Jane Adelle Mead


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Catherine Sara Benefield


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mary Jean Hedberg


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

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

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

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

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

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

Lewis L. Peterson


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joan Lee Keogh


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thomas Henry Rowe


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Isabel Pedersen


Isabel “Ish” Pedersen passed away Nov. 15, 2019. Born Aug. 17, 1928, she was born and raised in New Castle, Pennsylvania. She earned an A.B. from Smith College and an M.S. from the University of Bridgeport. She taught third grade for one year, then worked as a lower school librarian for several years.

Isabel’s volunteer activities included tutoring Manatee Technical Institute students and elementary school students, and serving as literacy tutor. She also was a Girl Scout leader. At Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, New York (where she met her late husband, Norman), she served on the board of trustees and founded their Committee to Preserve Antique Banners. She could give a detailed explanation of all that Chautauqua is and had been since 1886.

Ish’s hobbies included reading, swimming, biking and writing. She leaves one son, two daughters, six grandchildren and many Plymouth Harbor friends.

Terry Lee Stinson


Terry Lee Stinson, 73, born Oct. 12, 1946, departed this earthly world Jan. 2, 2020, and entered into the presence of his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He leaves behind his beloved wife, Lynn (Heinzerling) of 38 years, his cherished son Christopher Hunt Stinson, brother Richard Stinson (Carol) dearest sister Nancy (David) Trott and many cousins, nieces and nephews. 

Born and raised in Birmingham, Michigan, Terry graduated from Seaholm High School in 1965. Joining the United States Navy during the Vietnam War, Terry served his country on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Independence where he excelled in a demanding and dangerous position as part of the catapult and arresting gear crew. During multiple tours in the Atlantic and Mediterranean, he was quickly promoted to crew chief as a Petty Officer 2nd Class. He then transferred to the naval base in Rota, Spain, where he served as an air crash rescue firefighter. With a life-long love of aviation, he attained his private pilot’s license while in Spain. 

After his discharge from the Navy, Terry’s civilian career brought him to management positions at Wright Airlines and Ground Air Transfer, Inc. Terry then transitioned to the petroleum equipment industry and brought to market new technologies for safe handling of fuel products. He then became a successful independent manufacturers representative, and designed and developed two pollution control devices marketed and used nationally. 

A true Michigander in every sense of the word, Terry loved Northern Michigan and embraced his great passions — boating, fishing, and skiing. Although a native of southeast Michigan, “Up North” was always in his heart. His close friends and son share many wonderful memories with Terry both in the woods and on the water. He especially loved the beauty and peace of Michigan’s Inland Waterway region. 

For over 40 years, he was a loyal and dedicated member of Kirk In The Hills Presbyterian Church. In the latter part of his life and despite declining health, he became very active in programs for struggling combat veterans and the less fortunate. He was also a member of the Birmingham Senior Men’s Club and greatly enjoyed playing euchre with his devoted family of friends. Terry will be greatly missed by his family, wide circle of friends and the people whose lives he touched. 

A memorial service was held at Kirk In The Hills in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. In lieu of flowers, donations in Terry’s memory may be made to the Veterans Outreach Programs at Kirk in the Hills or the Live Streaming ministry at Kirk in the Hills, 1340 W. Long Lake Road, Bloomfield Hills, MI, 48302. Please indicate program on the memo line. 

~Lovingly written by Christopher and Lynn.

Jan Kuzmic


Jan Kuzmic, lifelong Chautauquan, passed away on Sept. 4, 2019. 

Jan grew up in Oak Park, Illinois, one of three daughters of prominent minister and orator Dr. Carl Winters, and Alice Graham Winters, who was also a public speaker and did philanthropic work. The Winters family started coming to Chautauqua before Jan was born, and they lived in various houses and tent cabins on the grounds before buying the historic Packard Manor in 1958. Jan loved every minute of living in a “castle,” and was grateful that the entire extended family could live under the same roof every summer. Even after they sold the house 45 years later, Jan still made her way from California to Chautauqua every summer of her life, staying for the greater part of each season in their condo at The Overlook.

After graduating from Depauw University, Jan got her masters in psychology from Purdue. She also got her Mrs. degree after meeting her future husband, Ralph, on the very first day of school! After inspiring several suitors to propose to her when she was in undergrad, Jan finally met her match; the man she would marry and share the adventures of life with for over 50 years. They famously had two wedding ceremonies in two states in two days — a smaller Catholic ceremony with his family, and a larger wedding at Packard Manor, presided over by her father. 

