Recent faculty, staff, and alumni obituaries.
Faculty and staff
Richard Baron, professor of radiology at the University of Chicago Medicine, died May 4 of a heart attack. He was 68. Baron was on the medical faculties at the Universities of Pennsylvania, Washington, and Pittsburgh before joining UChicago in 2002, where he served as chair of the radiology department (2002–2011) and dean of clinical practice (2011–2013). An authority on diagnostic imaging of liver disease, Baron wrote hundreds of articles and book chapters, provided guidance to the World Health Organization, and received awards and honorary fellowships from multiple radiology organizations. He also lent his radiology expertise to the Chicago Cubs in 2003, X-raying power hitter Sammy Sosa’s bats to ensure they hadn’t been illegally filled with cork. Baron is survived by his wife, Shirley Baron, a clinical associate at UChicago Medicine; a daughter; a son; and a brother.
Jolynne Andal Biljetina, LAB’90, AB’94, a UChicago research associate, died of mesothelioma on April 19 in Lincolnwood, IL. She was 45. An education policy researcher, Biljetina worked for Chicago Public Schools’ Office of Early Childhood Education, the Erikson Institute, and NORC at the University of Chicago before joining UChicago’s Chapin Hall research center. There she worked on an evaluation of the federal Abandoned Infant Assistance program and was active with the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Technical Assistance Coordinating Center. Biljetina enjoyed playing the piano, hiking, biking, and traveling. She is survived by her husband, Eric; two sons; her mother; and a brother, Joel Andal, LAB’91, AB’95.
Roscoe Braham Jr., SM’48, PhD’51, professor emeritus of geophysical sciences, died May 28 in Cary, NC. He was 96. A US Army Air Corps veteran, Braham joined UChicago as a research meteorologist. He is credited with discovering the cell organization of thunderstorms and the coalescence-freezing mechanism of clouds’ precipitation formation; a book he coauthored, The Thunderstorm: Final Report of the Thunderstorm Project (1949), is still widely read by meteorology students. He cofounded the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, served as president of the American Meteorological Society, and received numerous accolades including the Silver Medal from the US Department of Commerce. Braham retired from the University in 1991 and became a visiting scholar at North Carolina State University. Active in his church, he enjoyed camping, woodworking, gardening, and genealogy. Braham is survived by his wife, Mary Ann; three daughters; one son; eight grandchildren; and 14 great-grandchildren.
Anne Pippin Burnett, professor emerita of classical languages and literature, died April 26 in Kingston, ON. She was 91. Burnett taught at Vassar College and worked as a translator and editor before joining the UChicago faculty in 1961. She became a full professor in 1970 and chaired the Department of Classical Languages and Literature from 1969 to 1973. A specialist in Greek tragedies and lyrical poetry of the archaic and early classical periods, Burnett published extensively, lectured around the world, and was recognized with a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1981. She retired from the University in 1992. Burnett is survived by two daughters and three grandchildren.
Eugene T. Gendlin, AM’50, PhD’58, associate professor emeritus of psychology, died May 1 in Spring Valley, NY. He was 90. A US Navy veteran, Gendlin studied under psychotherapist Carl Rogers and joined the UChicago faculty in 1964. Known for his work in experiential psychotherapy, Gendlin was the founder and editor of the journal Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, and Practice and wrote books for both scholarly and general audiences. He won awards from the American Psychological Association and other organizations for his work. In 1985 he founded the Focusing Institute to promote his mind-body method, which seeks to improve emotional health. He retired from the University in 1995. Gendlin is survived by two daughters and a son.
Philip Gossett, the Robert W. Reneker Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of Music, died June 13 in Chicago. He was 75. One of the world’s foremost experts on 19th-century Italian opera, Gossett joined the UChicago faculty in 1968. He exhaustively researched and published scholarly critical editions of the works of composers such as Gioachino Rossini and Giuseppe Verdi, unearthed forgotten operas, and collaborated with performers and production companies to bring operas to the stage. The first musicologist to receive the Mellon Distinguished Achievement Award, he also held Italy’s highest civilian honor, the Cavaliere di Gran Croce. He retired from teaching in 2010. Gossett is survived by his wife, Suzanne; two sons, David Gossett, LAB’87, JD’97, and Jeffrey Gossett, LAB’89; and five granddaughters.
