Leon M. Lederman, 1922–2018. (UChicago Photographic Archive, apf1-10340, University of Chicago Library)

University obituaries

Recent faculty, staff, and alumni obituaries.


John H. Bryan Jr., trustee emeritus, died October 1 in Chicago. He was 81. Starting out in his family’s Mississippi-based meatpacking company, Bryan led the racial integration of its workforce before arranging the company’s sale to Consolidated Foods (later Sara Lee), where he was chairman and chief executive from 1975 until his retirement in 2001. Elected to UChicago’s Board of Trustees in 1986, he became a life trustee in 2006 and trustee emeritus in 2007. A philanthropic supporter of Chicago’s Orchestra Hall and Civic Opera House, he also chaired the Art Institute of Chicago’s board of trustees and the nonprofit corporation that developed Millennium Park. He is survived by his wife, Neville; two daughters; two sons; a sister; a brother; 13 grandchildren; and a great-grandson.

Faculty and staff

Leon M. Lederman, the Frank L. Sulzberger Professor Emeritus of Physics, died October 3 in Rexburg, ID. He was 96. A World War II US Army veteran, Lederman earned his doctorate in physics at Columbia University in 1951 and taught there until 1979, when he became director of Fermilab. In 1962 he and two Columbia colleagues discovered a new type of subatomic particle, the muon neutrino, which helped establish the standard model of particle physics, work for which they received the 1988 Nobel Prize in Physics. At Fermilab Lederman led the team that discovered another elementary particle, the bottom quark, and oversaw construction of the Tevatron, for decades the world’s highest-energy particle collider. Joining UChicago’s physics faculty in 1989, he advocated for science education and cowrote The God Particle: If the Universe Is the Answer, What Is the Question? (1993). Survivors include his wife, Ellen; two daughters; a son; and five grandchildren.

S. Courtenay Wright, professor emeritus of physics and the Enrico Fermi Institute, died November 22 in Chicago. He was 95. As a Royal Navy radar officer, Wright was among the first to know about the impending launch of the D-Day invasion. After World War II he studied nuclear physics under J. Robert Oppenheimer at the University of California, Berkeley, and was recruited by Enrico Fermi to join UChicago’s physics department in 1949. He taught there for more than four decades while conducting particle accelerator research on proton structure, quark structure function, and muon decay. A political activist, he worked with the JASON group of scientific experts to advise the US government against using nuclear weapons in the Vietnam War. He is survived by his wife, Sara Paretsky, AM’69, MBA’77, PhD’77; three sons, including Timothy Wright, LAB’69, and Philip W. Wright, LAB’73; and a grandchild.

Smilja Jakovcic Rabinowitz, retired research associate professor, died October 10 in Chicago. She was 92. A native of Croatia, Jakovcic Rabinowitz taught at Northwestern University before moving to UChicago in 1966 as a research fellow studying mitochondrial development in rats and yeast. She later joined the cardiopulmonary laboratory led by her husband, Murray Rabinowitz, the Louis Block Professor of Medicine and Biochemistry, where they studied cardiac hypertrophy and mitochondrial biogenesis. She mentored many graduate students and research fellows before retiring in 1999. Her husband died in 1983. She is survived by extended family.

Riccardo Levi-Setti, professor emeritus of physics and the Enrico Fermi Institute, died November 8 in Chicago. He was 91. A Holocaust survivor and Italian resistance fighter, Levi-Setti came to UChicago as a research associate in 1956 and led a four-decade career at the University. Specializing in particle physics, he discovered the first hyperons and heavy mesons and studied cosmic rays. From 1992 to 1998 he directed the Enrico Fermi Institute. An optics expert and fossil collector, he developed a scanning transmission ion microscope to image biological specimens and wrote three books about trilobites. He is survived by his wife, Nika Semkoff Levi-Setti, LAB’70, MST’84; two sons, including Matteo G. Levi-Setti, AB’90, MD’96; and two grandchildren.