After graduating from Purdue, they packed up their Triumph, drove across the country to Los Angeles and created a new life for themselves. They had two children and bought a house in the foothills of the mountains near Pasadena, which is still the family home. Jan and Ralph were from different backgrounds and had contrasting personalities, but they had a great time together. After his death in 2008, Jan channeled her grief into writing poetry and stories about her life. In the decade following his death, she wrote over 100 poems and the beginning of a memoir. 

Jan was known for her warm, gregarious, open-minded personality, for her quick wit, her intellect, and her passion for learning, teaching, and helping others as a therapist. After a deep and abiding interest in psychology, she followed her lifelong passion for counseling and went back to school at 50 to become a licensed therapist. She worked at Westminster Counseling Center for the next 30 years, serving low-income people who could not otherwise afford therapy. She was dedicated to her clients and only retired at 82. She offered her empathetic listening and supportive feedback to everyone in her life. She had a genuine interest in “what makes people tick,” and spoke openly about the hardships in her early life that she overcame, and how they gave her empathy and a special allegiance to the underdog — to anyone who felt marginalized or unloved. 

In addition to her career as a therapist, Jan created and taught an adult education class for senior citizens called Quality of Life. She started teaching it at 40, and only stopped at 80, when a good portion of her students were younger than her! She combined her knowledge of the latest neuroscience research, the body-mind connection, and her personal experience to teach classes that supported people’s wellness, self-esteem and vitality. From the ‘70s on, she was an enthusiastic proponent of hug therapy, and passed out cards prescribing “12 hugs a day for health and happiness.” Her teaching style was so fun and dynamic that she inspired people to take the class for years on end. She took great joy in teaching and being a therapist, and felt it was truly her life’s purpose to help people in that way. 

A voracious reader, she inherited her love of books from her father. She ate psychology books for breakfast and murder mysteries for dessert. A lifelong learner, she never stopped taking classes and expanding her field of knowledge. Even in the last few months of her life and with her eyesight declining, she would often whip through two books a week.

Jan was a beloved wife, mother, sister, aunt, and daughter. She was a counselor to countless people, and a friend to many. She was ahead of her time in many ways, and she was blessed with a full and meaningful life. 

She loved spending time in Chautauqua with family, walking into town for coffee with friends, browsing at the bookstore, and going to the Amphitheater for lectures by day and concerts by night. She treasured the unique experiences Chautauqua offered, like meeting authors and performers she admired: William Least Heat Moon, Whitley Streiber, Fr. Gregory Boyle, and Kelsey Grammer. She was a shameless fan girl when Tom Hulce, John Denver, and Melissa Etheridge came to town, and embarrassed her family by planting a kiss on the cheek of more than one celebrity crush upon meeting them. 

Perhaps her most treasured Chautauqua moment was when the Winters family hosted two of the 200 Russians that visited Chautauqua in a historic week-long citizen exchange program in 1987. She was proud to have taken part in such a watershed moment, and reveled in hosting and getting to know people who had lived their entire lives behind the Red Curtain, and who were now part of perestroika. 

Jan Kuzmic was a vibrant woman with a strong mind, a big heart, and a bright spirit. She was one-of-a-kind, she was loved by many, and she leaves a Jan-sized hole in their lives and good memories in their hearts. She leaves behind two daughters, Kari and Kym, two sisters, Lin and Bobbi, and many friends and family who love and miss her dearly.

There will be a memorial service in her honor at the Episcopal Chapel, and an interment of her ashes in Chautauqua Cemetery, at times to be determined.

Donations can be made in her name to Homeboy Industries, one of her favorite charitable organizations. 

Meanwhile, those who miss her can write a tribute to her on her Facebook page, and they can listen to John Denver, Neil Diamond, Josh Groban or Pachelbel’s Canon in D, and enjoy a piece of cherry pie and a cup of black coffee or a glass of Shiraz. 

Virginia F. Patchen


Virginia F. Patchen, 94, of Jamestown, died Nov. 25, 2019, in Heritage Park Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing

She was born May 31, 1925, in Jamestown, the daughter of the late Fay W. and Irene Bonsteel Flanders.

She was a graduate of Chautauqua High School. Following graduation, she was trained as a laboratory technician at Municipal Laboratory and WCA Hospital.

Prior to her retirement, she worked for many years for Dr. Robert F. Wettingfeld. While spending winters in Englewood, Florida, she was employed by Englewood Community Hospital.

In her retirement years, Virginia was an active volunteer at the Audubon Community Nature Center and at the Chautauqua County Humane Society in Jamestown, New York.

