UC Magazine includes obituaries for particularly well-known alumni, faculty and staff from the University of Cincinnati. All will be missed.
Obituaries from the University of Cincinnati
Prominent civil rights activist, World War II veteran and respected mathematician Lee Lorch, D (A&S) '41, died of natural causes Feb. 28, 2014 in a Toronto hospital. He was 98 years old.
Throughout his life, Lorch fought tirelessly against racial discrimination and segregation, particularly in the housing sector and academia. In the 1940s, Lorch lived with his wife, Grace Lorch, and daughter, Alice Lorch (Bartels), in Stuyvesant Town, a housing development in Manhattan’s East Side. The development had a “whites-only” policy and was given freedom to deny housing to blacks. After Lorch’s wife invited a black family to live in their Stuyvesant Town apartment, his devoted activism started to make an impact. By 1950, the housing development was forced to abandon their discriminatory policies. In 1968 the Fair Housing Act was passed.
Lorch’s reputation as a civil rights leader didn’t always serve him well. Despite his accomplishments as a professor —he taught some of the first black students to ever receive a doctorate in mathematics while at Fisk University in Nashville, Tenn. — Lorch was fired from several American universities because of his controversial activism. In 1968, effectively blacklisted from American universities, Lorch moved his family to Canada and taught at the University of Alberta. He ended his teaching career at Toronto’s York University as Professor Emeritus of mathematics.
In a tribute on York University’s website, York President & Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri said of Lorch: “Intensely principled, Lee was a champion of social justice as well as a passionate advocate of political and academic freedoms. He will be greatly missed by the York University community and by all who knew him.”
Former Bearcat star and UC basketball hall of fame member Conrad “Connie” Dierking, att. 1956-58, died Dec. 29. He was 77. The Brooklyn-born Dierking, a lanky 6-foot-10 center, starred for UC from 1956 to ’58. A teammate of Oscar Robertson, he averaged a double-double with 12.7 points and 13.5 rebounds helping the Bearcats to a 57-19 record during his three-year UC career. Dierking still holds the record for most rebounds in a game, grabbing 33 against Loyola (of Louisiana) on Feb. 16, 1957.
Dierking was a co-captain on UC’s 1957-58 team that made the school’s first NCAA tournament appearance. He, along with Robertson, helped guide the Bearcats to a 25-3 overall record and UC’s first Missouri Valley Conference championship. He was inducted into the James P. Kelly UC Athletics Hall of Fame in 1986. He went pro when the Syracuse Nationals selected Dierking as the fifth pick overall in the 1958 NBA draft. He played 10 NBA seasons, averaging 10 points and 6.7 rebounds, including five years with Oscar Robertson on the Cincinnati Royals squad.
Nell Surber, JD ’55, an economic development director for the city of Cincinnati during a construction boom in the 1980s, died Dec. 9 at a local hospice following a heart attack. She was 85. Surber spent nearly 15 years – 1976 to 1990 – as the city’s economic development director, then ran for Cincinnati city council in the fall of 1991. She lost that race but was appointed the next year to fill a council vacancy. A few of the high-profile projects that opened under her watch include Atrium II, the Chiquita Center, the Saks/Hyatt complex and One Lytle Place. In addition to her work for the city, Surber was also a member of many Cincinnati civic organizations and lived downtown in a building she renovated.
Jeanne Bonham, member of the UC Board of Trustees for nine years from 1986-95, died Nov. 2 at her Cincinnati home after a short illness. From her start in Rockcastle County, Ky., she went on to Purdue University. There, unable to major in engineering because she was a female, she majored in home economics so she could learn about housing issues. Her marriage in 1954 to C. Philip Bonham, a manager at Procter & Gamble, brought her to Cincinnati. Active in civic affairs, she served as a board member of the Hamilton County Mental Health Board and was instrumental in getting the first mental health levy passed. As director of the Northern Kentucky Community Action Commission in the 1960s, she helped bring Head Start and dental health programs to the region. Bonham served as president of the Planned Parenthood board and the Woman’s City Club and was a founding member of UC’s Friends of Women’s Studies.
M.J. Klyn, the first woman to serve as a vice president at the University of Cincinnati, died Nov. 6 of lung cancer at the age of 89. Mary Jeanne Klyn, known to everyone as "M.J.," retired from the university in 1998 after more than 22 years of service. During her term at UC, Klyn developed an almost legendary reputation as a committed, energetic and effective representative of the university in Columbus as its lobbyist. Her first task was the successful campaign to bring UC into the Ohio system of higher education, accomplished in July 1977. With former UC President Joe Steger, Klyn helped get state appropriations of nearly $2 billion to help pay for the expansion of UC’s campus, which laid the groundwork for the university's growth. In 1999, Klyn was honored as a Great Living Cincinnatian by the Greater Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce for her exemplary community service, business and civic accomplishments. Memorials can be made to the Barrett Cancer Center or to the University of Cincinnati. Read more.
Former University of Cincinnati football standout Nick Shundich, Bus ’52, A&S ’57, Ed (M) ’58, passed away on July 12 at the age of 82. A member of the football team from 1948-51 and a mainstay on the line, Shundich was the co-captain of the Sid Gillman-coached team that went 10-1 in 1951. During his years on the team, the Bearcats tallied a 25-9 record, a pair of Mid-American Conference championships and two bowl games, the 1949 Glass Bowl and 1950 Sun Bowl.
Shundich, a member of Sigma Sigma honor fraternity and UCATS, served in Korea in the U.S. Army and was inducted into the James P. Kelly UC Athletics Hall of Fame in 1988. He retired from Cincinnati banking in 1993, after a successful career as a vice president and trust officer. A native of Wilmerding, Pa., he is survived by wife Rosella; son Steven; daughters Lorri, Rebecca and Jennifer; and two grandchildren.
