University of Chicago obituaries

Recent faculty, staff, and alumni obituaries.

Faculty and staff

Roger H. Hildebrand, the Samuel K. Allison Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of Astronomy and Astrophysics and Physics, died January 21 in Lexington, MA. He was 98. Thought to have been the last surviving Manhattan Project scientist at UChicago, Hildebrand learned to operate a cyclotron as an undergraduate at the University of California, Berkeley, helping create the first samples of plutonium and neptunium during World War II. He then trained workers to separate uranium at the Manhattan Project facility in Oak Ridge, TN. Joining the UChicago faculty in 1952 as a particle physicist, he discovered that pions form an isotopic triplet; pioneered hydrogen bubble chamber technology, using it to photograph nuclear reactions; and helped develop the Zero Gradient Synchrotron at Argonne National Laboratory. Shifting his research focus to astrophysics, he revolutionized the field of high-infrared astronomy, while also holding a series of administrative posts before retiring in 1992: director of the Enrico Fermi Institute, dean of the College, and chair of the astronomy and astrophysics department. He is survived by two daughters, including Kathryn J. Hildebrand, LAB’68; sons Peter H. Hildebrand, LAB’63, AB’67, SM’69, PhD’76, and Daniel M. Hildebrand, LAB’70, AB’75, MAT’76; eight grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.

Norman Golb, the Ludwig Rosenberger Professor Emeritus of Jewish History and Civilization, died December 29 in Chicago. He was 92. Golb studied at the Oriental Institute before earning his doctorate at Johns Hopkins University in Judaic and Semitic studies. A scholar of ancient and medieval Jewish texts and fluent in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Arabic, he returned to UChicago and the OI in 1963, serving on the faculty for more than five decades. Among other contributions, he aided the rediscovery of a medieval Jewish culture in Rouen, France, and redefined scholarship on the Dead Sea Scrolls by arguing controversially that multiple Jewish sects had authored them. He campaigned successfully for wider research access to the scrolls and articulated his account of their authorship in Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls? The Search for the Secret of Qumran (1995). Golb received an honorary doctorate from the University of Rouen, along with the city’s Grand Medal. He is survived by his wife, Ruth; a daughter, Judith Golb, LAB’69; sons Joel David Golb, LAB’68, AB’74, AM’80, and Raphael Golb, LAB’77; a sister; and a grandchild.

Hyman Rochman, associate professor emeritus of pathology, died October 21 in Chicago. He was 88. Born in Cape Town, South Africa, Rochman protested against the apartheid regime as a young man. During his medical residency at Baragwanath Hospital in Johannesburg, he met Winnie Mandela; Rochman and his wife, Hazel Perry Rochman, MAT’74, later sheltered Nelson Mandela from authorities in their home for five weeks. Avoiding arrest himself, Rochman left with his young family for England, working in chemical pathology at institutions including University College London. Settling in Chicago and joining the University in 1972, he became an associate professor in the Department of Pathology and director of clinical chemistry at UChicago Medicine. He also worked at La Rabida Children’s Hospital. His works include Clinical Pathology in the Elderly: A Textbook of Laboratory Interpretations (1988). He is survived by his wife and his sons, Danny Rochman, LAB’79, and Simon L. Rochman, LAB’81.

Peter O. Vandervoort, AB’54, SB’55, SM’56, PhD’60, professor emeritus in the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, of Chicago, died December 11. He was 85. An astrophysicist who studied with Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar and such Manhattan Project veterans as Maria Goeppert Mayer, Vandervoort joined the UChicago faculty in 1961. Specializing in stellar dynamics, he conducted research on the formation of spiral galaxies, calculating the orbit of stars within them, and explored the role of chaos in galaxies and stars. Known as the astronomy and astrophysics department’s resident historian, Vandervoort became part of the institutional legacy he helped preserve. He held several administrative roles at the University, including associate chair of his department, associate dean of the Physical Sciences Division, and master of the Physical Sciences Collegiate Division. After his retirement in 2003, Vandervoort also led the planning for the astronomy and astrophysics department’s current home in the William Eckhardt Research Center. He is survived by his wife, Frances Sheridan Vandervoort, SB’57, SM’65; two sons, William Vandervoort, LAB’76, and Dirk S. Vandervoort, LAB’78; and a grandchild.

