University of Chicago obituaries

Recent faculty, staff, and alumni obituaries.

Faculty and staff

Norman H. Zide, professor emeritus of linguistics and South Asian languages and civilizations, of Los Angeles, died February 21, 2023. He was 94. Zide studied at and earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from New York University, Yale, Columbia University, and the University of Pennsylvania. Serving in the US Army during the Korean War, he became interested in Indigenous languages—initially Comanche—while stationed in Oklahoma. Zide later traveled to India as a Fulbright Scholar and Ford Foundation grant recipient and spent many years traveling the country, researching and teaching languages, including Munda, Sora, and Gorum. At UChicago he authored numerous papers on these languages and served as department chair of South Asian languages and civilizations. He is survived by two sons, William Zide, LAB’83, and Gregory Zide, LAB’83.

Bernard “Bernie” O. Brown, DB’55, AM’65, PhD’73, former dean of Rockefeller Chapel and associate professor in the Divinity School and the College, died October 7 in Chicago. He was 93. Ordained first as a Methodist minister and then as an Episcopal priest, Brown joined UChicago as a faculty member in 1973, later becoming campus minister, International House program director, and associate chapel dean. For seven years he and his wife, Carol Jean, were resident masters of the former Woodward Court and Shoreland dormitories. Serving as Rockefeller Chapel’s fourth dean from 1979 to 1995, he guided the historic building through several renovation projects and strengthened the chapel’s diverse community. A lifelong musician, Brown championed the traditional choral and organ music that remains a Rockefeller hallmark. He is survived by his wife; five children, including Lizbeth Bistrow, AB’74, AM’86; and 17 grandchildren and great-grandchildren, including Ruth Bistrow, LAB’01.

Melvin Rothenberg, professor emeritus of mathematics, died August 1 in Kingston, NY. He was 89. Majoring in mathematics and philosophy at the University of Michigan, Rothenberg earned his master’s degree and PhD at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1962. He began his career in algebraic topology and went on to make groundbreaking contributions in geometric topology, notably collaborating with his UChicago colleague Richard Lashof on smoothing and triangulation theory and equivariant triangulation theory. He also established, with collaborator Ib Madsen, PhD’70, that it is possible to understand odd order group actions using surgery theory. He spent six decades on the UChicago faculty. Throughout his career, Rothenberg maintained a commitment to social justice and political activism, attending demonstrations to protest the Vietnam War and support civil rights, women’s rights, and health care access. A Marxist, Rothenberg also wrote for socialist journals, including Against the Current. He is survived by three children and a grandchild.

Barry Arnason, founding chair of the Department of Neurology, of Chicago, died July 17. He was 89. A graduate of what is now the University of Manitoba College of Medicine, Arnason taught at Harvard Medical School before being recruited to UChicago in 1976. As a physician-scientist he led the neurology department for 20 years, mentoring scores of clinicians, scientists, residents, and fellows. Considered a founder of the field of neuro-immunology, Arnason authored more than 400 scientific papers on neurological diseases, therapeutic interventions, and the underlying causes of autoimmunity. He was an investigator on more than 70 clinical trials, including studies leading to the approval of interferon beta, a drug used to treat multiple sclerosis. He survived by three children, Stephen Arnason, AB’85; Jon Arnason, LAB’94, MD’04; and Eva Arnason, LAB’01, and four grandchildren.

J. Paul Hunter, the Barbara E. and Richard J. Franke Professor Emeritus of English, died December 4 in Charlottesville, VA. He was 89. A prolific scholar of 18th-century British literature, Hunter published influential works investigating the connections between form and culture, including Before Novels: The Cultural Contexts of Eighteenth-Century English Fiction (1990). He edited nine editions of the Norton Introduction to Poetry, among other scholarly anthologies and critical editions. Hunter served as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Rochester for seven years before coming to UChicago in 1987. He directed the Franke Institute for the Humanities from 1996 to 2001. He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, and a National Humanities Center Fellowship. Retiring from UChicago in 2001, Hunter taught part time at the University of Virginia until 2010. He is survived by his partner, Cynthia Wall, AM’87, PhD’92; four children, including Anne Hunter, LAB’91; a sister; 12 grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.