Gordon Maham, Eng '41, a longtime anti-nuclear activist, died at age 96 on July 9, 2013, at his Greater Cincinnati home. As a civil engineer, Maham was hired to work with the Army Corps of Engineers on the Panama Canal and, eventually, on the ultra-secret National Security Complex plant that was enriching uranium as part of the Manhattan Project's Y12 Plant in Oak Ridge, Tenn. When he learned that Y12 was producing the first atomic bomb, he resigned. Losing his war-industry draft exemption, he was drafted. Upon failing to report for his military induction, he served three years in federal prison. His social justice efforts continued behind bars as he tried to desegregate the prison.
Committing his life spreading peace and helping others, he said he had lost track of how many times he had been arrested in peaceful protests. Author Connie Springer describes him as spending "just about every waking moment working for causes that are dear to him" (in her book "Positively Ninety: Interviews with Lively Nonagenarians," named 2012 International Book Award finalist). Maham's wife, Mary, preceded him in death, and he is survived by three sons and a daughter.
See his listing under Famous Alumni Human-Rights Champions.
Standout student athlete William H. Anderson, Law ’52, whose resume also includes municipal judge, lawyer and state representative, died July 5 at the age of 87. He played for the UC football, tennis, basketball and track teams and helped the Bearcats win the Mid-American Conference football titles his sophomore and senior seasons. In high school, Anderson was named the state tennis doubles champion. He is in the Wyoming High School and Buddy LaRosa halls of fame and was named by the Cincinnati Enquirer as one of the top 100 athletes from this area. After high school, he served a stint in the U.S. Marine Corps before coming to UC. Upon graduation Anderson worked for two years at the Hamilton County prosecutor’s office, then went into private practice specializing in labor law at a Cincinnati firm until retiring in 1994.
In the 1960s, Anderson served two years as a municipal judge for the city of Wyoming, Ohio. In 1966 he jumped briefly into the political arena, running successfully for a seat on the Ohio House of Representatives. He served from 1967-68 when he sat on the education, judiciary and industry and labor committees. His bill to increase workman’s compensation benefits became law in December 1967.
He was inducted into the UC Athletic Hall of Fame in 1986. After college, Anderson started playing golf. He played on Ohio’s Senior Golf Team, was a runner-up in the Ohio amateur tournament and was inducted into the Cincinnati Legends of Golf, a hall of fame organized by the Greater Cincinnati Golf Association. He is survived by his wife, five children and 14 grandchildren.
WANDA BATH MOSBACKER
A long-time advocate of cooperative education, Wanda Bath Mosbacker, Eng ’34, M (Ed) ’57, died June 28 at the age of 101. From the time she was a UC co-op in the ‘30s to her retirement as emerita director and associate dean of the Division of Professional Practice, Mosbacker dedicated her working life to cooperative education. She was recognized nationally as an innovator and administrator of co-op and received countless awards and recognitions for her work. Today the UC division continues to award annually the John and Wanda Mosbacker Award for Faculty Excellence in Teaching to the UC faculty member with a demonstrated excellence in the classroom.
As a UC student, Mosbacker was a member of Pi Chi Epsilon, the honorary women’s engineering fraternity, and served as president of the Co-Ep Club, an organization for women co-op students. She graduated from UC with a degree in commercial engineering in 1934 and received a master’s degree in education in 1957.
Mosbacker’s passion was traveling, and, in her lifetime, she visited and toured more than 100 countries and every continent. In fact, her health deteriorated following a fall while vacationing in Mexico at the age of 100.
Former Cincinnati mayor and distinguished UC alumnus, Eugene Ruehlmann, A&S ’47, Hon PhD 2011, died June 8. A native Cincinnatian, Ruehlmann graduated from Western Hills High School, served on the U.S. Marines during World War II, was a member of the UC football team that won the Sun Bowl Championship in 1947 and graduated with honors with a degree in political science. Afterward, he earned his law degree from Harvard University.
While at UC, Ruehlmann met his future wife, Virginia Juergens, Ed ’46, M (Ed) ’48. The two had eight children. He practiced law in Cincinnati and later went into politics, his longtime ambition. He ultimately served 12 years on Cincinnati city council beginning in 1959 and served as mayor from 1967-71.
His leadership guided the early transformation of downtown Cincinnati with the development of Riverfront Stadium and constructing the Cincinnati convention center. He was honored with the UC Alumni Distinguished Service Award in 1975, was named a Great Living Cincinnatian by the Greater Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce in 1998 and received an honorary UC Doctorate of Law in 2011. The Eugene Ruehlmann Scholarship, established to honor his civic legacy, supports a current UC student with financial need in political science. The Eugene and Virginia Ruehlmann Endowment Fund, created after Virginia’s passing in 2008, awards scholarships to UC education majors with demonstrated financial need.
He and his late wife were married for 61 years and had eight children, 25 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.
Joseph Steger, HonDoc '04, UC's 24th president, died May 9, 2013, in Cincinnati at the age of 76. His 19-year term of office, from July 1984 to September 2003, was the second-longest in UC history. As president, he launched the world-renowned campus Master Plan in 1989 to direct the dramatic rebirth of UC’s campus. Through his term, indicators of academic quality and research productivity climbed dramatically, UC achieved increasing attention for fiscal responsibility, and UC’s undergraduate curriculum was revitalized with the adoption of online and digital tools.
Steger published more than 70 articles and edited a book on statistics while conducting research and consulting on technology-transfer management, identification of management talent and higher education's role in economic development. In recognition of his contributions to science, he was elected a Fellow in both the American Psychological Association and the American Psychological Society. On campus, the Joseph Steger Student Life Center opened in 2004 to house offices and meeting spaces for student groups and organizations. It is one of the most unique buildings on the MainStreet corridor.
Steger earned his PhD in psychophysics and MS in experimental psychology from Kansas State University after graduating from Gettysburg College with a degree in psychology. Gettysburg named him a distinguished alumnus in 1987. His survivors are wife, Carol; son, Marty; daughter, Tracy McClorey; and three grandchildren, Dillan, Natalie, and Zemmie.
- Read Steger's entire university obituary.
- Read UC Magazine's award-winning story on his departure as president.
