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Gary C. Comer, founder and former president of the Lands’ End clothing-catalog company, died October 4 in Chicago. He was 78. In 1962 Comer left an advertising-copywriting career to start a mail-order sailing-equipment business. Lands’ End is now the second-largest apparel-only mail-order firm. Comer stepped down as president in 1990 but remained on the board. Born and raised on Chicago’s South Side, Comer gave back to his old neighborhood, especially in projects to improve children’s health care and education. Over the past ten years Comer and his wife Francie gave more than $84 million to establish and later expand the University’s Comer Children’s Hospital, including $42 million in January 2006, the single largest gift ever made to the University, to create the Comer Center for Children and Specialty Care. In addition to his wife, a longtime member of the University’s Women’s Board, he is survived by a daughter, a son, and three grandchildren.
Faculty and Staff
William Cannon, PhB’47, AM’49, a public-policy expert, died July 1 in Davis, CA. He was 85. A School of Social Service Administration professor emeritus, he began his University career in 1954 as director of social sciences and College development, joining Chicago’s faculty in 1976. Teaching courses on federal social-welfare policy until his 1989 retirement, Cannon also served as vice president for business and finance, launching a program to renovate campus buildings and update the University’s administrative systems. He is survived by a daughter, Julia Kable, AB’71, and three sons, including Robert Cannon, AB’83.
Tikva Frymer-Kensky, a theological scholar, died of cancer August 31 in Chicago. She was 63. An authority on Assyriology, Sumerology, and Jewish studies, Frymer-Kensky directed biblical studies at Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Pennsylvania and was an assistant professor of Near Eastern studies at Detroit’s Wayne State University before coming to the Divinity School in 1995. Best known for her research on women and religion, she was named one of the 2005 Jewish Chicagoans of the Year by the Chicago Jewish News and this year was the first woman to have her work, a collection of articles called Studies in Bible and Feminist Criticism, included in the Jewish Publication Society’s Scholar of Distinction series. Survivors include her husband Rabbi Allan Kensky, son Eitan Kensky, U-High’02, and daughter Meira Kensky, AM’01.
Philip C. Hoffmann, SB’57, PhD’62, a neuropharmacologist, died July 21 in Chicago. He was 70. A professor emeritus in neurobiology, pharmacology, and physiology, Hoffmann joined Chicago’s faculty in 1963, studying how neurons communicate and how drugs disrupt that process. He received the Quantrell Award for excellence in undergraduate teaching (1971), Pritzker’s basic science teaching award (1977, 1982, and 1984), and the University’s Gold Key for service to the biological-sciences division (2002). In 1999 he became chair of the University’s Council on Teaching, a faculty-advisory board, and he continued to teach after his 2001 retirement. Survivors include his partner Chris Lonn and a brother.
Dora Hutalarovich, a Quadrangle Club hostess for nearly 30 years, died June 29 in Rochester, MN, at age 89. She joined the Quad Club staff in the 1950s, retiring in summer 1983 to care for her husband, who died in 2000. She was active in the Rochester Senior Citizens Club and walked three miles a day. Survivors include daughters Maria Brecher, U-High’75, AB’79, MD’83, and Eliana Paoletti, U-High’67, AB’71, and three granddaughters, including Danielle Brecher, ’10.
Irving Kaplansky, a mathematician, died June 25 in Sherman Oaks, CA. He was 89. An expert in algebra, functional analysis, and ring theory, Kaplansky joined Chicago’s faculty in 1945, winning the Quantrell Award for excellence in undergraduate teaching in 1961 and chairing the math department from 1962 to 1967. Winner of the American Mathematical Society’s Steele Prize in part for “his energetic example, his enthusiastic exposition, and his overall generosity,” he published some 150 papers and advised 55 PhD students. In 1984 Kaplansky moved to the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute in Berkeley, CA. He is survived by his wife Chellie; daughter Lucille Kaplansky, U-High’78; two sons, Steven Kaplansky, U-High’71, MBA’78, and Daniel Kaplansky, U-High’72; and two grandchildren.
Lawrence Pottenger, SB’66, PhD’72, MD’74, an orthopedic surgeon, died of complications from early-onset Alzheimer’s disease September 15 in Chicago. He was 62. An associate professor emeritus of surgery and pathology, he joined the Hospitals as a clinician and surgeon in 1979, specializing in arthritis and elderly orthopedic problems and performing nearly 350 hip and knee replacements a year. With colleague Louis Draganich he designed an artificial-knee implant for young, active patients. Survivors include his wife Barbara, daughters Katherine Pottenger, U-High’01, and Lindsey Pottenger, U-High’02, two sons, and a sister.
