Obituaries
— Class of 1970

Send your news to the BAM at alumni_magazine@brown.edu.

Jun, 2021

Mark P. Pasek ’70, of Houston; Feb. 15, from heart disease. He completed his master’s in biochemistry at the University of Chicago in 1973 and his PhD in biochemistry in 1975. Between 1975 to 1979, he was an American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard before being hired by Biogen, SA in 1979. For the next two years, he worked in Biogen SA’s recombinant DNA laboratory in Geneva, Switzerland. By 1981, U.S. regulators allowed Biogen to do its research in the United States and he returned to Cambridge, Mass., where he helped open Biogen, Inc.’s new Cambridge lab and became Biogen’s senior scientist until 1991. His lab was awarded the Presidential Medal of Science and Technology in 1998 by President Clinton “for the development of hepatitis B vaccines, the first vaccines using recombinant DNA technology.” He was awarded four patents and he authored several publications. He is survived by a daughter, a son, his mother, and brother David ’76. 

Jun, 2021

Robert A. Clifford ’70, of Walpole, Mass.; Jan. 19, from COVID. He taught for 38 years at Norwood High School. At Brown, he was a member of the hockey team. He is survived by his wife, Marie; a daughter; a son and daughter-in-law; three stepchildren and their spouses; a sister; two brothers, including Thomas ’68; six grandchildren; and a niece and nephew. 

Jan, 2021

Paul A. Souza ’70, of Belleair, Fla., formerly of Maryland; June 23. He retired in 2016 as president and CEO of the Werres Corporation in Frederick, Md. He was an avid tennis player and golfer and at Brown was a member of the men’s hockey team. He is survived by his wife, Peggy, and three sons.

Jan, 2021

Mark Soifer ’70, of Somers Point, N.J.; June 19. After Brown, he continued his education, earning his law degree from Penn State Dickinson School of Law. Mark also served in the U.S. Army Reserves. After that service, he began a distinguished legal career serving as a law clerk and later worked with the law firm Horn, Weinstein & Kaplan, where he went on to become a partner. In 2007, he became a partner at the law firm of Cooper Levenson in Atlantic City, where he worked until his passing. He was past president of the Bay Atlantic Symphony Board of Trustees. He additionally served, for more than 30 years, as the “Commissioner-for-Life” of the Atlantic City Fantasy Baseball League and on the Pop Lloyd Committee board. He is survived by two daughters and their spouses and two grandsons.

Jan, 2021

Peter N. Barnes-Brown ’70, of Needham, Mass.; July 6, of cancer. He was a social worker for three years before becoming a business lawyer, the career that he stayed with until his death. He started his own firm, Morse Barnes-Brown & Pendleton, in 1993. He is survived by his wife, Susan; two daughters; two sisters; and nieces and nephews.

Nov, 2020

Ronald S. LeFever ’71 ScM (see ’70).

Nov, 2020

Ronald S. LeFever ’70, ’71 ScM, of Easton, Pa.; May 28, from complications of prostate cancer. His landmark MIT thesis in 1982 on myoelectrical signaling was lauded internationally and went on to be a cornerstone in research in this area. He was a professor in his early years and later made his mark in the communications technology world with his work in defense contracting and cellular location services. He also worked for the Harris Corporation in the 1980s. He enjoyed problem solving and fixing anything broken. He is survived by his wife, Linda Brad; two daughters; a son; two sons-in-laws; five stepchildren; 13 grandchildren; and his former wife, Catherine LeFever.

Nov, 2019

John B. Rose ’70, of Saint Paul, Minn.; Apr. 14, of cancer.
 

Nov, 2019

Christopher Banus ’70, of Nashua, N.H.; May 7, of congestive heart failure. He was a chemical engineer and entrepreneur who traveled the world and held 13 patents. He is survived by his wife, Sylvie; a stepdaughter; a brother; and several nieces and nephews.

