Jonathan Z. Smith, 1938–2017 (Photography by Chris Salata/Chicago Maroon)

University obituaries

Recent faculty, staff, and alumni obituaries.

Faculty and staff

C. Knight Aldrich, the first chair of psychiatry at UChicago, died November 3 in Charlottesville, VA. He was 103. Aldrich believed all physicians should have training in psychiatry and, as chair from 1955 to 1964, worked to incorporate psychiatric training into medical education. He coauthored The Student Physician as Psychotherapist (1963), a guide to introducing medical students to psychiatry. Aldrich also helped build the University’s sleep research program. He went on to work in community mental health clinics in Newark, NJ, and Charlottesville, where he also taught at the University of Virginia. In retirement he continued to advocate for improving treatment for the seriously mentally ill. He is survived by daughter Carol Aldrich Barkin, LAB’61; son Robert Aldrich, LAB’69; eight grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

Brian Baldea, associate director of athletics and the University’s former head baseball coach, of Oak Lawn, IL, died December 5. He was 62. Baldea was the winningest baseball coach in the program’s history, with a career record of 411–377–5. Before coming to UChicago he was an assistant baseball coach at Illinois State University. During that time Baldea coached a franchise in a summer collegiate league for promising college players, where he recruited and worked with about 40 players who went on to receive professional contracts with Major League Baseball. He is survived by his wife, Kathryn; a daughter; and a son, Anthony Baldea, MD’06.

Daniel S. Follmer, deputy dean and director of College Admissions at the University, died November 4 of cancer. He was 34. A graduate of Grinnell College and Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, Follmer joined the UChicago admissions office in 2008. At the time of his death, he was responsible for overseeing the office’s daily operations and helping design and implement recruitment strategy. He is survived by his wife, Jessica Rhoades; his mother, Anita Samen, retired University of Chicago Press managing editor; his father, David Follmer, AM’66; his sister, Sarah Follmer, AB’05; and a brother.

Morton A. Kaplan, distinguished service professor emeritus of political science, died September 26 in Chicago. He was 96. A scholar of international relations and a pioneer of systems theory, Kaplan is best known for his book System and Process in International Politics (1957). He is the namesake of a prize for master’s students in the Committee on International Relations, which he chaired before his 1991 retirement. Kaplan wrote or edited 30 books and more than 100 articles on a variety of topics in political science. He is survived by a son.

Jonathan Z. Smith, Robert O. Anderson Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in the Humanities, died December 30. He was 79. An influential historian of religion, Smith was a member of the UChicago faculty for 45 years. His fascination with the relationship between myth and philosophy as an undergraduate led him to an academic career examining the nature and history of religions across cultures, from Maori cults in the 19th century to the mass suicide in Jonestown, Guyana. He was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a past president of the Society for Biblical Literature and the North American Association for the Study of Religion, and a winner of the Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. He is survived by his wife, Elaine; a daughter; a son, Jason Smith, LAB’90; a sister; and a granddaughter.

David Lee Wallace, professor emeritus in statistics, died October 9 in Chicago. He was 88. Using novel statistical and computational techniques, Wallace and Frederick Mosteller of Harvard in 1964 solved a historical mystery, identifying James Madison as the author of 12 unsigned Federalist Papers. They published their findings in Interference and Disputed Authorship: The Federalist (1964). Wallace also helped devise new ways of forecasting election outcomes using early results, and worked with NBC on its election coverage in the 1960s. He joined the UChicago faculty in 1954 and served as chair of statistics from 1977 to 1980. He is survived by his wife, Anna Mary Wallace, AM’52; daughters Meg Wallace, LAB’75, and Kathryn M. Wallace, LAB’76; a son, Edward D. Wallace, LAB’80; a brother; and three grandchildren.

1930s

Jane Hoffer Seaborg, LAB’34, AB’39, died October 5 in Westminster, CO. She was 99. In the 1950s and ’60s, Seaborg taught in public schools in Downers Grove, IL, and was active in the American Association of University Women. In retirement she volunteered for adult literacy programs. An adventurous traveler, Seaborg once rode in a Jeep with sloths in Belize and slept on an ice floe in Greenland. Her husband, Earl W. Seaborg, EX’35, died in 1984. She is survived by two daughters, one son, nine grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.

