Louise S. Bingham, a longtime resident of Wayne and then Cedar Crest Village in Pompton Plains, NJ died peacefully just after midnight on December 28, 2017 at the age of 94. It is worth noting her passing coincided with the occasion of her 70th wedding anniversary.
Born in Orange NJ, on Valentine’s Day, Feb 14, 1923 to Louise Edgar See and Edmund Thorp See, Louise grew up with two older brothers with whom she learned the value of a good conversation, fast joke and competitive spirit. At a time when female engagement in sports was uncommon, she skied, played tennis and was active on the basketball court. She summered at her beloved Camp Mudjekeewis on Kezar Lake in Lovell, ME where she also enjoyed archery, crew, horseback riding and mountain climbing. She graduated from Smith College with a BS in Mathematics in 1944, following an accelerated three-year program. She moved to DC and applied her considerable quantitative abilities toward furthering the war’s logistics efforts, moved to NYC to serve as an economist and editor for Dun's Review, and conducted research to help guide the Rockefellers in managing their assets.
She married William Bingham on December 27, in the wake of the Great Blizzard of 1947. They raised four children in the community of Packanack Lake, where they passed along their love of the outdoors, teaching their progeny how to ski, ice skate, hike, canoe, swim, dive and sail. With close proximity to NYC, they also shared a love of culture, frequently attending the ballet, theater, symphony and museums. They were active members and leaders of the Packanack Community Church. Louise was a founding mother of the Packanack Cooperative Nursery School, a novel program that enlisted parental participation in the pre-K classroom. She also was a core member of a team of women who created the Harlequin Theater, which brought performing arts to the community while also teaching children proper audience behavior. She served as President of the Board of Education for Packanack Elementary School, Chair of Scholarships and Honors for the Wayne Board of Education, and on the board of the Creative Living Counseling Center.
Louise earned her MA in Education from William Paterson College and fast-tracked to become a mathematics teacher in the public schools, first at the newly built George Washington JH and then Wayne Hills HS. She was active in the League of Women voters, serving as a fearless moderator of candidate debates and tirelessly championing voter turnout. Upon moving to Cedar Crest Village retirement community in Pompton Plains, she teamed up with the principal of the Pequannock Middle Schools to create an educational exchange program - the elders tutored in math, science and language arts and received technology training from the students.
Louise and Bill enjoyed Senior Hostel trips around the world, including their hands-down favorites: Costa Rica and New Zealand. Most of all, they shared a love of southwestern Maine and imparted appreciation of the land’s magic over many long summers joined by family and friends. She and Bill both celebrated their 90th birthdays there and she returned this past summer to join in the final farewell scattering of Bill’s ashes. She raved about being nestled in her happy place where she could hear the haunting call of a loon, inhale the earthy aroma of pines, and watch the sun set quietly over the gleaming water and stalwart mountains.
Louise’s specialty was the gift of gab. She was renowned for her ability to ask the best questions, express a genuine interest in what others had to say, demonstrate an impressive world knowledge, and exhibit an unwaveringly positive outlook. Louise could be counted upon to offer her companions sagacious pieces of advice, a better understanding of their own issues, and impart an overwhelming sense that they were in the presence of a lovely person who truly wanted to learn about them and cared about their thoughts.
Louise is survived by her daughters Betsy and Barbara, sons Jim and Tom, 10 grandchildren, 3 great grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews. Her husband Bill, brothers Charlie and Edgar and a sister Ellen have all predeceased her.
Visitation with the family will be held at the M. John Scanlan Funeral Home on Saturday 4/14 between 3-5. The memorial service will be at the Cedar Crest Village Interfaith Chapel on Sunday 4/15 at 1:30.
Donations in Louise’s memory can be made to Charlotte Hobbs Memorial Library in Lovell, Maine where a gazebo is being built in loving memory of Bill and Louise. Charlotte Hobbs Library ·227 Main Street · P.O. Box 105 · Lovell, ME 04051.