A tribute to our members whose spirits live on in our hearts.
Joly Walton Stewart October 2, 1930 — January 18, 2024
Joly Walton Stewart, 93, of Lafayette Hill, PA, died January 18, 2024, at Chestnut Hill Hospital shortly after surgery to fix a fractured hip. Mrs. Stewart was born Alma Joly Walton on October 2, 1930, in Philadelphia, the daughter of John M. Walton, II and Elfrida Elliot, and sister of the late John M. Walton, III. She attended the Springside School (now Springside Chestnut Hill Academy) with which she would maintain a life-long association and received an associate degree from Briarcliff College. In 1962, she married James M. Stewart. They were longtime residents of Forge Farm in Ambler, PA. They also kept homes in Nantucket, MA and Stowe, VT. The friends and organizations with which she was so connected sustained her and kept her active after Jim died in 2013. She was a member of St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church in Whitemarsh. Mrs. Stewart, together with Sandy Glendinning and Betty Webster, founded The Leather Bucket, a popular antique store in Chestnut Hill. They sold the business to Ron Klinger and Neville Lewis in 1964. She was a strong supporter of civic causes as well as being a renowned flower arranger, a member of the Wissahickon Garden Club, and a Garden Club of America Judge. As an artist, concentrating in watercolor and collage, she was a life-long learner studying at the Barnes Foundation and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. She was a Trustee Emeritus of Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, and she was a former trustee of Woodmere Art Museum and remained a member of their Collections Committee. “In her humility, Joly hid from most people that she was an artist,” says Bill Valerio, the Patricia Van Burgh Allison Director of Woodmere. "Her painted-paper collages are infused with a passion that grew from her love of people and sensitivity to the delicacy and strength of nature... In Joly, it could be observed that generosity works in both directions; she was constantly growing as an individual as she nurtured the growth of others and the organizations she cared about.” She is survived by six children; Lea A. Stewart of Campton, NH, James M. Stewart, Jr. of Ambler, PA, Catherine L. Stewart of Manchester Center, VT, Elizabeth S. Hunter of Ambler, PA, James H. Hunter of Mt. Shasta, CA, Mahlon K. Stewart of New York, NY, 6 grandchildren, and 2 great-grandchildren. She is predeceased by her husband and her husband from her first marriage, Alfred R. Hunter, Jr. A funeral service will be held at 10:00 AM on Friday, February 2, at St. Thomas' Church, Whitemarsh, Camp Hill Road and Bethlehem Pike, Fort Washington, PA. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Woodmere Art Museum, 9201 Germantown Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19118.
Anne Wister Garnett Boenning
Anne Wister Garnett Boenning, 99, of Jamestown, RI and formerly of Philadelphia and Gladwyne, PA, died on September 8, 2023, surrounded by family. Born November 27,1923 in Philadelphia, to her late parents Caroline Barclay and Muscoe Russell Hunter Garnett, she was raised in Greenwich, CT where she attended Greenwich Academy and for a short time lived in California and Nevada before returning to Chestnut Hill (Philadelphia) and graduating from Springside School in 1941. She was a debutante and was to have a dinner before The Assemblies but like many parties it was cancelled because of the war. Like her grandmother, mother and brothers, Anne spent summers starting 1925 in Jamestown, RI before permanently moving there in 2021. During World War II, she was an American Red Cross nurse’s aide at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital and later a member of the Women’s Committee of Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia, where she also volunteered as a nurses’ aide. In her early years, Anne modeled for local Philadelphia department stores. She married H. Dickson (Dick) S. Boenning in 1946, after he returned from service in the U.S. Army in North Africa and Italy. They were married 65 years and had three sons – Dick, Evan, and David. Anne was a life member of the Colonial Dames of America, Chapter II, Philadelphia, responsible for Lemon Hill Mansion. She was on the Board of Managers, an officer and co-Chair of The Antiquarian Committee. She was a past member, officer and Board member of The Acorn Club, member and past President of the