She is survived by two daughters, Nancy Follansbee of Southampton, Massachusetts and Sandra Seastrum of Jamestown; her five grandchildren, Christopher Collins and his wife Jennifer of Jamestown, Steven Collins and his wife Mary of Bemus Point, Andrew Ward and his wife Victoria of Waterbury, Vermont, Marcia Struk and her husband Mark of Marshfield, Massachusetts, and Emily Follansbee of Pueblo, Colorado; nine great-grandchildren; her brother William Flanders of Chautauqua, her niece Chris Flanders of Stow, and her nephew Robert Flanders of Houston.

She was preceded in death by her husband Gordon Patchen, who died July 13, 1998, her dear friend Wayne Herrick, who died Nov. 17, 2007, and a son-in-law, William Seastrum.

A memorial service was held at Lind Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in her memory to the Chautauqua County Humane Society, 2825 Strunk Road, Jamestown, NY, 14701.

Elinor J. Friedman


Elinor J. Friedman (nee Yosowitz) of Beachwood, formerly of Orange Village, died Dec. 24, 2019. She was 89. Elinor was born on June 17, 1930, to Helen and Ben Yosowitz. She was a graduate of Glenville High School and lived in the Cleveland area her whole life. 

Elinor married the love of her life, Seymour Friedman, on Sept. 9, 1951. Their love story lasted for over 60 years, until Seymour’s passing in 2012. Elinor was very devoted to her extended family and adored her grandchildren. She and Seymour had a large circle of dear friends. They enjoyed traveling with family and friends as well as going to plays, Broadway shows and concerts. Elinor loved to play mahjong with friends and was an avid reader. Elinor had worked as an X-ray technician until the birth of their children, Paula, Bruce and Beth. Once the children were grown, Elinor found various volunteer opportunities, including as a tutor through Project Learn, helping people learn English as a second language. She was also involved with the Park Synagogue Sisterhood and choir. Elinor was kind-hearted and friendly to everyone she met. She loved entertaining and always wanted her guests to feel comfortable. 

Elinor was the loving wife of the late Dr. Seymour Friedman; beloved mother of Paula (Tom) Seger, Bruce (Angela) Scarpa-Friedman and Beth (Frederick) Friedman-Romell; doting grandmother of Emily and Julie Seger, Emilia, Hugh, Sal and Dan Scarpa-Friedman and Steven and Harlan Friedman-Romell; dear sister of Ruth Glassman (Abe, deceased) and Dr. Gerald (Vivian, deceased) Yosowitz (Nancy Levy); cherished sister-in-law of Eugene (Francine) Friedman, and the late Dr. Arnold (Sally, deceased) Friedman; and adoring aunt to many nieces and nephews. 

Funeral services were held at Berkowitz Kumin Bookatz Memorial Chapel in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to the charity of your choice.

William B. Hoff


William B. Hoff, 73, of Willow Street, Pennsylvania, formerly of Andover Township, passed away unexpectedly at home on Nov. 6, 2019.

Born in Brooklyn, New York to the late Karl and Dorothea Hoff, Bill grew up in Bogota. He graduated Ithaca College with a music degree and earned a master’s in performance from Manhattan School of Music. Bill was a flutist and music was his lifelong passion.

He served in the United States Army Field Band and was posted at the Military Academy at West Point. Bill played flute and piccolo in the Garden State Concert Band, South Orange Symphony Orchestra, and the New Sussex Symphony, where he served as music librarian. He also played in the Chautauqua Community Band in Chautauqua, New York, and performed widely as a freelance musician. He was employed by the medical electronics firm Biomet in Parsippany. Bill and his wife, Gail, lived at Lake Lenape for over 25 years. After retiring to Willow Street, Bill played in several flute choirs.

Preceded in death by his parents and his brother, Karl, Bill is survived by his wife, Gail; his brother, Richard, and wife, Florence, of Waynesboro, Pennsylvania; his sister-in-law, Janet, of Mechanicsville, Virginia; nieces, nephews and their children.

A Celebration of Life was held in Willow Street. In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to Ithaca College School of Music, 953 Danby Road, Ithaca, NY, 14850; the New Sussex Symphony, PO Box 859, Newton, NJ, 07860; or the American Heart Association, 1 Union Street #301, Robbinsville, NJ, 08691.

Lynnette W. James


Lynnette W. (Wassink) James, 66, of Hamilton, Virginia, passed away quietly the morning of

Dec. 20, 2019, at the Waltonwood of Ashburn Assisted Living Residence from complications related to early onset dementia. Lynnette was the daughter of Lawrence and Joyce Wassink of Panama, New York. Most folks know her as Lynne.

