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Alice Methfessel

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Alice Methfessel Carmel, CA, passed away at home on June 28th with her dog, Savvy, by her side. Alice was born in New York City on March 19, 1943. She was a member of the Roebling family, which built the Brooklyn Bridge. She grew up in Summit, NJ. She attended Hartridge School and went on to Queens University in Charlotte, NC. She was an avid skier and kayaker. After graduating from university, she went to work as the very popular secretary of Kirkland House at Harvard University. There, she met, Elizabeth Bishop, one of the greatest poets of the century, who had come from Brazil to teach and write at Harvard. Alice helped Ms. Bishop settle into her new life. They formed a close friendship and traveled extensively together, visiting North Africa, Portugal, Lapland, the Galapagos, and Brazil, among other places. Ms. Bishop dedicated perhaps her most famous poem, One Art, to Alice and also wrote the intensely personal Breakfast Song to her friend. When Ms. Bishop died, Alice was named the literary executor of the poet's estate. Alice lived in Cambridge, Boston, San Francisco, and Carmel, CA. Alice was not only an academic but did house painting, and was a bar tender, a butcher, a travel agent, and an antique merchant. She still found time to work in a charitable capacity at the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito. Alice had a great curiosity about the world and read widely. She is survived by her niece, Holly Ginas, and her nephews, Tyler and Gary Methfessel. Private services will be held. Arrangements directed by The Paul Mortuary, Pacific Grove, CA.
Published in San Francisco Chronicle on July 12, 2009
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