Philip Eaton, professor emeritus of chemistry, of La Porte, IN, died July 21. He was 87. In 1964, two years after joining the UChicago faculty, he and his team synthesized an “impossible” molecule, cubane. They did so by using photochemistry to bring carbon atoms into 90-degree bonds with one another. The resulting molecule was under great strain, but it was stable enough to be stored indefinitely in a vial. Eaton went on to synthesize other molecules and to broaden the field’s understanding of molecular bonding. Because of their energy storage properties, cubane and its derivatives have many uses in materials science, pharmaceuticals, and explosives. A dedicated educator and mentor, Eaton also gave his students symphony, theater, and opera tickets to encourage their growth beyond the laboratory. His wife, Phyllis D. Eaton, AM’65, died last spring.

Joseph J. O’Gallagher, SM’62, PhD’67, of Flossmoor, IL, died July 23. He was 83. With his undergraduate degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and graduate degrees in physics, O’Gallagher held positions at the University of Maryland, the Max Planck Institutes, and Argonne National Laboratory. An experimental physicist, he specialized in space physics and nonimaging optics in solar energy. O’Gallagher spent most of his career as a senior lecturer, senior scientist, and executive officer in UChicago’s Department of Physics, retiring in 2005. He is survived by his wife, Ellen; two children; four siblings; and five grandchildren.

Thomas Blondis died June 8 in Santa Fe, NM. He was 74. From 1989 until his retirement in 2008, Blondis served as an associate professor of developmental pediatrics at the Pritzker School of Medicine. His research focused on early childhood development and early intervention to address learning problems, and he wrote many articles and textbook chapters on these topics. Blondis earned his medical degree at the Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León in Monterrey, Mexico, and trained at Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital in St. Louis and the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore before coming to the University of Chicago. In the 1990s he helped establish a boarded specialty in developmental and behavioral pediatrics. He was also instrumental in expanding the Woodlawn Early Intervention Program at the University of Chicago. After retirement, Blondis moved with his family to Santa Fe, a city he’d fallen in love with as an undergraduate at the College of Santa Fe. Survivors include his wife, Alba, and a daughter.

William Pope.L, professor in the Department of Visual Arts, died December 23 in Chicago. He was 68. Known internationally for his provocative performance art, Pope.L cast a critical eye on belonging, identity, nationhood, public health, and race in his work. Before joining the UChicago faculty in 2010, he spent more than two decades as a lecturer in theater and rhetoric at Bates College—where, in the mid-1980s, his students devised the name “Pope.L,” appending the first letter of his mother and grandmother’s surname (Lancaster) to his original surname. An interdisciplinary artist, he also worked in writing, photography, painting, sculpture, and theater. His exhibitions include the Flint Water Project (2017) and My Kingdom for a Title (2021), the latter an immersive installation that alluded to the COVID-19 pandemic. Among his honors were a Guggenheim Fellowship, the VIA Art Fund Grant, and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. He is survived by his partner, Mami Takahashi; a son; and a brother.

Albert Bendelac, the A. N. Pritzker Distinguished Service Professor of Pathology, died August 23 in Chicago. He was 67. After receiving his medical degree and doctorate in immunology in France, Bendelac became a visiting fellow and scientist at the National Institutes of Health and then taught at Princeton. Having led pathbreaking research that demonstrated which cells were required for the development of type 1 diabetes and made seminal discoveries focusing on natural killer cell antigens, he joined the UChicago faculty in 2002 and continued to advance lymphocyte biology, ultimately publishing more than 100 papers. A mentor to young scientists, Bendelac received a 2019 Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. In addition to exploring new frontiers in immunology, he helped establish and also chaired the Committee on Immunology. He is survived by his wife, Bana Jabri, the Sarah and Harold Lincoln Thompson Distinguished Service Professor of Medicine, and three children, Aude Cuenod, LAB’05; Raphaëlle Cuenod, LAB’08; and Julien Bendelac, LAB’16, AB’20.