Richard Newrock, UC professor and a former dean, died May 25. He first joined the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences faculty in 1973 as an assistant professor of physics and as head of the physics department from 1982-95. In 2000, Newrock was named interim dean and later dean of the College of Applied Science, serving in that position until the college merged with the College of Engineering in 2009. He returned to the department of physics as a faculty member where he remained until his death. Newrock grew up in the New York City area on Long Island. He received a bachelor’s degree in physics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1964, a master’s degree from Rutgers University in 1966 and a doctorate from Rutgers in experimental condensed-matter physics in 1970.
Nicholas Sperelakis, chairman of the physiology and biophysics department at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine for 10 years, died May 21 at the age of 83. Before coming to UC in 1983, he was a professor of physiology at the University of Virginia for 17 years. Sperelakis resigned from the UC chairmanship in 1993 but remained at the university as the Joseph Eichberg Professor Emeritus to continue his research until his retirement in 2001. During his long career, Sperelakis published more than 500 research articles and numerous chapters in textbooks relating to his work in electrophysiology and membrane biophysics. He was recognized by multiple organizations and received the American Heart Association’s Research Merit Award (1996) and the Samuel Kaplan Visionary Award for Cardiac Research (1996). His most recent accomplishment was the release of the fourth edition of his cell physiology textbook in 2012.
Fred Kaplan, UC professor emeritus who taught chemistry at UC for 40 years, died May 2 at his Clifton home. Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., Kaplan attended New York and Brandeis universities and received his PhD in chemistry from Yale University.
His research and discoveries in the then-revolutionary field of nuclear magnetic resonance aided in the development of MRIs. After a sabbatical at Stanford University, Kaplan focused on ion cyclotron resonance spectroscopy, in which he was a pioneer. He coauthored “The Vocabulary of Organic Chemistry,” a widely used text that was translated into multiple languages for use by students around the world. Kaplan was a fixture at UC basketball and football games. He was 78.
Alumnus Abe Bortz, A&S ’41, M (A&S) ’47, the Social Security Administration's first historian, died March 19 of lymphoma at his home in Pikesville, Md. He was 93. A Cincinnati native, Bortz received his UC history degree and then was drafted into the Army the next year. He saw Buchenwald, one of the German concentration camps, soon after the Army liberated it. After he was discharged in 1945, he immediately went back to school. He earned a master's degree in history at UC in 1947 and a doctorate in the same subject from Harvard University in 1950. Bortz moved to Baltimore and became an Army historian, part of a team writing a multi-volume history of the Army in World War II. After 12 years, he went to work for the Social Security Administration — building a foundation of information for the country's largest domestic program. As the agency's first and longest-serving historian, Bortz preserved early records, established its museum and launched its research archive. He remained the agency's historian until he retired in 1985. Also during that time, Bortz wrote more than 100 book reviews, all for the Baltimore Sun papers. He and his wife, the former Rita Gradsky, were married for 58 years, until Mrs. Bortz's death in 2009.
A die-hard UC Bearcats fan who missed only a couple of home football or basketball games, John Hermanies, D (Law) ’48, Hon. Doc. ’92, died March 16 at his home in Cincinnati at the age of 90. After serving in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II in Okinawa, he returned to Cincinnati to get his UC law degree. For the next 50 years, Hermanies would hold many political positions including as Ohio’s assistant attorney general, as well as assistant to Ohio governor Jim Rhodes and chairman of the Hamilton County Republican Party. Hermanies served on the UC Board of Trustees for 15 years (remaining as a trustee emeritus until his death), and he and his wife, Dorothy, were generous donors to the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Art Museum and the Hamilton County SPCA among others. The UC athletic department was often the focus of the couple’s generosity, and the press box at UC’s Nippert Stadium is named for them.
A provocative and influential art critic, Thomas McEvilley, A&S ’63, D (A&S) ’68, died March 2 in New York City. He was 73. McEvilley grew up in Cincinnati and studied Greek, Latin, Sanskrit and classical philosophy in UC’s classics program. He taught at Rice University from 1969 to 2008. In 2005, he founded the MFA art criticism and writing program at the School of Visual Arts in New York. McEvilley had been a visiting professor at Yale University and the school of the Art Institute of Chicago. He has received numerous awards, including a National Endowment for the Arts critics grant, a Fulbright fellowship and the 1993 Frank Jewett Mather Award for Distinction in Art Criticism from the College Art Association. McEvilley became a major art world figure when he wrote a “shattering review” and critical account in Artforum about William Rubin’s and J. Kirk Varnedoe’s 1984 Museum of Modern Art show "Primitivism in 20th Century Art: Affinity of the Tribal and the Modern." His art essays are collected in several books including “Art & Otherness: Crisis in Cultural Identity” (1991) and “The Triumph of Anti-Art: Conceptual and Performance Art in the Formation of Post-Modernism” (2012).
William Schubert, BM & MD ’52, professor emeritus of pediatrics and former president of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, died Feb. 25 at age 85. He had been affiliated with Children's and UC College of Medicine for more than 50 years, having joined the former in 1963 as director of its Clinical Research Center. He chaired pediatrics from 1979-93 and was president and CEO from '83-96, making him the only person to have served in both roles at the same time. His primary research interests were diseases of the liver and Reyes syndrome, for which he published more than 80 research articles.
During his tenure, he helped train an entire generation of physicians and steered Children's "from a small facility with four operating rooms to one of the top five pediatric medical centers in the nation," says Ohio Sen. Rob Portman. "During the 1970s, Dr. Schubert led a centralization of the region's pediatric care into a single medical center at Children's Hospital."
In 1976, he was instrumental in expanding the city's property tax levy for indigent care to include children. In 1993, the American College of Surgeons designated Children's as a Level 1 pediatric trauma center under Dr. Schubert's guidance. In 1991, he received the College of Medicine's Daniel Drake Award in recognition of his leadership and compassion for the children. That year, he was also named to the Greater Cincinnati Business Hall of Fame for gaining national recognition for the medical center. In 1992, he received the college's Medical Distinguished Alumni Award.