Lynne was born May 11, 1953, in Jamestown, New York. She was raised in Panama, New York, where she attended K-12 grades at Panama Central School, graduating in 1971.

She is survived by her husband, Edward (Ed) James, who she married Aug. 20, 1977, at a

service in the Panama United Methodist Church.

Lynne is also survived by her very loving daughter and son, Bretta James (Efrain) Barrera of

Hamilton, Virginia, and Brady James (Kelley) of Reston, Virginia, and special granddaughter Taylor Barrera. She was preceded in death by her parents and brother Larry Wassink.

Lynne attended Shenandoah College and Conservatory of Music in Winchester, Virginia, and

graduated in 1975 with a Bachelor of Music Education with a Performance Certificate for Piano

and Voice. She attended the University of South Carolina and obtained a Masters of Music (piano) in 1977.

Lynne was a music teacher for 34 years. Her most recent position was with Loudoun County

Public Schools in Virginia, where she taught elementary music from 2004 until when she retired.

Her husband, Ed, worked for the U.S. Forest Service. They moved five times with the U.S. Forest Service for career opportunities for Ed. They were residents of Columbia, South Carolina; Vernal, Utah; Fresno, California; Rohnert Park, California; and Hamilton, Virginia.

Lynne was an outstanding piano accompanist, playing for several church music programs,

musical productions and teaching voice lessons.

We have so many beautiful memories of Lynne as wife, mother, grandmother, aunt, cousin,

friend, and her wonderful love of music. The past seven years as she lived with dementia, we still made several trips to the beach (including Maui — her favorite), visiting family and friends, and attended weddings and participated in a variety of activities. Lynne enjoyed shopping for items to decorate our house and yard.

Memorials may be made to Chautauqua Institution, a cultural center in New York State where Lynne spent summers and studied piano, or to your local Alzheimer’s Association.

Mary Jean Irion


Mary Jean Irion, 96, died on Wednesday, 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 B.A. 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.

In addition to her husband, Paul, 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, PO Box 4125, Lancaster, PA,17604.

Edna Schultz Crissman


Edna Schultz Crissman, 96, passed away peacefully at her home in bed at her home in Titusville, Pennsylvania, Aug. 15, 2018. She was born on March 7, 1922, to the late Emily and Herbert Schultz in Pittsburgh, a city she dearly loved and home to many of her treasured friends. Her family loved Chautauqua Institution and owned property from 1958 until 2016 and lived year round from 1986 until Edna moved back to Titusville in 2016. She was a strong, independent, and complex woman, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. She leaves behind a somewhat dysfunctional family that she was very proud of, as well as lots of assorted treasures and odds and ends she collected over the years. I’m not kidding; she left behind a heck of a lot of stuff to her children. So if you’re looking for knickknacks gathered over a lifetime, like a ceramic bowl of fruit (a wedding anniversary gift from her husband — classic, way to go Dad), a glass manatee, a toaster oven and a Keurig coffee maker (both slightly used), or even a rarely used 2001 Camry with 45,000 miles, or perhaps 1,001 or more knitting tools and accessories of unknown purpose to us laymen, you should wait the appropriate amount of time and get in touch. Now would be great. Call Betsy because Susan and Tom made her store everything.

Edna was not only known for her skills as a collector and distributor of cherished bric-a-brac, but also for her tenacity, sharpness of wit, punctuality, and frankness of opinion. She was gifted with the knack for telling you just like it is and always told the truth, even when it wasn’t what you wanted to hear. She was the youngest of three sisters and spent her formative years growing up during The Great Depression, and yes, we were told many times how she had to walk for miles, uphill both ways, in a blizzard, to get to school. Because Edna attended The School of Hard Knocks, she was of the firm mindset to always keep moving and soldier on through anything. For her, grief and sorrow were not a prudent use of time nor energy. Keeping busy was her way of coping and expressing herself, and because it served her well enough, this is what we were taught to do. Often, her particular method of fortitude was difficult to emulate. Having said that, she was genuine to a fault, gentle at heart with a wry sense of humor, and yet she candy-coated nothing. 

Edna was a graduate of Peabody High School in Pittsburgh and the University of Pittsburgh. She had an extensive vocabulary and tremendous historical knowledge. She enjoyed “Jeopardy,” crossword puzzles, and working the New York Times Sunday crossword puzzle in pen. She was also fond of card games and regularly played bridge with friends. She was a lover of comedy, period pieces, art, theater, dance, opera, and classical music and passed down an appreciation for the arts to her family. She was amazingly gifted at work with her hands. She created many wonderful pieces of art from her sewing, knitting, cross-stitch and needlepoint. She also delighted in her rose and myrtle “gardens.” Trust us; she loved to weed those gardens. Apparently child labor was legal so we spent countless hours weeding or perhaps polishing silver. Again, keeping busy was of utmost importance to her. 