David Frim, the Ralph Cannon Professor of Surgery and former chief of neurosurgery at UChicago Medicine, of Chicago, died August 22. He was 63. As a pediatric neurosurgeon and researcher, Frim was noted for his expertise in congenital brain anomalies and his compassion for his patients and their families. Educated at Harvard, he joined UChicago in 1996 and from 2007 to 2020 headed what was then called the Section of Neurosurgery. Frim’s publications and clinical practice focused on surgical and therapeutic management of complex disorders such as hydrocephalus and Chiari malformations. He served as program director for UChicago Medicine’s Margaret Hackett Family Center and was a fellow in the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Surgeons. He is survived by his wife, Tammy Claman, and three sons.

Sliman Bensmaia, the James and Karen Frank Family Professor of Organismal Biology and Anatomy, died August 11 in Chicago. He was 49. A leading expert on the neuroscience of touch, Bensmaia explored how sensory information about touch, texture, and the shape of objects is represented in the nervous system. He and his collaborators then used these discoveries to develop prosthetic limbs that can restore a realistic sense of touch to amputees and paralyzed patients. With a PhD in cognitive psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Bensmaia was an associate research scientist at Johns Hopkins University before joining the UChicago faculty in 2009. His honors include an Early Career Award from the National Science Foundation and selection as a Kavli Frontiers of Science Fellow by the National Academy of Sciences; he was also an accomplished musician. He is survived by his wife, Kerry Ledoux, associate instructional professor in psychology and the College, and two children.


Ruth Holland Waddell, AB’44, died August 24 in Cornville, AZ. She was 97. Waddell grew up in an arts-focused family. While attending the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, she met sculptor John Henry Waddell, EX’49. They married in 1949, lived in Greece and Mexico, and later built a home, studio, and sculpture garden in central Arizona. A painter of nature, Waddell was a figure in the Sedona and Verde Valley arts communities and longtime supporter of the Grand Canyon Music Festival (see Notes). Her husband died in 2019. Survivors include her children and grandchildren.

Howard S. Becker, PhB’46, AM’49, PhD’51, died August 16 in San Francisco. He was 95. Becker played piano in local clubs while studying sociology at UChicago. His early work on marijuana smokers and dance musicians evolved into his best-known book, Outsiders: Studies in the Sociology of Deviance (1963). In Art Worlds (1982), he explored the collaborative context of art making. Becker’s ethnographic approach to sociology and urban studies influenced criminology, law, anthropology, and other fields. A faculty member at Northwestern University and the University of Washington, he also received honorary doctorates from five French universities. He is survived by his wife, Dianne Hagaman; a daughter, Alison Becker, LAB’69; a grandchild; and a great-grandchild.

Rita Kramer, AB’48, died July 21 in Greenport, NY. She was 94. Kramer became a writer after working as a freelance copy editor for several New York publishers. She authored seven books, including Maria Montessori: A Biography (1976) and Flames in the Field: The Story of Four SOE Agents in Occupied France (1995), a World War II–era story of four female British Special Operations Executive agents. Kramer’s articles and reviews appeared in the New York Times Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, and other publications. Her husband, Yale Kramer, AB’50, died in 2022. She is survived by two daughters, including Deborah Duerksen, LAB’75, AB’81.

Frank George Rothman, AB’48, SM’51, of Wayne, PA, died October 23, 2022. He was 92. An Army veteran, Rothman earned a PhD in chemistry from Harvard and later focused on molecular biology, genetics, and the biology of aging. In 1961 he joined the faculty at Brown University, where he won teaching awards, directed the graduate program in molecular and cell biology, and served as provost. His genetics research received support from the National Science Foundation. Retiring in 1997, Rothman promoted science education with Project Kaleidoscope. He is survived by four children, five grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.

