Marjorie Thomas


Marjorie Eleanor Cochran Thomas, daughter of William H. and Mary Elizabeth Dersch Cochran, passed away on March 30, 2020. She was born in Erie, Pennsylvania on Dec. 6, 1927.

Marjorie attended Erie public schools (East High, class of 1945) and Allegheny College, Meadville, Pennsylvania (class of 1949). She received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music from the University of Miami in 1975 and 1977, respectively.

Married twice, she was the mother of three children: Daniel C. Thomas of Dallas; Susan Thomas Thompson of Lamar, Missouri; and Nancy Thomas Farmer of Round Hill, Virginia; all of whom survive. Also survived by six grandchildren, four great-grandchildren, a sister, Patricia Cochran Alberts of Kinderhook, New York; a niece, and one nephew.

She was employed as a church organist and choir director. Moved to John Knox Village in Pompano Beach, Florida, in 1994, where she served as a volunteer chapel organist, gift shop manager, and newsletter editor. Member of First Presbyterian Church, Pompano Beach, where she sang in the choir, played handbells, and served terms as Deacon and Elder. Marjorie was a summer resident of Chautauqua, New York, where she sang in the Chautauqua Choir, served as an officer of the Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle, and was part of the Blessing and Healing team. 

She was the composer of one of Chautauqua’s most beloved hymns, “Heaven’s Hill.”

Burial was held in Glade Cemetery, Walkersville, Maryland. Memorials may be made to First Presbyterian Church, 2331 NE 26th Ave., Pompano Beach, Florida, 33062; Glade United Church of Christ, 21 Fulton Ave., Walkersville, Maryland, 21793; or the Chapel Capital Fund at John Knox Village, 651 SW 6th St., Pompano Beach, Florida, 33060.

Virginia Stahlsmith


Virginia “Ginny” Morgan Stahlsmith, 79, of Pittsburgh and Chautauqua, New York, passed away peacefully on May 12, 2021, at the Longwood at Oakmont, Hannah Health Center in Verona, Pennsylvania, with family at her side.

She was born May 17, 1941 in Pittsburgh, the daughter of the late Lewis W. and Katherine Craig Morgan.

Ginny was a 1959 graduate of Edgewood High School in Pennsylvania. She then attended Wells College in Aurora, New York, for her undergraduate work before earning a master’s degree from Westfield State College in Massachusetts in Library Science and Visual Media. She went on to work for 31 years as a high school librarian at Chicopee High School in Chicopee, Massachusetts.

Ginny was forward-thinking and spearheaded the transition to a digital card catalogue in the ‘80s, and opened a new high school library. She was a member and leader of multiple library organizations and affiliations. Ginny created a library that was a haven for students and teachers alike, and a generation of students benefited from her guidance, leadership and dedication. 

Her colleagues remember her office and her hospitality, knowing she would always have hot coffee, a sweet treat or a welcome break. She donated to many organizations, including the International Myeloma Association, the Bestor Society at Chautauqua Institution, Chautauqua Lake Watershed Conservancy, and Hurlbut Memorial Community United Methodist Church.     

Ginny was an avid sports fan, taking her grandkids to Red Sox and Pirates games. She also followed the New England Patriots and the Pittsburgh Steelers (depending on who was having a winning season). She loved musicals — her favorite was A Chorus Line — and she even sang in multiple choirs in her high school and college years. She cruised Oceana Cruise lines, and spent her recent winters in Sanibel, Florida, but Ginny’s favorite place was Chautauqua. 

She used to water ski on the lake — on her very own set of wooden water skis, with her name on them, dating back to 1959. She slalomed, sailed, and golfed and was an exceptional bowler — especially when bowling for the Chautauqua Purity and Temperance league. She loved to bike to the stand outside Hurlbut Church on a summer Sunday morning to get a gooey roll, and then sit next to her tree at the Chautauqua Amphitheater with a cup of coffee to sing “Holy, Holy, Holy.” She enjoyed taking her grandkids tubing on the yellow boat (sometimes recklessly) and ending the boat day with wings at the Village Casino. She also enjoyed reading a good book and doing the crossword puzzle in the paper, overseeing from the porch the lake and dock operations with a glass of Malbec in her hand. She loved to laugh and tell stories with her friends and family, and sing the doxology at every family gathering. She will be remembered for her quick wit and her quirky (borderline inappropriate) sense of humor. 

She is survived by her (much older) sister, Ann Slonaker of Verona; a son, Brian (Marya) Stahlsmith of Stedman, New York; a daughter, Leah (William) Boyan of Seattle;  four grandchildren, Zach Stahlsmith, Megan (Jake) Stahlsmith, Ben (Lauren) Stahlsmith, and Will Stahlsmith; three step-grandchildren, Harley Boyan, and Grayson Schaffer and Sam Arthur; and several nieces and nephews. 

Ginny was preceded in death by her parents, Lewis W. and Katherine Craig Morgan. A memorial service will be held at a future date to be announced at the convenience of the family. Burial will be in the Chautauqua Cemetery.

Memorial donations can be made to the International Myeloma Foundation (

Ronald James Barnett


Ronald James Barnett, born Feb. 2, 1938, in Hellertown, Pennsylvania, passed on June 30, 2021, in Winchester, Virginia, in the presence of his wife, Pat Groff, and his children Kenny Barnett and Cindy Barnett Michel.

