Alumnae Memorials

A photo of a Wellesley lantern on campua

Jean Katt Balzerit ’40 passed away on Dec. 12, 2021, at age 102 in Portola Valley, Calif. After graduation, Jean took a job with W.R. Grace. Working in Lima, Peru, she met her husband, Britton Balzerit, who also worked for Grace. Returning to NYC, they lived 14 years in Chatham, N.J., and enjoyed summers in Watch Hill, R.I. In 1973, the family was transferred to San Francisco; however, Jean flew back to her beloved Atlantic Ocean each summer. She loved antiques, walking, reading, swimming, playing bridge, traveling, and raising three children who were the joys of her life. She was a very rare, kind, smart, giving mom who will remain in our hearts forever.

Ann Hessen, daughter

Alice Sze Wang ’45 passed away peacefully on March 29 in Bedford, Mass. Born in Washington, D.C., Alice spent her childhood in Shanghai and London. She followed her sister, Mai Mai Sze ’31, to Wellesley and majored in English. In 1946, Alice and husband Chiu-an Wang moved to Guangzhou, where Alice taught English and entertained visiting Wellesley friends. The family relocated to Hong Kong but returned to the Boston area in the ’60s. Reunion was one of her favorite events. She last attended in 2015, accompanied by granddaughter Amelia Tseng ’02. An avid reader and a lover of art and music, Alice volunteered for many Boston-area organizations. She had five daughters, two of whom graduated from Wellesley; eight grandchildren, including a Wellesley graduate; and five great-grandchildren. Alice was much loved and will be missed.

Irene Wang Tseng ’69, daughter

Alice Butz Moir ’48 passed away on Aug. 29, 2021, at Kendal in Hanover, N.H. She was predeceased by my father, William George Moir, in 2017. Alice was a creative and prolific artist, gardener, herbalist, needleworker, and collector of early American art and antiques, with which she enthusiastically decorated. In the 1980s, Alice turned to painting—colorful, busy, happy, folk-art paintings depicting her children’s families and homes, Dartmouth and the Upper Valley, and in 2000, the fanciful cover of Wellesley magazine. In later years, Alice painted antique seed packets on a large scale. Her work is in private collections all over the world, her children’s homes, Howe Library, and Kendal. Alice is survived by her seven children and their spouses, 21 grandchildren, and 17 great-grandchildren. What an inspiration she has been for us all!

Julie Moir Messervy ’73, daughter

Joan Sprague Garry ’49 died peacefully on April 19 in Haywards Heath, U.K., at the age of 95 after battling dementia. She is survived by her two children and two granddaughters. She majored in English and worked in DC, where her roommate was Edith Harwood Mason ’52, who became her sister-in-law! In 1955, Joan married Englishman Bill Garry, whose work took them to live in McLean, Va.; England; and Germany. Wherever she landed, Joan pursued her love of painting, taking part in many art groups and exhibitions, and maintained lifelong friendships with a number of Wellesley alumnae.

Sheila Schwedes, daughter
Peter Garry, son

Sara Jane “Sally” Fowler Burchell ’51 passed away peacefully at home on Jan. 2 in Newport, R.I. Sally grew up in Buffalo, N.Y., attending Buffalo Seminary before Wellesley. Upon graduation, she entered medical school at the University of Buffalo, when few women were in medicine. There, Sally found her lifelong passion in medicine and her life partner, R. Clay Burchell. In Connecticut, Sally was active in the Hartford Wellesley Club and alumnae activities. In New Mexico, she practiced at Lovelace Medical Center, supported Planned Parenthood medically, and loved retirement in Santa Fe, enjoying art, opera, and great food (not too spicy). Sally championed women and women-friendly practices in medicine. Her love of family, friends, and craft ran deep. Sally was often the backbone of these groups, unifying them with her warmth, good humor, and inclusiveness.