1940s

Darwin Mayfield, SM’44, died April 29 in Pasadena, CA. He was 97. Mayfield taught chemistry at the University of Idaho and California State University, Long Beach (CSULB), where he also served as chemistry department chair and director of research. After his retirement from CSULB in 1990, students at the university created the Mayfield Outstanding Professor Award in his honor. Mayfield continued to teach in retirement, working with elementary school students and incoming freshmen at CSULB. His wife, Norma Mayfield, AM’46, died in 2012. He is survived by two daughters, one granddaughter, one grandson, and a great-grandson.

Georg G. Iggers, AM’45, PhD’51, died November 26 in Amherst, NY. He was 90. Born in Hamburg, Germany, Iggers, with his family, fled the Nazis and came to the United States in 1938. A scholar of European intellectual history, he began his teaching career at Philander Smith College, a historically black college in Little Rock, AR, where he became active in the NAACP and wrote a report crucial to the lawsuit that ultimately desegregated the city’s public schools. He continued his civil rights activism at Dillard University in New Orleans and the University at Buffalo, where he taught until 2007. His publications include The German Conception of History (1968), New Directions in European Historiography (1975), and Historiography in the 20th Century (1997). He is survived by his wife, Wilma Iggers, AM’43, PhD’52; three sons; four grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

Janet Caruk, PhB’46, MBA’49, of Palatine, IL, died October 11. She was 92. Caruk worked at Duff & Phelps, Booz Allen Hamilton, and BMO Harris Bank. With her husband, she traveled widely, including in France, England, and throughout the United States. Caruk is survived by two daughters, including Rosemary Caruk, AB’83; and one grandson.

Homer B. Goldberg, AB’47, AM’48, PhD’61, died August 29 in Minneapolis. He was 93. A World War II Army veteran and a Fulbright Scholar, Goldberg held faculty positions at Haverford College and UChicago before joining the State University of New York, Stony Brook, where he taught for 35 years, retiring as a distinguished teaching professor emeritus of English. A scholar of Henry Fielding’s Joseph Andrews, Goldberg wrote The Art of “Joseph Andrews” (1969) and edited the Norton Critical Edition of the novel (1987). He is survived by his wife, Bette; a daughter; a son; a sister; and four grandsons.

Roger H. Farrell, PhB’47, SM’51, died September 28 in Ithaca, NY. He was 88. A professor emeritus of mathematics at Cornell University, where he had been since 1959, Farrell worked on the application of decision theory methods to statistical problems. He authored two textbooks, Techniques of Multivariate Calculation (1976) and Multivariate Calculation: Use of the Continuous Groups (1985). Farrell is survived by his wife, LeMoyne.

Dorothy Baker Windhorst, AB’48, SB’54, MD’54, died August 27 in Princeton, NJ. She was 89. Windhorst helped bring the breakthrough cystic acne drug Accutane to market as the director of clinical research in dermatology at Hoffman LaRoche. In 1982 she became the director of clinical operations at Pfizer. During her career, which also included academic appointments at Washington University in St. Louis, the University of Minnesota, and Columbia University, she authored or coauthored more than 70 papers. She is survived by two daughters, a brother, a sister, and five grandchildren.

Richard Leftwich, AM’48, PhD’50, died November 10 in Bloomington, IN. He was 90. Leftwich was a professor of economics at Oklahoma State University from 1948 to 1985, serving as department chair for a decade. He directed the university’s Market Economy Education Center. Leftwich is best known for his textbook The Price System and Resource Allocation (1960), which was translated into eight languages. He was also an instrument-rated pilot with more than 5,000 hours of flying time. His wife, Maxine D. Leftwich, AM’44, died in 2005. He is survived by his son, Bradley Leftwich, AM’79; a brother; and a grandson.

Henry Odell, MBA’48, died October 30 in Seattle. He was 92. Odell was a cofounder of the Regal Beloit Corporation in Beloit, WI, which manufactures electric motors. He served as treasurer and executive vice president of the company until 1968, and remained on its board until 1994. Retiring from Regal Beloit after almost 40 years, Odell taught management and entrepreneurship at the University of Virginia’s McIntyre School of Commerce. He is survived by his wife, Evelyn; five children; a sister; eight grandchildren; and a great-grandson.

Elizabeth Bonner Head, AB’49, JD’52, died September 21 in New York. She was 86. The first woman attorney at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom and the first female partner at Kaye, Scholer, Fierman, Hays & Handler, Head began her legal career at the National Labor Relations Board. She served as Columbia University’s general counsel for seven years before her retirement in 1996. Her husband, C. J. Head, JD’52, died in 2017. She is survived by her daughter and her brother, William Bonner, AB’52, SM’60, PhD’65.

