University of Chicago obituaries

Recent faculty, staff, and alumni obituaries.

Faculty and staff

R. Stephen Berry, the James Franck Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in Chemistry, of Chicago, died July 26. He was 89. Berry came to UChicago in 1964 and remained an active presence in the classroom through retirement, coteaching a course on energy and policy last year. Drawn to thermodynamics when he moved to Chicago and observed the city’s high levels of air pollution, he pushed the field beyond its classic model, establishing the foundations of finite time thermodynamics and applying what he learned to the pursuit of sustainable energy solutions. He helped initiate life cycle analysis and other energy policy frameworks, coauthoring TOSCA: The Total Social Cost of Coal and Nuclear Power (1979). Berry’s pioneering fundamental research in physical chemistry included early measurements of electron affinities and dynamic models of atomic and molecular clusters. One of the first chemists to receive a MacArthur Fellowship, he served as the National Academy of Sciences’ home secretary and received many national and international honors. He is survived by his wife, Carla; two daughters, Andi Berry, LAB’75, and Denise Berry-Hanna, LAB’77; a son, Eric H. Berry, LAB’82; and eight grandchildren.

Richard P. Taub, the Paul Klapper Professor Emeritus in the Social Sciences, the Department of Comparative Human Development, and the Department of Sociology, died August 19 in Santa Fe, NM. He was 83. A sociologist of urban, rural, and community economic development, Taub taught at UChicago for more than 45 years, founded and chaired the undergraduate public policy major, and held a variety of other administrative roles, including associate dean of the College. Taub authored two books on government and economic development in India that arose from his dissertation research in the country. He expanded into urban sociology in Chicago, studying demographic change, lending discrimination, and the economic fortunes of city neighborhoods. After publishing Community Capitalism: Banking Strategies and Economic Development (1988), Taub followed up with a book about Chicago-based ShoreBank’s efforts in Arkansas to promote community development through entrepreneurship. His honors include the Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching and the Faculty Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching. He is survived by his wife, Betty G. Farrell; a daughter; a son; and two grandchildren.

Michael Silverstein, the Charles F. Grey Distinguished Service Professor of Anthropology, Linguistics, and Psychology, died July 17 in Chicago. He was 74. An anthropologist who helped define the field of sociolinguistics, Silverstein began teaching at the University in 1970 and trained generations of students in language’s relationship to culture and social interaction. His research introduced a theoretical language that crossed disciplines and captured how meaning unfolds from the act of discourse. He conducted fieldwork in the Pacific Northwest on the Chinookan language and in Australia on several Aboriginal languages; edited the selected writings of William Dwight Whitney, a 19th-century precursor of modern linguistic theory; and wrote about communication and political culture in such works as the coauthored Creatures of Politics: Media, Message, and the American Presidency (2012). A founder and former president of the Society for Linguistic Anthropology, Silverstein received MacArthur and Guggenheim Fellowships, UChicago’s Faculty Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching, and the Franz Boas Award for Exemplary Service to Anthropology, the American Anthropological Association’s highest honor. He is survived by his wife, Mara A. Tapp, AM’77, and two children.

Joseph M. Baron, SB’58, SM’62, MD’62, associate professor emeritus at UChicago Medicine, died September 20 in Boston. He was 82. An expert in lymphoproliferative disorders, Baron spent two years as a research associate at the National Institutes of Health before returning to UChicago in 1966. After serving for a year as chief resident, he joined the Department of Medicine faculty in the hematology/oncology section, where he would go on to become acting chief. Among other leadership positions, he served as medical director of the Clinical Coagulation/Bone Marrow Laboratory. In his clinical practice, he specialized in cutaneous lymphomas, bleeding and clotting disorders, and classic hematological disease. He directed the first clinical trial of human erythropoietin. Baron received the Department of Medicine’s first Outstanding Clinical Service Award and many other honors. He is survived by his wife, Beverly; three daughters, including Elinor L. Baron, MD’02; a sister; and four grandchildren.

Daniel W. Tepke, MBA’82, former coach, athletics administrator, and Chicago Booth associate dean, of Chicago, died December 29. He was 72. Tepke began his UChicago career in the athletics and recreation department, where he coached football, soccer, and baseball and served as intramural director and head of facilities before becoming an associate professor and assistant chair. With his MBA, Tepke moved into administration at Chicago Booth, where he was associate dean for management and budget. He also lectured in marketing and codirected the New Product Laboratory. After he left Booth, Tepke joined the leadership team of an Indianapolis insurance company and later became senior vice president of North Park University. He is survived by his wife, Candi; two daughters; a sister; and five grandchildren.

