Stephanie Rolfe died July 21 after leading a long and productive life, most recently as an admired artist in watercolor and oil in the Lincoln, Massachusetts, area, where she lived for over 50 years, and at the Carleton-Willard Village in nearby Bedford. She was 93 and was currently living at Laurelwood at the Pinehills of Plymouth, Massachusetts.
Born Stephanie Edyvean-Walker in England, Mrs. Rolfe was the daughter of an artist, Stella Morrah, and a solicitor, Norman Edyvean-Walker, and grew up at the family home, Littlewood, in Rugby. She continued her lifelong love of gardening, inspired by the extensive gardens that her father planted and that her mother Stella loved to paint. She attended secretarial school, and fondly recalled working for Vogue Magazine in wartime London. During WWII, she served in the Women’s Royal Naval Service (W.R.N.S.). She was stationed in Scotland, and, after the war, in Hamburg, Germany.
Stephanie first came to America when her husband Edward accepted a fellowship to continue his studies in engineering at M.I.T., and moved to Lincoln with him and their daughter Wendy in 1958 when he joined Raytheon. She was an accomplished pianist, and they loved to host chamber music evenings at their home. In Lincoln, she helped begin the Open Studio Art Program, served as a volunteer and board member of the Pierce House, and acted with the Lincoln Players. Stephanie served on and chaired the Lincoln Cultural Council and for many years she and her husband were active members of the First Parish Church in Lincoln.
Stephanie was for a number of years the director of Camp Thoreau at The Thoreau Club in Concord, Massachusetts, and also served as club administrator. Previously, she had been a volunteer visitor at the Boston State Hospital and Metropolitan State Hospital in Waltham, where she co-founded the Case Aide Program. She was an officer of the Central Middlesex Mental Heath Board and helped to create the Comprehensive Mental Health Center at Emerson Hospital in Concord. This experience led to the initiation of an education and training program for state parole and probation officers and also The Boston Court Resource Program, both when she worked for the Technical Development Corporation. She also helped to develop innovative education programs at local prisons. She served as president of the Board of the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras, and as chair of its parents’ committee. At Carleton-Willard, Stephanie was an editor for The Villager magazine and a vice-president of the residents’ board.
Stephanie had a quick wit, always welcomed family and friends to her home, and was always more interested in other people than in herself. She was a superb writer, and her memoirs, “Pebbles on the Beach,” have entertained and enlightened many.
She is survived by her daughter Wendy Rolfe-Dunham, a professional flutist and professor at Berklee College of Music; son-in-law Benjamin Dunham of Marion, Massachusetts, a retired arts journalist and administrator; grandson Samuel Dunham of New Haven, Connecticut, a Ph.D. student at Yale University: and her nephew Desmond Nichols of St. Petersburg, Florida, formerly Deputy Managing Director of The Daily Mail in London. Her husband Edward Rolfe, brother Desmond, sister Cynthia, niece Heather, and nephew Toby predeceased her.
Donations in her memory can be made to the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras: https://www.bysoweb.org/donate/ and by mail: Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras, 855 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215.