Marvin W. Mikesell, professor of geography, died May 3 in Chicago. He was 88. Mikesell joined the UChicago Department of Geography in 1958 and chaired the department twice (1969–74 and 1984–86). His research focused on ethnic and environmental diversity in the Middle East and North Africa, global ethnic conflicts, and regional environmental degradation. The author of several books on cultural geography, Mikesell was also an adviser to the National Science Foundation, a member of the US National Commission for UNESCO, and a president of the Association of American Geographers. He continued teaching, including a spring 2017 seminar on the human geography of the Middle East, until the time of his death. Mikesell is survived by his wife, Reine.
Carol Bowman Stocking, AM’75, PhD’78, former researcher with the Mac-Lean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics, the Department of Medicine, and NORC at the University of Chicago, died March 20 in Chicago. She was 85. Stocking began as a secretary at NORC in 1963, working her way up to senior research positions by the time she left in 1985. In the early 1980s she became director of research at the just-founded Center for Clinical Medical Ethics, now the MacLean Center. Focusing on both end-of-life issues and how patients could be better cared for at every stage of life, she helped guide and train the center’s fellows. Her husband, UChicago anthropology professor George W. Stocking Jr., died in 2013. Stocking is survived by four stepdaughters, one stepson, 10 grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.
Delmor B. Markoff, AB’37, died May 12 in Norwalk, CT. He was 99. Markoff served in the US Air Force for almost 10 years, achieving the rank of captain, before beginning his business career. He worked for his family’s lamp company and consulted on several start-ups, retiring as a sales executive from Chatham Fabrics. Markoff is survived by his wife, Phyllis; three daughters; two sons; seven grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.
Vincent LeRoy Rees, MD’38, of Salt Lake City, died May 21. He was 104. Rees taught surgery at the University of Utah before cofounding the Salt Lake Clinic in 1949, serving two terms as president and medical director. He also practiced at LDS Hospital, where he established a surgical training program that later became a part of the University of Utah. Rees is survived by three daughters, a sister, 14 grandchildren, and 38 great-grandchildren.
Shirley Meyers Bilder, AB’41, died April 26 in Pittsburgh. She was 97. Bilder was a medical social worker for the State of Pennsylvania for 25 years. She enjoyed solving crossword puzzles, shopping for antiques, crafting, and reading the New Yorker. Bilder is survived by two daughters, a son, and a granddaughter.
Richard Bolks, AB’42, died January 8 in Foley, AL. He was 96. A US Navy veteran and former Psi Upsilon president, Bolks was a merchandise manager for Sears, Roebuck and Company for 38 years. He was active in the Presbyterian Church and the Methodist Church. Bolks is survived by his wife, Marion; two daughters; a son; six grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.
Paul Leslie Bunce, MD’42, died March 18 in Chapel Hill, NC. He was 100. A veteran of the US Army Medical Corps, Bunce became the first chief of urology at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine/North Carolina Memorial Hospital in 1952. While at UNC he consulted at the local Veterans Administration hospital, and in the late 1960s and early 1970s, he led a nonprofit, Music for Children. Retired for 35 years, he enjoyed gardening, stargazing, birding, and building model boats. Bunce is survived by a daughter, a son, a brother, six grandchildren, and a great-granddaughter.
Wallace Gilfillan McCune, MD’43, of Fort Washington, PA, died April 28. He was 98. A medical officer with the US Navy during World War II, McCune practiced internal medicine for 53 years. He was on staff at two Philadelphia-area hospitals and was also a clinical professor of medicine at Temple University. McCune is survived by a daughter, a son, and three grandchildren.
Velma Whitgrove Burke, AB’43, died March 20 in Washington, DC. She was 95. Burke worked as a public welfare analyst at the Congressional Research Service for 40 years, retiring in 2004, and was active with the Great Books Foundation for 55 years. Her husband, Vincent J. Burke, AB’41, died in 1973. Burke is survived by a daughter, Patricia Alice Burke, AB’76.
Carl F. Christ, LAB’40, SB’43, PhD’50, of Baltimore, died April 21. He was 93. After briefly teaching at Princeton and working on the Manhattan Project, Christ joined the economics faculty at Johns Hopkins University in 1950 and taught there for more than 40 years (and for six at UChicago). He was a pioneer in using statistical analysis to test economic theories and a dedicated mentor to his students. Christ is survived by his wife, Phyllis Christ, AB’45; three daughters, including Joan Christ, AB’77, and Alice Christ, AM’79, PhD’92; and five grandchildren.