Abel P. Jeuland, the Charles H. Kellstadt Professor Emeritus of Marketing at Chicago Booth, died August 19 in Chicago. He was 71. Jeuland earned degrees in business marketing and engineering (with a specialty in advanced mathematics) in his native France before immigrating to the United States and earning his doctorate in industrial relations. Joining Chicago Booth’s marketing faculty in 1975, he did research on the creation and use of analytical tools to approach such marketing issues as forecasting, competition, and product design and diffusion. He also worked on the mathematical modeling of brand choice, promotions, and distribution channels. On the advisory board of Marketing Science, he wrote and reviewed regularly for scholarly journals in marketing, operations, and management. Jeuland was a founding member of EFAC, the French-American School of Chicago, and served on their board as president and treasurer. He is survived by his wife, Maretta; a daughter, Citrini Nata Devi, LAB’95 (née Christine Laura Jeuland); two sons, including Eric Jeuland, AB’03; and five grandchildren.

Robert Bird, associate professor of Slavic languages and literatures and cinema and media studies, died of colon cancer September 7 in Chicago. He was 50. Bird taught at Dickinson College before joining the UChicago faculty in 2001. In addition to chairing both departments in which he held appointments at the University, he led the Fundamentals program in the College. He was an authority on Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky and also published studies of Fyodor Dostoyevsky and poet and philosopher Vyacheslav Ivanov. In recent years he took on curatorial collaborations and focused increasingly on aesthetics and politics. Bird cocurated the 2017–18 Smart Museum exhibition Revolution Every Day, on the centenary of the Russian Revolution, and cocreated a project on American singer Paul Robeson and Blackness in the Soviet Union. His book on Soviet film and socialism will be published posthumously. He is survived by his wife, Christina Kiaer; a stepdaughter; his parents; a sister; and a brother.


Robert M. Raymer, MBA’43, of Palo Alto, CA, died March 23. He was 98. A World War II US Army Air Forces veteran, Raymer worked for more than 65 years as an attorney for the San Francisco law firm Cooper, White & Cooper, where he represented the San Francisco Chronicle and other media outlets, as well as public utilities and airlines. A philanthropist and patron of the arts, Raymer established a professorship in cardiovascular medicine at Stanford University and funded college scholarships through the Jewish Community Federation. He is survived by his wife, Shirley.

Nancy E. Warner, SB’44, MD’49, of Pasadena, CA, died August 17. She was 97. After completing her residency in pathology at UChicago and serving as the University’s chief surgical pathologist, Warner was recruited to the University of Southern California’s medical school, where in 1972 she was named chair of pathology. The first female medical department chair at USC, she was also the first woman in the United States to chair a pathology department at a coeducational institution. Warner wrote the textbook Basic Endocrine Pathology (1971) and specialized in the diagnosis of thyroid disease. She retired as USC’s Hastings Professor of Pathology in 1993 and continued on the board of the Medical Faculty Women’s Association, an organization she helped create. She and her late wife, Christine Reynolds, established funds at UChicago to support women scholars across the disciplines.

Guido Münch, PhD’46, died April 29 in Pasadena, CA. He was 98. A theoretical and observational astrophysicist, Münch began his influential research on stellar atmospheres while working with Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar at Yerkes Observatory, first as a doctoral student and then as an assistant professor. He also made important contributions to the understanding of galactic structure, solar physics, and the planetary system. In 1951 he left UChicago to join the faculty at Caltech, working at its affiliated observatories, and in 1977 became director of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy. Münch’s study of Mars’s atmosphere aided NASA’s early exploration of the planet; he also did infrared radiometry research for their Mariner, Pioneer 10 and 11, and Viking programs. He is survived by a daughter and three sons.

Urchie B. Ellis, AB’47, JD’49, of Richmond, VA, died February 13. He was 97. Ellis served in the US Army for three years during World War II before returning to finish his degree in the College. He spent his career in the legal departments of several railroad companies, including those that operated the Atlantic Coast Line, the Illinois Central, and the Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac (RFP). His work encompassed a variety of corporate and legislative matters, and he retired from RFP as a vice president in 1986. He is survived by a daughter, two sons, six grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.

