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From this report on Philly.com and Profile on Atomic Heritage Foundation

Rev. Laird
The Rev. Joseph H. Laird, 92, a chemist before he became an Episcopalian priest and later in life a computer systems designer, died Sunday, April 1, of heart failure at Kindred Hospital.

“The reason he gave up chemistry,” his son, Craig, said Tuesday, “was the work that his father-in-law was doing. So much more meaningful.”

The Rev. Charles E. Eder, who married his daughter, Shirley, to the chemist in January 1947, was rector at Grace Episcopal Church in Mount Airy.

The father-in-law, Craig Laird said, “was charismatic, a magnetic personality, who turned down several offers to be made bishop because he enjoyed being rector of a city church.”

When Father Laird entered a seminary in 1950, his son said, “it was a total 180-degree turn” in career.

And though he later enjoyed his third career as a programmer, “he considered himself a priest first of all,” his son said.

Born in Fort Wayne, Ind., Father Laird earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 1942 at Harvard University, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.

He began his career as a laboratory chemist for Dow Chemical Co. and from 1944 to 1946 was in the Army Corps of Engineers.

His wartime Army work, his son said, was as an industrial inspector at Tennessee Eastman Corp., which managed the plant at Oak Ridge that helped develop the atomic bombs dropped on Japan in 1945.

He then traveled to the South Pacific to monitor radiation at atomic-bomb tests on Bikini, using Geiger counters to measure radioactivity aboard ships on which he served.

From 1947 to 1950, he was a market researcher for Pennwalt Co. in Center City.

After graduating from Virginia Theological Seminary in 1953 and being ordained in 1954, Father Laird was a curate at the Church of the Redeemer in Bryn Mawr for a year.

Most of his parish ministry took place from 1955 to 1962, his son said, as vicar at St. Mark’s in Honey Brook and St. Mary’s in Warwick Township.

Father Laird was director of the former Denbigh Conference Center for the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania in Radnor until 1970, when he retired from full-time ministry.

He had been offered a small suburban congregation, his son said, but he took aptitude tests that showed he could be a good programmer.

So until he turned 72 in 1991, that was his full-time job, and until 1999 it was his part-time job at what became Cigna, the health-services firm.

He continued to celebrate Sunday Eucharist at Episcopal churches when their priests were away.

After his retirement from Cigna in 1999 until the summer of 2011, he conducted monthly Eucharistic services at Devon Manor and the Quadrangle, the retirement community in Haverford.

Father Laird was a member of the Merion Cricket Club and the Union League.

Besides his wife and his son, Father Laird is survived by daughters Holly and Heather Beaudry; eight grandchildren; and a great-grandson.

A memorial service was set for 11 a.m. Saturday, April 7, at St. David’s Church, 763 Valley Forge Rd., Wayne.

By Walter F. Naedele, Inquirer Staff Writer
Posted: April 04, 2012
Contact Walter F. Naedele at 215-854-5607 or wnaedele@phillynews.com.

Shirley E. Laird, (nee Eder) was born on June 2, 1923, in Ridley Park, PA, the daughter of the Rev. Charles E. Eder and Wilhelmina Schweikardt Eder. She graduated from the Stevens School, Germantown, in 1940, and from Cedar Crest College, Allentown, in 1944. At Cedar Crest, she was editor of the Crestiad, where she discovered that journalism would be the right career for her. Her first job was on the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, where she was called “Miss Ellaney,” for “miscellany,” the word she stamped on every page of the copy she wrote. In those days newspaper columns often ended with leftover space, and these miscellaneous bits of copy were used to fill the gaps. From writing miscellaney, she moved to the Evening Chat column and the features department. When the Philadelphia Record was acquired by the Bulletin, she began writing a Sunday column called “People.” In addition, she wrote historical features for the Germantown Courier. While at the Bulletin, she won a competition to be the Philadelphia reporter for Mademoiselle magazine, a part-time job in the college and career department. She held this post for 18 years, and in one of those years was honored as Reporter of the Year. She married Joseph H. Laird in 1947; he had been a classmate of her brother, the Rev. Craig E. Eder, at Harvard. Joseph, who had been a chemistry major in college, decided to become an Episcopal clergyman and was ordained in1953. He always claimed that he was influenced by the example of Shirley’s father, the Rev. Charles Eder, who had been rector of Grace Episcopal Church, Mt. Airy, for 34 years, as well as by her brother. Joseph Laird became vicar of St. Mark’s, Honey Brook. There, Shirley had three children. The church and vicarage being located in a rural area called “Church Hill,” Shirley fulfilled a lifelong dream by buying a horse. She soon added three more and opened a riding school called “Church Hill Ups.” Six years later, the Lairds moved to Wayne, where they lived in a house on the Rosengarten estate, “Chanticleer,” now a botanical garden. During this time, she returned to journalism, serving on the editorial staff of the Montgomery County Newspapers, and writing a weekly column called “Once over Lightly.” In the ’60s and ’70s, she became publications manager for Vincent G. Kling and Associates, Architects. She continued writing her column until leaving to become an entrepreneur. Her business, “Laird Unlimited Editorial Services,” provided wordsmith and public relations services to two dozen clients. In addition to her employment, she served for 20 years on the board of COLLAB, Philadelphia Museum of Art; she was on the vestry of St. David’s Episcopal Church, Radnor; and she was publicity chairperson for the Chestnut Hill Committee of the Philadelphia Orchestra. She is survived by her children Craig E. Laird, Holly A. Laird, and Heather Beaudry, eight grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. Her Memorial Service will be held on Sat. April 20th, 11 AM in the Chapel of St. David’s Episcopal Church, 763 South Valley Forge Rd., Wayne, PA 19087. Burial will be private in St. Mark’s Episcopal Churchyard, Honeybrook, PA. In lieu of flowers, the family kindly suggests contributions be made in her memory to either the Philadelphia Orchestra or Alliance Francaise de Philadelphie. Chadwick & McKinney FH www.chadwickmckinney.com

Published in Main Line Media News on Apr. 21, 2013

Ode to grand Shirley

When lying, calm, beside the sea
One thinks fondly of Grand-Shir-Ley!
How joyful, and so full of glory
And quick to tell a funny story.

