The Boston Globe from Boston, Massachusetts on November 7, 2004 · 72
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The Boston Globe from Boston, Massachusetts · 72

Boston, Massachusetts
Issue Date:
Sunday, November 7, 2004
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NOVEMBER 7, 2004 Boston Sunday Globe C17 Obituaries Get a Eleanor Russell Reycroft, 109; was a golfer until age 98 Get Boston Globe home delivery for )0 Order now and save 50! can 1-877-690-8348 or goto www.bostonglobe.comhome ' Che Boston (IMobe Your world, unfolding daily. 7-day rates may vary in certain areas. 7-day delivery not available in some areas of CT, Rl and ME. Offer valid for households in the Globe delivery area who have not received home delivery in the past 90 days. At the end of the 12-week introductory period, delivery will continue at the regular rate unless you notify us otherwise; you will then be billed or your creditdebit card automatically charged in advance for each billing period. Offer expires 123104. AP043227 v HJo .s. . .. - By Gloria Negri GLOBE STAFF Eleanor Russell Reycroft was only 10, growing up in Arlington, when her grandfather began to teach her how to play golf. While she was a student at Wellesley College, Mrs. Reycroft's golf skill caught the eye of Francis Ouimet, who, in 1913, had won the US Open golf tournament in Brookline and was credited with popularizing the game in the United States. He invited her to be his partner in the Massachusetts Pro-Am Tournament. They won it. Several years ago, when her grandson, Geoffrey Larson of Acton, asked her if she had been nervous about playing the game with the . great Ouimet, her reply was vintage "Grandma Rey." No, she said with typical confidence: "I ' liked my game." Mrs. Reycroft who didn't stop playing golf until she was 98, winning championships both in Massachusetts and in Connecticut, where she lived for many years died Tuesday in Fairlawn Nursing Home in Lexington. She was 109. Whenever Mrs. Reycroft, a small woman who never weighed more than 95 pounds, was asked about her longevity, she attributed it to "accepting the fact that life is change." She witnessed her century's many changes and met some of its legends. Among them were Buffalo Bill Cody and Annie Oakley, who became folk heroes. She met them while horseback riding in Arizona on a semester break from Wellesley and often had lunch with them during her stay. She was at Fenway Park with her father on the day it opened in 1912. On her honeymoon, she met President Calvin Coolidge. She met the actress Katharine Hepburn on the golf course in Connecticut Mrs. Reycroft maintained a lifelong commitment to good nutrition and exercise she always walked a mile a day and had the luck of good genes. Her grandmother died at 103; her mother in her late 90s. At 104, Mrs. Reycroft broke her hip while a resident of a retirement community in Fairfield, Nathan Reingold, historian of science in America; at 77 ByJoeHolley WASHINGTON POST WASHINGTON - Nathan Reingold, a senior historian emeritus at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History, died Oct. 30 at his home in Bethesda, Md. He was 77 and died of a stroke and aspiration pneumonia. Dr. Reingold was mentor to a generation of historians of science, as well as the author or editor of six books, five volumes of "The Papers of Joseph Henry," and dozens of essays. He was instrumental in helping to transform the history of American science from an intellectual backwater to a major area of historical research. His two most notable books were "Science in Nineteenth-Century America: A Documentary History," published in 1964, and "Science in America: A Documentary History: 1900-1939," co-authored with Ida H. Reingold and published in 1981. Conn., but even in the nursing home, she continued to walk, pacing out a mile along the corridors with her walker. "Mother was positive and vibrant. Though she was only 5 feet 1 and petite, no one could keep up with her," said her daughter, Judy Reycroft Larson of Carlisle. "She was a beautifully coordinated person, was very competitive, and had the powers of concentration golf requires. She had confidence in herself. She said practice was the key to her success." While living in Fairfield for 75 years, Mrs. Reycroft played golf at the Brooklawn Country Club there, where she was women's champion for 25 years. In 1925, she won the Connecticut state women's championship. "Mother had a Connecticut state golf handicap of 4," her daughter said. "That's unheard of, because in those days they didn't have the clubs we have now or the high-speed balls." In the 1920s, there were other championships: at the Winchester Country Club; the Nashua Country Club in New Hampshire, the Belmont Country Club. Mrs. Reycroft didn't rest on her golf laurels. When she was 89, she took part in a weeklong bowling tournament. The score was tied when she bowled a spare and won. In 1993, 1994, and 1995, she took part in the Senior Olympics in Connecticut, in the 1,500-meter walking event, and won a blue ribbon in the first two years and a plaque in the third as the first person to participate at age 100. At the time, she told an interviewer . that she prepared by walking up and down the stairs six times a day and walking a mile every day. Mrs. Reycroft was born on Jan. 7, 1895, in Arlington, one of three children of George O. Russell and Emma (Dupee). Grover Cleveland was president. It was the middle of the Gay Nineties. Bicycle sales were rising, and so were women's skirts. Mrs. Reycroft grew up on Jason Street in Arlington, named for her ancestor Jason Russell, a farmer and the first civilian killed in the Revolutionary War. She and Wendell Reycroft were in the same class and were sweethearts at Arlington High School. Many of his essays became required reading for students of the history of American science. They ranged in subject areas from the relationship between science and technology in 19th-century America to Hollywood's depiction of the atomic bomb. He long was interested in comparative scientific traditions