Ann Prosswimmer Pratt, 83, of Essex, Connecticut, passed away on March 8, 2017 after a valiant struggle with Alzheimer’s disease. She is survived by her loving husband Robert; her sister, Nancy Conroy; her brother, R. Alan Prosswimmer;

her daughters, Cynthia and Carrie; her grandchildren, Kwena and Tumi; and several nieces and nephews.

Born to Rudolph and Emma Prosswimmer, she was raised in Rockville Center, N.Y. and attended high school at the Ashley Hall School in Charleston, S.C. In 1955, she graduated from Mount Holyoke College, where she majored in art history and was a member of the water ballet team. She later studied occupational therapy at Northeastern University.

Ann and Bob Pratt started their married life in Providence, R.I. and lived for extended periods in Ann Arbor, Mich., Greenwich, Conn., Louisville, Ky., Simsbury, Conn., and Rye, before they settled in Essex. In each location, Mrs. Pratt was an active supporter of the arts, including The Louisville School of Art and The Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts. Always generous with her time, she volunteered formally at a number of organizations, including the McLean Home in Simsbury, and, for several years, the 30th Twig” of United Hospital in Port Chester.

A giving and generous spirit, her greatest happiness was supporting and serving others. Her passion for life was expressed in a playful sense of humor, a deep appreciation of art and literature, a love of travel, and a good glass of wine. Her husband and family were the center of her life.

She raised two adventurous daughters whose lives led them overseas, doted on her grandchildren, and was a loving daughter, sister, and aunt. For her extended family, she hosted holiday dinners, graduation parties, wedding showers, as well as benefits and dinner parties, all with a seemingly effortless grace and ease.

“Ann’s joy for life was contagious,” said her family, “and she planted seeds of love wherever she went.”

Interment will be held Saturday, May 6 at 10:30 a.m. at the Swan Point Cemetery in Providence, Rhode Island, followed by a memorial service to celebrate her life.

Donations in her memory may be sent to the Alzheimer’s Association of Connecticut, 200 Executive Blvd., Suite 4B, Southington, CT 06489. To share a memory of Ann Pratt or send a condolence to her family, visit

Robert F. Slater Sr., a longtime Rye resident, passed away on February 12, 2017. He was 85.


One of eight children of George and Irene Burns Slater, he was born in Port Chester, on June 28, 1931. From the time he moved to Rye, he was an active member of the community. He had an over 30-year career with the Rye Fire Department, which included serving as Captain of the Engine & Hose Company. 


In the words of his daughter, Diane Johansson, “Our father was a part of Rye. Everyone knew him because of the many jobs he did and volunteer hours he gave.”


Mr. Slater was owner of Bob’s Delivery Service, Over the Bridge Tavern, and Rye Refuse Service with partner Robert Billington. He was also an active member of the Rye Hunters Club.  


He is survived by his wife of 67 years, the former Lee Neilson, and their three children, Diane Johansson, Robert (Debra) Slater, and Richard (Paula) Slater; as well as six grandchildren: Jessica, Jamie, Robert, Emma, Amber, and Hannah, four great-grandchildren: Ali, Courtney, Morgan, and Riely, and four siblings: Mary, Vincent, Harold, and Mickey.  He was predeceased by his sister, Winifred, and his brothers, Jimmy and George.  



A mass of Christian Burial was celebrated at Church of the Resurrection on February 16. Donations in his memory may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.


Former City Councilman Bob Hutchings Dies at 91

Longtime Rye resident and two-term Rye City Councilman Robert Hutchings, who had a long and storied career as an advertising executive, died January 22, 2017 in Northfield, Illinois.

Born in Utica, N.Y., he was the son of Walter F. and Zelda (Thomas) Hutchings. He went to Attica High School, where he received the American Legion Award of Merit for outstanding ability in leadership, scholarship, and athletics. 

During World War II, Mr. Hutchings served in the Army Air Corps as an AAF Cadet, with pilot and bombardier qualifications, and flew as Assistant Engineer on B-17 Transition Flights at Hendricks Field, Sebring, Fla. He received the American Defense Ribbon, and the Good Conduct Medal. 

He attended Syracuse University on the GI Bill, from which he received a Bachelor of Science degree in 1950; he majored in Radio Administration & Speech and minored in Sociology.

Compiled by Robin Jovanovich

Rose M. Sprague died at her residence in Sarasota, Fla., on January 27, 2017. She was 91 years old.

Born in Mt. Vernon, on August 1, 1925, she was the daughter of George and Rose Mathews. After graduating from A.B. Davis High School in Mt. Vernon, she received an Associate’s degree from the Woods School of Business in New York.  