1950s

Barbara Scott Huszagh, LAB’45, AB’50, died September 7 in Naperville, IL. She was 87. After earning a master’s degree in social work, she was employed at a nursing home and an adoption agency. For three decades she taught English as a second language at the College of DuPage. Huszagh founded the Wheaton Youth Center in Wheaton, IL, and volunteered with the Wheaton Drama Club, the YMCA, and a literacy program at the DuPage County Jail. Huszagh is survived by two daughters, two sons, four grandchildren, and two step-grandchildren.

John A. Sonquist, AB’51, PhD’69, died September 20 in Santa Barbara, CA. He was 86. Sonquist served as director of computer services at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research before becoming a professor of sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His research and teaching focused on the application of computer science to the social sciences. A pianist since the age of 4, Sonquist enjoyed listening to and performing chamber music, and served on the board of the Piano Club of Santa Barbara. His wife, Hanne D. Sonquist, AB’54, AB’59, died in 2009. He is survived by two daughters, a son, five grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.

Morris Scharff, SM’51, PhD’53, died November 22 in La Jolla, CA. He was 88. A physicist, Scharff spent seven years at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California before moving to La Jolla to take a position at General Atomic, where he led a group working on Project Orion, an effort to build a nuclear propelled spacecraft. Scharff later founded S-Cubed (Systems, Science, and Software) and became a vice president at Science Applications International Corporation, leading a range of applied science initiatives. He is survived by a daughter; a son; and a grandson.

Bette Howland, AB’55, died December 13 in Tulsa, OK. She was 80. Her books include W-3 (1974), about her attempted suicide and its aftermath; the largely autobiographical Blue in Chicago (1978), about a working-class Jewish family; and Things to Come and Go: Three Stories (1983). Howland received a MacArthur Fellowship in 1984, the foundation praising her work’s “uncompromised, lyrical vision.” Howland was a longtime friend of Saul Bellow’s (EX’39) and exchanged letters with the novelist throughout her life. A new collection of Howland’s stories, Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage, is forthcoming in 2018 from a book imprint of the literary magazine A Public Space, which plans to reissue all of her works. She is survived by two sons; a sister; five grandchildren; and a great-granddaughter.

Lansing Raymond Felker Jr., AB’55, AB’60, AM’67, of Bethesda, MD, died December 6. He was 83. Felker served in the US Navy as a fighter pilot before embarking on a career as a policy analyst at the Bureau of the Budget and the Departments of Defense, Energy, and Commerce. He is survived by his wife, Barbara; six children; a sister, Mary Elizabeth (Molly) Lunsford, AB’52, AM’57; six grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

Meryl Steigman, AM’55, of Bethesda, MD, died November 19. She was 85. A onetime legislative aide on Capitol Hill, Steigman traveled with her husband, a foreign service officer, to four postings in Africa and one in Paris. For 25 years she was the executive director of the Bulgarian-American Society. She is survived by her husband, Andrew; daughter Daria Steigman, AB’83; son Jonathan Steigman, AB’86; a sister; and a grandson.

Paul R. Sellin, AM’55, PhD’63, of Los Gatos, CA, died September 24. He was 86. A distinguished professor emeritus of English at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, he published extensively on English and Dutch literature, Anglo-Dutch relations, and Anglican and Reformed Theology. His most recent book, Treasure, Treason, and the Tower: El Dorado and the Murder of Sir Walter Raleigh, was published in 2011. Sellin is survived by his wife, Ake Sellin-Weststrate; two daughters; and one son.

Martin Detmer, MBA’56, died October 11 in Glen Ellyn, IL. He was 89. Detmer joined Inland Steel in 1950 and rose to become president of the company’s container division. After retiring from Inland in 1988, he joined the commercial real estate firm Phillips Martin. Detmer also served on the boards of Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital in Wheaton, IL, and St. Xavier University in Chicago. He is survived by his wife, Jan-Ann; a daughter; three sons; 15 grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

Walter Rosenkrantz, AB’57, SB’57, died September 19. He was 79. A professor emeritus of mathematics and statistics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Rosenkrantz did research in mathematical modeling, simulation, statistical analysis of traffic on communication networks, and financial mathematics. Author of the 1997 textbook Introduction to Probability and Statistics for Scientists and Engineers, he retired from UMass in 2005, moving to Washington, DC, where he continued to teach, mentor students, and publish. He is survived by his wife, Linda; a daughter; a son; brother Gerald Rosenkrantz, AB’52; and two grandsons.