Iris Marion Young, a political philosopher, died of cancer August 1 in Chicago. She was 57. Focusing on feminism and social inequality, Young taught at the University of Pittsburgh, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and Miami University before joining Chicago’s faculty in 2000. Her books, translated into 20 languages, include Throwing Like a Girl and Other Essays in Feminist Philosophy (Indiana University Press, 1990) and Inclusion and Democracy (Oxford University Press, 2000). Survivors include her husband David, a daughter, a brother, and a sister.
Gerald S. Gidwitz, U-High’23, PhB’27, cofounder of Helene Curtis, died July 11 in Chicago. He was 99. Gidwitz and a partner took over the struggling National Mineral Company (which sold Arkansas River mud as Peach Bloom Facial Mask), developed cosmetics and grooming brands such as Suave, and renamed the company Helene Curtis, combining the names of the partner’s wife and son. Though he chaired the company from 1952 until its 1996 sale to Unilever, Gidwitz left the daily details to his brother, and later his son, while he acquired other companies and focused on philanthropy, establishing adult-education programs in Chicago. Survivors include a daughter, four sons, nine grandchildren, and nephew Ralph Gidwitz, MBA’74.
Carolyn Bartel Lyon, AM’30, died August 4 in Pittsford, NY. She was 98. While an editorial assistant at the University of Chicago Press’s Journal of Modern History, Lyon met her late husband Elijah, who became Pomona College’s sixth president, serving from 1941 to 1969. During her tenure as president’s wife, Lyon hosted visiting academics, graduating students, and town-gown events, integrating the faculty into the local community. In 1969 the college dedicated the Carolyn Lyon Garden, where she had planted 185 rosebushes. Survivors include a daughter, a son, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
Ruth I. Barnard, U-High’30, SB’33, PhD’37, MD’39, a neurologist and psychologist, died July 5 in Guerneville, CA. She was 92. After completing psychiatric training at the Menninger Clinic, Barnard joined Los Angeles’s Westwood Hospital as medical director. In 1967 she became the Southern California Psychiatric Society’s first female president. A professor at UCLA and later USC, Barnard retired in 1979. She was an opera enthusiast and member of the Sonoma County grand jury. Survivors include a nephew.
Frank C. Springer Jr., PhB’34, a human-resources and public-relations executive, died August 15 in Indianapolis. He was 93. A WW II Navy veteran, Springer was musicologist for the Stephen Foster Collection before joining Eli Lilly in 1937. A supporter of community arts, Springer served local organizations including the Indianapolis Museum of Art, where he was founding president of the Contemporary Arts Society. In 1997 he endowed the Frank Curtis Springer and Gertrude Melcher Springer professorship in Chicago’s humanities department in memory of his parents. Survivors include a brother, Ralph M. Springer, X’38.
William H. Hughes, AB’35, died June 5 in San Mateo, CA. He was 94. A WW II Army veteran, Hughes worked in trucking and financial-services. Active in his local community, he received the Boy Scouts of America’s Silver Beaver Award and the Unitarian/Universalists of San Mateo’s Ann Benner Award. Survivors include his wife Maryalice, two sons, and three grandchildren.
Charlotte Marschak Schoenbrod, AB’37, died July 20 in Yonkers, NY. She was 89. An early environmentalist, Schoenbrod focused on environmental protection as president of the Glencoe League of Women Voters. She later became an advertising executive in Chicago, heading Robert D. Schoenbrod Inc. In retirement she chaired the University’s UC2MC Downtown Luncheon Series and her class’s 55th reunion, receiving the Alumni Service Citation in 1994. Survivors include two daughters, a son, and four grandchildren.
Edgar M. Branch, U-High’30, AM’38, an expert on Mark Twain, died August 14 in Oxford, OH. He was 93. Joining Miami University in 1941, Branch taught in a Navy program and at Miami’s Naval Radio School during WW II. An expert in Southern and Midwestern American literature, he chaired Miami’s English department from 1959 to 1964, retiring as professor emeritus in 1978. Branch received the Modern Language Association’s Prize for a Distinguished Scholarly Edition for an edition of Mark Twain’s Roughing It and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Mark Twain Circle of America. He is survived by his wife Mary Jo, AB’37; two daughters, including Sydney Diez, AB’65, MAT’68; four grandchildren; and a great-grandson.
Jack Silber, SB’41, SM’47, a mathematician, died July 30 in Chicago. He was 89. A WW II and Korean War veteran, Silber joined the Roosevelt University faculty in 1946, chairing the math department from 1966 to 1987 and retiring as a professor emeritus. In 1968 he helped found the North Center for Handicapped Children. Survivors include a brother.
