Peggy HedrickPeggy Shepherd Hedrick ’72
Sociology and German

A longtime lawyer and advocate for women’s rights, Peggy Hedrick passed away in January after a long battle with Alzheimer’s Disease. She was 87.

Born in Lake City, Iowa, Hedrick was the daughter of a U.S. Army major and a self-described Army brat. She attended 22 schools before graduating high school. She met and married her husband of 67 years, Charles, while he was on active duty in Munich, Germany. Hedrick studied sociology and German at Pitzer before going on to obtain two law degrees from the University of La Verne and the Benjamin Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University. In 1981, she was admitted to the Missouri Bar.

Hedrick was an advocate for underrepresented groups; she was the first woman to run for circuit judge in Missouri’s Greene County and served as a member of the League of Women Voters and chair of the Board of Directors of the Springfield Council of Churches. According to a tribute posted on the website of The United States Army Chaplain Corps Regimental Association, Hedrick was a defender of the LGBTQ community “before LGBTQ was a term” and created “a method for same gender couples to establish and protect their families.”

Hedrick is survived by her husband, Charles; sister Betty Bouris and brother Everitt Shepherd; her children Charles, Janet, and Lois; and by an extended family including her grandchildren, great grandchildren, many cousins, nieces, and nephews.

James Joseph
James A. Joseph
Former Chaplain, The Claremont Colleges

A former Claremont Colleges chaplain, an adviser to four presidents, an ambassador to South Africa, and a lifelong fighter for equality and social justice, James A. Joseph passed away in February. He was 88.

After finishing Yale Divinity school, in 1963, Joseph moved to Tuscaloosa, Ala., to be on the faculty and dean of students at Stillman College, a member of the nation’s network of historically black colleges and universities. Joseph became a leader in the civil rights movement and after a year with violent demonstrations and bomb threats around Tuscaloosa, Joseph sought a safer place for his young family.

In 1964, Joseph moved to Claremont and became the chaplain for Pitzer and the other Claremont Colleges. Joseph forged a strong bond with students from Pitzer College and co-founded a local group leading protests and sit-ins during the height of the civil rights movement in the Claremont-Pomona area.

Joseph taught classes at Pitzer and connected with students including Sara Wood Smith ’66, who wanted to learn more about civil rights issues for Black people in the U.S. Smith said that Joseph was instrumental in helping arrange a visiting student program so that she could spend a life-changing semester at Stillman College in the spring of 1965. Joseph left Claremont and began a decades-long commitment to developing philanthropy that addressed the needs of people underrepresented in having access to generational wealth.

Jeffry SmithJeffry Smith ’79

A member of the clergy in the Episcopal Church whose ministry eventually took him to England, Jeffry Smith passed away last November after a fight against renal cancer. He was 66.

Born in Inglewood, Calif., the son of schoolteachers, Smith attended Claremont High School before attending Pitzer College and the Church Divinity School of the Pacific. Smith was ordained as an Episcopal deacon in 1986 and as a priest in 1987 whose ministry began at St. Paul’s in Visalia and would take him and his family to several church postings in England, Bermuda, and Scotland.

His daughter Melissa wrote in a tribute in The Guardian that Smith “looked beyond the parish; meeting and connecting with people from different backgrounds and traveling the world. He visited and served at St. Mary the Virgin, Belgrade, Serbia. Invited by a friend from Malawi, he traveled there for a month of teaching and preaching. He raised funds to build a school in Kenya. He often walked long distance routes, including the Pilgrim’s Way from Winchester to Canterbury, the Camino from Porto, Portugal, to Santiago de Campostela, Spain, and the route to the Black Madonna icon of Częstochowa, Poland.”

Smith is survived by his wife Barbara; daughters Laura and Melissa; and grandchildren Thomas, Naomi, Anna-Maria, Lydia and Ezra.

Victoria WeberVictoria Weber ’69
Art History

A longtime law librarian with a particular interest in environmental affairs and issues, Victoria Weber passed away last December in her Bethel, Vt., home. She was 75.

Born in 1947, Weber attended Abbott Academy in Massachusetts before receiving a bachelor’s degree in art history at Pitzer College and a master’s degree in library science from Simmons College in Massachusetts. For 27 years Weber served as a law librarian at the Vermont Law School in South Royalton. During her tenure there she held several positions, including environmental reference librarian, which enabled her to create a special collection and train people in accessing environmental information in various formats.

As an undergraduate at Pitzer College Weber met longtime partner and future husband, Davis Dimock; they settled on his family’s Vermont property and later married in 2010. In retirement Weber was a committed member of the Hardy Plant Club of Northern Vermont and a devoted enthusiast of gardening and herbal medicines.

Weber is survived by husband Davis and sister Jan Porter Weber.