Obituaries 11-1-13

0:00   Patricia Pugh   Patricia Ann Padgett Pugh, a longtime resident of Rye, died peacefully on October 11 at The Osborn. She was 89. […]

Published November 20, 2013 12:11 AM
10 min read



Patricia Pugh


obit-pughPatricia Ann Padgett Pugh, a longtime resident of Rye, died peacefully on October 11 at The Osborn. She was 89.


Born on November 20, 1923 in Kansas City, Missouri, she was the daughter of Earl Calvin Padgett and Winona Amanda Youmans. Her father was a noted plastic surgeon who invented the Dermatome, a skin grafting device commonly used during World War II and in the decades following the war.


Pat, as she was commonly known, came east for college. She studied German at Middlebury Summer School, with a possible career in the State Department in mind. She graduated from Vassar College in 1945. 


She met her future husband, Edmund (Ned) Pugh Jr., at a college mixer. They were married in September 1945 and celebrated their 65th anniversary in 2010, the year before he passed away.


She actively supported her husband’s career as a corporate executive. Her concern for the community led her to volunteer, often in leadership positions, for the Larchmont Junior League, Big Sister-Family Services of Westchester, The Twig Organization of United Hospital, Rye Garden Club, New York Botanical Garden, and Christ’s Church, as well as the many organizations in which her children participated.


In the early 1950s, she and her husband worked with I.M. Pei to design a house in Rye. This modern, one-story residence expressed the elegant simplicity of her aesthetic taste. The house has been designated a National Historic Landmark.


Mrs. Pugh led an active life, and was outdoors as much as possible. Along with her family, she hiked in different parts of the United States and in New Zealand. She particularly loved to ski in the wintry mountain air of Mad River Glen in Vermont.


A thoughtful and devoted gardener, she planned for a new horticultural effect every two weeks. She enjoyed social games of tennis and bridge.


While raising her family, she also found time to use her keen mind and took courses in German, French, French cuisine, and German (again). She read The Economist and Foreign Affairs cover-to-cover until her eyes weakened in her final months of life.


She leaves three children, David F. Pugh of New York City, James R. Pugh of Cornwall, Vermont, and Elizabeth L. Pugh of Belmont, Massachusetts; a brother, Earl Calvin Padgett Jr. of Kansas City, Missouri; five grandchildren, Jacqueline P. Sackler, Dina J. Pugh, Kjerstin E. Pugh, Jeffrey B. Gortmaker, and Christopher L. Gortmaker; and two great-grandchildren, M. Lucian Sackler and Leo D. Sackler. Mrs. Pugh was predeceased by her son Edmund.


A funeral will be held Saturday, November 16 at 11 a.m. at Christ’s Church in Rye, with a reception to follow in the parish hall. 


Memorial contributions may be made to the Betty Neagle Perennial Garden of The Osborn.


Nora Mitchell


OBIT-Nora-MitchellNora Thomas Mitchell passed away peacefully at home with her three daughters watching over her on October 17, after a long and fulfilling life of 95 years. 


Born February 7, 1918 to Alfred and Margaret Carlin Thomas in Northwich, Cheshire, England, she moved to Rye with her parents in 1923.


She graduated from Resurrection and Rye High School and returned to England to attend Loreburn College. 


She began her career as a secretary at firms in England and New York City, before joining the British Diplomatic Service in Washington, D.C. in 1938. During World War II, she served at the British Embassy where she handled confidential documents and overseas cables, including coded messages between Prime Minister Winston Churchill and President Franklin Roosevelt. 


On June 6, 1944, D-Day, she was appointed aide to the director of British Information Services. From 1944 to 1946, she was a member of the British delegation to international conferences that led to the establishment of the United Nations. 


In 1949, she married James E. Mitchell, an attorney with the U.S. Department of Housing and Home Finance. They returned to Rye in 1955 with their three daughters. 


After the death of her husband in 1961, she went to work as Assistant to the City Manager of Rye. She retired in 1986. 


Mrs. Mitchell was an active member of Rye Seniors for many years. She also took a great interest in genealogy.


“Our mother was an avid reader and a lifelong learner,” said her daughters. “She taught herself to become computer-literate. She wasn’t afraid of technology. In fact, she got us all on Facebook!” They added, “As a devoted fan of PBS and BBC television series, we know she will be watching Season Four of ‘Downton Abbey’ from heaven.”


A 90-year resident of Rye, Mrs. Mitchell takes with her a treasure trove of local history, memories, and knowledge of family relationships, stories, and all things Rye. 


