Member of the Week 2018

//Member of the Week 2018

Chris and Sherri Ahlers – members since 2007
Chris and Sherri joined PCOL soon after moving to Lawrenceville eleven years ago. They chose PCOL because of its proximity to their home, but they stay “because this church is such an integral part of our lives and our family.”

Chris is an oncologist developing novel medicines at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). Sherri works as a literacy professional developer, training and mentoring teachers in elementary schools; among other roles at PCOL, she has chaired the Lawrenceville Presbyterian Preschool board. Nicholas (11) is all about baseball: he’s an avid Yankees fan and a little league player. Kaitlin (almost 10) is a dancer, singer and soccer player. Nicholas attends Princeton Friends School and Kaitlin attends The Cambridge School.

Tom Baker – part of the congregation since 1977; Parish Associate since 1983
Tom started attending our congregation with his late wife Carole in 1977. As an ordained Presbyterian minister, Tom is officially a “member” of the New Brunswick Presbytery (vis-à-vis any individual congregation). He has served PCOL as an unpaid Parish Associate since 1983 (35 years). In this role, he has provided occasional sermons (famous for their baseball references) and pastoral counseling services. A native of the Philadelphia suburbs, Tom graduated from Denison University and then earned M.Div. and D. Min. degrees from Princeton Theological Seminary. After ordination, he worked in teaching and counseling positions, deciding early on that his primary ministry would be through counseling. He did this professionally for twenty years as an employee assistance counselor for Johnson & Johnson, followed by ten years with Trinity Counseling Service.

Tom has served the Presbytery and PCOL on several important committees and, since retirement, has invested many hours helping Victor with maintenance of the church grounds. A highlight of his years at PCOL has been his participation in several disaster relief trips to the Gulf coast in the wake of Hurricane Katrina (2005), including three trips to rehabilitate homes through Presbyterian Disaster Relief and one focusing on storm-related mental health issues through the American Red Cross. Tom’s amateur baseball career has included playing in Mercer County’s over-30, over-40 and over-50 leagues until about four years ago. He also ran in eleven marathons, most recently in 2003. Together, Tom and his wife Susan have six grown children and ten grandchildren.

Lorna Billings Ballard – member since 1978

Lorna started attending PCOL Sunday School before she started school. Lorna lived with her grandparents on Franklin Corner Road, surrounded by corn fields and cow pastures. Her grandfather moved his family to Lawrenceville to begin working for RCA and her grandmother took her to Sunday School. Dana Fearon was a new young pastor at that time. Lorna fondly remembers many PCOL traditions. She received her first Bible from Dana when she was confirmed and it is a prized possession. She loved the covered dish suppers with all of that lovingly-prepared home cooking. She remembers that members brought their own dishes and silverware as well as food to share. Church picnics were often held on the grounds of The Lawrenceville School, with the men setting up grills and cooking there. Lorna remembers the fashion shows that were held in the spring, and she also remembers when Judy Neale worked at the church. Lorna helped to start up the first young adult fellowship at PCOL. In time, her three sons attended Sunday School and youth group here. Her son Peter has traveled into the ministry after his many years at PCOL and now works on the church staff. Lorna has gone through many times where she was more or less involved in PCOL but has always returned to her church home. Lorna is still enjoying life in Lawrenceville with her husband Dennis Sheppard, sons Bryan and Peter, and “Max, the King of the Korat Kitties.” Lorna is pictured here with a portrait of her grandfather which she painted!

Gordon Buxton – member since 1949

Gordon Buxton, one of our most senior longtime members, began attending PCOL at age five when Park Richards was pastor and Mrs. Richards ran the Sunday School. He remembers when the ground beneath the fellowship center was covered with sheds to house parishioners’ horses and carriages. These sheds were eventually demolished to build a large room, all paneled in pine, for use by church members. Ed Kirk’s father, a mason, built a large stone fireplace to heat the room in winter. That structure was replaced in 1953 by the current fellowship center.

After serving in the Korean War, Gordon returned to his new wife and attended college through the GI bill. During his senior year he designed and built, in nine months, the home he still lives in today – he pounded every nail himself!

Born and raised in Lawrenceville, one of Gordon’s fondest memories is how the people of Lawrenceville – the boy scouts, the fire company, and the church – all worked together, hosting a large dinner every year. He was very active in the fire company, serving as chief, and at PCOL, serving on many boards, singing in the choir, participating in a “great” couples club, and was liaison between the contractor and membership when the chapel was remodeled. In addition to all this, Gordon was the carpentry teacher at Hopewell Valley High School.

