GS Class of 1961
Morton E. Gurtin ’61 PhD, of Pittsburgh, Apr. 20, following a long illness. He was world-renowned in the fields of nonlinear continuum mechanics and thermodynamics, lecturing throughout the United States, Europe, South America, and Japan. Though he rarely attended class or studied in college, preferring instead to race cars, play sports, and cavort with his fraternity brothers, his natural facility for mathematics and science allowed him to receive the highest grade on his physics final; however, his professor gave him a failing grade because he never attended class. After graduating from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, he worked as a structural engineer at Douglas Aircraft in Los Angeles and General Electric in Utica, N.Y., where he excelled and wrote his first academic papers. In 1959, he went back to school to nurture his passion for research and received a National Defense Fellow scholarship to attend the PhD program in applied mathematics at Brown. After completing his PhD, he was awarded a research associateship at Brown and quickly became an assistant professor and then a tenured associate professor. In 1966, he joined the mathematics department at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) as a full professor and was later honored with an endowed chair under the title of Alumni Professor of Mathematics. His list of academic honors is extensive, including a Guggenheim fellowship, a senior Fulbright-Hays research fellowship (1974), and an honorary fellowship at the University of Wisconsin’s Mathematics Research Center (1981-1982). He was Ordway Professor (1990) at the University of Minnesota and won Carnegie Mellon’s Richard Moore Education Award (1999), the Agostinelli Prize (2001) from the Academia Nationale dei Lincei, Italy, and the Timoshenko Medal for distinguished contributions in applied mechanics (2004). He also established the Center for Nonlinear Analysis at CMU and was a founding member of the Society of Natural Philosophy. Outside of academia, he was a fierce competitor and poet and had a deep love for sports, especially the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was a competitive sailor, racing in Narragansett during his years at Brown. He was also a rock climber, scaling the Cinque Torri in Cortina, and a competitive road racer and track runner, completing the Boston Marathon in under three hours at age 47 and earning fifth place in the 50-55 age group at the Masters Track and Field Championships at Franklin Field in Philadelphia. He is survived by a daughter and son-in-law; a daughter-in-law and son Bill ’82; and three grandchildren, including Grant Gurtin ’13.
Steven C. Batterman ’61 ScM, ’64 PhD, of Voorhees, N.J.; July 9, 2021. He was a professor of bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania. He consulted in the areas of accident reconstruction, occupant kinematics, vehicle dynamics, and biomechanics. He was elected to the American Academy of Forensic Science in 1976, promoted to member in 1979, and to fellow in 1985. During his service to the academy, he was elected engineering sciences section chairman in 1986 and to the board of directors and executive committee from 1987 to 1996, and served as AAFS president in 1995, receiving the distinguished fellow award in 2001. He was a reviewer for national and international journals and he joined the Journal of Forensic Sciences editorial board in 1987, work that continued until his death. He is survived by a son and grandson.
Rose Bokser Schwartz ’61 ScM, of New York City and Tarpon Springs, Fla.; Feb. 18, after a prolonged illness. She began teaching at the Bronx High School of Science shortly after meeting her husband. She left teaching to raise her family and returned to teach in the mathematics department at Clarkstown South High School in West Nyack, N.Y., in 1974. She remained in that position until 1985, when she was named mathematics department chair. She earned a second master’s degree in administration and retired from teaching in 1996 to begin as adjunct assistant professor at SUNY New Paltz, where she supervised math student teachers. She was a member of the executive boards of the Association of Mathematics Teachers of New York State, New York State Association of Mathematics Supervisors, and Ten County Mathematics Educators Association. She had a zest for life and enjoyed traveling, cooking, and playing games with her granddaughters. She is survived by her husband, Sheldon; a daughter and son-in-law; a son and daughter-in-law; two granddaughters; and a sister.
Alice M. Savage ’61 PhD, of Windsor, Me.; Dec. 8, after a brief illness. Her career consisted of teaching, medicine, and health administration. She was an infectious disease specialist at Togus VA Medical Center and chief of staff for more than 25 years. She was involved with various branches of the Kiwanis Children’s Fund and held the positions of director, board member, and trustee. She endowed scholarships at the University of New England, which elected her to its board of trustees. She also contributed to the Kennebec Humane Society and donated generously to numerous nature and wildlife funds. She is survived by her partner, Carolyn B. Perry.