Alice Koller, EX’48, died July 21 in Trenton, NJ. She was 94. After studying as an undergraduate at the University, Koller completed her bachelor’s degree in Akron, OH, her hometown, and then earned a PhD in philosophy at Harvard in 1960. Turning her philosophical training inward, she published two critically acclaimed books about the solitary and contemplative life, An Unknown Woman: A Journey to Self-Discovery (1981) and The Stations of Solitude (1990). Unable to secure a permanent faculty position, Koller taught for brief stints at several academic institutions, including Wellesley College, and found work in speechwriting, publishing, and government consulting.

Ira J. Stone, MBA’48, of Deerfield, IL, died January 28. He was 95. A World War II US Army veteran, Stone joined his family’s South Side men’s clothing business, Ratsky & Stone, and went on to run the company for three decades. After selling the business, he worked in sales at Jos. A. Bank Clothiers in the Loop, frequently earning recognition as the store’s person of the month. Stone was active in the Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America. His wife, Marjorie (Leventhal) Stone, PhB’45, MBA’48, died in 1999. He is survived by a daughter, Ronna A. Stone, MBA’84; two sons; and seven grandchildren.


John C. Ballin, PhB’50, SM’53, PhD’55, of Hinsdale, IL, died December 11. He was 95. For his service in the US Army during World War II, Ballin received two Purple Hearts, a Silver Star, a Bronze Star, and a Presidential Unit Citation. The sole survivor of his platoon after they landed on Omaha Beach one week after D-Day, he was reassigned to Scotland before being discharged in 1945. During his UChicago training as a pharmacologist, Ballin joined the American Medical Association and, among other roles, served as director of scientific activities and director of the drugs and technology division, retiring in 1986. He is survived by three daughters and eight grandchildren.

Carl A. Groesbeck, MBA’55, died March 31 in Wheaton, IL. He was 101. A US Army Air Forces pilot who earned both his bombardier and celestial navigator wings during World War II, Groesbeck spent 16 months as a prisoner of war in Stalag Luft III and, after a 390-mile forced march to Moosburg, Germany, was liberated by US troops in 1945. Returning stateside, he received his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and with his MBA worked for People’s Gas in Chicago. He is survived by two daughters; three sons; and 10 grandchildren, including Christine B. Groesbeck, MBA’18.

Susan Daskais Kaplan, AB’56, AB’57, AM’63, died January 16 in Berkeley, CA. She was 81. A Hyde Park native, Kaplan earned her master’s in psychology and moved to California a decade later with her husband, James M. Kaplan, AM’54. She worked as a school psychologist and was also an avid cyclist, hiker, and cross-country skier. Her husband died in 2007. She is survived by a daughter; a son; a brother, Richard M. Daskais, PhB’47, SB’48; a grandchild; and two great-grandchildren.

Roland A. Finston, AB’57, SB’57, of Palo Alto, CA, died June 3. He was 83. With a master’s in health physics and a doctorate in biophysics, Finston was an associate professor for a year at Oregon State University, teaching radiological physics, before he joined Stanford University in 1966. A member of the environmental health and safety department, he served as director of health physics and lectured in radiology at the medical school. His work involved the measurement of radiation dosages in medical treatments, and he was frequently consulted as an expert on environmental radiation exposure. He is survived by his wife, Gloria; two sons; a brother; and two grandchildren.

Ernest L. Schusky, AM’57, PhD’60, died December 12 in Edwardsville, IL. He was 88. An anthropologist who studied Native American history and culture, particularly among the Sioux, Schusky joined Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in 1960, three years after its founding, and developed the school’s anthropology program. His 1965 report The Right to Be Indian addressed Native American civil rights issues. Other works, such as Manual for Kinship Analysis (1965) and Introducing Culture (1967), were widely adopted as classroom texts. In retirement Schusky published fiction based on his research. He is survived by his wife, Mary Sue; two sons, including Read Schusky, AB’81; and two grandchildren.

Stephen L. Michel, SB’58, MD’62, of Boca Raton, FL, died December 25. He was 81. A Chicago native and a third-generation UChicago alumnus, Michel spent most of his career as a general surgeon at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, where he served as associate director of surgery, director of trauma surgery service, and medical director of the same-day outpatient surgery center. He was also an associate clinical professor at the UCLA School of Medicine, a fellow of the American College of Surgeons, and chair of the County of Los Angeles Emergency Medical Services Commission. He is survived by his wife, Barbara; a daughter; a son, Gregg L. Michel, AB’88; and four grandchildren.


