University of Chicago obituaries

Recent faculty, staff, and alumni obituaries.

Faculty and staff

Albert Madansky, AB’52, SM’55, PhD’58, the H. G. B. Alexander Professor Emeritus of Business Administration, died December 8 in Chicago. He was 88. As a mathematician at the RAND Corporation during the Cold War, he coauthored a report that recommended a system to require coded safety locks on nuclear weapons and the approval of at least two people to launch a nuclear attack; versions of this system are still in use today. Madansky joined the Chicago Booth faculty in 1974, serving in roles such as associate dean for PhD studies and deputy dean for faculty. His many publications include Foundations of Econometrics (1976) and Prescriptions for Working Statisticians (1988). A frequent participant in UChicago Hillel’s annual Latke-Hamantash Debate, Madansky brought his problem-solving skills and sense of humor to discussing three of his passions: scholarship, Judaism, and food. He is survived by his wife, Paula (Barkan) Madansky, AB’59; four children, including Susan Groner, MBA’85, and Michele Madansky, MBA’90, PhD’99; three stepchildren, including Deborah Haizman, MBA’88; 13 grandchildren, including Noa Ohcana, SB’18; and a great-grandchild.

Norman Lebovitz, SM’57, PhD’61, professor emeritus of mathematics, died December 28 in New Buffalo, MI. He was 87. Lebovitz joined the faculty in 1963 as a founding member of the applied mathematics program, which he chaired for many years. He earned his doctorate in physics under astrophysicist Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, with whom he collaborated for decades. Lebovitz was known for his work on the fluid mechanics of rotating stars and self-gravitating masses, and for developing and applying mathematical methods to problems of geophysical and astrophysical fluid dynamics. Beginning in 1985, he participated in the summer program on geophysical fluid dynamics at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. He published more than 70 scientific papers and edited two books; in 2012 he was elected a fellow of the American Physical Society. He is survived by his wife, Ruth Lebovitz, AM’67; sons David Lebovitz, LAB’93, PhD’19, and Michael Lebovitz, LAB’98; and four grandchildren.

Erik Shirokoff, associate professor in astronomy and astrophysics, died January 26 in Chicago of complications resulting from a fall. He was 43. A senior member of the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics, Shirokoff specialized in developing instruments to pick up faint signals from the early ages of the universe. He joined the UChicago faculty in 2014. He published more than 100 papers and received a National Science Foundation CAREER Award in 2016. As a graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley, Shirokoff helped build the first detectors for the South Pole Telescope, which he later spent an Antarctic winter operating. His detectors are deployed in the Tomographic Ionized Carbon Intensity Mapping Experiment at the Arizona Radio Observatory as well as in instruments to be installed in the South Pole Telescope and the Large Millimeter Telescope in Mexico. Survivors include his spouse, Alanna S. Radlo-Dzur, AM’16; and his parents.


Lenore S. Clark, PhB’47, of Lake Bluff, IL, died December 15. She was 96. Clark was professor emerita of bibliography in the School of Library and Information Studies at the University of Oklahoma (OU), from which she earned her master’s degree in library science. In 22 years at OU, Clark served as assistant to the dean for collection development, humanities librarian, and director of acquisitions at the Bizzell Memorial Library. While working full time and raising four children, she completed a master’s in art history and a doctorate in American studies, publishing her dissertation on 20th-century art critic Forbes Watson. She is survived by two daughters, two sons, five grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

Margaret C. Warne Nelson, SM’47, AM’50, died July 26 in Alexandria, VA. She was 99. A graduate of Oberlin College, Nelson earned degrees in anthropology and zoology at UChicago. After earning a PhD in sociology at American University, Nelson taught at George Washington University. She served as a staff associate at the American Association of University Women, writing for the group’s publications and lecturing around the country. She was also active with the Arlington County League of Women Voters. She is survived by a son, a sister, and three grandchildren.

William Fonger, SB’48, SM’50, PhD’53, died October 3 in Milton, DE. He was 97. Born in Chicago, Fonger served in the US Navy. After attending UChicago, he moved to Princeton, NJ, and worked at RCA Labs in the David Sarnoff Research Center until 1987. He is survived by three children, six grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.

