Faculty and Staff

Cedric L. Chernick, an administrator at Argonne National Laboratory and the University, died April 2 in Chicago. He was 77. Chernick, who joined Argonne’s chemistry division in 1959, was on the team that created the first binary compounds of an inert gas. In 1969 he was named assistant vice president of the University. With his wife, Judy, he served as resident head in Lower Rickert House. Recipient of the Society of Research Administrators’ inaugural Distinguished Contributions of Research Administration Award, he retired in 1980 and developed the Searle Scholars Program, operated by the Chicago Community Trust, to fund chemical and medical research. He is survived by his wife, three daughters, a sister, and four grandchildren.

Howard Margolis, a professor of social theory in the College and the Harris School of Public Policy, died April 29 in Chicago. He was 77. A specialist on how individual choice shapes social outcomes, Margolis taught until his death, recording a lecture from his hospital bed. After working as a Washington Post correspondent, a speechwriter for the Secretary of Defense, and a consultant to the National Academy of Sciences, he taught at the University of California, Irvine, and held research positions at the Institute for Advanced Study and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1985 he joined the University as a senior lecturer, becoming a full professor in 1990. He is survived by his wife, Joan; two daughters, including Sarah Margolis, U-High’89; a son; and a brother.

Lester Skaggs, PhD’39, professor emeritus in radiology and in radiation and cellular oncology, died April 3 in Chicago. He was 97. Skaggs worked on the Manhattan Project before joining the Chicago faculty, where he designed an early analog computer for radiation therapy. Pioneering radiation cancer treatment, he helped to build the first cobalt radiation-therapy unit in the United States. A fellow of the American Physical Society and the Royal College of Medicine, Skaggs retired from the University in 1979; after four years developing a neutron-therapy facility at the King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre in Saudi Arabia, he returned to the United States in 1984. Survivors include two daughters, a son, a sister, and three grandchildren.

Keith Worsley, a statistics professor, died of pancreatic cancer February 27 in Chicago. He was 57. Applying statistics and mathematics to brain mapping and imaging neuroscience, Worsley developed now-standard software for certain statistical analyses of functional magnetic resonance imaging data. Before joining Chicago last fall, he taught mathematics at McGill University, where he held the James McGill professorship in mathematics and statistics. Recipient of the Statistical Society of Canada’s 2004 Gold Medal, he was a fellow in the royal societies of Canada and New Zealand. He is survived by his partner, Chuanhong Liao, and a son.


Leon Despres, PhB’27, JD’29, a former Chicago alderman, died May 6 in Chicago. He was 101. Often called the “conscience” of the city, Despres represented the South Side’s Fifth Ward for 20 years. He was a champion of greater racial and gender equality, a reform track record chronicled in his 2005 book Challenging the Daley Machine: A Chicago Alderman’s Memoir (Northwestern University Press). After giving up his alderman post in 1975, he served on the city’s Plan Commission and as city council parliamentarian under Harold Washington. A Phoenix Society member, Despres received a University Alumni Association Public Service Citation in 1972 and the Benton Medal for Distinguished Public Service in 2005. He was predeceased by his wife, Marian Despres, PhB’30, PhD’36. Survivors include a daughter; a son, Robert Despres, U-High’57; and a grandson.


Marshall K. Wood, SB’35, died January 20 in Blue Hill, ME. He was 94. Working at the Pentagon during WW II, Wood developed training programs and a system for procuring aircraft, then became chief of the Air Force’s planning-research division. He directed Project Scoop, the first large-scale application of computers to management science. Awarded the first Rockefeller Public Service Award, he later joined the National Planning Association. From 1971 to 1975 he worked in the Office of Research and Statistics at the Social Security Administration and the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. He is survived by his wife, Marjorie; a daughter; two sons; two stepdaughters; a stepson, Daniel Stafford, AM’85; nine grandchildren; and 17 great-grandchildren.

