Saturday, July 25, 2015

DEATH | HvS Condolences (Updated Nov 10, 2016)

Hilda van Stockum (1908-2006)
Thanks to the following for signing Hilda van Stockum's online NY Times guestbook after her death on November 1, 2006. The tenth anniversary of her death occurred close to the U.S. election.

Allen, Anne (12/6/2006)
Ambuul, Maria (11/22/2006)
Anonymous (11/14/2006)
Anonymous (11/17/2006)
Anonymous (11/21/2008)
Anonymous (8/1/2011)
Anonymous (8/4/2009)
Ayers, Cara (11/21/2006)
Barb (11/20/2006)
Beausang, Michael (11/8/2006)
Blankert, Jan Willem (11/17/2006)
Bradbury, Angela (5/25/2007)
Braga-Henebry, Ana (11/14/2006)
Byrne, Helen (11/27/2006)
Cammarata, Catherine (11/19/2006)
Charles, Rosa (11/16/2006)
Chiry, Aggie (11/16/2006)
Cole, Candace (11/6/2006)
Corbet, Christian Cardell (11/6/2006)
Cowan, Elizabeth (11/7/2006)
Cummings, Maureen (11/6/2006)
Cunningham, Carolanne (10/5/2008)
Devlin, Patti (11/14/2006)
Dunne, Ann (11/9/2006)
Edmisten, Karen (11/14/2006)
Fitzgerald, Jackie (11/10/2006)
Flynn, Peter (11/7/2006)
Graham, Joseph (11/14/2006)
Greenstein, Barbara (11/8/2006)
HalvegÄrd, Elisa (2/23/2007)
Hansen, Lee (8/3/2010)
Horowitz, David & Bonnie (11/3/2007)
Hungar, Claire and Paige (1/31/2007)
Johnson, Claire (1/8/2008)
Kelly, Stephanie (1/5/2007)
Keshavjee, Shariffa (1/11/2007)
Key, Maria (3/2/2008)
Koch, Rita (11/29/2006)
Koss, Janet (7/3/2009)
Kozak, Carla (11/16/2006)
L., P. (11/15/2006)
Lait, Conor (11/10/2006)
Lait, Michael (11/13/2006)
Larsen, Samantha (11/16/2006)
Leffingwell, Susan (9/9/2007)
Livshits, Irina (11/6/2006)
Lourie, John (2/8/2009)
Manion, Nancy Martin (11/8/2006)
Marley, Josh (11/26/2010)
Marlin, John Tepper  (11/4/2006 and 11/13/2008)
McGuire, Simone (11/21/2008)
Mier, Chris (2/27/2008)
Murphey, Marcia (1/28/2007)
Noonan, Jim (11/4/2006)
Nussbaum, Suzanne (6/26/2009)
O'Neil, Francis (9/30/2007)
o'neill, eithne (11/5/2006)
OBrien, Suzanne Eva (11/15/2006)
Ondatto, Connie (11/16/2006)
Phelan, Frances (11/7/2006)
Phelps, Connie (4/15/2008)
Porter, Valerie (11/27/2006)
Rehkamp O'Brien, Marlene (11/6/2006)
Roberts, Faith (11/14/2006)
Ruddell, Simon (11/28/2006)
Russek, Sarah (12/7/2007)
Ryan, E (11/24/2006)
Silberstein, Janice (12/8/2006)
Smith, Pamela (11/15/2006)
Solinas, Deborah (11/14/2006)
Sontrop, Robert (Bob) (11/16/2006)
Susan (11/14/2006)
Tyler, Rex (11/17/2006)
van Haaff, Fransois (11/13/2006)
Van Hecke, Alicia (11/5/2006)
van Lennep, Erik (8/10/2008)
Van Ostern, Jane (10/11/2007)
Vickery, Judy (5/30/2007)
Vilim, Mary (11/20/2006)
Walsh, Marie (11/6/2006)
Weinstein, Ann and Steve (11/29/2006)
White, Mary (12/5/2007)
Williams, Charlotte (11/5/2006)
Willoughby, Jonathan (11/22/2006)
Wirtz, Mary Lou & Tom (11/15/2006)
Wright OSB, Stephen (11/16/2006)

Here are some of the longer condolence notes we received, many of them through the guest book.

Beyer, Dorianne, New York, NY - "I know that her paintings, particularly those of your families, continue to spread their magic throughout your family's homes." 