He retired in 1996, but continued to serve as a historian, a consultant and a member of the medical center's Board of Trustees.
When Milt Orchin died on Feb. 14 at age 98, the chemistry department had indeed lost its most senior faculty member. In 1953, Orchin joined UC in the Applied Science Laboratory after working as a chemist for the federal government with the Food and Drug Administration, the Department of Agriculture and the Bureau of Mines. At UC, he soon moved to the chemistry department, where he served as chair from 1956-62, held more than 20 patents, supervised the thesis work of 52 graduate students and wrote seven books, 15 reviews and 198 research papers. After his 1981 retirement at age 67, he spent the next 25 years as director of the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences' Hoke Greene Laboratory of Catalysis and collaborator on 47 more research papers. After he finally closed his laboratory in 2006 at age 92, he began writing a seventh book with two colleagues, William Jensen and Henry Fenichel. The book was published six months after his 97 birthday.
President Emeritus Henry Winkler, A&S '38, MA (A&S) '40, HonDoc '87, died on Dec. 26 at the age of 96. Considered an outstanding scholar, educator and administrator, he is the only UC alumnus to serve as the university's president.
After graduating from UC, Winkler served in the U.S. Navy as an intelligence officer in the Pacific with a specialty in Japanese language. He earned his PhD from the University of Chicago, then joined the faculty at Rutgers University, where he went on to become chair of the history department, dean of liberal arts, senior vice president for academic affairs, executive vice president and acting president.
In 1977, he became the 23rd president of the University of Cincinnati, where he was active in the creation of the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges (now the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities). In 1984, he left the president's office and remained on faculty.
At the age of 70, he retired "because I had to," he told UC Magazine. "Those were the rules at the time. But it allowed me to become honest again; my first love was my academic profession. So I took a few years to retool myself, then taught off and on, and wrote books on British history."
During his 63 years in higher education, Winkler received numerous honorary degrees and awards, and also served as a visiting professor at Bryn Mawr, Columbia, Harvard and the London School of Economics. "He will be truly missed," said John McDonough, UC associate professor emeritus of surgery. "He had a fantastic and enviable life and was the inspiration of the Henry R. Winkler Center for the History of the Health Professions" (for which McDonough is chair of its Advisory Board).
"Dr. Winkler will be remembered for his leadership of UC during its first years as a state university," said UC President Santa Ono, "He holds a special place in our collective heart as a kind and gracious member of the UC family." Winkler is survived by his wife Bea, children Allan Michael and Karen Jean, and stepsons Richard, Robert and Kenneth Ross.
Elwood Jensen, a distinguished university professor in the department of cancer biology and winner of the 2004 Lasker Award, passed away Dec. 16, 2012. He was 92. Internationally known as the "Father of the Nuclear Receptor Field,” Jensen was one of three researchers sharing the 2004 Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research, making him only the second UC faculty member to be honored with an "American Nobel” following Albert Sabin in 1956.
Since receiving his Lasker Award, Jensen’s name was frequently mentioned each Fall as a possible recipient for the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Jensen was revered worldwide for his discovery of hormone receptors which brought about a revolution in molecular science and transformed the treatment for breast cancer patients. Some have estimated that his work annually saves or prolongs the lives of more than 100,000 women.
Read 2008 feature on Jensen.
LEROY "ROY" ECKART
After 45 years of service to the University of Cincinnati, Leroy "Roy" Eckart passed away on Nov. 26, 2012, due to pancreatic cancer. In 1966, he began his UC career by teaching math, but then became professor of nuclear engineering with research in criticality safety, radiological environmental assessment and human health-risk assessment. He received the Engineering Tribunal's Teacher of the Year award twice, the Neil Wandmacher Excellence in Teaching Award and the national AT&T Foundation Award for Excellence in Instruction of Engineering Students.
From 1985-95, Dr. Eckart and his research group were awarded 17 research contracts worth $2,795,000 for health-risk assessment due to radioactive materials in the workplace and the environment. This research work aided in the cleanup of contaminated weapons sites in Ohio at Fernald, Mound and Portsmouth, as well as the cleanup of plutonium bearing soils at the Nevada Weapons Test Site.
Dr. Eckart served as department head of mechanical, industrial and nuclear engineering for five years, as senior associate dean and associate dean for academic and administrative affairs for 10 years, then as interim dean for two years. During that time, he worked to develop the ACCelerated ENgineering Degree (ACCEND) program and accepted a $450,000 General Electric Fund grant to determine how instructional technologies could improve engineering education.
After retiring, he developed a course on leadership that was a popular elective in the college and authored “Becoming a Leader: Fundamentals of Leadership,” which was designed for college students and new graduates. He was also a devoted family man who coached soccer for his children and refereed for many years. He is survived by his wife, three children and seven grandchildren.
A former UC Board of Trustees chairman and a minority owner of the Cincinnati Reds, George Strike, HonDoc ‘99, died on Oct. 20 at age 82 after a brief struggle with cancer. Through his career, he had been an owner and leader of American Laundry Machinery, Hess & Eisenhardt, Advance Textile Systems and Martin Franchises, the worldwide franchisor of the "Martinizing" dry cleaning stores. His dedication to the university included serving as the first chairman of the newly formed UC Health Board of Directors, chairman of the University Hospital board, a member of the UC Foundation Board and the Health Alliance Board. In 2012, the university honored him with the President’s Award for Excellence, the Lifetime “Health Care Hero” Achievement Award and induction into the Order of the Black Blazer, Athletics’ top honor. At other times, he received the Honoree Award from the Drake Center and the Chairman’s Award from the University of Cincinnati Foundation for distinguished leadership.
JAMES "JIM" IRELAND JR.
On Sept. 3, 2012, at age 69, James Ireland Jr., Bus '66, MM (CCM) '70, passed away of cancer, in Florida, where he had been living. From 1972-79, Ireland created the foundation for the opera/musical-theater arm of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) with the intention of building a stronger support base for opera and musical theater in the United States. The NEA Opera/Musical Theater Program was launched in 1978. While serving the NEA as its director of the budget and of its Opera/Musical Theater Program, Ireland also worked to help develop OPERA America, an international service organization for North American opera. After moving on, he spent 22 years as managing and producing director of the acclaimed Houston Grand Opera. Most recently, he had been assisting composer Tobias Picker in developing a new opera company for the San Antonio area.
