September 2023

The University recently learned of the passing of these Cornellians

Editor’s note: Please submit notification of alumni deaths—including an obituary, if possible—to the University at Once the University records an alumni death in its database, the relevant information is forwarded to Cornellians for inclusion in a future In Memoriam section.


’41, BA ’40—David Altman of Menlo Park, CA, July 10, 2023; award-winning pioneer in the development of solid, liquid, and hybrid chemical rocket propulsion systems; director, Space Propulsion Group; senior VP, Chemical Systems Division, United Technologies Corp.; chief chemist, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory; worked with Robert Oppenheimer on the Manhattan Project and helped investigate the cause of the Challenger disaster; author and patent holder; inductee, Schriever Wall of Honor of the U.S. Air Force, which recognizes early innovators and their contributions to the U.S. space program; avid golfer and tennis player; enjoyed reading, music, and philosophical discussions; active in religious and alumni affairs.

’48 BME—Thomas A. Foss of Olney, MD, 2023; public affairs professional; active in alumni affairs. Sigma Phi.

’48 BS HE—Rosalie Smolin Mandel of Durham, NC, May 23, 2023; manager and counseling consultant, AFS Intercultural Programs, NYC; also worked as a teacher and in a craft shop; avid reader; enjoyed international travel, baking, quilting, needlepoint, and book clubs; active in charitable, cultural, educational, religious, and alumni affairs.

’48 BS CALS—Constance Avery Mix of Virginia Beach, VA, June 24, 2023; homemaker; enjoyed international travel, nature, gardening, restoring antique furniture, and hosting foreign students; active in community, educational, religious, and alumni affairs.

’48 BME—Elliot D. Ranard of New Canaan, CT, May 14, 2023; mechanical engineer, economic planner, attorney, and business school teacher; held patents on supersonic aircraft wings; veteran; tournament bridge player and accomplished artist.

’49 BS CALS—Richard F. Dietz of Kennett Square, PA, April 2, 2023; marketing and communications professional; owner, Dietz Marketing Communications; manager of public relations, Remington Arms, where he also helped develop rifle and clothing lines; veteran; champion skeet shooter; avid hunter; magazine column writer, Petersen’s Hunting and Western Outdoors Magazine; active in professional and alumni affairs. Alpha Tau Omega.


’50 BS HE—Constance Semon Stelson of Minneapolis, MN, formerly of Atlanta, GA, March 7, 2019; teacher; accomplished seamstress and jewelry designer; enjoyed international travel, learning about other cultures, and collecting antiques; active in religious and alumni affairs.

’50 MS—Mary Ann Williams of Oxford, OH, September 20, 2022; nutritionist; taught at the University of California, Berkeley; advocate for water and land management; enjoyed opera, classical music, and tennis; active in charitable and professional affairs.

’51 BS CALS, MS ’58—Derl I. Derr of Lewisburg, PA, May 1, 2023; banking and trade association professional; president, International Apple Institute; administrator, agricultural bankers and community bankers divisions, American Bankers Association, NYC and Washington, DC; also worked at the Albany Bank (now Key Bank) in Plattsburgh, NY; veteran; inductee, Cornell Athletic Hall of Fame; enjoyed travel; active in charitable, community, professional, religious, and alumni affairs. Alpha Gamma Rho.

’51, BME ’52—Glenn E. Perry of Indianapolis, IN, formerly of Cincinnati, OH, October 19, 2022; mechanical engineer, Procter & Gamble; veteran; advocate for the preservation and protection of natural resources; enjoyed taking walks, reading, crossword puzzles, and maps.

’52 BS CALS—Robert W. Bitz of Baldwinsville, NY, formerly of Plainville, NY, June 17, 2023; owner and fourth-generation dairy, crop, and turkey farmer, Plainville Turkey Farms, the largest turkey enterprise in New York State; restaurateur who opened Plainville Restaurant in Cicero, NY, as well as several others in the Syracuse area; director and president, LEAD New York, a program for the development of agriculture leaders; author of a dozen books about local history, agriculture, and the family farm; member on several school, banking, and town planning boards; Cornell University trustee emeritus; recipient of the Frank H.T. Rhodes Exemplary Alumni Service Award and the CALS Outstanding Alumnus Award; advocate for quality education; enjoyed travel and the outdoors; active in community, professional, religious, and alumni affairs. Alpha Zeta.

