The Rudolphs. (Courtesy University of Chicago News Office)

University obituaries
Recent faculty, staff, and alumni obituaries.

Faculty and Staff

John Eaton, professor emeritus of music, died December 2 in New York City. He was 80. An avant-garde composer and electronic music pioneer, Eaton wrote and performed in Rome and taught at Indiana University before joining the UChicago faculty in 1992. He was known for his use of microtones, notes that fall between the traditional 12 of the Western octave, and for using electronic instruments like synthesizers and the Eaton-Moog Multiple-Touch-Sensitive Keyboard. A 1990 MacArthur Fellow, Eaton shifted his focus from large-scale operas to shorter works while at UChicago and formed a troupe, the Pocket Opera Players, to perform them. He retired in 2001 but kept close ties to the University, most recently composing a work for Contempo’s 50th anniversary in 2015. He is survived by his wife, Nelda Nelson-Eaton; a daughter; a son; and a brother.

Leo Kadanoff, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of Physics and Mathematics, died October 26 in Chicago. He was 78. A theoretical physicist, Kadanoff taught at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Brown University before joining UChicago in 1978. He worked in statistical, solid-state, and nonlinear physics; one of his most important contributions was a model of how matter changes states. Kadanoff received many awards for his work, including the National Medal of Science in 1999. In 2013 an anonymous $3.5 million gift helped establish the Leo Kadanoff Center for Theoretical Physics at the University to bring together physicists from different specialties to tackle common problems, a recognition of Kadanoff’s interest in interdisciplinary work. He is survived by his wife, Ruth; three daughters, including Betsy Kadanoff, LAB’80; two granddaughters; two grandsons; and a stepdaughter, Michelle Ditzian, LAB’81.

Richard L. Landau, professor emeritus of medicine, died November 3 in Chicago. He was 99. A major figure in modern endocrinology, Landau completed his residency at UChicago and returned as an instructor of medicine after serving in World War II. He became a full professor in 1959 and in 1966 was named chief of the burgeoning endocrinology section. Landau and his colleagues studied the metabolic effects of hormones, work that led to the development of drugs still used to treat conditions like high blood pressure and heart failure. He was the first chairman of the medical center’s institutional review board, and in 1985 was presented with the Gold Key Award for loyal and outstanding University service. He is survived by two daughters, Susan Landau Axelrod, LAB’70, MBA’82, and Kay Landau Fricke, LAB’77; a brother, William M. Landau, AA’43; five grandchildren; and a great-granddaughter.

Raghavan Narasimhan, professor emeritus in mathematics, died October 3 in Chicago. He was 78. Narasimhan was a professor at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Mumbai and the University of Geneva before joining the UChicago faculty in 1969. Best known for his solution to the Levi problem for complex spaces, Narasimhan made contributions in the areas of several complex variables and analytic number theory. He wrote six books and many research papers and spent more than 40 years in UChicago’s mathematics department. He is survived by his wife, Lynn, and 10 nieces and nephews.

Christopher Rhodes, AB’98, editor of law and linguistics at the University of Chicago Press, died September 8 in Glenview, IL, of glioblastoma multiforme. He was 38. Rhodes was an editorial assistant with the American Library Association before joining the press in 2002, where he worked on publications including The Chicago Manual of Style and The Encyclopedia of Chicago. An acquisitions editor at the ALA from 2008 to 2012, he returned to the UChicago Press in 2013, relaunched the linguistics list, and acquired several influential books on law. He is survived by his wife, Nanette Perez; a son; his parents; and a brother.

Susanne Hoeber Rudolph and Lloyd Rudolph died December 23 and January 16, respectively, in Oakland, CA. Susanne, the William Benton Distinguished Service Professor Emerita of Political Science, was 85. Her husband and colleague, a professor emeritus of political science, was 88. Influential scholars of India, the Rudolphs taught at Harvard before joining the UChicago faculty in 1964. They spent every fourth year doing fieldwork in India and published extensively on the country’s politics and culture. Susanne taught several popular courses on identity politics at UChicago and won the Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching in 1973. She served as president of the American Political Science Association and the Association for Asian Studies. Lloyd was chair of the Committee on International Relations and the Master of Arts Program in the Social Sciences and received UChicago’s Faculty Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching in 1999. The Rudolphs retired in 2002, and in 2014 the couple received India’s third-highest civilian honor, the Padma Bhushan, in recognition of their scholarly contributions. Susanne is survived by two brothers, Lloyd is survived by his brother, and the couple is survived by two daughters, Jenny W. Rudolph, LAB’80, and Amelia C. Rudolph, LAB’82; a son, Matthew C. J. Rudolph, LAB’86; and three grandchildren.