As a member of the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, Rob played percussion for 57 summer seasons (1965-2016) and taught percussion to students at the Chautauqua School of Music from 1965 to 2013. His first wife, Joanne, enjoyed many summers at Chautauqua where his children enjoyed Boys’ and Girls’ Club. His second wife, Nora Davenport, also a percussionist, performed in the CSO and the Kennedy Center Opera and Ballet Orchestra until her untimely death. Pat Groff, his third wife, enjoyed visiting Chautauqua as a little girl, hearing the CSO and now participates in Artists at the Market and Art in the Park. 

Ron’s family continues to visit Chautauqua every summer and his granddaughter, Jenna, is getting married this fall at the Hall of Philosophy with a reception to follow at the Athenaeum Hotel — certainly a great reflection of the influence the love of Chautauqua has had on the entire family. 

Ron had full-time positions as tympanist at the Kennedy Center’s Opera and Ballet Orchestra from 1971 to 2000 and concurrently as a music professor teaching percussion at the University of Maryland, College Park from 1967 to 2002. He also performed at the Kennedy Center Honors and at various venues in the Washington, D.C, area with such notables as the Three Tenors, Johnny Mathis, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Pearl Bailey, and many others throughout his career. 

During his performing career he was privileged to play under the many illustrious conductors including Leonard Bernstein, Herbert von Karajam, Claudio Abbado, Zubin Mehta, Mstislav Rostropovich, Leopoid Stokowski, Arthur Fiedler, John Williams, and others. After retiring from the Kennedy Center and University of Maryland, he taught for one year at Shenandoah University in Winchester, while continuing to perform at his beloved Chautauqua during the summer. 

A veteran of the U.S. Navy, he served in the Navy Band as timpanist and marimba soloist from 1960 to 1964 and also in the funeral procession for  President John F. Kennedy. As a retiree, he performed with the Emeritus group of percussionists at the Percussive Arts Society.

Ron received his Bachelors in Music from the Eastman School of Music in 1960 where he was a member of the Marimba Masters. That group performed on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1958. Ron earned his Masters from the University of Maryland in 1973, where he taught for 35 years. Over the years, his many percussion students have indicated his great influence upon them not only in performing but in other ways that made their lives better. 

Known for his colorful stories of performing and great sense of humor, he was the consummate professional admired by his fellow musicians and his students. 

A memorial service is planned at the family’s church in Silver Spring, Maryland, in late fall and an event to commemorate him at Chautauqua next summer.

Enid Shames


Enid Shames always wore peace beads. Loving mother to Jeff (Donna) and Gigi Pomerantz, loving grandmother to Yonat (Jono) Piva, Liat Mayer, Zachary (Jennifer), Jamison (Rebecah) and Nicholas Pomerantz and great-grandmother to Evelyn, Emma and Fiona Pomerantz and Asher Piva, she passed away on Nov. 12, 2020. Born on June 27, 1925, in New York City to Beatrice Kneitel and Jesse Josephson and adopted by Fred Goldstandt after her parents’ divorce, Enid attended Bentley High School, the University of Wisconsin and New York University, graduating with a master’s degree in education. She taught public school for 30 years at Davis School in New Rochelle, New York, and she was loved by many of the hundreds of students who sat in her classroom. In all her lessons she would engage her students with music and guitar. Each year they put on a play about justice or fairness, messages she promoted throughout her life. As vice president of the local teachers’ union, in 1970 she led a strike for smaller class size and better benefits for teachers.

After retirement, Enid’s activism didn’t end. As a member of the Raging Grannies and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, she protested wars and racial and environmental injustice. With her purple hat, she stood on street corners and public plazas with a dozen other women singing protest songs. She believed “there’s never a time in your life that you can’t speak out for what you believe in.”

She was also active in the National Organization for Women and the Palm Beach Democrats. She volunteered at the Norton Museum, enthusiastically greeting and directing visitors.

Enid (and Ben) attended Chautauqua Institution each summer for over 30 years. She supported Friends of the Theater as membership chair and the Chautauqua Opera Guild Young Artist program as an “Opera Parent.” She was a longtime member of the Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle and read hundreds of its books.

In 2010, at the age of 85, Enid traveled to Haiti with her daughter’s nonprofit, Youthaiti. Over the next five years she carried suitcases filled with tennis racquets, balls, sneakers and even a tennis net, bringing the joy of tennis to dozens of rural Haitian children. The Enid Shames Tennis Club lives on under the volunteer direction of Jackie Lefleur, one of the many young men she taught and inspired.

Enid supported many causes throughout her life, too many to mention. Donations in her memory would be especially appreciated by the Raging Grannies and Youthaiti. She will be missed by many.

Paul Fischer


Paul E. Fischer, who oversaw the historic restoration of Chautauqua’s magnificent Massey Memorial Organ, died on Feb. 5, 2021, at the age of 85 in Erie, Pennsylvania, surrounded by his loving family.

In the early 1990s, Fischer’s company won the contract to completely restore the organ that had fallen into serious disrepair after years of neglect. At the time, entire sections of the organ weren’t functioning and the cost and effort to bring this majestic instrument back to life seemed prohibitive. But Fischer and his son, Mark, along with a team of organ builders in Erie were up for the task.

Under Fischer’s expert direction, the Massey Organ was pulled from the brink of disaster after nearly two and a half years of painstaking restoration efforts. It was rededicated on June 17, 1993, and has been under the watchful eye first of Paul and later of his son, Mark, who took over the business when Paul retired.

The organ, located in the Amphitheater, is considered by many to be the centerpiece of the Institution. It is one of five outdoor organs of its kind in the world, considered “outdoor” because its chamber is not heated or air conditioned.