Fredric J. Fleron Jr. ’59, ’61 AM, of Westfield, Mass.; June 2. He was professor emeritus of political science at the University at Buffalo. He wrote seven books on Russian foreign and domestic policy and technology transfer and was preparing two more at the time of his death. While at Brown, he was a teaching assistant and lecturer. He took summer courses at Harvard and then entered the graduate program in political science and Russian studies at Indiana University with a Ford Foundation graduate fellowship and completed his doctorate in government. He taught at the University of Kentucky for five years and joined the University at Buffalo in 1970. At UB he served terms as acting department chairman and director of graduate studies. He developed a new general education curriculum for UB undergraduates and served for several years as associate vice provost for undergraduate education. After retiring in 2003, he became a university research scholar. He lived in the mountains of Colorado for a few years and then moved to Westfield, where he was an adjunct faculty member at Westfield State University from 2008 to 2018. He taught numerous undergraduate and graduate courses on aspects of Soviet and American politics and foreign policy. In the 1970s he was invited to serve as a member of the East-West Technology Transfer Advisory Panel for the U.S. Congress. He took part in conferences on Soviet foreign policy sponsored by Johns Hopkins University and served as a consultant to the CIA, the U.S. State Department, the White House staff, and the British Broadcasting Corp. In addition to his books, he contributed to more than 20 book chapters and articles for academic journals and was editor of the Comparative Studies of Communism newsletter. He was an associate of the Harriman Institute on Russian, Eurasian, and East European Studies at Columbia University from 1992 to 1995 and was nominated for a SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1992. He was a civil rights activist and took part in Vietnam War protests. He was a member of the board of directors of the Central Kentucky Civil Liberties Union and served on the board of the Southern Conference Education Fund. He enjoyed many types of music, sang, and played the guitar, banjo, dobro, and cello. He attended concerts and festivals and each year compiled a CD of “Fred’s Favorites” for his friends. He also enjoyed cooking. He is survived by his wife, Kimberly; a daughter; a son; three grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
Leonard P. Fletcher ’61 AM, ’65 PhD, of Guelph, Ontario, Canada; Mar. 22. He was recruited by the University of Waterloo in 1965, becoming the fourth faculty member of the economics department. He taught at Waterloo for nearly three decades, retiring in 1994. He founded the Caribbean Canadian Investment Club in 1974. Additionally, he was a founding member of the K-W Caribbean Canadian Cultural Association. He is survived by his wife, Hilda; three children and their spouses; four grandchildren; a brother; and several nieces and nephews.
Donald E. Miller ’61 AM, of Portsmouth, R.I.; Jan. 6., after a long illness. He was a successful university development officer, raising millions of dollars in funds for both the University of Michigan and Boston University. He was a world traveler and writer, visiting many countries on multiple continents, and had a special connection to the former Czechoslovakia. In 1967, he was a first-hand witness to the Prague Spring and, years later, had the opportunity to interview Vaclav Havel. Throughout the 1990s he lived part-time in Slovakia. He rescued cats and compiled many short stories about his animal companions in a book entitled Callie and Me. He was an avid swimmer and is survived by a sister, a brother, four nieces, and a nephew.
Conrad P. Caligaris ’58 AM, ’61 PhD, of Franklin, Mass.; Feb. 19. He was an economics professor at Northeastern University for 30 years. He had previously taught at Boston College and the University of Maine. He enjoyed spending time at the Franklin Senior Center, where he played cribbage. He is survived by a daughter and son-in-law, four sons and daughters-in-law, and 13 grandchildren.
Richard J. Sederstrom ’61 MAT, of Agawam, Mass., and York, Me.; Oct. 18. He served the Concord Public Schools and Concord-Carlisle Regional School District for 43 years before retiring in 2005. He taught math and science at Concord-Carlisle Regional High School for 16 years and represented the science department as chair for two terms, as well as holding elective office in the Concord Teachers’ Association. For the next 27 years, he was director of personnel for the school system; then, he served a three-year term as president of the American Association for Employment in Education. He received the Priscilla A. Scotian Award for distinguished service in the field of recruiting and training teachers. He enjoyed coaching youth sports and playing tennis and cards, reading, rooting for the New England Patriots, and spending time with family and friends. He is survived by three children and their spouses, and six grandchildren.
J. George O’Keefe ’61 PhD, of Greenville, R.I.; Dec. 23. He was a professor of physics at Rhode Island College for 31 years. He retired in 1994. He was a member of several organizations and clubs, including the Smithfield Sportsmen’s Club, Saltwater Anglers and Gloucester Country Club. He is survived by his wife, Carolyn; two sons; two granddaughters; two sisters and a brother.
James K. Whitney ’61 MAT, of Minneapolis; Aug. 10. He had a long career as an educator and coach in the Hopkins school district and was a World War II veteran. He is survived by three children; eight grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.
Antonio R. Centore ’61 MAT, of Johnston, R.I.; Sept. 8. He was a history teacher and guidance counselor at Cranston East High School and football coach at Johnston High School until his retirement in 2010. He was a veteran of the U.S. Army and is survived by three children and three grandchildren.
Donald D. Hook ’61 PhD, of Georgetown, Del.; July 6. He was a professor of modern languages at URI, Nebraska State College, the Univ. of Hartford, Central Connecticut State College, and St. Joseph College before joining the faculty at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., in 1977, where he also served for more than seven years as chairman of the department of modern languages and Literature. He was the author or coauthor of numerous books and articles, including Madmen of History. He served in the U.S. Air Force and was an avid target shooter and gun collector. He enjoyed gardening and swimming and is survived by a daughter; a son, Terence ’80; a daughter-in-law; a son-in-law; and three grandchildren.
John Cuniberti ’61 AM, of Englewood, N.J.; July 2. He began teaching at Saint Francis College in Brooklyn and continued to teach at Westchester Community College, where he remained as a professor of film for 49 years. He is survived by his wife, Marlene; four children; a daughter-in-law; and a grandson.