University of Chicago obituaries

Recent faculty, staff, and alumni obituaries.

Faculty and staff

Terence “Terry” Edwin Martin, professor emeritus in the Department of Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology and the Committee on Immunology, died April 12 in Chicago. He was 81. Martin attended the University of Adelaide and the University of Cambridge before joining the UChicago faculty. With a focus on nuclear structure and RNA synthesis and processing, Martin studied the basic mechanisms of gene expression. An author, critic, and collector, he was involved with the Jazz Institute of Chicago, the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, and the Chicago Jazz Festival. He also served as chair of the Don DeMicheal Archives Committee, which helped create the Chicago Jazz Archive at the University of Chicago Library. The Jazz Institute of Chicago Terry Martin Papers are housed in the Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center. Survivors include his partner, Ursula Storb, professor emerita in the Department of Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology; sons Gavin Martin, LAB’82, and Darrell Martin, LAB’84; a grandchild; and his ex-spouse, Anne Martin.


Del Nord, AB’42, of Brookline, MA, died March 11. She was 101. Trained at Case Western Reserve University and what is today the Chicago Psychoanalytic Institute, Nord maintained a private practice from 1953 to 2020 as a psychotherapist with adolescents and adults. She also completed some doctoral work in Egyptology at UChicago during the 1960s, focusing her research on the status of women in Old Kingdom Egypt. She is survived by her husband, Edward Brovarski, PhD’89; two sons; five grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.

Miriam Abbell Rosenblum, LAB’45, PhB’49, AM’53, died May 1 in Jerusalem. She was 93. She and her husband, Paul Rosenblum, AB’47, JD’51, moved to Israel in the late 1990s. He died in 2006. She is survived by four children, including Jonathan Rosenblum, AB’73, and Maxwell Rosenblum, MBA’86; 32 grandchildren; and 87 great-grandchildren.

Herbert Karl Tjossem, AM’45, of Appleton, WI, died May 27. He was 100. Following doctoral studies at Yale, Tjossem taught at Missouri Military Academy and at what was then Iowa State Teachers College; he also studied in Heidelberg, Germany, as a Fulbright Scholar. In 1956 he joined the faculty at Lawrence University in Appleton, teaching English literature and linguistics and helping establish and lead Lawrence’s London Centre before retiring in 1993. Survivors include four children, five grandchildren, and special friend Lynn Hagee.

Michael Weinberg Jr., LAB’41, AB’47, died July 10 in Palm Desert, CA. He was 98. A Chicago native and longtime Highland Park, IL, resident, Weinberg owned, published, and edited the Hyde Park Herald in the 1950s; served as executive director of the Lincoln Park Zoological Society in the 1960s; and worked as vice president of Weinberg Brothers and Company commodity futures brokerage firm starting in the 1970s. Also in the 1970s, he served as board chair of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Later he became president of American Futures Corporation. Weinberg was a devoted alumnus whose 83 consecutive years of giving to the University of Chicago add up to the longest in the school’s history. He was a founding member of Congregation Solel in Highland Park (now Congregation Makom Solel Lakeside) and cared deeply about his faith. He is survived by three children, four grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.

Logan Jordan Fox, AM’47, died March 24 in Mount Vernon, WA. He was 100. Born in Tokyo to missionary parents, Fox moved to the United States as a teen and soon became a preacher. At UChicago he studied under psychologist Carl Rogers and then traveled to Japan to promote Rogerian psychology and help launch Ibaraki Christian College (now University). Fox served as dean and president there before teaching at Pepperdine University, El Camino College, and the University of Southern California, where he obtained his PhD in 1967. He also maintained a private clinical psychology practice. Survivors include three children, seven grandchildren, and 23 great-grandchildren.

Olga Glassman Parker, AB’49, died June 19 in Rapid City, SD. She was 93. Parker pursued a liberal studies degree and met her husband, Watson Parker, AB’48, at the College. They lived in South Dakota, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin before retiring to the Black Hills. A stay-at-home mother who held occasional secretarial and bookkeeping positions, she was a library volunteer and active in local clubs. Her husband died in 2013. She is survived by three children, including David Parker, MBA’80; six grandchildren, including Jennifer Truong, AB’06; and nine great-grandchildren.