Fischer won the job with more than 40 years in the organ industry, having started there after graduating from high school in Fairview, Pennsylvania, in 1952. With the exception of four years he spent in the U.S. Army in White Sands, New Mexico, and Mainz, Germany, Fischer’s entire career was dedicated to building and restoring pipe organs in churches and performance venues around the world. The history of organ building in Erie is long and rich. Paul chronicled that history in his book, Making Music: The History of the Organ and Piano Industries in Erie, Pennsylvania, available in the Chautauqua Bookstore.

Paul and his wife of 59 years, Nancy, so loved wandering the grounds of Chautauqua, taking in a summer concert or lecture, or even the simple pleasure of enjoying an ice cream cone at Bestor Plaza. In addition to his wife, Paul is survived by a son Mark (Dale) of San Antonio, Texas, and daughter, Carla Allen (Douglas) of Syracuse New York; grandchildren Katie Fischer Masolotte (Ryan), Joe Fischer and Allison Fischer; and great-granddaughters Tessa and Aurora Masolotte, plus several nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his parents Vincent George Fischer and Hazel Rapp Fischer, and his sisters Janet Godfrey and Jacquelyn (Lyn) Wallin.

Paul and Nancy loved to travel and frequently organized trips for groups and friends. He became a go-to resource and ad hoc travel agent for anyone who wanted a personalized “live like the locals” itinerary for some of his favorite places throughout Europe. It’s been said that Paul was the only person who could drive from the northernmost point in Europe to the southern tip of Italy and never get on a paved road, while staying at everything from farm houses to castles along the way.

Over the years, the Fischer home has been a stopping point for countless people. They hosted 16 exchange students and provided respite to many in need whether because of addiction, divorce, isolation or even the weary traveler who just needed a place to stay. Their doors were always open to provide shelter, comfort and compassion. 

A funeral service was held Feb. 10, 2021, at Brugger Funeral Homes in Erie. 

In lieu of flowers please send donations to the Paul Fischer Memorial Scholarship Fund at Syracuse University, which is established to provide monies to students studying pipe organ, at

Tasso Spanos


Tasso George Spanos, age 88, went to his eternal rest on May 2, 2021.

Tasso was the beloved husband of Rebecca for almost 60 years; father to Mark (Toni) and Matthew (Joanna); Papou to Benjamin and Mairen. Tasso was a Renaissance man. He graduated from Bucknell University with a bachelor’s of science in biology and then attended the University of North Carolina’s bacteriology master’s program. He founded Opus One, an audio store, which allowed him to meet many of his musical icons. Tasso loved to dance, any time, and in almost every style. He would perform traditional Greek dances, waltz and swing and was always ready to learn something new. 

Following a severe illness abroad, Tasso discovered that trigger point myotherapy could restore his muscular health. He went through additional training, and helped found the Pittsburgh School of Pain Management. He also taught stretch classes throughout Pittsburgh, and at Chautauqua Institution. He never stopped trying to help people, even offering suggestions for stretches to his doctors as they, in turn, tried to help heal a heart stretched to its limit after 88 years of service to others.

Tasso’s funeral service was held May 15, 2021, at St. Andrews Anglican Church in Lewis Center, Ohio. In lieu of flowers, consider contributing to the St. Andrews Anglican Church Youth Project or Shepherd’s Heart Veterans and Homeless Ministry, 13 Pride Street, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 15219.

Mary Jean Irion


Mary Jean Irion, 96, died on Oct. 16, 2019, surrounded by her family in Willow Street, Pennsylvania.

Born in Newport, Kentucky, Mary Jean grew up in Elyria, Ohio. There she met her beloved husband, Paul E. Irion, in ninth-grade algebra class. They celebrated 75 years of marriage on Aug. 29, 2019. 

She was the daughter of the late Verda and Mary McNeill McElfresh and raised from infancy by her grandparents, Joe and Carrie McElfresh.

Prior to moving to Lancaster County in 1960, Mary Jean and Paul, a minister and seminary professor, lived in St. Louis, Missouri, and Tioga and Long Grove, Illinois. They resided on Kready Avenue in Millersville from 1962 to 2003, when they moved to Willow Valley Communities.

An accomplished and passionate poet, essayist and teacher, her prose work includes three published books: From the Ashes of Christianity (1968), Yes, World, A Mosaic of Mediation (1970), both concerning the post-Christian era, and She-Fire: A Safari Into the Human Spirit (2012), a poetic armchair travel narrative inspired by her travel to Kenya. Her poems have been widely published, a number have won national awards, and some have been anthologized in a chapbook, Holding On (1984).

Mary Jean and Paul spent 40 summers at “Fernwood,” their home in Chautauqua, New York. With Paul’s unwavering support, in 1988 she founded and served as the first director of the Writers’ Center at Chautauqua Institution.

She received a bachelor’s degree in English from Millersville University, was a member of the Academy of American Poets, Poets and Writers, and a Fellow of The Society for The Arts, Religion and Contemporary Culture, based in New York. For several years she taught English literature at Lancaster Country Day School and continued to share her love of language by teaching poetry at Willow Valley.

Mary Jean is survived by her son Mark Irion (Elizabeth); grandchildren Melissa Markley (Christopher Pratt), Marc Irion (Melissa) and Michael Irion; four great grandchildren, and two great great grandchildren. Her daughter, Lisa Markley, preceded her in death in 1997.

A Celebration of Life was held on Nov. 6, 2019. Private interment will take place in Chautauqua, New York.

Memorial contributions may be sent in her name to Hospice and Community Care, 685 Good Drive, P.O. Box 4125, Lancaster, Pennsylvania 17604.