in the United States, Europe, and elsewhere. Dr. Reingold was born in Brooklyn and raised in the Bronx, where he graduated from DeWitt Clinton High School. He received his bachelor's degree in 1947, only 2Vi years after graduating from high school, and his master's degree in 1948, both from New York University. He had originally intended to go to medical school, but instead became a historian of science. He received his doctorate in American civilization in 1951 from the University of Pennsylvania, where a mentor, historian Richard H. Shyrock, encouraged an interest in 5 mm After graduation, she went to Wellesley and he to Dartmouth College, where he became captain of the ice hockey team. Her grandfather sent a Winchester golf pro to Wellesley to further her skills and to teach about 40 other young women the game. In 1914, that was quite something for an all-women's college. Mrs. Reycroft graduated in 1917 with a bachelor's degree in languages. She and Wendell were married in 1922. Soon after, they moved to Fairfield, where Mr. Reycroft, a Navy pilot in World War I, was executive vice president of a Bridgeport, Conn., company that manufactured casters. After his death in 1978, Mrs. Reycroft continued living in their Fairfield home, tending her garden and playing golf. She was also active with the Visiting Nurses Association and the Girl Scouts and was a volunteer with the American Red Cross. Larson said that when his feisty Grandma Rey was 85, she arrived home to find a glass pane in her back door broken. Rather than call for help, she marched right into the house and confronted the burglar. She chased him out and down the street, but didn't catchhim. Mrs. Reycroft was still playing golf at 90, Larson recalled, when she was on a summer trip with the family in Maine and caused a stir there. "There was a golf course near Sebago Lake," he said. "When the man in the clubhouse saw her, he asked how old she was. Word spread quickly. The local newspaper showed up and, by the 18th hole, Grandma had a crowd. She had a par on the 18th hole. She ' had two holes-in-one in her lifetime." At 93, on Patriots Day in 1988, Mrs. Reycroft and Larson walked the 6-mile Estabrook Trail from Carlisle to Concord. At 95, she paddled the Saco River in Maine. Mrs. Reycroft lived in her Fairfield home until moving at 95 to an assisted-living community in Bridgeport. Her connection with Wellesley remained strong. She was probably its oldest alumna, her daughter said. At her 80th college reunion in 1997, when she was 102, the history of science. He moved to Washington the same year to work at the National Archives. From 1959 to 1966, he was on the staff of the Science and Technology Division of the Library of Congress, before moving to the Smithsonian Institution when the secretary of the Smithsonian, S. Dillon Ripley, appointed him founding editor of The Papers of Joseph Henry." He served 19 years in the position. The Washington Post described Dr. Reingold as "a jubilant and patient man" in early 1973, shortly after he had completed the first volume of his groundbreaking historical work, which took him five years. The reporter noted that with a projected 14 more volumes, the 46-year-old historian would be about 116 when he finished his project. Dr. Reingold told him that he did not expect the project to take that long and that it was a labor of love, regardless. Henry, whose NEW ENGLAND'S Score your copy of Tht Globe's Historic Sports Pages today. Packed with more than 125 reproductions of Boston Globe Sports pages, this one-of-a-kind book chronicles the regions illustrious sports history, like only The Globe tan. Order online at wwwglobestore i hc Boston 6tobc air nit id i ELEANOR R. REYCROFT she turned down the offer to ride in an antique car along the alumnae parade route. Larson recalled watching in awe as his grandmother chose to walk the 1-mile route, striding out in front of far younger alumnae riding in cars. Madame Chiang Kai-shek, a Wellesley classmate and wife of Nationalist China's Chiang Kai-shek, remained one of Mrs. Reycroft's lifelong friends. She died a year ago at 106. ! Mrs. Reycroft remained attentive to her appearance and, at 109, was having her hair coiffed and her fingernails painted while at the nursing home. ; Every two weeks until the end, Larson said, he would arrive at the nursing home with a small leather portable bar with the ingredients for her gin and tonic and mixed them, "light on the gin," to his grandmother's taste. Mrs. Reycroft's positive attitude made her a favorite with the nursing home staff. Shortly before her death, she told one of the nurses, "This is going to be my last year here." When the nurse asked, "Eleanor, where are you going?" Mrs. Reycroft replied, "Well, I'm not going to the golf course." Besides her daughter and grandson, Mrs. Reycroft leaves five other grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren. She outlived two other daughters. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday at the United Congregational Church, Howlanc Chapel, in Bridgeport, Conn. Burial will be in Oak Lawn Cemetery in Fairfield, Conn. statue stands in front of the Smithsonian Castle, was acknowledged as the inventor of the electric motor, the father of daily weather forecasts, and the preserver of the Smithsonian. The federal government closed for his funeral on May 16, 1878. Dr. Reingold also told the reporter that age did not trouble him, that he had known historians who had lived full lives deep into old age, as had Henry, the first secretary of the Smithsonian. Although Dr. Reingold moved on, the Joseph Henry project continues. It is now at nine of a projected 11 volumes, under the editorship of Marc Rothenberg.- In 1987, Dr. Reingold became senior historian at the National Museum of American History, retiring in 1993. Dr. Reingold was proud of his work in Washington. He once commented, "I have always tried to arrange things so that I could have fun." MOST MEMORABLE UL4IMllld .1 V i ISPOnTS 'PAGES It V '1m 1

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