William Hoyt, PhD’58, died September 14 in Madison, WI. He was 89. A mathematician whose interests included algebraic geometry, elliptic surfaces, and modular forms, Hoyt taught for six years at Brandeis University and spent the rest of his career at Rutgers University. He enjoyed math puzzles and games, sang in several choirs, and was an amateur artist. Hoyt is survived by a daughter; two sons; a sister; and five grandchildren.

Michael Teller, AB’59, AM’63, PhD’85, died November 3 in Chicago. He was 78. Teller taught history for 30 years at Hyde Park’s Kenwood Academy, where he established a program to prepare students for legislative careers. Teller also led an annual trip to Springfield, IL, for Kenwood students participating in mock legislature and supreme court sessions. In retirement he volunteered at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Illinois Masonic Hospital, and the North Pond Nature Sanctuary. He is survived by his son and a brother.

Neale A. Secor, JD’59, died November 14 in Philadelphia. He was 83. Secor gave up a legal career to become an Episcopal priest, and until 1980 was rector of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Harlem, where he advocated for civil rights, gay rights, and the ordination of women priests. Later, he counseled visiting sailors at the Seamen’s Church Institute in New York, New Jersey, and Philadelphia, and expanded the church’s programs and services. He is survived by his husband, Ricardo Liriano; two sons; and four grandchildren.

1960s

James W. Knecht, SB’60, MD’63, died June 14 in Ocean, NJ. He was 78. In his career as a general and vascular surgeon, Knecht taught residents for almost 35 years and served as chair of the department of surgery at Jersey Shore University Medical Center. He also played violin with the Monmouth Symphony Orchestra for 46 seasons. Knecht is survived by his wife, Judith Knecht, SB’61, PhD’66; two daughters, including Mary Shepard, AB’89; and seven grandchildren.

Brenda Frazier-Clemons, MAT’62, died October 16 in Philadelphia. She was 78. A former Fulbright Scholar, Frazier-Clemons was an assistant professor of Spanish at Howard University, Rutgers University, and the University of Dayton. In 1988, after receiving her JD, Frazier-Clemons became the chief legislative aid to a Philadelphia city councilwoman. She served from 2003 to 2014 as a judge on the common pleas court. She is survived by her son, a sister, and a brother.

Philip Pitruzzello, PhD’62, died December 5 in Seattle. He was 94. A veteran of World War II, he taught in Fairfield, CT, public schools and rose to become principal of Ridgefield (CT) High School. After earning his PhD, he became superintendent of schools in Ridgefield and then in Herricks School District on Long Island. Pitruzzello was a professor of educational administration at New York University from 1968 until his retirement in 1988. He is survived by his wife, Ann LaBella; a daughter; son Philip R. Pitruzzello, AB’75 (Class of 1976); two granddaughters; a grandson; a great-granddaughter; and a great-grandson.

Mary Norton, AM’64, died September 13 in Saint Paul, MN. She was 77. An admirer of Jane Addams since childhood, Norton was a social worker for 30 years at agencies including a senior center; a county planning office; the Veterans Affairs hospital in Madison, WI; and the Geriatrics Clinic at the University of Wisconsin Hospital. She coauthored Coping with Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementing Illnesses (1993). Norton is survived by a daughter; two sons; two sisters; and six grandchildren.

Vanaja Dhruvarajan, AM’64, PhD’81, died December 14. She was 80. A scholar of gender and race, Dhruvarajan authored or edited many publications, including Hindu Women and the Power of Ideology (1989); Women and Well-being (1990); and Gender, Race, and Nation: A Global Perspective (2002). She held professorships at the University of Winnipeg, Simon Fraser University, and Carleton University and founded a charity to help girls in her native India receive an education. Dhruvarajan is survived by two sons, several siblings, and four grandchildren.

Arnold Gittell, MBA’65, of New York City, died October 3. He was 74. A graduate of Baruch College and the Hunter College School of Social Work, Gittell had a varied career that included stints as a market researcher, farmer, teacher, social worker, actor, and housing rights advocate. He is survived by his partner, Marsha Johnson; three children; a brother; and a granddaughter.