George A. Behling Jr., PhB’46, JD’49, of Burbank, IL, died May 7. He was 98. During World War II, Behling was a US Air Force pilot and prisoner of war in Germany. In his later career as an attorney, he focused on real estate and estate planning. Survivors include his wife, Marilyn; four children; four stepchildren; and many grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren.

Jack Joseph, AB’49, JD’52, of Chicago, died December 17, 2022. He was 95. An Army veteran, Joseph worked as a litigator and trusts and estates counselor in Chicago for nearly 70 years. Early in his career he represented American Indian tribes in claims against the US government, winning a case for the Peoria Tribe before the Supreme Court. Active in the Chicago Bar Association, Joseph helped craft the 1970 Illinois Constitution and many state laws and rules of practice. He is survived by a son, James Joseph, JD’94; a daughter, and three grandchildren.


John Henry Kultgen, AM’47, PhD’52, of Columbia, MO, died April 20. He was 97. For 40 years Kultgen was a philosophy professor at the University of Missouri, focusing on ancient philosophy, epistemology, metaphysics, and ethics. The author of five books and more than 50 articles, he received two major teaching awards and three National Science Foundation fellowships for his work in engineering ethics. He was also a US Navy veteran and longtime activist in peace and justice organizations. Survivors include his wife, Aline; seven children; 18 grandchildren; and 18 great-grandchildren.

Phyllis (McRae) Lusher, AB’54, died July 14 in New York. She was 88. Lusher earned her statistics degree in three years and met her husband, Robert F. Lusher, AB’57, AB’58, JD’59, in Chicago. The couple lived in San Diego; New York; Dakar, Senegal; London; and Hong Kong, where they spent 40 years building a successful construction business. After her husband’s death in 1999, Lusher continued to travel the world. She supported global performing arts organizations and scholarships for Hong Kong students to attend UChicago. She is survived by four children, including Anne Blair McMillen, JD’82; seven grandchildren, including Gus Falloon, Class of 2025; and three great-grandchildren.

Beata (Kitsikis) Panagopoulos, AM’56, of San Francisco, died April 27. She was 97. An art historian focusing on the medieval period, Panagopoulos received her PhD from the Sorbonne in 1970 and taught at San Jose State University until 1988. In the 1980s she was also a professor and the director of the Gennadius Library at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens in Greece, and she received the 1982 Academy of Athens annual award for the humanities. Her husband, Epaminondas Peter Panagopoulos, PhD’52, died in 1997. She is survived by a daughter; a son; a sister; a grandson, Thanos Panagopoulos, AB’00; and two great-grandchildren.

Gerda J. Schell, AM’56, died April 10 in Chicago. She was 89. A clinical social worker, Schell had a multifaceted 68-year career in the Chicago area. As a therapist, she worked with individuals and families in private practice and at various institutions. She held administrative positions at hospitals for children and adolescents, and public sector appointments as a child specialist. In 2017 she received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Illinois chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. Survivors include extended family.

Robert Bloom, SB’58, of Highland Park, IL, died August 9. He was 87. Bloom earned a master’s degree from Northeastern Illinois University and a PhD in educational psychology from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, from which he received a distinguished alumni award in 2010. After a series of roles working to integrate families into the education of children with disabilities, Bloom served as executive director of Chicago Jewish Child and Family Services (formerly Jewish Children’s Bureau of Chicago). President Jimmy Carter appointed him as a consultant to the 1980 White House Conference on Families. The Illinois State Assembly honored Bloom in 2009 for his lifetime of service to the state as a member of the Illinois Community and Residential Services Agency. Bloom was also an assistant professor at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology and a consultant to child welfare agencies in the United States, Ukraine, and Israel. In his 12 years as the Magazine’s Class of 1958 correspondent, Bloom brought classmates together through his Alumni News columns. He is survived by his wife, Nancy; four children; a sister; seven grandchildren; and a great-grandchild.

Robert D. Carswell, JD’58, died May 4. He was 88. Born in Northern Ireland, Carswell was educated at the Royal Belfast Academical Institution; graduated from Pembroke College, Oxford, in law and classics; and received a Fulbright Award to attend the Law School. Returning to Belfast, he worked as a barrister and later became a high court judge, appeal court judge, lord chief justice of Northern Ireland, and law lord. In those roles he presided over high-profile terrorist trials. He is survived by his wife, Romayne, and two daughters.