Leslie J. DeGroot, professor emeritus of medicine and radiology, died October 23 in South Dartmouth, MA. He was 90. A leading endocrinologist who specialized in thyroid diseases, DeGroot joined UChicago’s faculty in 1968 to direct his own research program, investigating thyroid hormone resistance syndrome, thyroid cancer, and autoimmune thyroid disease. UChicago Medicine’s longtime chief of endocrinology, he served as the American Thyroid Association’s president in 1973, published the medical textbooks Endocrinology (1979) and The Thyroid and Its Diseases (1984), and received many honors. In 2005 he joined Brown University and in 2008 helped found the University of Rhode Island’s Institute for Immunology and Informatics. He is survived by his wife, Helen; four daughters, Anne S. DeGroot, LAB’73, MD’83, Katie DeGroot, LAB’73, Elyse Donner DeGroot, LAB’75, and Jessica O. DeGroot, LAB’79; a son, Henry DeGroot III, LAB’77, AB’82, MD’87; and 11 grandchildren.

Willard F. Jabusch, former chaplain and director of Calvert House, of Skokie, IL, died December 8. He was 88. A Catholic priest in the Archdiocese of Chicago, Jabusch earned a doctorate in rhetoric and taught at University of St. Mary of the Lake’s Mundelein Seminary for more than 20 years before joining Calvert House, where he served UChicago’s Catholic community from 1990 to 2001. He returned to Calvert House as interim chaplain and director in 2005. A composer of religious music and author of books on Catholic worship, he published several collections of his hymns and wrote The Spoken Christ: Reading and Preaching the Transforming Word (1990). He is survived by a sister.

Joel Kraemer, the John Henry Barrows Professor Emeritus in the Divinity School, died October 11 in Chicago. He was 85. A scholar of Jewish and Islamic thought and literature, Kraemer taught at Yale University and Tel Aviv University before joining the Divinity School in 1993. He also held appointments in the John U. Nef Committee on Social Thought, the Committee on Jewish Studies, and the Center for Middle Eastern Studies. An expert on classical antiquity’s influence on the medieval Jewish and Islamic worlds, Kraemer wrote Maimonides: The Life and World of One of Civilization’s Greatest Minds (2008) and researched Judeo-Arabic women’s manuscripts from the Cairo genizah. He is survived by his wife, Aviva; three daughters; and nine grandchildren.

Arunas L. Liulevicius, AB’54, SM’57, PhD’60, professor emeritus of mathematics, died December 21 in Knoxville, TN. He was 84. A Lithuanian refugee during and after World War II, Liulevicius lived in displaced person camps in Germany before emigrating to the United States in 1949. After earning a doctorate in algebraic topology, he became a member of the UChicago mathematics faculty in 1963. He twice earned the Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, and he wrote and edited several research volumes, including Algebraic Topology (1971). An advocate for Lithuania’s independence from the Soviet Union, he coedited The Gift of Vilnius: A Photographic Document in Defense of Freedom (1991). He is survived by his wife, Ausrele J. Liulevicius, AM’71, CER’04; two sons, Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius, LAB’84, AB’88, and Gytis Liulevicius, LAB’86; a sister; and three grandchildren.

Joan Merlin Palmer, SB’63, AM’82, died September 3 in Chicago. She was 75. Palmer worked at UChicago for more than a decade as an inorganic chemist and researched transition metal complexes. She later became a social worker and provided clinical social services at UChicago Medicine and other organizations. She was on the UChicago School of Social Service Administration’s adjunct faculty for more than two decades. She is survived by her husband, Patrick E. Palmer, SB’63, professor emeritus of astronomy and astrophysics and the College; a daughter; two sons, Aidan Palmer, LAB’92, and David E. Palmer, LAB’98; a sister; and six grandchildren.

