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Obituaries

Eleanor Merle Westberg Johnson

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Eleanor Merle Westberg (Tench) Johnson, of Sewickley, Pennsylvania, lost her battle with dementia on April 4, 2020, just two days before her 85th birthday, surrounded by the love of her family and friends. 

Eleanor was born at home in Irvington, New Jersey, on April 6, 1935, to Lillian K. (Hardy) and Merl O. Tench. She received her B.S. in nursing from Upsala College in New Jersey where she met and married Charles E. Westberg (d. 2012). She was mother to Kathleen Barge (Steve) of Sewickley, and Charles Westberg, Jr. (Kimberly) of Aldie, Virginia, grandmother (“Nannie,” her favorite role of all) to Aaren Barge (Sreemoyee), Cameron Barge, Genevieve Barge and Conner Westberg, sister to Jane Laustsen of Santa Barbara, California, (who survives her) and aunt to four nieces and two nephews. 

Eleanor was athletic as a young woman, garnering many track and field medals. She also enjoyed tennis and water skiing. Eleanor devoted her life to the service of others. Professionally, she worked in labor and delivery nursing before having her own children and later worked in school nursing and elder care nursing. Having spent her married life in Fairfield County, Connecticut, she moved to Sewickley in 1994 to help with her grandchildren and continued her service work for many years, volunteering at the Sewickley Valley Hospital Gift Shop, as well as serving as a volunteer receptionist at Sweetwater Center for the Arts and The Presbyterian Church, Sewickley, where she was a member. 

She loved to travel internationally (which she did extensively with her sister), spend summers on Tyler Lake with her extended family and friends, go to garage sales, cook, and was famous for her “drive-by fruitings.” Her later years were plagued by a series of unfortunate surgeries that ultimately left her with some paralysis, but she enjoyed many years of independent living at Masonic Village Sewickley and spent her final years in the Masonic Village Sewickley nursing home. The family wishes to express its gratitude to the caregivers at Masonic Village Sewickley nursing home and to her personal companion, Tanja, for their care and support during the final years of Eleanor’s life. In light of current world events, no visitation or memorial service is currently planned. 

Eleanor loved spending time at Chautauqua with her grandchildren. If desired, the family suggests memorial donations be sent to Chautauqua Institution, Chautauqua NY ,14722 in memory of Eleanor W. Johnson.

Lenore Thomas Adams

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Lenore Thomas Adams died peacefully, surrounded by family, on March 2, 2020. She was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on Feb. 7, 1929, the only child of Nellie Elizabeth (Barns) and Gordon Frederick Thomas. After a childhood in Erie, Pennsylvania, she attended Flora Stone Mather College for Women of Western Reserve University. There she majored in Spanish, Psychology, and a young man named Robert Adams. They were both in their freshman years (he at Case Institute of Technology) when they met. They were married four years later on Sept. 9, 1950. Lenore and Bob had three children. 

Lenore was an active member of First Unitarian Church of Cleveland, now the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Cleveland, on Shaker Boulevard. She was an avid supporter of reproductive rights. She and Bob volunteered for Meals on Wheels for many years. She also was part of several church social and discussion groups, most notably, and recently, a perfect group for Lenore: a laughter group. She was known for her smiles and joyful laughter.

Lenore’s favorite place on Earth was her family cottage within Chautauqua Institution, where she spent part of, if not all of, every summer of her 91 years. The family had a tree planted by the Institution in her honor in a beautiful setting on the Chautauqua grounds last summer. 

She was pleased to be able to serve in various volunteer positions for the UU Fellowship of Chautauqua for many years. Lenore spent both July and August at her lovely cottage. The porch on Bowman Avenue will not be the same without her.

Her major self-described occupation was as “domestic goddess,” attending to her husband, family and many good friends. She liked gathering people together, loved to organize social events, and had the gift of being able to start conversations and get people talking.

Lenore and Bob spent 15 years wintering in Tucson, Arizona, followed by many more winters in the San Francisco, California, area where their sons Tom and Jim resided. But their permanent home remained in Chagrin Falls for 64 years.

Lenore was preceded in death by her son, Thomas Brewster Adams, in 2016. She is survived by her husband Robert, daughter Alison Wohler and son James Adams, grandchildren James Wohler (Federica Proietti Cesaretti), Elizabeth Wohler (Julian Halliday) and Cody Adams, and great-grandchildren Doria and Ricky Wohler.

A memorial service was held on May 2 at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Cleveland. There will also be a gathering of Chautauqua friends this summer on a date to be announced.

Memorial gifts may be made to Planned Parenthood (www.plannedparenthood.org), the UU Congregation of Cleveland (21600 Shaker Boulevard, Cleveland, OH, 44122) or the UU Fellowship of Chautauqua (PO Box 622, Chautauqua, NY, 14722).