Bradbury, Angela, Keno, Ore., May 25, 2007 - I recently read about Hilda in a Bethlehem Books catalog and felt an instant connection to her and her work. My husband Ron and I have five children and love every minute of it. Yes, even the difficult times. I especially love the encouragement and support your mother gave for large families and family life in general through her writing and art. God Bless You, our sympathies are with you. We are investing in a collection of Hilda's books!

Craig-Cooper, Sir Michael, London, UK, April 6, 2007 - Dear Mr. Marlin - You were kind enough to send to my mother, Olive Carroll-Leahy (formerly Craig-Cooper, nee Macdonald) information concerning Hilda van Stockum, to whom my mother and her sister were bridesmaids. My mother suffered a stroke... I wished you to know how touched she was to receive your letters which my cousin Gina MacDonald supplemented with a photograph of your parents' wedding with all the bridesmaids. [Photo is in the Guest Book.] Thank you for your thoughtfulness.

Crichton, Aleck, Beltra, Co. Sligo, Ireland, November 25, 2006 - Dear John, Thank you so much for sending me the sad news of Hilda's death... I can remember Olga [Boissevain van Stockum, Hilda's mother] came to live in the upstairs flat in our home at 26 Fitzwilliam Square with Hilda, Willem and Jan about 1927, or earlier. I remember so well a Christmas party in my grandfather's house with Peter and Billy Kirkwood when Hilda produced a lovely illustrated booklet for them - I think in English verse. I hope you have it. Very entertaining and amusing. Clever as paint! We saw a lot of each other, i.e., my parents Brian & Violet, and my sister Sheila. Jan and I were great friends & competed hard at ping pong! Willem was older & we played chess together. Later he spent time with me here trying to teach me the calculus. In the end he was as gallant as one would expect [Willem piloted a bomber for the RAF in WW II, was shot down and is buried in Laval, France]... Spike and I saw quite a bit of each other and I liked him greatly... Hilda lived to a grand great age. She and Spike were married you say for 62 years. Joan and I had 63 years together. With best wishes to you all, with all my sympathy. 

Echevarria, Bishop Javier, Prelate of Opus Dei, Rome - "Heartfelt thanks for... the beautiful self-portrait of Hilda. I pray for your whole family, every day..." 

Fenner, Daniel and Barbara, Twickenham, UK - "We first met at St. James's Church Twickenham, introduced by Fr. Tony Potter. We stayed three weeks with Hilda and we had some wonderful days together. She painted Barbara's portrait.”

Fisk, Nan and Don, Boulder, Colo. - "Your parents came after Eric was born and were really interested in that baby. That visit was the bright spot in those first weeks... One time when we were at their house for dinner, Hilda had finished a self-portrait. It was a good one and I could see her look at it repeatedly. I know the feeling exactly..." 

HalvegĂ„rd, Elisa, Sweden, HvS Guest Book, February 23, 2007 - We all have a precious picture of Hilda inside our hearts. I met her in 1975 in England and she made a deep impression on me. I was a bit shy and unsure and spoke a terrible English, and she gave me a lot of love and confidence and read my hand. I still remember what she said. ... She later gave me a copy of The Mitchells in Norwegian... We included each other in our prayers, I as a Buddhist and she as a Christian. ... Now when I heard she had died she somehow visited me. She was about in her thirties and was ice-skating on a Dutch canal, waving and smiling, as to say I am all right, all pain has gone and I can do what I want to do! ... Now in England I read The Borrowed House and The Winged Watchman at my friends house. They don´t age, all young should read them to understand our times better as well as history.

Harvey, Sydney, Portlaoise, Ireland - "I, my brother John and our families send our belated sympathies. We have drawings your mother took of our three children Richard (now 29), Victoria (28) and Charlene (24). My wife Valerie and I still live by the family farm, at Derrycarrow in Camross…"

Hone, Muriel, Kilkenny, Ireland, December 29, 2006 - Dear John - I have to tell you that Oliver [son of Evie Hone's first cousin - Evie herself had no children and was never married - JTM] died in May 2005, after which I sold the Dundrum house and moved to Kilkenny to be within reach of my daughter and granddaughter. He suffered from angina and was gradually debilitated by Parkinson's, a difficult combination borne with great courage. He was buried on his 88th birthday, the day before what would have been the celebration of our Diamond Aniversary. I hope Hilda's stroke was not drawn out as she was such an active person with so much to her credit. We were especially pleased when she proved so active in Dublin art circles with her still life studies. Her friendship latterly in Evie's life has put a crown on the letters over the years of being apart. It was a long time for Hilda to have outlived Spike. My condolences to you all - she was a character one would miss - and thank you for telling me. The Irish Times gave her a good obituary. It is a curious life without Oliver - I feel a shadow, but content to have him out of the physical difficulties.