Anthony “Tony” Montag, clinical professor of pathology and associate dean for admissions at UChicago Medicine, died of prostate cancer November 9 in Chicago. He was 64. A member of the faculty since 1985, Montag treated patients with bone, soft tissue, and gynecological tumors and did research on metastasis and the expression of steroid receptors in bone and soft tissue tumors. He was recognized as a fellow and clinical peer by the Pritzker School of Medicine’s Academy of Distinguished Medical Educators and received Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society’s teaching award. He is survived by his wife, Katherine L. Griem, LAB’74; a daughter, Caroline Montag, LAB’13; two sons, Hugh Montag, LAB’07, and William Montag, LAB’09; a sister; and three brothers.

Eric Lundstedt, chief advancement officer of Chicago Booth, of Wilmette, IL, died of gall bladder cancer November 4. He was 49. Lundstedt worked in alumni relations and development at the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law, Stanford Law School, and Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, among other institutions, and served as UChicago Law School’s associate dean for external affairs before joining Chicago Booth as interim associate dean of advancement in 2016. Later named associate dean and then chief advancement officer, he oversaw the merger of Chicago Booth’s alumni relations and development departments and led the school’s fundraising. He is survived by his wife, Marya; a daughter; two sons; his parents; a sister; and a brother.


Augusta “Gus” (Gudas) Bloom, AB’40, of Evanston, IL, died February 27, 2018. She was 98. A librarian before and after raising her family, Bloom worked at the former Chicago Public Library main branch, Kennedy-King College Library, and the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Chicago regional office library. Her husband, Charles G. Bloom, AM’63, died in 1987. She is survived by a daughter, Elizabeth G. Albert, MAT’80, AM’84; a son; and two grandchildren.

Constance Sutton, PhB’46, AM’54, died August 23 in New York City. She was 92. Associate professor emerita of anthropology at New York University and the first woman to chair the department at the school’s former University Heights campus, Sutton was a scholar of Afro-Caribbean culture who worked as an assistant to Margaret Mead and later studied sugarcane workers and the labor movement in Barbados, gender and power in the Caribbean and West Africa, and transnational migration. A feminist activist, she helped develop the International Women’s Anthropology Conference in the 1980s. Her second husband, Samuel Sutton, PhD’55, died in 1986. She is survived by her husband, Antonio Lauria; a son, David E. Sutton, AB’85, AM’88, PhD’95; a sister; and two grandchildren.

Alice James, AM’47, of Chicago, died December 10, 2017. She was 98. James was a social worker for the Juvenile Protective Association and Children’s Home and Aid Society, where she twice served as acting director. A volunteer docent captain at the Oriental Institute, she was a longtime board member of the Hyde Park Neighborhood Club.

Sara Prince Anastaplo, AM’49, died January 15, 2018. She was 91. Anastaplo was a fact-checker for the television show College Bowl, worked for the American School of Correspondence, and coordinated the University of Chicago Directory. Her husband, George Anastaplo, AB’48, JD’51, PhD’64, died in 2014. She is survived by three daughters, Helen Scharbach Newlin, LAB’67, JD’75, CER’02, Miriam I. Redleaf, LAB’73, MD’87, and Theodora M. Anastaplo, LAB’81, AM’88; a son, George M. D. Anastaplo, LAB’71; three siblings; eight grandchildren, including Rebecca S. Wollenberg, LAB’96, AB’02, PhD’15, Lucinda A. Scharbach, LAB’98, AB’02, Peter Scharbach, LAB’01, Isaac Redleaf, LAB’04, Zenebesh Redleaf, LAB’06; Sahai A. Redleaf, LAB’07, and Hanna Redleaf, LAB’09; and three great-grandchildren.

Robert A. Plane, SM’49, PhD’51, died August 6 in Albuquerque, NM. He was 90. An inorganic chemist, Plane taught for more than two decades at Cornell University, where he and colleague Michell Sienko wrote Chemistry (1957), once the world’s most widely used college chemistry textbook. After serving as Cornell’s provost, he was president first of Clarkson University (1974–85) and then of Wells College (1991–95). His first wife, Georgia Ames Plane, EX’50, died in 1961. He is survived by his wife, Mary; three daughters; a son; a sister; seven grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.