Joette Knapik Trofimuk, AB’59, AM’61, of Santa Fe, NM, died July 28. She was 84. Trofimuk studied political science in the College and as a graduate student. After working at the United Nations for the Taiwanese Delegation, she became a history teacher and guidance counselor in New Jersey and then ran her husband’s medical practice for 25 years. In 1987 the couple moved to New Mexico, where for 35 years she was the owner and director of Photogenesis Gallery in Santa Fe, which featured classic and modern photographers. Since 2006 she served this publication and her classmates as the Class of 1959 correspondent. She is survived by her husband, Nicholas, and a daughter, Christy O’Connor, AB’90.

Peter Solyom Jr., EX’59, of Katy, TX, died April 13. He was 96. After serving in the US Army, Solyom graduated in 1951 from the University of Illinois College of Pharmacy. He worked as a pharmacist at the University of Chicago, Stanford, and the Kaiser Foundation, where he was a founding member and president of the California Society of Health-System Pharmacists. He was also active in the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists. Survivors include his wife, Dorothy; a son; five grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren.


Jerome H. Long, DB’60, AM’62, PhD’73, of Cromwell, CT, died May 8. He was 91. A graduate of Knox College and the UChicago Divinity School, Long was an ordained American Baptist minister and Army veteran who turned to teaching. Over a nearly 30-year career in the religion department at Wesleyan University, he coordinated the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship program, helped establish the Center for African American Studies, and chaired the African Studies Committee. He remained active in retirement, researching race relations and the role of Black service members in the military, as well as volunteering at the YMCA and teaching Sunday school classes. Survivors include his wife, Pat; a daughter; a son; and five grandchildren.

James B. Zagel, AB’62, AM’62, of Chicago, died July 15. He was 82. A philosophy student and Harvard Law School graduate, Zagel joined the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office in 1965. Early in his career he ran the criminal division of the Office of the Illinois Attorney General and led the Illinois Departments of Revenue and Law Enforcement/State Police. As a US district court judge, Zagel presided over the 2011 corruption trial of former governor Rod Blagojevich and the 2007 “Family Secrets” mob trial. In 2011 he received the UChicago Alumni Association Professional Achievement Award. In addition to supporting jazz in Chicago, he also penned a heist novel, Money to Burn (2002), and acted in two movies. He is survived by his wife, Margaret Maxwell Zagel.

Mary “Meg” Gerken, AB’64, AM’67, died June 11 in Chicago. She was 80. With a bachelor’s in literature and philosophy and a master’s in Russian literature and history, Gerken earned an MFA in photography at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She taught photography and humanities courses at what is now Wilbur Wright College for over 30 years and exhibited her photography in Chicago and abroad. Her work—often in black and white, documenting people’s daily lives—is in several museum collections. She is survived by her husband, Gordon Quinn, AB’65 (Class of 1964).

David I. Kopf, PhD’64, of Seattle, died April 8. He was 93. A first-generation college student and son of Polish Orthodox Jewish immigrants, Kopf received his doctorate in comparative and South Asian history. His knowledge of Sanskrit, German, Yiddish, and English led to his service in the US Army Intelligence linguistics unit. After teaching at the University of Missouri, Kopf joined the University of Minnesota history faculty, focusing on Indian history and South Asian civilizations. He lived in Kolkata, India, for extended periods and published historical works, poetry, and novels. Survivors include two children and four grandchildren.

Gloria Valentine, AM’64, died April 16 in San Francisco. She was 87. With an undergraduate degree from DePaul University and her graduate degree in Spanish language and literature, Valentine worked as an administrative assistant in the UChicago Divinity School. She then served for decades as an administrative assistant to Nobel laureate Milton Friedman, AM’33, in the UChicago economics department and, from 1977 to 2006, at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, from which she retired in 2008.

Joseph R. Vojacek, AM’64, of Oak Park, IL, died April 24, 2022. He was 81. Following his graduate studies in English, Vojacek embarked on a long teaching career at Chicago’s Malcolm X College. As a professor of English, he taught interdisciplinary humanities courses that blended literature, film, music, and graphic arts. He retired in 2000 and dedicated many hours to antiquing, video, and photography. Survivors include three stepdaughters and two step-grandchildren.