Isaac Sandroff “Sandy” Goldman, LAB’48, AB’51, JD’54, of Chicago, died December 12. He was 90. Goldman’s career in investment management spanned more than six decades, beginning at Stein Roe & Farnham, where he worked from 1959 to 1981 and became a partner. He later established Goldman Asset Management and in 2010 joined Front Barnett Associates as a senior portfolio manager and member of the investment committee. His volunteer activities included serving as a commissioner of the Chicago Housing Authority, a trustee of the City Colleges of Chicago and the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, and a board member of the Smart Museum of Art. Goldman is survived by his wife, Jennifer Goldman, CER’96; one child; and four grandchildren.


Paul Taxey, AB’50, AM’54, SB’56, of Dallas, died January 15. He was 91. Born in Chicago, Taxey attended Marshall High School and studied biology, philosophy, and education at UChicago. He spent more than 40 years teaching biological sciences at the University of Illinois Chicago. Survivors include three children and five grandchildren.

Fred Matthies, MD’53, died November 16 in Portland, OR. He was 95. Matthies practiced family medicine in Utah and pediatrics in Michigan; he spent most of his career in Carson, CA, training residents at the Family Health Center, a clinic serving lower-income patients. Keenly interested in astronomy, he witnessed two full solar eclipses, an appearance of Halley’s Comet, and a transit of Venus. Survivors include his wife, Susan; two daughters; three sons; a brother; nine grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.

Edwin Stickney, MD’54, died December 23 in Billings, MT. He was 95. Stickney served in the US Army during the Korean War and graduated from Macalester College before attending medical school. A family physician, he practiced in Broadus and later Miles City, MT. After earning his pilot’s license, he often flew between towns to see patients. He played organ, piano, and other instruments; directed church choirs; and sang tenor in many musical groups throughout his life. He was an active Democrat who served as president of the American Civil Liberties Union of Montana and supported many local nonprofit organizations. Survivors include three children, a brother, four grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.

James O’Donoghue, MBA’55, of Wilbraham, MA, died December 17. He was 92. O’Donoghue served in the US Army as a special agent in the Counter Intelligence Corps. After business school, he became a branch manager for the Friden division of Singer Inc. in Springfield, MA, supervising sales and service of early computer products. Later he launched an independent computer service bureau, was national sales manager for Transcom Inc., and established O’Donoghue Associates, which sold barcode systems, printers, and software to New England businesses. Survivors include his wife, Rosemary; two daughters; a stepson; and two granddaughters.

Joyce Allen Springer, AB’56, of Chatsworth, CA, died January 16. She was 86. After raising her children, Springer pursued a career in the business world, eventually working as a risk manager at Sears Savings Bank; after it closed, she joined Farmers Insurance as an agent. Retiring in 1996, she volunteered for many years with Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic. She is survived by a daughter and a son.

Michael Kavanaugh, AB’58, died August 17 in Estill County, KY. He was 91. Kavanaugh explored philosophy and wisdom traditions from around the world throughout his life. He was committed to helping those in recovery from addiction, teaching self-awareness grounded in meditation. He is survived by his wife, Ann Siudmak.

Charles “Herb” Kelty, AB’58, SB’62, died December 18 in Mountain View, CA. He was 89. Kelty worked as an engineer for multiple companies, including North American Aviation and Litton, before founding his own business, Exotec, which made custom plastic and rubber parts. He settled in Palo Alto, CA, in 1977. He is survived by three sons, two grandchildren, and his girlfriend.


Dorothy Cooperman Kavka, AB’62, of Evanston, IL, died December 15. She was 82. Kavka studied English literature at the College and the University of Wisconsin and taught English in Chicago public high schools before taking time off to raise her children. Later, after working as an editor at McDougal Littell in Evanston, Kavka launched a newsletter publishing business from her sunporch. It grew into Evanston Publishing, a company she ran until her retirement. She was also a visual artist who exhibited her drawings in gallery shows. Kavka is survived by her husband, Steve Kavka, SB’61 (Class of 1962), MD’65; three children, including Amy Kavka, AB’88; and five grandchildren.

G. Gerald Fross, AM’63, died December 27 in Scottsdale, AZ. He was 85. With his graduate degree in social work, Fross worked in real estate development. He also served in the US Army reserves. A lover of sports—he played golf and basketball—he was a member of the Cadillac Car Club of Scottsdale. He is survived by his partner, Gail Connerty.

