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5/7/2012 Philip Maher - by Bett Yates Adams
J. Maher, the elder son of Gladys and Philip Maher of Brooklyn, NY, was born on
August 26, 1922. He met his future wife, Muriel Pfeiffer, when they were in
kindergarten together; attended a Christian Brothers high school in Brooklyn;
and was enrolled as a premed student at Queens College, NY when Pearl Harbor
was attacked on December 7, 1941.
immediately joined the Air Force at age 19 and received initial fighter pilot
training at Nashville, TN, Santa Ana, CA, Phoenix, AZ, and Pecos, TX. He served
in the Pacific during World War II fighting in the battles of Iwo Jima, The
Marianas—Saipan, and Japan. Phil was awarded two Distinguished Flying
Crosses, an Air Force Commendation, five Air Medals and, later, the Legion of
Merit for work on the U-2 program from 1954-1957 with the CIA.
an illustrious flying career, Phil moved to the technical side of the Air Force
from 1946 until 1957. During that time, he worked in Financial Management for
the USAF Department of Research and Development, frequently appearing before
Congress. His projects included the first ejection seats, experiments with
monkeys preliminary to the "man in space" plan, and performance tests
documenting the effects of high gravity (50-60 x normal) on the human body in
the Human Centrifuge.
this period, Phil was also selected by the Air Force to attend the Air Command
and Staff College in Montgomery, AL and was sent to the Advanced Management
Program at Harvard for specialization in financial management.
the Air Force after 22 years and retiring as colonel, Phil became president of
two wholly-owned subsidiaries of the Firewell Company (later Aero Corp) in
Buffalo, NY and in Los Angeles, CA. The company produced valves, regulators and
reducers for oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen and helium as both liquids and gases.
and Muriel married on August 27, 1945, raising a daughter and a son before
moving into the Atasccadero house which became their home for the next 36
years. Phil and Muriel quickly became involved in volunteer work and community
activities. Phil taught English at The English School; became president of the
Biblioteca Pública [library] three times; treasurer of the Malanquin Golf Club
for two terms; president of Club Deportivo [sports club]; gave 20 years of
service to El Patronato del Cuerpo de Bomberos de San Miguel de Allende, A. C.
[fire department]; was a Founding Member of the Hospital de la Fe and served as
president of its Patronato; and was cofounder of the San Miguel Educational
Foundation (SMEF) — as well as its president from 1974 to 1996. SMEF, now
beginning its 33rd year, is a 501-c-3 charitable organization which allows U.
S. citizens to make tax-free donations to local nonprofits and has grown from
five sheltered nonprofits to more than 40.
San Miguel, however, "Col. Maher" is best known for and is, in fact,
almost synonymous with, the role of United States Consular Agent. After serving
as an unpaid consular representative for three years, Phil was appointed
Consular Agent in May, 1985 and the San Miguel office was officially opened two
months later as the 10th Consular Agency in Mexico at that time. From then
until his resignation in January 2006, Phil was the "go-to man" for
Americans with questions, visitors and residents alike. Of course, the position
of Consular Agent required official duties from visiting Americans in Mexican
jails to issuing passports, notarizing papers, and dealing with deaths,
accidents, and other mishaps, but when there was a question, almost any
question, the typical resident's first thought was to "ask Col.
death, shortly before Christmas 2006 at the age of 84, leaves San Miguel with
the loss of a citizen not only capable of power and commitment, but of concern
and humanity. Phil easily bridged the Mexican and American cultures of San
Miguel in his own friendships and those activities related to his office and
his interests. You could not have lived in the San Miguel of the last 36 years
and not have known, or at least have known of, Col. Philip J. Maher.
Philip J. Maher is survived by Muriel, his wife of 61 years; by his two children, Kathleen Rasmussen of Ithaca, NY (married to Brian Chabot) and Thomas Maher of Philadelphia, PA (married to Maria), a grandson, Jeffrey Rasmussen of Seattle, WA, and a sister-in-law, Ruth Kieffer of Hilton Head, SC.
4/25/2012 Abe Weitzman - by Michael Wein
I met Abe when I first arrived here in 1993. But I knew him since the 1940s, if only by reputation and admiration. It seems that my parents revered him and during the 1948-1952 period every evening (it seemed) my parents would make dinner conversation center around Abe and "Abe Weitzman did this ... today" et cetera. He appeared to be a god to young me. And his name sculpted into the stone portion of my still acquiring brain.