Linda Handelman, AB’65, died September 11, 2022, in Pasadena, CA. Handelman, who studied education at UChicago, taught for a year in the city school system before moving to California. With her master’s degree in philosophy and PhD in higher education from Claremont Graduate University, she became an associate professor of philosophy at Pasadena City College, teaching for 15 years until her retirement in 2015. Survivors include her extended family.

Jo-Ann (Kling) Murdach, AM’65, died May 18 in Castro Valley, CA. She was 85. A former Sister of St. Benedict, Murdach graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the College of St. Catherine in Minnesota. She taught humanities and philosophy at Chabot College in Hayward, CA, from 1969 to 2002 and English as a second language at Milpitas High School for 11 years. She is survived by her husband, Allison “Al” Murdach, AM’66; two sons; and four grandchildren.

Ronald Wayne Miller, MBA’66, died recently. He is survived by a daughter and two sons.

Anne C. (Rosenzweig) Singer, SB’66, of Cherry Hill, NJ, died September 26, 2022. She was 77. After earning her master’s in biology from the University of Alabama in 1969 and her law degree from the University of Cincinnati in 1973, Singer worked first in New Jersey’s Office of the Public Defender and then as an assistant US attorney in Newark. She fought for fair legal representation for indigent and mentally ill defendants and championed high ethical standards for attorneys. She also worked in several large firms, founded her own practice, and spoke and wrote on legal issues. Survivors include her husband, David Berengut; two daughters; two stepchildren; one brother; three grandchildren; and two step-grandchildren.

Alan M. Strout, AM’55, PhD’67, died May 17 in Needham, MA. He was 96. Strout enrolled at Cornell in 1944 for Navy training and undergraduate studies in mechanical engineering. After graduate work in economics and planning at UChicago, he took on assignments with the United Nations, the US Agency for International Development, and the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC. Later he moved with his family to Jakarta, Indonesia, where he taught and consulted with several Southeast Asian governments and universities. Strout published in economic journals and lectured, ultimately serving as executive director of MIT’s Special Program for Urban and Regional Studies. He is survived by his wife, Caroline; two sons; and four grandchildren.

Joseph J. Madden, MBA’68, of Lincolnshire, IL, died May 7. He was 93. With an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from Northwestern, Madden spent most of his career at Kelso-Burnett, a provider of electrical services, where he served as vice president. Outside of work he was a handyman, supporter of the arts, choir member at Sacred Heart Parish, and golfer. He is survived by his wife, Katherine; two children; and two grandchildren.

Roger Evans Allen, MBA’69, of Evanston, IL, died February 9. He was 77. While studying mathematics at the University of Colorado, Allen traveled east to participate in the 1963 March on Washington. Later, having earned his MBA, he worked at the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research, the Black Economic Union, and the State of New York Mortgage Agency. As CEO at Allen Studios, he directed the design, production, and installation of public art projects worldwide. A competitive tennis player, Allen served on the board of the Evanston Community Tennis Association. He is survived by his wife, Colette; two daughters; a son; two stepsons; and five grandchildren.


Robert L. Dixon, MBA’70, of Hobe Sound, FL, died June 21. He was 92. A graduate of Colorado College, Dixon served in the Navy Air Corps during the Korean War. His career included sales and marketing roles at American Motors and at Clark Equipment Company. For 10 years he had his own business as a manufacturers’ representative in Chicago and later taught marketing at Purdue University’s Calumet and North Central campuses. He is survived by his daughter and by his partner, Roberta Durant.

Peter K. Machamer, PhD’72, of Pittsburgh, died May 31. He was 80. With degrees from Columbia University and the University of Cambridge, Machamer studied philosophy at UChicago. Several years’ teaching at Ohio State University led to over four decades at the University of Pittsburgh as a professor and chair of the Department of History and Philosophy of Science. His scholarship and publications focused on the 17th century, especially the works of Descartes and Galileo; he was also a longtime wine columnist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Survivors include his wife, Barbara; five children; two sisters; and six grandchildren.