Terence Turner, professor emeritus of anthropology, died November 7 in Ithaca, NY. He was 79. Turner joined the UChicago faculty in 1968 after doing research in Rio de Janeiro and teaching at Cornell. An expert on the indigenous Kayapo people of central Brazil, he published widely on their history and culture and became an advocate for their human rights. Turner was the president of the indigenous peoples’ rights group Survival International USA and a founding member of the American Anthropological Association’s Ethics and Human Rights Committees. He retired from the University in 1999 and returned to Cornell as an adjunct and later a visiting professor of anthropology. He is survived by his wife, Jane Fajans; two daughters; and a sister.

Benjamin Wright, PhD’57, professor emeritus in education and psychology, died October 25 in Chicago. He was 89. Wright, who spent his entire career at UChicago, was a collaborator of mathematician and psychometrician Georg Rasch and an influential proponent of Rasch’s measurement principles and models. Wright taught classes and ran an annual workshop at the University, coauthored 12 books, developed two widely used measurement computer programs, and cofounded two organizations, all based on Rasch’s work. He stopped teaching and researching after a stroke in 2001. He is survived by two daughters, Amy Wright, LAB’67, and Sara W. Baumrin, LAB’69, AB’73, MBA’78; two sons, Christopher Wright, LAB’71, and Andrew Wright, LAB’74; eight grandchildren; and one great-grandson.


Everett C. Parker, AB’35, died September 17 in White Plains, NY. He was 102. A minister and the founder and longtime head of the United Church of Christ’s Office of Communications, Parker successfully appealed to a federal appellate court in the 1960s to block the renewal of a local Mississippi TV station’s license because of racially biased programming. His actions led to Federal Communications Commission reforms and Parker continued to campaign for equality in the media after his retirement in 1983. He is survived by two daughters, a son, seven grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren.

Robert Dubin, AB’36, AM’40, PhD’47, died June 24, 2013, in Eugene, OR. He was 97. A US Army captain during World War II, Dubin taught at the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign before becoming head of the University of Oregon’s sociology department in 1954. He moved to the University of California, Irvine, in 1969, retiring in 1981. A behavioral science expert, he was the author of nine books and many articles. His wife, Elisabeth Ruch Dubin, AB’37, AM’39, PhD’46, died in 2008. He is survived by a daughter, two sons, and two grandsons.

Melvin Van Akin Burd, AB’36, of Cortland, NY, died November 7. He was 101. Burd taught school and served in the US Navy prior to joining the State University of New York at Cortland in 1951. An expert on John Ruskin, Burd wrote many scholarly articles on the Victorian thinker and edited four editions of Ruskin’s writings. The first named Distinguished Professor at SUNY Cortland, Burd also served as director of the Division of Arts and Sciences and chair of the English department. He is survived by a daughter, a sister, a granddaughter, and four great-grandchildren.


Marjory R. Long, EX’42, died October 23 in Naperville, IL. She was 94. Long taught elementary and middle school in La Grange, IL, for more than 30 years. Active in the UChicago Alumni Association, she enjoyed traveling, art museums, theater performances, reading, current events, volunteering, and caring for her cats. Her first husband, Charles Anthony Paltzer, PhB’41, died in 1951. She is survived by two daughters, three sons, seven granddaughters, three grandsons, a stepson, and eleven great-grandchildren.

Leo J. Shapiro, AB’42, PhD’56, died November 10 in Tucson, AZ. He was 94. A survey research pioneer, Shapiro founded Leo J. Shapiro & Associates in 1955 after applying market research concepts to government rationing policy during World War II. His research helped launch products like Kimberly Clark’s first disposable diaper and USA Today. With UChicago professor Hans Zeisel, Shapiro also honed the use of mock trials for jury trial preparation. He is survived by his wife, Virginia L. (Johnson) Shapiro, PhB’46, AM’51; a daughter; three sons, including David Shapiro, AM’88, and Owen Shapiro, AM’90, MBA’96; and five grandchildren.

Helen Hirsch Kent, LAB’39, AB’43, of Culver City, CA, died November 28. She was 92. A former teacher, Kent enjoyed classical literature and pop art. She painted, played several instruments, sang, and enjoyed the outdoors. Her husband, William P. Kent, SB’38, AM’41, PhD’50, died in 1976, and she is survived by two daughters; two sons; a sister, Jean Priest, LAB’43, PhB’47, SB’50, MD’53; eight grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.

