Institution honors life of former trustee, foundation president Miller


Delightful, compassionate, visionary, humorous, practical, direct, kind, patient, robust. The English language does not have enough words to describe Richard “Dick” Miller. 

“One word could never describe Dick Miller,” said Geof Follansbee, senior vice president and chief advancement officer.

Miller, former board of trustees chair and president of the Chautauqua Foundation, described by President Michael E. Hill as “one of the most valued leaders in Chautauqua’s history,” passed away Sept. 18, 2021. He was 88. A memorial service in his honor is set for 11 a.m. Saturday, July 16, in the Hall of Philosophy, followed by a reception at the Athenaeum Hotel Parlor.

Image courtesy of the chautauqua foundation Miller participates in Old First Night in the Amphitheater

“He was smarter than most. He was serious, yet delightfully humorous. He was visionary and awesomely practical,” said Follansbee, who considered Miller a mentor. “He was one of the most important people I ever met.”

Miller, a lifelong Chautauquan and the great-grandson of Chautauqua co-founder Lewis Miller, became actively involved with the Institution’s affairs starting in 1966, when he was appointed to the board of trustees. Four years later, he was elected chairman, and he served in that capacity until summer 1978 before leaving the board in 1981. He remained an honorary trustee until his death. He became the president of the Chautauqua Foundation, which oversees the management of the Institution’s endowments, in 1971. He served in that capacity for 25 years, retiring in 1996 after 30 years of leadership at Chautauqua.

“I know that he spoke of his work at Chautauqua as being the most rewarding aspect,” said Cindi Smith, Miller’s daughter. “He was a corporate lawyer, and he really enjoyed that. He was a partner in the Milwaukee law firm of Foley & Lardner and was very successful. He really thrived in his volunteer work at Chautauqua, and it gave him great personal satisfaction and joy to be able to participate in that work.” 

When Miller first joined the board, The Chautauquan Daily reported that the Institution “had virtually no private assets, and dilapidated structures … were literally falling apart.” Upon his retirement, the Daily noted, “It’s no wonder people maintain that Miller and his colleagues saved Chautauqua.”

Image courtesy of the chautauqua foundation Dan Bratton, Chautauqua’s 15th president, shakes hands with Dick Miller at a Chautauqua Foundation meeting in 1996.

“He’d look at situations, or at people, or at events, and would be able to see the surface and the depth of things. He could see how things were connected, and he could also see how things were not connected. He saw gaps,” said Tom Becker, the 17th president of Chautauqua Institution. “From 1985 forward, I worked with him intensely — and the thing about him was that he was constantly looking at those gaps. What was done and what was yet to be done. He drove toward improvements, but at the same time he was looking upward and onward for the next set of things we needed to accomplish.”

Miller is credited with revolutionizing the Institution’s financial planning and spurring a renaissance at Chautauqua.

“Whether we were laying foundations that were strong enough to hold up the things that we were then doing, he had almost an architect’s sense of how to construct the development of the Institution,” Becker said. “Not physically, but structurally, in the sense of its organization, its management, its intelligence and its foundations.”

In the 1970s, Chautauqua was operating at a deficit and accruing debt. Programming was in flux, and attendance was low. Miller led the charge to revive the Institution. He established new budgetary practices and spearheaded work with the Gebbie Foundation to right Chautauqua’s ship. With their support, he created the Gebbie Challenge, which required the Institution to balance its budget for five consecutive years in return for a $1 million grant to eliminate the debt. That challenge was a success.

“There is no one as important in the life of this institution. There’s Vincent, there’s Miller, there’s Arthur Bestor, and there’s Dick Miller,” Follansbee said, referencing Chautauqua’s co-founders John Heyl Vincent and Lewis Miller, as well as Arthur E. Bestor, who served as president for nearly 30 years. Bestor shepherded the Institution into a new era, and then oversaw both its entry into receivership in 1933, and the clearing of that debt in 1936 — a move that the Institution avoided in the early 1970s thanks to Miller’s efforts.

“There’s reason to believe that if Dick hadn’t come along when he came along that this Institution might have continued on a path that would lead us back into receivership,” Follansbee said. “I’m not sure that we would have recovered after a second receivership within 40 years. Dick realized what we needed … to recapture the mission.”

While Miller revolutionized Chautauqua — during his time at the Chautauqua Foundation, it grew 25-fold, and the Chautauqua Fund was transformed into a major source of revenue — his effect on people stood out as much as his efforts.

Image courtesy of the chautauqua foundation Tom Becker, who would later become Chautauqua’s 17th president, and Miller at 1996 foundation meeting.

“Everybody talks about how smart he was. He also was delightful. He had a very quick wit, a robust and engaging laugh,” Becker said. “He was the most demanding man I knew who was also accompanied by a depth of kindness. Those aren’t always things that go together.”

Becker described this depth of kindness as soulful. 

“He cared not just about the appropriateness of his behavior, he cared about what was really going on in your life,” Becker said. “The depth meant that he was willing and, indeed, interested in something more than the surface of your feelings. His expressions of kindness … were something you could count on.”