’53 DVM—LaVerne S. Dann of Marathon, NY, July 9, 2023; general practice veterinarian; field veterinarian, NYS Division of Animal Industry; veteran; member, Lions Club and NYS Pistol Association; avid photographer and ham radio operator; enjoyed camping, fishing, and hunting; active in religious affairs.

’53 BA—Gayle Hodge Smith of Towson, MD, June 3, 2023; education department head, Cincinnati Art Museum, and docent at major U.S. art museums; homemaker; political progressive; enjoyed international travel, living overseas, sailing, and brisk walks; active in civic, cultural, religious, and alumni affairs. Delta Delta Delta.

’54 BS CALS—Richard N. Brown Jr. of Springfield, VA, October 24, 2022; agricultural economist; active in alumni affairs.

’55, BArch ’56—Patricia Thompson Bennett of Marietta, GA, formerly of Austin, TX, and Concord, MA, May 27, 2023; advanced technical literature reader, Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic; systems analyst, MIT Lincoln Laboratory; treasurer for multiple organizations; homemaker; patron of the arts and writer/performer at Concord Players; avid mystery novel fan; active in charitable, civic, professional, religious, and alumni affairs.

’55 BS Hotel—G. William Daly of Chagrin Falls, OH, formerly of Vestal, NY, and Tequesta, FL, October 16, 2022; vice president, Endicott Trust; commercial loan officer, Marine Midland Southern; treasurer, Clark-Cleveland, a pharmaceuticals and toiletries company; commissioned officer and instructor navigator, U.S. Air Force; avid golfer; enjoyed international travel, bowling, bridge, family reunions, and organizing outings to concerts, plays, and sporting events; active in community and religious affairs. Phi Sigma Kappa.

’55 BA, LLB ’61—Charles H. Githler II of Victor, NY, June 25, 2023; real estate, marital, municipal, and general law attorney; also served as attorney for the zoning and planning boards of the Town of Brighton, NY; veteran; avid reader and student of history; enjoyed travel, Philadelphia Phillies baseball, dogs and cats, the family cottage on Keuka Lake, and telling jokes; active in alumni affairs.

’56 BS Hotel—Richard F. Corbisiero of Douglaston, NY, July 30, 2020; chairman, NYS Racing and Wagering Board; managing director, Riccardo’s by the Bridge catering hall, Astoria. Theta Xi.

’56, B Chem E ’57—Don H. Phillips of Seattle, WA, July 15, 2022; intellectual property attorney; licensing coordinator, Celanese Corp.; patent attorney, M.W. Kellogg Co., NYC; enjoyed international travel; active in community, religious, and alumni affairs. Beta Theta Pi.

’57—Everett P. Loppacker Jr. of Midlothian, VA, formerly of Toano, VA, October 20, 2022; home inspector, Home Directions Inc.; civil and structural engineer; veteran; enjoyed travel, jigsaw puzzles, card games, bowling, tennis, skiing, and golf; active in community and humanitarian affairs. Delta Upsilon.

’58 BA, MD ’62—Gerald L. Mandell of North Garden, VA, July 13, 2023; award-winning research scientist, professor emeritus of medicine, and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, University of Virginia School of Medicine; expert on the interaction of neutrophils and bacteria; physician on the Navajo reservation in Tuba City, AZ, in the Indian Health Service; prolific scientific author and editor, and member or chair of numerous medical, advisory, and professional boards, committees, societies, and task forces; named Weill Cornell Medicine Alumnus of Distinction and University of Virginia Inventor of the Year; tropical fish enthusiast and avid nature photographer; enjoyed running, rowing, squash, Navajo art, the New York Times, singing, “Seinfeld,” and the Beatles; active in community and alumni affairs. Phi Sigma Delta. Wife, Judith Rensin Mandell ’61.

’58, BArch ’62—Michael D. Newman of Winston-Salem, NC, June 24, 2023; sculptor and artist in residence, College of Charleston (SC) School of the Arts; award-winning design architect, Price Newman Payne, in Winston-Salem and Greensboro; designed college and university buildings; also worked with retirement communities, churches, schools, museums, theaters, banks, and residential clients; served on numerous architecture, arts, educational, humanitarian, music, and planning boards; Rotarian; avid hiker; enjoyed international travel, cross-country skiing, and summer vacations in Litchfield Beach, SC; active in community and religious affairs.

