Harry A. Hoffner. (Photo courtesy University of Chicago News Office)

University obituaries
Recent faculty, staff, friends, and alumni obituaries.

Faculty and staff

Thomas Bentley Duncan, AM’61, PhD’67, associate professor emeritus in history, died February 24. He was 85. A native of Brazil, Duncan was an influential scholar of Latin American and African history, known for his work on colonial Portugal and the role of Latin American nations in global economic development. He became the first director of the University’s Center for Latin American Studies in 1968, directing the master’s program for many years. He retired from the University in 1996. His wife, Eva, a former UChicago staff member, died in 2014.

Margaret C. Fallers, LAB’39, AM’48, died February 20 in Chapel Hill, NC. She was 92. Fallers spent most of her early career teaching at the Laboratory Schools and collaborating professionally with her first husband, anthropologist Llyod Ashton “Tom” Fallers, PhB’46, AM’49, PhD’53. She became principal of University High School in 1970 and several years later joined the University administration and rose through the ranks, retiring as associate provost in 1995. She is survived by two daughters, Winnifred Fallers Sullivan, LAB’67, JD’76, PhD’93, and Beth Fallers Lamanna, LAB’68; one granddaughter; and four grandsons, including Lloyd Sullivan, LAB’03, and George Arnold Sullivan, AB’04.

Harry A. Hoffner, the John A. Wilson Professor Emeritus of Hittitology, died March 10 in Hilton Head, SC. He was 80. Hoffner began his teaching career at Wheaton College in Illinois and held positions at Brandeis University and Yale before joining the Oriental Institute as a professor of Hittitology, the study of the ancient Hittites, in 1974. He taught at Chicago until his retirement in 2000. A cofounder of the Chicago Hittite Dictionary Project, Hoffner published extensively on Hittite history, language, and culture. He is survived by his wife, Winifred; one daughter; two sons; a sister; and two grandchildren.

Eric L. Simmons, retired professor of radiation biology, died October 14 in Bloomington, IN. He was 97. Simmons joined the University to work in the biology section of the Manhattan Project, studying the effects of radiation on plants and animals. He went on to teach biology at the University and pursue cancer research that pioneered the use of split-dose radiation, bone marrow transplants, and stem cell transplants to treat cancer. He is survived by his wife, Phyllis; a daughter; three sons, including David F. Simmons, LAB’71, AB’75, AM’76, and Greg Simmons, LAB’77; a brother; two granddaughters; and one grandson.

Ilga Vitolins, AB’59, AM’63, died January 6 in Oak Park, IL. She was 77. Vitolins was the head of original cataloging at the University of Chicago Library, where she worked for more than 40 years until her retirement in 1994. She trained generations of catalogers and worked to make the library’s nearly 12 million volumes more accessible to its patrons.


Melvin Gordon, a longtime supporter of scientific research at the University, died January 20 in Boston. He was 95. A graduate of Harvard University and Harvard Business School, Gordon led South Side–based Tootsie Roll Industries for more than 50 years, and with his wife, Ellen, oversaw significant growth and the company’s acquisition of other well-known companies, including Charms and Dubble Bubble. In 2006 the Gordons donated $25 million toward construction of the Ellen and Melvin Gordon Center for Integrative Science, designed to foster research that crosses the traditional boundaries between physics, chemistry, and biology. Gordon is survived by his wife, a life member of the Visiting Committee to the Division of the Biological Sciences and the Pritzker School of Medicine; four daughters; and six grandchildren.


Mary Josephine Greer Cameron, PhB’33, of Mobile, AL, died February 22. She was 100. Cameron worked in Chicago for the Socony-Vacuum Oil Company before marrying and raising a family. In Mobile, she belonged to a number of organizations, including the Junior League and the literary club As You Like It. She is survived by two daughters, a son, four granddaughters, six grandsons, and 15 great-grandchildren.

Harold Mayer Kaplan, AB’37, AM’38, died March 7 in Williamstown, MA. He was 99. A literary critic and poet, Kaplan discovered his passion for teaching at Rutgers University. He moved to Bennington College in 1949, teaching literature and creative writing for 23 years before moving to Northwestern University. Retiring from Northwestern in 1986, he continued to write and publish for more than 20 years. He is survived by his wife, Isabelle; two daughters; one son; and eight grandchildren.