Stephen Earle Benson

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Stephen Earle Benson passed away at home on April 18, 2020, surrounded by his wife, Edith, and his family. He passed peacefully in his sleep after living with prostate cancer for 26 years.

Stephen was born to Earle Gustaf and Ruth Yount Benson in Hyde Park, Chicago, Illinois, on Sept. 3, 1939, the same day that Britain declared war on Germany. His father left the hospital to the sound of the newsboys’ cries heralding the start of the war.

Stephen grew up in Flossmoor, Illinois, with his older siblings, David and Nancy, and his buddies of Benson’s Pool Hall, who would remain lifelong friends. After graduating from Bloom Township High School, Stephen attended Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois, a family tradition started by his grandfather. He was a member of the Omicron Sigma Omicron Fraternity, and maintained close ties with his fraternity brothers, known dearly to him as the Ozos, throughout his life. Stephen was introduced to his wife Edith by his dear friend and Ozo Norm Freedlund. The two married at the Bethany Lutheran Church in Batavia, Illinois, on July 17, 1965. After graduating from Augustana, Stephen earned a Master’s in Business Administration at the University of Illinois.

Stephen had a long and varied professional career. He first joined International Harvester Company, where his assignments would move him and his family around the world. He worked as foreman on the assembly line in Fort Wayne, Indiana, as an analyst in the company headquarters on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, and assistant to the plant manager in Hamilton, Ontario, in Canada. At age 30, he was named Harvester’s youngest plant manager, and posted to Durban, South Africa, where he ran an assembly plant and supervised the construction and opening of the first IH factory built in Southern Africa since the 1920s. He then joined IH Europe in Paris, a small group that connected the French, German, and English manufacturing divisions. 

In 1974, he left International Harvester and moved to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to join his brother, David, and brother-in-law, Pat Ross, in the fast food business. In his five years as a Wendy’s franchisee, Steve opened the first Wendy’s in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey. In 1979, he moved with his family to Charlotte, North Carolina, where he resided for the remainder of his life. In 1981, he founded Morningstar Storage, opening his first property on Monroe Road in Matthews, North Carolina. An early pioneer in the storage industry, he eventually grew Morningstar to be the 10th largest storage company in the country.

Stephen lived life to the fullest. His interests were many and varied. He was a voracious reader and an avid researcher of his Swedish heritage and his early American family roots. He loved his terriers and all his grand-dogs, too. Stephen was instrumental in the planning and building of the columbarium at Christ Lutheran Church on Providence Road. He was a devoted member of the church, serving on the Council, and singing in the choir for 26 years. His love for anything automotive and his passion for collecting resulted in a magnificent collection of old cars, wooden boats, fire engines, trucks, motorcycles and all the accompanying paraphernalia. He was a member of the Sons of the American Revolution, the Charlotte Country Day School Board of Visitors, the Quail Hollow Club and the Viking Club of Jamestown, New York. He was particularly known for his munificence to others, and throughout his life he helped and befriended many.

Stephen is survived by his wife of 55 years, Edith, his sons David and Matthew, David’s wife, Lauren and their children, Ryan Elisabeth, Stephen Gustaf, and Calvin Michael, and Matthew’s wife Barrie and their children, William Hillery and Katherine Barrick. He is also survived by his brother-in-law J. Patrick Ross, sister-in-law Carri Benson, in-laws Susan and Howard Meyers and Fred Michael and Gwen Spuhler, and his nieces and nephews Sarah Ross Eagleson, Benson Ross, Blake Ross, Paul Benson, Earle Benson, Katherine Mazucca, Allison Meyers and Olivia Meyers, and his grand-nieces and nephews Lauren Ross, Katarina Benson, Sofie Benson and Patrick Ross. He was preceded in death by his parents, his aunt Katherine Benson, his in-laws Fred and Annette Spuhler, his sister Nancy Ross, and his brother David.

Stephen was devoted to Christ Lutheran Church, the Charlotte Country Day School, and Chautauqua Institution where he and his beloved family summered since 1975. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to any of these three organizations. A memorial service will be held once the shelter is lifted.

Pauline G. Higie

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Pauline G. “Boots” Higie, 93, of Gibsonia, Pennsylvania, formerly of Bradford, passed away on Feb. 14, 2020, at the St. Barnabas Nursing Home in Gibsonia.

She was born on Feb. 11, 1927, in Bradford, the daughter of the late William and Margaret McDermott Gorman. On June 20, 1953, in the St. Bernard Catholic Church, she married William F. “Bill” Higie; who preceded her in death on Oct. 29, 2018.

