Louise Wells Bristol dies at 91

Louise Wells Bristol died at home on Nov. 2, which is All Souls’ Day.

Born in New York City on Sept. 8, 1926, she was raised in the Philadelphia area as well as in California and Florida. The constant in her early years was summers spent at the beach in Bay Head. It was there that she thrived, making many life-long friends and eventually marrying the love of her life.

During the war years, she attended Miss Porter’s School in Farmington, Conn., graduating in 1945. These were four magical years of friendship, community, and time in New England that she never forgot. Returning to Philadelphia in the late 1940s, she attended Harcum Junior College. Back in Bay Head, she met Lee Hastings Bristol Jr. He was then the young new organist at All Saints’ Church, a position he held for some thirty years, and she was the newest recruit for his choir. They fell deeply in love and married in 1950. Initially living in New York City, they eventually moved to Princeton, where he became president of Westminster Choir College. In Princeton they raised, and are survived by, their four children: Elizabeth Bristol Sayen (m. to William), Henry Platt Bristol II (m. to Susan), Sara Bristol Ritchie, and Lee Hastings Bristol III (m. to Louise). A beloved grandmother, Louise known as “Lady,” to her twelve grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

She loved the quiet arts of knitting, needlepoint, and flower arranging. Her life in Princeton was also one of community activities. A founding member of the “Chemistry Club,” an avid golfer and tennis player, Louise also volunteered for the Princeton Hospital Fete, Skillman Neuropsychiatric Hospital, and Trinity Church. She was, it is said, “always the glue that held a group together” and the host that graciously welcomed others into her home. Those who knew her admired her quick wit, impish smile and remarkable spirit. Over the years, her memberships included the Nassau Club of Princeton, Present Day and Bedens Brook and Clubs, in Princeton, as well as the Bay Head Yacht Club. With Lee, she attended and was active at All Saints’, Bay Head and Trinity Church, Princeton.

Since the tragic death of her husband Lee in 1979, one of the great joys in her life has been her grandchildren – those remarkable individuals who have enriched her life and to whom she gave so much of hers. For it was to these young ones that “Lady” was an example of grace and generosity. She will be remembered as a most loving grandmother, a gracious host, but above all the quintessential support for a man she loved, and whom she now joins at last.

“May her soul and the souls of all the departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.”

Her memorial service will be held on Saturday, Nov. 18, at 11 a.m. at All Saints Church in Bay Head. Memorial contributions may be made to All Saints’ Church 500 Lake Avenue, Bay Head, NJ 08742. www.allsaintsbayhead.org