. 16, 2022


Alberta Epstein Swett, Dec. 19, 2022
Thelma Peskoe Lilienthal, Feb.15, 2023
Barbara Reade Levings, Feb.19, 2023


Margery Rome Bendetson, Dec.14, 2022


Carol Rogers Foster, Feb. 26, 2023
Joan Sprague Garry, April 19, 2022


Ruth Lippitt Willey, Feb. 11, 2023
Helen Lydecker Townsend, Dec. 10, 2022


Florence Drake Damon, Jan. 28, 2023
Judith Randal Hines, Feb. 3, 2023


Elizabeth Brewer Kerner, Feb. 5, 2023


Frances Bloom Morris, Oct. 21, 2021
Karen Hall Orr, Dec. 29, 2022
Marlene Redmond Lowe, Jan. 4, 2023
Denie Sandison Weil, Feb. 14, 2023
Margaret Wheeler Walcott, Aug. 28, 2022


Donna Hieftje Tillotson, Dec. 30, 2022
Patricia Reid Lorimer, Jan. 24, 2023
Liliane Rufenacht Selby, Jan. 26, 2023
Ruth Solomon Rischin, July 18, 2022


Elinor Greer Constable, Dec. 8, 2022
Cynthia Hamilton Mott, Jan. 26, 2023
Nancy Knight Eckert, Feb. 22, 2023
Ann Penberthy Allen, Feb. 4, 2023


Cynthia Bryant McCue, Nov. 14, 2022
Judith Lees DeJong, Oct. 27, 2022
Nora Macfarlane Nevin, July 27, 2022
Audrey Stearns Schoenwald, Oct. 23, 2022


Judith Blough Wentz, Sept. 23, 2022
Margery Crouch Rendahl, Nov. 25, 2022
Barbara Johnston Berkenfield, Nov. 10, 2022
Carolyn Smith Murray, Dec. 27, 2022


Doris M. Sherburne, Dec. 11, 2022


Nancy Booth Kocher, Feb. 26, 2023
Elise Feldmann Rockart, Jan. 26, 2023
Betsy Ross Fleming, Jan. 1, 2023


Lydia Ackley Levy, Dec. 23, 2022


Mary S. Jemail, Feb. 24, 2023
Helen Laird Robertson, Feb. 15, 2023


Susan Bassett Southall, Jan. 18, 2023
Frances Denier Ablondi, Feb. 8, 2023
Joan Lorenz Tisdale, April 6, 2021


Kathy Wick Oliver, Nov. 4, 2021


Alison Feerick Moldenke, Jan. 9, 2023


Susan Hallas Axtell, Feb. 18, 2023
Linda Sawyer Frankel, Jan. 18, 2023


Merrill Howe Leavitt, Jan. 19, 2023


Jean Menapace, Feb. 20, 2023


Martha Reilly Hinchman, March 10, 2023


Margaret Hart McGrath, Jan. 27, 2023


Susan E. Dollar, Nov. 22, 2022


Olivia A. Cortina, July 30, 2022


Yi Sun Kim, Oct. 30, 2022


Anne M. LaRue, Unknown


Dahvy Tran Pech, March 1, 2023


Mildred Perkins, Dec. 8, 2022
Elizabeth Lamb Clark, Nov. 30, 2022


Catherine Smith, Feb. 14, 2023


Jean Landis, Dec. 13, 2022

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