Peggy S. Rampersad, AM’63, PhD’78, CER’98, of Fredericksburg, VA, died January 20, 2022. She was 89. A student of UChicago sociologist Edward Shils, Rampersad wrote her dissertation on conflict and power structures in universities. An academic administrator, she worked in UChicago’s economics department during a 12-year period when five professors became Nobel laureates. Retiring in 1995, she completed the Basic Program of Liberal Education at the Graham School. A bench outside International House has been dedicated in Rampersad’s memory. Her husband, Oliver R. Rampersad, PhB’46, SM’54, PhD’61, died in 1994. She is survived by a daughter, Gita Rampersad, LAB’87.

Karen Honeycutt, AB’64, of New York City, died November 14. She was 80. A history major in the College, Honeycutt earned a PhD in modern German history from Columbia University and a JD from New York Law School. After retiring from her career as a labor lawyer, she became an accomplished underwater photographer. She is survived by two sisters, including Susan Clark, AB’66, AM’73.

James Fullinwider, AB’66, died January 2 in St. Louis. He was 78. With a PhD in history from Washington University in St. Louis, Fullinwider taught at Saint Louis Priory School for eight years before joining Monsanto as a speechwriter. A passionate reader of biographies as well as works on history and world cultures, he loved to travel—especially to Spain and Italy—and lived briefly in Hong Kong. Fullinwider loved holiday family get-togethers, along with cooking, camping, fishing, sampling multicultural cuisine, and listening to the symphony. He is survived by his wife, Marguerite “Midge” Fischer; two daughters; a sister; a brother; two stepchildren; 12 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

William Koelsch, PhD’66, of San Diego, died November 5. He was 89. After earning his bachelor’s degree from Bucknell University, he served in the US Army Transportation Corps; an oral history of his service is online at the Library of Congress. Joining the geography faculty of Clark University in 1967, Koelsch was one of the first educators to teach about the gay liberation movement and the AIDS epidemic. A longtime LGBTQ activist, Koelsch wrote a column during the 1970s and ’80s for Gay Community News under the pseudonym “A. Nolder Gay”; papers related to his activism are held at the ONE Archives at the University of Southern California Libraries. His many publications include Clark University, 1887–1987: A Narrative History (1987). He is survived by his partner, Joseph Dennison.

Alan Lieberman, AB’66, died August 27 in San Francisco. He was 77. Lieberman worked in the public interest sector throughout his five-decade career as an attorney. A graduate of New York University School of Law, Lieberman worked for legal services programs in Chicago, Micronesia, and Chico, CA, before joining the Legal Services Corporation in Washington, DC. As a California deputy attorney general, he contributed to the state’s tobacco and alcohol litigation efforts. Lieberman was active with the world peace organization Servas for decades; he was also an accomplished musician who played piano and guitar. Survivors include his wife, Debbie; three children; two brothers; and seven grandchildren.

Ralph Berlovitz, EX’67, of Minneapolis, died October 24, 2021. He was 74. A photographer in Minnesota, Berlovitz operated the Victorian Photographer studio and an old-time State Fair photo booth. He was also a sailor, saxophonist, and world traveler. Survivors include two sisters.

Gary G. Christoph, SM’69, PhD’71, died July 3, 2021, in Columbia, MD. He was 76. Graduating from Caltech and UChicago with degrees in chemistry and chemical physics, Christoph held academic and research appointments at Caltech, Ohio State University, 3M Corporation, and Los Alamos National Laboratory. As an operating systems engineer for Cray Supercomputers, Christoph specialized in network security. He brought his information technology and health care expertise to leadership roles in the federal government—at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the National Institutes of Health—and several private companies. Christoph was also a private pilot and butterfly collector. He is survived by his wife, Christine; a daughter; a brother; and two grandchildren.

Sherwin Pakin, MBA’69, of Chicago, died December 14. He was 84. Pakin studied industrial engineering and mathematics at the Illinois Institute of Technology before earning an MBA. After working at IBM for many years, he joined his wife in creating Sandra Pakin and Associates, a computer documentation consultancy. Pakin served on the board of Light Opera Works (now Music Theater Works) and as president of the Independent Computer Consultants Association. He loved the opera, music, and writing songs and stories for his family. He is survived by his wife, Sandra; two children; and four grandchildren.