Ida Marie and Rocco Chiaradia – members since 1968

Rocco Chiaradia’s father was brought up in the Catholic Church and began attending Presbyterian Churches when he married. When his father-in-law arrived in Trenton with his soon-to-be wife, he had looked for a church that would marry them and provide a warm and caring community. The church he found was Protestant and so the family went to Presbyterian churches in Trenton from then on. When Rocco and his wife moved to Gedney Road in Lawrenceville with their own family, they sent the children to Sunday School at the nearby Lawrence Road Presbyterian Church. A move to Carter Road brought them closer to the Presbyterian Church of Lawrenceville, and they became members in 1968. Rocco was a successful building contractor for many years. Since retirement he has returned to sculpting and lives in a house filled with his wonderful work. Rocco likes to stay aware of the needs of others – both family and friends and acquaintances – and tries to fill those needs as often as he can. He has appreciated the visits and cards he receives from PCOL.

Dr. Ida Marie Chiaradia (Rocco’s daughter) grew up in the Trenton/Lawrenceville area surrounded by the love of a large extended family. She spent many successful years as an educator, first as a music teacher and later as a school administrator. Although she has retired, Ida Marie continues to give her time and energy to education and currently serves on the board of the Mercer County NJ Teachers’ Federal Credit Union. Supporting her aging father demands much of Ida Marie’s time. In addition, she tries to give both moral and financial support to her large family, especially the students and young adults just starting out, as well as to others whose needs become known to her. Ida Marie says that she is finally at a time in her life when she has time to consider questions of faith and religious doctrine. She is interested in the new wellness programs at PCOL and how they can help individuals who realize the importance of taking care of themselves in both spiritual and physical ways. Also, Ida Marie expresses appreciation for the kindness and attention she and her father have received from PCOL in past years.

Kris Deni and Rich Levandowski – members since 1992 and 2008

If you need help with a project at PCOL, ask Kris, one of our most willing volunteers. Kris has an extensive background working in education. After graduating from Westfield State College in Massachusetts, she attended Peabody College in Nashville where she earned her Master of Education degree. Kris taught school in Massachusetts and Tennessee and later moved to New Jersey where she worked for Mercer County Special Services School District. During a 28-year career at MCSSSD, she served as a teacher, supervisor, director and, ultimately, as assistant superintendent. Kris then served the Lawrence Township Public Schools as Director of Student Services. She credits Lawrence with giving her children a particularly positive educational experience. Finally, she was an educational consultant with the Danielson Group which specializes in teacher evaluations.

Kris’s son Michael is a successful rock musician, the leader of the band Geographer. He has produced several albums and has performed in nationally recognized venues. While a PCOL member, Kris experienced a tragedy when her beloved daughter Leah died in 2004 after a brief, devastating illness. Kris expresses her love for our church because of the support she received during that most difficult time. She continues to honor Leah’s memory by supporting The LEAH Project, a program for underserved elementary and high school students of color in the Boston Public Schools. Kris is presently serving PCOL as a Deacon.

Dr. Rich Levandowski grew up in South Plainfield. He graduated from Princeton University where he was twice named to the All-Ivy Track Team. He received his medical degree from Rutgers-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. Returning to Princeton, he worked for 10 years as university and team physician and later was director of athletic medicine. Upon leaving Princeton, Rich became director of the Institute for Sports Medicine and founded the Sports Medicine Fellowship at Rutgers-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. His current medical practice is Princeton Sports and Family Medicine in Lawrenceville. Rich is a nationally known speaker and author. He has served on assignments for the US Olympic Committee, United States Track and Field and on PCOL medical missions to Haiti, and he volunteers his services to Special Olympics New Jersey.

Rich has two grown sons. Doug is married to Andrea and they have a daughter, Penny. Will is married to Cecie and they have a son, Oliver. Rich’s recreation usually involves hiking, cycling and gardening. He is an active member of the PCOL community.

Norma Drew – member since 1952

Norma Drew has been a PCOL member since she joined the church at about twelve years of age. She is a lifelong New Jersey resident. She lived in her childhood home in Lawrence Township until she moved to The Villages at Hamilton years ago. She retired after forty-five years as a data engineer at ETS in charge of telephone systems at seven field offices around the country – a job she loved.

Norma is the middle of three sisters and has several nieces and nephews. For a number of years she was a volunteer with Interfaith Caregivers, but currently she isn’t driving much. Sewing and quilting have long been an interest of Norma’s. In April she is going on a week-long tour with other quilters to Paducah, Kentucky.

Marge Dwyer – member since 1988

Marge is a proud grandmother of three whose pictures adorn her Green Avenue home. She describes them as the light of her life. Her daughter Suzy teaches English at the Friends School and her son-in-law teaches art at the Peddie School. Suzy and her husband grew up together on Green Avenue and were married under the arbor in the Dwyers’ garden.

Marge has always honed her craft as a writer. She began writing as a child and became a copywriter at a radio station in Trenton, followed by work at New Jersey Manufacturing and later, The Lawrenceville School. What remained with her throughout all of her adventures was writing encouraged by her late husband, journalist Bill Dwyer. To this day, she reserves mornings for writing. Look for her newest publication in The Kelsey Review this spring. It is entitled, The Majolica Wine Jug. She describes the piece as “fictionalized history.” She is working on a book, The Girls of Greystone Manor, which revolves around “women of a certain age” whose husbands have passed and who join forces to ….well, we don’t want to give too much away – you will have to buy the book. If you can’t wait for that publication, you can pick up her first novel, The Heart Knows the Way.