’59—Dominik A. Demetz of Brixen, Italy, February 2021; hotelier, Hotel Dominik; active in alumni affairs.

’59 MD—David R. Lawrenz of Chevy Chase, MD, July 16, 2023; internal medicine physician, Washington Internists Group; specialist in the diagnosis and treatment of chronic medical conditions who enjoyed making house calls on long-term patients throughout his medical career; instructor, Georgetown University School of Medicine; avid reader and marathon runner; enjoyed tennis, golf, bridge, and poetry; active in cultural, professional, and religious affairs.


’60, B Chem E ’61—Thomas M. Hunter of St. Louis, MO, formerly of Raleigh, NC, May 3, 2023; financial advisor; also worked at DuPont; avid reader of history and student of geology and the natural world; accomplished musician who taught himself the bagpipes, trumpet, guitar, and saxophone; community volunteer and library board member; enjoyed hiking, kayaking, fishing, birding, vegetable gardening, and landscaping; active in alumni affairs. Theta Xi.

’60—George E. Rosen of Houston, TX, October 24, 2022; mechanical engineer, Exxon, where he worked on the design, construction, and maintenance of chemical plants around the world; enjoyed international travel, reading, bridge, and watching sports; active in religious affairs.

’61 PhD—Frederick B. Emerson Jr. of Solvang, CA, June 30, 2023; instructor in birding and natural history, Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, and founder of the weekly UCSB Sedgwick Reserve bird census; emergency medicine physician, UCSB Student Health Center, Denver General Hospital, and Goleta Valley Hospital; assistant professor of forestry, University of Tennessee; wildlife biologist and wildlife management planner, Forestry Division, Tennessee Valley Authority, advising landowners on Tennessee River watersheds; enjoyed travel, hiking, tennis, eclectic musical genres, choral singing, studying linguistics, and leading field trips. Wife, Nancy Fendall Emerson, MA ’59.

’61 BA—Gary W. Hill of Sugar Hill, GA, June 25, 2023; underwriting and sales professional, Cigna, Connecticut General, and the Hartford insurance companies; avid fisherman; enjoyed coaching youth football, baseball, and softball.

’62 BS CALS—Heinz H. Schmalz of Venice, FL, formerly of Clinton, NY, March 10, 2023; senior VP/mortgage officer, Inter-County Savings Bank, New Paltz, NY.

’63 LLB—Arthur H. Downey Jr. of Windsor, CO, March 4, 2022; award-winning attorney and founder, Downey Law Firm PC, practicing in the areas of insurance law, litigation, medical malpractice, and personal injury; associate, Weller, Friedrich, Hickisch & Hazlitt; enjoyed working in theatrical productions; active in professional affairs.

’63 BS HE—L. Heidi Gantner Kallfelz of Ithaca, NY, May 27, 2023; homemaker; 4-H and Scout leader; enjoyed international travel, hosting and entertaining, the visual and performing arts, sewing, knitting, and basket weaving; active in community, humanitarian, religious, and alumni affairs. Delta Delta Delta.

’63 BA—Phyllis Roberts Spielman of Brooklyn, NY, May 30, 2023; active in alumni affairs.

’63 DVM—Walter W. Zent of Lexington, KY, June 29, 2023; veterinarian, Hagyard-Davidson-McGee; instructor, Department of Veterinary Science, and chair, Gluck Equine Research Foundation, University of Kentucky; specialist in equine reproduction and Thoroughbred mare management practices; international conference presenter, symposium committee member, and author of articles and book chapters; lover of horses and breeder of successful Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds; active in professional and alumni affairs. Alpha Psi.

’65 BS CALS—Kenneth G. McKamey Jr. of Gregory, TX, October 20, 2022; fourth-generation cotton farmer, McKamey Farms; contributed to innovative commercial tractor and cotton gin designs and computer applications; veteran; avid snow and water-skier, teacher, and coach; lover of dogs. Alpha Tau Omega.

’66 BCE, ME ’67—Melville C. Bailey of Dallas, TX, formerly of Little Silver, NJ, May 6, 2023; seasonal tax preparer, H&R Block and AARP; systems engineer, Bell Laboratories and Bell Communications Research; volunteer and president, Westfield (NJ) Volunteer Rescue Squad; enjoyed travel; active in alumni affairs.

’66 PhD—Rashmikant C. Desai of Toronto, ON, 2023; professor of physics, University of Toronto. Wife, Kalpakam Shankar Desai, PhD ’67.

’66—Alfred G. Pratt Jr. of Blairstown, NJ, June 27, 2023; founder and owner, Jersey Strand & Cable Inc., making fine wire, strand, and cable for many industries; developed and produced the first strand for the pacemaker as well as the strand and braid used to create the Eisenhower Memorial tapestry on the Washington, DC, Mall; also co-founded Sinc Inc., a wire braid subsidiary; enjoyed travel, camping, golf, NASCAR races, watching football, and summers in the Thousand Islands; active in professional affairs.

’67 DVM—M. William Eskeli of Jamestown, NY, July 5, 2023; dairy cattle veterinarian in private practice; mixed animal veterinarian, Moonbrook Veterinary Clinic; enjoyed skiing and e-biking; active in professional affairs. Alpha Psi.

’68 MBA—Iain M. Thompson of Cremorne Point, NSW, Australia, March 18, 2022; corporate governance professional; mentor. Wife, Gail Felcyn Thompson, MS ’67.


’70 MST—Dale A. Dummitt of Maysville, KY, July 6, 2023; math and science teacher, Horseheads (NY) Central School District and Lewis County (KY) High School; member, Elks; enjoyed golf, vegetable gardening, local sports, and following the Cincinnati Bengals and Reds; active in professional and religious affairs.

’71 BS CALS—John R. Baylis of Cassville, NY, January 21, 2023; teacher, Mount Markham Central Schools; veteran; portrayed Abraham Lincoln at Civil War reenactments throughout the Northeast and in Florida; advisor, Future Farmers of America; Mason; active in community and religious affairs.

’71 BA—Barry A. Cermak of Stone Mountain, GA, March 31, 2023; worked in the fields of social work, childhood education, and continuing education for adults; enjoyed reading, writing, comedy, live music, and lively conversation. Psi Upsilon.

’71 BS Nurs—Brenda Carswell Jackson of Cape Elizabeth, ME, formerly of Durham, NH, February 28, 2022; nurse practitioner.

’71, BS CALS ’72—Kevin C. Pettit of Dawson Creek, BC, and Rincón de Guayabitos, Mexico, February 23, 2023; ice hockey left wing in professional, recreational, and senior leagues; member of the 1969–70 undefeated Cornell hockey NCAA championship team; avid sportsman; enjoyed golf, swimming, bowling, hiking, telling stories, and talking about geography.

’71 MA—Susan Hourigan Raschke of Dallas, TX, October 15, 2022; interior designer; owner, Susan Korner Interior Concepts; interior landscaper for office buildings, shopping malls, and other public spaces; homemaker; author; enjoyed vacations at the ocean; active in alumni affairs. Husband, Curt R. Raschke, PhD ’71.

’71 BS HE—Donna Vlasak-Lidsky of Chapel Hill, NC, formerly of Silver Spring, MD, May 13, 2023; senior program officer, National Academy of Sciences Transportation Research Board; transportation planner for the Washington, DC, MTA and the HDR consulting firm; volunteer, Special Olympics; avid skier; enjoyed holiday celebrations and walking with the family dog; active in alumni affairs. Delta Delta Delta.

’73, BA ’74—Virginia Rauch Rapant of Voorheesville, NY, December 26, 2021; administrative assistant, legal secretary, and paralegal for university departments, nonprofits, and law firms, including Conway & Kirby PLLC; lover of languages; accomplished pianist and actor; enjoyed skiing, running, swimming, writing, classical music concerts, and international films; active in community affairs. Delta Delta Delta.

’77 PhD—Carl H. Sondergeld of Norman, OK, November 9, 2022; professor and chair, Mewbourne School of Petroleum and Geological Engineering, University of Oklahoma; research scientist in petrophysics and rock physics, Amoco Production Co.; prolific scientific author; avid reader; enjoyed travel, experiencing other cultures, vegetable gardening, and bicycling; active in alumni affairs.

’78 BS CALS, DVM ’83—Timothy A. Kirby of Athens, NY, February 22, 2022; veterinarian, Catskill Animal Hospital; Scout leader; avid outdoorsman and nature lover who enjoyed hiking, camping, canoeing, photography, and bicycling. Wife, Denise A. Hartman ’77.


’80 BS ORIE—Stephen R. Compagni Portis of Sonoma, CA, formerly of Oakland, CA, May 12, 2023; investment banking, aviation asset management, and financial services professional; also contributed to the advancement of clean energy solutions and renewable technologies; founder, chairman, and CEO, Renew Financial; clean energy finance scholar, University of California, Berkeley; founding partner, Vx Capital Partners, a commercial aircraft leasing company; founder and CEO, YellowGiant Corp., a digital Yellow Pages advertising platform; lecturer and leadership coach, Stanford Seed of the Stanford Graduate School of Business; enjoyed exploring the outdoors, sailing, hiking, creating music, relaxing on the beach, and the family organic vineyard; active in alumni affairs.

’82 DVM—David W. Krick of High Bridge, NJ, formerly of Nutley, NJ, July 4, 2023; small animal veterinarian, Dog, Cat & Bird Clinic of Nutley, Fairlawn Animal Hospital, Arlington Dog & Cat Hospital, and Parkway Veterinary Clinic, Burke, VA; also established his own business, Veterinary Relief Service to the Small Animal Practitioner LLC; enjoyed hiking, gardening, birdwatching, barbecuing, photography, and woodworking; active in professional affairs.

’82 BS CALS—Debra Behm Pakaluk of Bethesda, MD, November 2, 2022; science teacher, Norwood School; award-winning nature photographer, avid reader, and worldwide traveler who visited all 50 U.S. states and six continents; enjoyed classical music concerts, puzzles, cards, board games, and telling stories; active in community affairs. Ecology House.

’83 BS ORIE—Daniel L. Gerrig of Leesburg, VA, March 4, 2018; operations research analyst, Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation, Office of the U.S. Secretary of Defense; commissioned officer, U.S. Air Force. Phi Sigma Epsilon.


’90 BA—Oliver L. Radakovitz of Loomis, CA, August 14, 2022; CFO, Dimple Records, the family record business. Phi Kappa Sigma.

’92 BA, MD ’96—Anthony A. Granato of Raritan Township, NJ, May 17, 2023; award-winning sleep medicine physician, Hunterdon Medical Center, and founder, Hunterdon Pulmonary and Sleep Associates; also board certified in internal medicine, pulmonary disease, and critical care medicine; assistant professor of clinical medicine, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons; active in community and professional affairs. Delta Tau Delta.

’93 MBA—Emilio G. Granja of Mexico City, Mexico, 2023; financial advisor and investment banking professional; managing director, Citi; also served as energy, power, and chemicals unit head.

’94 BS HE—Heather Paltz Ughetta of Larchmont, NY, December 16, 2021; marketing and communications professional, IBM and Accenture; enjoyed adventure and vacations in Lake Placid. Kappa Kappa Gamma. Husband, Edward F. Ughetta, JD ’96, MBA ’96.

’95 PhD—Christopher V. White of Pasadena, CA, June 13, 2023; environmental systems scientist and engineer, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory; systems and software validation engineer, team lead, and senior designer on NASA Mars Rover projects; also served as project engineer, systems engineer, and engineering technical authority on several other NASA missions; NSF Fellow; enjoyed sailing, bicycling, and woodworking; active in alumni affairs.

’97—Kevin C. Cronin of Carlsbad, CA, formerly of Rockville, MD, October 17, 2022; development executive, Clark Realty Capital; enjoyed surfing, skiing, entertaining, and long walks with his dog. Alpha Tau Omega.

’97—David S. Curtis of Branchburg, NJ, March 16, 2023; digital marketing professional; founder and CEO, Blue Pig Media; international speaker on search engine optimization, content management, and web development; also worked in medical diagnostics; member of numerous boards of directors; avid outdoorsman; enjoyed travel, skiing, fishing, birding, and walking with his dogs; active in community and professional affairs.


’03 BA—Alexis O. Gorman of Atlantic Beach, FL, formerly of New York City, May 23, 2023; partner, analyst, and researcher, Spencer Stuart, an executive search and leadership consulting firm; also founded the firm’s corporate communications practice; advocate for the professional advancement of women executives; enjoyed nature, fine food, reality TV shows, and daily walks by the ocean. Delta Gamma.

Editor’s note: Please submit notification of alumni deaths—including an obituary, if possible—to the University at Once the University records an alumni death in its database, the relevant information is forwarded to Cornellians for inclusion in a future In Memoriam section.

Top: Photo by Jason Koski / Cornell University.

Published September 1, 2023