She was a 1945 graduate of the Bradford Area High School and a 1949 graduate of Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Speech Pathology and Communications. She later earned her Master’s degree in Education from the University of Pittsburgh.

She worked for more than 30 years as a speech and hearing pathologist in the Bradford Area school system until her retirement in 1987. In retirement, she was extremely active in numerous community organizations including serving on the Boards of the Bradford YMCA, the Bradford Area Library and the Bradford chapter of the American Association of University Women. In addition, she volunteered with the Bradford Hospital Surgical Liaison Program, Future’s Rehabilitation Center, Inc., Friendship Table, the ELF Fund, Special Olympics, the Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle, the Chautauqua Catholic Community, The Chautauqua Fund, and served as a high school swimming official. She was an avid swimmer, skier, golfer, reader, gardener, quilter, bridge player and traveler.

She was a member of the St. Bernard Catholic Church, the Bradford Club and the Pennhills Club.

She is survived by four children, William (Anne) Higie, Jr. of Punxsutawney, David (Gigi) Higie of Pittsburgh, Ellen (Jeffrey) Bauman of Gibsonia and Jonathan (Lisa) Higie of Bridgeville; eight grandchildren, Sarah (Eric) Mazurek, Mary Elizabeth (Mathias) Schmotzer, Kathleen (Paul) Manners, Alexander Higie, Matthew Bauman, Margaret Bauman, Kyleigh Higie and Benjamin Higie; six great-grandchildren and several nieces and nephews.

In addition to her parents and husband she was also preceded in death by one brother, William Gorman.

A Mass of Christian Burial was held in the St. Bernard Catholic Church. In lieu of flowers the family has asked that memorial contributions in her memory be donated to the Bradford Area Library, 67 West Washington St., Bradford, PA, 16701 or Futures Rehabilitation Center, Inc., 1 Futures Way, Bradford, PA, 16701.

Beverly Jean Fowler-Conner

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Beverly Jean Fowler-Conner, 90, died Jan. 28, 2020, at Bethany Village in Lower Allen Township, where she had resided for some years. 

Born Jan. 19, 1930, in Guilford County, North Carolina, Mrs. Fowler-Conner was the daughter of the late Robert Wade and Alyce Coble Utley. She attended Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina, and graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1951. She met her first husband, Robert H. Fowler, in 1948 at Guilford College. They were married for 52 years. In her lifetime, she was a school teacher, a newspaper columnist, and book review programmer for the New Cumberland Public Library. She served 12 years on the board of Bethany Village.

She is survived by four children and their spouses, Wade Utley Fowler (Sharon) of New Cumberland, Pennsylvania; Alyce Mundy McKenzie (Murry) of Allen, Texas; Robert H. Fowler Jr. (Sally) of Wallingford, Pennsylvania; and Susanna Jean Weil (Rob) of Hummelstown, Pennsylvania. Other survivors include: eight grandchildren, Melissa McKenzie of Fredericksburg, Texas; Sarah DeBrunner of Camp Hill, Pennsylvania; Rebecca Gingles of Dallas; Zachary Fowler of Silver Spring, Maryland; Matthew McKenzie of Broomfield, Colorado; Laura Fisher of New Cumberland; Ava Fowler of Wallingford; and Robert H. Fowler III of Wallingford. She is also survived by six great grandchildren, Cecelia, Reid and Eloise DeBrunner of Camp Hill; Dean Fowler of Silver Spring; and Graham and Silas Gingles of Dallas.

Mrs. Fowler-Conner was the widow of Robert Howard Fowler and of D. Bruce Conner, an educator who served as superintendent of the Capital Area Intermediate Unit. She was a lifelong United Methodist; a columnist for The News-Sun, Perry County Times, and Duncannon Record and a contributor to Guideposts magazine.

Through personal giving and through the Robert H. and Beverly U. Fowler Foundation, which she founded with her late first husband, she supported the arts and good causes in central Pennsylvania and beyond. WITF, the Harrisburg Symphony, New Cumberland Public Library, the Care Assurance Program at Bethany Village, and the Harrisburg Arts Association were among those who benefited from her generosity.

Mrs. Fowler-Conner enjoyed reading and writing and instilled that love in her children and grandchildren. She and her first husband traveled extensively in this country and to England, Europe, and Australia both on their own and on tours arranged by Historical Times Inc. a company they co-founded in the late 1950s. Historical Times Inc. published a variety of special interest magazines including Civil War Times Illustrated, American History Illustrated, Early American Life, British History Illustrated, Fly-Fisherman, and Bowhunter.