Marge has long been a social activist and an avid student of politics. She and her friends support Family Campus of Homefront in Ewing. They have collected and donated many thousands of dollars to this cause, which is close to her heart. She reminds us that the children are our future.

Marge is very proud to be a member of PCoL which she describes as “such a caring congregation.” Her favorite service of the year is the Good Friday service; she has invited friends of all sort to attend this worship with her.

Kathy Edwards – member since 1973

Kathy and husband Bill first came to PCoL to sing in special concerts under the direction of Jim Lauffer and organist Gail Edwards, their sister-in-law. Music has always been an important part of their lives. They were married in 1959, had three children (Jeff, Judy and Jill), and joined PCOL in 1973. They both sang in the church choir for many years. Bill passed away in 2015 and Kathy continues to sing in Concert Singers. Kathy came to PCoL as an ordained deacon and served here as an elder. As chair of the Child Protection Policy Committee, she helped develop a policy that was adopted by the Session.

Not intimidated by feeding a big crowd, Kathy helped organize and prepare Loaves and Fishes meals for the homeless in Trenton and many church lunches and dinners over the years. Other good memories of church life include the Women’s Association Annual Spring Fashion Show and chicken salad luncheon (the recipe being a highly guarded secret), creating craft items for the Fall Church Bazaar alongside other members at her home, her fellowship group – still meeting each month – and the many Fall and Spring choral concerts. She especially remembers a light-hearted musical performance on stage in what was then called the youth center that featured the “Big Foot Ballet,” male choir members donning pink ballerina tutus and gold sneakers, dancing and singing. This group included husband Bill, Wayne Edwards (Bill’s brother and husband to Gail), Walt Edwards (Bill’s other brother), John Dupree, Bill Pierson, Ralph Ferguson and Bill Driver.

Brent and Elizabeth Ferguson – members since 2008

Brent and Elizabeth Ferguson came to New Jersey from California for graduate school. Elizabeth enrolled in the dual degree program, M.Div. and MSW, at Princeton Theological Seminary and Rutgers University, and Brent in PTS’s M.Div. program and in Princeton University’s program in teacher preparation for public school certification.

While in seminary Brent and Elizabeth worshiped at Witherspoon Presbyterian Church where they met Louise Johnson who was the associate pastor. Maya was born in Elizabeth’s last year of seminary and Elizabeth has fond memories of passing Maya from person to person during Bible study and of Maya’s baptism there.

Brent had taught for 10 years before moving to New Jersey and resumed teaching following seminary. He and Elizabeth found a home at The Lawrenceville School. Since they liked to worship at a local church, they explored membership at PCOL, walking the short distance from their home on campus. They both loved the vibrancy of the children’s ministry, as well as the strong, thoughtful, caring and compassionate members. Then an old friend joined the leadership team when Louise became a member of the staff.

Since joining, Brent and Elizabeth have been very active members of the PCoL community. They explain their deep commitment to the church saying, “We have the need to be energized, encouraged, replenished by the church.” Here at PCoL, they have contributed in various areas including adult education, mission, session, deacons, stewardship, LOGOS and Sunday School.

The family includes Maya, 13, Quinn, 10, and two foster children. The children enjoy a host of activities including fencing, volleyball, rock climbing, lacrosse, reading, art and LOGOS/youth group. Favorite family activities include reading, puzzling, and traveling – they are looking forward to more adventures this summer!

Ralph and Mary Fergusonmembers since 1973

Music has been a main theme of Mary’s and Ralph’s lives. It’s how they met and what led them to the Presbyterian Church of Lawrenceville. Initially, they joined the Concert Singers under the direction of Jim Lauffer and organist Gail Edwards. They later also joined the Sunday choir and have participated in both to this day. They’ve raised 3 girls in the church, all of whom sang in various church ensembles over the years. Laura is now an associate pastor at Newtown Presbyterian Church in PA; she was ordained to that position here at PCoL. Sara works in finance in Colorado and her twin Barbara is raising daughter Brooke with husband Bob in Pennsylvania. Each sings in her church choir.

Mary and Ralph have met some of their closest friends through choir and their fellowship group, which still meets regularly. Ralph has been an elder twice, serving as Session treasurer, a trustee twice and a deacon once. Mary was also a deacon. A special memory for Ralph was when his Session term straddled the years of their daughters’ confirmations and the girls shared their statements of faith at a Session meeting.

Among Mary and Ralph’s fondest PCOL memories are (1) a service one summer when Ralph preached and Mary sang, (2) lighting the Advent wreath while singing a prayer with the girls and (3) singing as a family at the monthly nursing home service. Reflecting on their time as PCOL members, they say “Life in this church keeps our family close.”