Katharine M. “Kate” Byrne, AB’36, AM’43, died March 23 in Chicago. She was 95. A Chicago freelance writer who published into her 90s, Byrne penned a 1992 award-winning essay for the Tribune Magazine. She spent several years as a substitute teacher before joining Mundelein College’s continuing-education program as a counselor for older women returning to school. Survivors include three daughters, two sons, 11 grandchildren, and 17 great-grandchildren.

Frances (Duncan) Payne, AB’37, died December 23, 2008, in Evanston, IL. She was 94. Payne worked at Swift Meat Packing Company, Continental Can Company, and the Indiana University Dean of Women’s Office before joining the law firm Parr, Richey, Obremskey & Morton as a legal secretary. Survivors include a daughter, a son, five grandchildren, and a great-granddaughter.


Norman C. Herro, AB’40, of Madison, WI, died April 9 in Arizona. He was 90. A WW II veteran, he founded an accounting firm that grew to become Madison Bookkeeping and Tax Service. He then started the Herro and Buehner law firm and practiced there until 1973, when he became general counsel for United Banks of Wisconsin. As a real-estate developer, Herro helped develop Madison’s Glendale area. Survivors include two sons, a sister, four grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

Ben S. Meeker, AM’40, died March 8 in Chicago. He was 97. A WW II Navy veteran, he taught at Indiana University before joining the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois’s probation and parole office. As chief probation officer, he also consulted on international criminal-justice issues. He retired in 1973, spending the next ten years as an administrator at the University’s Center for Studies in Criminal Justice. In 1979 he won the University of Chicago Alumni Association’s Professional Achievement Award. He was predeceased by his wife, Gertrude Meeker, X’42; survivors include his second wife Mila Meeker, AM’59; a daughter, Virginia Meeker, U-High’60; a son, John E. Meeker, U-High’62, MST’67; a sister; three grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

Virginia Noel Edwards Johnson, AB’42, JD’44, died January 18 in Hinsdale, IL. She was 88. A former elementary-school teacher, Johnson later taught full time at Wilson Junior College and did tax preparation with Mason Tax Service in Chicago. In 1968 she joined the faculty of Daley College, chairing the business department until 1992. She then began a second career as a defense attorney, handling both civil and criminal cases. She was predeceased by her husband, Richard L. Samuels, AB’44, JD’50. Survivors include a daughter, Lois L. Brazda, U-High’67, MBA’73; a son, Brian Brazda, U-High’65; and two stepdaughters.

Benjamin Nimer, AB’42, PhD’53, died February 7 in Rockville, MD. He was 87. A WW II veteran, Nimer taught political science and international affairs at George Washington University for more than 30 years, retiring professor emeritus in 1991. He also served as regional chair and board member for American Professors for Peace in the Middle East. He is survived by his wife, Gilda Nimer, PhB’46; daughter Wendy Avra Gordon, SM’83; a son; a sister; and seven grandchildren.

George E. Wilkerson, AB’43, died March 20 in Playa del Rey, CA. He was 88. A WW II and Korean War veteran and recipient of a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star, he spent his career with Hughes Aircraft Company, as a controller for the space and communications group and as vice president and treasurer for Hughes Communications International. A parishioner at St. Anastasia Catholic Church for 55 years, he twice received the papal Bene Merenti award for exceptional service to the church. He is survived by his wife, Frances; four children; a brother; and eight grandchildren.

David S. Fox, MD’44, a surgeon, died April 5 in Chicago. He was 87. A WW II veteran, in 1949 he started a general-surgery practice at Woodlawn Hospital, where he was named medical director and director of medical education in 1979. A former president of the Illinois Medical Society and the Chicago Medical Society, he worked at Bethany and Hyde Park hospitals before retiring in 1995. Fox played a key role in early medical peer-review efforts, chairing the state medical practice examining committee and directing the Illinois Foundation for Medical Review. Survivors include five sons, including David S. Fox, MBA’77, and Paul Fox, U-High’82, and ten grandchildren.