Roland Hugo Schneider, LAB’43, AB’48, died September 9 in Elizabeth, IL. He was 95. A US Army veteran, Schneider served as a medic during World War II. He later owned and operated two businesses, Roland Employment Agencies and Emeritus Inc.; then, as CEO of Vidcom Corporation, he became a pioneer in video conferencing. In 1971 Schneider moved from Chicago to Los Angeles with his wife, Sandra (Mosley) Schneider, LAB’58, who died in 2016. Turning to writing late in life, he independently published a novel at 91. Survivors include four children, eight grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.

Dwayne Huebner, AM’49, died March 13, 2023. He was 99. Huebner joined the US Army Signal Corps during World War II and studied electrical engineering at Texas A&M University. He later earned a master’s in education on the GI Bill and went on to pursue a PhD at the University of Wisconsin. Huebner accepted an invitation to develop a doctoral program in curriculum theory at Teachers College, Columbia University, and also taught at seminaries. He and his wife, Ellen, moved to Durham, NC, in 2001, where a scholarship exists in their name at Duke Divinity School. Survivors include his wife, two daughters, eight grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.


Cecile Doris (Perper) Kraus, AB’50, died July 19 in Glenview, IL. She was 93. With degrees in literature and education, Kraus taught elementary school in Hyde Park in the 1950s. She and her family lived in Chicago, Iowa, Indiana, Massachusetts, and Ohio, where Kraus taught and worked as a reading specialist in Cleveland schools, earned a doctorate at Kent State University, and joined the education faculty at Ohio University and Cleveland State University. A classical pianist, she also led a popular short-story discussion group at her retirement residence in Glenview. Survivors include three children and five grandchildren.

Elizabeth Hough Bjerklie, AB’50, MBA’54, of Chicago, died July 23. She was 93. Born in New Orleans, Bjerklie was raised in Illinois, Connecticut, and Washington, DC. She and her husband—Joseph P. Bjerklie, EX’59, who died in 1995—lived in Austin, TX, for a number of years following his 1985 retirement. She is survived by two children, including Margaret Ann Bjerklie, AB’79.

Norman E. Goldman, AB’50, JD’52, of Las Vegas, died March 26, 2023. He was 96. An attorney, sports fan, and reader, he had formerly lived in Chicago. Survivors include his wife, Ivy; four children; seven grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

Aiko Harada Uyeki, AB’50, of McKinleyville, CA, died July 6. She was 96. Raised in Los Angeles’s Boyle Heights neighborhood, Uyeki was incarcerated with her family in the Arizona desert with other Japanese Americans during World War II. She later moved to the Midwest, worked as a secretary at UChicago, and attended the College. After decades living in Kansas City, KS, where she taught English as a second language, she and her husband—Edwin Masanori Uyeki, SM’51, PhD’53, who died in 2022—retired to McKinleyville. There Uyeki did volunteer work and published articles and stories about her life experiences. She is survived by three children and six grandchildren.

James Winkelman, AB’55, died August 13 in Chestnut Hill, MA. He was 87. Winkelman received his MD from Johns Hopkins University and became a specialist in clinical pathology and diagnostic laboratory testing. He served as director of clinical laboratories and vice president at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and was a professor of pathology at Harvard Medical School from 1986 to 2002. Credited with 21 patents, Winkelman held executive positions at scientific laboratories and appointments at universities in New York and California. He is survived by his wife, Rina; a son; three daughters; and nine grandchildren.