Bonnie Galloway and Bob Robinson – members since 2008

Bonnie Galloway and Bob Robinson have lived in Lawrenceville for 20 years. They are avid travelers, who have visited all seven continents and five oceans.

Bob is President of 55PLUS, a non-sectarian group of seniors, who meet bimonthly to hear lectures on science, art, politics and finance. An avid gardener, Bob served two terms as President of Master Gardeners of Mercer County and currently is the Mercer County representative to New Jersey Master Gardeners. In the Fall and Spring Bob teaches “Science in the News” for Evergreen Forum.

Bonnie recently left her adjunct position teaching management at Rider University. During her tenure, Rider sent Bonnie twice to teach at their affiliate, Sanda University, in Shanghai.

Currently, Bonnie serves on the Board of Trustees of Eden Autism Services, as well as its executive and finance committees. She also chairs Eden’s development committee. Bonnie is a member of PEO and enjoys seeing her PEO sisters at PCOL.

Milt and Pat Grannatt – members since 1974

The Grannatts moved to Lawrence in 1973 and purchased a house on Pine Knoll Drive. Neighbors there, who became life-long friends, introduced them to PCOL. Pat and Milt had previously attended Presbyterian churches in Bethlehem, PA and Chevy Chase, MD, where inspiring pastoral leadership became an important component of their spiritual lives. They found the same atmosphere at PCOL with Dr. Dana Fearon and a welcoming congregation, and they joined the church in 1974. In later years as their children became involved in church activities, they became even more deeply involved in PCOL life, considering the leadership and membership to be “extended family”.

The Grannatts are proud parents of two sons, Ted and Bob, who currently reside in the Boston, MA area. Both Ted and Bob were baptized and confirmed by Dr. Fearon. Ted is married to Katie and they have two young daughters, one who was baptized at PCOL, and one who was baptized at the First Presbyterian Church of Salt Lake City, where Katie was raised. Bob is married to Treasa, and they recently celebrated their first anniversary.

Milt retired from Novartis Pharmaceuticals Company and remains active serving on biotech company boards, the PSRC Evergreen Forum Steering Committee, and the PCOL Session. He also teaches an Economics course every fall for the Evergreen Forum. Milt is currently Chair of the Worship Committee and is always looking for members interested in working with this group. He previously served as a Deacon and a Trustee. He is a “life member” of Trenton Country Club.

Pat retired from TCNJ after 30 years of teaching Sociology. She volunteered in the PCOL nursery school and taught Sunday School. Pat is currently a member of WoW, a Friend of Princeton Library, a Friend of the Institute of Advanced Study, and a member of the Lawrenceville Woman’s Club. She has also served on the board of Family Guidance Center and was a volunteer reader for Learning Ally. Both Pat and Milt are strong supporters of all veterans’ causes and the alumni associations at their alma maters, Wilson College and Lehigh University. The Grannatts are now enjoying retirement very much in the local area due to the many dear friends they have here and the wonderful activities and continuing educational opportunities available here.

Melissa and Duane Harbaugh – members since 1988, 2001

Melissa moved from western Pennsylvania to Lawrenceville in 1984 when her father (member Don Wygal) began teaching at Rider University. Her family joined the church in 1985 and Melissa was confirmed in 1988. Melissa met her husband Duane in 1994 while they were both Rider students. Duane joined PCOL in 2001 and in November of that same year, they were married at the church. Over the years they have both served as deacons, Melissa as president of the deacons during her tenure. Melissa also has enjoyed assisting with the Fall Fair throughout the years, mostly coordinating vendors and promoting the event. Duane recently served as volunteer church treasurer for several years; he assists with vendor set-up at the Fall Fair and plays on the PCOL softball team. Melissa and Duane have two daughters, Jessica (13) and Alexa (9) who were both baptized at the church. Melissa and Duane have been part of a fellowship group since their daughters were born, and they find a wonderful sense of camaraderie in this group.

Duane works as a project coordinator for Syneos Health. Currently, Melissa is seeking full-time employment in operations management and/or sales. She currently spends her time assisting with communications for The Community Well and helping her father at trade shows selling vintage Star Wars toys, comic books, and all kinds of other toys. When not working, they enjoy transporting their daughters to and from dance, soccer and track, and relaxing with their 2-year-old King Charles Cavalier, Socks and their 17-year-old cat, Cookie. Duane is also on a bowling team.

“This church has been such a huge part of my family life through the years and it remains an important part.” Melissa commented. She added that no matter what phase of life she’s in, there is always someone at the church to talk to, connect with and help guide her on her spiritual journey.