Steven A. Kailes, AB’60, of Wilmette, IL, died January 2, 2018. He was 81. A Vietnam War veteran, Kailes taught at Jacob Beidler Elementary School on Chicago’s West Side for three decades. He later worked as a real estate agent in the Chicago area. As a longtime board member of the Retired Teachers Association of Chicago, he served in many roles, including president. He is survived by a sister.

Chandra Kant Jha, MBA’62, died January 21 in Chicago. He was 93. Trained as a civil engineer, Jha worked for an American firm in his native India before immigrating to Chicago and shifting his focus to structural engineering projects. With his MBA, he became a prominent real estate developer in the city. As a vice president at Tishman Realty & Construction, he played a key role in the construction of the John Hancock Center. Later heading his own firm, PSM International, he developed Streeterville’s Onterie Center. He is survived by his wife, Hekmat Elkhanialy Jha, AM’64, PhD’68; a daughter, Lakshmi Elkhanialy Jha, AB’95; a son; two grandchildren; and a great-grandchild.

Yakov Eckstein, PhD’62, of Evanston, IL, died February 12. He was 88. A member of the Palmach in his youth, Eckstein fought for Israel’s independence in 1948 and went on to study at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. With his UChicago doctorate, he became a professor of physics at the Technion–Israel Institute of Technology, serving as his department’s dean and the school’s vice president. He also taught as a visiting professor at Northwestern University. He is survived by his wife, Ruth; three children; a sister; and seven grandchildren.

Rose Ann Gordon Cope, AB’63, died June 14 in Lincolnwood, IL. She was 78. Cope worked at Chicago’s Mount Sinai Hospital and Medical Center as director of volunteer services. She is survived by her husband, Ronald S. Cope, AB’61, JD’63; two daughters; a son, Jonathan I. Cope, JD’94; 10 grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

Lucy Reals Day, AB’65, died June 5 in Palm Beach, FL. She was 76. With a master’s in anthropology, Day worked for museums and at archaeological sites before launching a career in finance. In retirement she chaired the boards of three nonprofits, helped found the Breast Cancer Alliance, and was a judge for the Garden Club of America. She is survived by her husband, Nathaniel, and two daughters.

Ilene Barmash Harris, AB’65, MAT’72, PhD’79, died January 19 in Chicago. She was 75. Harris began her career in medical education at the University of Minnesota Medical School, ultimately directing the office of educational development and research. She later joined the University of Illinois College of Medicine and went on to lead its medical education department, overseeing the pedagogical training of teachers in the health professions until 2019. She is survived by her husband, Morton, and a sister.

Judith Olson Sterling, AB’66 (Class of 1965), MAT’68, of Woodlawn, MD, died August 23. She was 77. After teaching German at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, Sterling earned a second master’s degree in library science and joined the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, library staff, retiring as assistant director for systems and technical services. In retirement she volunteered with resettlement services for refugees. Her husband, Carleton W. Sterling, AM’68, PhD’70, died in 2018.

Michael P. Biber, MD’67, of Quincy, MA, died January 27. He was 78. A pioneering sleep physician and researcher, Biber cofounded and codirected the sleep center at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston, where he remained a staff neurologist after the institution’s merger with New England Deaconess Hospital. Also cofounder of the sleep diagnostic services provider NeuroCare, he served as the company’s copresident and medical director. He is survived by two daughters; two sisters, including June Biber Freeman, PhB’47, SB’49, EX’53; and a grandchild.

Anthony F. Starace, SM’67, PhD’71, died September 5, 2019, in Lincoln, NE. He was 74. Following a postdoctoral appointment at Imperial College, London, Starace joined the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s physics and astronomy department. Chair of the department for more than a decade, he conducted research in the areas of atomic photoionization and attosecond science. A recipient of the University of Nebraska’s Outstanding Research and Creativity Award, he was working until the day of his death. He is survived by his wife, Katherine Fritz Starace, AM’68; a daughter; a son; a sister; a brother; and two grandchildren.


Sally R. Banes, AB’72, died of complications from ovarian cancer June 14 in Philadelphia. She was 69. A dance historian and critic, Banes cofounded Chicago’s MoMing Dance and Arts Center in 1974 and wrote reviews for the Chicago Reader before moving to New York City and earning her doctorate in drama. Writing for the Village Voice, she was among the first critics to cover hip-hop dance, and, with the book Terpsichore in Sneakers: Post-Modern Dance (1980), she produced an authoritative history of the subject. Banes taught at numerous schools, including the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where she ran the dance program and later the Center for Humanities. She is survived by her husband, Noël Carroll, and two sisters.