Neil Armstrong, HonDoc '82, the first man on the moon and a UC aerospace engineering professor, died on Saturday, Aug. 25, 2012, at the age of 82. Armstrong taught at UC from 1971 through '79 and delivered the commencement address in 1982, when he received his honorary doctorate of science.
His first distinction came in 1966, when he became the first civilian to fly a U.S. spacecraft. While he commanded Gemini 8, two vehicles successfully docked in space for the first time. Then in '69, he was mission commander on the historic Apollo 11 flight and piloted the Lunar Module "Eagle" to the moon's surface. Afterward, Armstrong served as NASA's deputy associate administrator for aeronautics. At UC, he was a beloved teacher and researcher.
A fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society, Armstrong was decorated by 17 countries. Internationally, he received the Royal Geographic Society's Gold Medal, the Federation Aeronautique Internationale's Gold Space Medal and the Harmon International Aviation Trophy. In the U.S., he received the first Congressional Space Medal of Honor, presented by President Jimmy Carter; the Congressional Gold Medal, presented by President Barack Obama as the highest civilian award bestowed by Congress; the Presidential Medal of Freedom; and the NASA Distinguished Service Medal.
UC interim president Santa Ono said the following: "Our nation and indeed the entire globe has lost a courageous and unassuming hero who served humankind in a way that captivated our imagination and served as an inspiration for generations of scientists and explorers. We are very honored that he chose to serve on the engineering faculty at UC for many years."
Read a complete feature article remembering Armstrong at UC.
LOUISE DIETERLE NIPPERT
Louise Dieterle Nippert, A&S '34, HonDoc '67, a most devoted University of Cincinnati patron, fan and volunteer, passed away on July 23, 2012, at age 100. She and her husband Louis Nippert, a College of Law alumnus who passed away in 1992, had generously supported various programs and funds spanning numerous colleges and units at UC. Their generosity has transformed countless lives throughout the university.
Read complete obituary on Nippert.
Former University of Cincinnati basketball All-American and 12-year NBA veteran Pat Cummings passed away June 26, 2012, in New York City. He was 55. Cummings averaged 17.1 points and 8.3 rebounds during his four seasons with the Bearcats (1975-76, 1978-79). He earned All-America accolades from the Citizens Savings Foundation and was named the Metro Conference Player of the Year in 1979.
Read complete obituary on Cummings.
Professor emeritus Elmer Thomas, founder of the choral-studies program at the College-Conservatory of Music, died of respiratory failure at the age of 81 on June 13, 2012. Teaching and conducting at CCM from 1966-95, Thomas built one of the country's leading choral programs and created an extensive graduate program for conductors. He remained the director until 1995.
Recognized internationally, he was also founder and music director of the Vocal Arts Ensemble, Cincinnati’s only professional chamber choir; conductor of choruses for the Cincinnati May Festival; and director of music at Armstrong Chapel United Methodist Church. He was frequently a guest conductor in Europe, England, Hong Kong, Korea, Central America and across the United States.
“He often spoke of the joy of living his life surrounded by the great music of great composers," said Earl Rivers, CCM's current director of choral studies. "And he frequently reminded his students that in their careers they would always find joy and solace, as needed, in great musical works. Elmer remained my mentor. He was the first person whose insight and opinions I sought when studying, preparing and executing masterworks for chorus.”
Former University of Cincinnati legend, six-time NBA all-star and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee Jack Twyman, Ed '55, died May 30, 2012, at the age of 78 in Cincinnati. UC’s second All-American, Twyman led the Bearcats in scoring his sophomore through senior seasons (1952-55), finishing his career as the school’s all-time leading scorer (1,598) and rebounder (1,242). He was named an All-American in 1955 after averaging 24.6 points and 16.5 rebounds. His career scoring total currently ranks ninth while his rebounding numbers rank second at UC. Twyman is one of three former Bearcats to have their jersey number retired. His jersey No. 27 hangs at Fifth Third Arena.
Read complete obituary on Twyman.
The UC Bearcats lost a legend with the passing of former quarterback Greg Cook, CAS '68. The first-round draft pick of the Cincinnati Bengals in 1969, died Jan. 27, 2012. He was 65 years old. Cook was inducted into the James P. Kelly Sr. UC Athletics Hall of Fame in 1986 and was a charter member of Nippert Stadium’s Ring of Honor in 2006. No. 12 was one of the top quarterbacks in school history, setting or holding 17 school records during his career. Cook's true gift was the deep strike. He averaged 17.5 yards per completion with the Bengals in '69, a standard no professional quarterback has accomplished since. Cook suffered a shoulder injury during his rookie season that kept him off the field for the next three seasons. He returned briefly in 1973 and then retired. He served as a radio analyst for the Bearcats during the late 1980s. Later in his career, Cook, an avid painter, became a salesman with a Cincinnati firm that works with foundations and charities. Read complete obituary on Cook.
Jacky DeWert, Ed ’73, was best known for being a cheerleader who brought Hollywood to Cincinnati. On campus, she was as a varsity cheerleader, then went on to become one of the original Cincinnati Ben-Gals cheerleaders. But her legacy was in cheering for the entire Tri-State when she co-founded the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky Film Commission, with the goal of cultivating film and video production in the area. Earlier than that, she was an organizer of the predecessor group, Cincinnati Competitors, which comprised local production companies and ad agencies. Their first big success was getting “Eight Men Out” and “Fresh Horses” filmed locally in the late 1980s, which later led to “Rain Man.” (Three movies shot scenes on UC’s campus: Little Man Tate," 1990; "Fresh Horses," 1987; and "Eight Men Out," 1987.) Early in her career, DeWert worked on the TV sets of “The Bob Braun Show” and “The Nick Clooney Show.” Later she worked with her husband, David Crosby, in the family business, Createfex, which designed and made sets and props for advertising promotions. She died on Dec. 30, 2011, from pancreatic cancer. Her husband preceded her in death. Survivors include a son and two stepchildren.