Donna and Dave Hoeffel – members since 1988

Although she didn’t formally join PCOL until thirty years ago, Donna’s claim to PCOL fame is that she was the first baby baptized here by former minister Dana Fearon (1960-2002). Donna’s grandparents and parents were members here, and Donna was brought up in the church. She and Dave were married here by Dana in 1981; they moved to Florida less than a year later and moved back to the area later in the 1980s. When Donna became pregnant with their first child, Emily, in 1988, she and Dave decided it was time to become official church members. Their second daughter, Claire, was born in 1992. Donna served as a deacon, was on the preschool board, helped start the LOGOS program, and was its dining room coordinator for 10 years. Donna also chaired the Fall Fest and Craft Show for several years, worked on the 300th Anniversary, and participated in other fundraisers for the church. She was also a member of the YAYA council and was an adult advisor on two youth mission trips, including one to New Orleans to aid in Hurricane Katrina relief work; this was one of the most meaningful experiences she has ever had in her life.

While Donna was volunteering at church and as a Girl Scout leader, she also worked with Dave in their business, Sound Choice Disc Jockeys. Sound Choice provides DJs for weddings, parties and corporate events. Donna spent much of the last five years caring for her parents. Dave, a northeast Philadelphia native, has worked in the music business since he graduated from Temple University. He started out in radio and then moved into music promotion. He cut back to semi-retirement recently. He now works part time in music promotion, is a DJ on Sirius/XM “60s on 6,” and is still running Sound Choice. Dave and Donna are looking forward to relaxing and traveling more now. They have been part of a PCOL fellowship group for over 25 years which, in addition to being a lot of fun, has also been a wonderful source of support in times of need. They enjoy spending time with family and friends.

Mike and Carrie Hotchkiss – members since 2008

Mike and Carrie both grew up in Mississippi, and they have known one another since middle school. (Really!) They’ve been going steady since 2005 and have lived in Lawrenceville since 2007. Carrie, an alumna of Smith College, has taught students ranging in age from preschool to high school and is now a fourth-grade teacher at Chapin School. She has served on the session, the board of the Lawrenceville Presbyterian Preschool and regularly teaches Sunday School. She also loves to sew and craft. Fun fact: Carrie has been to all 50 states.

Mike worked as a newspaper reporter and editor and is now a writer at Princeton University. He has served as a deacon and is on the board of LPP. He also volunteers as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for children in foster care. Fun fact: Mike can juggle.

Their son, 11-year-old Wilson, and 5-year-old daughter, Julia, are both active in the children’s program at PCOL. PCOL is a big reason that Lawrenceville has come to feel like home for the Hotchkiss family.

Loraine and John Huchler – members since 1988

Sometime in early fall, 1987, Loraine and John took a right turn into the parking lot of PCOL one Sunday morning – and “everything changed.” In short order, they became members of the church and were married by Dana Fearon in October, 1988. Slowly but surely, they rearranged their obligations to make PCOL part of the fabric of their lives. Attending services each Sunday helped to cement their connection; Loraine volunteered to teach Sunday School and John joined the choir. Loraine served on the building and grounds committee, and John began mentoring young people wanting to join the church.

Something interesting happened as they gave of their time, talents and resources to this community of faithful Christians: they began to grow in their faith. John delights in serving as a “table grandparent” at LOGOS and attending the men’s Bible study group; Loraine serves as the chair of the adult education committee. In times of need, both small and large, the members and staff of PCOL have been a steady source of comfort and consolation to them. After 30 years of membership, they continue to find “new ways to enrich our lives by being part of this vibrant, faithful group of Christians. We feel so fortunate to have found this place to build a meaningful relationship with God and His people.”

Matthew and Billie Hullfish – members since 2008

Matt and Billie are happy to have made PCOL their church home. They were married here and both of their children, Emily and Nathan, were baptized here. Billie has lived in this area since she was 13, and her grandfather was also married in this church.

Billie is currently a stay-at-home Mom, but both Matt and Billie are electricians by trade. Matt serves on the buildings and grounds committee and they are both very active in church projects. They enjoy helping out where needed, especially for church clean-up days. Emily and Nathan attend LOGOS and Sunday School, and have fun with their church friends.

Matt’s work schedule and ongoing house projects keep them busy during the week, but on weekends they set aside time for family activities. They all enjoy trips to Point Pleasant, fishing, riding bikes, and hiking together.

Jean and Bruce McGraw – members since 1983

Jean and Bruce moved to Lawrenceville in the fall of 1979 and joined PCOL on the strength of preaching by Dr. Fearon, the music led by Gail Edwards, and the sense of community from the congregation. Jean, a former Sunday School teacher, advisor for the youth program, member of the choir, and deacon, currently leads one of the teams that counts the weekly offerings. Bruce is an elder and has served as a trustee. He also was president of the deacons and has chaired the nominating committee, the mission committee, and the Haiti task force. He recently retired as a member of the national response team of Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, whose motto is “Out of Chaos, Hope.” Responding to natural and human disasters took him from ice jams on the Yukon River, to ice storms on the Standing Rock Reservation, to tornadoes in Birmingham, to flooding of the Susquehanna River, to a church fire in eastern PA, to wildfires in Texas, and to flooding in eastern Wyoming, among other deployments. Further, he was a member or leader of teams to assist with recovery from Hurricane Katrina on the Gulf coast, serving a total of over 100 days. He served on seven medical mission teams to Haiti, including the one that arrived two hours before the massive earthquake in Port-au-Prince.