Tetsuo Najita, the Robert S. Ingersoll Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in History, East Asian Languages and Civilizations, and the College, died January 11 in Kamuela, HI. He was 84. Najita taught at Carleton College, Washington University in St. Louis, and the University of Wisconsin–Madison before joining the UChicago faculty in 1969. A historian of Japan’s early modern and modern intellectual history, he directed the University’s Center for East Asian Studies (CEAS) from 1974 to 1980, helping build an endowment for Japanese studies. He later served as master of the Social Sciences Collegiate Division and twice chaired the history department. Focusing on ordinary people traditionally excluded from power and their influence on political economic thought, Najita wrote the award-winning Visions of Virtue in Tokugawa Japan: The Kaitokudō Merchant Academy of Osaka (1987). A fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he served as president of the Association for Asian Studies. In 2007, five years after his retirement, CEAS established a Japanese studies lecture series named in Najita’s honor. He is survived by his wife, Elinor; a son, Kiyoshi Y. Najita, LAB’84; and two grandchildren.


Albert Somit, AB’41, PhD’47, of Oceanside, CA, died August 2. He was 100. A political scientist who helped establish the field of biopolitics, Somit taught at several universities during his career, including New York University and the State University of New York at Buffalo, where he served as executive vice president and acting president. In 1980 he became president of Southern Illinois University, where he retired as a distinguished service professor. Studying the role of evolution in human political behavior, he cowrote Darwinism, Dominance, and Democracy: The Biological Bases of Authoritarianism (1997), among other works. He is survived by his wife, Lyn Corder; two sons; a stepdaughter; two stepsons; five grandchildren; four step-grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

Jack Steinberger, SB’42, PhD’49, died December 12 in Geneva. He was 99. An experimental physicist who studied the basic particles of the universe and the elemental forces governing their interactions, Steinberger taught at Columbia University before joining the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), where he spent most of his career. In the early 1960s he codiscovered the muon neutrino and helped illuminate the nature of the weak force, work for which he shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1988. That year he also received the National Medal of Science. Among many other accomplishments, Steinberger led a group at CERN that confirmed there are three families of fundamental particles. He is survived by his wife, Cynthia Alff; a daughter; three sons; and four grandchildren.

Charlotte Russ Benton, SB’44, died November 30 in Baltimore. She was 97. One of three women in her graduating class from UChicago’s meteorology program, Benton became a faculty member in the program and trained weather forecasters bound for military service during World War II. In 1945 she married fellow UChicago meteorologist George S. Benton, SB’42, PhD’47, moving to Baltimore when he joined Johns Hopkins University. A pioneering meteorologist in her own right, she remained active in the field while she raised a family. Her international travels included several trips to China on scientific exchanges and for a stint teaching English to Chinese meteorologists. Her husband died in 1999. She is survived by three daughters, including Sandra Benton Solomon, AB’70, AM’71; a son; a brother; six grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

Pauline Mathewson Levin, PhB’48, died August 10 in Scarborough, ME. She was 93. After living in Chicago and New York City, Levin moved to Piermont, NY. For 25 years she taught elementary and middle school, serving as a president of the teachers’ union. A Piermont village board member, she later moved to Scarborough, where she was active in local preservation efforts. She is survived by two daughters, a son, two stepdaughters, a stepson, and many grandchildren.

James L. Philon, PhB’48, EX’52, died December 1 in Palm Desert, CA. He was 92. Philon studied at what was then the University’s Graduate School of Business before taking a position at the Stevens Hotel (now Hilton Chicago) and embarking on a four-decade career with Hilton Hotel Corporation. Serving as senior vice president of real estate and development, he negotiated deals with business leaders, heads of state, and celebrities. A longtime member of the Urban Land Institute, he was a philanthropic supporter of the National WWII Museum. He is survived by a daughter, two sons, and two brothers, including Oliver Maurice Philon, AB’54, MBA’59.

Warren Richard Jones, SB’49, MD’51, died September 3 in Issaquah, WA. He was 99. Having served in the US Navy during World War II, Jones completed his postgraduate medical training in the Navy and spent the first part of his career as a Navy physician. Trained as a flight surgeon, he served on special assignments at sea and in Iceland, Greece, and Italy, where he retired as a captain. He then studied painting and sculpture at the Naples Academy of Fine Arts before returning stateside and leading medical practices in Washington and South Carolina. Survivors include a son, three stepsons, and many grandchildren.