H. Cary Coppock, SB’38, MD’41, of Lake Oswego, OR, died January 27. He was 98. A World War II veteran of the Army Air Forces Medical Corps, he practiced family medicine in Tacoma, WA, until his retirement in 1982. He is survived by his wife, Lillian; two daughters; two sons; nine grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren.

Harry H. Bernbaum, AB’39, of Highland Park, IL, and Longboat Key, FL, died January 28. He was 97. A veteran of the US Air Force, he founded the sporting-goods manufacturing companies Seaway Importing and High Sierra, and was one of the first US businessmen to go to China in 1979. A music lover, he was a lifetime trustee of the Ravinia Festival and the former chair of its Steans Music Institute. He is survived by his wife, Harriet; a son; two granddaughters; and two grandsons.


Thelma Brook Simon, JD’40, of Wilmette, IL, died February 7. She was 98. One of only two women in her Law School graduating class, Simon was chief clerk for three members of the Illinois Supreme Court; during her time there, she also served as the president of the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois. Later she worked in the state’s federal court system and taught at John Marshall Law School. She is survived by a son, two granddaughters, a grandson, and a great-grandchild.

Irwin Steinberg, AB’42, died December 29 in Brattleboro, VT. He was 94. After serving in the Army Air Forces during World War II, Steinberg began working in finance at Mercury Records in Chicago. He rose to president and then served as president of PolyGram Records after Mercury became part of that company in the 1970s. Later he was a consultant and taught at Columbia College in Chicago. He is survived by his wife, Dominique; a daughter; two sons, including Mark Steinberg, AM’75, PhD’88; two sisters; and four grandchildren.

Dorothy Jones, AB’43, AM’46, of Mukilteo, WA, died January 3. She was 91. Jones was a professor of sociology at the University of Alaska for 13 years, where much of her research and published work focused on the indigenous Aleut peoples. In 1981 she founded a feminist therapy collective and a few years later opened a private clinical therapy practice in Anchorage. She is survived by a daughter, two sons, a granddaughter, and four great-grandchildren.

Virginia (Kougias) Reichard, AB’44, died January 21 in Carlsbad, CA. She was 93. For nearly six decades, she lived in West Lafayette, IN, where she was active in community organizations. A lifelong advocate of public libraries, Reichard was also an accomplished photographer and a prodigious letter writer. She is survived by three children, four grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.

Mark Gorney, SB’45, MD’47, died November 17. He was 89. A veteran of both the US Army and the US Navy, he served as a medical officer during the Korean War. A well-known plastic surgeon who spent most of his career in San Francisco, Gorney also traveled to teach and perform reconstructive surgeries in developing countries. He is survived by his wife, Geraldine; a daughter; two sons; two grandchildren; a stepdaughter; two stepsons; two step-grandchildren; and a step-great-granddaughter.

Esther Levine Goldman, PhB’46, died January 24 in Virginia Beach, VA. She was 87. Active in the educational endeavors of her community and synagogue, Goldman taught in her congregation’s religious school and at an intercongregational Hebrew school. A proponent of interfaith dialogue, she gave lectures on Judaism at various colleges. She is survived by a daughter; a son, Daniel Isser Goldman, AB’72; seven grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

Arline Priscilla Johnson, SB’47, of Clinton, CT, died February 13. She was 90. Connecticut’s Home Economics Teacher of the Year for 1987, Johnson taught the subject for many years. After retiring, she worked for the Connecticut Department of Education as a mentor to new teachers and volunteered to tutor English-language learners. She is survived by a daughter, four sons, a brother, seven grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

Hans Freistadt, SB’48, SM’48, died February 1 in Oroville, CA. He was 89. Educated as a physicist, Freistadt lost his US Atomic Energy Commission fellowship after announcing his socialist convictions during a Congressional hearing. Unable to work in nuclear physics any longer, he enrolled in medical school and was an obstetrician/gynecologist for more than 35 years. He is survived by his wife, Sherry; five children; a sister; two grandchildren; and a stepdaughter.

Joseph R. Gusfield, PhB’46, AM’49, PhD’54, of Danville, CA, died January 5. He was 91. Gusfield studied the sociology of law, morality, and social movements, and is known for his work on alcohol use and drunk driving.  He was the founding chair of the sociology department at the University of California, San Diego, where he taught from 1968 until 1991. He is survived by a daughter, a son, and three granddaughters. His wife, Irma Geller Gusfield, PhB’46, died in 2013.