Ann Pritchett Conner, AM’43, died April 22 in Lewistown, MT. She was 100. Conner was active in local women’s, book, and gardening clubs and volunteered regularly. She enjoyed attending arts performances and delighted in seeing her favorite baseball team, the Chicago Cubs, win the World Series. Her husband, James A. Conner, SB’26, died in 2001. Conner is survived by a daughter, a son, three grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren.
Ruth Schwartz Gruenberg, AB’44, AM’45, of Silver Spring, MD, died May 5. She was 94. Gruenberg taught at community colleges in Chicago before joining the sociology faculty at Montgomery College in Rockville, MD, in 1970. She retired with emerita status in 1990 and was active in community organizations, including the League of Women Voters. Gruenberg is survived by two sons, including Mark Gruenberg, AB’75.
Joan Linden Neff, SB’44, died April 6 in Nashville, TN. She was 93. A homemaker, Neff was an enthusiastic hostess and active in many civic organizations in Nashville. She was also part of a local women’s investment group that saw 19 percent average annual returns. Her husband, John Clarence Neff, AB’45, MBA’48, died in 2009. Neff is survived by a daughter; three sons, including Douglas Cameron Neff, MBA’73; eight grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.
Betty S. Peary, PhB’44, of Sarasota, FL, died April 14. She was 91. Peary worked as an elementary school teacher and a librarian, and celebrated her heritage by being an active member of the Sons of Norway. Her husband, Wendell H. Peary, AM’49, died in 1981. Peary is survived by a daughter and two granddaughters.
Sydney A. Thomas, SB’44, died April 14 in Waterloo, IA. He was 94. A US Army Air Corps veteran, Thomas practiced law in Waterloo for more than 40 years. He was active in several civic organizations and served as president of the local school board. Thomas is survived by two daughters, four sons, 16 grandchildren, and 13 great-grandchildren.
Mary Ginther, PhB’46, died April 26 in Chicago. She was 91. Ginther worked in flight control at what is now Midway Airport during World War II and later was a flight attendant for United Airlines. She enjoyed travel, politics, architecture, music, and nature. Ginther is survived by five daughters and seven grandchildren.
Arthur H. Cash, AB’48, died December 29 in Watch Hill, RI. He was 94. A US Army veteran, Cash joined the English department at the State University of New York at New Paltz in 1967 and taught there for more than three decades. Known as a biographer of English novelist Laurence Sterne, he was a finalist for the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for his biography of John Wilkes. Cash is survived by his wife, Mary Gordon; two daughters; a son; seven grandchildren; and a great-granddaughter.
Joan Robbins, AM’48, died May 5 in Greenport, NY. She was 90. Robbins worked in the international affairs department at Columbia University before becoming a social worker, retiring from the social services department of Suffolk County in 1986 as area supervisor. She enjoyed living by the water and in retirement worked to preserve Long Island waterfronts from development. Robbins is survived by two nephews and a niece.
Harvey Zartman, AB’48, SB’49, MD’53, of Anchorage, AK, died February 8, 2014. He was 86. A US Air Force veteran, Zartman was one of only three pediatricians in the newly admitted state of Alaska when he joined an Anchorage practice in 1959. He cared for generations of families over the following decades, retiring in 2001. He is survived by his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
William C. Krebs, AB’49, died April 9 in Youngtown, AZ. He was 96. Krebs spent his career at R. R. Donnelly, retiring in 1985 as a time estimator. He enjoyed writing novels, tending his rose gardens, and traveling. Krebs is survived by his wife, Sibyl.
Marvin Schuster, AB’49, SB’54, MD’55, died May 12 in Pikesville, MD. He was 87. Schuster was a professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and founding director of what is now the Marvin M. Schuster Center for Digestive and Motility Disorders. One of his patients, Morocco’s King Hassan II, helped fund Schuster’s research on gastroenterological diseases and motility disorders. Schuster retired in 2000. He is survived by his wife, Lois Bernstein; three daughters; a sister; and seven grandchildren.
Nathan Miller Davis, AB’50, MD’57, of Baltimore, died June 5. He was 85. A US Air Force veteran, Davis worked as a psychoanalyst in private practice for nearly four decades. He trained other psychoanalysts and was a past president of the Baltimore Washington Society for Psychoanalysis. Davis is survived by his wife, Leslie Posner; two sons, including Benjamin N. Davis, AB’80; four grandchildren, including Eleanor Pearson Davis, AB’12; and four great-grandchildren.