Bruce Stephen Cooper, AM’72, PhD’74, of New York, died April 26. He was 80. Cooper became a teacher after studying English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His graduate work in educational administration launched a 40-year career in the field. As a faculty member at the University of Pennsylvania, Dartmouth, the University of London, and Fordham University’s Graduate School of Education, he taught and mentored hundreds of future school leaders. He also authored, coauthored, and edited more than 150 education-focused books and articles. He is survived by his wife, Nancy; three children, including Phoebe Cooper, AB’90; and six grandchildren, including Daphne Maeglin, AB’18.


Grafton Sharpe Harper, AB’86, of Santa Monica, CA, died May 14. He was 58. Harper studied geophysics in the College and was active in Doc Films. He built his 36-year career around his interest in the film industry, starting on the creative side with his master’s from the University of Southern California, and ending up on the commercial side with his MBA from UCLA. He worked at Capgemini, Ernst & Young, and Parson Consulting before becoming controller at Blue Skies Consulting. He also was a suicide crisis line supervisor and served on the boards of Girls & Gangs and the Jonathan Art Foundation. He is survived by his partner, Elizabeth Van Denburgh; his mother; and his brother.

Daniel Beach Dix, SM’84, PhD’88, died July 3 in Chapin, SC. He was 64. Dix was a math professor at the University of South Carolina for 30 years. Before moving to Chapin, he and his family lived in Minneapolis; State College, PA; and Irmo, SC. He loved his church, the world of mathematics, and the natural world; with his family, he enjoyed hiking, camping, and travel. He is survived by his wife, Jean Sveum Dix; two children, including Amy Dix, AB’08, AM’11; three siblings; and a grandson.


Kimberly Werninghaus Blair, LAB’72, MBA’90, died June 20 in San Leandro, CA, of cancer. She was 67. A graduate of Wheaton College in Massachusetts, Blair worked at the University of Chicago medical center and completed her executive MBA at Chicago Booth. She worked in health care administration at Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia and Kaiser Permanente in Northern California. She was a community and school volunteer. She is survived by her husband, Raymond; a son; her mother; and her sister, Karla Werninghaus, LAB’75.

Valerie Toney Parker, MBA’92, of Chicago, died May 13 of colon cancer. She was 57. Toney Parker served as a human resources executive in the private and nonprofit sectors, including at the Chicago Food Depository and Chicago Public Media. Active in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, she earned her doctorate in ministry from the McCormick Theological Seminary. She created the Consciousness Bar, an organization that engaged young people in learning about social justice, advocacy, and African heritage. She is survived by two sons, including Kyle Parker, LAB’13; and a granddaughter.

Rachel Lee Blake, AB’97, of Philadelphia, died June 25 of cancer. She was 47. Blake, who studied sociology in the College, went on to earn a JD/MA in law and urban planning at the University of Iowa. After five years in corporate law, she switched to legal advocacy and earned her MBA at Carnegie Mellon University, working in Pittsburgh, Chicago, and Philadelphia and receiving several awards for her service. She spent 15 years at Regional Housing Legal Services in Philadelphia, most recently as director of strategic initiatives, and was active in the UChicago Pittsburgh Alumni Club. She is survived by her husband, Robert Jefferson; a daughter; her parents; and three siblings.


Elizabeth Schiller Friedman, AM’93, PhD’00, of Chicago, died June 23 of pancreatic cancer. She was 64. In addition to her graduate studies in Near Eastern languages and civilizations, Friedman received a master’s in maritime civilizations from the University of Haifa. She directed professional master’s programs and taught anthropology at the Illinois Institute of Technology; she also cofounded and later led the National Professional Science Master’s Association. Most recently she facilitated faculty engagement in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) educational initiatives at the University of Illinois Chicago. Survivors include her husband, Alon; a daughter; her mother; two sisters, including Wendy J. Schiller, AB’86; and two brothers.


Bhikkhu Cetovimutti “Ceto” Cong, AM’22, of Yantai, China, died June 20 as the result of a November 2022 bicycle accident. He was 34. Born and raised in China, Cong was ordained as a Theravada Buddhist monastic in Sri Lanka in 2014. At UChicago he was a Disciples Divinity House scholar. Enthusiastic about historical and contemporary religious traditions, Cong had just started a PhD in Buddhist studies at the University of California, Berkeley, when the accident happened. He is survived by his mother.

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