When she and her husband sold Historical Times, Inc. to Cowles Media Group in the 1980s, they turned to newspaper publishing, acquiring the Duncannon Record and Perry County Times from their longtime friend, Richard A. Swank. Thus began Swank-Fowler Publications Inc. a group of weekly newspapers that grew to include The News-Sun of Newport and the Juniata Sentinel of Mifflintown. She retired from the publishing business in 2001 when Swank-Fowler Publishing Inc. was sold to Advance Publications of Perry and Juniata Counties Inc. She also was the former owner of Perry Printing in New Bloomfield, Pennsylvania.

One of her life’s passions was the Chautauqua Institution in New York. She often summered there with family and friends and reveled in the music, lectures and intellectual atmosphere of that arts community. Throughout her life she maintained the carriage of a southern lady in speech and in manner. She was a gracious hostess, with a gift for making and keeping friends, a beloved mother, and an affectionate grandmother. Toward the end of her life, dementia robbed her of the ability to speak, but it did nothing to conceal the good woman who abided therein.

The staff in the Alzheimer’s unit at the Oaks at Bethany Village loved their encounters with the southern lady they called Miss Beverly. Her family is grateful for the care she received there. Memorial contributions may be made to WITF, the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra, Chautauqua Institution, the Care Assurance Fund at Bethany Village, or the New Cumberland Public Library.

Jean Reycroft Summerville

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Jean Reycroft Summerville, 94, of St. Louis, Missouri, and Chautauqua Institution, Chautauqua, New York, died peacefully on Jan. 22, 2020, in the home of her daughter, Mary “Del” Newquist in Rochester, New York. Additional survivors include her son, the Rev. Jay Summerville of St. Louis, her daughter, Rebecca (Jon) Barlow of Missoula, Montana, three grandchildren: Katharine (Dave) Snyder, Matthew Newquist and Jay Barlow; and many loving friends, nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by her younger son, Robert (“Rob”) Summerville.

Mrs. Summerville was born on May 13, 1925, the daughter of Arthur G. Reycroft and Helen McMillan Reycroft in Monessen, Pennsylvania. She was predeceased by her four siblings: Dr. Dorothy (Dr. William) Hollingsworth, Robert Reycroft (who died in childhood), Mary Ellen (Arch) Moran, and Barbara Sellers.

Mrs. Summerville graduated from Monessen High School in 1942, received her B.S. degree, Phi Beta Kappa, from West Virginia University in 1945, and her M.S. degree in biology from the University of Pittsburgh in 1947 while working as a Teaching Assistant.

Having spent summers at Chautauqua Institution from earliest childhood, Mrs. Summerville raised her family in nearby Corry, Pennsylvania. In Corry, she also worked outside the home as a regular substitute teacher at Corry Area High School and was active in the First Presbyterian Church and numerous volunteer organizations. In 1971, Mrs. Summerville moved to Punta Gorda, Florida, where she was a biology teacher at Charlotte High School and was also an adjunct instructor in biology at Edison Community College until her retirement. At Charlotte High, Mrs. Summerville was the faculty adviser for the student STEP club that worked to promote environmental responsibility. Following “retirement,” Mrs. Summerville worked for an additional 10 years as a regular substitute teacher at the Charlotte Harbor School serving children with developmental disabilities.

In 1985, during a sabbatical from teaching, Mrs. Summerville studied at the Flathead Lake Bio Station of the University of Montana and then worked as a volunteer at the San Diego Zoo on a project to hatch Condor eggs and prepare the fledglings for release into the wild.

In 2011, Mrs. Summerville moved from Florida to Independent Living at Aberdeen Heights, a Presbyterian Senior Living Community in St. Louis. She was a member of Second Presbyterian Church of St. Louis.

A lifelong voracious reader, Mrs. Summerville also enjoyed boating, kayaking, shell and specimen gathering, fishing, scuba diving, bird watching, counted cross stitch, watching St. Louis Cardinals baseball games, buying and selling antiques and collectibles and riding her classic Schwinn bicycle well into her 90s. Known for her sociability, Mrs. Summerville easily made and kept friends of all ages who were attracted to her cheerful and optimistic zest for life and to her empathetic, kind and generous interest in other people.

As a Chautauquan from early childhood, Mrs. Summerville often said that one of the life accomplishments of which she was most proud was being elected captain of the Blue team of the Cherokees, the middle age group of the three Chautauqua Girls’ Club groups in the mid-1930s. Each summer until she was 93, she could be spotted most days riding her Schwinn bike to the Chautauqua Post Office or library, stopping often along the way for porch chats.

A service of interment of Mrs. Summerville’s ashes in Chautauqua Cemetery, Chautauqua, NY, and a reception will be held at a time convenient to friends and family. 