Norval B. Stephens Jr., MBA’59, of Barrington, IL, died October 17. He was 94. A DePauw University graduate, Stephens served in the US Marine Corps during the Korean War. He spent most of his career in advertising, notably from 1956 to 1986 with Needham Harper Worldwide, now part of Omnicom. Later he started a marketing consultancy and led the International Federation of Advertising Agencies. Stephens was a life trustee at DePauw and volunteered with the Barrington Area Community Foundation, Delta Tau Delta fraternity, Rotary International, and other service organizations. He is survived by his wife, Diane; two daughters; two sons; 12 grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

Robert Evans Jr., PhD’59, of Acton, MA, died July 11. He was 91. An MIT graduate, Evans served in the Army in Korea before completing his doctorate in economics. He lived in Japan for several years with his first wife, Lois, and their seven children; visited the Soviet Union; and traveled to China on the trans-Siberian railway. As an economics professor at MIT and Brandeis University, he specialized in Japanese labor practices and held various administrative roles. For over 60 years he was active in local community organizations and the Acton Congregational Church. Survivors include his wife, Marian; 10 children and stepchildren, including Janet Evans, MPP’89; and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.


Andrew Beretvas, LAB’56, SB’60, SM’62, PhD’68, died July 31 in Woodridge, IL. He was 83. A physicist, Beretvas taught at Buffalo State University from 1968 to 1973. He then spent more than 40 years as a researcher of subatomic particles and high-energy physics at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, IL, publishing articles on his work. He is survived by extended family.

Lois Mandel Libien, AB’60, died July 25 in River Vale, NJ. She was 87. An art history major, Libien became a journalist in New York and covered issues affecting women. In the 1970s she attracted a wide readership providing practical household tips in a nationally syndicated advice column and book, Super-Economy Housecleaning (1976), coauthored with Margaret Strong. Libien later earned a master’s in social work at Columbia University, trained as a psychotherapist, and practiced as a psychoanalyst and social worker. She is survived by a daughter, a son, a sister, and five grandchildren.

Joseph Marlin, AM’54, AM’60, of Chicago, died July 7. He was 91. Trained at UChicago’s School of Social Service Administration (now the Crown Family School), Marlin was a lifelong social worker and social service administrator. In Chicago he worked at the former Jewish Children’s Bureau and as director of social work at Trinity and Mount Sinai Hospitals. In 2019 Marlin published Fading Ads of Chicago, a collection of his photographs of painted building advertisements.

James Hoge Jr., AM’61, died September 19 in New York. He was 87. As a journalist at the Chicago Sun-Times, Hoge rose to city editor at age 29, editor in chief at 33, and publisher at 44. The newspaper garnered six Pulitzer Prizes under his watch. In 1984 he became publisher of the New York Daily News and was editor and publisher of Foreign Affairs from 1992 to 2010. A fellow at Harvard and Columbia Universities, Hoge served as a board chair of Human Rights Watch and a senior adviser at Teneo, a consulting firm. He is survived by his wife, Kathleen Lacey; a daughter; three sons; two stepchildren; a sister; and eight grandchildren.

James D. Thomason, AB’61, died August 29 in Oakland, CA. He was 83. Thomason worked for companies in Chicago, New York City, and Northern California as a computer programmer and software designer. He then started his own consulting company in San Francisco and ran an internet business buying, selling, and trading collectibles, concentrating on antique toys and electric trains. Survivors include his wife, Beverly; three daughters; and six grandchildren.

Jane Wilken Andringa, AB’62, of Glen Ellyn, IL, died September 24. She was 96. Raised in Aruba, Andringa worked on the island until enrolling at UChicago at age 30. She met her husband, John, when both reached for the last piece of cherry pie in a campus cafeteria. Andringa later became a teacher and special education advocate in suburban Chicago schools, earning her PhD in education from Loyola University Chicago in 1995. She retired from the education faculty at Governors State University in 1999. Survivors include three children and seven grandchildren.

