Emily L. Wick, 91
March 21, 2013
Rockport — Emily L. Wick, died peacefully of old age in
her home in Rockport on March 21, 2013. She was 91 years old.
Aunt Emily, everyone's favorite aunt, has left behind
an interesting and unusual life. She was born on December 9, 1921 in
Youngstown, Ohio, daughter of James L. Wick, Jr. and Clare Dryer Wick.
She attended Mount Holyoke College where she earned a BS and MA in
chemistry. She went on to MIT and earned her doctorate, also in
chemistry. After working for the prominent firm of A.D. Little, where
she discovered the chemistry for foods we take for granted such as
Miracle Whip and Campbell’s soups, she joined the faculty at MIT in
the Department of Food Technology where she developed food systems for
the newly formed astronaut corps. She became the first woman to rise
through the ranks to achieve tenure at MIT and was also appointed
Associate Dean for Student Affairs. As the first woman member of the
MIT Corporation, she was very instrumental in early efforts to assure
that women students and staff played an equal role in the life of the
university and had the same opportunities as men, as well as in
developing a gender blind admissions policy.
In 1973 she returned to Mount Holyoke as Dean of the
Faculty and later Special Assistant to the President for Long-Range
Planning. After thirteen very happy years at Mount Holyoke, Emily
retired in 1986 and returned to her beloved Rockport.
Emily's true love from the age of ten until her last
days was sailing. She spent her first summer in Rockport in 1937. In
the 1940's she and her sisters bought an O Boat called "The Little
Urchin". Subsequently, she became a winning skipper of a Star Boat, a
Jolly Boat, a Firefly, and ultimately a Bullseye. Until very recently
she could be found every weekend on the water. Even when she became
too old to skipper a boat she loved to go out in the committee boat or
watch the races from her house on the edge of the harbor. We all
remember the excitement in 1954 when the North American Star
Championships were held in Rockport; Emily was very much a part of
In 1988, Emily became the first woman Commodore of
the Sandy Bay Yacht Club and helped move the club toward a modern
professional operation. She was very interested in ensuring that
membership in the club be affordable for everyone, especially
teenagers. She is widely remembered among club members, and the
committee boat has been named for her.
Somehow, Emily also found the time to be an active
member of the Appalachian Mountain Club and was a life long birder.
She had binoculars in her car and in several places in her home as
well as a spotting scope. She loved opera and listened every Saturday
to Maine Public Radio broadcasts of live performances at the
Metropolitan Opera House. She was the kindest of people and never,
ever said an ungenerous word about anyone, not even politicians.
Emily leaves behind a nephew, Jim Wick, of Shelburne,
Vt., and four nieces, Laura Hallowell of Rockport, Louise (Dan)
DeSantis of Somersworth, N.H.; and her children, Peter and Madeline,
Emily W. Schaff of Youngstown, Ohio, and Anne Schaff of Portland,
Maine, New Hampshire and a long list of friends.
ARRANGEMENTS: Emily's family is grateful for the
superb and loving care of her helpers and nurses from North Shore PRN
and Hospice of the North Shore. A memorial service with reception
following will be held at 11 a.m. at the First Congregational Church
of Rockport on April 20. Memorial contributions may be made to the
Sandy Bay Yacht Club Sailing Program & Scholarship Fund Inc., or to
Hospice of the North Shore.