Daphne Wade Hougham died on November 26, 2012, of complications following a June 2012 neurological accident associated with a brain tumor.
A life celebration and memorial service will be held on Saturday, March 2, from noon - 2 p.m. at the Ethical Society of Northern Westchester. The celebration is open to all.
Daphne was born in Hankow, China (now Wuhan) in 1934 to her American mother Selma Houdashelt Wade, when her father, Leland Walton Wade, was managing a branch of the First National City Bank of New York, part of what later became Citibank.
The family moved to Hong Kong as the Sino/Japanese campaign intensified, and on the eve of WWII, she and her mother fled their home in July 1940. They booked passage onto one of the last civilian repatriation voyages to leave China on the SS President Coolidge, later converted to a military transport ship. The Coolidge stopped in Japan on the way home in spite of rising international tensions, where she ”won” eight little pearls at a dockside oyster picking stall. She wore earrings made from two of those pearls her whole life.
Growing up she spent many years in U.S. expat communities around the world, including India (where she attended the Woodstock School), and Beirut, Lebanon. She attended for four years and graduated high school in 1952 from Miss Harker’s School in Palo Alto, CA, where she was editor of the yearbook in her senior year. At the University of California, Santa Barbara, she met her future husband, Robert, and the two married in 1954 in New York City.
After two years in Greenwich Village, where Daphne worked for Bell Telephone and did some modeling, the couple moved to Florence, Italy for a year. Upon their return to the U.S. in 1957, Daphne pursued a lifetime career in publishing, with editorial positions at New American Library, Combined Book Exhibits, Stein & Day Publishing, and finally at Reader’s Digest Books.
After retiring, she built a thriving editorial consulting practice with her husband, and her last job, with a British publisher, was completed just days before her June hospitalization. A zoology/biology major in college, Daphne retained a life long interest in the quiet beauty of the natural world, spending the last 30 years of her life in a forested home on the banks of the Croton River, in Ossining.
A passionate reader, one of her favorite pastimes was reading novels before dinnertime, dipping her feet into the river while floating on a small rubber rowboat. Another lifelong interest was in the arts, and Daphne became a prize-winning fabric artist, specializing in fine weaving.
She leaves sons Gavin W. Hougham and Gareth G. Hougham, granddaughters Victoria K. Hougham and Aislinn K. Hougham, brother Michael Wade, and beloved life partner and husband Robert H. Hougham.