Deanna Dragunas Bennett, AB’67, died February 22 in Palm Harbor, FL. She was 77. With master’s degrees from the University of Wisconsin and Harvard Kennedy School, Bennett supported the US military for 32 years through positions in computing and research and development, receiving two Meritorious Civilian Service Awards. The author of several books, short stories, and articles, Bennett enjoyed helping aspiring writers and volunteering with Palm Harbor’s East Lake Community Library. She likewise dedicated much of her time to the UChicago alumni community, serving as president of the Alumni Club of Mid-Florida for 11 years and as the Class of 1967’s Alumni News correspondent for this magazine for 25 years. She received the Alumni Service Award in 2005. Survivors include her sister.


Thomas Cook, AM’70, PhD’75, of Franklin Lakes, NJ, died November 8. He was 76. In his early work as an anthropologist, Cook specialized in stone tool analysis. After leaving research archaeology, he established a career in document control at various pharmaceutical companies, retiring from Sanofi in 2016. Cook served as a scoutmaster in the Boy Scouts and was an active member of Bethlehem Lutheran Church, where he taught Bible classes and served as a Stephen Minister and an elder. He is survived by his wife, Karen Ann Holm, and two children.

Stephen A. Canders, JD’72, of Kennebunk, ME, died October 18. He was 75. Canders was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Colby College who lived from one end of Maine to the other, in Washburn, Augusta, and Kennebunk. He practiced law for his entire career, spending part of it as general counsel for the Finance Authority of Maine. He is survived by his wife, Joan Cook; a daughter; three sons; a brother; and two grandchildren.

Lee Schlesinger, AB’72 (Class of 1970), AM’74, PhD’86, of Ann Arbor, MI, died September 1. He was 74. The Vietnam War and events of 1968 disrupted Schlesinger’s path to a bachelor’s degree, and he dropped out of the College to serve in the Peace Corps in Apshinge, a village in Maharashtra, India. Returning to UChicago to complete his studies in social anthropology, Schlesinger focused his research on generations of families in Apshinge. He did research and taught at various institutions, including the University of Pennsylvania, Duke University, and the Center for Transcultural Studies in Chicago. Schlesinger was active in seminars, conferences, and study groups on topics such as Jewish theology and ancient Greek philosophy. He is survived by his wife, Lisa Klopfer, and two sisters.

Roger T. Brice, JD’73, died January 2 in Chicago. He was 74. With a lifelong interest in labor and employment law, Brice spent 26 years as a partner at Dentons US LLP and its predecessor firms. Previously, he was a partner or associate at several Chicago law firms and an attorney with the National Labor Relations Board in Washington, DC. Brice served on the board of directors and as pro bono counsel for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Chicago for 25 years; in retirement, he volunteered at Catholic Charities legal aid clinics and led the Villa Neighborhood Association. Survivors include his wife, Carol; three children, including Caitlin Marie Brice, AB’00, and Emily Elisabeth Brice, AB’06; and five grandchildren.

Quent Gillard, PhD’75, of Bend, OR, died November 15. He was 75. Born in Germany during the Allied occupation, Gillard came to UChicago to pursue graduate studies in urban economic geography. After several years in academe, he focused his career on environmental consulting for military projects. He also was active in the Bend-Mount Bachelor Rotary Club. Gillard is survived by his wife, Linda; a daughter; a son; a sister; and four grandchildren.

Richard Scanlon, EX’76, died January 1 in Chicago. He was 68. Scanlon’s professional life included bartending at Jimmy’s Woodlawn Tap, commodities trading at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, and accounting at Powell’s Books. A sports fan, especially of New England teams, he enjoyed photography, his dogs, and anything having to do with numbers. Scanlon is survived by his wife, Lynn Siegel; two sisters; and a brother.

Arthur Leon Beamon, JD’72, of Washington, DC, died February 10, 2022. He was 79. After earning his bachelor’s degree at the US Air Force Academy, Beamon completed a master’s degree in public administration at George Washington University in 1970. With his UChicago law degree, Beamon spent 27 years at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, serving as an attorney, head of the compliance and enforcement division, and associate general counsel. One of the proudest moments of his legal career was his admission to the Bar of the US Supreme Court. He and his wife, Joan, traveled extensively in Europe, the Middle East, Australia, and New Zealand. He is survived by his wife, two daughters, and a brother. (This notice corrects information in the Winter/23 issue.—Ed.)