Roderick MacLeish, X’46, a journalist and writer, died July 1 in Washington, DC. He was 80. After working in television and radio in New York and Boston, MacLeish helped organize the DC bureau of Westinghouse Broadcasting Company, where he was a chief commentator. He later did commentary for CBS News, National Public Radio, and the Christian Science Monitor, among others, and published both nonfiction and fiction books.
George Wetherill, PhB’48, SB’49, SM’51, PhD’53, a geophysicist, died July 19 in Washington, DC. He was 80. A WW II Navy veteran, Wetherill worked at the Carnegie Institution of Washington’s Department of Terrestrial Magnetism (DTM) before joining the UCLA faculty in 1960, chairing the planetary and space-sciences department. In 1975 he returned to Carnegie, heading the DTM until 1991 and then continuing his research as director emeritus. An expert on planetary formation, Wetherill helped develop methods to date earth rocks and meteorites using radioactive decay; he also examined Jupiter’s role in protecting the inner solar system from comets. Elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1974, Wetherill received the National Medal of Science in 1997. He is survived by his second wife Mary and two daughters. He was preceded in death by a son and by his wife Phyllis Steiss Wetherill, PhB’47, AM’50.
James L. Weil, AB’50, a poet, died July 7 in New Rochelle, NY. He was 77. After 14 years as an executive at Dialight Corporation, an electronic-components manufacturer, Weil joined poetry publisher Elizabeth Press, later forming his own publishing firm. An accomplished writer, Weil won the Chapbook Award and a 1967 National Endowment of the Arts award for his book Quarrel with the Rose. Survivors include his wife Gloria, a daughter, two sons, and two grandchildren.
Frances Muller Prindle, AM’52, an educator, died February 17 in Port Angeles, WA. She was 80. A specialist in early-childhood education, she began her career as principal of the University nursery school in the ’50s and later held several positions in the Washington State community-college system. A consultant to public-school, state, and federal agencies, she was named 1975 Woman of the Year by the American Association of Women in Community and Junior Colleges. Prindle retired as dean of instruction at Washington’s Peninsula College in 1990. Survivors include husband Warren Prindle, AM’52, and a son.
Lawrence G. Lavengood, AM’47, PhD’53, professor of business history and ethics, died July 13 in Evanston, IL. He was 82. In 1953 Lavengood joined Northwestern University’s School of Commerce (now the Kellogg School of Management), winning the school’s second Professor of the Year Award in 1976. When he retired in 1994, the honor was renamed the L. G. Lavengood Outstanding Professor of the Year Award. Survivors include three daughters, a son, two sisters, four grandchildren, and a great-grandson. He was preceded in death by his wife Gloria de Leon Lavengood, PhB’47.
Vern L. Bullough, AM’51, PhD’54, a historian, died June 21 in Thousand Oaks, CA. He was 77. A specialist in the history of nursing, Bullough wrote and edited several nursing reference books with his wife. From 1959 to 1980 he taught at California State University in Northridge, where he earned a bachelor’s in nursing in 1981. After a turn at Buffalo State College, he returned to CSU in 1993. Bullough also wrote about homosexuality, feminism, and sex research. Survivors include a daughter, three sons, and a grandchild.
Alexander L. George, AM’41, PhD’58, a political scientist, died August 16 in Seattle. He was 86. An expert on international relations and decision-making, George worked at the RAND Corporation before joining Stanford’s faculty in 1968. Retiring in 1990 as the Graham H. Stuart professor of international relations emeritus, he became a distinguished fellow at the U.S. Institute of Peace. George’s honors included the Bancroft Prize for American History and Diplomacy, a MacArthur “genius” grant, and the National Academy of Sciences Award for Behavioral Research Relevant to the Prevention of Nuclear War. He is survived by his wife Juliette, a daughter, a son, and two grandchildren.
Richard Ericson, AM’61, died August 10 in Maplewood, MN. He was 73. A federal parole officer, Ericson moved to the Twin Cities in 1961, taking a series of jobs with the local criminal-justice system. In 1967 he joined the Council on Crime and Justice, a Minneapolis nonprofit dedicated to “restorative justice,” which emphasizes repairing the harm caused by criminal behavior. By his 1998 retirement Ericson had turned the two-person outfit into an 80-person organization that studies racial disparities in the criminal-justice system, provides health education, counsels families, and reforms juvenile services. Survivors include his wife Becky, a daughter, two sons including David Ericson, MBA’87, a brother, and four grandchildren.