Betsy Burchell Merin ’79, daughter

Kathleen “Kathy” Franklin Todd ’51 died on April 9. Kathy was a dear friend to many in our class. She was especially beloved by those of us who shared yearly Round Robins. Kathy wrote once: “My mission is in the realms of family, church, cross-cultural exchanges, and social justice causes.” She and her husband, George, embodied and promoted these goals. For example, her work with the World Student Christian Federation involved promoting social justice advocacy for marginalized people. Kathy and George befriended social activists like Cesar Chavez, Saul Alinsky, and Desmond Tutu, and shared with many world travelers the hospitality of their tiny New York City apartment. What a life of love and purpose!

Dorothy Perkins Wysham ’51

Frances Maxon Huxley ’51 died on Nov. 5, 2021, in Falmouth, Mass. She bravely faced death as she did life, with both spirit and charity. Predeceased by her husband, Hugh, she was survived by four children, her grandson, two great-grandsons, her sister, and extended family. Fran was active in chorus and was a founding member of the Wellesley Tupelos with, among others, Barbara Lea ’51. Involved in theater since high school, Fran was an actor/director with community groups in Massachusetts and in England, where she lived for many years. Recently, she wrote and saw produced three plays especially for “older” actors. An art major, Fran valued the masterpieces; an environmentalist, she treasured the natural world. She was devoted to family and friends, and they to her.

Elizabeth Maxon Medwadowski ’48, sister

Elizabeth “Betsy” Connell Luessenhop ’52 died peacefully on March 14. She was surrounded by her family, for whom she was beloved for her love of art and creative endeavor. She raised her children in McLean, Va., and to her four children and seven grandchildren, she was known joyfully as “Mama Betsy.” At Wellesley, she met her husband of 26 years, Dr. Alfred Luessenhop, then at Harvard Medical School. Their marriage ended in divorce. In 1995, she co-wrote with Martin Mayer, Risky Business: An Insider’s Account of the Disaster at Lloyd’s of London, an intimate account of the fiasco. Her deepest sense of place was felt for Champlain, N.Y., where her McCrea family has long been settled. Reflecting that, she adopted that surname as her middle name later in life.

Cynthia Davison, daughter

Ann Jordan Remers ’54 died in Poulsbo, Wash., on March 22. Born on Aug. 7, 1933, in Scottsboro, Ala., Ann grew up in Coral Gables, Fla., after her father was killed at Pearl Harbor. After attending Wellesley and Radcliffe, she taught until 1961, when she married William Remers, a Ph.D. in pharmacy. In 1981, she earned a law degree from the University of Arizona. Ann practiced law and mediation in Tucson for 20 years. Ann was an avid outdoorsperson, enjoying boating, hiking, and skiing. She loved reading, shopping, and relaxing in a coffee house with a newspaper.

Laurel Remers Pardee, daughter

Yi-Chi Mei Kong ’55 died on Oct. 2, 2021. Yi-Chi was part of our group freshman year in Norumbega, but we ended up at different ends of the campus the other three years. After earning a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, Yi-Chi went to California, married, had two sons, returned to Michigan, then divorced. Once, we enjoyed visiting the Philadelphia Museum of Art for a day together, and a few years later, we explored Washington, D.C., together, in the rain, no less. She worked until 2014, teaching doctoral candidates at Wayne State University. She loved to travel the world.

Patricia Kopf Colagiuri ’55

Beth Montgomery Heath ’56 died on Jan. 8. Early in her Wellesley career, Beth met Dick Heath, a Harvard law student, and they married before her senior year. Because married students lived off-campus, in my memory, she is usually on a bicycle. Her friendliness, unassuming nature, positive outlook, and bubbly energy were always evident, including when we met at reunions. Although she was very accomplished, she was approachable and nonjudgmental. Like many of our classmates, she gained a profession, social work, in her 40s, adding that to her many volunteer activities. A music major who participated in creating the ’56 Junior Show, she shared her abilities throughout her life, most recently leading a choral group at her senior community.

Sally Blumberg Linden ’56

Joanne Coyle Dauphin ’57 passed away peacefully on Jan 21. Joanne was raised in Westchester, N.Y. She moved to Paris soon after graduation, married Patrick Dauphin, and happily lived in Paris until her death. Joanne was active in organizing an international French education, guiding many students through a year in Paris. More recently, she also was an active part of the ministry at the American Cathedral in Paris. Joanne and Patrick traveled extensively throughout Europe, enjoying many exotic corners of the world.