Nancy Grace Roman, PhD’49, died December 26 in Germantown, MD. She was 93. The first woman on UChicago’s astronomy faculty, Roman left to work in radio astronomy at the US Naval Research Laboratory and in 1959 became chief of NASA’s newly established astronomy program, which she built and led for the next two decades. Overseeing plans for the Hubble Telescope, she laid groundwork for what would become the first large optical telescope in space. Known as “mother of Hubble,” she was recognized with a Federal Women’s Award and a NASA astrophysics fellowship in her name, among other honors.

James F. Short Jr., AM’49, PhD’51, died May 13 in Pullman, WA. He was 93. Short was professor emeritus of sociology at Washington State University, where he taught from 1951 until his retirement in 1997. He directed the Youth Studies Project, an influential field study of Chicago street gangs; codirected research for the US National Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence; and was founding director of Washington State University’s Social and Economic Sciences Research Center. He is survived by a daughter, a son, two brothers, two grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.


Frederick Gale White, JD’51, died July 25 in Cedar Falls, IA. He was 91. A cryptographic technician in the US Army Air Corps during World War II, White spent his 60-year career practicing law in northeast Iowa, where he served as a trial attorney and as Black Hawk County’s assistant attorney. He helped found Iowa Legal Aid and was a member of the Iowa Academy of Trial Lawyers and the Iowa Board of Bar Examiners. He is survived by his wife, Ruth, and a daughter.

Sylvia Knauss Klein, LAB’48, AB’52, died February 24, 2018, in Washington, DC. She was 85. A devoted wife and mother, Klein had a passion for studying history and philosophy. Her husband, John J. Klein, AM’52, PhD’55, died in 2008. She is survived by her daughter, Leslie Funk, AB’78, and two granddaughters.

Halliman H. Winsborough, AB’52, AM’59, PhD’61, of Madison, WI, died September 5. He was 86. Winsborough was the Emma Welsch Conway-Bascom Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where he taught for more than three decades. A demographer with computing expertise, he directed the school’s Center for Demography and Ecology, expanding it into the Social Science Computing Cooperative. He is survived by his wife, Shirley Hale Winsborough, AB’58, and a son.

Robert Smith Bader, PhD’54, died August 4 in Burlington, KS. He was 93. A World War II US Navy veteran, Bader taught at the University of Florida and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign before becoming professor of biology and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Missouri–St. Louis. Author of The Great Kansas Bond Scandal (1984) and other books on Kansas history, he later taught history at universities in the state. He is survived by his wife, Myra; four sons; a sister; nine grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

Robert S. Lerner, AB’54, MBA’56, died in August in Helsinki. He was 85. Formerly a stockbroker for Dean Witter & Co. and administrator of Roosevelt Memorial Hospital, Lerner traded commodities at the Chicago Board of Trade and stock index futures at the Sydney Futures Exchange. He is survived by his wife, Hannele Cobb; two daughters; a son, Richard D. Lerner, AB’80; and three grandchildren.

Wallace “Wally” G. Lonergan, MBA’55, PhD’60, died August 27 in Caldwell, ID. He was 90. A Korean War US Army veteran, Lonergan taught in the University’s Graduate School of Business and directed its industrial relations/human resources center before joining the College of Idaho, where he was professor of business management and economics from 1987 to 2013. Ordained an Episcopal priest in 1997, he served a Caldwell congregation until 2015. Survivors include his wife, Luise Eadie; a son, Steven Lonergan, LAB’72; three stepsons; and six grandchildren.

Joan Yvette (Sembly) Harris, AM’56, died August 21 in Laurel, MD. She was 85. After working at the Children’s Service Society of Wisconsin and the Travelers Aid Society of Baltimore, Harris joined Baltimore City Public Schools and from 1977 to 1992 was the administrator in charge of its School Social Work Service. She later served on the National Association of Social Workers’ Commission on Education and the Maryland Health Resources Planning Commission. She is survived by a daughter, a son, two sisters, a brother, and three grandchildren.