William Lawrence Korst, PhB’46, SB’47, SM’49, died October 20 in Los Angeles. He was 92. An inorganic chemist, Korst worked in the aerospace industry until the late 1960s, when he moved into education and taught chemistry at several California colleges and universities. He retired in 1992 and continued his own education, earning a master’s degree in linguistics in 1996. He is survived by his wife, Mary; two daughters; two sons; and three brothers.

Kenneth Stephen Brown, LAB’45, AB’49, MD’60, died February 11 in California, MD. He was 85. Brown spent 30 years doing genetic research at the National Institutes of Health, from which he retired as a captain in the US Public Health Service. He also taught graduate courses at the NIH and at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. He is survived by his wife, Eva Rau Brown, SB’56; a daughter; a son; three granddaughters; and one grandson.

Stanley Rosen, AB’49, PhD’55, died May 4, 2014, in Philadelphia. He was 84. A student of Leo Strauss in the Committee on Social Thought, Rosen taught in Penn State’s philosophy department from 1956 to 1994. He then joined the philosophy faculty at Boston University, retiring emeritus in 2008. He is known for advancing modern scholarship on Plato, Hegel, Heidegger, and Nietzsche, and making contributions to the fields of metaphysics and epistemology, political philosophy, rhetoric, and literary theory. He is survived by his wife, Françoise (Harlepp) Rosen, AB’52, AM’55; a daughter; two sons; two brothers; one granddaughter; and three grandsons.

Ann Cremin Byrne, AB’49, AM’67, died February 6 in Providence, RI. She was 87. Early in her career, Byrne helped to develop degree programs for adult students at Roosevelt University in Chicago. In Providence, she held a number of positions at the University of Rhode Island. In retirement, Byrne was a freelance editor, a ceramicist, and one of the founders of the Domus Luti Pottery Cooperative. She is survived by three sons, a brother, and two grandchildren.


Daniel J. Cavanaugh, PhD’50, of Stevensville, MT, died December 21. He was 92. A veteran of both the Marine Corps and the Army, Cavanaugh was a professor of chemistry at the University of Alabama and at Tulane University during the first part of his career; he later worked as a biochemist, retiring from IBM in Rockville, MD. Cavanaugh was a race car enthusiast and in retirement became a freelance photographer. He is survived by a daughter, two granddaughters, and five great-grandchildren.

Leonard du Bois Fountain, AB’50, SM’53, died on April 10, 2013. He was 84. Fountain was a professor emeritus at San Diego State University, where he taught mathematics for three decades. A Seventh-Day Adventist, he served as an elder in his church for 40 years. After he retired, he moved to Paris. He is survived by his wife, Geneviève, and a son.

Ann Sale Dahl, BSS’52, of Hamden, CT, died January 15. She was 84. A psychotherapist for many years, Dahl was active in Democratic politics and was an editor at Yale University Press. She is survived by two daughters, three sisters, two brothers, two granddaughters, two grandsons, a great-grandchild, a stepdaughter, and two stepsons.

Walter Fred Berns, AM’51, PhD’53, died January 10 in Bethesda, MD. He was 95. A conservative political philosopher and constitutional scholar, Berns studied under Leo Strauss at UChicago. He taught at several institutions including Yale and Cornell before joining the Georgetown faculty in 1979, where he reached emeritus status in 1994. He was awarded the National Humanities Medal in 2005 for his scholarship, much of which linked a strong democracy to the strong moral character of its citizens. He is survived by his wife, Irene Lyons Berns, AB’48; two daughters; a son; two granddaughters; and four grandsons.

Marvin Chirelstein, JD’53, of New York City, died February 16. He was 86. Chirelstein, a scholar of taxation, corporate law, and contracts, taught at the law schools of Rutgers, Yale, and Columbia University, retiring from Columbia as law school professor emeritus. The author of two widely used textbooks, he was a supporter of a progressive tax structure and a defender of the US tax system. He is survived by his wife, Ellen (Katzman) Chirelstein, AB’51; and a son.

Ronald Lee Rich, PhD’53, of Bluffton, OH, died November 28. He was 87. Rich taught chemistry at Bethel College and International Christian University in Tokyo before joining the faculty of Bluffton University in 1979. He conducted research at a number of institutions throughout his career, including Los Alamos Laboratories and the National Bureau of Standards. He is survived by his wife, Elaine; a daughter, Miriam Sommers Rich, MAT’83; three sons, including Andrew F. Rich, SM’78, PhD’89; two sisters; and six grandchildren.