 

May, 2019

J. Erik Hart ’70, of Jacksonville, Fla.; Aug.3, from a lengthy illness. After serving in the U.S. Navy, he returned to Providence and unexpectedly fell into a career as an arts manager. He attended the Institute in Arts Administration at Harvard and for more than 15 years worked with companies in Rhode Island, New York, Louisiana, Ohio, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Florida. In 1985 he was a cofounder and executive director of the Miami City Ballet. In 1987 he was offered the opportunity to manage downtown’s historic Florida Theatre and served as the theatre’s executive director and president for 25 years. He retired from the theatre in 2013. He is survived by his wife, Gayle; three sons; two grandchildren; and a sister.

May, 2019

Judith Covey Carson ’70, ’85 PhD, of Skokie, Ill.; Jan. 6. She worked as a software designer/architect at Anchor HMO, Comdisco, the Bradford Exchange, and the Acxiom Corp. Always concerned for others and the less fortunate, she was active in helping organizations that promoted social justice. She was a gifted piano player and enjoyed exploration and learning. She is survived by her husband, Thomas ’75 AM, ’77 PhD; a daughter and son-in-law; a son; two sisters; a brother; a sister-in-law; a brother-in-law; and several nieces and nephews.

Mar, 2019

Robert G. Zapffe ’70, of Oklahoma City, Okla.; Nov. 22, from complications of diabetes. He retired in 2008 after 33 years of service with the Oklahoma Department of Corrections. He was an active legislative liaison with the Oklahoma Corrections Professionals and served as Oklahoma Jaycees criminal justice coordinator. He enjoyed hunting crows and shopping estate sales. He is survived by his wife, Sylvia; a daughter and son-in-law; two grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; a brother and sister-in-law; and two nephews.

 

Mar, 2019

Amy Johnsen-Harris ’70, of Providence; Oct. 18, after a long illness. She moved to San Francisco after graduation and worked as an administrative assistant in the philosophy and English departments at the University of San Francisco. In 1972 she returned to Rhode Island and held various positions, including driving a school bus and working for Planned Parenthood of Rhode Island and as a freelance photographer. She then became a librarian and served in that capacity at the Providence Public Library, Ponaganset High School, Hugh B. Bain Middle School, and Cranston High School East. She was a flutist, pianist, and advocate for animal rights, human rights, and the environment. She enjoyed traveling, especially to national parks. She is survived by her son, Bart Johnsen-Harris ’12; a sister; brother, Dan Johnsen ’72; and her former spouse, Mark Harris ’70.
 

 

Jan, 2019

Raymond S. Kagels ’70, of Wakefield, R.I. Aug. 26, of hepatic cell carcinoma. He worked in the insurance industry, beginning as a claims adjuster with Royal Globe Insurance Co. in Providence, then as a chartered property and casualty underwriter at Galaher Settlements Co. out of Boston, retiring as a claims adjuster from Preferred Mutual of New York. He was active in his local community and enjoyed skiing, playing golf, traveling, and walking Narragansett Town Beach. He is survived by his wife, Joyce; two sons and their spouses; four grandchildren; three siblings and their spouses; and many nieces and nephews.

 

Jul, 2018

Philip F. Smith ’70, of San Rafael, Calif.; Feb. 4, of complications of duodenum cancer. He was a computer programmer at Bank of America, Blue Cross, and Federal Reserve Bank before retiring. He was an active member of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Marin for more than 25 years and sang in a choir. He enjoyed playing guitar and cello, as well as reading, learning German, studying astronomy, playing bridge, playing golf, traveling, gardening, hiking, and cross-country skiing. He is survived by his wife, Lori; two daughters; a son-in-law; and a grandchild.

 

May, 2018

John A. Fleishman ’70, of Baltimore; Sept. 11, after a long illness. He worked as a research scientist at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality in Rockland, Md., for 25 years, contributing to HIV health services. In addition to rooting for Boston sports teams, he was an ardent bird-watcher and traveled extensively to see new species and experience new places. He is survived by his wife, Joan; and many friends and family members.