The years passed. And when I met this "god" in San Miguel, retired as he was now from his practice of law and politics, I discovered him to be a gentle and likeable (and very modest) human being. We had many discussions on oh so many topics and Abe, knowing so much about so much, was never pretentious nor pompous but just a funny and able communicant on whatever we chose to talk about that day.
He lived up to any expectations that my parents might have set for me and, since some 50 or more years had passed, most certainly passed the hardest test of all, the test of time. I was very lucky to have finally met Abe and luckier still to get to know him.
7/15/04 William Velte - by Lee Asheroff
Friends of Luisa Velte and the late Jack Velte are saddened by the news of the untimely death of their son Bill Velte, of Puerta Vallarta. Bill passed away on Saturday, July 10 in San Miguel with his mother and his sister Robin at his side. Our best wishes go to Luisa and Robin at this sad time.
ADIOS, FRANCESCA TODARO by Bob Wolfe
6/6/04 an obituary for Carmen de Masip - by Ines Roberts
All San Miguel is saddened by the death of Carmen Masip on Monday, May 3rd. .Carmen was Bellas Artes—she was its Director for more years than I can remember, eventually trying to resign to no avail!
She was the founder of San Miguel’s Chamber Music Festival, now in its 26th grand season. She was once youthful and acted in plays…she married war veteran Jim Hawkins and they had a beautiful daughter, Paulina. She and Jim had the first art supply store in San Miguel right on the Jardín (there’s a coffee shop there now). She also founded the Academia Hispano Americana, the very first school in town to specialize in teaching Spanish to foreigners—daughter Paulina runs it now.
Carmen was proud of her Spanish heritage—her father took refuge in Mexico from the Franco government—she never lost her rich Spanish accent and so enjoyed her trips to Spain with Jim.
Carmen loved entertaining and she had a wonderful cook that everyone envied!
Carmen was the essence of San Miguel, that San Miguel that us old-timers revere.
Carmen was always there…and now she isn’t.
Carmen, we will always remember you.
Copied with permission from The San Miguel Chronicles, Ines Roberts, editor -- for a free subscription, send a blank email to email@example.com
5/22/04 Gerry Wodin – San
Miguel will not be the same without you by
Far away from home I opened
the SMA paper online to catch up with the news from San Miguel and read about
the passing of my dear friend,
One of a kind, Gerry defied
description Appearing slow moving
and calm – she was a dynamo of activity as evidenced by the organizations she
founded or worked for along with her husband Bob. The 24 Hour Association, The
Playreaders, The Players Workshop, The Shakespeare Readers – all received the
benefit of Gerry’s energy. And so did her many friends.
It was 1982 and we had just arrived in San Miguel when friends asked us to come along to the Chanukah celebration the Wodins held for all comers. We were astounded to see about 50 people in the living room of the Wodin house and were greeted warmly by Gerry and Bob. And this began a friendship that lasted for all these years. The Chanukah party grew each year until over 70 people were crammed into the house each December.
Lupe made hundreds of
potato “latkes”, delicious little morsels served at this holiday.
Those of us who had Menorahs (the special candle holders used on this
holiday) lit them and we sang songs in the soft
light of the candles. The year I forgot to bring Chanukah candles, Gerry
showed me that Posada candles fit in
our Menorah – a nice blending of Jewish and Spanish tradition.
Gerry continued the tradition until the size of the ever growing crowd
forced her to stop.
She played a large part in
our San Miguel lives – dinner at her house or ours always a pleasure. Her wry
humor at dinner or as she introduced the play readings delighted us. The
audience at the Play Readings would await her introduction with as much
anticipation as the play itself. And Gerry’s “asides” as she read the
announcements never let us down. One year we came across a silver pin with the
comedy and tragedy masks of the theatre as we shopped in Tasco.
My husband said – “This is for Gerry” and we brought it home for
her. She was so pleased with it that she wore it to every play reading and made
sure to show it to me. We are happy that such a simple thing gave her so much
One of my first phone calls
when I returned to San Miguel after a visit to the States was always to Gerry
– it will be hard to arrive and not make that call.