Arthur Code, X’45, SM’47, PhD’50, an astronomer, died March 11 in Madison, WI. He was 85. Code taught at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, for more than 40 years, directing the Washburn Observatory, founding the Space Astronomy Laboratory, and chairing the astronomy department. Code helped build the Orbiting Astronomical Observatory 2 (Stargazer) satellite, which traced ultraviolet radiation during its 1968–73 orbit and took the first measurements of a star. In 1981 he served as founding acting director for the Space Telescope Science Institute, which today operates the Hubble Space Telescope. Developing and operating a telescope as part of NASA’s Astro missions in 1990 and 1995, Code was also a coinvestigator on a team examining findings from one of Hubble’s planetary cameras. Former president of the American Astronomical Society, Code received the 1969 University of Chicago Alumni Association Professional Achievement Award and the 1992 NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal. He is survived by his wife, Mary Guild Code, AB’43; a daughter; three sons; and six grandchildren.

Francis Haas, MAT’47, PhD’54, died January 21 in Miami Beach, FL. He was 92. A WW II veteran, he was a principal and educator with the Miami-Dade County Public Schools for more than two decades. A past president of the Hollywood Stamp Club, Haas served on boards such as the Miami Beach Community Health Center and the Feinberg-Fisher Adult Center. Survivors include four daughters, seven grandchildren, and a great-grandson.

Edwina T. Leon, AM’47, a social-work educator, died March 22 in Sacramento, CA. She was 84. The first African American professor at Sacramento State College’s School of Social Work, she taught there until 1983. Leon also founded Visions Unlimited, an organization providing social services to underserved populations. Receiving the YWCA’s Outstanding Woman of 1996 award, she helped start the local chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha, an African American sorority, and in 2001 was honored by the Sacramento City Council. She is survived by her husband, Wilmer; a daughter; a son; two sisters; and two grandsons.

Louis “Ray” Miner, AM’47, died December 12, 2008, in Jackson, MI. He was 90. A WW II veteran, Miner taught English and art history at William Woods College and Michigan College of Mining and Technology–Sault Ste. Marie before joining Alma College in 1955. He spent two sabbaticals in Europe studying classical and Renaissance art before he retired in 1983. Miner was active in a local church and acted with the Gratiot County Players. Survivors include a daughter and two grandchildren. 

Thomas Israel, AM’48, died November 28, 2008, in Cape Girardeau, MO. He was 91. A WW II Army Air Corps veteran, Israel was a political-theory and international-relations professor at Southeast Missouri State University for more than 25 years, retiring in 1988. He is survived by his wife, Kija; three daughters, including Dorthea Israel Wolfson, AB’88, and Deborah Israel Silver, AB’92; and 11 grandchildren.

Erwin Roy John, SB’48, PhD’54, a neuroscientist, died February 28 in New York City. He was 84. A WW II Army veteran who worked on the Manhattan Project, he joined Argonne Metallurgical Laboratory before becoming a brain researcher at the University of California, Los Angeles. Establishing the Center for Brain Research at the University of Rochester, he moved in 1963 to New York City, where he directed Flower-Fifth Avenue Hospital’s brain-research laboratory. In 1974 John founded the Brain Research Laboratories at the New York University School of Medicine, serving as director for more than three decades. He was also a research scientist at the Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research. Survivors include his first wife, Eve S. Jones, SB’48, SM’48, PhD’53; his second wife, Vera P. John-Steiner, PhD’56; his third wife, Miriam G. John, AB’58; his wife, Leslie Prichep; three daughters, including Sarah John, U-High’64, and Sheila Fischer, U-High X’65; and three sons, including Sanyi John, AB’77.
Seymour I. Mandell, MBA’48, died February 22 in Skokie, IL. He was 89. An Army veteran, he taught for five decades at Roosevelt University while pursing several business ventures. He is survived by his wife, Florence; a daughter; two sons, including Alan Mandell, AB’72; a brother; and five grandchildren.

Joseph S. Mohr Jr., U-High’41, SB’48, died March 24 in Denver. He was 84. A WW II veteran, Mohr was an executive with Inland Steel Company in Chicago for 30 years and served as an Olympia Fields, IL, town trustee from 1964 to 1973. He is survived by his wife, Mary; three sons; and seven grandchildren.