Efrem H. Ostrow, SB’43, PhD’60, of Santa Barbara, CA, died November 6. He was 91. Ostrow was a mathematics professor at California State University, Northridge, for more than 25 years, retiring in 1989. He is survived by friends and family.

Carolyn Stieber, AB’44, of East Lansing, MI, died September 12. She was 92. A civilian employee of the US Navy during World War II, in 1957 Stieber became the first female faculty member of Michigan State University’s political science department. She was appointed as the university’s second ombudsman in 1974 and helped to found the national University and College Ombudsman Association. The 1986–87 Spartan of the Year, Stieber retired from MSU in 1991. She is survived by two daughters.

Irene Heilman Reith, MST’45, died August 9 in Concordia, MO. She was 99. A registered nurse, Reith taught at two Kansas City nursing schools before her marriage in 1951. She began working as a nurse and teaching again after her husband’s death in 1970, training and certifying 530 nurses’ aides in Concordia before retiring in 2000. She was an active community volunteer and led women’s Bible study at her church for almost 25 years. She is survived by a daughter, two sons, a sister, a granddaughter, and a grandson.

Courtney Bennett Lawson, AM’48, died May 15 in Evanston, IL. He was 94. Lawson taught English at Northeastern Illinois University for 35 years, retiring in 1983. He enjoyed classical music and was a member of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees and of Evanston Unitarian Church. He is survived by his wife, Lynn; a daughter; a granddaughter; two grandsons; a great-granddaughter; and two great-grandsons.

Evelynn Trippel Milbradt, EX’48, died September 1 in Downers Grove, IL. She was 90. Milbradt was the longtime plant and office manager for a German bridge-building company. She was the president of the Clarendon Hills (IL) Womens’ Republican Club and an active bridge player. She was predeceased by her son, Kenneth Bruce Milbradt, AB’82, and is survived by her husband, Ken; two daughters; one granddaughter; and two great-granddaughters.

Theodore Rall, PhB’47, SB’48, PhD’52, died October 25 in Charlottesville, VA. He was 87. Rall was a professor of pharmacology at Case Western Reserve University and the University of Virginia School of Medicine. An award-winning researcher, Rall contributed to the discovery of cyclic adenosine monophosphate, a biological signaling molecule. He was a talented singer and a steadfast Democrat. His first wife, Jane (Porter) Rall, PhB’47, died in 1993. He is survived by a daughter and a son.

Shirley Ann (Killoran) Severino, AB’48, of LaGrange, IL, died September 22. She was 86. A registered nurse, Severino worked at Loyola University Medical Center and Chicago Public Schools. She was an active member of St. Cletus Church Choir and the Sweet Adelines barbershop chorus, and was a longtime volunteer for homelessness advocacy group Beds Plus. She is survived by three daughters, three sons, two sisters, a brother, and 14 grandchildren.

Robert L. Weiss, JD’48, of Portland, OR, died August 26. He was 92. Weiss served as an artillery observer in the US Army during World War II, playing a pivotal role in the Battle of Mortain and earning a Silver Star, two Purple Hearts, and France’s Croix de Guerre heroism medal. After the war he practiced tax law in Portland for 50 years and was a supporter of the Nature Conservancy and local cultural organizations. He is survived by his companion, Norma Leszt; a daughter; a son; and a granddaughter.


Jean M. Cardinet, PhD’52, of Neuchâtel, Switzerland, died August 11. He was 89. Cardinet taught psychology and ran a research institute at the University of Neuchâtel. He was an advocate of improving the quality and ethics of psychological research and spurred the creation of 15 national test commissions around the globe. He received the Peter Hans Frey Prize in 1990. He is survived by his wife, Arlette.

Fauzi M. Najjar, AM’50, PhD’54, died October 26 in Lansing, MI. He was 94. Born in Lebanon, Najjar served with the British military during World War II. He taught at UChicago and his undergraduate alma mater, the American University of Beirut. In 1956 he joined the College of Social Science at Michigan State University, where he received a Distinguished Faculty Award in 1973 and retired in 1987. He is survived by his wife, Vivian B. Najjar, AB’54; two sons; a brother; and six grandchildren.

Joseph C. Rickard, PhD’55, died October 14 in Temple, TX. He was 89. An Army Air Forces veteran, Rickard became chief of psychology at the VA Medical Center in Temple in 1955, supervising doctoral candidates and establishing an internship program. He was also on the faculty of the Texas A&M medical school and consulted for local school districts. He is survived by two daughters, two sons, four granddaughters, three grandsons, and four great-grandsons.