Miller made significant impacts on the lives of the people he knew.

“He was a hero of mine,” Follansbee said. “I don’t know how you could respect anyone more than I respected Dick Miller.”

Miller fostered the growth of the Institution along with the growth of those he worked with and served. 

“He was the closest thing to a father figure in my life since my dad’s death, and I don’t mean that in the sense that he took responsibility for me, but rather that we started with a mutual engagement about work and a passionate commitment to trying to do it really well,” Becker said. “We went from that kind of partnership to a friendship, and then to a genuine sense of love between us. He made me a better man.”

Miller, much like his great-grandfather, was dedicated to Chautauqua and its excellence.

“Those founders were remarkable for the differences between them, but also for their courage and the radical nature of what it is they were trying to do,” Becker said “I think about Dick having absorbed that legacy, … as a professional and as a man, and the way he devoted himself to the Institution, the difference he made in the place during the time he actually worked for it — and with it had every bit the kind of impact that his great-grandfather had.”

Miller himself was “Grandpa Dick” to numerous grandchildren. He’s survived by his wife, Miriam Reading; his children, Richard H. Miller Jr. and his wife, Pam, and Cynthia Miller Smith and her husband, Paul; and his grandchildren Sydney, Cameron, Rachel, Lindsey, and Maggie. A daughter, Sarah Miller Caldicott, preceded him in death; her children, Connor Caldicott and Nicholas Caldicott, wife Alexa, and his great-granddaughter Charlotte, survive him. He is further survived by five stepdaughters, many nieces, nephews, cousins, great-grandchildren, and his ex-wife, Sylvia Lucas Miller.

Smith, Miller’s daughter, said that he loved walking the grounds with his dogs and his wife, Reading.

“They maintained their interest and love for Chautauqua and he, I think, just instilled a lot of that valor in us,” she said.

Miller continues to live on in legacy, memory and love. 

“He was compassionate. He was careful. He was insistent and uncompromising in ways about integrity and advancement. But he was also understanding about the human condition. He was so much smarter than I am. He was so patient with me,” Becker said “… It was an unlikely partnership, to be sure, but one that fed both of us. I loved him very much. I still do. He’s one of the most remarkable men in my life.”

Theordore Bailey


Age 63, born March 24, 1957, passed away of a heart attack on Oct. 15, 2020. Ted was born in New York City on March 24, 1957, to Katherine Gerwig Bailey and John Turner Bailey. Ted grew up in Shaker Heights, Ohio, and graduated from Hawken School in 1975. He studied engineering and computer science at Colorado College and Tufts University after which he worked in Cleveland in the field of computer science as a senior analyst for Sterling Software and DataVantage. In 1995, he became a founding partner in ONIX Software in Cleveland and developed state of the art software for companies including OfficeMax, eToys and Cleveland MetroParks. He continued working in this field until 2013 when he traded in “cubical life” for the open road, getting his commercial driver’s license and driving for Precious Cargo and, most recently, Coach USA. Ted’s lifelong passion for jazz, funk and the blues brought much joy to his life, first as lead guitarist in his band “Blue Serge” that dug deep into the Allman Brothers Band repertoire. Ted also had an FCC license and worked as a DJ at WMFO in Boston and WJCU in Cleveland. His other passions included sailing and skiing. But his greatest love was for his three children Clara S. Bailey, Helen T. Bailey and Eric T. Bailey. Ted is also survived by his sister Mary K. Bailey. In lieu of flowers, please send a donation to Stella-Maris, 1320 Washington Ave., Cleveland, Ohio 44113.

Joan Landenberger Trefts


 Joan Landenberger Trefts, science educator and so much more, died in Jamestown, New York, on Friday, Aug. 13, at the age of 91.

Trefts was born in January 1930 in Bellevue, Pennsylvania, to the late Eleanore C. and William H. Landenberger, and she lived in the Pittsburgh area until she moved to East Aurora, New York during the summer before her high school senior year.  She first came to Chautauqua Institution in 1949 with her East Aurora neighbor and future husband, Albert Sharpe Trefts, whose maternal grandfather, Albert Hayes Sharpe — for whom Sharpe Field is named — had for many years been shaping the Institution’s athletic programs for people of all ages. Several friends and members of her extensive family in Pittsburgh were Chautauquans, and she soon felt at home. A 1952 graduate of Western College for Women in Oxford, Ohio — where 12 years later, volunteers bound for Mississippi for “Freedom Summer” were trained in nonviolence techniques — Trefts served enthusiastically as president of the Western College Alumni of Northeastern Ohio. In August 1963, when the youngest of her five children was 3 years old, she was elected “chairman” of the new Junior Department of the Chautauqua Women’s Club. She later served as CWC vice president. Graduating from the Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle in 1970, Trefts soon became class president as well as a trustee. She avidly read each year’s set of CLSC books while progressing through the levels of reading accomplishment within the Guild of the Seven Seals. She also served two terms as a trustee of the Presbyterian Association of Chautauqua, New York. After living for 17 years in East Aurora, Trefts moved with her family to Shaker Heights, Ohio, in August 1964, and immediately began her long affiliation with Fairmount Presbyterian Church in Cleveland Heights by teaching Sunday School.