Ruth Eisenstein Soybel, LAB’50, 12GC’53, EX’54, died January 6 in Concord, MA. She was 86. Soybel entered the College at age 16 and later finished her undergraduate degree at the University of Vermont, where her husband, William M. Soybel, AB’52, attended medical school. After working for the technology market research firm International Data Corporation, she earned a law degree from Boston College Law School and for nearly two decades ran a family law practice in Waltham, MA. Her husband died in 2018. She is survived by three daughters; two sons, David Ira Soybel, AB’78, MD’82, and Jeremy G. Soybel, AB’83; a sister, Patricia Eisenstein Fertel, LAB’63; 12 grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.

Ethel B. Jones, AM’54, PhD’61, of New Castle, CO, died September 18. She was 90. With her two degrees in economics, Jones returned to her native Arkansas and worked on the state’s economic development program. Launching her academic career in 1965, she taught at the University of Georgia and Auburn University, conducting research on unemployment, occupational wage differences, and the labor force effects of unionization. Jones served on advisory committees for the US Department of Labor and the National Science Foundation.

Crow Swimsaway (né Martin A. Nettleship), AB’58, AM’58, of New Marshfield, OH, died April 7, 2018. He was 81. A cultural anthropologist with a doctorate from the London School of Economics, Swimsaway conducted research with the indigenous people of Taiwan and on war and human aggression. An experience on his organic farm in the Missouri Ozarks, in which he heard crows speak to him, inspired him to practice shamanism. He wrote Anecdotal Evidence: Stories about How an Ozark (Intellectual) Farm Boy Became a Shaman (2012), and cofounded the Church of Earth Healing in Athens County, OH. Survivors include a daughter.

Robert C. Leif, SB’59, of San Diego, CA, died August 3. He was 82. A biomedical expert, Leif conducted research at several universities, including the University of Southern California and Florida State University, and worked at the Coulter Corporation before starting his own biotechnology company. Specializing in flow cytometry, he designed instruments used in biomedical analysis and held more than a dozen patents. His achievements included developing tags for the automatic detection of cancer cells. He is survived by his wife, Suzanne; two daughters, including Liza Celia Leif, AB’86; and three grandchildren.

Jerome L. Rodnitzky, AB’59, MAT’62, died April 25, 2020, in Arlington, TX. He was 83. Rodnitzky taught history for more than 50 years at the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA). An authority on 20th-century American counterculture, he wrote Minstrels of the Dawn: The Folk-Protest Singer as a Cultural Hero (1976), among other works. He also helped establish women’s studies in the UTA curriculum, teaching the school’s first American women’s history course and serving as the first director of teaching in its women’s studies program. He is survived by his wife, Shirley; a daughter; a son; a brother, Robert L. Rodnitzky, SB’63, MD’66; and five grandchildren.

Allen T. Slagle, PhD’59, died August 1 in Madison, WI. He was 99. Slagle served in the US Marine Corps in New Zealand during World War II and then devoted himself to a civilian career in public education in Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin, both as a teacher and a school administrator. With his doctorate in education, he became assistant vice president of academic affairs for the University of Wisconsin System, retiring in 1982. He is survived by three sons, six grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren.


Anne Schaeffer Eaton, AB’61 (Class of 1962), died October 7 in Adelphi, MD. She was 79. With her bachelor’s in linguistics, Eaton pursued a career as a writer and journalist, working at Glamour magazine and the J. Walter Thompson advertising agency. After living with her family in Ireland for several years, she returned to the New York City area and worked for Gannett Westchester Rockland Newspapers, Newsday, and Star magazine, where she was special issues editor. She is survived by four children, a brother, and four grandchildren.

Walter Goldstein, PhD’61, died July 9 in Falls Church, VA. He was 89. A native of London, Goldstein served in the Royal Fusiliers and came to the United States on a Fulbright Scholarship, earning his PhD in international relations. A professor of political science at the State University of New York at Albany, he also taught at New York University and the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Bologna, Italy, among other institutions, and wrote several books on international economics. His first wife, Batya Goldstein, AB’54, died in 1993. He is survived by his second wife, Phyllis Cohen; a daughter; two sons; and three grandchildren.