William Bruce Storm, AM’48, PhD’50, died March 10 in Lake Forest, CA. He was 88. A WW II veteran who received a Purple Heart, he taught at the University of Southern California’s School of Public Administration for more than 30 years, and he helped establish the College of Public and Business Administration at the University of Tehran. Three-time recipient of the Justin Dart Award for Innovative Teaching, Storm served on more than 100 doctoral committees before retiring professor emeritus. He is survived by his wife, Harriet; a daughter; two sons; a brother; a sister; and eight grandchildren.

Richard K. Pilgrim, AM’49, died May 12, 2008, in Oconomowoc, WI. He was 88. A WW II veteran, he ministered to Illinois and Wisconsin Methodist churches before retiring in 1985. He then served as supply pastor at First United Methodist Church in Oconomowoc and later as a chaplain at Three Pillars Masonic Home in Dousman, WI. He is survived by his wife, Ruth; three daughters; a son; and four grandchildren.


Marvin Woodrow Heath, PhD’50, died February 27 in Port Townsend, WA. He was 91. A WW II and Korean War veteran, he retired as a full colonel in the U.S. Air Force in 1966. Heath then joined the political-science department at Washburn University, retiring in 1988 but continuing to teach as professor emeritus until 2003. Survivors include a daughter, a son, three granddaughters, and two great-grandchildren.

Cyril M. Leder, AB’50, AM’53, died March 18 in Fenton, MI. He was 82. Leder taught English and journalism at Mott Community College for almost 40 years. He was also a restaurant reviewer for the Flint Journal. He is survived by his wife, Ruth Leder, AB’50, and a grandson.
Joseph H. Baum, AB’52, died April 25 in Annapolis, MD. He was 78. Baum began his naval career in 1955, serving as prosecutor, defense counsel, and staff judge advocate in courts-martial, and was chief of the Navy’s Military Justice Division. He spent six years as a judge on the Navy’s Court of Military Review before retiring in 1984 with the rank of captain. Baum then headed the U.S. Coast Guard Court of Criminal Appeals for more than two decades. Survivors include a son, two stepdaughters, a stepson, a sister, and two grandchildren.

Chang-Yun “Charlie” Fan, PhD’52, died January 21 in Tucson, AZ. He was 91. A space-physics pioneer, he had his research included in the Dover collection of outstanding papers on cosmic-ray–origin theories. Fan taught physics at the University of Arizona from 1967 until the late 1980s, when he retired professor emeritus. A Chinese native who was active in the U.S.–China Peoples Friendship Association, he helped foster cooperation between Chinese and American scientists. He is survived by his wife, Tsung-Ying Teng; daughters Paula Fan, U-High X’69, and Anna Fan, U-High X’72; a son; and two grandsons.

Barbara E. Hollerorth, DB’52, a psychotherapist, died in April in Rutland, MA. She was 82. A Unitarian minister who created an early-childhood–education curriculum for the Unitarian Universalist Association, she counseled for several years in the Boston area, working on gender-identity issues. She is survived by her husband, Hugo Hollerorth, DB’49, AM’65; a daughter; and three grandchildren.

William Schenkein, AB’54, an attorney, died April 7 in Greenwood Village, CO. He was 79. An Army veteran, he practiced real-estate and business law in Denver until 1996. He also volunteered for the University’s Alumni Association. He is survived by his wife, Pamela; a daughter, Suzanne S. Cooper, AB’83; a son; and four grandchildren.

David O. Green, MBA’48, PhD’56, died March 28, 2008, in New York City. He was 85. A WW II veteran, he taught for 15 years at the Graduate School of Business (now Chicago Booth). In 1978 Green moved to New York City, joining Baruch College of the City University of New York as vice president for administration and finance. He was also an accounting professor, retiring in 1999. A founding editor of the Journal of Accounting Research, he served on the Financial Accounting Standards Board’s Task Force on Interim Reports. Survivors include his wife, Diana Holbrook, and two daughters.