Wissahickon Garden Club and was recognized for her 70 years of service by the Garden Club of America. In Jamestown, she was a member of The Dumplings Association, where she loved her daily swims doing the “California Crawl” for more than 60 years. At the time of her death, she was a member of the Conanicut Yacht Club. Anne lived her life with grace and dignity and will be remembered as loving and devoted to family and friends. Her kindness, support, loyalty, and genuine consideration for others is recognized by young and old alike. She is survived by her sons Dickson Garnett Boenning (Emily), Jamestown, RI; Evan Foulke Boenning (Nancy), Aspen, CO; and David Ellis Boenning (Newport, RI); grandchildren: Prim Boenning Sawyer (Derek); Anne Boenning Johnston (David); and Stephen Hunter Boenning; and four greatgrandchildren: Alex Sawyer; Evan Sawyer; Catherine Johnston and Alexandra Johnston. Anne was predeceased by her parents, husband, brothers, James Mercer Garnett and Stephen Hunter Garnett and half-siblings, Muscoe R. H. Garnett, Jr., and Agnes W. G. Leary. There will be a private family service in Jamestown with burial in Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia at a later date. A Celebration of Life will be held on Friday, November 3, 2023, at 12 noon at the Conanicut Yacht Club, 40 Bay View Drive, Jamestown. In lieu of flowers, kindly consider a donation in Anne’s memory to the Jamestown Fire Department, EMS Division, www.jamestownfd.com/donations. Arrangements are by the O’Neill-Hayes Funeral Home, for online tributes and more information please visit www.oneillhayes.com. Posted online on September 20, 2023 Published in Newport Daily News
Rose “Posey” Randall Rose Johnson Randall, affectionately “Posey” to all, passed away peacefully on 9/24/22 at the age of 97. She was born in Baltimore Maryland in 1925 to Rose Haxall Johnson and Dr. Robert W. Johnson and continues to be loved and cherished by her four children – Deborah, Peter, Julia, and Susanna, their spouses, six grandchildren and two great grands. Posey attended the Calvert and Bryn Mawr Schools and the Foxcroft School in Middleburg, Virginia, where she was Captain of the Foxes. She earned her BA degree in Biology and Chemistry from Bryn Mawr College. She worked for five years in pharmacology research at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and at Washington University in St. Louis where she was co-author of a seminal paper on a lab procedure which became so widely used, it continues to be the most cited scientific publication in the world. During her post college days, Posey joined a ski trip to Stowe VT with her brother Jerry and a cohort of fellow students at Johns Hopkins Medical School. Upon breaking her leg, one of the budding doctors volunteered to accompany her on the train back to Baltimore and thus began the happiest, most rewarding adventure of her life. Peter Randall and Posey were married on May 1, 1948, and it is the partnership created that day and the family that ensued which became Posey’s greatest joy. After Peter’s medical residency in St. Louis, the Randall family moved back to Chestnut Hill and into the family home on Laughlin Lane. While Peter advanced his medical career, Posey covered the home front. With patience and a firm hand, she navigated all school, church and extracurricular activities. She found a cohort of friends through her work with the Wissahickon Garden Club, St. Paul’s Church, and Bryn Mawr College. She was an excellent tennis player, and enjoyed her regular tennis group on Wednesdays. She also pursued her talents in financial management by volunteering during tax season for H&R Block, serving on the Board of Stratton Management Company, and especially enjoyed meeting with her casual investment group of friends. In her retirement years she volunteered at the Wissahickon Hospice. Laughlin Lane became the launching pad for many family adventures and “projects”. After Church and Sunday lunch with Granny Min, Sunday afternoons were always dedicated to trips to Hawk Mountain, the Ringing Rocks or the Art Museum, and regular hikes in the Wissahickon. Multiyear family projects included building and outfitting a life-size replica of a clipper ship in the backyard and filling the basement with an extensive landscape for HO trains that included a mountain, a farm, a town and train depot. Every winter, we created a forest in the backyard with discarded Christmas trees to shelter the birds who came to our feeders. There