John Keane


John Keane, age 94, born March 15, 1926, in Somerville, Massachusetts. He was a graduate engineer from Tufts University in 1952. After graduation he worked at the General Motors Corporation for 31 years. When he retired from GMC, he became the president of RHP, and founded ND Incorporated. At age 17, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps and served in World War II in both the European and Pacific sectors. John died on Oct. 3, 2020 in Bay Village, Ohio. Keane was a loving husband of Elizabeth Keane for 65 years and a beloved father to sons John and Michael and daughter Jacqueline. He was a dear grandfather of Shannon, Alexander and Christopher. Interment will take place at Holy Cross Cemetery, Malden, Massachusetts at a later date.

Anita May Burlingame Ferguson


Anita May Burlingame Ferguson, 91, a longtime resident of Pompano Beach, Florida and Chautauqua, New York, passed away on Oct. 27, 2020, with loving family by her side at her daughter Grace’s home in Cornelius, North Carolina. 

She was born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts to the late Esther Bellini and Leslie Burlingame. Her early life was filled with the music of her operatic family, which influenced her own piano brilliance, which reigned her life. She graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in music from Bethany College where she met her husband Chick. 

While raising their three children in Mount Lebanon, Pennsylvania, Anita taught piano, played the organ, served as a sought-after accompanist and arranger, was editor of numerous publications and was an active board member of Tuesday Musicale. 

After Chick and Anita moved to Florida, she continued teaching, performing and accompanying, and she enjoyed her roles as President of Morning Musicale of Fort Lauderdale and Elder of First Presbyterian Church. She retired from teaching after 50 years, and she and Chick moved to John Knox Village in Pompano Beach where she was the beloved director of the Chapel Choir and accompanist for the Villagers Men’s Chorus. 

A lifelong artist, she painted hundreds of watercolors and oils and displayed her work in art shows at John Knox.

The Ferguson family bought the Log Cabin on Peck Avenue in Chautauqua in 1967, and Anita had another full life each summer as board member and treasurer of the Chautauqua Women’s Club and where she and her sister June funded a voice scholarship in memory of their mother, Esther Bellini. Anita was a founding member of the Wensley House, a 1974 CLSC graduate, pianist for Sunday services for several denominational houses, and accompanist for weddings and memorials at the Hall of Philosophy.

Anita’s crowning achievement was as matriarch of an ever-growing family who gathered each summer for her delicious meals, homemade apple sauce and always lively conversation. She is survived and lovingly remembered by her children, Charles Jr. (Ramona) of Plainfield, New Jersey, David (Diana) of Bradford, Pennsylvania and Grace (Donald) Zarou of Cornelius, North Carolina; six grandchildren, Loren (Emily), Grant (Elizabeth), Sarah, Maxwell, Eleanore and Adam (Kaitlin); her great-granddaughter, Edie; her sister, June of San Pedro, California.

The family held a private memorial service on Nov. 7, 2020, at Davidson College Presbyterian Church and will gather at Chautauqua Cemetery in July 2021 where Anita will join her husband Charles Allen Ferguson in eternal rest. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to The Chautauqua Woman’s Club Scholarship Fund.

Paul Irion


The Rev. Dr. Paul E. Irion, 98, of Willow Valley Communities, formerly of Kready Avenue, Millersville, Pennsylvania, passed away peacefully on Feb. 7, 2021.

Born in Akron, Ohio, on July 15, 1922, he was the son of the late Rev. Ernst and Elsie Schergens Irion and the husband of the late Mary Jean McElfresh Irion, who passed away in October 2019.

Growing up in Elyria, Ohio, he met Mary Jean in high school and they were married on Aug. 29, 1944. He was a graduate of Elmhurst College in Illinois, Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis, and the University of Chicago Divinity School. He did postgraduate study at Oxford and Cambridge universities.

Ordained into the ministry of the United Church of Christ in 1945, he served as Pastor of Bethany United Church of Christ in Tioga, Illinois and Long Grove Community Church in suburban Chicago. He was the first chaplain of Deaconess Hospital in St. Louis. For 27 years, Paul taught pastoral theology at Lancaster Theological Seminary, retiring in 1987.

Paul specialized in the study of death, bereavement and grief, lecturing widely in seminaries and colleges across the country. His six books and numerous articles in the field of bereavement and grief focused on the ritual responses to loss, the theological, psychological and social ways in which communities deal with death. He recently published an avocational novel about 19th-century immigrants.

Paul was honored by the Association for Death Education and Counseling for his pioneering work in that area, having published his first book on the subject in 1954. Elmhurst College, now Elmhurst University, gave him the Alumni Merit Award, and he was honored by the National Center for Death Education as a Distinguished Contributor to the Field of Dying and Bereavement. In addition to serving on various councils of the United Church of Christ, Paul had been President of the Board of Family and Children’s Service in Lancaster and served on the Board of The Samaritan Center. Paul’s work with hospice was particularly meaningful to him and was founding president of Hospice of Lancaster County (now Hospice and Community Care).

An advocate for social justice and civil rights, Paul participated in the 1963 March on Washington, and two years later, the Selma to Montgomery march for voting rights. In Lancaster, he served on the city’s first Human Relations Committee and Fair Housing Committee.

Mary Jean and Paul spent summers with their family at their home at Chautauqua Institution, a cultural and educational center in New York State, where Paul served on the board and as chairperson. Interment will take place at Chautauqua Cemetery.