Laszlo F. Biritz, PhD’58, of Vienna, died May 17. He was 91. Biritz left his native Hungary after World War II to study chemical engineering in Allied-occupied Austria. After emigrating to the United States in 1951 and earning his doctorate in chemistry, he worked for Borg-Warner’s Marbon Chemical division in Amsterdam and later became director of industrial technology for the United Nations Industrial Development Organization in Vienna. He is survived by his wife, Sigrid; a daughter; two sons; and four grandchildren.

M. Edward Davis Jr., LAB’53, AB’59, MBA’59, died April 9 in Indianapolis. He was 80. Davis worked for most of his career at the commercial printing company RR Donnelly, later joining the United Way of Chicago as a fundraiser. He is survived by his wife, Jane; a daughter; and three sons.

Alan B. Anderson, DB’59, AM’66, PhD’75, died September 3 in Bowling Green, KY. He was 83. Anderson taught at the UChicago Divinity School, Wilberforce University, and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro before becoming head of Western Kentucky University’s philosophy and religion department in 1985, where he remained for 27 years. A civil rights activist, he cowrote Confronting the Color Line: The Broken Promise of the Civil Rights Movement in Chicago (1986). He is survived by his wife, Denise; two daughters; and four grandchildren.

James Gordon Emerson Jr., PhD’59, of San Francisco, died September 12. He was 92. A Presbyterian minister, Emerson served as general director of New York City’s Community Service Society and senior pastor at Denver’s Central Presbyterian Church before leading San Francisco’s Calvary Presbyterian Church from 1979 to 1989. He then served as a missionary in India, Taiwan, China, Korea, Thailand, and Indonesia. He is survived by a daughter, two sons, eight grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.


Kenneth Lance Haddix, AB’61, died January 13, 2018, in Syracuse, NY. He was 78. Recipient of the College’s Howell Murray Alumni Association Award for his contributions to campus life, Haddix earned a JD and worked in loan and real estate law at Chicago’s American National Bank before he was appointed the Illinois Racing Board’s state director of mutuels in 1973. He served on the Illinois ACLU’s board of directors and appeared before the US Supreme Court in a 1979 case involving political ballot access. He is survived by his wife, Madelynn; two sons; and two grandchildren.

Barbara J. Hillman, AB’63, JD’66, died June 5 in Chicago. She was 75. A labor lawyer and civil rights activist, Hillman joined the Chicago firm Cornfield and Feldman in the mid-1960s and became partner in 1971. She helped organize tenant unions during the Chicago Freedom Movement, represented the nonprofit Treatment Alternatives to Street Crime, and served as chief counsel in contract negotiations for the American Guild of Musical Artists.

Peter A. McCarron, MBA’64, of St. Paul, MN, died September 9. He was 82. A onetime first lieutenant in the US Army Corps of Engineers, McCarron spent nearly four decades as a research and development chemist in 3M Company’s new product development, new business acquisitions, and information technology divisions. He is survived by his wife, Margaret; two daughters; a son; a sister; two brothers; and 11 grandchildren.

Richard Elden, MBA’66, died June 27 in Chicago. He was 84. A former Chicago business reporter who became an investment analyst for brokerage and investment bank A. G. Becker & Co., Elden founded Grosvenor Partners, now GCM Grosvenor, in 1971. He led the hedge fund management firm until 2005. He was later a principal in Lakeview Investment Manager, a fund focused on activist investors. He is survived by his wife, Gail M. Elden, LAB’51, AM’73; a daughter; a son, Thomas Elden, AB’86; and a sister, Joan (Elden) Feitler, AM’55.

Melvin “Mel” M. Shields, AB’67, MAT’69, died September 21 in Reno, NV. He was 73. After a stint as a Chicago-area high school teacher, Shields moved to Reno and taught English at two local high schools during his three-decade career. In his sideline as an entertainment writer, he covered Nevada casino shows for Variety and the Sacramento Bee. He is survived by a brother.