Although memorial donations are not requested, those who nevertheless would like to make such might consider the Presbyterian Mission Agency, Presbyterian Church (USA), 100 Witherspoon Street, Louisville, KY, 40202, an agency to which Mrs. Summerville made annual donations to honor her children and grandchildren.

Dent Williamson

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“The legacy of flute playing that you passed on to so many of us continues on and is a priceless

gift that you gave to us.” — Former flute student.

Dent Williamson, born Jan. 13, 1931, passed on Jan. 18, 2020. A born and raised New Englander, Dent Williamson, “our pilgrim,” was a talented musician, a dedicated teacher, a loving husband to his wife of 52 years, a doting father to his two children, and a proud veteran of the United States Air Force.

Dent earned his Bachelor and Master of Music degrees at the New England Conservatory in Boston and his Doctorate degree in Music Education at Combs College of Music in Philadelphia. He met the love of his life, Joan, in New York City in 1966 while they were on tour with the Martha Graham Dance Company orchestra.

For 32 years, Dent taught flute at The College of New Jersey (formerly Trenton State College.) For 35 summers, he served as the second flutist with the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra in Chautauqua, New York, where he also worked as the Orchestra Librarian. Previously, he played with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the San Antonio Symphony, and the Trenton Symphony Orchestra.

Dent had the patience of a saint and an uncanny memory. He was a walking encyclopedia of baseball trivia and was a lifelong Boston Red Sox fan. He was a creative and open-minded thinker and treated everyone — regardless of their station in life — with respect and kindness. Dent was an avid student of American history, traveled extensively in his retirement, and never met a chocolate chip cookie he didn’t like.

Dent moved to Willow Valley in 2007. He is survived by his wife, Joan, his children Andrew and Lesley, and his beloved dog Sardi and cat Buddy.

Rosalyn Mitchell

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Rosalyn Mitchell passed away on Feb. 11, 2020, in Palm City, Florida, at the age of 97. She was predeceased by her husband, Robert R. Mitchell, and is survived by her children, Steve Mitchell (Mary), Albert Mitchell (Rachelle), and Jennifer Kaufenberg (Gary), eight grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren. 

Rosalyn loved spending time in Chautauqua, where she enjoyed being with her family and friends. She frequently played tennis, and enjoyed the Opera and the Amp events.

Memorial donations can be made to the Chautauqua Opera Guild, or to the Jeffrey Simpson Fund for the Literary Arts, both through the Chautauqua Foundation, or to the Everett Jewish Life Center of Chautauqua.

Edward Lober Paul

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It is always difficult saying goodbye to someone we love and cherish. Family and friends must say goodbye to their beloved Edward Lober Paul (Manasquan, New Jersey), who passed away at the age of 89, on Jan. 21, 2020. Family and friends can send flowers and/or light a candle as a loving gesture for their loved one. A memorial service was held on Feb. 29, 2020, at St. Andrew’s United Methodist Church in Spring Lake, New Jersey.

Gerald S. Wahl

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Gerald S. Wahl, D.D.S., age 88, of Strongsville, Ohio, and Chautauqua, New York, passed away peacefully on Nov. 24, 2019. Beloved husband for 60 years of Phyllis (nee Lally); dearest father of Roberta Wahl (Nenad Barackov), Monica Shaffer (John), William Wahl (Shari), Melanie Petras (Michael), Amy Stark, and Jim Wahl (Stefanie); cherished grandpa to: Stella Barackov; Claire and Matthew Shaffer; Natalie & Andy Wahl; Michael Anthony, Christina and Andrew Petras; William and Robert Stark; and Ava Wahl. 

“Dr. Jerry” received his Bachelor of Science and Doctor of Dental Surgery degrees from Western Reserve University. He served in combat in the United States Army in Korea. His first dental practice was in Shelby, Ohio, but after four years he opened an office in Strongsville, where he practiced for 31 years. Jerry enjoyed skiing, sailing, tennis, and playing Hearts, especially with his grandchildren. 

Visitation and a Mass of Christian Burial was held at St. Joseph Church in Strongsville. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a contribution to a charity of your choice.

Jane Adelle Mead

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Jane Adelle (Thompson) Mead, age 88, passed away peacefully with her husband of 67 years, her oldest son, and her pastor by her side on Feb. 6, 2020, at Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage, California.

Born on Feb. 15, 1931, in Jamestown, New York, the daughter of the late Herbert Faber and Helen (Peglar) Thompson, Jane graduated from Westfield Academy and Central School in 1949, and received a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, in 1953, where she was a member of the Delta Gamma Sorority. She and her husband, James Wilson Mead, grew up together in Westfield, New York, and they were married there on Nov. 22, 1952, in the First Presbyterian Church. Jane was a senior in college and Jim was an Ensign serving in the United States Naval Reserve on the USS Brownson. 