were work crews too – planting the vegetable garden, picking beans, raking the leaves, trimming the hollies, and cutting the ivy. Laughlin Lane was a gathering place for neighborhood kids and center of extended family holidays and celebrations. Posey was the overseer and the consummate host. Peter may have created the map, but Posey steered the ship, looked after the crew, and kept the boat afloat. Outside the home, Posey and Peter planned several family adventures starting with our first camping trip across the country in 1961 (when the youngest was 5) visiting National Parks throughout the American West. We learned to work as a team pitching camp and breaking it down in the middle of the night at the slightest drop of rain. We learned to build fires and cook on a camp stove. We learned to read maps and climb mountains and most importantly, after spending hours upon hours traveling in the car, we learned how to get along. Many more camping trips were interspersed with sailing adventures in the Caribbean, Alaska and the friendly waters of Narragansett Bay. Summers were spent in the Shack in Saunderstown RI where Posey was not allowed in the kitchen. Dad would cook scrambled eggs with olives and okra for breakfast, and the kids took turns making lunch and burning dinner until Posey couldn’t stand it, and took over the reins. It was an idyllic summer retreat where we continue to gather with friends and family. A highpoint and important part of Posey’s life was traveling with Peter and accompanying him on many of his medical trips and missions abroad. Medical conferences and meetings offered adventure and the companionship of other doctors’ wives many of whom became lifelong friends. Posey was a bright, voluble companion who was full of cheer and could light up a room. She also traveled with Peter to remote medical hospitals and clinics in India, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia where she stepped into several roles – as nurse, scheduler, registrar and provisioner. Her expertise in science and medicine, her management skills and drive enabled her to address whatever problems or needs arose.. She was able to use her talents, intelligence, and compassion to help many children and families in remote and desperate places. Being able to participate in these trips was a very meaningful and substantive part of Posey’s life. After Peter retired, they moved to Foulkeways and continued to travel all over the world while returning every summer to Rhode Island. After Peter died, Posey kept up with their friends and family and lived with the comfort of knowing that they had lived a good life of happiness and charity and that together, they had seen the world with their dearest friend and the love of their lives.
Susan H. StanleyStanley, Susan H. (nee) Hine (April 15, 2022). Wife of Peter G. Stanley. Mother of Susannah S. (Chris) Ewing and Elizabeth “Lecia” S. (Rick) Jordan. Grandmother of Richard E. “R.J.” Jordan, IV, P. Nolan and Maya E. Ewing and the late Susan E. “Lily” Jordan. Sister of the late Linda H. Peake. Susie was a graduate of Springside School and Bennett Junior College. As a gifted flower arranger, she was a lifelong devoted member of the Wissahickon Garden Club and an outside member of the Trustee’s Garden Club of Savannah, GA. Susie was also co-owner of Two Susan’s Boutique in Chestnut Hill. Susie loved spending time at their second home outside of Savannah at The Ford Field and River Club, spending time with friends at Sunnybrook Golf Club, spending summers on Lake Winnepesaukee in New Hampshire, horseback riding, biking, yoga and cooking for her family, but most of all she loved spending time with her four grandchildren, her daughters and their families, and Peter, her husband of 57 years. Relatives and friends are invited to her Memorial Service, Friday, April 29th at 1:00 PM in the Church of St. Martin-in-the Fields, 8000 St. Martin’s Lane, Phila., 19118. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions in Susie’s name may be made to Eric’s Camp Fund P.O. Box 8138, Prairie Village, KS 66208 or online at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cornie Walton, center, with Joly and Ginny // December 2017
Cornie Walton Obituary and letter from Frida, her daughter.
Frances M. Maguire, artist, mother, and philanthropist, dies at 84 Mrs. Maguire didn't just right write checks to support her various philanthropic causes. She also showed up to talk with the recipients and hear about their lives.