Michael Denneny, AB’64, AM’70, died April 15 in New York City. He was 80. A history major in the College, Denneny later pursued graduate studies in the John U. Nef Committee on Social Thought, where he worked closely with Hannah Arendt. During his studies he became a part-time editor at the University of Chicago Press. Moving to New York in 1971, Denneny became an editor at Macmillan; five years later, he cofounded the gay literary magazine Christopher Street. He then worked for 17 years at St. Martin’s Press, where he launched the gay imprint Stonewall Inn Editions. A champion of LGBT authors and literature, Denneny published the cultural autobiography On Christopher Street: Life, Sex, and Death after Stonewall in 2023. Survivors include his brother.

Norman Single, MBA’67, of Doraville, GA, died October 28. He was 89. A graduate of Bucknell University, Single went to work in finance at US Steel, taking his business school classes in the evenings. Following 14 years with the company in Gary, IN, he relocated to Atlanta with his family and continued to work for US Steel and LaRoche Industries until his retirement in 1995. Survivors include three sons, a sister, and seven grandchildren.

Charles D. Garvin, AM’51, PhD’68, of Ann Arbor, MI, died August 22. He was 94. Educated as a social worker at the University of Illinois Chicago and UChicago, Garvin served on the University of Michigan School of Social Work faculty from 1965 to 2001. His scholarship, including the textbook Contemporary Group Work (1981), focused on group work in various settings. Active in national organizations, Garvin received a lifetime achievement award from the Council on Social Work Education in 2012 and was named a National Association of Social Work Pioneer in 2020. Survivors include three children, three grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

Elliot Simon, AM’68, died July 22 in San Francisco. He was 82. Simon studied human development at UChicago following his undergraduate work at the City College of New York. After residing in Guerneville and Santa Rosa, CA, he moved to San Francisco in 2017. Simon had a 40-year career as a book editor. He performed in Bay Area theater productions and traveled the globe with community choruses, including the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus and California Redwood Chorale. He is survived by extended family.


Robert Kilmer, AM’67, PhD’70, of Manassas, VA, died September 6. He was 83. The son and grandson of poets, Kilmer served in the US Army in Germany before studying English at Louisiana State University. After teaching at Vanderbilt University, he spent 35 years on the English faculty of Northern Virginia Community College’s Woodbridge campus. Kilmer was also a home brewer, mushroom forager, and gardener who founded a community-supported agriculture business. Survivors include his wife, Claudia; a stepdaughter; and three sisters.

Paul Preston, AB’72, AM’73, of Berkeley, CA, died September 28. He was 72. Preston studied English at UChicago and later earned a PhD in medical anthropology at the University of California. His formative experience as a child of deaf parents shaped his career as a teacher and counselor of the deaf. He authored the book Mother Father Deaf: Living Between Sound and Silence (1994) and worked for more than 20 years at Through the Looking Glass, a Berkeley-based advocacy group for people with disabilities and their families. Survivors include extended family.

Arthur “Art” M. Pry, AM’73, of Minneapolis, died June 25. He was 92. Pry graduated from the Divinity School after attending Southwestern University and Yale. As a pastor in the Texas Conference of the Methodist Church, he served congregations in Orange, Port Arthur, and Houston. Retiring from the ministry in 1996, he moved with his wife to St. Paul and was active in the Fairmount Avenue United Methodist Church, Habitat for Humanity, and the Metropolitan Interfaith Council on Affordable Housing. He is survived by a daughter, two sons, four grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.

Michael Mills, JD’74, died October 1 in St. Helena, CA. He was 77. Mills graduated from Reed College and served in the US Army before finishing law school. A litigator at two New York firms, he shifted to knowledge management at Davis Polk & Wardwell, pioneering information technologies now widely used in the legal industry. In 2010 Mills cofounded and became CEO of Neota Logic, which develops advanced software applications for law firms and other companies. He also cofounded the Central Park Conservancy and acted as founding director of Pro Bono Net. Survivors include his partner, Karen MacNeil; and two brothers, including John Mills, SB’61.