 

Apr, 2018

James Melius ’70, ’72 MMS

Architect of aid for 9/11 first responders
 

“For most occupational or environmental illnesses, what treatment do we have?” Dr. James Melius ’70, ’72 MMS told the Niagara Sunday Gazette in the late 1980s. As director of the New York Department  of Health’s division of occupational health and environmental epidemiology, he was leading the cleanup of Forest Glen, a Niagara Falls neighborhood that became a Superfund site.  “Our best treatment,” Melius insisted, “is to stop exposure.” 

Melius, who died January 1 of cardiac arrest at his home in Copake Falls, N.Y.,  had a decades-long career as a strong advocate for workers’ health and safety, with an emphasis on prevention. His repeated testimony before Congress was key to the passage of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which authorized billions of dollars for the medical care of first responders. “The failure of the government to properly inform and protect these people from these exposures added substantially to their health risks,” Melius testified in 2009.

As an international expert on workplace medicine, Melius was part of the cohort of U.S. experts sent to Bhopal, India, in 1984, to investigate the poisonous gas leak at the Union Carbide pesticide plant, considered one of the world’s worst industrial disasters. From 1994 until his death, Melius served the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA). “Jim was a true working class warrior,” said LIUNA general president Terry O’Sullivan, in a tribute. 

James Malcolm Melius was born on June 16, 1948, in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, and raised in nearby Copake Falls, New York. At Brown, he studied biology and managed the varsity hockey team. In a letter to the BAM from 1972, Melius’s last year in the six-year medical science program,  he and fellow members of the Brown Medical Student Society made a forceful argument that Brown should start a medical school, both to enhance the University and to improve health care in Rhode Island. 

The son of a farmer and a first-grade teacher, Melius showed concern for the working class even before the start of his career. “Quality medical care is a right rather than a privilege which must be made equally available to all people,” he and his classmates wrote in the BAM.

Melius received his MD from the University of Illinois School of Medicine and his doctorate of epidemiology from the University of Illinois School of Public Health.  

Starting with a residency in occupational medicine at Cook County Hospital in Chicago, Melius’s career was focused on reducing the number of workers killed, injured, or exposed to dangerous substances on the job. “He had an early sense of wanting to do good and remain connected to working class people,”his son Jeremy Melius told the New York Times in early January. “He had a strong sense of service.”

Melius improved occupational health practices in New York  long before he spelled out to Congress what hadn’t been done properly after 9/11 and what the procedure should be in future disaster response. In 1980, after an explosion and fire at the Chemical Control Corp. chemical storage site in Elizabeth, New Jersey, Melius got the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, where he’d worked previously, to come in and do medical evaluations of the firefighters. “It was one of the first times that firefighters were evaluated after a major incident,” a longtime former official of the International Association of Fire Fighters told the Times. “And that continues today.” 

Just months before his death, Melius coauthored an op-ed in the New York Daily News calling a monument for 9/11 first responders a moral imperative. “For them,” he wrote, “9/11 and its aftermath is still a daily battle.”

—Louise Sloan ’88

Feb, 2018

Alexander H. Gordon ’70, of Eugene, Ore; June 14.

Feb, 2018

Stephen P. Greene ’70, of South Kent, Conn.; Aug. 19, of cancer. He worked in real estate, nonprofit administration, and law firm administration before teaching ethics and public speaking at the Marvelwood School in South Kent from 2004 to 2013. He enjoyed poetry, art museums, traveling, playing golf, and marathon walks. He is survived by his wife, Judith, and three children.

Feb, 2018

Roderick H. Leong ’70, of San Francisco; Sept. 15, 2016.

Feb, 2018

Darrell M. Zink ’70, of Hopkins, Minn.; Nov. 10, 2016.

Send us an obituary
Help us memorialize your departed classmates