Potash Hill

In Memoriam

David Decker ’60
A resident of Salem, Massachusetts, and Marlboro, Vermont, David Owen Decker died peacefully at Kaplan Family Hospice House in Danvers, Massachusetts, in March. Born in Toledo, Ohio, in 1936, he attended Asheville School and Woodstock Country School and graduated from Marlboro College, where he studied art. He then attended University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, and graduated with a master’s degree in art and art history from New York University. David taught at the University of Maine, Orono, where he was a professor of design, architecture, and Canadian studies for 35 years. He exhibited his work in juried exhibitions at museums around the country. David was a lover of opera and chamber music, and as a Marlboro student he worked summers for the Marlboro Music Festival, which he later enjoyed and supported for over five decades. David was known for his generosity of spirit, his humor, and his ability to connect with people. David reunited with his “high-school sweetheart,” Lynn Latta Frothingham, after 40 years. He is survived by Lynn, as well as his sister, two stepchildren, and four grandchildren.

Peter Strickman ’67
A resident of Boston for more than 30 years, Peter Strickman died in January from pneumonia at Charlton Hospital in Fall River, his birthplace 70 years ago. Pete attended public schools in Fall River, then studied painting at Marlboro College with art professor Frank Stout. His outside examiner, renowned artist Wolf Kahn, said of his painting: “One feels in these works a gentle, slightly ironic, affectionate and generous personality.” Pete had several shows at galleries and museums in Providence, Newport, and New York City. Although he struggled with schizophrenia his whole life, he was a well-read scholar of religions and cultures— as well as many other fields of study—a poet, and a wonderful storyteller. His sister Bonnie said, “I like to think of him as a mystic with a deeply evolved inner life.” Several years ago, he found his home with the Roman Catholic Church and experienced great comfort, joy, and solace as an active member of the Paulist community in Boston. Pete is survived by his sister Bonnie, and his “adopted sister” Janie, along with many cousins and friends who will cherish his memory forever.

John Bell ’92
A resident of Malden, Massachusetts, John Justin Bell passed away unexpectedly in April. John was born in Wakefield, Rhode Island, in 1969, and graduated from South Kingstown High School. He went on to study at Marlboro College, where he did his Plan of Concentration in economics and biology, and then received a master’s degree in sociology from Boston College. John suffered from clinical depression, an illness he faced with unfailing courage. “I was envious of John for his brilliance,” said Michael Crane ’92. “I admired his ability to balance intellect and compassion.” John married Cheryl Harwood in 2009, and was a loving, devoted husband. For several years, John taught sociology at a number of colleges in the Boston area. A gifted musician, he played guitar and piano and had an eclectic music collection, constantly seeking out new and interesting CDs and albums. As of late, he was a volunteer tutor at a homeless shelter, where he got to share his gentle, patient, happy self with children who needed his attention as much as they needed his knowledge. John is survived by his wife Cheryl, his mother and stepfather, and his brother, along with numerous aunts, uncles, and cousins.

Matt Alling ’97
A resident of Salem, Massachusetts, and Latin teacher in the Marblehead public school system, Matt Alling died unexpectedly this spring. Born in Plymouth, Massachusetts, he went to Ledyard High School in Ledyard, Connecticut, before attending Marlboro. He completed his Plan of Concentration in classics and languages, specifically “A comparative study of ancient Indo-European languages focusing on verb morphology.” “His years at Marlboro were among the happiest of his life,” said his sister Emily Alling, who was library director at Marlboro for several years until 2014. “His friends, teachers, and studies, as well as the campus itself, were dear to him, and he spoke frequently of how much he cherished his time there. His work in classics at Marlboro led directly to a career that he loved and in which he excelled. He will be greatly missed by his family, friends, colleagues, and students. Anyone wishing to honor his memory through a donation is encouraged to give to Marlboro College.”

Kate Carr ’99
Sculptor Kate Carr died in April at her home in Santa Fe, of complications related to ovarian cancer. She was 40 years old. Born in Anchorage, Alaska, Kate did her Plan of Concentration at Marlboro in visual arts, specifically installation and art criticism. It was in Maine in 1999 that she met poet Jenny George, and they went on to make beautiful homes together in Mount Desert, Maine; Oxford, Iowa; Taos, New Mexico; and Brattleboro, Vermont, before settling in Santa Fe in 2007. Kate received her MFA in sculpture from the University of Iowa in 2005. In her artist statement Kate wrote, “I look for line in the world. It has a rhythm, a hum. It both differentiates space and connects it.” Kate had solo exhibitions in New York, Dallas, Marfa, and Santa Fe, and she received several fellowships. Kate brought the same contemplative attention she cultivated in her artwork to her yoga practice. In 2015, she traveled to Bali, a journey that profoundly transformed her life. She leaves her partner of 18 years, Jenny, as well as her mother, father, brother, other family members, and a close circle of friends.

Troy Wolfe FS’07
A resident of Seattle, Washington, Troy Richard Wolfe died in June at his home. He was 37. Troy was born in Killeen, Texas, and attended Tahoma High School in Maple Valley, Washington. After attending Marlboro College for three years, Troy returned to the Seattle area where he married Lauren Fortner. Together they started their own e-business creating websites, and Troy later went on to work for Amazon. Troy is survived by his son Anders, his mother and father, stepmother, sister, and brother, as well as grandmothers and many aunts, uncles, and cousins.

Andrew Bell, Classics Fellow
An Oxford Classics Fellow at Marlboro from 1985 to 1988, Andrew Bell died in his home in Las Vegas, Nevada, in June. Andrew received his degrees in classics from Oxford and Stanford Universities. He is the author of Spectacular Power in the Greek and Roman City, and taught history at University of Nevada, Las Vegas, since 1994. “When I hear the words ‘gentleman and scholar,’ I think of Andy,” said Mark Roessler ’90. “Thanks, Andy, for always insisting I have a glass of water after a night of drinking, and for always calling me ‘the Captain’ after once seeing me with a box of Captain Crunch cereal.”

Marlboro was disheartened to hear about the deaths of Chris Mahoney ’02 and Fran Nevins, former staff member and mother of John Nevins ’76, during production of Potash Hill. We will have full remembrances in the next issue.