Trefts started her nearly 40-year adventure — which was at times quite harrowing — with high school level teaching, administration and supervision in urban, suburban and independent school systems within Greater Cleveland in 1972. The only year during which she did not teach was 1997-1998, when her kind and beloved husband stoically fought cancer before his death in August 1998.

While she earned permanent teaching certifications in biological science, economics and home economics, Trefts also taught courses in chemistry, molecular chemistry, physics, child development, home nursing, home management, advanced foods and nutrition, consumer education, mathematics and special education. As 64 languages were being spoken in her high school, she managed 16 translators in each of her classrooms, in addition to her students. Trefts was such a quick study and worked so efficiently that at the end of most school days she coached other teachers or sought out the parents or guardians of students about whom she was concerned, often by knocking on doors. She also routinely called admissions officers at top colleges on behalf of her seniors, urging them to not only accept her students, but also to provide adequate scholarships. In a December 1974 article in the John Adams High School paper titled “J. Trefts Leads Energetic Life,” reporter Jackie Huggins wrote: “When asked who or what had the greatest influence on her life, (Mrs. Trefts) quickly declared her parents did, because ‘they always believed in education for everybody in spite of financial difficulties or racial differences.’ ”

Black lives genuinely mattered to Trefts long before the Black Lives Matter movement emerged. Among her dearest friends were fellow teachers at John Adams, where she worked from 1972-1997. Huggins concluded her article as follows: “The friendly atmosphere of Mrs. Trefts’ classes are due to a large degree to her own personal outlook, which is, as she puts it: ‘I’ve come to the realization that we all have the same basic needs — both student and teacher.’ ”

In May 1982, as her youngest was graduating from college, Trefts received her master of education degree in administration and supervision from John Carroll University, which she had earned while teaching full time. In Ohio and New York she was certified in both disciplines. Two years later, she earned her master of economics at John Carroll. Soon after completing the Administrative Leadership Program at the Cleveland Public Schools Leadership Academy in 1987 and studying administrative leadership at Kent State University in 1989, Trefts served as vice principal of two high school summer schools.

At Cleveland State University and Case Western Reserve University in 2007 and 2008, she honed her knowledge of physical and earth sciences. Trefts retired from teaching in 2012, at the age of 82. Trefts was a member of the boards of the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Playhouse, and the Western Reserve Historical Society. She also served on the boards of numerous state and national genealogical organizations. For instance, she was president general of The National Society of The Dames of the Court of Honor, which annually presents an award to an outstanding graduating commissioned officer at each of the four U.S. military academies. During her retirement, Trefts spent her summers at Chautauqua and the off-season in Shaker Heights and Dunedin, Florida, except for this past year, when she lived in Stillwater, Maine. Trefts is survived by her five children: Dorothy Eleanore (Dede) Trefts (Daniel McEvoy), Albert S. Trefts, Jr. (Victoria Leonhart), William G. Trefts, Deborah C. Trefts and C. Elizabeth Trefts. She is also survived by her grandchildren: Albert S. Trefts III and William P. McEvoy; her step-grandsons, Jonathan McEvoy and Andrew McEvoy (Laura Petnuch); and Andrew and Laura’s three children.  

A graveside service for family and close friends will be held at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 8 at the Chautauqua Cemetery. Afterwards, Joan’s family hopes that her friends and theirs will join them in celebrating her life at the Athenaeum Hotel. In lieu of flowers, her family requests that donations in Joan L. Trefts’ memory be made in her name to the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy, the Chautauqua Foundation’s Lake Conservation Fund, and/or the Chautauqua Foundation’s Sharpe/Trefts Memorial Fund (for the upkeep of Sharpe Field).

Becky Sharp


Lucille (Becky) Becker Sharp was born on Feb. 1, 1927, and passed away on Feb. 23, 2021. Becky was born in Erie, Pennsylvania, and enjoyed growing up there with many friends and activities. 

She attended and graduated from Muskingum College in New Concord, Ohio. She met her husband of 51 years, Don Sharp, at Muskingum. 

They raised four children, Bill, Jim, Judy and Bob, living in the Cleveland area and a short three years in Wilmette, Illinois.  Her son Bob passed away in 1985. Her husband Don passed away in 2001. Becky married Bob Walker in 2015. 

Becky loved traveling the world and also visiting Chautauqua, New York, in the summers. She will be remembered as having a very generous and fun loving spirit. She loved her four granddaughters, Annie Calhoun, Laura Ohms, Jill Sharp and Christine Sharp, and recently, her two great-grandsons, Calan and Solly, and two great-granddaughters, Maya and Lainie. 

Becky will always hold a special place in the hearts of her children, grandchildren and now her great-grandchildren, who called her Gigi.