Kelly Harris, AB’76, died August 14 in New York City. He was 69. After studying music in the College, Harris moved to New York and worked in information technology at the Bank of New York until his retirement. He was a founding member of the UChicago New York City Alumni Book Club, in which he remained active, and a lifelong writer of poetry, prose fiction, and nonfiction. Survivors include two sisters.

Jonathan D. Hill, AB’76, of Ladue, MO, died June 24. He was 69. Hill was an anthropologist and ethnomusicologist who specialized in the cultures of Indigenous people living in lowland South America. With a PhD in anthropology from Indiana University, he spent most of his career at Southern Illinois University, where he taught, published, and served as department chair. Fluent in Spanish, Portuguese, and several Indigenous dialects, Hill worked to help Amazonian peoples preserve their cultures. He was also a classical pianist. He is survived by his wife, Sharon DeGreeff; two children; four stepchildren; two sisters; a brother; a grandchild; and three step-grandchildren.

Linda Walsh Bailey, AB’79, MBA’85, of Olympia Fields, IL, died September 3. She was 65. Bailey spent her career in international supply chain management at Turtle Wax, where she worked for nearly 30 years. A Chicago sports fan, she also loved animals and celebrated Irish culture, music, and dance. Survivors include her husband, Robert Bailey, AB’79; two children, including Kathleen Wilk, AB’10, PhD’15; a sister; and two grandchildren.


Nancy C. Leissing, MBA’82, died April 1 in Orlando, FL. She was 76. With her undergraduate degree from Upsala College, Leissing worked as a research biochemist for Schering-Plough in New Jersey while pursuing a PhD in biochemistry at Seton Hall University. Relocating to Chicago, Leissing worked for 20 years as director of biomedical research at Baxter International and earned her MBA at Chicago Booth. She published widely in her field and holds two patents. Before retiring to Orlando in 2003, Leissing served as a vice president at LifeSource, a former Chicago-area blood bank. Survivors include three children and a grandchild.

Kurt Davis Prister, MBA’82, died May 3 in Rochester, NY, of cancer. He was 65. Prister, who held a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Virginia, had a successful career in commercialization at companies including Eastman Kodak and Carestream Health. He is survived by a daughter, a son, and a sister.

David Russell Fox, AB’87, died July 2 in Port Angeles, WA. He was 62. Fox studied sociology in the College and earned his JD from the University of Idaho College of Law in 1994. He practiced law in Washington State. Survivors include two sisters and three brothers.

Mark Hoole Stehle, MBA’87, of Agoura Hills, CA, died April 26. He was 74. After attending the University of Virginia and studying English and American literature at New York University, Stehle moved to San Francisco and joined protests against the Vietnam War. He eventually became an independent real estate and financial investor. Until his retirement he served as chief financial officer of Visions International, a nonprofit organization devoted to promoting the Indian speaker and author Prem Rawat’s message of peace. Stehle is survived by his wife, Chelo Alvarez-Stehle; a daughter; a sister; and a brother.

Natalie M. Ross, PhD’89, of Chicago, died August 16. She was 79. Devoted to her home city of Detroit, Ross graduated from Wayne State University and later earned a master’s in social work at the University of Michigan. With her social work doctorate from UChicago, she went on to positions in social service, health care, and education. Ross worked at Jewish Family and Community Services in Chicago for nearly 25 years, ultimately serving as executive director. Survivors include her partner, Robyn Golden, AM’81; one child; and one grandchild.


Lisa Marie (Spiess) Yañez, AB’95, died May 2 in Chapel Hill, NC, in a car accident. She was 50. Yañez’s decades-long career in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry included leadership positions at Merck, Genentech, GSK, United Therapeutics, and Acceleron Pharma. As chief operating officer at Aerami Therapeutics, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, she oversaw program development for a pulmonary hypertension therapy. Yañez became the company’s chief executive officer in January 2023 and volunteered in the local community. She is survived by two children, her parents, and two sisters.

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