A woman of immense and unshakeable faith, Jane was an ordained elder in the Presbyterian Church (USA), which she served as the communications executive for the Synod of the Northeast, as director of the Presbyterian General Assembly newsroom, and as editor of the General Assembly newspaper for 10 years. In 1978 Jane served as a commissioner in the Presbyterian Church (USA) General Assembly in San Diego, where she was one of fewer than 10% of the commissioners to cast a ballot in favor of equal ordination of gays and lesbians. She was a founding member of the Spirit of the Desert Presbyterian Fellowship, and for the past five years she had been a member of the Community Presbyterian Church of Cathedral City, which Jane served as Clerk of Session. 

Jane loved music, theater and ballet, and in 1972 she and Jim purchased a cottage on the grounds of Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, New York, where they spent nearly every summer of the rest of their lives. A former member of the Chautauqua Institution Board of Trustees, Jane also served as editor of The Chautauquan Daily from 1982 to 1986. Under her direction, the newspaper was redesigned and updated. Jane’s father and grandfather, and her husband were all editors of the Westfield Republican, the first Republican newspaper in the country, and writing and editing were in her blood. 

Jane and Jim hosted many international students and visitors in the 1960s and 1970s, including those from Rotary International, American Field Service and the Experiment in International Living. They visited and remained in contact with their exchange student daughters Arja Storm Van Leeuwen of Utrecht, The Netherlands, and Vicki (Creighton) Abbott of Narooma, New South Wales, Australia. 

Jane volunteered throughout her adult life, including distributing food with Hidden Harvest just weeks before her passing, and for the Alzheimer’s Association. After a 2004 trip to Kenya, Jane and Jim helped establish the Bell House Academy, a trade school operated by Albert Mburu, who they met while Jane was in Nairobi to edit the memoirs of the Presbyterian Archbishop of East Africa. 

She was a full-time mom until her youngest child was in college but worked as a part-time preschool teacher (during school hours), and later as a customer service representative for the printing division of Westfield Republican, Inc.

Jane loved reading, travel, knitting, and needlepoint. She was always ready for an adventure, like riding all four roller coasters at Busch Gardens at age 75. Her last international trip was for 18 days to Japan, to visit with a former exchange student, Hidenori Endo, when Jim and Jane were 85 and 84, respectively. 

Jane’s greatest joy in life was spending time with her family. She is survived by her husband, Jim, and children Christopher (Gail) of Orinda, California, Patrick (Amy) of Columbia, Maryland, and Peter (Denise) Mead, of Columbia, and Elizabeth (Stephen) Mead Fox of Sandwich, Massachusetts. She also is survived by her grandchildren Helen, Carson, Cooper, Augusta and Maura Mead, and William, Patrick and Christopher Fox, as well as several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, Hebert and Helen, and her sister Helen Nai.

A service of remembrance was held at the Community Presbyterian Church in Cathedral City on Feb. 15, 2020. A second service is to be held at the Presbyterian House in Chautauqua Institution at a future date.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial contributions be made to Hidden Harvest of the Coachella Valley or to the Community Presbyterian Church of Cathedral City. 

Catherine Sara Benefield

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Catherine Sara “Katy” Benefield (McClure) died on Jan. 27, 2020, from cancer in Austin, Texas, at the age of 53.

Katy is survived by her loving father, Robert McClure of Chautauqua, New York; dedicated husband, Dennis “Randy” Benefield, Jr.; beloved children, Melanie and Luke; and adoring siblings, Brian, Margie and Judy. Katy is preceded in death by her ever watchful mother, Sally Pryor McClure, and nephew Jack.

Katy was born on Jan. 27, 1967 in Washington, DC, to Bob and Sally McClure. She graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School in 1985; University of Oregon in 1991 with a degree in social work; and Concordia University Texas in 2011 with a Master’s in Education. She and her family loved Chautauqua and spent many happy days on the grounds with Sally and Bob, her siblings and “the cousins.”

She married Dennis Benefield, Jr. in 1994 after meeting in Austin, Texas. Over the next several years the couple welcomed two extraordinary children into their home and Katy set about teaching and showing them love and joy of family and friends. Her children know they are loved forever and will remember her as a wise and kind mother who encouraged them to pursue their very individual personal goals along the way to happiness.

Katy was an accomplished teacher and caregiver and worked extensively with children and students throughout her life and professional career, including fighting and advocating for the most challenged and at-risk in her community. She was a nanny, a case worker for Texas Child Protective services, a stay-at-home mom to Melanie and Luke, and most recently a teacher at Wiley Middle School in Leander, Texas.