Memorial Service was held on Feb. 28, 2021, at St. Mark’s Village-Chapel. Donations to honor Becky can be made to: Northwood Presbyterian Church 2875 FL-580, Clearwater, FL, 33761 or Presbyterian Association of Chautauqua, 9 Palestine Ave, Chautauqua, NY, 14722. Call 727-796-8090 or email

Alyce Caroline Milks


Alyce Milks, age 85, passed away in Orlando, Florida on Oct. 27, 2020. Alyce was born on April 24, 1935, in Ossining, New York, to Ethelyn and Albert Berguson, the middle of three daughters. She grew up in Elmira, New York, and earned an education degree in home economics from Oneonta College in 1956.

In 1958, Alyce married Don Milks and they embarked on a life together in Tucson, Arizona.  Alyce worked for Sears as Don pursued an engineering doctorate. Their son, Andrew, was born in 1965 in Tucson, and their new family soon moved to Ada, Ohio, as Don had accepted a professorship at Ohio Northern University. In 1967 their second son, Wesley, was born. 

It was in Ada where Alyce became actively involved in her community. 

During her 35 years in Ada, Alyce volunteered for many activities at the United Methodist Church and in Ada schools, and she worked at the Ohio Northern bookstore. She was also involved with PEO and Habitat for Humanity. 

Perhaps her greatest and most challenging job was raising Andy and Wes to become self-reliant young men by teaching them how to cook, clean and do laundry. 

Besides Ada, Chautauqua, New York, held a special place in Alyce’s heart. She and Don were the host and hostess at Alumni Hall in the ‘70s and ‘80s, and Alyce was an active member of the Chautauqua Women’s Club as well as the Fire Auxiliary. Alyce also enjoyed interacting with the youth of Chautauqua as a Children’s School bus monitor for several years. 

On Tuesdays, you would often find Alyce helping to prepare and serve lunches at Hurlbut Church. Besides helping out in many ways, Alyce loved attending the cultural and spiritual events that Chautauqua had to offer, and spending priceless time with her family. 

In 2000, Alyce and Don started to spend their winters in sunny Florida. They spent many years on Treasure Island, taking full advantage of beach living, before moving closer to Wes and his family in Orlando.

Alyce is survived by her sisters, Alma Schroeder and Lynne Richardson, her sons Wes (Marni), and Andy (Chris), and her four grandchildren: Jacob, Edison, Alyson and Robb. She was preceded in death by her husband, Donald Milks.

Alyce will be remembered for her calming, quiet demeanor, dedication to family, friends and community, and her gentle spirit. Currently Alyce has donated her body to the medical students of the University of Central Florida. 

Her final resting place will be with Don at the Chautauqua Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to Straight Street, a faith-based food ministry serving the homeless in Orlando (, and/or the Chautauqua Fire Department Auxiliary, P.O. Box 224, Chautauqua, NY, 14722.

Nan Johnson


On Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2021, Nanette “Nan” Johnson passed away peacefully at her home in San Diego, due to complications from metastatic breast cancer at the age of 62. 

Nan was the type of person that touched people and people’s lives. Anyone that came in contact with her felt a special connection with her. She was kind, compassionate, thoughtful and loved life.

Nan was born on Dec. 5, 1958, in Rocky River, Ohio, to parents Hal and Aggie Fausnaugh. She studied liberal arts at the College of Wooster in Ohio and received her master of business administration from the Monterey Institute of International Studies in Monterey, California (now Middlebury Institute of International Studies). 

She dedicated over 30 years in the medical field in San Diego at a variety of institutions, from small private practices to large medical centers. Nan was the executive director for five years at the innovative, integrative health center of the Chopra Center for Wellbeing. 

For the last 16 years of her career, Nan found her calling in hospice and end-of-life care. She aspired to be a leader who inspired and provided clear direction. Nan and her spouse Connie Villa were together for 26 years and shared love for their dogs, travel, photography, meditation, writing and for supporting philanthropic causes. 

Through it all, Nan had a lifelong passion to explore spirituality in its various forms and took workshops and retreats with different wisdom teachers. Her book, Legacy of Love, is a culmination of what she learned along the way. 

Nan is survived by her spouse, Connie, and their dog Gus, Nan’s sister Janine (Bob) Obee of Chautauqua, New York; nieces Courtney (Damian) Delaunay, Karina (Brian) Dolan, Kristen (Keith) Barnet and Marisa (Jindra) Skruzny; nephews Perry (Kim) Obee and Christopher (Olga) O’Brien; as well as great-nieces and -nephews. 

This loving family and wonderful friends stood by Nan and Connie through thick and thin. 

Connie would like to thank UCSD — Breast Health Center Team for the dedicated and compassionate work they did while Nan was under their care all these years. Similarly, words cannot express how thankful Connie is to LightBridge Hospice and Hospice of Chautauqua for the exceptional care Nan received with them. 

It was a true blessing to have such heartfelt compassion and care with these organizations.

A private Celebration of Life is scheduled for September. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made at LightBridge Hospice, Cancer Research Institute, Sonoma Ashram and Chautauqua Hospice and Palliative Care.

Helen Snyder


Helen Petitt Snyder, 90, of Chautauqua and formerly of Caledonia, New York, passed away peacefully at her home on May 28, 2021, with family at her side. 