Paul will be lovingly missed by his son, Mark (Elizabeth); three grandchildren, Marc (Melissa), Michael, and Melissa Markley (Christopher Pratt); four great-grandchildren Stephen, Christopher, Mila and Henry; and two great-great grandchildren, Jack and Evangeline. He is preceded in death by his daughter, Lisa, and sister, Ruth.

A private service was held at Lancaster Theological Seminary on April 28, 2021, with the Rev. Kathryn L. Kuhn and Loyde Hartley officiating. Memorial contributions may be made in Paul’s name to the Lancaster Theological Seminary, or to Hospice and Community Care in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

To view the service, please visit Paul Irion’s Memorial Page at

John Khosh


Hakuna Matata! That was a favorite phrase and way of life for John G.H. Khosh, M.D., who passed away peacefully in St. Petersburg, Florida. on Feb. 10, 2020, at the age of 91. John was the beloved husband of Mary Nell and loving father of Sheila (Columbus, Ohio), Deanna (Dallas, Texus), Lisa (Cleveland, Ohio), and Lora (Denver, Colorado), and the proud grandfather of 10 grandchildren who called him “Pop” specifically Daniel, Benjamin, Natalie, Caroline, Claudia, Will, Nathan, Jonathan, Charlotte and Henry. He is also survived by his sisters Mahine, Pari, Shahine, Simin and Taji. Among many surviving nieces and nephews, John shared a special bond with his oldest nephew, Moshen, whom he considered a younger brother.

John took an extraordinary path through life, and along the way maintained an inspirational attitude about pursuing dreams and facing hardship. Born April 21, 1929 as Gholam Hossein Khoshnevisan in Mashhad, Iran, John was the youngest boy among 10 children. As a child, he was an avid soccer player and earned the title of captain in college. He also loved the violin, which he taught himself to play. John persevered in medical school to graduate valedictorian despite having textbooks only written in French and Latin. After graduation, without knowing how to speak English or having family in the states, he bravely traveled to America to attend the University of Pennsylvania to complete post-graduate work. During residency at St. Thomas Hospital in Akron, Ohio, he met his future wife, Mary Sivert, who worked as a pharmacy intern. Instantly smitten, he wrote a prescription for “a cup of coffee,” and they married shortly thereafter. Their 60th anniversary will be Sept. 1, 2021 and they renewed wedding vows in the chapel at Westminster Shores 10 years ago on Valentine’s Day.

Once married, they moved to Canada where two daughters were born (Sheila, Deanna) and then onto Berea, Ohio where two more daughters were born (Lisa, Lora).

For over 30 years combined, John practiced obstetrics and gynecology at Fairview General Hospital then Southwest General Hospital where he became Chief of ObGyn. Throughout Southwest Cleveland, John was frequently stopped by patients who thanked him profusely and wanted to shake his hand; one patient even named her baby after him! He was much beloved for showing compassion to patients in financial distress, who he allowed to barter! John never complained about his work schedule. He just grabbed pre-tied ties from the bedroom closet to leave in the middle of the night and took power naps during the day. One night during a storm and power outage, he even performed a delivery by flashlight.

John was a pioneer in preventive women’s health. As a charter member of the Holistic Health movement, he routinely tested blood cholesterol, enrolled patients in smoking cessation programs (taking and placing cigarettes into a giant fish tank), and taught early warning signs for cancer long before these practices became mainstream. Also earlier than most, John recognized the importance of a daily fitness regimen. Throughout his life, he made sure to “exercise every day” and invented a dance to help his friends and family do so. He would remind everyone, “The body can heal itself, but it must move to remain healthy!” and hum, “You’ve got to move it move it” from the movie “Madagascar.”

Upon retirement in 1993, John joined the Academy of Senior Professionals at Eckerd College (ASPEC) in St. Petersburg, Florida where he started the popular “Medical Issues Group.” He also founded the “Science Circle” at Chautauqua Institution, New York, which continues inviting renowned guest speakers to share important scientific breakthroughs. Science was John’s true passion, and he was often teased about the esoteric journals he left lying around the house, such as “Microbiology Today” and “Biochemistry Now.” Nevertheless, John’s passion for science is now an enduring legacy for many grandchildren who work in various scientific fields.

John’s pastimes with his grandchildren were playing strategy games. Chess was his overall favorite, and he even played “chess with friends” online. Learning backgammon in Iran as a child, he often “schlemmed” everyone. He also loved the Persian card game “11.” At ping pong, his strategy was to repeatedly place the ball in opposite, alternating corners. For decades, John played tennis, racquetball, golf, pickleball. He also enjoyed annual ski trips to Boyne Mountain with family and friends.

John was filled with wonder for nature. He traveled the world, visiting all seven continents and never missed a chance to get up close to animals. Deliberately bitten by exotic ants in Costa Rica, he shouted, “Wow! That hurt a LOT more than I thought,” grateful for the experience. On other trips, he enjoyed swimming alongside manatees and playing with penguins, but his curiosity was met with warnings about getting too close. Sometimes, he ignored those warnings altogether, as when he capsized a canoe in Michigan immediately after being told not to stand up. Last summer, at the age of 91 when he was warned not to dive headfirst into the deep end of a swimming pool, he asked, “Why not?” Since he regaled many with fancy dives as a young adult, why not at age 91? Off he went. His dive was perfect.

