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FEBRUARY 2001: CLASS NOTES, DEATHS, BOOKS


DEATHS

Faculty and staff

Charles D. O'Connell, AM'47, former vice president and dean of students, died December 22. He was 79. A veteran of WW II and the Korean War, O'Connell joined the University in 1952 as assistant director of admissions after teaching at Roosevelt and Creighton Universities and was named director of University Admissions and Aid in 1957. Dean of students from 1967 until his 1986 retirement, O'Connell was a member of the humanities faculty and was named an associate professor in 1970. He also served as Secretary of the Facilities. In retirement he was special assistant to President Hanna Gray. In 1999 he was awarded the University Service Medal by the Alumni Association. O'Connell was active in philanthropic and educational organizations, including the Chicago Tribune Foundation, the Pullman Foundation, the College Entrance Examination Board, where he chaired the board of trustees (1968-79), and the Educational Testing Service, where he chaired the trustee committee on finance (1983-96). Survivors include his wife, Margaret Norheim O'Connell, AM'52, PhD'62.

Theodore Silverstein, a professor emeritus in English, died September 1. He was 96. During WW II he commanded an Army Air Force intelligence unit that requisitioned the Eiffel Tower, allowing the Allies to intercept German radio signals. His academic work at Chicago, where he joined the faculty in 1947, focused on Old English poetry and lyrics, medieval philosophy, and courtly love. In 1997 he published Apocalypse of Paul, an expansion of his 1935 book on the apostle's visit to heaven and hell. He is survived by his wife, Mary Poindexter Silverstein, AM'61, and a sister.


1920s

Evalyn Cohn, PhB'24, a retired teacher, died in Chicago at age 98. Cohn taught in the Chicago Public Schools for 38 years.

Janet Wallace Ullmann, PhB'27, died September 3 in Lake Forest, IL. She was 96. After studying in Paris, Ullmann taught French and Spanish in Illinois and California. An early civil-rights activist, she marched in Washington and met with South African leaders of the anti-apartheid movement, and she was a past president of the League of Women Voters of Lake Bluff-Lake Forest. A Quaker, Ullmann was a longtime member of the Lake Forest Meeting. She is survived by her husband, Stuart; a daughter; three sons; and 12 grandchildren.


1930s

John B. Elliott, PhB'33, of New Harmony, IN, died June 6 at age 89. In 1937 he joined the WPA Archaeological Survey and, from 1942 until his death, he ran his family's farm and taught anthropology at nearby universities. Survivors include his wife, Josephine Mirabella Elliott, PhB'32, AM'35, and a daughter, Claudia M. Elliott, AM'72.

Kenneth Demb, SB'34, a longtime resident of Marblehead, MA, died October 5. He was 88. Demb was a retired industrial engineer and facilities-planning manager at Sylvania Electric/GTE. Survivors include a daughter; two sons; and four grandchildren.

Richard J. Stevens, AB'36, JD'38, died September 29 in Chicago. He was 86. A WW II veteran, Stevens practiced law with several Chicago firms before starting a solo practice in the mid-1990s. In 1958, after reading reports of price gouging at funeral homes, he founded the Chicago Memorial Association to provide inexpensive funeral services. Survivors include his wife, Jane; five sons, including William J. Stevens, AB'62, and John C. Stevens, AM'66, PhD'74; two brothers, including John Paul Stevens, AB'41; and 12 grandchildren.

Charles A. Meyer, AB'37, died in Monroe Township, NJ, on October 14. He was 86. A WW II veteran, Meyer was a technical editor and manager at RCA from 1946 until 1986. He was also a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, founding and chairing its first professional group for engineering writing and speech. Meyer led the Great Books discussion group at the Maplewood Library for many years and served ten years as president of the board of trustees of the South Orange-Maplewood Adult School. Survivors include his wife, Helen; a daughter; two sons; and three grandchildren.

Arthur P. Klotz, SB'38, MD'38, a gastroenterologist, died March 14 in Tucson, AZ. He was 87. A battalion surgeon with the 255th Field Artillery during WW II, he taught at Chicago as an instructor of medicine from 1949 to 1954, when he joined the University of Kansas Medical Center as a professor and chief of the gastroenterology section. After retiring in 1975 he practiced medicine in Sun City, AZ, until 1985. Survivors include his wife, Margaret; a daughter; three sons; and four grandchildren.