The daughter of the late Clarence and Florence Wassink Petitt, she was born Aug. 4, 1930, in Niobe, New York.

Helen was a 1948 graduate of Chautauqua Central School. She continued her education, earning a degree in elementary education from Fredonia State College. She enjoyed a career as an elementary school teacher at Caledonia-Mumford Central School, from which she retired. 

She was a lifelong Chautauquan, a member of the Chautauqua Women’s Club, and an active member of several bridge groups. She loved participating in the annual antique show at Chautauqua Institution.

After Helen retired, she enjoyed traveling to Florida, the southwest U.S., and several trips to Europe. Upon retiring she moved to her family home at Chautauqua Institution. She worked for Chautauqua Institution Summer School as a calligrapher and for the Chautauqua Utility District. Helen also co-owned and operated antique stores Plaza Time in Chautauqua and The Antique Barn in Rochester, New York. She enjoyed collecting antiques, playing bridge, and family time.

Helen is survived by her two sons; Stephen (Amy) Snyder of Mayville, and Gary Snyder of Chautauqua, three grandchildren; Sam and Leah Snyder, and Ashley (David) Wood of Livonia, New York, two great grandchildren; Maddy and Lexi Wood, one brother; Floyd (Trudy) Petitt of Knoxville, Tennessee, and several beloved nieces and nephews.

     In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by a sister, Mae Petitt, and one brother; Lewis Petitt.

     At Helen’s request, no visitation was observed. A private memorial graveside service was held at the Chautauqua Cemetery at the convenience of the family. Rev. Jay Summerville officiated.

Memorial contributions can be made to Chautauqua Hospice and Palliative Care (20 W. Fairmount Ave, Lakewood, NY, 14750) or Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy (PO Box 45, Lakewood, NY 14750). To leave a remembrance or to post condolences to the family, please visit

Molly Greene


Molly Elisabeth Greene, 42, passed away unexpectedly at her home in Columbus, Ohio, on May 21, 2021. Molly grew up in Cleveland Heights and graduated from Cleveland Heights High School in 1996. Her glorious voice soared as a member of Mr. Thomas’s Singers there.

After secondary school, Molly traveled to Greece with her mother and younger sister Libby. She then traveled through Mexico and Costa Rica with friends and enjoyed learning to speak and read Spanish. When Molly moved to Charleston, South Carolina, to be near a beautiful ocean, she earned an Associates of Arts degree at Trident Technical College. 

She transferred those credits and earned more toward her Bachelor of Arts degree at the Ohio State University, when she and her older brother Caspian worked together in restaurant service and bartending in Columbus.

Molly had many gifts and talents: among the best were being a skilled swimmer and lifeguard who enjoyed ocean-snorkeling; writing music and poetry, playing guitar with passion; painting and decorating; and, most meaningfully, helping others, especially people struggling with addiction.

So loved for her sweetness and generosity, her beautiful smile and infectious laughter, Molly brightened the lives of everyone who ever knew her.

Molly was preceded in death by her maternal grandparents Everitt and Aileen Morley, paternal grandfather Lewis Gross, adoptive paternal grandparents Edward and Betty Greene, and close friend, Jesse Mlada.

Molly is the beloved daughter of Maureen Morley and Ronald Gross; precious granddaughter of paternal grandmother Rose Gross; adopted daughter of Doug Greene; cherished partner of Brian “Pete” Peterson; treasured sister of Caspian Greene (Antionette Luzano), Libby Greene (Trent), Erin Gerrity Fry, and Kai Winthrop; much-loved niece of Marion “Mel” Kupchik (Brian), Bill Morley (Karen), Michael Morley (Sandy), Peter Morley (Debbie), Christine Gross, Shantih Shantih Kaur Khalsa, Michael Gross, Millie Gross (Steffi), and Jolie McDonald; dear cousin of Steve (Jill), John (Karen), Ellie (James), Kristine (Scott), Christopher, Jennifer (Eric), Rev. Fr. James Morley, and Stephanie; and prized friend of many.

A memorial service was held June 12, 2021, at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church, Bay Village, Ohio. 

Memorial contributions in Molly’s honor may be given to either of the following nonprofits or similar organizations: Columbus Humane and Our Centers – The LCADA Way.

James Braham


James Whitla Braham, age 88, passed away peacefully on, June 10, 2021, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, surrounded by his family. Beloved husband of 47 years to Kathleen Braham; loving father of James Whitla Braham Jr. (Amy), Elizabeth Braham Simons (Bruce), Kathyrn Hossler Braham, and Andrew Hall Braham (Jennifer); cherished grandfather of James, Michael, Russell, Julia, Grace, Emmerich, Josephine and Juliet; son of the late Justice William Walter Braham and Selina Whitla Braham, brother of the late Isabel Braham Pedersen and W. Walter Braham Jr. James’ first wife, Jane Vance Braham, of Canton, Ohio, passed away in 1969. She was affectionately known as “Miss Janey” from her many years hosting “The Romper Room” show on WTAE in Pittsburgh.