Maria I. Sperry, SB’50, died April 8 in Richmond, VA. She was 93. Sperry taught nursing in the Kansas City area for three decades and was a member of Christ Ascension Episcopal Church in Richmond. She is survived by a son, a stepson, six grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.
Edward L. Wallace, MBA’47, PhD’57, died February 2 in Naples, FL. He was 95. A US Air Force veteran, Wallace was a professor of business administration at UChicago who oversaw the 1958 installation of the University’s first UNIVAC computer. He then joined the University of Buffalo’s management systems and science faculty, where his work in medical epidemiology included contributions to blood supply safety. He later served on the New York Blood Center’s scientific committee and led a nonprofit health sciences organization. Wallace is survived by his wife, Mary Ann; a daughter; a son; three stepdaughters; and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Norbert T. Porile, AB’52, SM’54, PhD’57, died May 20, 2013, in Lafayette, IN. He was 81. Porile worked at Brookhaven National Laboratory from 1957 to 1965 and then joined the chemistry faculty at Purdue University, where he spent the rest of his career. A Guggenheim Fellow, he was the author of hundreds of research articles and spent his sabbaticals at universities and research laboratories around the world. Porile is survived by his wife, Miriam Porile, AB’53, AB’57; a son, James Lewis Porile, MD’88; a sister; and two granddaughters.
Evan Appelman, AB’53, SM’55, died February 27 in State College, PA. He was 81. An expert on the elements fluorine and astatine, Appelman joined Argonne National Laboratory in 1960. A 1973 Guggenheim Fellow, during the Carter administration he assisted the federal government in evaluating alternative energy sources. After retiring from Argonne in 1995, he volunteered as a tax preparer. Appelman is survived by a daughter, a son, and four grandchildren.
William H. Shimizu, AM’53, died April 7 in Arlington Heights, IL. He was 90. A US Army veteran, Shimizu worked in the Park Forest, IL, school district for more than 30 years as a classroom teacher, reading specialist, and principal. He enjoyed golfing, bowling, playing tennis, and watching Chicago sports teams. Shimizu is survived by four sons, seven grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.
Maurice Glicksman, SM’52, PhD’54, died May 26 in Warwick, RI. He was 88. An expert in semiconductors, Glicksman worked for Radio Corporation of America laboratories in Princeton, NJ, and Tokyo before joining the faculty at Brown University in 1969. He taught at Brown for 25 years, serving as provost and dean of the faculty from 1978 to 1990. A student of Enrico Fermi’s at UChicago, Glicksman chaired the board of overseers at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in the 1980s and ’90s. He is survived by his wife, Yetta; two daughters; a son; a sister; six grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
Frank Ezra Levy, AM’54, of Fort Lee, NJ, died April 23. He was 86. A musician and composer, Levy was principal cellist at Radio City Music Hall for 45 years and played the cello in several local symphonies and Broadway show orchestras. He also published more than 200 compositions and taught music at the New School and Brooklyn College. Levy is survived by his wife, Barbara Pogul Rivlin; two daughters; a stepdaughter; a stepson; a brother; and three step-grandchildren.
Richard D. Denison, MBA’56, of Winnetka, IL, died April 23. He was 87. A veteran of the US Coast Guard, Denison held financial leadership positions at Quaker Oats, Edward Hines Lumber, and First San Francisco. He enjoyed volunteering, sailing, and watching the Chicago Cubs. Denison is survived by a daughter, three sons, 12 grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.
Boyd L. Peyton, AM’56, of Hendersonville, NC, died April 26. He was 89. A US Army veteran, Peyton was division manager of market research at AT&T, where he made a point of promoting women and minorities into managerial roles. A native of Texas, he was fond of the West’s vistas and open prairies. Peyton is survived by a daughter, a sister, and a grandson.
Donald Roots Hall, AB’58, of Tucson, AZ, died April 30. He was 86. A US Air Force veteran, Hall joined the political science faculty at the University of Arizona in 1966. In addition to teaching courses on American politics at UA, Hall chaired the Pima County Republican Party for two years and later covered both parties’ nominating conventions for local media outlets. He retired from UA in 1990. Hall is survived by two daughters, a son, and three grandchildren.
E. Gerald Pires, SM’59, died March 13 in Portland, OR. He was 87. A Korean War veteran, Pires worked as a scientist at several laboratories. Later he became a rancher, raising longhorn cattle. Pires is survived by a sister and a brother.