Stanley Kaplan, A&S '44, MD ’46, emeritus professor of psychiatry and behavioral neuroscience at UC’s College of Medicine, died on Nov. 10, 2011, at age 89 after a long illness. Named a Great Living Cincinnatian in 2007, he was recognized as one of the region’s most prominent arts donors, not only financially, but through leadership in shaping local art, culture and educational institutions, as well as social service agencies. Besides giving 60 years of service to UC, he served as a board member of the Cincinnati Art Museum, the Taft Museum, CET, Cincinnati Ballet and Playhouse in the Park. Among Cincinnati building projects that he supported were the Lois and Richard Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art and the Aronoff Center for the Arts, where the Jarson-Kaplan Theater is named in honor of his family and the parents of his wife, Mickey. At UC, the couple established a lectureship to bring mental health experts from around the world to Cincinnati, a student essay award to foster medical student education and an endowed chair in psychiatry. After 53 years of marriage, Mickey preceded him in death. Three children survive their parents — Steve, Richard and Barbara Kaplan Chilcote.
CARL LINDNER JR.
The most prominent benefactor to both the University of Cincinnati and the city, Carl Lindner Jr., HonDoc '85, died Oct. 17, 2011, at age 92. His generosity led to the business college being renamed the Carl H. Lindner College of Business this year. In the 1980s, the college established Carl Lindner Award for Outstanding Business Achievement and the Carl Lindner Honors-PLUS program in his honor. He had also served on the Board of Advisors for the College of Business, from where his sons, Carl III and Craig, graduated in the 1970s.
One of the most successful corporate financiers in the nation, he began his career delivering milk door to door during the Depression while attending high school evening classes. In 1940, he and his family founded United Dairy Farmers. At the time of Lindner’s death, he was chairman of the board of American Financial Group, which he founded in 1959.
During his investment career, Lindner held controlling interests in Great American Insurance Group, Cincinnati Reds, Chiquita, Hanna-Barbera, Kings Island, Taft Broadcasting, Cincinnati Enquirer, Provident Bank, General Cable Corp. and Penn Central Corp. Employees throughout the city particularly remember him for throwing legendary Christmas parties featuring stars such as Frank Sinatra and Bill Cosby and including gifts for each employee.
A supporter of Cincinnati educational, religious, cultural and civic organizations, he served on the boards of the Cincinnati Fine Arts Museum, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the Citizens for a Better Cincinnati and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C, among many others. The Lindner family also has been a major benefactor of Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy, Lindner Center of HOPE, Lindner Family Center for Reproduction of Endangered Wildlife at the Cincinnati Zoo, Lindner Ice Age Exhibit at the Cincinnati Museum Center, Lindner Family Tennis Pavilion at Sawyer Point, Boy Scouts of America, National Underground Railroad and the World Trade Center Memorial, among others.
In 1994, he was named a Great Living Cincinnatian. The next year, he received the International Peace Award, the highest International award given by Jewish National Fund. In addition, he was considered a friend and confidant of numerous U.S. presidents. Lindner is survived by his wife, Edyth; their sons Carl III, Craig and Keith; 12 grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.
On Friday, Oct. 21, a memorial procession featuring Carl Lindner's hearse traveled from downtown Cincinnati to Kenwood, passing locations meaningful to the businessman. Around 9:45 a.m., the procession passed the Lindner College of Business, where the UC community said their farewells with meaningful signs, music by the marching band and a final farewell treat of United Dairy Farmers ice cream. See the slideshow by clicking on the photo above.
Read his obituaries in ...
J. ROBERT DROEGE
Robert Droege, JD ’49, died on Oct. 2, 2011, at age 85. He and his wife endowed the Droege Law Center at the UC College of Law, a section of the law library dedicated to furthering law research and advanced studies for graduate lawyers. As a corporate vice president of real estate and development for the Marriott Corp. from 1956-84, he has been designated a notable alumnus from the college.
Herbert Flessa, A&S ’50, MD ’52, was a professor emeritus in the College of Medicine's Department of Internal Medicine and former chair of the division of hematology oncology. Considered a regional expert on leukemia, he died in Aug. 30, 2011, at age 85. After joining the UC faculty in 1964, he grew passionate about improving emergency care, which led him to create the nation's first emergency medicine residency program — at the University of Cincinnati and General Hospital in 1970. Winner of the 2004 Daniel Drake medal, the College of Medicine's highest honor, Flessa served on numerous state and national committees and also served as the physician for the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra during a tour of Asia and Europe.
Known as a philanthropist and a loyal UC alumna, Gloria Goering, Ed ’55, passed away on June 24, 2011, at age 78. In 2007, she and John (her husband of 55 years) were the first co-recipients of the William Howard Taft Medal for Notable Achievement, the highest honor given by the UC Alumni Association. They were also recognized as life benefactors of the UC Foundation, were the founders of the Goering Center for Family/Private Business at the College of Business, ran the John and Gloria Goering Foundation and were active in the Founders Society of the Cincinnati Art Museum, the Northern Kentucky Symphony, Playhouse in the Park and the Cincinnati Zoo. In addition, Gloria was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority and the Cincinnatus Society, as well as twice president of the University of Cincinnati Women's Club and a Hoxworth Blood Center volunteer who had amassed more than 3,900 hours of service. Besides commitments to her alma mater and family, she had exhibited American Saddlebred Horses for more than 30 years. She is survived by John and their children Stuart and Susan (Hill).