Jim was born Feb. 18, 1933, in New Castle, Pennsylvania. His father was a judge on the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania and instilled in Jim a maniacal love of growing the largest heirloom tomatoes possible. His mother, Selina, instilled a love of lifelong learning in Jim, and introduced the entire family to Chautauqua Institution where Jim spent every summer of his life, sailing Lightnings with his older brother, Walter, and in later years, sharing the front porch of the summer home with his whip-smart sister, Isabel. 

Jim graduated from Mercersburg Academy, where he became lasting friends with the former Governor of Pennsylvania, Dick Thornburg. Jim graduated from Princeton University in 1954 with a Bachelor of Science in Economics and then served as a First Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps.

Jim started his career at Mellon Bank in Pittsburgh and then became an investment banker at Parker/Hunter where for 41 years he specialized in IPOs. Jim was a member of the Fox Chapel Golf Club for over 56 years.

Jim was a gentleman with a strong sense of mischief and a delightfully keen sense of humor. He raised his four children and eight grandchildren to always explore life to the fullest, and regularly said, “Nothing ventured. Nothing gained.” 

As a lifelong Chautauquan, he instilled his love of knowledge and art in all of them. His happiest days were holding court on the front porch with a drink in hand, sharing a story and a laugh with all who walked by.

We are eternally grateful for the encouraging, joyful life he championed. We will miss this gentleman of all gentlemen sorely. Rest in peace, Dad, we will keep fighting the good fight on your behalf.

A memorial service was held at Fox Chapel Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh.

In lieu of flowers, the family respectfully suggests memorial contributions to  Chautauqua Institution as a celebration of his respect for all that he, and his extended family, learned there.

C. Fraser Smith


Longtime journalist (and friend of the Daily) C. Fraser Smith of Baltimore passed away peacefully on April 25, 2021, surrounded by his family. He is survived by his devoted partner, Carole Hamlin of Baltimore; five children, Jennifer Thorpe of Severna Park, Maryland, Alexandra Avedisian of Norton, Massachusetts, Jacob Smith of Mandeville, Louisiana, Anna C. Smith and Emily C. Smith, both of New York City; seven grandchildren; and former wives Martha H. Smith of Cranston, Rhode Island, and Eileen Canzian of Baltimore. 

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in his name to the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Orchkids program at or Vehicles for Change at Arrangements by the family-owned Mitchell-Wiedefeld Funeral Home.

Howie Schiller


The Schiller and Thomas families invite you to celebrate the life of Howie Schiller (Jan. 14, 1926-Jan. 9, 2021), aka “The Picture Man,” from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Bird, Tree & Garden Club Arboretum. Howie left this world a better place on Jan. 9, 2021. He is survived by his wife of 74 years, Barbara (Bobby) Schiller; children, Richard (Judy) Schiller of Cleveland and Laurie (Mark) Thomas of Cleveland; grandchildren, Leah (Drew) Molinari, Jordan Thomas, Amy Schiller and Sam Schiller (Rebecca Stevens); and great-grandchild, Theo Schiller. 

Howie’s lovingkindness, generosity, playfulness, joke telling and bright affirming spirit was felt by all who knew him. Howie was adored by many, having built a life of enduring, abiding relationships and community. We look forward to celebrating him in his beloved Chautauqua.

Patricia Brown Bell


Patricia Brown Bell, 91, of Houston, Texas, passed away peacefully on Nov. 24, 2020, at the Abbey Retirement Community. Memorial Services will be held at a later date.

Patricia was born on March 1, 1929 in Columbus, Ohio, to William B. Sharp and Barbara Georgiana Sharp. She attended New Concord High School in Ohio where she was a cheerleader, homecoming queen and played in the orchestra. She attended Muskingum College where she participated in choir, orchestra and was May Queen. Patricia graduated with a degree in elementary education and was a stewardess for a year with American Airlines. While at Muskingum she met Joseph Lewis Brown and they married after college in 1951.

She taught in numerous public schools in Texas, starting in Austin. She and Joe had three children: Steve, Barbara and Tim. Joe died in 1975 and after that Patricia attended Lamar University in Beaumont earning her masters degree in speech pathology. She continued to work in the public schools in Texas. She married Howard Bryant Bell in 1990 and they lived in Beaumont, Texas. Howard passed away in 2002. Patricia moved to Houston in 2009 and became a member of Memorial Drive United Methodist Church where she made many friends and participated in choir and several weekly activities. In 2015 Patricia moved to the Abbey Retirement Community and made several close friends, including Ed Yanoscik. Throughout her lifetime Patricia spent many summers at Chautauqua Institution and loved her time there with family and friends. Pat visited Chautauqua for 75 years and was thrilled to visit on her free pass in her 90th year, which was her last visit.   She served on the Presbyterian House Board, achieved Parnassian status in Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle, and what she enjoyed most about Chautauqua were Morning Devotions, the morning lecture, and taking Special Studies classes.

Her cheerful smile and gentle spirit will truly be missed by all whose lives she touched.