Matthew J. (Szczepanski) Steven, MBA’58, died April 13 in Hinsdale, IL. He was 77. A Korean War veteran, he was a cost accountant at Nalco Chemical Company. Steven was also a longtime lector at St. Nicholas of Tolentine Church. He is survived by his wife, Joan; two daughters; and a son.


John S. Howett, AM’62, PhD’68, died April 8 in Atlanta. He was 82. A WW II veteran, he taught at the University of Notre Dame before joining Emory University’s art-history faculty in 1966. A specialist in early Italian Renaissance art, he taught at Emory for 30 years, guiding the development of the Michael C. Carlos Museum, where a gallery is named in his honor. Recipient of the Emory Williams Distinguished Teaching Award and the 2009 Woolford B. Baker Award for lifelong service to the arts, Howett served on the board of the High Museum of Art. He is survived by his wife Catherine, AM’57; four daughters; six grandchildren; and one step-grandson.

Judith Krug, AM’64, died of stomach cancer April 11 in Evanston, IL. She was 69. Director of the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom since its 1967 founding, Krug worked with librarians facing censorship battles. She also helped found the Freedom to Read Foundation, where she served as executive director since 1969 and helped start Banned Books Week, an annual celebration where authors read from prohibited books. Winning the ALA’s Joseph P. Lippincott Award and the Harry Kalven Freedom of Expression Award, in 2005 Krug received an honorary doctorate from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is survived by her husband, Herbert Krug, MBA’74; a daughter; a son; two brothers; a sister; and five grandchildren.

Richard O. Hansen, SM’69, PhD’73, died January 6, 2008, in Arvada, CO. He was 61. An honorary member of the Society of Exploration Geophysicists, Hansen spent more than two decades developing new methods of oil and mineral exploration. A former associate editor of Geophysics, he taught at the University of California, Berkeley, and was a senior scientist at Colorado School of Mines. In 1995 he joined Pearson, deRidder, and Johnson, Inc., as chief geophysicist, later becoming president. When PRJ, Inc., merged with EDCON, Hansen became senior vice president of EDCON-PRJ. He is survived by his wife, Kathleen; and a sister.


Nettie Shleser Breslin, PhD’73, died April 3 in Chicago. She was 93. Working full time and raising two children, Breslin completed her doctorate in psychology at age 57, then worked as a public-administration analyst at the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Public Health. Breslin later returned to Chicago, where she was a counselor at the Laboratory Schools and had a private practice until retiring in 1995. Survivors include a daughter, Joanna Breslin, U-High’66; a son, Paul Breslin, U-High’63; and a granddaughter.

Larry R. Johannessen, MAT’76, PhD’97, died of complications relating to a blood disorder April 21 in Chicago. He was 61. A Vietnam Marine veteran, Johannessen taught at Lyons Township High School in La Grange, IL, before teaching education courses at local higher-education institutions. In 2001 he joined the English faculty at Northern Illinois University, where he led a popular course on teaching Vietnam War literature. Johannessen also wrote books and articles on teaching. He is survived by his wife, Elizabeth Kahn, MAT’76, PhD’99.


Jeffrey David Bower, AB’91, died of complications from early-onset Alzheimer’s April 28 in Chicago. He was 39. An options clerk, Bower worked for Cooper Neff and Associates and in 1992 was promoted to trader on the Chicago Board of Options. The next year he was managing his own position in the Nasdaq-100. In 1997 he and three partners launched BOCK Trading. One of three generations in his family afflicted with the early-onset disease, Bower participated in Washington University in St. Louis’s Memory and Aging Project. He is survived by his wife, Elizabeth Plonka, AB’94; his mother; his stepfather; three sisters; and a grandmother.
Robert John Costomiris, MBA’95, died of cancer April 2 in Milwaukee. He was 45. Costomiris worked as a senior investment consultant at Hewitt Associates before joining Strong Capital Management as a managing director and portfolio manager in 2001. A regular commentator on CNBC and Bloomberg TV and member of the CFA Institute, he later managed funds for the disciplined-value equity team at Wells Capital Management. He is survived by his wife, Karen; a daughter; a son; his mother; two sisters; and his grandmother

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