Richard A. Karlin, AB’55, SB’57, died January 17 in Pittsburgh. He was 81. An electronics engineer, Karlin worked on a number of notable projects, including the first rockets to put satellites into space, early methods of videoconferencing, and the telestrator—the video marker used during sports and weather broadcasts to diagram plays or sketch weather patterns. He is survived by a daughter, Robin Karlin, AB’80; a granddaughter, Charna N. Albert, AB’13; and a grandson, Eli J. Albert, AB’10.

William P. Gerberding, AM’56, PhD’59, died December 27 in Seattle. He was 85. Gerberding was a political science professor before moving into academic administration. Appointed president of the University of Washington in 1979, he was known for leading the school through financial challenges and for increasing the prominence of the university’s faculty and research. UW’s longest-serving president, Gerberding retired in 1995. He is survived by his wife, Ruth; one daughter; three sons; and four grandchildren.

Richard C. Zimmerman, AB’57, died December 5 in Oak Brook, IL. He was 78. A physician who specialized in both internal medicine and cardiology, Zimmerman was an early advocate of integrating computers into medical practices. He served as staff president at two hospitals where he saw patients and formed a large primary care physician group now known as DuPage Medical Group. He is survived by his wife, Joy; a daughter; a son; and five grandchildren.

Frank Harper Burke, JD’58, of Groton, CT, died January 8. He was 81. Burke retired as senior vice president, secretary, and general counsel of the First National Supermarkets, later known as Finast. He is survived by his wife, Barbara; two stepdaughters; a stepson; and 10 step-grandchildren.

Anthony Smith Jacobs, MBA’59, died March 26, 2014, in Palm Desert, CA. He was 83. Jacobs’s first job was as a writer for the Sears catalog; later, he owned and ran a printing business and founded a private equity firm, the Wessel Group. He served on a number of corporate and nonprofit boards and volunteered for the International Executive Service Corps. He is survived by his wife, Connie; six children; a sister; four stepchildren; 15 grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.

Alexander Hilkevitch, MD’41, died January 1 in Wilmette, IL. He was 97. Hilkevitch had a five-decade career as a psychiatrist, working mainly with patients who required extensive therapeutic or medical intervention. He continued to be active after retiring in the late 1990s; just a month before he died, he taught a course on brain functions at National Louis University’s Lifelong Learning Institute. He is survived by his partner, Marilyn Richman; a daughter; a son; and four grandchildren.

Sanford Roy Schubert, SB’59, SM’59, died October 28 in Hermosa Beach, CA. He was 78. Schubert worked mostly in the aerospace industry, holding a variety of positions in the space and technology division of TRW and retiring as the division’s chief technologist. He was a passionate opera fan and a devotee of lifelong learning. He is survived by his wife, Mahlia Lynn (Zendle) Schubert, AB’59; a daughter; two sons; a brother; and seven grandchildren.


Hans Kobrak, PhD’60, of San Diego, CA, died February 4. He was 88. A particle physicist, Kobrak spent 30 years on the faculty of the University of California, San Diego. During his career he did research in experimental particle physics at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. He retired from UCSD as adjunct professor emeritus in physics. He is survived by his wife, Mariette; a son; two sisters; two brothers; and three grandsons.

Marna Shapiro, AM’61, of Wilmette, IL, died February 14. She was 76. Shapiro began her career as an English teacher in the Chicago Public Schools and later became a guidance counselor. She is survived by her husband, Loren A. Shapiro, AB’61, AM’65, AM’70.

Ticiang Diangson, AB’63, died January 29 in Seattle, WA. She was 73. Diangson spent more than 30 years working for the City of Seattle, where she focused on environmental issues and racial and social justice. She was a major force behind the city’s recycling program, helped to lead its Race and Social Justice Initiative, and was the first director of its Utilities Environmental Justice and Service Equity Division. She is survived by her husband, Greg Sletteland.

Fred A. Elder, SM’63, PhD’68, of Webster, NY, died March 29. He was 85. A US Army veteran, he was a longtime employee of Xerox, where he held more than 100 patents and published many scientific articles. He is survived by three daughters, one son, a brother, three grandsons, and one great-granddaughter.

Kathryn Flueck, LAB’60, AB’65, AM’68, of Golden, CO, died February 18. She was 71. Flueck cofounded and owned Essex Soccer Academy, running soccer camps in Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana. A paralegal for many years, she was an accomplished musician who taught piano and played in a recorder group. She is survived by three sons, including David Walter Flueck, MBA’99; her mother; her sister, Barbara R. Seidman, LAB’63; three granddaughters; and three grandsons.