She was a generous and truly dedicated friend. Katy loved laughing and hanging out with her sisters and brother, and of course adored all her loving nieces, nephews, and extended families. Above all, Katy focused on her daughter and son. There remains no limit on the impact of her caring and guidance over the rest of their lives.

Katy loved hydrangeas, sweets, laughing with friends, and her husband and family. She will be remembered as a champion for all children, a loving wife and mother, the best baby sister, a caring daughter, a loyal and generous friend, and always as our squad leader.

Through the end of her earthly life, Katy was cared for by many friends, especially Charlotte, Lana, Christian, and Annette. Katy was an active and dedicated member of her community in Leander Texas, and often volunteered at public schools in Austin.

In lieu of flowers, the family has established a fundraising campaign to support Katy’s children, and help recover from overwhelming medical debt not nearly covered by insurance: https://tinyurl.com/KatyCampaign

Mary Jean Hedberg

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Mary Jean (Lane) Hedberg, age 81, passed away peacefully in her sleep on Feb. 7, 2020, after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.

She was born in Toledo, Ohio, on March 24, 1938, daughter of Lawrence Lane and Rhoda (Scott) Lane. She graduated from Baldwin Wallace College with a degree in education and worked throughout her professional life as a high school English teacher, ending her career at Harbor High School.

She married Widing (Swede) Hedberg in December 1962. Before his passing in May 1990, they shared a love of classical music, working on their home and spirited debate.

After her retirement, she was active in social issues that were important to her, including The League of Women Voters, The Ashtabula County Library Board, The Ashtabula County Historical Society, Womens’ Fortnightly, and Log Cabin Days. She was an ardent supporter of the Democratic Party, public television and public radio and was happiest when visiting Chautauqua Institution attending a concert or a lecture with friends. She loved playing bridge, attending concerts, plays and musicals, British television, reading every book possible, flowers and working in her garden. Traveling to Africa and working as a missionary with the Covenant Church in the 1990s was a special time; her friends and her Ashtabula Covenant Church family meant the world to her.

Her survivors include her brother Jerry Lane of Mill Valley, California, her daughter Meg (Glen) Graham of Cincinnati, Ohio, sons Adam (Sarah) Hedberg of Kingston, Canada, and Lars Hedberg of Conneaut, Ohio; step-children Lisa (Robert) Vokes and Eric (Patricia) Hedberg of Minnesota; and her grandchildren: Libby and Maggie Graham, Ben, Nate and Jack Hedberg and step-grandchildren Ellen and Jared Vokes and Quentin and Ian Hedberg.

The family thanks The Ashtabula County Home and Hospice of The Western Reserve and its staff for the amazing care they provided to Mary the last few months of her life. Contributions may be made to Doctors Without Borders.

Lewis L. Peterson

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Lewis L. (Pete) Peterson passed away peacefully in his daughter’s home on Cape Cod on Dec. 20, 2019, with family by his side. He was born on Oct. 9, 1935, in Jamestown, New York, and grew up in Chautauqua. 

He graduated from Chautauqua Central School in 1954 and served in the U.S. Army in Germany for 2 years. Upon his return, he met Judie, the love of his life, and they were married in 1960. 

Pete was employed as assistant mechanic and bus driver for CCS from 1957 until 1965. He then worked as a carpenter, during which time he built a beautiful home for his family. He was a member of Hurlbut Memorial Church in Chautauqua, had been a member of the Chautauqua Fire Department, and was gifted a lifetime membership in the Mayville VFW in appreciation of carpentry and electrical work he did in their building. From 1973 to 1976 he and his family lived in Painted Post, New York, where he was buildings and grounds superintendent for Watson Homestead Camp and Conference Center. In 1976, he and his wife bought Camp Prendergast near Chautauqua, which they owned and operated for 32 years until his retirement in 2008. 

During those years, he made many longtime friendships with campers and enjoyed visiting with them as he toured the campground in his golf cart. He and Judie then moved to live year-round in their home on Victoria Road, and he could often be found working under the hood or in the seat of his antique Mustangs and Ranchero truck.

Pete dearly loved his family and was so proud of each one of them. He looked forward to family times shared, and individual times with each one of them. He is survived by his wife, Judie; his son Bill Peterson (wife Christine) and their son Adam of Mayville, New York; daughter Margaret Dietly of Chautauqua and her daughter Megan of Tokyo; and daughter Julie Drake (husband Jeff) of Brewster, Massachusetts, and her children Christian (Rachel) Herwig, Andrew (Caitlin) Herwig, and Karli Herwig; and his half-sister, Rebecca Rogers of Hermitage, Pennsylvania.