Harvey Blank, SB'39, MD'42, died in Key Biscayne, FL, October 5. He was 83. A leading dermatological researcher, Blank was the first to show that the chicken pox and shingles viruses are identical. During WW II Blank served as chief of dermatology at hospitals in China, India, and Burma. In 1956 he became the founding chair of the University of Miami School of Medicine dermatology division, a post he held for 29 years. He had recently been studying how a particular tree bark he had encountered abroad might be used to alleviate skin diseases. In 1988 the American Skin Association presented Blank with its Lifetime Achievement Award in Medicine and Science. Survivors include his wife, Joan; five children; and two grandchildren.

Milton J. Surkin, AB'39, died September 15 at age 83. Surkin, who served in the Navy during WW II, worked for Blatteis Realty. A San Francisco resident since 1960, Surkin was active in the Shriners and the Masonic Lodge. Survivors include his wife, Nancy Elliott Surkin, PhB'44; two daughters; a sister, Bernys Surkin Nierman Levin, PhB'34; and two grandsons.


1940s

Lee J. Cronbach, PhD'40, died in Palo Alto, CA, October 1. He was 85. A major contributor to educational psychology and psychological testing, Cronbach developed the most frequently used reliability measure in psychological or educational testing. Known as "Cronbach's alpha," it assured that a subject's test performance could be consistently tracked. In the 1970s he directed the Stanford Evaluation Consortium, a research, service, and training organization sponsored by Stanford's School of Education. Survivors include his wife, Helen; two daughters; and a son.

Betty McKim Brake, SB'41, died July 21 in Albuquerque, NM. She was 81. Brake was one of the first female members of the technical staff of Sandia National Laboratories, where she specialized in heat transfer as applied to nuclear weaponry. She is survived by three daughters, including Susan L. Brake, AM'77, and a son.

Warren E. Henry, PhD'41, a professor emeritus at Howard University and a prominent researcher in magnetism and low-temperature physics, died October 31. He was 92. During WW II Henry developed video amplifiers used in portable radar systems on warships. As a supervisory researcher at the Naval Research Laboratory (1948-60) he studied cryomagnetism, the magnetic properties of materials at low temperatures. At Howard, which he joined in 1968 and where he chaired the physics department in the late 1970s, he encouraged minority students to pursue scientific careers. Henry received the National Science Foundation lifetime achievement award for community service, the National Society of Black Engineers's lifetime engineering achievement in industry award, and the U of C Alumni Association's Professional Achievement Citation. Survivors include a daughter, two sisters, and three brothers.

Philip J. Kinsler, SB'41, MBA'50, of Whitefish Bay, WI, died September 5. He was 83. Kinsler served in the Army during WW II at Aberdeen Proving Ground in ordance testing. He worked as a statistician at Oscar Mayer and a computer programmer for the University of Wisconsin until his 1983 retirement. A member of Temple Beth El since 1951, he also served on its board. Kinsler's survivors include a daughter, a brother, and two grandchildren.

Thomas A. Sebeok, AB'41, a pioneer in semiotics, died on December 21. He was 81. Distinguished professor emeritus of linguistics and semiotics at Indiana University-which he joined in 1943 to help run an Army training program in foreign languages-he also chaired the Research Center for Language and Semiotic Studies. Born in Budapest, he came to Chicago in 1937 after a year at the University of Cambridge; his graduate work was at Princeton. His 600-plus publications include works on folksongs, charms, games, poems, and the supernatural; early computer analyses of verbal texts; and, with Charles Osgood, the classic Psycholinguistics (1954). In Speaking of Apes (1980), he critiqued attempts to teach apes language. Sebeok taught in 17 countries, and his awards included five honorary doctorates, the Service Award of the American Anthropological Association's Service Award, IU's President's Medal, and a 1992 Professional Achievement Citation from the U of C Alumni Association. Among survivors are his wife, Jean Umiker-Sebeok, and three daughters, including Jessica A. Sebeok, AB'97, and Erica L. Sebeok, AB'01.

W. H. Roger Smith, AB'41, MBA'50, died October 1. He was 80. During WW II he served in the Army Air Force as a link trainer instructor. From 1946 until 1966 he was credit manager at Zonolit Corporation in Chicago, then worked as director of the Education Development Corporation. In 1970 he became vice president and chief financial officer at George Williams College, retiring from the Downers Grove, IL, school in the 1990s. Smith spent 1996-97 as the interim CEO of Friendship Village, a Schaumburg, IL, retirement home, where he was a board member for several decades. He is survived by his wife, Betty; a daughter; a son; a brother; and a sister.

Nello P. Torri, MD'45, died June 8 in Monterey, CA. He was 83. He served in the U.S. Army (1942-45) while in medical school and after graduation worked for the U.S. Public Health Service. In 1950 he became the first doctor to set up an office in Carmel Valley, CA. Three years later he moved to Monterey, where he practiced until his 1987 retirement. He was a member of the California Medical Association and the Monterey County Medical Association. Survivors include his wife, Arleene; a daughter; a son; and two grandsons.