Frances M. MaguireCourtesy of the Maguire Family (custom credit) by Bonnie L. Cook Updated Feb. 17, 2020, 5:21 p.m. ET | Published Feb. 17, 2020, 5:07 p.m. ET Frances M. Maguire, 84, of Chestnut Hill, an artist and mother who with her husband, James J. Maguire, created a family foundation that has given millions of dollars to enrich the lives of Philadelphians, died Wednesday, Feb. 12, of cardiopulmonary failure at home. Known to all as “Frannie,” she was born in Philadelphia and graduated from Merion Mercy Academy and what is now Gwynedd Mercy University. On Thanksgiving 1957, she married Maguire, a businessman who built a string of small insurance agencies into a national insurance conglomerate, Philadelphia Consolidated Holding Corp. In 2008, he completed a $5 billion merger of the holding company with the Japanese Tokio Marine Group. The proceeds made it possible for the Maguires to become one of the region’s most generous philanthropic couples. Their James J. and Frances M. Maguire Foundation has supported schools and colleges, churches, arts institutions, and organizations that serve the homeless. In July 2017, the couple gave $50 million to St. Joseph’s University, the largest gift in the 166-year history of the school. The money was earmarked to bolster endowment and increase scholarships. "To the community on Hawk Hill, Frannie was an emblem of generosity and grace,” said St. Joseph’s president Mark C. Reed. “Her passion for the arts and her investment in the success of young women and men have built a legacy that will live on.” Mrs. Maguire endowed the Frances M. Maguire School of Nursing and Health Professions at Gwynedd Mercy. Its president, Kathleen Owens, said that she didn’t just write a check; she also showed up on campus. “On many occasions, she would visit campus to meet with students enrolled in the school, always asking them about their journey or their ambitions or their clinical experiences, while humorously reminiscing about her student days,” Owens said. Mrs. Maguire had a deep faith in the beauty of humanity, said Bill Valerio, director and CEO of the Woodmere Art Museum, where she took classes, was a trustee, and spent many hours painting in the studio. She saw beauty in the world. Little by little, she transferred her vision onto canvas and into clay and bronze forms. She created busts of city and university leaders. Two of her paintings are on exhibit at Woodmere. Others are in private collections. “Frannie’s inner radiance was expressed in the spirituality of her faith and her love of art,” Valerio said. She began her art career in the early 1970s when her husband was away on business. She enrolled at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, where she drew, painted, and sculpted. Her paintings ranged from expressionism to experiments with cubism. Typically, they featured scenes of nature in bright pink, orange, green, and teal. “Frannie Maguire’s vivid palette in her abstract paintings perfectly expressed her bright, hopeful approach to art, philanthropy, and life,” said academy president and CEO David R. Brigham. Mrs. Maguire’s artistic vision found further expression in her entries to the Philadelphia Flower Show. In one 1994 entry, she used leaves, seed pods, and berries to form the face of a cat; in 1995, she used stems and flowers to suggest a bike. Both took first prize. The judges’ comment: “Magnifique.” Mrs. Maguire’s generosity touched Philadelphians without homes, including those helped by Face to Face, a Germantown nonprofit that provides meals, showers, classes, and art studios. Again, she showed up to greet the recipients. “Each time I met her, whether it was at some function, or when she came here to do art projects with the children or adults, I always felt as if she received me like a longtime friend,” said Mary Kay Meeks-Hank, the nonprofit’s executive director. “It would be hard to overstate the genuine love I always felt in her presence.” Mrs. Maguire was devoted to her eight children and many grandchildren. She liked nothing better than to shepherd the grandchildren to a room at home where they worked on special art projects. “A typical visit to [her] house with my kids was the disappearance to the art room to create their next great piece,” said son Christopher. “She loved opening my kids’ eyes to their artistic talent.” “She made everyone she met feel so special,” said Sister Mary Scullion of Project HOME. When not pursuing creative work, she enjoyed biking and playing tennis with her husband. Besides her husband and son, she is survived by children James J. Jr., Susan, Timothy, Megan Maguire Nicoletti, Colleen, Frances Glomb, and Tara; 24 grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; and two sisters. A son, Edward, died in infancy. Funeral services were Saturday, Feb. 15.