Her words of encouragement, wisdom, and sometimes comfort kept us in line and gave us something to pass down to our children. Everyone always knew where they stood with her. She either liked you or she didn’t. The palette of her personality was painted broadly in strokes of black and white. 

Edna was notoriously known as a master cook in the kitchen. She believed in thoroughly cooking everything so you could adequately exercise your jaw. You’d never get sick because any germs were boiled, baked or fried to death. Freezing them worked just as well. Many a pot, pan or tea kettle was tested for a melting point under her watch. There were also very few justifications for disposal regarding the expiration dates on food items stored in the fridge and pantry. Wastefulness was not an ideal, so we all did our duty as best we could to test the accuracy of those dates. We also learned to use a napkin at an early age. The idea would be to cough into the napkin and spit the food into it. If anyone would like a copy of her homemade pork chops, peas and rice, we would suggest you don’t. 

Edna volunteered a great deal of her time to the Chautauqua Fire Department, the Mayville Food Pantry, the Titusville Area Hospital, the Titusville Food Pantry, the Salvation Army, and Disaster Relief for the American Red Cross where she helped provide aid following 9/11 in New York City and in Florida following Hurricane Andrew and in West Virginia following Hurricane Fran. She also worked for many years for the Chautauqua Institution in the hospitality department and as a president of the Chautauqua Ladies Golf Association. She loved to travel and spent many wonderful adventures with her great friends Lou Wineman and Gerry Clifford.

She will be missed terribly. 

Edna is survived by her children, Susan Geralds, née Crissman, Betsy Irwin, née Crissman, and Tom, her favorite child. She is also survived by her son-in-law, Rick Geralds, and daughter-in-law, Shelly Crissman, née Kay and oldest friend Pat Klingensmith, and (her children from another mother) Jamie, Bill and Patsy; her grandchildren, Kristin, Sarah, Emily, Annie, Jacob and Daniel; great-grandchildren, Luke, Tess, Lydia, Suzie, Ethan, Kate and Gabriel; and her dear neighbor and political guru, Paul Cawein, who thoughtfully shoveled Edna’s walk, brought her food and fresh flowers regularly, picked up her mail and papers, shared his New York Times with her, took her garbage to the curb, and faithfully kept her company year round during the cold winters when the Chautauqua snowbirds flew the coop. She was preceded in death by her husband Robert (Criss) Crissman and her two sisters, Betty Wise and Frankie Neidhardt. She is dearly loved by her family and friends and we’ll never forget her fortitude, tenacity, wit, charm, grace, and undying love and caring for everyone in her life. A private service, due to her friends not being able to attend because they decided to beat her to the Pearly Gates, was held at Homewood Cemetery on Oct. 6, 2018. Thank you for your thoughts, Sandy Stocks.

Joan Kekst


Joan Kekst (nee Granner), a noted kosher cooking expert and author, passed away peacefully on Oct. 24, 2019. She was 86.

She returned to school when her children were older and received a degree in home economics. She attended La Varenne in Paris and studied the science and chemistry of food with an emphasis on Kashrut. Joan conducted hundreds of classes and lectures on all aspects of a Jewish kitchen. She was editor of the weekly food column in The Cleveland Jewish News for nearly 40 years. Passover Cookery, believed to be the first health kosher Passover cookbook was published in 2000.

Joan was a past president of the Women’s division of the Jewish National Fund and served on numerous boards and committees of organizations including Park Synagogue and the Jewish Community Federation. Joan traveled to Israel more than 20 times to attend family events, visit and volunteer. She is predeceased by her husband of 53 years, Keeva Joseph Kekst. She is survived by five children: Larry (Nancy) Kekst, Audrey Kekst, Amy (Bert Brown) Kekst, Nancy Judith (Martin Zucker) Kekst and Bradley Kekst; grandchildren Brenna Kekst Brown, Bryan Kekst Brown, Harrison (Kelsey) Zucker, Beak Zucker, Alana Zucker, Pamela Kekst, Carolyn Ross, Allison Ross; and great grandson Keeva W. Zucker; sisters Elin (Mark) Robbins Geman, Annie Robbins (deceased) and brother Joel (Pat) Robbins; along with numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

Services were held Oct. 27, 2019, at the Berkowitz-Kumin-Bookatz Memorial Chapel in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. Contributions are suggested to either Park Synagogue or the Jewish Community Federation of Cleveland.

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