Gerry – you enriched our lives and we will miss you.
5/18/04 an obituary for Gerry Wodin - June 25, 1922 - May 13, 2004 - by Allen McGillGerry was one of the cornerstones of San Miguel, being active in many community organizations: Patronato de los Niños, Red Cross Ambulance, Player's Workshop, Playreaders, Shakespeare Readers, 24-Hour Association, Outreach, columnist for Atención and active member of the Jewish Community. She was also known as a gracious hostess, with always with an open door and heart, treating everyone as family.
Born of Russian immigrant parents in New York City, the eldest child and only daughter, she was an avid reader and she spent much of her time in the city's libraries and museums. She tried her hand at selling cosmetics while studying theatre - eventually becoming a radio actress. To escape the heat one summer, Gerry worked as drama coach in a Catskill children's camp, where she met the new rabbi, Robert Wodin, whom she married ten years later.
WWII found the couple in the Aleutian Islands, where Bob was stationed. They later moved to New York, where their first child, Bonnie, was born. Another move, to Boston, and daughter Laurie entered the scene.
The Caribbean, Europe, South America, India, Kenya and Mexico were parts of the world they traveled together as their new shoe importing business began to realize some success. One Mexico visit introduced them to San Miguel, to which they moved in 1979. But the sedentary life wasn't for Gerry. She involved herself in every aspect of the at-that-time "primitive" life of the town, determined to enliven the cultural scene.
Gerry was widely recognized and admired for so many things and will be greatly missed. As Father Michael Long said when he'd learned of her passing: "She was like an institution. Institutions age, but somehow you always expect them to be there." She will, in our hearts, memories and the many good works she's left behind in San Miguel.
Surviving her are daughters Bonnie and Laurie, grandchildren Aaron, Sarah and Lissa Ann.
Also, her beloved Lupe Hernandez, who was her closest friend, nurse, daughter, confidant and right-arm strength for so many years. Roberto, Lupe's young son, was the bright new light in Gerry's life.
We will all miss a multi-talented, gracious lady.
5/15/04 a eulogy for Gerry Wodin - by Michael Wein
Gerry was big, but oh so unimposing and gentle. She hid well her many many talents. What you saw first was her genuine helpfulness in every instance that you might come across her. She was my neighbor, as I lived just a few houses around the corner from her for years. I saw her on the street, at her salon (really just called the Shakespeare Readers), and at The Playreaders at St. Paul's, where she would hold forth as the normal bi-weekly introducer of that night's play. She would appear with her yellow pad of notes ("just a few notes before we begin", she would say, and we'd prepare for the normal funny repartee). A few times (well, most of the time) something did not go according to plans and she would quickly and neatly improvise a witty and useful remark to soothe the ruffles on her high-bred, sophisticated, and demanding (for the 10 pesos that they had paid for their admission) audience.
Her hosting of the bi-weekly (alternating with The Playreaders) Shakespeare Readers was always a joy. Once again, with genuine softness, she controlled the "situation". Here, almost everything did go according to plan, except the readings, but that was part of the fun.
I met Gerry, for the first time, shortly after my arrival in SMA. I registered with the 24-Hour Association and Gerry, again most gently, because death was not my favorite plan, led me through the process. With Gerry at the helm, now I was prepared "to go".
And I remember seeing Gerry during my own recuperation from spinal surgery. Walking towards each other in opposite directions, both of us having difficulty walking, we greeted each other with everyday hellos of "How are you?" and "Fine" and then we both laughed out loud as obviously "Fine" was not the right answer for either of us.
Oh, Gerry, I will think of you from time to time and a smile will always come to my face as I remember so many lovely things about you. Rest in peace.
- obituary for GERRY WODIN - A goodbye to a dear
friend from Sylvia Rosenthal
5/8/04 obituary for Alejandro Ferretis – by Francesca Fisher
Alejandro was a deeply intellectual and reflective man, and struck me as unusually sophisticated in his appreciation for culture and philosophy.
He was a rare, passionate and complex individual which he so intuitively portrayed in his memorable performance in the film “Japon”.
Objectives of this page: to present the residents of this town with a place to record their thoughts regarding those who lived amongst us but who are no longer with us.
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