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   March 27, 2008 Issue                                       

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Grant Hansen

Grant Oscar Hansen

Grant Oscar Hansen, 92, of Chestnut Hill, a retired navy commander, died March 20 after a brief illness at Cathedral Village, where he had been a resident for the past two-and-a-half years.

Mr. Hansen was one of the first graduates of the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps and was commissioned as an ensign, serving in the Pacific fleet during World War II. He was aboard the U.S.S. Lexington at the time of its sinking at the Battle of the Coral Sea, and aboard the U.S.S. Hornet at the time it was sunk as well.

He had been captain of the U.S.S. Thompson and the U.S.S. Antares.

He was the officer in charge of Naval Communications Forces in the Western Pacific in Tsingtao, China, when the forces of Mao Tse Tung overtook the Chinese mainland. Later, stationed at the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) in Paris, he developed a shortwave radio network that extended from Norway to Turkey.

After 24 years of service to the Navy, he was employed by Philco-Ford and later by Orion Systems.

Mr. Hansen had lived in Chestnut Hill for more than three decades and was a former board member of the Chestnut Hill Community Association. He was the Libertarian candidate for the Pennsylvania General Assembly, 198th District, in 1992.

In retirement, he read for the blind on the radio and made recordings of books and articles. He also wrote descriptions of movie visuals, which he then recorded between the actors’ lines of dialogue so that visually impaired people could enjoy films.

Born in Great Falls, Mont., Mr. Hansen lived in several places along the route of the Great Northern Railroad, following the career of his father who was a civil engineer with the company. 

He was a graduate of Lincoln High School in Seattle and the University of Washington.  It was in Seattle that he met his wife of 54 years, Donna June “Nell” Grinnell, who died in 1991.

Mr. Hansen was known for his keen wit, his wide-ranging vocabulary, his passion for political issues and his love of a good story.  He was an avid fly fisherman and vegetable gardener. 

He is survived by four daughters, Ann H. Knepp of Titusville, Pa., Sarah H. Pearson of Chestnut Hill, Martha H. Adams of Charleston, S.C., and Amanda Hansen of Mt. Airy; a sister, Marjorie Kate Swineheart of Yakima, Wash.; nine grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren, and his companion, Caroline Baldi of Cathedral Village.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 29 at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, 630 Cathedral Road, in the Andorra section of Philadelphia. Full military honors will be accorded at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date. 

Memorial contributions may be made to the Associated Services for the Blind-RICB, 919 Walnut Street, Philadelphia PA 19107, or to the Montana Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, Blackfoot River Project, 32 S. Ewing Street, Helena, MT 59601.


Oakley Young

Oakley W. Young, of Chestnut Hill, died March 21 at her home.

Mrs. Young was the wife of the late William R. Young.

She is survived by a son, William; a daughter, Oakley, and one grandchild.

A funeral service was held March 25 at Jacob Ruth’s Funeral Directors, Inc.  in Chestnut Hill and interment was at George Washington Memorial Park.


John S. Leigh Jr.

John S. Leigh

John S. Leigh Jr., 69, of Mt. Airy, a professor of radiology at the University of Pennsylvania, died March 10 of heart disease at his home.

A pioneer in biomedical engineering, Dr. Leigh’s research on magnetic resonance technology greatly improved its use as a diagnostic tool. He also developed the use of infrared light to create a better body image without radiation and in less time than that taken by a conventional MRI.

Dr. Leigh founded Penn’s Metabolic Magnetic Resonance Research and Computing Center in 1984. He taught biochemistry and biophysics at the university and was named the Britton Chance professor of radiology.

Dr. Leigh graduated from Haddonfield High School and from Penn, where he received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and played on the football team. He earned a doctorate in biophysics from the university in 1974.

Dr. Leigh’s first marriage to Carole George ended in divorce in 1974. While on a Guggenheim fellowship to Cambridge University the following year, he married Judy Lumby.

The couple moved to Mt. Airy where they raised two daughters.

In addition to his wife and former wife, Dr. Leigh is survived by daughters Jennie, Amy and Nancy Marcellino; sons Scott and Robert; one brother; one sister, and 10 grandchildren.

No funeral service is planned. Memorial contributions may be made to the Sassafras River Association, Box 333, Georgetown, MD 21930.


Philip H. Ward, III

Philip H. Ward, III, 87, of Chestnut Hill, a lawyer who argued before the U.S. Supreme Court in the controversial “Bible reading” case of Abington School District v. Schempp in 1963, died March 18 at his home.

Mr. Ward, who practiced corporation law with the Philadelphia firm of Montgomery McCracken, Walker and Rhoads for more than three decades, represented the school district in the case that challenged and eventually ended mandatory Bible reading in the public schools.

He was a former chairman of the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Section of Corporation Law.

During World War II, he served as a captain in the U.S. Army and was awarded the Silver Star for gallantry in action in Okinawa, the Bronze Star for heroic achievement in the Philippines and the Purple Heart for wounds received in action against the enemy in Okinawa.

Mr. Ward was a graduate of Penn Charter School, Princeton University and Harvard Law School.

He was a former chairman of the board of directors of the Committee of Seventy, vice president of the Philadelphia Crime Commission, chairman of the board of the Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association, president of the Wilderness Club of Philadelphia, and a board member of the University of the Arts, Springside School and Chestnut Hill Academy.

Mr. Ward is survived by his wife, Margaretta; a son, Philip H. Ward IV; a daughter, Dr. Susan B. Ward, and a sister, Eleanor Altemus.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday, March 26, at St. Thomas’ Church, Whitemarsh, Bethlehem Pike and Camp Hill Road, Ft. Washington, PA 19034. Interment will be private.

Memorial contributions may be made to the above church.


Thomas McNutt

Thomas V. McNutt, 89, of West Chester, formerly of Chestnut Hill, died March 21 at the Dock Woods retirement community in Lansdale, where he had been a resident for the past three years.

A retired machinist, Mr. McNutt worked for Proctor & Schwartz for more than 30 years.

He served in the Army during World War II in the Aleutian Islands.

A sportsman, Mr. McNutt played ice hockey, baseball and basketball, and was a bowler.

He was also active in the Men’s Group at the Chestnut Hill Presbyterian Church.

Mr. McNutt was born in Chestnut Hill, the son of Thomas T. and Mary Vincent McNutt.

He is survived by his former wife, Dorothy McNutt; a son, Paul; three daughters, Jane, Barbara and Carolyn, and a brother, William.

Funeral services will be held at noon Thursday, March 27, at the Heritage Chapel at George Washington Memorial Park, 80 Stenton Ave., Plymouth Meeting. Interment will follow.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Dock Woods Community, 275 Dock Drive, Lansdale, PA 19446.