Jean is a graduate of UNC Greensboro with a major in history and UNC Chapel Hill with a MAT in history. Having taught in North Carolina and New Jersey since 1966, she retired from teaching AP US History at Notre Dame High School in 2012. She is currently active with Moms Demand Action, an advocacy organization for gun violence prevention. Bruce graduated from Bucknell University with a major in philosophy and from UNC Chapel Hill with a MAT in history and a PhD in organizational theory. His long career in public education started in 1965 as a teacher who helped to integrate the teaching faculty of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. He went on to serve as principal of an eastern North Carolina high school and interim principal of Lawrence High School. He retired in 2005 as the assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction of the Lawrence Township Public Schools. For ten years, he was an active member of the Lawrence Township First Aid Squad, responding to over 200 calls each year. He is currently a member of the Community Emergency Response Team, is on the Lawrence Non-Profit Housing board (Eggerts Crossing Village) and is a member of the Juvenile Court Conference Committee, an arm of the Family Court that hears juvenile cases in an out-of-court setting.

Married 48 years, Jean and Bruce have two sons, David and Andrew, who grew up at PCOL, two daughters-in-law, and six grandchildren. They believe that the strength of PCOL is the strong community that deeply cares about both the congregation and the larger community surrounding the church.

Axel Miranda and Rossy Matos-Miranda – members since 2008

Axel and Rossy moved to Lawrenceville eighteen years ago from Brooklyn, New York. They visited the area and fell in love with the community and were impressed with the schools for their children, Nelson and Vanessa. Today, the family shares their home with their four-year-old dog, Sochi. Axel is a health care executive, and Rossy is the director of the Irma Rivera Family Advocacy Center and director of admissions at the Christina Seix Academy in Trenton, where Nelson is a science teacher. Vanessa works for the United Way as a public health liaison.

Rossy is currently serving her second term on the board of deacons. Axel has served as a trustee as well as on the open door committee and the Community Well working group. Rossy’s most meaningful church experience was a PCOL mission trip that she, Vanessa and the youth group took to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. They worked at a women’s shelter and planted grass in the bayou area. They helped at an animal shelter and spent time at the Presbyterian church there, where they met the congregation. This trip was a powerful experience and had a great impact on their lives.

The Mirandas are very family-oriented. They enjoy the arts, movies, spending time with friends, traveling, and visiting family members in New York, Florida, and the Dominican Republic.

Ruth Predhome – member since 1963

Ruth Predhome grew up in Hopewell Township, NJ. She was baptized, confirmed and married to husband Bob at Pennington Presbyterian Church. As teens, Ruth and Bob met while both were working at Pennington Market. Bob’s college years took him to the University of Detroit to study math and physics, while Ruth pursued a nursing degree at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. They married in 1950 and were married for 66 years before Bob’s passing in 2016.

Ruth and Bob built a home on a former Bayberry Road farmstead and did much of the work themselves. Bob over the years worked for Philco, the government, then AT&T. Ruth worked over her career as a school nurse, a floor nurse and in a private practice for an ophthalmologist. During the early 1960s, Ruth and Bob had two children, Deb and Tom. Their family joined PCOL in 1963, when Dana Fearon had been pastor for just a short time. They both taught Sunday school and as their children grew up, got involved in youth group leadership too. They shared many years in a fellowship group that over the years included Barbara Burnett, Trudy Venner, Fran Aicher, Dolly and Jack Weber, Dan and Gloria Longhi, and Ruth and Don Barringer, among others. To this day, Ruth still enjoys participating in this group that has welcomed new friends over time and meets at the church each month.

Nancy Richardson – member since 1969

Nancy and Charlie Richardson moved to Lawrenceville in July, 1969, when Charlie joined the history department at Rider University. After visiting just a few area churches, they decided that they felt most comfortable at PCOL. As Nancy says, “Somehow the church just felt right.” The pastor visited them, they were welcomed into a Fellowship Group, and they both soon became involved in the activities in the church. Over the years Nancy served on the session as well as the Christian education committee, and at this time she is a member of the mission committee and the board of the preschool. When Charlie became ill and died in 2010, Nancy and her daughter, Polly, greatly appreciated the love and support they received from the church and especially from Jeff.

Nancy has always loved the music at PCOL; she and Charlie sang in the choir for a while. She also appreciates the church’s emphasis on community outreach and has followed through by volunteering at TASK and, most recently, at Arm and Arm. Nancy is pleased that PCOL has offered employment to a young man who has autism. Her son, Geoffrey, has autism; Nancy has dedicated much of her energy to supporting autism services, serving on the board of Eden Autism Services and, from 1981 to 1999 as the first full-time director of COSAC, now known as Autism New Jersey.