David E. Christensen, AM’48, PhD’56, of Carbondale, IL, died July 28, 2014. He was 93. An aircraft maintenance officer during World War II, Christensen taught geography, cartography, and urban planning, first at Florida State University and then at Southern Illinois University. At SIU he also served as associate dean of the liberal arts college and chair of the geography department. He was active in the AARP and involved in community theater. He is survived by two daughters, two sons, a sister, and six grandchildren.

Martha Lou (Grove) Ellis, AM’55, of Los Alamos, NM, died January 26, 2012. She was 78. Ellis taught elementary and preschool for more than 20 years and was the director of a preschool for two years. In retirement, she was a “pink lady” volunteer at the Los Alamos Medical Center. Her husband, Walton P. Ellis, PhD’57, died in 2014 (see below). She is survived by two daughters and two granddaughters.

Walton P. Ellis, PhD’57, of Los Alamos, NM, died July 30, 2014. He was 83. Ellis was a research chemist at Los Alamos National Laboratory from 1957 to 1992 and published numerous studies in surface chemistry and surface physics. An avid traveler, he visited all seven continents. He and his wife are survived by two daughters and two granddaughters.

Jack D. Forman, SB’59, AM’61, PhD’73, of Philadelphia, died November 5. He was 77. A psychiatrist, Forman completed his internship at Philadelphia General Hospital and his residency at Hahnemann University Hospital. He served on staff at Abington Memorial Hospital and had a private practice. A gifted storyteller, Forman enjoyed books, ideas, and lively discussions. He is survived by his wife, Dianne; a daughter; a sister; a brother, Edward Forman, AB’70; and two granddaughters.


James Clements Conner, MCL’61, died November 19 in Newport News, VA. He was 83. A lawyer, Conner spent most of his career in private practice, first in Philadelphia and then in Washington, DC. From 1967 to 1974 and from 1991 to 1997 he was senior counsel at the World Bank’s private financing arm. In retirement Conner coached high school lacrosse. He is survived by his wife, Karla; two daughters; and a sister.

Michael C. Kotzin, AB’62, of Highland Park, IL, died October 17. He was 74. A leader in Chicago’s Jewish community, Kotzin taught English literature at Tel Aviv University before joining the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago in 1988. He was executive vice president from 1999 to 2011 and most recently served as special consultant to the president. An authority on anti-Semitism, Israel-diaspora relations, and other issues, Kotzin spoke and published widely. He is survived by his wife, Judith D. Kotzin, AM’91; a daughter; two sons; a sister; four granddaughters; and four grandsons.

William B. Provine, AB’62, AM’65, PhD’70, died September 1 in Horseheads, NY. He was 73. An expert on the history of population genetics, in 1969 Provine joined the faculty of Cornell University, where he spent the majority of his career. An outspoken critic of creationism and intelligent design, he wrote and lectured extensively on evolution’s relationship to atheism. Provine received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1985 and the inaugural David L. Hull Prize from the International Society for History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology in 2011. He is survived by his wife, Gail, and two sons.

Eliot A. Landau, AB’63, of Woodridge, IL, died January 4. He was 73. Landau was a civil rights worker in Mississippi, a Supreme Court clerk, and a law professor at several universities before becoming president of family and civil law firm Landau & Associates in 1980. A philatelic law specialist and avid stamp collector, he was an expert on Abraham Lincoln–themed postage. He is survived by his wife, Eileen; three daughters; a sister; a brother, Gary R. Landau, AB’65, MBA’66; two granddaughters; and one grandson.

DeLyle Eastwood, SM’55, PhD’64, died October 30 in Pullman, WA. She was 82. A physical chemist specializing in fluorescence spectroscopy, Eastwood did work for the Air Force, the US Environmental Protection Agency, the Army Corps of Engineers, Harvard University, and other institutions and agencies. She was proud of her role as a pioneer and mentor for female scientists and of helping the Coast Guard identify those responsible for oil spills. She is survived by two nieces and three nephews.

James R. Weistart, AB’65, died October 10 in Rochester, IL. He was 73. Weistart worked in public aid on Chicago’s South Side and was a member of the National Guard. In 1973 he moved to Springfield, IL, and spent 30 years with the Illinois Department of Insurance. He enjoyed riding motorcycles and growing garlic. He is survived by his wife, Rosemary; three brothers; two granddaughters; and a stepson.