Barbara Teare Swift ’57

Susan Packer Vrotsos ’58, longtime resident of Winchester, Mass., died peacefully among family on March 31. Susie was a talented artist and a wise, joyful, creative soul whose friendship and work enriched many lives. Beloved wife of George Vrotsos (who died in 2020), adored mother and grandmother, and active Wellesley alumna, Susie was a lifelong student of art, languages, and travel. She served for 50 years as a gallery instructor at the MFA of Boston and many years as consultant to the Cambridge Art Association. We invite you to celebrate her life with a contribution to Wellesley and/or a written memory here.

Karen Vrotsos ’82

Dotty Sparks de Blanc ’61 died on March 8, surrounded by two devoted dogs. Dotty strode through life with style, from changing her major to economics after one week of EC 101 junior year to quitting her job as a respected financial analyst to opening a bar in St. Thomas, where she lived for 40 years on a mountain attractive to hurricanes. After spurning numerous suitors, Dotty married Peter, a communications and sound genius, who played jazz on a recorder. Together, they brought the internet to the Caribbean and were early architects of ICANN. After Peter’s death, Dotty continued in leadership roles.

Kathleen Bingham Stroh ’61

Ellen Jaffe ’66 died on March 16. Ellen was a connector. An editor of the Wellesley News, she brought international issues to Wellesley’s doorstep. At college, she met and maintained association with writer-in residence X.J. Kennedy, who taught Ellen to shape poetry, and she formed a deep attachment to Wellesley Professor Naomi Diamond, who imbued Ellen with self-confidence. Ellen received a Stevens Traveling Fellowship to study psychotherapy in London. Her clear vision connected words to images as poet, playwright, and essayist. She listened to others with intense focus and open acceptance, which allowed even the very young and her most shy elderly or disabled pupils to be connected with the poetry within them. We join her partner, Roger Gilbert, and her son, Joe Bitz, and their adored respective families in commemoration of Ellen’s loving and deeply thoughtful life.

Judith Peller Hallett ’66
Phyllis Gottesfeld Knight ’66

Catharine Wells ’68 died on March 7 in Cambridge, Mass., after a sudden illness. Her passing is deeply felt among family, friends, colleagues, and thousands of students. At Wellesley, Catharine developed a lifelong passion for women’s education and women’s rights. She was a leading mind in the school of pragmatism and law, theoretical legal history, feminist jurisprudence, and civil rights justice theory. The Boston College School of Law recently published an article commemorating her passing: To send memories of Catharine to her family, email

Catharine’s friends

Dorothy Devine ’69 died on April 7 at her home in Peace Dale, R.I., after living for many years with breast cancer. She is survived by her beloved wife, Beatrice Ellen Palmer. A fierce advocate for peace, racial and gender equality, and the environment, Dorothy worked tirelessly to promote clean water, lobbying successfully for the cleanup of a landfill Superfund site and for a new riverside park and outdoor classroom. In 2005, she was awarded the Rhode Island Rivers Council Award. Dorothy was also a published poet and leader in breast cancer patient education. Hers was a life well-lived.

Nancy Wanderer ’69

Bonita Stanton ’72 died on Jan. 19. Ten of us were DC interns in 1971, staying in the dorms at George Washington University. We cooked (at least, Libby Harvey Yon did). Bonnie served her internship at the Food and Drug Administration. When I asked her if anything at all was safe to eat, she paused, then said: “No, not really.” For the 50th anniversary of the Wellesley-in-Washington internship program, Bonnie wrote: “The experience convinced me that my two career options [public policy and medicine] should be integrated. … Subsequently, [I’ve had an] exhilarating career as a pediatrician in developing countries and domestically among low-income urban populations.”