He was predeceased by his parents, Margaret Barton Peterson of Chautauqua, his father, George Monroe Peterson of Mercer, Pennsylvania, two infant brothers, and half-brother, John Peterson of Denver.

Memorial donations may be made to the Lewy Body Dementia Association, or to a hospice of your choice.

Joan Lee Keogh

milestones

Joan Lee Keogh died Dec. 19, 2019, in Heathrow, Florida, of complications related to Pulmonary Fibrosis. She was 82.

Joan grew up in Clifton, New Jersey, and graduated from Beaver College (Arcadia University). She worked for the Ford Foundation in New York City, where she met her husband, Kevin. They later moved to Pittsford, New York, where they spent 18 years. She was active in the Pittsford Schools parent group and became a Certified Financial Planner. 

Joan and Kevin first came to Chautauqua for a week in 1975. They returned every summer after that and purchased their home on Janes Avenue in 1983, where she spent the last 35 seasons happily sitting on her porch. After Kevin’s passing, Joan was lucky enough to find a second love at Chautauqua, Jim Lynch. Joan and Jim would love to tell the story of how they met “walking down the aisle” as Eucharistic Ministers for the Chautauqua Catholic Community. They married in Chautauqua in 2010.  

While at Chautauqua, Joan spent many years as a Chautauqua Fund volunteer and was a member of the Chautauqua Institution Board of Trustees. She also served on the Chautauqua Challenge Campaign and the Renewal Campaign. She was active in the Catholic Community, serving as treasurer, and was the house manager for the Chautauqua Women’s Club for many years. During her years at Chautauqua, Joan rarely missed a daily lecture, and she and Kevin established a Keogh Family Lectureship to sponsor a lecture each year in the future.

Family meant everything to Joan. She was happiest with a full house and a full porch. She opened her heart and home and was a “second mother” to many. Joan cherished her summers at Chautauqua surrounded by family and friends.  

She is survived by her husband Jim Lynch; children Sean Keogh (Kim Keogh), Maura Keogh Shafer, Kyle Keogh (Liz Keogh), Lisa Lynch (Zohar Kfir), Jim Lynch (Tracy Edwards); nephew Tim Keogh; and grandchildren Maya Lynch, Matthew Keogh, Tristan Shafer, Michael Keogh, Skylar Shafer, Nathaniel Shafer, Brendan Keogh, Bridget Keogh, Tyler Keogh, Daley Keogh, Uma Lynch and countless other relatives and dear friends.  

In lieu of flowers, you may make a donation to Chautauqua at giving.chq.org, in memory of Joan Lee Keogh.

Thomas Henry Rowe

milestones

Thomas Henry Rowe of Sarasota, Florida, and Chautauqua, New York, passed away peacefully Nov. 17, 2019. Born Dec. 9, 1934, to Dortha Louise Peiffer and Kenneth Guy Rowe of Titusville, Pennsylvania, Tom graduated from Titusville High School in 1953, earning varsity letters in basketball and high jump all four years; and graduated from Grove City College in 1956. 

He married Patricia Ann Hughes on Dec. 21, 1957. 

Tom served in the Army in Bayreuth, Germany, and was discharged honorably two years later in September 1959. Upon his return, he joined Scott Paper Company, ending his career 34 years later in Boston as Regional North Eastern Director of Sales

Tom summered at Chautauqua. He was president of the Chautauqua Golf Club, graduated from the Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle as president of the Class of 2020; and was a member of the Bestor Society. He was active in Scouting with his sons, boating, sailing, skiing, stamp collecting, traveling, bridge, and golf. 

Tom was a member of Pine Valley Golf Club in Pine Valley, New Jersey, Brae Burn Golf Club in Boston, and TPC Prestancia Golf Club in Sarasota. He was a Deacon and Elder of the Presbyterian Church and was a member of the Church of the Palms.

Tom was predeceased by his parents, and sister Julie Ann Fredericks. He is survived by his beloved wife, Patricia Ann; children Steven Thomas (Judy Chen) of Sarasota, James Ainslie (Laura) of Noblesville, Indiana, and David Kenneth (Deborah) of Mayville, New York; grandchildren Kelsey Louise Rowe, of Noblesville, Matthew Thomas Rowe, of Washington Township, Pennsylvania, and Nicholas James Rowe, of Noblesville; and nephew and niece Col. John Kenneth Ellsworth, of Seabrook Island, South Carolina and Julie Lynn Cox of Jarrettsville, Maryland.

Memorial gifts in his name can be directed to Church of the Palms, 3224 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota, FL, 34239; the CLSC and Chautauqua Institution, or a charity of choice. A memorial service was held at Church of the Palms in Sarasota, Florida. A Celebration of Tom’s life will be held in Chautauqua.

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