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Earl Shapiro, U-High’56, an attorney and business executive, died following a brief illness May 26 in Chicago. He was 68. After college at Princeton University and law school at Yale University, he practiced law in New York City and helped found a corporation to rehabilitate the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn. In 1967 Shapiro returned to Chicago and joined the family business, Maryland Cup, becoming president of its Midwestern division. After the company was sold in 1983, he started Prairie Packaging, a plastics-product business, where he was president and CEO until its 2007 sale. Chair of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Chicago, Shapiro, with his wife Brenda, endowed a gallery in the Art Institute of Chicago’s new modern-art wing. In early May his family made a $10 million gift in Shapiro’s name to the University’s Laboratory Schools. (See “For the Record—Ed.) Survivors include his wife; a daughter, Alexandra Aron, U-High X’90; two sons, Matthew Shapiro, U-High’84, and Benjamin Shapiro, U-High X’86, MBA’94; a brother, James A. Shapiro, U-High X’60; and two grandchildren.

Faculty and Staff

Lawrence Fisher, AM’55, PhD’56, an economist, died April 10 in Morristown, NJ. He was 78. After serving as the founding associate director of the University of Chicago’s Center for Research in Security Prices from 1960 to 1978, he joined the faculty of Rutgers University Business School, where he retired as First Fidelity Bank research professor emeritus. In 2000 he won the Nicholas Molodvsky Award from the CFA Institute. Survivors include his wife Lois A. Fisher, PhD’84; two sons; and two grandchildren.

 Herbert Thelen, PhD’44, professor emeritus in education, died February 5 in Laguna Woods, CA. He was 94. A group-dynamics expert, Thelen joined the Chicago faculty in 1945, serving as chair of educational psychology. Before retiring in 1979, he wrote five books, including Dynamics of Groups at Work (1954) and The Classroom Society (1981). In 1951 the Mayor’s Commission on Human Relations honored Thelen for his work organizing neighborhood groups in the racially diverse Hyde Park–Kenwood community. Survivors include a daughter, Marian (Thelen) Kontek, U-High’65; a son, David Thelan, U-High’56; a brother; two grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.


Alex Elson, PhB’26, JD’28, an attorney and educator, died March 11 in Hyde Park. He was 102. A founder of the National Academy of Arbitrators, he practiced law in Chicago for 70 years, winning some 1,000 awards. He chaired the boards of the Mental Health Commissioners of the State of Illinois and of the American Civil Liberties Union, and was president of the Jewish Family and Community Service and the Institute for Psychoanalysis. A member of the Chicago Bar Association board of managers and the Chicago Council of Lawyers board of governors, Elson also taught law courses at Chicago, Northwestern University, Yale University, and Arizona State University. In 1954 he received the U of C Alumni Association’s Public Service Citation, and a scholarship fund at the School of Social Service Administration is named for Elson and his wife of more than 74 years, Miriam Almond Elson, AM’42. He is survived by his wife; daughter Karen Elson O’Neil, U-High’54; five grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.

Siegfried R. Weng, PhB’27, AM’29, an artist and museum director, died February 19 in Evansville, IN. He was 103. In 1929, at age 25, Weng became director of the Dayton Art Institute. An artist whose drawings and prints sold throughout the Midwest, he also taught the subject at the University of Dayton. In 1950 he was named director of Indiana’s Evansville Museum, where he remained until his retirement. A past president of the Midwest Museum Association, he received an honorary doctorate from Evansville College; the city of Evansville marked his 100th birthday in May 2004 as Siegfried R. Weng Day. Survivors include his wife Carolyn.

Gertrude Holmes Beggs, PhB’28, an educator, died November 25, 2007, in Menomonie, WI. She was 103. She taught history, government, and economics at MacMurray College and Illinois College in Jacksonville, IL, where she lived from 1930 until 2001. Active in her community, she belonged to the League of Women Voters, the American Association of University Women, and the women’s philanthropic group PEO. Survivors include daughter Susan Beggs Hall, AM’66; son Thomas A. Beggs, MAT’63, PhD’70; four grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.


Stella Mucha Mickritz, PhB’32, a nurse and teacher, died May 2, 2001, in Racine, WI. She was 101. At age 19 she was a relief worker in Poland, helping WW I orphans as part of President Hoover’s reconstruction efforts. After earning degrees from the Illinois Training School for Nurses, Chicago, and Columbia University, during WW II she worked as a midwife at the New York Maternity Center. Mickritz also served as a reserve officer in the Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare. Survivors include several nieces, nephews, grandnieces, and grandnephews.