Patricia is survived by her children; Steven Brown and wife Cyndy of Granbury, Texas, Barbara Calhoun and husband John of Houston and Timothy Brown and wife Kathy of Spokane, Washington; Grandchildren John Calhoun, Kristen Calhoun, Jennifer Calhoun; stepdaughter-in-law Nancy Bell, stepgrandchildren Adam Bell and wife Danielle, Joel Bell and wife Miryam, and John Bell.

In lieu of flowers the family suggests donations to Memorial Drive United Methodist Church, 12955 Memorial Drive, Houston, TX, 77079; or the Presbyterian Association of Chautauqua, P.O. Box 459, Chautauqua, NY, 14722.

Arthur Roy Ekstrom


Arthur Roy Ekstrom, 81, of Frewsburg, New York, took his last breath on Earth on Sunday, July 18, at UPMC Hamot.

He was born in Maple Plain, Minnesota, on Jan. 27, 1940, to Joseph and Minnie Ekstrom. One of 11 children, Art and his family moved to the family farm on the Peterson Road in Frewsburg in 1948.

A graduate of Frewsburg Central School, Art served his country in the U.S. Army and was especially proud of his participation in the launch of the first synchronous orbiting satellite. After working briefly in Arizona and being stationed in Paso Robles, California, Art returned to Frewsburg, where he spent most of his career working for Vac Air Alloys, serving as a vice president in titanium sales. His travel in the military and with Vac Air sparked a lifelong interest in geography, history, science and politics, which he loved to discuss with friends and strangers alike.

A generous soul, he and Kathy hosted many family celebrations at their home of many years. Inspired by others who had forged their own path, he became a trusted mentor to many.

He loved to garden, sharing his beautiful flower arrangements and growing tips throughout the community. In his retirement, he loved nothing more than spending time with his family and taking daily walks, with multiple stops, around his beloved Frewsburg.

He was a member of Zion Lutheran Church, the Frewsburg American Legion and the Jaycees.

He is survived by his wife, Kathryn, also of Frewsburg; his sons, Matthew and Scott, both of Jamestown; his daughter Karen (Geoff) Sherman, of Indianapolis; his grandchildren Skylar and Hunter Ekstrom and Victor Sherman; his sisters and brothers, Elvera Classon, Ardell North, George Ekstrom, Frances Babyak, Emerson Ekstrom and RoseMary Carvella; as well as many nieces, nephews, great nieces and nephews, and his AFS daughter, Norie Othman of Malaysia. Besides his parents, he was preceded in death by his brothers Leonard, John, Myron and Kerm, and many other loved ones.

Family received friends at the Peterson Funeral Home in Frewsburg on July 21. A celebration of life was held on July 22 at Zion Lutheran Church in Frewsburg with Pastor Phil Roushey officiating.

Memorial donations may be made to a charity of your choice.

The Benatoviches


Lorelei Fox Benatovich

No ordinary woman, beautiful inside and out, funny, warm, loving, generous, smart with a little bit of kookiness — and forever 39, Lorelei Fox Benatovich (Feb. 13, 1935 – April 29, 2021) will be missed by her family more than imaginable. Anyone lucky enough to have known her, was quickly engulfed in her world — whether you wanted to hear about her daughters or her granddaughters or not!

Although born in the north (Minneapolis), she was raised in Houston and always identified as a Texan, even if sometimes “misplaced” in New York or Rhode Island. Lorelei was a true Southerner — complete with a hint of an accent (especially after a phone call with her parents or other Texas friends), Southern hospitality and a few confederate dollars. 

She attended Sophie Newcomb Memorial College (the women’s college of Tulane University) in New Orleans and was a member of the Alpha Epsilon Phi Sorority. While visiting family in Buffalo, New York, during the summers away from Houston, she met her husband of 62 years, Harvey Benatovich, and lost most of her accent during her first Buffalo blizzard. At parties, the Benatoviches were always the first couple on the dance floor and the last to leave it! Lorelai’s favorite dance spot, however, was in the back of the Amphitheater at Chautauqua. 

A favorite nursery school teacher in her early career, she later opened Lorelei Graphics Gallery and was tempted to run for mayor of Buffalo. However, it was more important to her to never miss a match or game and to root for her kids’ sports teams. That tradition continued in the next generation, and she was a loyal, snack-providing fan of Classical High School Girls’ Tennis Team in Providence, Rhode Island. 

She is survived by her loving daughters, Penny Benatovich and Lisa Brosofsky, her son-in-law, Dan Brosofsky, and the loves of her life, her twin granddaughters Sarah and Jillian Brosofsky, as well as Eric Brosofsky, many nieces and nephews, cousins and countless wonderful friends. She was predeceased by her parents, Sam and Mary Fox, her brother, Myles Fox, as well as her husband, Harvey Benatovich. 

No one loved her family more than Lorelei. She lived for her “girls” and was a fierce Mombo/Mama Bear. A force of nature. Indelibly in our hearts and souls forever. A life full of love.