James “Sheldon” Danielson, AB’66, died June 3 in Tucson, AZ. He was 81. Danielson entered the College in 1952, taking a break in his studies to work at the Enrico Fermi Institute and the Chicago classical music station WFMT. In the late 1960s, he joined the University of Washington, where he maintained and computerized mass spectrometers. In 1995 he and a chemist colleague formed PhotoSense LLC, which developed new methods for measuring oxygen in a variety of substances. Danielson was also an amateur musician and astronomer.

Roger K. Chisholm, PhD’67, died September 21 in Little Rock, AR. He was 79. Chisholm was a professor of economics at the University of Kansas, Northwestern University, the University of Memphis, and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, where he also served as a department chair and dean of the College of Business Administration. He was an expert witness in cases on behalf of several Native American tribal organizations before the Indian Claims Commission. In retirement Chisholm became a lay pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA). He is survived by his wife, Jean; three daughters; a sister; and seven grandchildren.

Jean Harvey Lightfoot, MAT’69, died November 15 in Chicago. She was 81. At Fisk University, she joined the Jubilee Singers, an ensemble founded in 1871 and famed for preserving and performing spirituals. On a 1956 tour, Lightfoot performed 66 concerts in 56 days, bringing her lauded soprano voice to countries across Europe. She continued singing in Chicago’s John W. Work Chorale, which she cofounded, alongside her work as a teacher and administrator at Hyde Park High School, Kennedy-King College, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and Columbia College, where she was dean of students. She is survived by a daughter and two granddaughters.

1970s

Mary Jule Greeley Durkin, AM’72, DMin’74, died November 29 in Niles, IL. She was 83. The first Catholic woman in the Divinity School’s doctoral program, Durkin went on to teach religious studies at DePaul University, the University of Dayton, and Loyola University Chicago’s Institute of Pastoral Studies. Her books include Making Your Family Work (1988), The Suburban Woman: Her Changing Role in the Catholic Church (1975), and, with her late brother, Rev. Andrew Greeley, AM’61, PhD’62, How to Save the Catholic Church (1984) and Angry Catholic Women (1984). Durkin was active in many Catholic organizations, such as the Chicago Area Lay Movement and the Cana Conference of Chicago. She is survived by four daughters, including Elizabeth Durkin, AM’94, PhD’00; two sons, including John Durkin, AM’85, PhD’91; and 18 grandchildren.

Anne Marie L. Gonczy, MBA’73, died October 1 in Mount Prospect, IL. She was 72. Gonczy joined the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago in 1967, and over a 38-year career became a senior economist and assistant vice president, briefing the bank’s president on key economic indicators such as employment rates, retail sales, and gross domestic product. Gonczy is survived by her husband, Stephen; a daughter; and two brothers.

Richard Pelczar, PhD’73, died September 29 in Urbana, IL. He was 75. Pelczar served in the Peace Corps in Ecuador and joined the Inter-American Development Bank in 1974, working in Chile on education and other social sector development projects. Pelczar’s subsequent work with the US Agency for International Development and the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization took him across South and Central America and to Indonesia and France. He is survived by his wife, Lois; two daughters; two sons; a sister; a brother; and one grandson.

Mary Nissenson, JD’77, died of septic shock on October 23 in Greenbrae, CA. She was 65. Nissenson practiced law at Hopkins & Sutter in Chicago before embarking on a career as a broadcast journalist at WBBM in Chicago, WTVJ in Miami, WABC in New York, and NBC News. Her reporting on a labor crisis in Poland in the 1980s earned her a George Foster Peabody Award. Nissenson left broadcast journalism in 1988 to found Foresight Communications, a Chicago-based production company. After facelift surgery left her with severe chronic pain, she founded an advocacy group for fellow chronic pain sufferers. Nissenson is survived by her sister and mother.

1980s

Ravindra Rajmane, AB’88, died December 12 in New York. He was 51. Rajmane was the chief of pulmonology, critical care, and sleep medicine at New York University Langone Hospital–Brooklyn, where he had worked since 2015. He was a past president of the New York State Thoracic Society and an active member of the American Thoracic Society. He is survived by a sister and a brother, Kiran Rajmane, AB’98.

1990s

Brian Charles Thompson, AB’95, of Rockville, MD, died November 12. He was 45. Thompson studied philosophy at UChicago and went on to become a master furniture maker and carpenter. A stay-at-home parent, he volunteered at his children’s schools and coached their soccer and Odyssey of the Mind teams. He is survived by his wife, Teri Firmiss; a daughter; and a son.