George and Carolyn Sanderson – members since 1998

George and Carolyn joined PCOL 20 years ago, shortly after moving to the area from Belle Mead. At the time, they had one young child and two more (twins) on the way and wanted to be sure their family was part of a faith community. George grew up Episcopalian, and Carolyn in a Congregational church, so they visited a few different area churches before finding PCOL and realizing that it was the community they wanted to make their church home. When their children (who are now in their twenties) were young, Carolyn taught in the Sunday School, and George served on the personnel committee. George is headmaster of the Doane Academy in Burlington, NJ, and Carolyn works in financial services at Morgan Stanley. As their family has grown and evolved, so too has their sense of what the church means in their lives. They are happy that the community-minded spirit that attracted them to PCOL two decades ago is still alive and thriving today.

Bill and Mary Schroeder – members since 1968

A transfer with New Jersey Bell Telephone Company brought the Schroeders to Lawrenceville in 1968. On a visit to their home Dr. Fearon asked why they were joining the church. When Mary replied that it was so their daughter could attend the nursery school, a prerequisite in those days, Dana said, “That’s a good reason!” So, the pretty old church down the road became the Schroeders’ gateway to good friends, good activities and the good life. Over the years, they tried to be supportive, serving as youth leaders and scout leaders during their children’s childhood. Bill has been a deacon, president of the trustees, chairman of the planning and execution of the new addition in 1978 and co-chair of the 300th anniversary celebration. He is now serving as church historian. Over the past 50 years Mary has been active in the ladies’ groups, serving as chairman of the Spring Luncheon and Fashion Show, and participating in the many church bazaars. As flower chairman since 1983, Mary has enjoyed working with church members to place orders for memorials. She has often filled in with flowers from her own garden! The Schroeders have fond memories of pot luck dinners after trimming the meetinghouse for the Christmas season over the past 35 years.

Art Shearer – member since 1988

Art grew up in Morrisville, PA. He graduated from The Lawrenceville School in 1960 and then graduated from Lehigh University with a BA in Applied Science and a BS in Chemical Engineering. After serving two years in Korea as an officer in the Army, Art went back to school for an MBA at UC Berkeley and then an MS in Ceramic Engineering at Rutgers part time. (Can you tell he liked college?) Art met his wife, Jeanne, while working for Bechtel, an international construction company, in San Francisco. They married in 1973 and moved to New Jersey. There he acquired Rouse & Shearer, a ceramic consulting and manufacturing company and Bartley Crucible, which manufactured crucibles in Trenton, where he worked until selling both companies in 1999.

Both Art and Jeanne had been raised as Presbyterians and wanted the same for their children, Derrick and Amy. They joined PCOL and their children both attended the PCOL nursery school. Jeanne passed away in 2000.

Art has been with Linda Pickering, a retired lawyer, since 2004. (That’s Art and Linda in the photo.) She has three grown children and likes to garden. Art’s main hobbies have been sailing with the Princeton Ski and Sail Club and downhill skiing until a bad spill in Aspen required a total reverse shoulder replacement in 2011.

David and Linda Sung – members since 1988

David and Linda moved to Lawrenceville in 1983 from Maryland. They both were born in China and grew up in Taiwan; they met each other in Pittsburgh, PA. They each studied science in college (David, Math and Computer Science; Linda, Physics and Astronomy). David worked at GE and Lucent Technologies and retired in 2009. Linda worked at AT&T and retired in 2013.

Looking back, they are amazed that they have lived in Lawrenceville longer than anywhere else. They came to PCOL because it was close to their home and convenient, but after their first visit, talking with other members, and enjoying the fellowship center, they were taken by how friendly members at PCOL were toward them. Then when Dana Fearon paid a visit to their home shortly after that first visit, they connected with his easygoing manner. They chatted, sipped tea and talked about different religions and philosophies. That evening left a lasting impact on Linda and David and shortly thereafter, they joined the church. PCOL became a place their family called home. Their two daughters, Emily and Jennifer, were born in Lawrenceville, and baptized at the church. Both are now grown and living in Philadelphia; David and Linda get together frequently with them on weekends.

In the Church, David and Linda have both have served on the mission committee, as deacons, and on the session. Linda taught children and youth at Sunday School for 17 years, and also served as a trustee.

They also continue to enjoy worship, music, adult forum, and friendship in the Church. Over the years, their church fellowship group has become an important part of their lives. Linda also joined the Israel/Palestine trip led by Jeff in 2006, a transformative journey which helped Linda appreciate many issues in building a lasting peace in the Middle East. They continue to enjoy being members of the church and look forward to participating further in the many activities of the church community.

