Mary Elizabeth Wisotzkey McClellan, widow of Bruce McClellan, died peacefully on February 2, 2021 at RiverMead, a retirement community in Peterborough, New Hampshire.
She was born in York, Pennsylvania on September 14, 1923 to Elizabeth Ivison and Harry A. Wisotzkey, Jr., who predecease her, as do her sisters JoAnn Topley and Barbara Jane Ashcroft, and her brother Harry A. Wisotzkey III. She is survived by her children, Ann I. McClellan, William S. McClellan II (Nelda Zaprauskis McClellan) and Robert N. McClellan (Linda Spencer McClellan); and her grandchildren, Kate A. McClellan, Cassandra H. McClellan, and Garrett B. McClellan, and step-grandson Brook Miller, plus many nieces and nephews, grands and great-grands.
Mary Elizabeth graduated from York Collegiate Institute –York County Academy in 1941 and from Middlebury College in 1945. She married Bruce McClellan in 1946 and accompanied him through his final term at Williams College, his first year of teaching at Deerfield Academy, his two years as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, and his return to Williams in an administrative position before arriving at The Lawrenceville School where he became an English teacher in 1950. In 1953, they were promoted to be Head of House and wife at Hamill House. In 1959, Bruce became Head of School, a position he held and Mary Elizabeth supported in every possible way including entertaining and traveling widely until their retirement in 1986. Mary Elizabeth was a proud honorary member of seven Lawrenceville classes and the grandmother of two Lawrentians.
In addition to raising three children, Mary Elizabeth was the founder of Parents at Lawrenceville, an Elder of the Presbyterian Church of Lawrenceville, and a founder of the Artisans Guild at the Princeton YWCA, later serving as a YWCA board member, chairing the fundraising effort to purchase Bramwell House. She authored Felt- Silk- Straw, Handmade Hats, Tools and Processes for the Bucks County Historical Society of Doylestown, Pennsylvania.
After moving to New Hampshire in 1986, she served on the board of the Monadnock Community Early Learning Center and the Garden Club of Dublin, following her deep interests in Horticulture and Conservation. She also served as a Reiki practitioner at the Monadnock Healing Arts Center in Jaffrey. In more recent years at RiverMead, she served as secretary then president of the Resident’s Council. Her essay, “My New Life Without a Car” was published in the Northern New England Review. She also served as the correspondent for her Middlebury class of 1945 and Class Secretary for the Class of 1947 of the American Association of Rhodes Scholars. She was an avid knitter and gardener throughout her life.
A service of remembrance will be held at a future date. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation in memory of Mary Elizabeth to The Lawrenceville School, or the charity of your choice.
I carried on an occasional and delightful correspondence with Mrs. McClellan (out of respect, I could never call her by her first name) over the last two decades. Her very welcome letters brought interesting bits of news, and were written in that wonderful, lady-like style of a generation or two past. I don't know how she knew (maybe Rob?), but she always managed to refer to something I was up to, and of course I was quite flattered. I miss her.
Great photograph of a woman who unblinkingly looks directly into the camera...
Condolences, Rob, to you, your siblings and your entire family. Despite her gracious modesty, she was to many of us "The Grand Dame" of Lawrenceville in the 1960s. I am sure a whole generation of Housemaster wives, and perhaps later, Housemistress husbands, benefitted from her quiet leadership.
Condolences Ann, Bill, and Rob during this time of loss. She was a great and gracious presence.