Former UC community relations director and well-known radio and TV celebrity Bill Nimmo, A&S ’39, MA (A&S) ’73, died on February 21, 2011, at age 93. In the 1950s, he worked with Johnny Carson, Jackie Gleason, Lack Lemmon, Gary Moore and Regis Philbin. In 1956, he was the announcer for an ABC game show called “Who Do You Trust?” for which Johnny Carson emceed. When Nimmo left, he was replaced by Ed McMahon. He also hosted a national game show in 1957-58 called “For Love or Money,” co-hosted a local TV show called “Be Our Guest” with Marian Spelman and appeared as "Bill the Bartender" in commercials that ran for more than six years on the Pabst Wednesday night fights.
With a career that spanned more than 50 years, he worked as an actor, baritone singer, newscaster, emcee and announcer for NBC, CBS and ABS. In 1991, he was inducted into the Broadcasting Hall of Fame. He also served in World War II in which he received a Purple Heart and Bronze Star. After the war, he served a year in diplomatic service in the Paris Embassy, then broke into broadcasting by taking an overnight DJ job in Cincinnati. Shortly after his death, his voice could still be heard on WMKV-FM in Cincinnati, hosting several taped shows.
Robert Howe, professor emeritus of civil engineering, died unexpectedly on Feb. 23, 2011. He had taught at UC for 37 years before retiring in the early 1980s. "I never wanted to do anything else," he once said. Howe, Eng '43, MA (A&S) '55, began teaching at UC after serving with the Navy Seabees in World War II. He taught soil mechanics, highway design, traffic engineering and surveying, and became the first professor to teach computer programming "by the numbers," as he called it. Howe was also an avid historian, who frequently lectured on Tri-state history and authored history textbooks with his wife, Helen, A&S '43, who passed away in 2006. Active in civic affairs, he served as a long-time member of the Charter Committee, ran unsuccessfully for city council and served on the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority board.
The Howes also instilled the love of teaching in their three children: Steven Howe, A&S '74, MA (A&S) '78, PhD (A&S) '81, psychology department head at UC; Barbara Howe, A&S '69, associate professor emerita and former director of the Center for Women's Studies at West Virginia University; and Nancy Howe Bull, Ed '71, MA (Ed) '74, vice provost at the University of Connecticut. "Dad really valued his membership in the UC emeritus club," says Barbara, "and it was always clear that UC provided him with the education — and financial resources through the co-op program — he needed to be an engineer."
Robert Adolph, professor emeritus of medicine in the division of cardiovascular diseases, died in January 2011 at age 83. After joining the College of Medicine faculty in 1962, he served as a professor of pharmacology and cell biophysics and director of the cardiology division from 1986-90. Adolph received numerous Golden Apples Awards for Excellence in Teaching. In 2003, he received the Samuel Kaplan Visionary Award from the American Heart Association.
Last year, the college established the Robert Adolph Award for Excellence in Bedside Diagnosis, Humanism and Teaching, given annually to a fellow who demonstrates aptitude in teaching students, residents and colleagues, as well as humanism in cardiovascular care and interest in mastering bedside diagnosis as the first step in cost-effective care. Adolph was also an active researcher who conducted seminal work in myocardial imaging that helped to lay the groundwork for modern nuclear cardiology. He is survived by his wife IvaDean Lair-Adolph, an assistant dean at the College of Medicine.
Marcia Lewis, CCM ’64, a respected Broadway singer and actress, died Dec. 21, 2010, of lung cancer at the age of 72. She had received Tony Award nominations in 1997 for her role as Mama Morton in the Broadway re-staging of Chicago (with Bebe Neuwirth and Joel Grey) and in 1994 for her role as Miss Lynch in a revival of “Grease.” In 1987, she received a Drama Desk nomination for playing the mean Miss Hannigan in “Rags.”
Her TV credits included "The Rosie O'Donnell Show" ('97), "Happy Days" ('77 and '79), "The Bob Newhart Show" ('74 and '75), "The Bionic Woman" ('76), “Hollywood Squares” and “Sesame Street.” Her film credits included MGM’s “Ice Pirates” in 1984. Recognized as a cabaret singer, she recorded her debut solo CD, "Nowadays," in 1998.
Read more in Playbill.
Jerome Wiot, MD '53, who died in December 2010 at the age of 83, was professor emeritus of radiology and completed his internship and radiology residency at University Hospital (then Cincinnati General Hospital). He was named University Hospital’s director of radiology in 1968 and was named chairman of the College of Medicine’s radiology department in 1973. He held both positions until 1992. He was a long-serving member of the University Hospital board.
From 1985 to 1986, Wiot served as acting senior vice president and provost for health affairs at the Academic Health Center. In 1974, along with colleague Robert Lukin, Wiot worked to bring the first computed tomography (CT) scanner to the Tristate, and 13 years later, he led University Hospital’s acquisition of two computerized axial tomography (CAT) scanners — important tools for exploring the interior of the brain and other solid organs.
Wiot was named president of the American College of Radiology (ACR) in 1983 and was awarded the ACR’s 1989 Gold Medal for outstanding contributions to the field. He was also selected to receive the Daniel Drake Medal, the College of Medicine’s highest honor, in 1992. Wiot had participated in the training of more than 300 radiologists. The Wiot Chair to support Radiology Resident Education was established and funded in 2005.
A well-known Bearcat, Larry Elsasser, Ed ’65, MEd ’73, died on Nov. 15, 2010, at the age of 67. In 1961, UC recruited Elsasser to play baseball and basketball. Although baseball was his passion, he had memorable basketball career, playing guard when UC defeated Ohio State in 1962 for the NCAA championship. After graduation, he played professional baseball for the Kansas City Athletics, the forerunner to the Oakland A’s. He later became a Cincinnati public school teacher, then a math teacher at Raymond Walters College where he also worked as assistant director of the Campus Center. In 1970, he transferred to the Uptown Campus as assistant director of Tangeman University Center. He served as the TUC director from 1976-2001, after which he became associate director of Campus Food Services. He retired in 2005.
In 1989, UC inducted him into the UC Athletic Hall of Fame. In 2007 when the Missouri Valley Conference celebrated its centennial as the nation’s second-oldest NCAA Division I conference, it recognized Elsasser as a key player who had been in the league prior to 1975.
Elsasser is survived by his wife of 46 years, Donna Lay, DAAP ’65, and their son, Erin, Bus '95.