John regarded nothing as too complex to understand; he knew it just required perseverance and creativity. His forthcoming book, “From Womb to Tomb to Catacomb,” is about the bioelectromagnetic forces impacting overall health. Following decades of independent research, John explains how our bodies are affected by our environment at the molecular level, and how medicine fails to recognize this significant force in health. He explains how communication layers within the human body resemble an onion, and he assigns biological symbols to external stimuli in loops and waves. He often began discussions about the book saying, “All emotions are chemically translated and physically expressed” and loved reminding people that every “human animal” is made up of 30 trillion cells. “Isn’t that fascinating?!” he would ask with genuine delight. John was the ultimate science teacher, passionate, patient, and painstaking in his explanations. Time stood still while he explained scientific complexities until the listener understood.

John’s love for fun was just as pronounced as his dedication to science. He was extremely social, and loved being with friends and attending parties. He was also a jokester and the consummate entertainer. There was always a twinkle in his eye when he engaged an audience, and you never knew what to expect. He loved to make people laugh! He invented an exercise program called “Jiggly Wiggly” for seniors and led groups through his hilarious routine. He created a tripod to represent “The Human Unit” using the head of a doll to explain external influences on health which elicited giggles. If you left important items on the counter, like a wallet or watch, John would hide them to teach you a lesson. If you walked underneath his porch, he would throw a glass of water and run away. He jokingly introduced his daughters as his “mother” to friends in his community. And he often said to others when departing, “Keep smiling” or “Don’t let the rains come down.”

John was comical while practicing resourcefulness too. Many engineering problems were solved with duct tape, bungee cords and zipties. Even when contraptions failed, he was undeterred and enjoyed fantastical mishaps like suitcases flying off the top of the car, or bicycles falling apart in motion. Occasionally, his quick fixes worked extremely well which made all his failures worthwhile in addition to the laughter they provided.

As we share loving memories about John, we should recognize that he was a feminist from the heart. After raising four daughters and having female patients, he believed strongly that women would make better world leaders and cited this poem frequently:

As a rule, man is a fool/When it is hot, he wants it cool/When it is cool, he wants it hot/Always wanting what is not!

In lieu of flowers, please donate to the “Chautauqua Science Group” (501c3 part of CLSC). Checks may be sent to Don Greenhouse, Treasurer, PO Box 31, Chautauqua, NY 14722.

William Clinger



Former U.S. Representative William F. (“Bill”) Clinger, Jr. (R-PA) of Naples, Florida, and Chautauqua, New York, passed away on May 28, 2021. Born on April 4, 1929 in Warren, Pennsylvania to the late William F. Clinger, Sr. and Lella May Hunter Clinger, Bill graduated from the Hill School in Pottstown, Pennsylvania in 1947 and earned a bachelor’s degree in English from The Johns Hopkins University in 1951.

In 1951 he also married his beloved wife Julia “Judy” Whitla, who predeceased him in 2016. He served as a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy from 1951-1955 before returning to Warren, where he was an executive at the New Process Co. from 1955-1962. During these years, he and Judy started their family and, as a young father, Bill entered law school and earned his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Virginia in 1965, where he was on the editorial board of the Virginia Law Review. The family returned to Warren, where Bill was in private law practice for 12 years at the firm of Harper, Clinger, Eberly and Marti. Bill was active in his community during those years, serving as chairman of the Kinzua Dam Dedication Committee, president of the Warren Library Association, and as a delegate to the 1968 Pennsylvania Constitutional Convention and the 1972 Republican National Convention.

In 1975, President Gerald R. Ford appointed Bill to serve as Chief Counsel of the U.S. Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration. Following President Ford’s defeat in the 1976 election, Bill returned to Warren and launched a long-shot bid to unseat an incumbent Democratic Member of Congress in the 1978 midterm election. He won that race and was subsequently re-elected eight times by the voters in his northwestern Pennsylvania congressional district, usually by overwhelming margins. During his 18 years in Congress, he earned a reputation as an effective legislator and principled consensus-builder who was highly respected on both sides of the political aisle. In 1995, after Republicans captured control of the House for the first time in over 40 years, Bill’s colleagues chose him to chair the powerful House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight. In that capacity, he co-authored landmark legislation to reform the federal government’s procurement process (the Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996), as well as a law preventing the federal government from imposing unfunded mandates on States and localities.

As a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, where he served as Vice Chairman in the 104th Congress, Bill was a passionate advocate for investments in infrastructure and other capital improvements to better the lives of the residents in his largely rural district. His time in Congress included stints as the chairman of both the House Wednesday Group and the Ripon Society Board of Directors. Upon retirement from Congress in 1997, Bill joined the faculty of The Johns Hopkins University as a Senior Fellow at the Center for Advanced Governmental Studies, having received the University’s Harold Seidman Distinguished Service Award in 1996. In 1997, he and Judy spent a semester at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, where he was a Fellow at the Institute of Politics.

In addition to his academic postings, Bill was an active member of a number of boards and other organizations — many of them focused on good government issues — including the Council on Excellence in Government, the National Academy of Public Administration, the National Building Museum and the Former Members of Congress Association. Bill was a lifelong summer resident of the Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, New York, where he met and courted Judy while working as a reporter for The Chautauquan Daily newspaper during his college summers. He served on the Institution’s Board of Trustees after his retirement from Congress, including two terms as Chairman of the Board. In recognition of his many contributions to the Institution, Chautauqua endowed an ongoing lectureship in his and Judy’s honor at the conclusion of his service on the Board.

Bill was the devoted and adored father of four children: Eleanore “Bijou” (Greg) Miller of New York City, William F. Clinger III of Chicago, James Hunter (Catherine) Clinger of Alexandria, and Julia Boulton Clinger of Newton, Massachusetts. He is also survived by seven beloved grandchildren: Sara and Juliet Miller, Charlotte and Jane Clinger, and Boulton, Porter, and William Yanhs.