Memories of the Garden Club Members who are honored by named Wissahickon Garden Club Awards. These memories are a compilation from: Ann Hunter, Anne Coste, Anne Boenning, Posey Randall, Joly Stewart and Ginny Simonin and summarized by Maryalice Cheney and Carolyn Adams in the Spring of 2020.
Penelope (Penny) Ashmead (Mrs. Duffield Ashmead III) was President of Wissahickon Garden Club from 1978 – 1980. She lived for a period of time at 8206 Ardmore Avenue, Wyndmoor. Penny was her nickname and was named for President Lincoln, who is on the penny coin. Penny was a tour de force, who delegated beautifully, had a business-like mind and was extremely organized. She had a LL Bean canvas bag for every volunteer organization that she supported. Penny carried all of her meeting materials for an organization in a specific canvas bag. Penny’s mother was Mrs. Morris Merritt, who wrote Mrs. Merritt’s prayer, which the WGC recites in its September and June meetings. In addition to being a “doer,” Penny excelled at miniature arrangements. Penny was very active with the PHS Flower Show. In 1983, Ginny Simonin won the Penelope Merritt Ashmead Award for outstanding miniature arrangement in the PHS Flower Show. Ginny still has the silver tray from 1983. Penny is a first cousin of Ann Hunter, who wore Penny’s wedding dress as her own wedding dress. The Penelope Ashmead Award bowl (with the date of 1905 on its bottom) that WGC is retired in 2020 was given back to Ann Hunter, who will send it to Penny’s daughter. This award was first given in 1983 and is given to a member who best exemplifies Penny’s leadership and dedication to WGC activities and whose involvement extends into the community.
Helen Sims (Mrs. John H. Sims) is one of WGC ten founding club members. She died in 1942. She was an excellent horticulturist and possessed a great eye for garden design and plant material. She was a long term member of the Visiting Gardens Committee. Thus in 1953, the Helen Sims Award as created to recognize a member’s well designed garden. She was a lovely and kind lady by reputation. She lived for a period of time on Gravers Lane.
The Pemberton Cup is named for Anita LeRoy Shaw Pemberton (Mrs. Clifford Pemberton). Mrs. Pemberton lived at 235 E. Evergreen Street, 26 Summit Street from 1915 – 1941 (same home/property as our current member Maryalice Cheney lives in) and at 190 E. Willow Grove Avenue. Mrs. Pemberton (per Anne Boenning when she joined the club in 1947 one always called her Mrs. Pemberton) was a great horticulturist. She was an active member of the Visiting Gardens Committee as she had a great eye for garden design and plant material. She did not hold any leadership positions in the club. She was a humble person who had a lovely small garden. She created nice garden plans for the Club’s entries into the PHS Flower Show. Per her January 22, 1980 Philadelphia Inquirer obituary, Mrs. Pemberton attended the Academy of Fine Arts and she worked in the studio of James McNeill Whistler in Paris. She died at the age of 103 in 1980.
McCurdy Cup is named for Mrs. Idella McCurdy (Mrs. Aubrey McCurdy). Mrs. McCurdy was a long time resident of Chestnut Hill living at 7315 Elbow Lane. She joined the club in 1937. She was a lover of horticulture, her home and garden. She was kind, gentle and a natural teacher of all things related to horticulture. Anne Boenning described Idella McCurdy as “an encyclopedia of horticulture the go to person for any horticulture question.” She was generous with her time and so many benefitted from her knowledge. The Cup is awarded to a member of the club to acknowledge her excellence in horticulture and also her contributions to the club.