LINK: Elsasser took part in 50th anniversary kickoff event of '61 and '62 champs.
UC Professor David B. Greenberg, who passed away on July 25, 2010, was a faculty member in the Department of Chemical and Nuclear Engineering, (now the College of Engineering and Applied Science) from 1974 until 2000, when he became Professor Emeritus. He continued teaching at UC's Osher Lifelong Learning Institute from 2000 until 2009.
David Niland, professor emeritus of architecture, died in September 2010 at the age of 80. A faculty member since 1962, Niland had been a guest critic and visiting studio professor at Yale University, Carnegie-Mellon University, Harvard University, Penn State University, Ohio State University and the Royal Academy for Fine Arts, Copenhagen, Denmark, among others. He had also received numerous awards, including the American Collegiate Schools of Architecture’s Distinguished Professor Award in 1991-92. He also served on the urban design review boards for UC and the cities of Cincinnati and Covington and had been a design consultant to the Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center. He retired in 2001 at age 71 and is survived by his wife, Mary.
Read a tribute to Niland, written by Jayne Merkel, an architectural historian and critic in New York.
After a brief illness, Beverly Semmens, professor emeritus of the College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning, died at her home in August 2010 at the age of 72. By teaching metals and textile arts in the both departments of art education and fine arts, she created a legacy of teachers of textile and metal design in Cincinnati and nationally. Weaving and basketry, the two disciplines in which she excelled, led her to exhibit nationally and internationally.
Most recently, she had works published in "500 Baskets: A Celebration of the Basketmaker's Art." Her works can be found in numerous private collections, as well as commissions for Dow Chemical, IBM, Cincinnati Bell and the Ohio Designer-Craftsman Museum.
Donald Spencer, A&S '36, Ed '37, MEd '40, HonDoc '06, Cincinnati teacher, real estate broker, activist, and husband of former UC board trustee Marian Spencer, A&S '42, HonDoc '06, passed away at age 95 on May 4, 2010.
Married for nearly 70 years, the Spencers helped break down racial barriers in Cincinnati. Donald was the first African American broker to join the Cincinnati Association of Real Estate Brokers in 1986 and was later elected president of the organization. He founded his real estate firm, Donald A. Spencer and Associates, while a teacher for Cincinnati Public Schools. Spencer was a lifetime member of the NAACP, the first African American to chair Ohio University's Board of Trustees. He also was active in the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber and was named a "Great Living Cincinnatian" in 2005.
Spencer is survived by two sons and Marian, whose own long civil rights career includes being the first African American elected to Cincinnati City Council.
Cincinnati theater pioneer and UC professor emeritus of theater Paul Rutledge passed away on March 10, 2010, at age 91. Rutledge was instrumental in the development of the CCM’s degree programs in musical theater and drama during his 35-year tenure. During that time, he also founded and directed the UC Theater and served as a faculty adviser to the UC Mummers Guild.
Rutledge mentored many future stars including David Canary, Marcia Lewis, Lee Roy Reams and Pam Myers. Rutledge was highly influential in the city of Cincinnati’s decision to purchase and rescue the Showboat Majestic, the last original floating showboat still in existence, and served as its managing director for 17 years. Since his retirement in 1984, he frequently traveled to England as a guest lecturer on theater history and management.
Memorials may be directed to the F. Paul Rutledge Scholarship Fund dedicated to UC Musical Theater Students. (Address: CCM, Corbett Center, Room 3840, Cincinnati OH 45221.)
- CCM dedicates "Picnic" production to Rutledge with April 21 reception.
- Read about UC's musical theater program celebrating its 40th birthday.
Lindner, a local businessman and philanthropist who helped bring the ATP Tennis Championship to the Tri-State, donated the initial $10.2 million to kick off the construction of the University of Cincinnati's Varsity Village and the athletics center that bears his name. The project was completed in 2006 and houses sports administrative offices, study space for student athletes and a museum detailing the history of the UC athletics program.
Lindner, along with brothers Carl and Robert and sister Dorothy, began their careers delivering bottled milk to homes for their father's business, which would become United Dairy Farmers (UDF). Lindner later headed Thriftway and was involved in the development of American Financial Group. He was also known for his civic philanthropy.
Besides UC's Richard E. Lindner Center and Varsity Village, a number of other local facilities are named after him: the Richard E. Lindner Family YMCA in Norwood; the Robert D. & Richard E. Lindner Sports Complex at Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy; the Richard E. Lindner Lobby at the Aronoff Center; the Richard E. Lindner Dining Room at UC’s Shoemaker Center; as well as "capital additions” at Saint Joseph’s Home for Children. In 2008, Lindner was inducted into the Cincinnati Tennis Hall of Fame.
ELSA MARIE HEISEL SULE
Elsa Marie Heisel Sule, A&S ’43, was executive director of the Ruth Lyons' “50-50 Club” on WLW TV and associate producer of the “Bob Braun Show” during a career lasting from 1945-84. Afterward, she ran the annual Ruth Lyons Children’s Christmas Fund campaign until the early ’90s. On Jan. 13, she passed away at age 88.
Elsa developed quite a memorable appearance on the Ruth Lyons' show where she would hand-model products, demonstrate products in table settings, create popular contests for the show and write “wickedly funny song parodies,” says a long-time Cincinnati radio and TV host and broadcaster Bill Myers, who began working with her in the 1950s. “Television screens glowed less brightly when Elsa concluded her career in broadcasting,” he says.
RONALD HOWES SR.
Ronald Bruce Howes Sr., att. Eng ’40s, creator of the Easy-Bake Oven, died in February 2010 at age 83. As director of research and new product development at Kenner Products in the early 1960s, Howes was best know for developing the toy oven that was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame in 2006 at the Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, N.Y. At that time, 23 million ovens had been sold and more than 140 million mixes. Howes continued to invent items during his entire life, including high-tech defense weaponry devices and electrostatic printers. At the time of his death, he was living in in Anderson Township with his wife of 47 years, Nancy.