Charles Heinz



Charles Howard Heinz, 77, passed away at his home in Chautauqua, New York, on Monday, Oct. 5, 2020, following an extended illness.

He was born on October 10, 1942 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the son of the late Charles and Louise Schmidt Heinz.

Charlie was a graduate of Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. He received undergraduate and graduate degrees from Princeton University and Syracuse University, respectively. Upon graduation from The Maxwell School of Syracuse University, he worked for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

In the late 1970s, as the founder of Vacation Properties, Charlie was instrumental in the development and construction of North Shore and The Pines, as well as many single family homes in the North end of Chautauqua Institution. In 1993, he became Chautauqua Institution’s first Vice President for Administrative and Community Services.

His volunteer associations include the Chautauqua Fire Department and Rescue Squad, where he served for 40 years, the Jamestown Area Chamber of Commerce, and the Jamestown Automobile Club Board. He was also a volunteer tax preparer for The United Way.

Charlie was a lifelong Pittsburgh Steelers season ticket holder and attended every home game for 51 years, even after moving to Chautauqua in the ‘70s. He loved boating on Chautauqua Lake and walking with his dog, Pogo.

Charlie is survived by his wife, Wendy, whom he married in 1964; his daughter, Sandra Heinz Hamilton (Rand) of Reston, Virginia, and son, Charles Edward “Ted” Heinz (Mia) of Stockholm, Sweden; grandchildren, Chase, Kate and Sofia; his sister, Lisa Heinz of New York City; and several nieces and nephews.

A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date, when we are able to gather again.

Memorial contributions may be made to Chautauqua Institution, Chautauqua Hospice & Palliative Care, the Chautauqua Fire Department, and the Alzheimer’s Association.

To leave a condolence or share a memory, please visit

Nancy G. W. Parr


The Rev. Nancy G. W. Parr, 79, of Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, went to be with the Lord on Aug. 5, 2020, at Evangelical Community Hospital.

Born Jan. 15, 1941, in Towanda, New York, she was a daughter of the late Kenneth “Sam” Sr., and Kathryn (Talada) Wright.

Nancy married the Rev. Stephen R. Parr on June 20, 1959, and together they shared 56 years of marriage before his passing in 2015.

Nancy was a graduate of Towanda High School. She graduated from Wells College in Aurora, New York, and attended seminary at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey, where she earned her master’s degree and continued her calling as a servant of the Lord. 

The Rev. Nancy Gail Wright Parr served in the North Central New York Conference, currently known as the Upper New York Conference, from 1981 to 2003, at the following United Methodist Churches: Fosterville, Penn Yan, Horseheads, Folts Home and Westside. Following her and Steve’s retirement, they became members of St. John’s-Newberry United Methodist Church, where she was a current member, in addition to the Chapel at RiverWoods.

A lifelong learner, Nancy continuously took college classes throughout her role as a wife, mother, pastor and retiree, studying topics of interest. At the time of her death, she had been attending classes offered through Bucknell University.

Throughout her life, she had a full heart for the community and volunteered in many organizations and activities. She loved to travel and was known for being everyone’s “go-to person,” serving as an adviser, friend and support to many.

Surviving are two daughters, Cathryn G. Woodring, of Middletown, and Kristina Solie-Fuller (Anthony), of Rocky Hill, Connecticut; her granddaughters, Lauren Woodring (Jason Salvano), of Philadelphia, Rachel Woodring, of Malden, Massachusetts, Jenna Walden (Ben), of New Orleans, and Hannah Fuller, of Rocky Hill; siblings, Kenneth Jr., Jack, Gordi, Phillip, Susan, Cindy, Mitchel, Pam, Bonnie and Roger; her husband’s brother, Larry Parr and nephew, Timothy Parr (Amber); and her beloved brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, nieces and nephews. 

In addition to her parents and husband, she was preceded in death by a son-in-law, the Rev. Mark D. Woodring.

A private interment will be held at Middletown Cemetery at the convenience of the family. Due to current health situations, a public celebration of Nancy’s life will be announced at a later date.

Memorial contributions in Nancy’s name may be made to St. John’s-Newberry United Methodist Church, 2101 Newberry Street, Williamsport, PA, 17701 or Riverwoods Benevolence Fund, 90 Maplewood Drive, Lewisburg, PA, 17837.

Paul Gary Gluck


Paul Gary Gluck, 78, passed away peacefully Monday, Aug. 24, surrounded by his family at Cornerstone Hospice in The Villages, Florida. Born the youngest of five children to Frederick and Hazel Gluck, Paul carved out a truly remarkable life for himself.

After graduating from the University of Buffalo School of Pharmacy in 1965, Paul married his high school sweetheart, Lorraine Gringer. For the next 55 years they were inseparable. Together they raised three children, celebrated five grandchildren and ran a business. In 1968, Paul purchased Alberty Drugs in Batavia, which began a long career caring for members of the community he so loved. Paul found great fulfillment in helping people and he worked hard every day to serve his patients with care and compassion. After friends and family, Paul’s great passion in life was golf. A longtime member of Stafford Country Club, Paul cherished his time spent on the golf course with friends. Heaven was an early tee time on a clear, sunny morning. Much to his family’s enjoyment, cooking was another passion he pursued. For Paul, cooking was one of the ways he expressed his love, so he took a special joy cooking for the people in his life.