Harvey Benatovich 

Born and raised in Buffalo, New York, Harvey Benatovich (Sep. 25, 1933 – Dec. 11, 2020) was a true gentleman. A graduate of Nichols School and Yale University, he was known for his quick sense of humor; being able to do just about any accent; his love for acting, old movies, singing and dancing; and for making everyone feel his warmth and charm. 

He is survived by his family who loved him very much — at the time of his death, he was survived by his wife of 62 years Lorelei (Fox) Benatovich; daughters Penny Benatovich and Lisa (Benatovich) Brosofsky; son-in-law, Dan Brosofsky; and his beloved granddaughters, Sarah and Jillian Brosofsky; as well as Eric Brosofsky; sister, Roz Newman; along with many loving friends, in-laws, nephews, nieces and cousins. He was the devoted son of the late Eva (Schrutt) and Harry Benatovich; and brother of the late Ted Benatovich. 

After college and a brief stay in New York City, he served in the Army in Korea. Upon his return from Korea, he married Lorelei, and they settled in Buffalo. He acted in a number of plays at Buffalo’s Studio Arena Theatre, played some characters at the old Fantasy Island and landed a job in an advertising agency before too long. With the advertising experience, he took over all of the advertising for the growing family supermarket chain, Park Edge. Harvey ran the advertising and managed the Transit store (every Park Edge store had a Benatovich in it). Later on he enjoyed rewarding work managing the Broadway Market and with the Job Corps of Western New York. 

He will be remembered as the best Dad and Papa ever, a great joke teller, fabulous singer, dancer, snappy dresser and a die-hard Buffalo Bills fan. Anyone lucky enough to know him adored him. 

The Benatoviches

Carmela A. Clementi-Rizzi


Carmela A. Clementi-Rizzi, 94 of Naples, Florida, passed away peacefully on March 18, 2021, surrounded by her loving family at Joanne’s House at Hope Hospice. Formerly of Tonawanda, New York, she had been a resident of Naples since 1993. Carmela was born March 29, 1926 in Buffalo, a daughter of the late Anthony and Santa Battaglia.

She was a devout Catholic and faithful parishioner at St. Agnes Catholic Church. In her younger years she enjoyed volunteering and was a member of many social groups. Carmela also loved playing cards and dominoes as well as listening to music, baking and spending time with family and friends.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her first husband, Louis L. Clementi in 1974; second husband, Sallustio “Sal” Rizzi in 2019; and sister, Sarah Battaglia.

Survivors include her loving children, Louis (Deborah) Clementi of Big Pine Key, Florida, Anthony (Lisa) Clementi of Naples, Florida, Michael (Christine) Clementi of Fort Lauderdale, FL, Nancy (Gary) Willis of Tonawanda, New York, and Sandra (Scott) O’Connor of Naples, Florida; 14 cherished grandchildren; and 12 adored great grandchildren.

A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated March 23, 2021, at St. Agnes Catholic Church in Naples. Inurnment followed in the church columbarium.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in Carmela’s name to Joanne’s House at Hope Hospice, 27200 Imperial Parkway, Bonita Springs, Florida, 34135.

James Dombey


James Dombey, age 88, born Nov. 2, 1932, passed away Nov. 25, 2020. Jim was born in Cleveland and grew up there. When he graduated from Cornell University, he became Ensign Dombey and began flight training in Pensacola. He had met his wife of nearly 66 years on Christmas night, and one year later, they were married and drove to Pensacola via Point Clear. After he received his wings, they returned to Pensacola for helicopter training. 

On deployment from his squadron in Lakehurst, New Jersey, he flew plane guard on aircraft carriers. When his tour was up, they returned to Cleveland. Jim and Katie, always family first, shared all Cleveland’s great places to go and things to do with Jim, Carolyn, and John, including sailing, hiking, and Sunday visits to the museums in University Circle. He flew in the Navy Reserves until retirement, when they moved back to Pensacola where they felt truly at home. He was a Deacon and sang in the choir of Bay Presbyterian Church. 

He loved classical as well as big band and Dixieland music, and spent many summers at Chautauqua, New York, in a cottage only a few steps from the Amphitheater and the symphony and lectures there. He was an avid sailor, and enjoyed their trips to Europe, especially Italy and Venice, both on the Royal Clipper and a canal barge. Pensacola history was brought to life at the lectures by John Appleyard and the Heritage Foundation. 

Jim was preceded in death by his parents, Ralph H. and Katherine M. Dombey. He is survived by his wife, Katie; son, Jim (Laurie); daughter, Carolyn (Hans) Lichtfuss; son, John (Jill); 10 grandchildren, Sandra, James, Alecia, Erich, Kristi, Heidi, Kurt, Stefan, Anne, Anson and eleven great-grandchildren, Owen, Lara, Kaylee, Elle, Daniel, Ema, Anna. Declan, Elisha, Rowan, and Luke. 

A funeral cortege departed Harper-Morris Memorial Chapel on Dec. 4, 2020, for Barrancas National Cemetery for a graveside service. The Rev. Mike Mashburn officiated, and full military honors were observed. Harper-Morris Memorial Chapel in Pensacola, Florida, was entrusted with the arrangements.

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