Ann (Hillyer) Metcalf, AB’62, died September 13 in Oakland, CA. She was 80. Metcalf studied anthropology at UChicago and went on to earn her doctorate in the field. She held research and teaching positions at the University of California, Berkeley, the University of Washington, and the Institute for Scientific Analysis before joining Mills College, where she taught for more than three decades. Formerly the director of community service and service learning and the American studies program chair, Metcalf retired from Mills in 2016. She is survived by two sons and three grandchildren.

Ellis B. Rosenzweig, EX’62, died November 29 in Chicago. He was 80. Rosenzweig graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago’s John Marshall Law School and spent his career as an attorney in Chicago. He was a partner in the firm Wexler, Kane & Rosenzweig and later practiced with the firm now known as Reed Smith. He is survived by his wife, Linda; two sons; and two grandchildren.

Bertram G. Woodland, PhD’62, of Homewood, IL, died March 24, 2020. He was 97. A Welsh-born geologist, Woodland worked in mineral resource planning in London before immigrating to the United States to teach geology at the University of Massachusetts and Mount Holyoke College. Earning his PhD with work on the Vermont Geological Survey, he became a curator of petrology at the Field Museum, where he spent the rest of his career. He is survived by two sons, including Trevor William Woodland, MBA’81, and three 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. (This notice corrects information in the Fall/20 issue.—Ed.)

Richard M. Younker, LAB’57, AB’63, of Chicago, died February 21, 2020. He was 80. A self-taught photojournalist who often focused on working-class life, Younker published such photodocumentary books as Our Chicago: Faces and Voices of the City (1987). He contributed to the Chicago Tribune’s and the Chicago Sun-Times’s magazines, the Chicago Reader, and the University of Chicago Magazine. He is survived by his partner, Judith Kiehm, and two sisters, Catherine Younker, LAB’58, and Susan Younker, LAB’61.

Wayne T. Adams, JD’66, died July 28 in Portland, ME. He was 79. After serving as a US Army intelligence officer during the Vietnam War and spending several years in the foreign service, Adams practiced general law for more than three decades as a partner in the firm Reagan, Adams & Cadigan in Kennebunk, ME. He finished his career at another Maine firm, Bergen and Parkinson. Adams was a longtime town meeting moderator for Kennebunk and nearby Kennebunkport. He is survived by two daughters, a son, a brother, and five grandchildren.

Judith W. Munson, AB’66 (Class of 1963), died October 4 in Chicago. She was 79. Munson married and started a family with Lester E. Munson Jr., JD’67, before graduating with honors from Chicago-Kent College of Law and beginning a career in public health law. She counseled officials at the local, state, federal, and international levels, including at agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization. She also taught law and public health policy at several Illinois universities. She is survived by her husband; two sons, including Lester E. Munson III, AB’89; and four grandchildren, including Annika K. Munson, Class of 2024.

Michael Z. Wincor, SB’66, died November 30, 2018, in Long Beach, CA. He was 72. A sleep researcher since his College years, Wincor became an expert in sleep and anxiety disorders and psychiatric pharmacy practice. Earning a PharmD from the University of Southern California, he joined USC’s faculty and became an associate professor of clinical pharmacy, psychiatry, and the behavioral sciences in the pharmacy and medical schools. He directed the psychiatric pharmacy residency program and was 15 times named professor of the year in pharmacy. He is survived by two daughters and several grandchildren.

Ignacio Daniel “Atio” Maramba, MBA’67, of Manila, Philippines, died August 19. He was 83. An international development expert, Maramba worked around the world as a partner at the Philippine professional services firm SyCip Gorres Velayo & Co. and as an officer at the International Finance Corporation, where he led investment operations in Europe and Africa. He is survived by his wife, Josefina Ildefonso-Maramba; a daughter; three sons; a brother; and four grandchildren.


Mary Andrea Arnold, AM’70, died August 8 in Oakland, CA. She was 79. Arnold earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology before receiving her master’s from the School of Social Service Administration (now known as the Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice). She was a clinical social worker at the University of California, Los Angeles, and later for Alameda County, CA. Survivors include her companion, Jay P. Smith.