William W. LaMar, AB’74, SM’76, of Portland, OR, died May 28. He was 68. With two UChicago degrees in physics, LaMar continued his research in fluid dynamics throughout his life. A systems analyst by profession, he worked in corporate IT from its earliest stages, both in programming and in hardware administration, primarily for companies in the Chicago and St. Louis areas. After retiring, he moved to Portland to be near his children. He is survived by his partner, Margaret Young; a daughter; a son; and three sisters, including Nora Ishibashi, PhD’94.


Jeffrey W. Walser, AB’80, MBA’82, died April 13 in Dubuque, IA. He was 61. Raised on a dairy farm near Dubuque, Walser studied economics at UChicago and followed his MBA with a master’s in agricultural economics. He analyzed livestock markets for Wharton Econometric Forecasting Associates and later joined the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, where he finished his career as a regional economist based in Kansas City, MO. He is survived by his parents, a sister, and a brother.

Richard V. Sarkissian, AB’81, MBA’83, of Mahwah, NJ, died April 5 of COVID-19. He was 61. Sarkissian spent his career in the consulting practice at Deloitte, most recently as senior principal in the finance and enterprise performance group. He advised clients internationally in all aspects of finance and in human resources and information technology. He is survived by his wife, Constance; a daughter; a son; his mother; a sister; and two brothers.

Qing Qian (Ching Jean Tsien), PhD’84, died May 17 in Chicago. She was 87. Born in Nanjing, China, Qian earned a PhD in English in 1958 at Beijing Foreign Studies University, where she stayed on as a faculty member. After earning a second doctorate in English at UChicago in just three years, she returned to her teaching post in China and was pivotal to introducing modern English and American literature to the country after the Cultural Revolution. Vice president of the Chinese National Association of American Literature and an editorial board member of the journal Foreign Literature, she edited several influential anthologies of English and American literature. She is survived by two daughters, Xiaoqing Diana Chen Lin, AM’86, PhD’93, and Xiaohong Denise Chen, AB’91, AM’93; and three grandchildren, including Lisa L. Lin, Class of 2021.

Joel A. Thvedt, AB’84, died of multiple system atrophy February 8 in Altadena, CA. He was 57. With a law degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, Thvedt became an assistant US attorney in LA and prosecuted federal crimes involving investment, bank, and insurance fraud. He later returned to private practice, handling civil litigation and criminal defense and serving on a federal indigent defense panel. Thvedt spent the last 12 years of his career as a partner in a Pasadena law firm. He is survived by his wife, Patricia; three sons; his parents; and six siblings, including James E. Thvedt, AB’78.

Leslie Eugene Brown, AB’85 (Class of 1983), died unexpectedly July 22 in Santa Monica, CA. He was 58. Brown studied English at UChicago and then moved to Los Angeles to join the Ogilvy & Mather advertising agency, where he advanced within account management. Wishing to pursue creative work and his interest in photography, he transitioned into television commercial production, working for 20 years as an art director. Later employed in human resources for the City of Santa Monica, he continued to pursue his passions, including the study of ancient Greek. He is survived by his mother, his stepfather, and two brothers.

Wendy L. Havran, PhD’86, died January 20 in La Jolla, CA. She was 64. A pioneering immunologist, Havran ran a lab at the Scripps Research Institute where she identified distinctive properties of gamma-delta T cells in mouse and human skin that contribute to wound healing. At Scripps she served as associate dean of the Skaggs Graduate School of Chemical and Biological Sciences. She also held an adjunct position in the dermatology department of the University of California, San Diego. Havran’s honors include the American Association of Immunologists’ Distinguished Service Award. She is survived by her father and two sisters.


Jee Hee (Frances) Lee, AB’15, died April 17 in Chicago. She was 28. Born in Seoul, South Korea, Lee earned her bachelor’s in chemistry and continued as a laboratory research specialist at UChicago for more than three years. Dedicated to helping abandoned and abused animals as a caregiver at PAWS Chicago, she also worked as a translator for general and medical documents. She is survived by her husband, UnJin Lee, AB’13; her parents; and a sister.


Updated 01.20.2021 to correct the date of Rose Ann Gordon Cope’s (AB’63) death and the number of surviving grandchildren. We regret the errors.