James E. Ford, PhD’81, of Salt Lake City, died November 25. He was 79. An English professor, Ford spent his academic career at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and Brigham Young University. His scholarship focused on the philosophical foundations of critical theory. He was passionate about music and theater and was an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. With his second wife, Ariel Bybee, an opera singer and a voice professor, Ford created dozens of programs combining music and literature, which the couple performed in venues around the world. Survivors include six children, a sister, and 14 grandchildren.

Helen MacIsaac, EX’81, died December 11 in Washington, DC, of cancer. She was 63. MacIsaac held senior roles in corporate development, finance, and marketing, leading start-up and social enterprise ventures in Europe and the United States. After completing her undergraduate work at Barnard College and a business degree at New York University, she joined the first cohort of the MBA Enterprise Corps in 1991, with postings in Slovenia and Hungary. MacIsaac went on to executive roles at Sara Lee Corporation, the Global Good Fund, and HipSilver, among others, and consulted for AARP Services Inc. She is survived by her husband, Eric Kuhn; a sister; and two brothers.


Spencer Allen, MBA’93, died July 18 in Laguna Niguel, CA. He was 55. A Pomona College and Chicago Booth graduate, he had a successful career in finance, holding leadership positions at Hyundai Capital America, Capital One, and HSBC, among others. Survivors include two sons, his parents, and a brother.

Jolyon Ticer-Wurr, AM’96, PhD’14, of Chicago, died December 12 following a medical procedure. He was 63. Ticer-Wurr served for 12 years as a resident head in UChicago’s undergraduate housing system. During his graduate studies in sociology, he participated in and coordinated the department’s Urban Workshop and worked on the Comparative Neighborhood Study. His dissertation focused on “Dover,” a pseudonymous Chicago neighborhood with a growing Latino population. Ticer-Wurr later taught courses around the city and did research and consulting in the educational and political spheres. He coauthored the entry “Chicago Studied: Social Scientists and Their City” for The Encyclopedia of Chicago (2005). Survivors include his wife, LaShanda, and two children.


Mark W. Zieg, MBA’03, of Winchester, MA, died November 5. He was 56. Following undergraduate studies in German and chemistry, Zieg specialized in international business at Chicago Booth and went on to work with a number of pharmaceutical companies. During his graduate business school years, he often piloted his Cessna 172 to Meigs Field in downtown Chicago. Zieg loved to play violin, piano, and ukulele; travel; hike; camp; sail; and surf. He is survived by his partner, Andrea Lohmann de Araujo; a daughter; a son; his mother; and two brothers.

Megan O’Reilly Hayes Mahoney, AB’05, of Emporia, KS, died January 15 of sarcoma. She was 40. Mahoney was an associate professor and librarian at Emporia State University (ESU) in Kansas. She studied English in the College and later completed a master’s degree in library and information science at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She and her husband were active members of Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Parish in Emporia, assisting with marriage preparation and teaching natural family planning, and at the Didde Catholic Campus Center at ESU. She is survived by her husband, Tom; three children; and her father.


Joe K. Gardner, AB’13, died suddenly September 18 in Los Angeles. He was 31. At the College he majored in sociology and tutored students on Chicago’s South Side through the Neighborhood Schools Program. An advocate for broader access to higher education, Gardner got a job after graduation helping first-generation students complete their college applications. Moving to California in 2014, he joined the nonprofit organization College Track in Oakland and later in Los Angeles, mentoring hundreds of students as they earned bachelor’s degrees. Gardner was an athlete who loved biking and being outdoors. He is survived by his partner, Farah Noor; his parents; his stepmother; and two brothers, including David Gardner, AB’04.

Anastasia Golovashkina, AB’15, of Boston, died July 18 of brain cancer. She was 28. Golovashkina studied economics and public policy at the College. Active in the UChicago Democrats, she was a columnist and reporter for the Chicago Maroon. After graduation she served as the social media director for Elizabeth Warren’s 2020 presidential campaign and as a senior director at Trilogy Interactive, a digital consulting firm. In an op-ed published by Elle magazine in 2021, she shared her experience with glioblastoma and implored President Joe Biden to push ahead with federal efforts to cure cancer. Survivors include her mother.