Paul would want mentioned the fact that, as a young man, he enjoyed acting and was a member of the Batavia Players for many years. Of course, Paul was a lifelong Buffalo Bills fan. Together with his best friend, the late Trav Minor, he was a season ticketholder for decades. With Paul and Trav, hope sprang eternal — they always believed that “this is the year we go all the way.” In retirement, Paul enjoyed spending his summers at Chautauqua Institution and his winters in Florida at The Villages. Wherever he was, Paul always had a circle of friends that he relished spending time with. Of course, this usually involved golf and cooking.

For those who knew him, Paul will be remembered as a dedicated father and grandfather, a loving husband and a caring friend. He was always quick with a smile, a joke, or a story. Making people happy gave him his greatest pleasure. Paul genuinely enjoyed life and was full of an optimism that was hard to resist.

Paul is survived by the love of his life and wife of 55 years, Lorraine (Gringer) Gluck. He was a dedicated father to Gregory (Mary) Gluck, Stephanie (Matthew) Mortellaro and David Gluck; and a loving grandfather to Madison, Natalie and Paul Gluck and Mateo and Tiago Mortellaro. Paul is also survived by his brother David (Joanne) Gluck, sister Lorraine (Everett) Harris and sister-in-law J. Carol (Gringer) Bergstrom.

Paul is predeceased by his parents, Frederick and Hazel Gluck, his brother, Gordon and his sister Alma.

There will be no calling hours. A private funeral is planned.

Mary Connie Cash


Mary Connie (Marino) Cash was born Oct. 21, 1936, in Varapodio, Reggio Calabria, Italy. The daughter of Dominick and Maria Concetta (Falleti) Marino, Connie graced our world for 83 years until her re-birth on Aug. 9, 2020.

Connie became a naturalized United States citizen on April 3, 1957. From that time, Connie proudly referred to herself as an American. Her father settled in Westfield, New York, and this became her permanent home. Connie married Anthony “Tony” Cash on Sept. 1, 1956, and the couple raised four children.

Connie devoted the first 17 years of her marriage to her family as a stay-at-home mother. During this time, she also became very active as a community volunteer; two that were of most importance to her were volunteering at the Westfield Memorial Hospital as a Gray Lady and Westfield Academy and Central School as a classroom assistant for her children’s teachers.

Connie was a graduate of WACS, majoring in business, and a graduate of the Bill Hixon Floral Design School. In 1976, she opened her own floral business: Flowers By Connie. She became a strong business in the Westfield community for 32 years, providing her lovely floral arrangements to patrons in all areas of Chautauqua County. She took pride in being the Chautauqua Institution president’s personal home decorator for the holidays.

Connie was a great believer of giving back to her community and donated her time, talent and materials to beautify one home, place of business, or church each year. She dedicated a lot of her time decorating St. James/Dominic Catholic Church, of which she was a member, giving the church the touch of floral radiance as they celebrated Easter, Christmas and other special events. Her flowers encapsulated the glory of the Mass. Her flowers presented happiness, love, joy and thankfulness to all that were customers at her flower shop. Many came into the shop not only for flowers but for her great conversation, and one could not leave without being affected by her tender smile and uplifting energy.

Connie was a member of the American Florist Association, Women of the Moose, the Westfield Hospital Auxiliary and the St. James Altar and Rosary Society, serving as vice president and chaired several committees within that organization. She was also a member of Zonta International, an organization that ambitiously raised money for several charities, area schools, scholarships and aid for the empowerment of women. Most recently she has volunteered her energy to the Bereda Children’s Memorial, working and participating in the annual 5K run/walk.

After her retirement in 2008, she began working at Chautauqua Institution as an Amphitheater usher, greeting and welcoming summer guests for the next 11 years. Connie loved this retirement job and the dear friends she met and worked with while enjoying the beauty of the stage she once decorated every Sunday for most of her floral career.

Connie will most affectionately be remembered for her love and dedication to her family. She was a wonderful wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and aunt. Her family looked to her for strength and her ability to make any situation happy, happier or glorious. Connie enjoyed baking and taking cookies and pies to friends and family. She enjoyed knitting and crocheting, and all of her wonderful scarves and blankets were given away to family, friends and donated to the nursing home in Westfield. Connie loved the outdoors and, at age 80, joined the Chautauqua Hiking Club, adventuring to such places as the Chautauqua Gorge, the Portage Trail and the Trolly Line Trail. Connie loved gardening in the spring, and winter snow shoveling was considered “a very good workout.” She seldom accepted help with this task.

Connie and her husband enjoyed traveling around the country and Canada, and visited Europe several times. Her walks with family and friends will be unforgettable. Her devotion to family will forever be cherished. Mom touched this world like the glorious ray of light that she followed: “I know a woman of beauty and strength. She is my Mother.”

Connie is survived by her four children: Denise Williams-Stebbins, John (Joann) Cash, Andrew (Anne) Cash and Michael (Tara) Cash; her grandchildren: Jennifer (Nick) VandeVelde, Vincent and Willow VandeVelde, Christina (David) Bereda, Jorden, Asher and Eden Bereda, Stephanie (Adam) Williams-Thomas, Anthony and Dante Williams, Isaac (Katlin) Williams, Simon Williams, Matthew Cash, Rebecca Cash, Sarah Cash, Jessica Cash, Meaghan Cash, Emilea Cash, Keara Cash, Mea Cash; brother, Vincent (Nancy) Marino; and several loved nieces and nephews.

Connie was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Tony; great-grandchildren, Brennen and Finley Bereda; and sister, Carmela Gugino.

Connie will have a joint funeral and burial with her husband on Sept. 1, 2020, their 64th anniversary.

Donations may be made in her name to the Bereda Children’s Memorial, Westfield Memorial Hospital or Chautauqua County Hospice.

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