David Schuman, PhD’74, died October 8, 2019, in Eugene, OR. He was 75. After earning his doctorate in English and teaching at several colleges and universities, Schuman switched professions from literature to law, earning his JD from the University of Oregon School of Law and entering a career of public service to the state. He was an assistant and later deputy attorney general in the Oregon justice department and served as a justice on the state’s court of appeals. Throughout his legal career Schuman also served on the faculty of his law school alma mater; he was a professor of practice there at the time of his death. He is survived by his wife, Sharon Schuman, PhD’75; a daughter; a son; a sister; a brother, Joseph Schuman, JD’76; and three grandchildren.

Brigitte Warning Treumann, AM’77, PhD’97, of Chicago, died October 24. She was 82. Between earning her master’s degree and her doctorate in Near Eastern languages and civilizations, Treumann worked in development at UChicago and George Washington University. Her dissertation examined the Phoenician trade in timber throughout the ancient Mediterranean world, and she participated in the first season of the Oriental Institute’s Hamoukar Expedition in Syria. She continued her career in nonprofit administration as a private consultant. She is survived by a daughter, a son, three brothers, and two grandchildren.

Celia Malone Phillips, AM’78, died September 28 in Johns Creek, GA. She was 73. Phillips studied anthropology and philosophy as an undergraduate, later earning her master’s in theology from UChicago’s Divinity School. She worked as a legal secretary and a paralegal and spent retirement in Johns Creek close to family. She is survived by her husband, Larry; a daughter; a son; a sister; a brother; and three grandchildren.


Theodore C. Chappen, AM’81, died of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis September 17 in New Berlin, PA. He was 64. A resident assistant and resident head for Shorey House in Pierce Tower in the 1980s, Chappen worked at the University for several more years as a director of student housing. He then became an instructor in Susquehanna University’s philosophy department, where he taught for more than two decades. Chappen also served as president of his local Habitat for Humanity affiliate. He is survived by his wife, Margaret E. Chappen, MD’83; a daughter, Eleni O. Chappen, AB’10; a son; his mother; and a sister.

Robert Aponte, AM’82, PhD’91, died January 16, 2020, in Indianapolis. He was 72. Early in his career as a sociologist, Aponte taught at Michigan State University and helped found the school’s Julian Samora Research Institute, a leading center for the study of Latino issues. He later joined the faculty of Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis, where he was an associate professor of sociology and an adjunct associate professor of Latino studies at the time of his death. He is survived by his partner, Carrie Foote; a daughter; three sons; a brother; and a grandchild.

Dennis Ray Wheaton, AM’82, PhD’87, died December 26 in Chicago. He was 74. While seeking an academic position after completing his doctorate in sociology, he instead found an opening for a restaurant critic at Chicago magazine—a job he held for more than 25 years. He also reviewed restaurants for other outlets, including national food magazines and the New York Times. As a sociologist, he wrote or cowrote several scholarly articles on authenticity in American culture. In addition, he worked as a preceptor in UChicago’s Master of Arts Program in the Social Sciences and taught the College Core’s Self, Culture, and Society course. He is survived by his wife, Susan Weiss, a project assistant at the Laboratory Schools, and a son, Daniel Wheaton, LAB’07.


Christopher L. Culp, PhD’97, of Chicago, died July 1. He was 51. Culp earned his doctorate in financial economics from Chicago Booth and later served on the school’s faculty as an adjunct professor of finance. He also taught at the Swiss Finance Institute and the Universität Bern’s Institute for Financial Management, among other schools, and coedited the Studies in Applied Economics working paper series for Johns Hopkins University. The author of several books on derivatives, risk management, and other topics, Culp was a senior affiliate with the economics consulting firm Compass Lexecon at the time of his death. He is survived by his parents and a sister.


Carolyn D. Cracraft, AB’00, died of end-stage liver disease June 7, 2019, in Denver, CO. She was 41. Cracraft studied Egyptology at UChicago and in her junior year became the national champion of the Jeopardy! College Tournament. After living for a time in Singapore, she earned a master’s in information management and systems at the University of California, Berkeley. Based in San Francisco for the rest of her career, Cracraft worked as an independent technology contractor with a specialty in database programming and integration. She is survived by her mother, sister, and brother.

Andries H. Smith, AB’09, died September 23 in Atlanta. He was 33. Majoring in mathematics at UChicago, Smith spent a year in Paris at the Instituts d’études politiques. He went on to receive a master’s in computer science from Bowling Green State University. A software engineer in the Atlanta area, he worked with the financial technology company MerchantE and the job-search website CareerBuilder. He is survived by his parents and two brothers.