Lyn Ubry – member since 1960

As a child, Lyn (Hendrickson) Ubry attended Sunday School and Christian Endeavor (the youth group of that era) at PCOL. She joined the church fifty-eight years ago, in the year (1960) when she and Ted Ubry were married in a candlelight ceremony, in one of the first weddings Dana Fearon performed. Both Lyn and Ted grew up in Lawrence Township; Ted on Blackwell Road and Lyn on the Hendrickson farm on Cold Soil Road. The newlyweds moved to Somerville for three years then returned “home” to build a house next to the farm, where Lyn still lives today. Here they raised their two children in the church; son Mark is chief of police for Lawrence Township, and daughter Jill is a registrar for the Lawrence Township Public Schools. Jill, like her parents, was married in our church by Dana Fearon.

For twenty-two happy years, Lyn worked at Morris Hall in the physical therapy department. She and Ted took many memorable trips, both in and out of the country, but since his passing in 2013, Lyn does most of her traveling on a John Deere, mowing her property. She loves the outdoors and planting flowers, so it seems only natural to find her smiling face working at Kale’s Nursery in the spring and fall.

Elsa van der Wal – member since 2008

Elsa had the wonderful privilege of growing up supported by the PCOL community, with guidance from people like Bryce Hayes, Sarah Ferguson, and Rich Richards who nourished her love for music. She was also inspired by Jeff Vamos’ respect and talent for language and storytelling. After graduating from Hopewell Valley High School in 2011, Elsa flew off to study Linguistics and English Language at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. There, she relished every theatrical opportunity, leading her to work towards becoming a full-time actor. Now, while working part-time at a lovely cafe, she performs in professional theater and film projects as often as possible, while she saves to train at a drama school in London. Edinburgh has become her home away from home, where she finds joy in each day with her partner, Kirsty, and their scruffy little dog, Ziggy.

Brett Wilfrid – member since 1988

In the thirty years since Brett was confirmed at PCOL, he has gone through Colby College (with a year abroad at Oxford University), served two years in Nepal with the American Peace Corps, and relocated to his wife Jen’s native state of Wisconsin, where he has pursued a career in public education in the capital city of Madison. He has since earned two masters degrees in education and, since 2009, has served as principal of a K-5 elementary school serving one of the poorest sections of Madison.

Brett attended PCOL’s preschool and Sunday School, and was active in the youth group while attending Lawrence High School. His parents remember fondly his first solo musical performance (singing a verse of We Three Kings at a Christmas pageant) and the sermon he delivered one Youth Sunday. In 2000, Dana and Janet Fearon were kind enough to travel to Door County, Wisconsin so Dana could officiate at the wedding for Brett and Jen. They have one son, Wesley, born in 2011, pictured with Jen and Brett in the photo.

Brett plays mandolin, guitar and banjo in two popular Madison-area bands, The Whiskey Farm and The N’achos. The Whiskey Farm has produced four albums, available via its website, thewhiskeyfarm.com. The band recently donated the feature song, You Are Welcome Here, from its latest album, “Songs of Resistance,” to Refugees International, which used it for the sound track of a video that’s easily accessible via the band’s website.

Phyllis and Bill Wilmot – members since 1974

Phyllis and Bill moved to Lawrenceville from their hometown of Pittsburgh in 1973. In 1974, soon after a friendly visit from Dana Fearon, they joined PCOL. They have both been active members over the years – Phyllis as a deacon and trustee, and Bill as an elder, president of the deacons, and the first chairperson of the Lower Fund committee when it was established. They have been in the same fellowship group for 30 years. They have both been longtime members of the mission committee and are active volunteers with TASK, where Bill generously gives his time as a tutor. They have also been involved with NAMI (the National Alliance for Mental Illness) for many years and would be happy to speak with anyone interested in learning more about NAMI programs.

Phyllis is an alumna of Smith College, where she majored in English and art history; she has a lifelong interest in art and enjoys visiting museums and galleries with Bill. Bill is a graduate of Cornell University and earned a PhD in physical chemistry from Carnegie-Mellon. He was employed by several different companies during his career in research and marketing.

Phyllis and Bill are parents of 3 daughters and have 4 grandchildren. In the summer they get together with family at Chautauqua Lake in western New York, where Phyllis has been going since she was a child. After living in Lawrence for 30 years, they now live in an “over 55” community in Pennington but remain active PCOL members, often serving as greeters at the front door prior to Sunday worship services.

Nick Yepes member since 2008

Nick recently moved to Chicago to work in a company that invests in companies that provide financial services in emerging markets. His focus is on Latin America. A 2015 graduate of Hamilton College with a degree in economics, Nick spent the two years after graduation in investment banking in Manhattan. Study abroad in Spain, a microfinance research fellowship in Paraguay, and a fellowship for intensive study of Portuguese helped prepare Nick to work on investments in Latin America in his two most recent positions.

Nick is grateful to PCOL for having had the opportunity to serve as a youth member of the session while in high school, for the youth group activities and trips led by Rich Richards, and for the Clowes music scholarship that allowed him to participate in a choral music festival.

2018-10-02T00:02:34+00:00June 5th, 2018|Uncategorized|

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