Ruth Deters, AM’33, SM’43, a mathematician, died March 10 in Shakopee, MN. She was 96. She married John F. Deters, SM’45, in 1941, and they both taught at Valparaiso University for 25 years. After her husband’s death in 1999, Deters moved to Minnesota to be near family. Active in the American Association of University Women, Tri Kappa, and the Daughters of the American Revolution, she enjoyed travel and gardening. Survivors include a daughter; two sons, including Frederick Deters, AM’65, PhD’74; 12 grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

Jean P. Burden, AB’36, a poet and writer, died April 21 in Altadena, CA. She was 93. Author of two critically acclaimed poetry collections, Naked as the Glass and Taking Light From Each Other, she also wrote Journey Toward Poetry, a collection of essays on the genre’s craft; edited several anthologies; and was poetry editor at Yankee magazine from 1955 to 2002. A former pet editor at Woman’s Day, she also wrote six best-selling books on animal welfare and care. A three-time MacDowell Colony fellow, she often lectured at Pasadena City College; University of California, Irvine; and California State University, Los Angeles, which in 1986 established the Jean Burden Annual Poetry Series.


Oscar Sugar, PhD’40, a neurosurgeon, died April 7 in Charlotte, NC. He was 93. A WW II veteran, he served in the U.S. Army Air Forces as an aviation physiologist and neuropsychiatrist before joining the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago faculty and advancing to neurosurgery-department head. He retired as professor emeritus in 1981, continuing his private practice and teaching at Illinois Masonic Medical Center. In 1987 he moved to Southern California, becoming clinical professor of surgery at the University of California, San Diego. A past vice president of the Society of Neurological Surgeons, Sugar was an editor of the Yearbook of Neurology and Neurosurgery for 30 years and continued as a contributing editor for Key Neurology and Neurosurgery until 1993. He is survived by his wife Dorothy, a daughter, two sons, and grandchildren.

Ellen Watts van Haagen, SB’41, a translator, died January 14 in New York. She was 86. A metallurgist for the Manhattan Project on the Chicago campus during WW II, she moved with her husband Ernst van Haagen to New York City in 1948. As students of Germanic, Romance, and Slavic languages, together they translated chemistry, architecture, and art books, including several special-exhibit catalogs for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and eventually launched the translating firm Watts van Haagen. An arts aficionado, van Haagen traveled to Europe and Asia. She is survived by her husband and her sister, Wilma Watts Metz, AB’51.

Bernice Levenfeld Yeracaris, AB’42, a psychologist, died February 28 in Boston. She was 87. Trained under Carl Rogers at Chicago, she practiced psychology in Buffalo, NY, and was a leader in the local therapeutic community for more than 40 years. Still seeing patients a week before her death, she headed a group of therapists who provided more than 15 open group-therapy sessions a week. Her husband Constantine A. Yeracaris, AM’50, PhD’53, died in 2001. Survivors include a daughter, three sons, and five grandchildren.

William D. Wubben, PhB’45, MBA’48, an economist, died May 2 in Mooresville, NC. He was 83. After earning his doctorate in political economy from Claremont University College, he joined the Pfeiffer College faculty in Charlotte, NC, then taught briefly at Davidson College. In 1964 he joined the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where he was the first chair of the department of economics and business and in 1971 helped found the school’s Belk College of Business. He retired a professor emeritus of economics in 1988. A member of the Advent Lutheran Church, he chaired its finance committee and was recognized for his work with Advent’s Lutheran Men in Mission. He is survived by a cousin.

David B. Booth, PhB’47, SB’49, a sociologist, died May 3, 2007, in Windsor, ON. He was 83. A professor at the University of Windsor for 26 years, he also developed a training program for department heads at the Western Institute for the Center of Higher Education in Boulder, CO, and spent 1978–79 as an education-policy fellow at George Washington University. A lover of music and the arts, he was an avid piano player. Survivors include his wife Ruth, a son, a daughter, and two granddaughters.

Raymond Dwight Thomas, MBA’47, an advertising and financial executive, died January 28 in Naples, FL. He was 86. A WW II veteran, he worked in international marketing for more than a decade before starting a second career as a banker at Fidelity Bank in 1963. He retired in 1981 as Fidelity’s executive vice president and trust-department head. Survivors include a daughter, two sons, nine grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

Bernard H. Baum, PhB’48, AM’53, PhD’59, a sociologist, died of a heart attack June 6 while attending the U of C Alumni Weekend alumni emeriti dinner. He was 82. After escaping Nazi Germany with his family in 1933, Baum fought in WW II as a U.S. Army private. An expert on organization theory, he worked for CNA Insurance as director of organizational analysis, studying the firm’s management practices. In 1966 he joined the faculty of the University of Illinois at Chicago’s School of Public Health, teaching management and health policy for nearly 40 years and retiring professor emeritus. Serving in the Illinois National Guard and the Army Reserve, he also taught religious school at four Chicago-area temples and was on the boards of Evanston’s Beth Emet the Free Synagogue and Chicago’s Selfhelp Home. Survivors include two daughters and two sons, including Jonathan Baum, JD’82.