Karl, John and Tyna Coles, Washington, DC - "[We were] saddened to read about your mother in the NY Times. We wish you peace…"

Keshavjee, Shariffa, Nairobi, Kenya - HvS Guest Book, January 11, 2007 - "The picture of this fine old lady in her arm chair, so accepting of life as it unfolded is clearly etched in my mind. She gave me a copy of The Mitchells: Five for Victory. As I stood humbled by her gift, she took a pen and sketched a picture of a young boy with a twig behind him with the casual ease of signing her name. I was touched and have the book by my bedside to date. I learn from her that life is a joy and has to be lived as such without fear and anxiety - with love and grace and thankfulness of all the bounties that God has blessed us with.”  

Kunreuther, Judy, New York, NY - "I always will remember your mother with great warmth and affection. She was a remarkable woman... What an incredible legacy she leaves... Steve and I send our heartfelt condolences..." 

Lueck, Meghan, London, UK, May 2, 2007. - I am University student studying here in London for the semester. I grew up in Southern California and I now go to school at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana. When I was little, the Hilda van Stockum books were my absolute favorite. I can not even tell you how much they touched my life and how much they mean to me now, years later. I am traveling to Ireland for the first time with my mom in about two weeks. I actually have Bantry Bay set into my itinerary because they books meant so much to me. This morning, as I planned my trip, I decided to look up Hilda van Stockum on the internet. I had not realized she passed away last year, and I wish you my warm regards of sympathy to your family. As a personal tribute to her, I was wondering if there was any way I could visit some of the sites from her life. Is her burial place open to the public? Could I perhaps place some flowers by her grave? I would also like to know if there is any way I can purchase any of her Out of Print books. I remember when I was a little girl I would check up on the list to see which books of hers I had read. Is there no way those other books are attainable? Thank you so much for your time. I do hope you know how much Hilda van Stockum's work touched my life.

Mahut, Helen, Cambridge, MA, November 10, 2006 - Thank you for the announcement of Hilda's death. I remember well your sister Elizabeth. Hilda had a long and good life. I remember so well your father working for ICAO in Montreal and your hospitable home in Westmount, and Hilda's sustaining friendship when I was doing research at McGill, before I came to MIT.

Murphey, Marcia, Victorville, Calif. - HvS Guest Book, January 28, 2007 - "When all my children are grown, I'm sure they will remember the stories of The Mitchells and how we enjoyed them together as a family. When I read of her life, I felt humbled, and I hope that I can have just a fraction of the impact on my children's life..."

Remoff, Heather, Eagles Mere, Pa., June 7, 2007 - Dear John, If I was deeply touched by your gift to Maeve of A Day on Skates when you gave it, I hardly have words for the gratitude I feel after reading the book. Your mother will never die. She pulled me immediately into a world of such immense kindness, love, and light that reading her work is transformational. What a lovely story. What a lovely person. The book captured all the dreams of my childhood and made them, for a moment, real. My daughter, Ingrid, and her daughter, Maeve, are going to love this book as much as I do. Your mother has a whole new generation of fans. And just in time. Whenever the evening news leaves me ready to throw up my hands and declare humans a doomed species, I will turn to your mother and draw hope that there are children being socialized with her values. Thanks.

Schott, Monica, Washington, D.C., April 14, 2007. Dear John - Your mother was my first painting teacher. She sent me on my way, via the Corcoran School of Art, to become a lifelong teacher myself! She was so gifted and such an inspiration, through her beautiful work - she can never be forgotten! I still mention her to students and I treasure the few works of hers I own.

Wick, Adele, Greenland, N.H., April 19, 2007. John - Your mom's books got buried... I just recently unearthed them. I'm about to finish The Winged Watchman. I don't want to finish it. The story, the style, and the illustrations I savor. I particularly love the beginning, making its young readers feel the war through hunger, and the father's line about preferring to think about what people do out of church to in. I usually don't look at illustrations, but hers draw me in with their delicacy, feeling and power. Thank you for introducing me to Hilda van Stockum.

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