In addition to her three daughters, Margaret Mitchell LaBrosse (Ronald) of Mays Landing, N.J., Kathy Mitchell (Jeffrey Doyle) of Manteo, N.C., and Derry Mitchell Aloia (David) of Port Chester, Mrs. Mitchell is survived by five grandchildren: Major Benjamin Hyde, Justin Hyde, Sarah Hyde, Carlin Aloia Phelan, and Michael Aloia; and two great-grandchildren, Jack Mitchell Phelan and Norah Kathryn Hyde.


A mass of Christian Burial was celebrated October 21 at the Church of the Resurrection.


Donations may be made in Nora Mitchell’s memory to Catholic Relief Services.


John Welling


obit-john wellingJohn Francis Welling, a native of Westchester County and longtime resident of Rye, passed away suddenly on October 21from complications from diabetes. He was 58.


Born on November 16, 1954 to Elizabeth “Dolly” and Oscar John Welling, he attended Rye High School and was a member of the Class of 1972. on to He graduated from Fordham College, with a dual degree in Economics and Philosophy in 1976, and from Fordham Law School in 1979.


He began his career working for his uncle, James Maniatias, handling real estate and commercial matters. Mr. Welling went on to enjoy a long and successful career in the title insurance industry for over thirty years. He worked at Stewart Title Insurance Company for over twenty years and at the time of his passing he served as President of its New York subsidiary.


Mr. Welling met his future wife, Leocadie “Cadie” Robertson, when they were students at Fordham Law School. They were married for thirty years.


Known for his passionate sports and music fandom, impeccable wardrobe, and mischievous sense of humor, Mr. Welling was a devoted and loyal colleague, friend, uncle, father, husband, brother, and son. He loved attending concerts (never missing a performance of the Allman Brothers), sporting and cultural events, and was in particular a long-suffering and enthusiastic supporter of the Giants, Mets, and Knicks. He had a lifelong curiosity and love of learning, and in recent years took at-home courses in everything from Shakespeare to world history. He also enjoyed the company of his trusty service dog, Isis.


In addition to his wife, Cadie, he is survived by his daughter, Lee Welling, and her husband, Ben Lim; his son, John B. Welling; his mother, Dolly Welling; his sister, Christine Pumphrey and her husband David; his in-laws, Scott and Jill Robertson, Donna and Dr. Ray Chow, Mark Robertson and Brett Robertson; his beloved nieces and nephews, Brock and Cristina Pumphrey, Taylor and Jimmy Esdale, Madison Pumphrey, Christopher and Rachel Robertson, Dana Robertson, Doug Robertson, Daniel Chow and Kyle Chow; his aunt Flo Krondes; and his cousins, John Krondes, Karen and Jerry Blair, and Mary Ann and Ira Linzer.


Calling hours are from 7-9 p.m. on Wednesday, October 23, and from 4-8 p.m. on Thursday, October 24 at Graham Funeral Home. A funeral service will be held at Holy Trinity Greek Church, 10 Mill Road, New Rochelle, on Friday, October 25 at 10 a.m.


To honor his life and memory, donations may be made to the American Diabetes Association, or the Joseph L. Chow Memorial Fund, which honors the memory of his nephew. For information about how to donate to the Memorial Fund, visit


Margaret Dyer Pierce


obit-margaret pierce webMargaret D. “Margie” Pierce, a lifelong Christian, teacher, and gardener, passed away September 30. She had lived in Westchester County since 1960 and, for the last dozen years, had been a resident of Sterling Park at The Osborn. She was 87.


Born on October 6, 1925 in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, she was the daughter of Mabel K. and C. Dickey Dyer Jr. She grew up in Cleveland and graduated from The Laurel School in 1944. She was President of the Student Council in her senior year. She went to Vassar College where she was a Night Owl and from which she graduated with a degree in Music in 1947. In 1949, she married James R. Pierce.


Mrs. Pierce lived the antithesis of “idle hands do the Devil’s work”. She taught at The Bedford Rippowam School (later Rippowam-Cisqua School) for more than twenty years, where she was recognized as a Master Teacher in 1991. She was a member of the Bedford Garden Club for nearly thirty years. In addition to serving on and leading several committees and being the recipient of numerous awards during her most active years, she was the President of the Bedford Garden Club from 1983 to 1985 and served as Zone III’s Conservation Representative to the Garden Club of America from 1985 to 1987. 