Rupert L. Wenzel, PhD’62, an entomologist, died July 7 in Oak Park, IL. He was 90. An expert on histerid beetles and batflies, Wenzel joined Chicago’s Field Museum in 1934 as a college volunteer. During WW II Wenzel, a white officer, commanded a segregated black unit; he later joined the Oak Park village board, fighting for open-housing ordinances. Wenzel rose to chair the Field’s zoology department, expanding the museum’s insect collection and entomological library. He retired in 1981 as a curator emeritus. Survivors include a daughter, two sons, a sister, six grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.
Seymour Fox, PhD’65, a rabbi and education professor, died July 10 in Jerusalem. He was 77. An assistant professor at the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS), Fox led Camp Ramah, an organization of Jewish summer camps, from 1954 to 1966; in 1960 he founded JTS’s Melton Research Center for Jewish Education. He joined Hebrew University’s School of Education in 1967, later serving four Israeli education ministers. Fox helped found the Jerusalem Fellows, a teacher-training program, and the Mandel Foundation, a Jewish educational foundation, becoming director in 1991. Survivors include his wife Sue, three sons, a brother, and a sister.
Philip Kohlenberg, AM’68, PhD’72, died of lung cancer August 9 in San Francisco. He was 64. In 1981 Kohlenberg entered California’s civil service, working for the Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board, the Employment Development Department, and the Public Employees’ Retirement System before retiring in 2005. A boat captain with the Dolphin Club of San Francisco, he twice rowed to Sacramento in an 18-man oceangoing barge and once rowed to Stockton in a two-man vessel; though he learned to swim late in life, he swam daily and in Dolphin Club races. Survivors include his wife Betty, a son, his mother, two brothers, and two granddaughters.
John D. Broderick, MBA’74, died of kidney cancer June 26 in Novato, CA. He was 64. A finance executive, Broderick worked with several corporations, including Citibank and First New Hampshire, to develop business systems and expand into new markets. Retiring in 2002, he joined American True, a youth-sailing foundation, as chief financial officer. Broderick volunteered with Junior Sailor programs and the Boy Scouts of America. Survivors include his wife Kathleen, two daughters, two sisters, and a granddaughter.
Alexander Tseng Jr., MD’77, an oncologist, died of brain cancer July 10 in Palo Alto, CA. He was 54. A research fellow at UCSF, Tseng later led its Head and Neck Oncology Clinic. He was a staff physician at Palo Alto’s Veterans Administration Hospital and in 1993 joined the Southbay Oncology Hematology Partners, where he worked until 2004, when illness forced his retirement. Tseng’s honors include the American Cancer Society’s Career Development Award. He is survived by his wife Cynthia, a daughter, two sons, his parents, a brother, and a sister.
E. Timothy Geary, AB’81, MBA’81, a health-care
executive, died of a brain tumor July 16 in Chicago. He was 55. An off-and-on
student, Geary earned his degrees over nine years, two of which he spent
as a counselor for autistic children at Michael Reese Hospital. Focusing
his studies on hospital administration and finance, he founded National
Surgery Centers, which grew to 42 locations in 14 states before HealthSouth
bought it in 1998. In 2002 Geary started Nation Surgical Care, an outpatient-surgery
center. Survivors include his wife Karen Wilson, AB’74,
Caitlin Geary, U-High’02, Nora Geary, U-High’00, and current Lab Schools student Alison Geary; two brothers; and a sister.
James S. Pirtle, AM’81, died June 26 in Hartford, KY. He was 57. A music teacher, Pirtle was music and liturgy director of Precious Blood Catholic Church of Owensboro, a member of the American Recorder Society, and a member of the Owensboro Civic Chorus. Survivors include his partner Russell, two brothers, and a sister.
Judith W. Moses, PhD’88, a linguist, died of breast cancer July 28 in Chicago. She was 66. Twice a Fulbright Scholar, Moses studied in Germany and taught German and English as a second language for 35 years, chairing the foreign-language and ESL departments at Harold Washington College. After retiring she taught classes at the U of C. Survivors include her husband Earl, son Matthew Moses, U-High’96, and a sister.
Russell L. Pollack, JD’90, an investment banker, died July 10 in New York. He was 42. After a stint as a corporate-finance lawyer, Pollack became an investment banker, working with Hambrecht & Quist (now JPMorgan), Warburg Dillon Read (now UBS), and Lehman Brothers, where he was a managing director in the health-care industry group. In 2002 he cofounded Seaview Securities, a life-sciences investment bank. Survivors include his former wife Jessica Glass Pollack, JD’90; two sons; his parents; a brother; and three sisters.
Scott Johnson, AM’91, died August 21 in Little Rock, AR. He was 40. A journalist, Johnson wrote freelance articles for several Chicago newspapers before joining the features staff of the Northwest Arkansas Times in 1998, rising to features editor. In 2002 he moved to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, where he was a features writer.