OBITUARIES, Jan. 27, 2006

Richard W. Couper, Curtis W. Lasell, David A. Ellis, Hester W. Riddell

Richard W. Couper
Headed Wilson Fellowship Foundation
CLINTON, N.Y. — Richard W. Couper, president emeritus of the New York Public Library and of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation in Princeton, died Wednesday.
   Born in Binghamton, N.Y., he was a resident of Princeton during the 1980s.
   While president of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation from 1981 to 1989, he inaugurated a series of new programs, all revolving around encouraging good students to become teachers and teachers to become better teachers.
   From 1971 to 1981, Mr. Couper served as the first full-time chief executive officer of the New York Public Library. During that period, the library had its first balanced budget since 1924, completed a new building for the Schomburg Collection, received substantial grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and Astor Foundation, introduced compact shelving, and closed the card catalog in favor of a computerized catalog, the first major library to do so.
   Representing the sixth generation of his family to attend Hamilton College, he entered the school in 1940, served overseas as an Army captain during World War II, and graduated in 1947 Phi Beta Kappa with honors in Greek and history. In 1948, he received a master’s degree from Harvard University with a concentration in American history.
   From 1948 to 1962, he was associated with the Binghamton, N.Y., firm Couper Ackerman Sampson Inc. In 1962, he was named the first administrative vice president of Hamilton College. Subsequently, he served as vice president, acting president, provost and vice president. In 1969, he became the first deputy commissioner of higher education of the New York Education Department.
   He was trustee or director of more than 60 organizations, including banks, a life insurance company, publishing companies and mutual funds.
   He was a board member of the Trinity Counseling Service and the New Jersey Committee on the Humanities and was on the advisory council of Princeton University Library, serving as chairman from 1987 to 1995.
   In 1959, he became a trustee of Hamilton, where he was serving as a life trustee at the time of his death. Hamilton granted him the Alexander Hamilton Medal, and in 2004 he was named Volunteer of the Year.
   A lifelong Episcopalian, he was chairman of the Committee on Ministry at Trinity Church in Princeton.
   He was an avid squash and tennis player and was a member of the Nassau Club and Pretty Brook Tennis Club in Princeton.
   Son of the late Esther W. and Edgar Williams Couper, father of the late Barrett, he is survived by his wife of 59 years, Patricia Pogue Couper; sons Frederick and Thomas; daughter Margaret; sister Katharine Watrous; and four grandchildren.
   A memorial service is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday in Hamilton College Chapel.
   Calling hours are 7 to 9 p.m. today at Owens-Pavlot Funeral Service, 35 College St., Clinton, N.Y.
   In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Trustees of Hamilton College, 198 College Hill Road, Clinton, NY 13323 or the President’s Office, The New York Public Library, 42nd Street and 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10018.
Curtis W. Lasell
Former organist at university chapel
SOMERSET — Curtis William Lasell died Dec. 20 at Park Place Center, South Brunswick, after a long illness. He was 52.
   Born and raised in Martinez, Calif., he was a New Jersey resident since 1978.
   From 1980 to 1993, he was principal organist at the Princeton University Chapel, with the exception of two years spent in Luneburg, Germany, studying manuscripts of 17th-century organ music. He was internationally recognized as an organist.
   In addition to his duties at the chapel, he performed many organ recitals, presented concerts of German Baroque music, and sang as a tenor in Renaissance vocal ensembles, including Richard Taruskin’s Cappella Nova in New York in the 1980s.
   An avid concertgoer and opera buff, he also had a keen interest in art, literature, history, mathematics and fine food, and was particularly known for his spectacular desserts.
   He received degrees in mathematics and music from the University of California at Davis and a master’s degree in musicology from Princeton University. He continued working on his doctoral dissertation until illness intervened.
   He is survived by his parents, Bernice M. and Ernest R. Lasell; sister and brother-in-law Carol Ann and Marshall Young; brother and sister-in-law Peter R. and Susan Lasell; and many nieces and nephews.
   A memorial service is scheduled for 11 a.m. Feb. 11 at Princeton University Chapel.
   Memorial contributions may be made to Open Arms Foundation, 411 Courtyard Drive, Hillsborough, NJ 08844, The Dryden Ensemble, 105 W. Prospect St., Hopewell, NJ 08525 or to a charity of the donor’s choice.
David A. Ellis
WW-P High South graduate
WEST WINDSOR — David Andrew Ellis died Tuesday as a result of a fire in his apartment at the University of Maryland-College Park. He was 22.
   Born in Snellville, Ga., he lived in Downers Grove, Ill., before moving to West Windsor in 1994.
   He was beginning his final semester as a senior, majoring in American studies and African-American history.
   He worked at the university dining commons and was a popular disc jockey at the campus radio station, hosting his own weekly hip-hop music show.
   He was a 2002 graduate of West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South and played in the school orchestra.
   He worked several years as a checker at the Princeton Junction Acme Market and delivered morning newspapers in his Grovers Mill Estates neighborhood from 1995 to 2000.
   He is survived by his mother, Rochelle Ellis of West Windsor; father James Ellis of New York City; brother Stephen Ellis of Chapel Hill, N.C.; sister Erin Ellis of Tokyo; grandmothers Wynona Ellis and Margaret Kerr of St. Louis; and aunts and uncles Michael and Thea Ellis of Moline, Ill., Ralph and Dorothy Kerr of Milford, Mass., and Deborah Wesley of Carson, Calif.
   The funeral is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday at Princeton United Methodist Church, 7 Vandeventer Ave., Princeton.
   Burial will be in Princeton Cemetery.
   Calling hours will be 6 to 9 p.m. today at Mather-Hodge Funeral Home, 40 Vandeventer Ave., Princeton.
Hester W. Riddell
Worked at university
SEMINOLE, Fla. — Hester W. Riddell died Sunday. She was 79.
   Born in Philadelphia, she was a longtime Princeton resident before moving to Florida five years ago.
   In addition to being a homemaker, she worked many years in the Athletics and Physical Education and Annual Giving offices at Princeton University.
   She was a longtime member of Kingston Presbyterian Church in Kingston, where she served as elder, deacon and Sunday school teacher.
   She is survived by her husband of 59 years, Harry Riddell; sons Paul H. Riddell of Tampa, Fla., the Rev. David W. Riddell of Osny, France, and John E. Riddell of Quarryville, Pa.; and 10 grandchildren.
   A memorial service is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday at Kingston Presbyterian Church.
   Burial in Pennsylvania will be private.
   In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Kingston Presbyterian Church Memorial Fund, P.O. Box 148, Kingston, NJ 08528.
   Arrangements are by Kirk & Nice Suburban Chapel, Feasterville, Pa.