For nearly forty years, Mrs. Pierce was an active worshipper and volunteer at St. Matthew’s Church in Bedford.  She was the second woman elected to the Vestry, serving from 1972 to 1976. All the while she was also a loving wife, sister, friend, and mother (no epicure, Mrs. Pierce nonetheless sent her children out to face the world with something hot in their bellies every day), and made certain no litter came to rest in front of the house on Route 35.


After her teaching years, Mrs. Pierce turned a good habit (visiting older folks in the community, as she had been doing for years in her post-Kindergarten afternoons) into a second career. Her bespoke Christian can-do manner made her geriatric transition services unique and highly sought after.


Her years at Sterling Park were similarly anything but retiring. Chairing and serving on several committees, she embraced her new surroundings with the same “can’t-say-no” vigor that animated her life. Mrs. Pierce was also a lay reader at All Saint’s Church in Harrison.


She was preceded in death by James Pierce, her husband of 44 years; two of her sons, Robinson D. Pierce and Marvin Pierce II; and by her older brothers, Marshall K. Dyer and C. Dickey Dyer III. 


She is survived by her children, Margaret P. Peters (Jonathan) of Rye, and James R. Pierce Jr. (Dabney) and Scott Pierce III (Stephanie), both of Houston; and by twelve grandchildren: Jill, Molly, Keenan, Shevlin, Jonathan, Dyer, Miller, Clemmie, Walt, Robby, Charlie, and Bar. 


A memorial service will be held October 24 at 11 a.m. at Christ’s Church. A reception will follow at American Yacht Club.


Donations in Mrs. Pierce’s memory may be made to:


All Saints’ Episcopal Church, 300 Harrison Avenue, Harrison, NY 10528 (, or Christ’s Church, 2 Rectory St., Rye, NY  10580 (, or St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, 382 Cantitoe Street, Bedford, NY 10506 (


Clifford Jaeger


obit-clifford jaegerClifford Jaeger, a longtime Rye resident, passed away on October 12. He was 84.


He was born on December 29, 1928 in Fall River, Massachusetts. When he was a toddler, his father died and his mother moved the family to England.


A member of the U.S. Air Force for 23 years, Mr. Jaeger served in six overseas assignments before retiring from military service in 1969. He went on to become Director of Loss Prevention for Daitch Shopwell and Food Emporium supermarkets. He retired in 1988. 


In 1949, he married Alma Garnet in Liverpool, England. Together they raised two loving daughters. The family moved to Rye in 1970.


He served as Captain and Executive Officer of the Rye Police Reserves for 12 years and as an honorary member of the Rye Fire Department. He was a member of the American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, and Veterans of Foreign Wars. He enjoyed being a Shriner, a 32nd degree Mason and devoted himself to charity work.


Mr. Jaeger was predeceased by his wife. He is survived by his daughters, Marilyn and her husband Richard Barber, and Debra and her husband Robert Slater; and two grandchildren, Robert and Emma Slater.


A funeral service was held at Christ’s Church October 16.


George Thomas


obit-george thomas

George Peter Thomas, a lifelong resident of Rye, passed away on September 11. 


Born on April 19, 1929, he was the son of Peter and Penelope Yanelli Thomas. He graduated from Rye High School in 1948 and from SUNY, Class of 1952, with a degree in Computer Science. 


His first job was at his parents’ store, Thomas Confectionary, on Purchase Street. It was Rye’s first own-made ice cream and homemade candy store.


With an education in computers and a passion for finance, he went on to have a rich and successful career as an IT executive with Citicorp. 


After retiring in 1988, at the age of 59, he enjoyed spending time with his family and friends while continuing to consult on financial planning. As anyone in his circle of friends can attest, his true zeal was for health and nutrition and a belief in a holistic approach to wellness. 


He married Helen Markatos on November 25, 1956. Together, they raised three children.


In addition to his wife, Mr. Thomas is survived by his children: Penny, Harriet Tolve and her husband Louis, and Peter Thomas and his wife Pamela; five grandchildren: Joseph, Anne, Alexia, Anabelle, and Bryan; and a brother, Peter. All of his family members live in Rye.


Funeral services were held September 14 at Church of Our Saviour. 


In recognition of Mr. Thomas’ appreciation of the Rye City Schools, which both he and his children attended, the family asks that donations be made to a scholarship in his name. Contributions should be sent to the Rye City School District, 1 Parsons Street, Rye, NY 10580. On the memo line, indicate George P. Thomas Memorial Scholarship Fund. 


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