Robert H. Keller, DB’61, AM’62, PhD’67, died February 26 in Bellingham, WA. He was 82. Keller taught at Western Washington University from 1968 to 1994 in subjects ranging from Supreme Court history to mountaineering to death and dying. In retirement he was an instructor in the university’s continuing education program. Keller is survived by his wife, Pat; two daughters; three stepchildren; seven granddaughters; and two great-grandchildren.
Robert M. Pirsig, EX’61, died April 24 in South Berwick, ME. He was 88. A US Army veteran, Pirsig taught writing at two universities. His book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values (1974) sold millions of copies worldwide, and Pirsig was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship shortly after the book was published. Pirsig is survived by his wife, Wendy Kimball; a daughter; a son; and three grandchildren.
Robert Benson, SB’62, MBA’67, died January 9 in Olympia, WA. He was 77. Benson served in the Army National Guard before becoming a management consultant. He later held leadership positions at Washington State’s Office of Financial Management, House Ways and Means Committee, Department of Social and Health Services, and lottery. Benson is survived by his wife, Maureen Morris; a sister; and two half brothers.
Ronald Clark Overby, SM’62, of Bellevue, NE, died May 6. He was 82. Overby served for 30 years in the US Air Force, reaching the rank of colonel and retiring as chief of staff of the Air Weather Service at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, playing golf, and cooking. He is survived by his wife, Grace; two sons; a brother; and five grandchildren.
Robin Bogeaus Seidenberg, AB’62, AM’63, of Grayslake, IL, died February 17. She was 76. Seidenberg taught college French and was a genealogist, later serving as copresident of the Illinois Genealogical Society. She is survived by her husband, Lewis; a son; and two grandchildren.
Bela Petheo, MFA’63, died May 3 in St. Augusta, MN. He was 82. From 1966 to 1997 Petheo taught painting and art history at St. John’s University in Collegeville, MN, and twice chaired the art department. He continued to paint in retirement, several times using his work to raise funds for charities. Petheo is survived by his wife, Kathleen; two daughters; and
Anne Elise Thal, AB’66, AM’68, of Tampa, FL, died January 27. She was 71. A therapist and social worker, Thal practiced and taught in Chicago, including at UChicago, and then in Tampa, where she also founded a suicide and crisis center, led a hospice, and ran a local theater company. Thal is survived by a sister and a brother.
Omar Otterness, PhD’69, died April 11 in Northfield, MN. He was 98. Otterness was a Lutheran missionary in China before joining the religious studies department at St. Olaf College in 1960. He taught at St. Olaf until 1986 and was active in the department’s study abroad programs. In retirement he helped start a continuing education program for seniors. Otterness is survived by two daughters, two sons, a sister, five grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.
Peter Poremski, MBA’69, died May 26 in Nashville, TN. He was 76. A US Air Force veteran, Poremski worked in marketing, holding positions with manufacturers in the South and Midwest. He is survived by his wife, Bonney; two sons; and a brother.
Gary D. Engle, AM’70, PhD’73, of Cleveland, died April 5 of a stroke. He was 69. For 40 years Engle taught literature, writing, and pop culture at Cleveland State University. He published fiction and cultural criticism during his career, and in retirement became a photographer, fiber artist, and wood carver. He is survived by his wife, Jean; and a brother.
Hugh McCann, AM’65, PhD’72, of College Station, TX, died February 22, 2016. He was 73. McCann joined the philosophy faculty at Texas A&M University in 1968, retiring as professor emeritus in 2014. He enjoyed traveling, singing with a local choir, and spending time with his family. McCann is survived by his wife, Janet; a daughter; three sons; and six siblings.
Thomas Steven Reif, AB’80, of Roswell, GA, died May 13 of cancer. He was 59. Reif was a litigation attorney specializing in real estate, corporate law, employment policies, and acquisitions. An assistant carillonneur at Rockefeller Memorial Chapel while in Chicago, he was a longtime member of the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America. Reif was active in his church, volunteering his talents as both a lawyer and a musician. He is survived by his wife, Ann McDavid Reif, LAB’73; two daughters, including Maggie Reif, AB’13; a son; his parents; and a sister.
Andrea “Drea” Louise Jenkins, PhD’16, of Midland, MI, died April 12. She was 33. An anthropologist, Jenkins studied the educational and economic opportunities for Native Americans. She enjoyed traveling and supported numerous charities. Jenkins is survived by her parents and her brother, James Robert Jenkins, MBA’93.