Bernice Rifas, AM’49, a teacher, died March 28 in Berkeley, CA. She was 81. While at Chicago she met Bertram Rifas, PhB’46, AM’50, and the couple married in 1949. A longtime resident of San Mateo, CA, she taught high-school geography before returning to San Francisco State University to earn a second master’s degree and teach high-school ESL courses. A mother of three, she served as a Cub Scout den mother, Brownie and Girl Scout leader, and treasurer of the teacher’s union; and volunteered with Parca, Temple Beth El Sisterhood, Baywood PTA, and the Historical Society Museum. She enjoyed travel, music, art, and theater. Survivors include her husband, two daughters, a son, a brother, a sister, and four grandchildren.


Josephine S. Young, AB’50, an admissions counselor, died February 29 in Gardena, CA. She was 77. Raising three children, she worked as an admissions adviser in the College from the mid-1960s to 1973. After marrying her second husband Bob in 1973, Young settled in Gardena, where she wrote a cooking column for the Gardena Valley News, volunteered at the public library, and organized fund-raisers and outings for the local YMCA. Survivors include her husband, a daughter, two sons, a stepdaughter, and two grandchildren.

Robert B. Buchele, PhD’52, a management professor and consultant, died January 23 in Honolulu. He was 91. A WW II veteran, he taught at several U.S. and foreign universities, including the University of California, Los Angeles, where he was founding director of the executive program for mature executives. He worked as a management consultant and taught at the University of Hawaii at Manoa for 21 years, retiring as professor emeritus of management. During his career, Buchele published a case-studies manual, Business Policy in Growing Firms, and a graduate-level textbook, The Management of Business and Public Organizations. Survivors include his wife Lu Verne Buchele, AM’47; a daughter; and a grandson.

Egon Gotthold Guba, PhD’52, a statistician, died March 26 in College Station, TX. He was 84. A WW II veteran, he taught at Chicago for four years before joining the faculty of the University of Kansas City (now the University of Missouri–Kansas City), then Ohio State University, where he served a decade as its research-bureau director. He spent the last 25 years of his career at the School of Education at Indiana University–Bloomington, where he was executive associate dean. Survivors include his wife Yvonna Sessions Lincoln, two daughters, a son, and three grandchildren.

Aileen Divers Pearson, AB’56, AM’73, a social worker, died April 26 in San Francisco. Until her retirement in 1992, she worked with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. She then moved to San Francisco, where she settled in North Beach and supported charities such as the Red Cross and the Street Shop. Survivors include two daughters, including Ellen Elizabeth Pearson, AB’78.

Jerome J. Landy, PhD’57, a surgeon and inventor, died March 7 in Chicago. He was 82. A WW II veteran, he received a government grant to study biological safety, and in 1962, while continuing to practice head and neck surgery, founded Miami’s Germfree Labs. His many inventions include a protective isolation system for burn victims, moon-rock decontamination equipment for NASA’s Apollo 11 program, and a chemical fume hood. A collector of art glass and rare plants, he also enjoyed tennis and traveling. Survivors include his wife Gayle, three sons, a brother, and six grandchildren.

J. Charles Horwitz, AB’58, AM’59, a legal activist, died November 13, 2006, in Brooklyn, NY. He was 71. After receiving his JD from Antioch College School of Law in 1976, he spent two decades as senior counsel at the New York State Department of Labor, where he enforced workers’ rights and sweatshop laws. Horwitz also worked for the Legal Services Corporation’s Migrant Legal Action Program, advocating for farm-labor standards and investigating pesticide poisoning. Survivors include his wife Carol, two daughters, one son, and two grandsons.

Helen Peddle, AM’59, a librarian, died February 26 in Kenosha, WI. She was 87. A member of the Racine Dominican order, she served as a librarian at the Dominican College of Racine and the Siena Center for many years. In 1969–70 she worked in La Paz, Bolivia, organizing a library for Instituto Boliviano de Estudios y Accion Social. Peddle later was communications director for the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, NM. Survivors include one sister.


Robert A. Dentler, PhD’60, a sociologist, died March 20 in Cambridge, MA. He was 79. An education expert who helped design and implement a school-desegregation plan in Boston in the mid-1970s, he administered similar plans in Rockford, IL; upstate New York; Stamford and Bridgeport, CT; and St. Louis. During his career Dentler served on the Chicago faculty, as well as that of Dickinson College; the University of Kansas; Dartmouth College; Boston University, where he served as dean of the School of Education; and Columbia University, where he was dean of the Teachers College. In 2007 he retired as professor emeritus of sociology from the University of Massachusetts, Boston. A recipient of the American Sociological Association’s Distinguished Career Award for his contributions to racial justice, he co-wrote Schools on Trial, a 1981 analysis of the Boston desegregation case. He is survived by his wife Helen, a daughter, two sons, a brother, and six grandchildren.