Alvin J. Geske, JD’67, died March 15 in Kensington, MD. He was 72. After serving in the Army, Geske was an attorney and assistant branch chief with the Internal Revenue Service’s Legislation and Regulations Division and an attorney and assistant legislation counsel to the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation before entering private practice. He was active in civic organizations and an advocate for people with disabilities. He is survived by his wife, Cheryl, and two sons.

Lawrence R. Hinken II, AB’68, of Hammond, IN, died September 16. He was 70. Hinken taught in the Gary, IN, school system for 35 years and in retirement taught at Ivy Tech Community College. He was active in the First United Methodist Church and enjoyed participating in community theater. He is survived by a daughter, a son, a grandson, a sister, and a brother.

Ahmad A. H. Chalabi, SM’66, PhD’69, died November 3 in Baghdad. He was 71. Living in exile after the fall of the Iraqi monarchy in 1958, Chalabi formed the London-based Iraqi National Congress in 1992 with other displaced Iraqis who were opposed to Saddam Hussein’s 1979 takeover. The group formed close ties with American politicians and journalists and relayed intelligence about Hussein’s regime, including unsubstantiated reports of weapons of mass destruction, that helped spur the 2003 US invasion. Chalabi found positions in the new Iraqi government, most recently as head of the parliament’s finance committee. He is survived by his wife and four children.

Joan Mankin, AB’69, died September 26 in San Francisco of complications from dementia and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. She was 67. An actress and clown, Mankin performed with most of the major Bay Area theater troupes during her decades-long career. Also known as her clown persona, Queenie Moon, Mankin participated in local circuses and taught clowning and physical theater. She was active in women’s rights, social justice, and arts organizations. She is survived by her husband, Daniel Macchiarini; two daughters; a sister; and two brothers.


Michael Salda, AB’80, AM’82, PhD’88, died October 16 in Hattiesburg, MS, of complications from multiple sclerosis. He was 57. A medieval literature scholar, Salda joined the English department at the University of Southern Mississippi in 1991. He was department chair for several years and was known for employing technology like podcasts and online classes. He is survived by his wife, Monica; a daughter; a son; his mother; four sisters; and two brothers.

Elliott Lax, AB’81, of Tucson, AZ, died February 5, 2015. He was 55. Lax spent his career in education, teaching a range of subjects and overseeing programs and volunteer opportunities for high school students. Most recently he was the school coordinator for Refugee Focus, where he helped young refugees navigate the Tucson public school system. He is survived by his wife, Eneida Lima; a son; his mother; and a sister.

Donald Lorvig, AB’83, of Manchester, NH, died October 2. He was 54. A graduate of the Air Force Academy, Lorvig spent most of his career in software engineering and development, securing a software patent. He was an avid bassist and a competitive runner. He is survived by his daughter, his mother, two sisters, and three brothers.

Robert Malcolm Bordeman, MBA’86, died December 10 of multiple myeloma. He was 59. Bordeman was a vice president at Merrill Lynch before joining Safeway Insurance Group in 1995 as CEO. He is survived by his wife, Cathy; a son; three sisters; and two brothers. His son Andrew Malcolm Bordeman, AB’02, MBA’06 (see this page), died in November.


Eric Tschetter, AB’97, died December 13 of brain cancer in Chicago. He was 45. Tschetter tended bar and managed UChicago’s chemistry library and a college bookstore before joining Lillstreet Art Center in Chicago. Becoming executive director in 2009, he oversaw the center’s expansion to include new spaces and classes for more than 10,000 students. He is survived by his husband, Tony Breed, AB’93, AM’93; his parents; his step-parents; a sister; and a brother.

Phoebe (Robertson Johnson) Roberts, PhD’97, of Beverly, MA, died December 8, 2013. She was 47. A biomedical researcher at Biogen and Pfizer, Roberts was a pioneer in the use of text-mining tools to understand the scientific implications of previous studies and literature. She was also an athlete, completing multiple marathons and a 750-mile cycling event. She is survived by her husband, Frank; a sister; and two brothers.


Andrew Malcolm Bordeman, AB’02, MBA’06, of Hinsdale, IL, died November 9 of brain cancer. He was 35. Bordeman worked at Safeway Insurance Group with his father, Robert Malcolm Bordeman, MBA’86, who died in December (see this page). He is survived by his wife, Deanna L. Bordeman, MBA’06; his mother; a brother; and his maternal grandparents.