She met her future husband, Edmund “Cap” Sprague, while vacationing in Nantucket. They were married in 1953, and moved to Rye soon thereafter. While raising three sons, Mrs. Sprague worked at the Rye High School library and also at Wainwright House. Both she and her husband were very involved in their children’s activities and very active at Resurrection Church. They loved living in Rye.

After her husband’s death in 1978, Mrs. Sprague moved to Sarasota, where they had planned to retire. Her volunteer work there included the local library, the American Red Cross, and the Ringling Museum of Art. Her favorite activities in Sarasota were visits by her sons and families, “bobbling” in the Gulf waters, and “slurping” oysters.

She is survived by her sons: Paul and his wife Carol of Sarasota, Peter, also of Sarasota, and Tom and his wife Laurie of Boston; five grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren. She was pre-deceased by her two sisters, Irene and Barbara.  

A memorial service was held in Sarasota.  Mrs. Sprague was buried at Greenwood Union Cemetery in Rye next to her beloved husband.

Wishes and memories can be emailed to her son Tom at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  

David Wheeler Thurston, 93, died peacefully January 31, 2017 in Tucson, Arizona, surrounded by his four children.


Born on April 25, 1923, in Portland, Maine, to Theodore and Kathryn Thurston, he was a ninth-generation American, whose ancestors arrived from Kent, England, in 1635. 


A graduate of Phillips Academy Andover, and Williams College (1944, cum laude), Dave was a member of Chi Psi and the Gargoyle Honor Society, editor of the college paper, and captain of the Varsity Soccer team.


After Pearl Harbor in 1941, he volunteered for the U.S. Army Air Corps as a flight navigator. After the war, Mr. Thurston worked as an advertising executive in New York City for over forty years, helping found Broadcast Advertisers Reports, from which he retired, as Executive Vice-President, in 1987.


On November 27, 1954, he married Frances Davis, and they raised their family in Rye. During their four decades in the community, he served as a tireless advocate for his local community, including a dozen years at the non-profit charity Rye United Fund, Inc. (including as president), ten years on the Rye School Board (1970-80, also as president), and, after retiring, nine years as a volunteer recruiter for the International Executive Services Corps, placing 272 executives on projects in 60 different countries.


Leaving work early or giving up his weekends, Dave actively participated in the lives of his four children: whether serving as class parent at Midland Elementary School; cheering them on at a Rye High School activity or sporting event; navigating them down the slopes of a Vermont ski resort; driving them in a Winnebago on family vacations; or handing them their diploma as a Rye School Board member.


Always very active and fit, he loved baseball, skiing, and tennis. He was also a voracious reader who possessed a keen intellect and sharp wit. Not only did he always finish New York Times crossword puzzles, but usually did so in pen. 


With close family friends, the Thurstons hosted many celebratory weekend and holiday parties at their Forest Avenue home, where the laughter was infectious, and Dave often regaled the guest of honor with a handcrafted limerick on a pull-down shade.


In 1998, the couple retired to Tucson, where Fran Thurston died in 2004.


Mr. Thurston is survived by his four children: Ted of San Jose, Calif., Charlie and his wife Kimberly of Rye, Nancy of Bigfork, Mont., and Jim of Glenview, Ill.; his sister Joan Spear of Ashland, Ore.; and by six grandchildren: Taylor, Kyle, Isabel, David II, Natalie, and Ellie.


A memorial service will be held this spring at Rye Presbyterian Church, where his remains will join those of his late wife, Fran. Donations in Mr. Thurston’s memory may be made to the Rye Presbyterian Church Memorial Garden, Boston Post Road, Rye, NY 10580.


Sharon W. Lawyer, a longtime resident of Rye, passed away on January 18, 2017. She was 73. Her passion, determination, and caring were evident in her work, her family, and her desire to help others.


Born on April 18, 1943, in York, Pennsylvania, she received a B.A. from Wilson College. From 1965 to 1967, she was a Peace Corps volunteer in the Philippines, along with her husband, Bill. They moved to Rye in 1969, over Woodstock Weekend.


Mrs. Lawyer worked at a variety of jobs, including a wholesale jewelry business, St. Vincent’s Hospital, and the Rye Free Reading Room, but she was most proud of raising her children.


In addition to her husband Bill, she is survived by her daughter, Katie Sperling and her husband Matt, and son Liam Lawyer and his wife Kerrie and her grandchildren, Benjamin and Julia Sperling and Isabelle and Jake Lawyer, who were the lights of her life. She is also survived by her sister, Shelby Ness and her husband Ron; her brother-in-law, Marty Lawyer; and her sister-in-law, Becky Carr and her husband Ron.


A celebration of her life was held at Rye Presbyterian Church on January 28. 


Donations in Sharon Lawyer’s memory may be made to The Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance (, or to Wilson College, (“in memory of Sharon Lawyer Class of ’65,” Office of Institutional Advancement,


1015 Philadelphia Avenue, Chambersburg, PA 17201.