Edward Duncan DeSpain, AB’65, MBA’67, an economist, died January 8 in Wahpeton, IA. He was 64. While earning a doctorate from Southern Methodist University, DeSpain taught in the University of Dallas’s business department. A consumer-credit expert who testified before congressional committees, he served as a principal partner at economic-consulting firm Sartain & DeSpain from 1974 to 1985, then worked at Economic Data Analysts until his retirement. A member of the American Economic Association and the Financial Management Association, he enjoyed science, mathematics, swimming, and reading. Survivors include his mother and two aunts.

Mark D. Tulchinsky, AB’68, an educator, died of cardiac arrhythmia January 22 in South Bend, IN. He was 60. He taught fourth grade for the South Bend Community Schools Corporation, earning a master’s in education from the University of Notre Dame in 1974. During his 39-year career in South Bend, he served as principal for four different grade schools. A board member of the South Bend YMCA, Northeast Neighborhood Council, and the Boys and Girls Club, Tulchinsky was a licensed basketball and football official for the Indiana High School Athletic Association and worked as a Notre Dame sports timekeeper. He is survived by his wife Nan , a daughter, two sons, and four grandchildren.

Bruce L. Gardner, PhD’68, an agricultural economist, died March 14 of multiple myeloma in Baltimore. He was 65. A member of the Council of Economic Advisors under President Gerald Ford and assistant secretary of agriculture for economics under President George H. W. Bush, he helped shape U.S. farm policy and was involved in agricultural-policy reform in many developing countries. Gardner taught at North Carolina State and Texas A&M universities, and was a visiting fellow at Chicago before joining the University of Maryland, College Park, in 1981. He spent 25 years at Maryland, building the agricultural- and resource-economics department as both chair and director of graduate studies. A farmer himself—he was raised on a dairy farm in Solon Mills, IL—he was also a baroque-music aficionado. Survivors include his wife Mary Ann, a daughter, a son, his mother, three sisters, and two grandchildren.


Robert McGuckin III, Victor H. Kramer Fellow at the Law School (1978–79), an economist, died of neuroendocrine cancer March 12, 2006, in Alexandria, VA. He was 63. After earning a PhD in economics from the State University of New York at Buffalo and teaching at the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 1986 McGuckin joined the U.S. Census Bureau, serving as chief of the Center for Economic Studies and establishing one of the first databases comparing productivity trends and living standards across countries. In 1996 he was named director of economic research at the Conference Board, a nonprofit organization that produces the consumer-confidence index and other economic indicators. Director of the American Arbitration Association and the Council of Professional Associations on Federal Statistics, he lectured and wrote on industrial organization and economic performance, most recently focusing on productivity in China. He is survived by his wife Barbara J. Katz, AB’65, AM’69; a daughter; a son; and three grandchildren.


Eydie Calderon Detera, AB’92, a writer and activist, died of pneumonia March 25 in Seattle. She was 37. A frequent contributor to the International Examiner and Pacific Reader, she sought to educate others about the contributions of Filipino Americans and helped create the American ethnic-studies program at the University of Washington, from which she received a second bachelor’s degree in 1997. A founding member of the Carlos Bulosan Memorial Exhibition in Seattle, she curated a show for the Wing Luke Asian Museum that featured local contemporary Filipino American artists. Survivors include her husband Viladeth Saetia, a daughter, a son, her father, her stepmother, a brother, and a sister.

Paul Andrew Baker, AB’93, MBA’05, a writer, died March 19 in Arlington, VA. He was 37. After teaching English in Japan for two years, Baker taught at an independent school near Winston-Salem, NC, then moved to New York to work as a paralegal. He returned to his native Washington, DC, area in 2006. A short-story writer with an MFA from the University of Virginia, Baker published in the Literary Review and had completed a novel. He also enjoyed reading, music, travel, and city life. Survivors include his parents and a sister.


Sarah Belusko, AM’05, died in an automobile accident April 25 in Marlow, OK. She was 26. She earned her bachelor’s in sociology from Oklahoma State University, where she served as an intake worker at Stillwater Domestic Violence Services, designed a creative writing and theater program for at-risk youth, and tutored students through the Office of Juvenile Affairs. At Chicago she volunteered as a children’s poetry and theater instructor at the South Side Community Art Center. Belusko worked as a researcher at the Steans Family Foundation, an instructor at Tom Belusko Behavior Health Services, and a therapeutic case manager at Hope Community Services, Inc., before returning to OSU as a PhD student in 2007; shortly before her death she presented a paper on mental health and substance abuse at the Oklahoma Sociological Association. Survivors include her parents, a stepmother, a brother, two sisters, and three grandparents.