Admired, oft, in several nations
For her great skill at public relations
Prodigious is her aptitude
For keeping Pop-pop’s sins subdued

To love grand Shirley, it’s easy to get so
unless, of course, you are a pretzo
If one would search through all the land
One could not find a Shirley as grand!

- Eric D. Laird
June 2010
coincidently, today marks the 200th anniversary of the birthday of the great classical-romantic composer Robert Schumann

Two love birds
Were singing a song The only song they knew.
Singing the song they knew
That was the song they knew
This moored fishing ship
With an iron bench on its port side
That faces out over the shimmering blue
And the sloops leaning against their sails
Beyond the sloping rocks and tarred port timbers
With the sun teasing diamonds from the sea.

She cried when I told her
We could never be friends.
There is a farm and a chamber
Where I keep
Of our time together.

Daisies were her favorite.

A crack that started years ago
Like the crenelations of a scallop
Or a demilitarized zone
Or a loose thread on the sweater
Quietly destroying the only thing left
Because I couldn’t bear to mend it.

Sing to me
One song, my love,
One song I have always known.
The words are the words I have always known
The tune I have always known
The song is a song I have always known,
The song I have always known.
Lord, give my hate a name.

- june 2008

Wind-up Toy
With these grim mechanics
Came a little wind-up toy.
Walking his little bicycle
Tears of frustration
Littering the towpath with rain

Forsake me, Injustice!
As shapely toys
Glide past on bicycles
He howls, appeals to Heaven
To liberate the wind-up toy
From his steel burden.

But the wind-up toy can see New Hope
Across the mighty Delaware
On the ruddy shores
Where so many acts of will
And where, he learned in wind-up school,
Perseverence blessed wind-up toys before.

Pivots and rotations

His little tin jaw set
The wind-up toy finds an incline
Winds himself up
Puts one foot on a pedal.

Ave Maria
At the marsh citadel on a late afternoon
Nestled in a wall of sand
While playfully the tiny waves
Recede with tide, raised hand

Upon cemented ballustrade
A lady’s love grows deeper
While down below her, anxiously
Paces a secret-keeper.

Ave, Maria!
Glittering sea, the ball of golden fire
Writing heiroglyphs on her eyes, as if
reflected from the mire.

Up toward her weather-beaten throne
The secret-keeper glances
And observes the beloved halo
Which around her body dances.

The familiar scent of salty brine
The seagrass’ sympathetic curl
The secret-keeper prepares the words
For his secret to unfurl.

At length, the priestess gathers herself.
But the secret-keeper kneels
He halts her retreat from the weathered wall
And to her, his heart reveals.

More poems by Dr. E.D.L

ROCHESTER, Louise Kelley (Pape) Louise Kelley (Pape) Rochester, 84, of Duxbury, MA, died peacefully in her sleep at home on the morning of Saturday, (January 30, 2010) surrounded by family. She was born the youngest of four daughters to Herbert W. Kelley and Frances Coburn Kelley of Winchester, MA. She is survived by her six children and their spouses Heidi Pape Laird of Duxbury, MA, Eric K. Pape and his wife Betsy Howes of Waban, MA, Louise Pape Schwartz and her husband David of Madison, WI, Mark B. Pape and his wife Diana Kirshen Pape of Chevy Chase, MD, Paul C. Pape and his wife Vivian Calobrisi of Stanstead, Quebec, and Andrea J. Pape and her husband Barry Truitt of Hartford, 10 grandchildren, three step-children, along with numerous step-grandchildren and step-great-grandchildren. She is also survived by too many nieces and nephews to mention. Louise was predeceased by her husband Nathaniel Rochester. Louise attended Winsor Day School in Boston, commuting into the city by herself every day. She spent a year at Smith College before transferring to Colby College, where she was graduated in 1946. Summers for the four Kelley girls were spent in Duxbury starting in the 1920s. The Kelleys moved permanently to Duxbury in 1955. Louise was married to Eric W. Pape in 1947 and the couple raised six children, living initially in Marion and Southington prior to moving back to Duxbury in 1960. She taught fourth and fifth grades in Duxbury Middle School for 26 years. Her energy and enthusiasm made her a favorite with children. Her love of the natural world translated into numerous class pets and demonstrations involving live lobsters and horseshoe crabs among other things. Louise married Nathaniel Rochester in 1973. After her parents died she and Nat moved to the Kelley family house in Duxbury where they continued to host a parade of friends and family throughout the years. In the summer she presided over evenings of conversation and laughter on the porch, where her chair was strategically placed near the door, enabling her to jump up and get something she thought a guest might enjoy at a moment’s notice. She enjoyed sailing, bird watching, and traveling the globe. When it came to remembering the birthdays of her family and extensive network of friends, she had an encyclopedic knowledge. Louise loved playing bridge and enjoyed a game with three close friends the day before she died. She won. There will be a memorial celebration of Louise’s life in June by invitation. In lieu of flowers contributions may be made to Mass Audubon, 208 South Great Road, Lincoln, MA 01773 or Cranberry Hospice, 36 Cordage Park Circle, Suite 326, Plymouth, MA 02360.
Published in The Hartford Courant on Feb. 2, 2010 – See more at: