Oberlin Alumni Magazine

Spring 2014 Vol. 109 No. 2 OAM Home | Oberlin Online


Faculty, Staff and Friends

Dr. L. Dean Nuernberger was a longtime professor of music theory at the Oberlin Conservatory and 21-year director of the medieval, renaissance, and early baroque music ensemble Collegium Musicum. Dr. Nuernberger led the Collegium from 1968 to 1989, inspiring countless young musicians in that time. Even in his later years, he remained close to his music. In 1983, he began writing a requiem following the death of his mother. He returned to the piece and revised it in 2009 upon the death of his wife, Barbara Elaine Nuernberger. As word spread of Mrs. Nuernberger’s death, former Collegium students, led by Peter Gibeau ’81, united to perform a portion of the piece at her memorial service. Dr. Nuernberger was born in Nebraska and served in the U.S. Army in France during World War II. He was a longtime resident of Oberlin. He died December 21, 2013.

As chairman of the insurance giant Progressive Corp., Peter B. Lewis was one of the most successful business leaders in Cleveland and among its most important philanthropists, donating an estimated $500 million to various causes over his lifetime. His legacy at Oberlin includes significant family contributions to Oberlin’s Adam Joseph Lewis Center for Environmental Studies and the Green Arts District. “His generosity to Oberlin has significantly changed the college and will be felt for a very long time,” says David W. Orr, Paul Sears Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies and Politics and senior adviser to the president. Mr. Lewis died November 23, 2013, at his home in Coral Gables, Fla.


A native of Connecticut, Emily Elizabeth Gerow Buck devoted 23 years to teaching English and reading to students in Albuquerque, N.M. There, she raised four children with her husband of 51 years, Lucius E. Buck, and attended the First Presbyterian Church for more than 70 years. She died on August 13, 2013, leaving four children, nine grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.


F. Russell Bentley owned a hardware store in Cortland, N.Y., where he was deeply involved with the community and enjoyed golf. He died December 3, 2013, leaving his wife, Grace Van Tuyl Bentley ’41, three children (including Allen Bentley ’67), eight grandchildren (including Anne Bentley ’97), and 10 great-grandchildren.


Dr. John F. Thompson earned his PhD in biochemistry in 1944 and the following year was inducted into the U.S. Army, where he served at the Medical Nutrition Laboratory in Chicago. From 1951 to 2008, he studied protein synthesis in plants for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Plant, Soil, and Nutrition Research Unit in Ithaca, N.Y., and occasionally taught biochemistry courses at Cornell. He loved music—especially opera—and was a proficient pianist. He was also a dedicated gardener and sports fan and was often seen pedaling his bicycle around Ithaca. Dr. Thompson died May 16, 2013, leaving his wife of 69 years, four children, and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.


Raised in New England, Kenneth Robert Hahn called many U.S. cities home throughout an accomplished career in aviation and law. He served in the U.S. Army Air Corps as a flight and aerial gunnery instructor during World War II. Following the war, he earned his law degree at Cornell University and became an associate representing aviation clients at a Washington, D.C., law firm. Mr. Hahn went on to become general counsel and secretary of Lake Central Airlines in Indianapolis and later accepted a position in Michigan with William P. Lear, who would become best known for the creation of the Lear jet. Mr. Hahn was executive vice president of Lear Inc. in California, then division manager of Lear Sigler Inc. in Cleveland. He eventually became the company’s executive vice president for operations and, later, vice chairman of its board. Mr. Hahn died at his home in South Dakota on December 15, 2013. He was preceded in death by his wife of 64 years, Mary “Mickie” Crawford Hahn ’44. He leaves three daughters and six grandchildren.

Laddie Dunham Yamada graduated with a bachelor of school music degree and taught in elementary schools in Maryland, Japan, and California. While in Japan she met her second husband, Yoshio Yamada, with whom she settled in South Pasadena, Calif. She loved music, traveling (especially to the British Isles and Japan), and classic movies. In later years, she enjoyed spending time with her grandchildren and teaching swimnastics at the YMCA. In 1997, Ms. Yamada moved to Green Valley, Calif., where she died on October 24, 2013. She is survived by two sons from her first marriage, three grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.


Olga Louise Brunner grew up in Wheeling, W.V., and earned a degree in music education at Oberlin, followed by a master’s degree at Columbia. She began her teaching career in Virginia and Washington public schools and the YWCA. While living in the D.C. area, she reunited with Robert Brunner ’48, whom she married in 1950. After stints in Iceland, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh, they settled in Maryland, where Ms. Brunner gave flute lessons and served on the faculty of Western Maryland College (now McDaniel College). She died November 15, 2013, predeceased by her husband of 62 years and leaving three sons, seven granddaughters, and a great-granddaughter.


Winifred Bishop Fairhall, upon graduating from Oberlin, moved to Manhattan, where she became a researcher at Time magazine. The job introduced her to her eventual husband Larry, a former war correspondent for British newspapers. They raised their family in Westchester County, N.Y.—but for a three-year stint living in a 500-year-old English mansion once inhabited by the family of Anne Boleyn—and Ms. Fairhall served as director of communications for the New Rochelle public schools from 1963 until her retirement in 1988. In her later years in an assisted-living facility, she continued to write press releases and serve as a reporter, interviewing her fellow residents for feature stories. Ms. Fairhall died September 28, 2013. She leaves three sons and two grandchildren and was preceded in death by her husband and one son.

A native of Columbus, Ohio, Louise S. Richards devoted her career to the arts, serving as assistant to the curator of the Allen Memorial Art Museum before beginning a 34-year stint with the Cleveland Museum of Art, retiring in 1986 as chief curator of prints and drawings. Ms. Richards earned an AB degree at Denison University before completing her master’s in art history at Oberlin. She died October 7, 2013, in Oberlin, where she had been a longtime resident of Kendal at Oberlin.


A native of Pembroke, Mass., Benjamin Conant studied French and Spanish at Oberlin. He became a salesman for his father’s business, Aetna Pumps Inc., where he worked for more than 40 years. He spent most of his life in Pembroke, serving in the East Pembroke Community Club and the Pembroke Lions Club, as a member of the Pembroke School Board, and performing with the Pembroke Players. Mr. Conant died August 5, 2013. He was preceded in death by his wife of nearly 60 years, Beverly Brooks, and is survived by a son, a daughter, and many other loved ones.


Dr. James Lawrence Cole, a native of Oberlin, trained as a radar repair technician in the U.S. Navy. At Oberlin, he earned an AB in psychology, followed by a master’s degree in psychology from Princeton University and a PhD in psychology from Duke University. Dr. Cole’s first teaching position was at Harvard, where he was the assistant of B.F. Skinner. He later became an associate professor of psychology at North Carolina State University, where he remained until his retirement. His faculty studies included research on pilot error for the Navy and creating computer-based curricula for the blind. He was an active member of the Virginia Carolinas Morgan Horse Club and sang with the Raleigh Oratorio Society and the Cary Concert Singers. Dr. Cole died November 12, 2013. He was preceded in death by his wife Barbara and is survived by two sons and two grandchildren.

Dr. Kenneth N. Waltz (Hon. ’02) was a preeminent scholar of international relations. He earned his PhD at Columbia University in 1954 and served in the Army during the Second World War and the Korean conflict. He was a member of the Columbia University faculty (1953-1957) and subsequently taught at Swarthmore, Brandeis, and the University of California, Berkeley, before returning to Columbia University as a senior research scholar at the Arnold A. Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies, a post he held from 1997 to 2013, and an adjunct professor of political science.  His books include Man, the State, and War: A Theoretical Analysis, Theory of International Politics, Realism and International Politics, The Spread of Nuclear Weapons: A Debate. Dividing his time between homes in Manhattan and Harborside, Maine, he was a devoted husband to Helen “Huddie” Waltz ’47 for 59 years, before her death in 2008. Dr. Waltz died May 12, 2013, in New York City. He was predeceased by a son and is survived by two sons, including Kenneth Jr. ’73, and four grandchildren.


Dr. William Wallace Cleland earned a master’s degree and PhD in chemistry at the University of Wisconsin. He became an assistant professor of biochemistry at Wisconsin in 1959 and remained active there until his death on March 6, 2013. He earned a reputation worldwide for his contributions to enzyme kinetics and was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1985. An expert on U.S. coil stamps, Dr. Wallace earned the Smithsonian Institution’s Philatelic Achievement Award in 2008. He is survived by two daughters and three grandsons.

A nationally recognized poet in high school, Dr. Betty A. Little earned a degree in economics at Oberlin and an MA in economics and finance at Columbia University; nearly four decades later, she added a PhD in environmental ethics from Walden University. Dr. Little worked as an economics and investment analyst for Smith Barney and Marine Midland Trust Co. in New York City and later at Colorado National Bank in Denver. A member of the Denver and New York Society of Security Analysts, she taught for seven years at Fairleigh Dickinson University. An avid environmentalist and arts lover, she exuded a lifelong passion for encouraging others to support causes dear to her. Dr. Little died October 21, 2013. She was preceded in death by her husband of 57 years, John Little, and is survived by a son, a daughter and two granddaughters.

Dr. Donald MacKay Wonderly devoted 15 years to a career as a professional musician in addition to numerous other pursuits. After serving in World War II, he earned his BA in psychology and an MA at Oberlin, followed by a PhD in education at Western Reserve University (now Case Western Reserve). His career included positions as a family service caseworker, a teacher of developmentally disabled children, a school psychologist (for Oberlin schools, among others), and a professor. He served as president of the Ohio School Psychologists Association, earning its first honorary lifetime membership in 1967, and he founded the consulting organization PSI in 1977. Dr. Wonderly died September 17, 2013, leaving his wife, Dr. Barbara Wonderly ’57, three sons, and a daughter.


After completing her education at Oberlin, Althea S. Guy joined the CIA and became an intelligence analyst and reports officer serving in Western Europe, Washington, D.C., and South Vietnam. She retired in 1983. Ms. Guy died December 6, 2013, in her hometown of Bryn Mawr, Pa.


William N. Weaver Jr. attended the University of Chicago Law School before a two-year stint in the Army and returned to finish first in his class at the John Marshall Law School. A securities lawyer, he joined a five-person Chicago law firm that eventually became Sachnoff & Weaver, which grew to 160 lawyers by the time it merged with Pittsburgh-based Reed Smith in 2007. Mr. Weaver’s irreverent outlook extended to the culture at Sachnoff & Weaver, one of the first law firms with an informal dress code—as well as a pool table, dartboards, and bridge tables. Mr. Weaver died November 22, 2013, and is survived by his wife, Frona, two children, two stepchildren, and 10 grandchildren.


Mary Jo Logsdon Nichols matriculated at 16 under the Ford Foundation’s Early Admissions Program. After receiving a master’s degree in childhood education at Columbia, she became one of the first teachers at the West Side Montessori School in Manhattan. She then took a position as director of a Head Start program in the South Bronx, helping to transition it from an eight-week summer trial to a full nine-month preschool program. Following a move with her four children to rural Berkshire County, Mass., she found one of her most rewarding jobs employing Montessori methods in a one-room schoolhouse to teach as many as 52 children a day. She retired to Port Townsend, Wash., where she enjoyed an active retirement. She died on August 27, 2013, leaving four children and eight grandchildren. She was predeceased by her first husband, Harold B. Lemmerman ’57.

Memorial Minute

Tony Musante ’58


Tony Musante ’58 appeared on American TV, in movies, and on stages for more than 50 years, starring alongside such luminaries as George C. Scott and Martin Sheen—and drawing nominations for a Drama Desk Award (for his turn as a bandit in the 1975 comedy P.S. Your Cat is Dead) and an Emmy Award (for a role in a 1976 episode of the NBC drama Medical Story). Described as “an actor’s actor” by the New York Daily News, Musante began acting off-Broadway and in television in the early 1960s. He made his film debut in 1965 and two years later he gave an award-winning performance as the menacing hoodlum in The Incident. But it was a central role in Toma, a 1973 ABC detective drama, that earned Mr. Musante his greatest acclaim. After agreeing to star in the series for only one season, he departed for the lights of the stage; the following season, the program was retooled and renamed Baretta. A native of Connecticut, Mr. Musante met his eventual wife, writer Jane Sparkes ’59, while at Oberlin, and the two later settled in Manhattan. Last year, Mr. Musante donated his personal-papers collection to the Oberlin College Archives. Spanning the years 1954 to 2012, the Musante Collection includes extensive biographical information; Musante’s handwritten notebooks that contain his thoughts, questions, ideas, and directorial suggestions relating to 116 of his acting roles in film, television, and theater productions; production photos of his work on the stage and in films; scrapbooks relating to his student days at Oberlin and his professional work in film and theater; scripts; playbills; posters signed by co-stars and production crews; and DVDs of many of his movies and television shows.“I am very happy to have my collection at Oberlin, where my acting career began,” Musante said at the time of the donation. “I truly hope it will be helpful and interesting to students and faculty in cinema and theater fields.” Mr. Musante died November 26, 2013.


A native of Cleveland, Dovre “Duffy” Hall Busch followed her Oberlin education with a master’s degree in psychology from the University of Minnesota. She worked for the Northeast Ohio Lung Association and, after relocating to California, the American Red Cross, from which she retired. In 2011 she moved to Arkansas to live with family. Ms. Busch died November 18, 2013, leaving two daughters, seven grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband, David C. Busch, and a daughter.

Lyle Chastain earned a master’s degree at the University of Minnesota, where she and a fellow grad student created a groundbreaking program for children with developmental disorders. They later served as co-directors of an autism program at Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis that eventually became the influential Fraser School. In addition, Ms. Chastain served with her husband, Ron, as a trainer in the U.S. Peace Corps in Morocco and in USAID projects in Rwanda. An avid outdoorswoman, she found great joy in making family trips to the Minneapolis Farmers’ Market, as well as camping, hiking, canoeing, and making music. She died October 29, 2013, leaving her husband, two sons, and four grandchildren.


Michael Margolis was professor emeritus in political science at the University of Cincinnati, where he headed the department. He had previously served on the faculty of the University of Pittsburgh. He wrote extensively about the intersection of politics and the Internet, including the books Politics As Usual: The Cyberspace “Revolution”, from 2000 and The Prospect of Internet Democracy, from 2009. Dr. Margolis was still working on research and engaging his colleagues in the political science department up until the month before he died, on October 30, 2013. He is survived by his wife, Elaine Camerota; four daughters; a son; a stepdaughter; and five grandchildren.


Vera Joan Hanfmann Weisskopf followed Oberlin with two masters’ degrees, one in administrative science from University of Alabama in Huntsville and another in library science from the University of Alabama. Having worked at college libraries at Oberlin and Harvard, Ms. Weisskopf resumed her career as a librarian after raising her children. She worked at Alabama A&M, the University of Alabama in Huntsville, and Washington University in St. Louis, Mo. She retired in 2012 after spending 14 years as dean of the library at Georgia South-western University. She died January 8, 2014, survived by two children, including Antonia Weisskopf ’87, and seven grandchildren and step-grandchildren.


Hiram Titus was a pianist and composer with a number of Twin Cities, Minn., organizations. He was most closely associated with the Children’s Theater, where he became composer-in-residence after graduating from Oberlin. He also worked with the Guthrie Theater, the History Theater, and the Minnesota Opera, as well as Unity Christ Church in Golden Valley. A child prodigy, he was a soloist with the Minneapolis Symphony and won a Van Cliburn Scholarship to the National Music Camp in Interlochen, Mich. As an adult he composed for television movies such as Alice in Wonderland and Puss in Boots, the 1987 film The Little Mermaid, and a number of theater productions, including A Christmas Carol, The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins, Jack (a musical based on Jack and the Beanstalk), Rosina (an opera based on characters from The Barber of Seville and The Marriage of Figaro), and the musical Skinflint (based on Moliere’s The Mise). Mr. Titus died September 16, 2013.


Dr. Ophelia Marie Smith’s early career centered on the publishing and recording world at CBS. The former double-degree student at Oberlin—in German and piano performance—also earned a PhD in clinical psychology at Columbia University and eventually transitioned into working for those in need. She served as director of the Continuing Care Clinic at Fordham-Tremont Community Mental Health Clinic and later joined the board and staff of Women in Need, where she led all program services for more than 200 employees serving 10,000 homeless women and children annually. Dr. Smith died November 14, 2013, leaving behind many loved ones.


A woman of many talents and great ambition, Jimmie Sue Harris White worked for the Oberlin Public Schools and the Mount Zion Baptist Church, volunteered with the Girl Scouts, opened Jimmie’s Antiques and Collectibles, and created a baseball field for neighborhood children, among numerous other achievements in her longtime hometown of Oberlin. Ms. White earned a degree at Oberlin in studio art and African-American studies and was the first African American exhibitor at the Allen Memorial Art Museum. A native of Alabama, she married Jeffie E. White Jr. and settled in Elyria, Ohio, before moving to Oberlin to raise their family. Ms. White died October 26, 2013, leaving four daughters and seven grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband of 59 years and a granddaughter.


Want to Respond?

Send us a letter-to-the-editor or leave a comment below. The comments section is to encourage lively discourse. Feel free to be spirited, but don't be abusive. The Oberlin Alumni Magazine reserves the right to delete posts it deems inappropriate.