Nancy Patricia Kelly, AB’69, died September 24 in Oakland, CA. She was 71. A lawyer and social justice activist, Kelly worked as an administrative law judge for the State of California. She is survived by two sisters.


John Iversen, AB’71, died of a stroke October 1 in Berkeley, CA. He was 69. Active in anti–Vietnam War demonstrations at UChicago, Iverson, who was a member of the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa, worked with the United Farm Workers in Madison, WI, before participating in the 1973 Wounded Knee incident. He later became an HIV/AIDS rights activist in the San Francisco Bay Area, helping found ACT UP/East Bay and the Berkeley Needle Exchange. He is survived by a brother and his mother.

Elizabeth Lamb Wegener, AM’72, of Madison, WI, died May 20. She was 97. Wegener taught for two decades at Walter Scott Elementary School in Chicago’s Woodlawn neighborhood and for a time at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools. She was a member of the Hyde Park Neighborhood Club and the League of Women Voters. Her husband, Charles W. Wegener, AB’42, PhD’50, the Howard L. Willet Professor Emeritus in the College, died in 2002. She is survived by three daughters, Paula C. Gowans, LAB’65, AM’89, Julie J. Schiller, LAB’68, and Amy W. Noble, LAB’73; and three grandchildren.

Mary Rose Shaughnessy, PhD’73, of Chicago, died January 22, 2018. She was 86. Shaughnessy was a member of the Sisters of the Holy Cross and taught at St. Mary’s College before she left the congregation to earn her doctorate in English. In 1968 she joined Chicago State University’s English faculty, where she taught for nearly three decades. An artist with a degree in interior design, she practiced ceramics and painting in retirement. She is survived by two sisters.

Sean R. O’Brien, MD’75, died September 10 in Catonsville, MD. He was 68. After a residency at the University of Maryland Medical Center and a fellowship at DC Children’s Hospital (later renamed Children’s National Health System), O’Brien spent his career in Baltimore as a pediatric and adult allergist and immunologist. He was a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and of the American Academy of Allergy and Immunology. He is survived by his wife, Eileen Day O’Brien, AM’73; and a daughter.

Anjani K. Sinha, PhD’79, of Delhi, India, died October 18. He was 83. Sinha taught English literature and researched English language teaching in India before earning his doctorate in linguistics. Returning to India, he taught at Osmania University and in 1980 joined the University of Delhi’s linguistics faculty, where he retired as chair in 2000. An expert in both theoretical linguistics and English language pedagogy, he published three books in retirement, including Empowering Communication Skills (2015). He is survived by his wife, Usha Kiran Sinha, AM’78; a son; and two grandchildren.


Anne Coventry Bell, AM’87, of Ithaca, NY, died of ovarian cancer September 8. She was 68. A former librarian at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, Bell later worked for two decades as a librarian at Ithaca High School. She is survived by her wife, Elisabeth Jude Lindsay; a daughter; a son, Joshua Garbarino, LAB’95; two sisters; and a brother.


Jon A. Aldecoa Olaneta, MBA’98, of Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain, died of a sudden illness October 2. He was 60. An expert in pension fund management, Aldecoa was for more than a decade chief executive officer of Elkarkidetza, a Spanish welfare and retirement savings institution known as an EPSV (Organization for Voluntary Social Provisions). After earning his MBA, he was appointed technical secretary of Basque Country Federation EPSV, later becoming chief executive of the pensions consultancy Novaster Investments EAFI and an advocate for socially responsible investing. He is survived by a daughter, two sons, and a brother.

Joel L. Heilprin, MBA’98, of Cambridge, MA, died August 7. He was 51. A certified public accountant, Heilprin worked in private equity and corporate finance at Fremont Group, Juno Investments, and 59th Street Partners, where he was founder and managing director. A research and teaching fellow at Harvard Business School, he was an instructor at the Illinois Institute of Technology’s Stuart School of Business and the New York Institute of Finance. He is survived by his mother and sister.