Alvan R. Feinstein, SB'47, SM'48, MD'52, an epidemiologist, died October 24. He was 75. Feinstein was known for developing what he called "clinimetrics," the idea that physicians can produce consistent assessments by using clinical indexes and rating scales for evaluating conditions like pain, distress, and disability. In the late 1950s he joined Irvington House, an affiliate of New York University, as medical director. There he challenged the belief that proper treatment after an early diagnosis of rheumatic fever prevented severe heart disease, correctly arguing that the disease has two forms-one that causes heart disease and one that doesn't. The author of more than 400 clinical studies and six books, Feinstein is survived by his wife, Lilli Sentz; a daughter; and a son.

Harold L. Nieburg, PhB'47, AM'52, PhD'60, died September 27 at age 73. Nieburg was a political-science professor at SUNY-Binghamton for 25 years, founding the university's political journalism major. He retired in 1995. The Korean War veteran was an international expert on political conflict and a confidant of John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, and Senator Paul Simon. He wrote hundreds of articles and several books, including the best-selling In the Name of Science. Survivors include his wife, Janet; three daughters; a son; a stepdaughter; a stepson; a brother; two sisters; and six grandchildren.

Ferris S. Randall, AB'47, BLS'48, died October 7 in Frederick, MD. He was 92. Randall worked for a number of libraries, including those at Stanford University and Southern Illinois University, where he was head librarian from 1965 until 1974. He served in the Army Air Force during WW II and was a member of the American Association of Professors and Beta Phi Mu. He is survived by his wife, Rosa-Hall Baldwin Randall, PhB'33; two stepdaughters; and two step-grandchildren.


1950s

Sol R. Silverman, SM'50, PhD'50, a petroleum geologist, died October 23 in Whittier, CA. He was 82. A world-recognized expert on isotopes, Silverman began his career with the U.S. Geological Survey in Washington, DC, and later became a senior research associate at the Chevron Oil Field Research Laboratory in La Habra, CA. The WW II veteran was a part-time geology professor at California Polytechnic University, active in geology associations, and a contributing author to the Encyclopaedia Britannica on the subject of isotopes. Survivors include a daughter and two sons.

W. Wallace Tudor, X'50, a Sears, Roebuck, and Co. executive, died in Cherry Hill, NJ, September 3. He was 90. In 1936 he began his career at Sears selling refrigerators in the firm's Indianapolis store and rose through the ranks to become vice president of personnel and employee relations, retiring in 1974. Active with charities, he volunteered on the state and national levels of the American Cancer Society. Survivors include his wife, Mildred; a son; and two grandchildren.


1960s

Thomas F. Deegan, AM'62, of Hinsdale, IL, died June 1 at age 62. An English professor at St. Xavier University, where he helped found his department's graduate program, Deegan was instrumental in running the university's film society. A member of Chicago's film community during the 1970s, he directed the 1970 independent film De Mortuis Nil Nisi Borum (Speak nothing of the dead but good). He is survived by his wife, Janice; two daughters; a son; and a sister.

Richard A. Levy, AM'66, an attorney, died August 1 in Alexandria, VA. He was 59. Levy most recently specialized in representing policyholders against insurance companies. An expert in environmental insurance, he was the author of Surviving the FEA Audit and Underground Tank Leak Insurance. His career also included stints teaching political science at the University of Georgia and work at the Defense Department and the Office of Emergency Preparedness. Survivors include his wife, Sandra Sciacchitano Levy, AB'62; a daughter; two sons, including, David N. Levy, AB'92; his mother; and a brother.

Ronald A. Rehling, MBA'69, died February 12, 2001. He was 55. Rehling spent most of his career in the medical information field; his self-owned firm supplied statistics to pharmaceutical companies. His civic and volunteer activities included serving as supervisor of the Gwynedd Valley (PA) township. Survivors include his wife, Janice; two daughters; a son; and a granddaughter.


2000s

Patrick J. Murphy, MBA'00, died in the September 11 terrorist attack on the Pentagon. He was 38. A lieutenant commander in the Naval Reserve, Murphy received nuclear propulsion training in 1986 and served for five years aboard the USS Sand Lance. After leaving the Navy, he worked for a number of firms, including Brach's Confections and the Alberto Culver Company. At the time of the attack he was on a two-week standing duty assignment with the Navy Command Center. Survivors include his wife, Masako; two sons; his mother; two brothers; and three sisters.



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