Harriet B. Klinger, PhD’67, died November 27 in Lincolnshire, IL. She was 72. Klinger had a 30-year career as a chemistry professor at the City Colleges of Chicago. She was also a longtime Sierra Club volunteer who served on the board of the Chicago chapter and as a delegate to the club’s national council. An avid gardener, she founded the Saddlebrook Farms Flower Garden Club and was a member of the Gardeners of Central Lake County.

Robert Perelman Jr., MBA’68, died January 27 in Charleston, SC. He was 92. Perelman served in the US Navy during World War II as a member of the elite team later known as the SEALs; he was also a longtime naval reservist. He worked at Union Carbide for more than 40 years, retiring as a project manager in 1986. A dedicated volunteer, he gave time to his church and many other organizations. He is survived by his wife, Patricia; a sister; and a granddaughter.


Alberto Musalem, AM’65, PhD’71, died January 5 in Tucuman, Argentina. He was 74. As a lead economist at the World Bank, Musalem pioneered the idea of contractual savings, which involve regular payments into long-term investments like pensions. He also taught at institutions including Purdue University; several universities in Colombia, Brazil, and Argentina; and George Washington University. He is survived by his wife, María Inés Manzuri; a daughter; two sons; a sister; a brother; and 11 grandchildren.

John Wilson Dawson, MBA’74, died January 30 in McLean, VA. He was 68. A Vietnam veteran who served as a radar technician in the Air Force, Dawson worked at Mobil Oil and Fannie Mae. He was an athlete, traveler, and cook; a volunteer in the McLean Baptist Church; and an arts patron who supported a number of cultural organizations. He is survived by his wife, Ann Jones; two brothers; a stepdaughter; and a stepson.

E. Thomas Bailey, MBA’76, of Newark, DE, died January 11. He was 77. Bailey, who held a doctorate in chemistry from the University of Illinois, was the president and CEO of a computer repair store. An active member of Newark United Methodist Church, he volunteered in the library, assisted the homeless, tutored children in math and science, and served food to the hungry. He is survived by his wife, Lois; a daughter; a son; a sister, and three grandchildren.


David Elliot Eisenbud, SM’79, MD’81, died February 6 in Philadelphia, PA. He was 60. Eisenbud was a vascular surgeon with a particular interest in wound care and healing. He wrote and lectured frequently on those topics and founded Advanced BioHealing, a company devoted to regenerative medicine. He was also a past president of the American Academy of Wound Management. He is survived by two sons, his mother, and a sister.

Tom Zalan, AB’82, of Golden, CO, died July 15, 2013, of complications following a stem cell transplant for acute myeloid leukemia. He was 53. Zalan held a doctorate in geophysics and spent his career with Chevron, first in California and later in Africa, Indonesia, and Kazakhstan. He made a habit of learning the local language and customs of each place he lived. An accomplished golfer, he played the game wherever he went, even designing an indoor course in Kazakhstan for winter play and teaching the game to his Kazakh coworkers. He is survived by his wife, Sarah; a daughter; a son; and a brother, Stephen Zalan, AB’79.

Jon Iric “Jack” Roberts, AB’84, of New York City, died April 15, 2012. He was 51. A poet and novelist, Roberts was a professor of English literature at St. Thomas Aquinas College for 18 years; a Fulbright Scholar; and a lecturer in American studies at the University of Szeged, Hungary. He translated many Hungarian poems into English and was published in The Best American Poetry 1991. He is survived by his parents, a sister, and a brother.


Brian P. Murphy, JD’95, died of a heart attack on February 5 in New York City. He was 50. Murphy spent his career in public service, working most recently as assistant city manager for community development in Cambridge, MA. He was a city councillor in Cambridge and served as the Massachusetts deputy transportation secretary and as press secretary to former New Hampshire governor Jeanne Shaheen. He is survived by his wife, Katherine; a daughter; a son; a sister; and a brother.


Marvin Joel Dickman, AM’00, of Buffalo Grove, IL, died January 19. He was 71. Dickman spent 35 years as a certified public accountant at Arthur Andersen & Co., becoming a partner in 1976. After retiring, he earned a degree in Jewish studies at the University and taught Jewish history at synagogues and community centers. He is survived by his wife, Susie; two daughters; and two grandchildren.