Nan Roberts ’72

Mary Stimson McNamara ’72 died on Jan. 26 in Savannah, Ga. Mary was always up for adventure. We went to Europe before senior year, traveling from Capri to Copenhagen. Her little blue Fiat took us all over New England, notably to her beloved family cottage on Popham Beach in Maine. Mary and Read McNamara had five children and eight grandchildren, living in five different countries on three continents. The California girl even ended up in Minnesota, land of snow and ice hockey, for the kids. Mary showed me how to find the amusing story in life’s day-to-day. She moved to Savannah not long before she died.

Marcia Armstrong ’72

Elizabeth Martin Wright ’73 died on Feb. 9 from complications of lung cancer. At Wellesley, Beth loved singing, performed in Junior Show, and was fiercely loyal to her friends. She was a nurse in Alaska and on Whidbey Island, Wash., where she and husband Bob raised chickens and had a magnificent garden that included Beth’s roses, her pride and joy. Thanks to California’s Death with Dignity provision, Beth could take end-of-life meds herself. Her children, Sean and Megan, were with her at the end. Bob said that Beth was maddest about missing our 50th reunion and the solar eclipse next year in Mazatlán, Mexico, where they retired in 2019.

Polly Keller Vanasse ’73

Nisha Bhardwaj ’86 passed away suddenly on April 3 in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., while playing golf. She received her medical degree from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, specializing in anesthesiology. She leaves behind husband Suresh Raja, daughter Uma, and son Krish. Nisha came from a Wellesley family, including sisters Nina Bhardwaj ’75 and Rochi Bhardwaj ’78, plus several cousins. She led an active life in retirement and was the club champion at the Old Palm Golf Club in Palm Beach Gardens for several years, including the past three. She will be remembered for her love of family, her warm and ready laughter, her dry wit, and her beautiful smile.

Calvert Helms ’86, friend


Jean Katt Balzerit, Dec. 12, 2021


Alice Sze Wang, March 29, 2022


Eleanor Platt Erisman, April 13, 2022


Alyson Dudley Herbine, April 4, 2022
Natalie Johnson Simpson, April 22, 2022


Marianna Bate Taylor, April 1, 2022
Barbara Butterfield Bodine, April 20, 2022
Winifred Walter Zimmerman, March 28, 2022


Katharine Etter Wiener, March 9, 2022
Barbara Ferguson DiCamillo, April 16, 2022


Sara Fowler Burchell, Jan. 2, 2022
Kathleen Franklin Todd, April 9, 2022


Elizabeth Connell Luessenhop, March 14, 2022
Janice Lane Hunt, April 19, 2022
Louise Reinecke, March 15, 2022


Ellen Quay Barrow, Nov. 16, 2021


Ann Jordan Remers, March 22, 2022
Susan Wahl Lewis, Feb. 2, 2022


Judith Deitrich Hood, April 16, 2022
Barbara Meyer Brackenridge, Dec. 30, 2021
Nancy Nye, Feb. 22, 2022


Susan Packer Vrotsos, March 31, 2022


Doris Sparks de Blanc, March 8, 2022


Marcia E. Burick, June 4, 2022
Ann Koch Schonberger, Jan. 25, 2022


Margaret Erickson Dorsey, April 27, 2022
Virginia Hage Ronka, April 19, 2022


Phyllis Burch, Oct. 10, 2021


Leslie Morgan Marvin, April 9, 2020


Ellen Jaffe, March 16, 2022
Linda MacMichael, Feb. 6, 2022


Catharine Wells, March 7, 2022


Dorothy Devine, April 7, 2022


Nancy L. Watson, April 18, 2022


Kathy Shandling, March 13, 2022


Diane M. Nelson, April 28, 2022


Nisha Bhardwaj, April 3, 2022


Morgan P. Graham, April 7, 2022
Carol A. Millen, April 4, 2022


Francine Myles (Berth)
Thank you for posting the memorials. For us older alumnae who might not have had the opportunity to read newspaper obituaries, these memorials refresh our memories ("whatever happened to..." i e they are a way of keeping our classmates alive in our memories. One of the things about Wellesley that I cherish most, are the friendships - not always easy to keep up with as we get older.

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