GS Class of 1971
Steven Strang ’71 AM, ’81 PhD, retired from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology after 41 years as a teacher of writing and rhetoric (38 of which were also spent as founder and director of MIT’s Writing and Communication Center).
Ed Benson ’68 AM, ’71 PhD, writes: “Oscar Dupuy d’Angeac ’17 and his mates made a splendid 40-minute documentary, called Providence Lost, about a family harassed and then evicted by a landlord seeking to convert their building into student housing. The film turned into an effective tool for activists organizing around the housing crisis. One elderly parent died from living in their car during the filming, while the house remained vacant a year later.”
Oscar Dupuy d’Angeac (see Ed Benson ’68 AM, ’71 PhD)
John B. Hattendorf ’71 AM, an internationally prominent maritime historian, former professor at the Naval War College in Newport, and author of dozens of books and essays on naval and maritime history, was inducted into the Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame in May.
Marilyn H. Fetterman ’71 AM, ’92 PhD, of Allentown, Pa.; Mar. 23. She is survived by her mother, a sister, and two brothers.
Ralph L. Roberts III ’71 AM, of Cincinnati; Feb. 20. He was an assistant professor of anthropology. He is survived by a daughter, a son, five grandchildren, four great-grandchildren, a sister, and three nephews.
Dean C. Palmer ’71 ScM, ’75 PhD, of Excelsior, Minn.; Mar. 8, from primary progressive aphasia. After earning his undergraduate degree from Oberlin College and his PhD in physics from Brown, he began his career as a nuclear physicist. He had postdoctoral positions at the University of Liverpool, England, and the University of Minnesota. He was an expert in the field of magnetic recording, developing the technology used to store data on computer hard drives, first working at IBM in Rochester, Minn., for 20 years and later at Seagate in the Twin Cities. In retirement he enjoyed volunteering and working to make the world a better place for future generations through the Sierra Club and led a landscape renewal project for his community. He is survived by his wife, Helen; two daughters; a stepdaughter; two grandchildren; and four siblings.
Robert G. Liotta ’71 AM, of Manchester, N.H.; Jan. 27. He had an extensive career in the U.S. Air Force. Having graduated from the U.S. Air Force pilot training in 1950, he began his career as an instructor pilot in Texas. He spent the next 40 years working alongside foreign nationals, student pilots, liaison officers, and exchange officers before retiring as regional manager for Northrop Aircraft. While at Brown, he became a commander of the Air Force ROTC program. He is survived by his wife, Barbara; two sons and their spouses; six grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.
Ashwani D. Budhiraja ’71 ScM, of Rehoboth, Mass.; Feb. 22. He had a 40-year career as a mechanical engineer. He was a founder of the Indian Students Association, which later became the Indian Association of Greater Rhode Island. He was an accomplished tennis player and swimmer and he enjoyed table tennis, billiards, and bridge. He sang, painted, and enjoyed gardening. He is survived by his wife, Rita; two daughters and their spouses, including daughter Pratisha Budhiraja ’91; two granddaughters; and a sister.
Warren A. Potas ’70, ’71 ScM, of Wenonah, N.J., formerly of Washington, D.C.; Sept. 5. After Brown, he spent a year living in Budapest, Hungary, doing computer interface research, then studied architecture at Harvard Graduate School of Design, followed by computer contracting work in Arizona, Texas, and Iowa, finally settling in the Washington, D.C., area. He thoroughly enjoyed the wilderness/outdoors, and in 1979 he founded and developed an adventure program of wilderness/outdoor activities for the gay community. Over the course of his career, he worked on mainframe computer software design and development at companies including IBM, Unisys, and Calvert Equity Fund, and U.S. government agencies that included the Naval Research Laboratory, Indian Health Service, and National Institute of Mental Health. He also had an interest in stock investing. He enjoyed participating in an array of local gay social groups and helped launch and sustain an independent gay community center in D.C. as both a volunteer and board member.
Ronald C. Markoff ’71, ’71 AM, of Providence, R.I.; June 13. He earned his JD from Boston College Law School in 1975 and spent 46 years practicing and teaching law, including opening his own law practice in downtown Providence. Throughout his career he received numerous accolades, including being named in Rhode Island Monthly’s Excellence in Practicing Law and a Lifetime Service Award from Jewish Family Service of Rhode Island. He was a lifelong trumpet player and an avid classical music fan and collected composer cards instead of baseball cards. He went on to found and be the principal trumpeter of the Narragansett Bay Symphony Community Orchestra. He performed with the Rhode Island Wind Ensemble, alongside his brother, and with the Buffalo Symphony Orchestra. He was a board member of Jewish Collaborative Services and Temple Emanu-El. He is survived by his wife, Karen; three daughters, including Sidra Scharff ’13 MPH and Allegra Scharff ’17 MPH; four grandchildren; and two brothers and sisters-in-law.
Donald E. Smith ’69 ’71 ScM, of Park City, Utah, formerly of East Brunswick, N.J.; Aug. 28, after a prolonged illness. After obtaining his PhD from Rutgers University, he joined the Rutgers computer science faculty as director of the laboratory of computer science research. He retired after 40 years with the title of vice president of information technology and moved to Utah. He is survived by two daughters and sons-in-law, four grandchildren, two sisters, and brother William ’76, ’82 ScM.
Gregory M. Eramian ’64, ’71 PhD, of London, Ontario; June 3. He taught Russian language, literature, and linguistics, and later comparative literature and culture, at the University of Western Ontario. He served as chair of the department of Russian studies (1977-84) and as undergraduate chair of the department of modern languages and literatures (2000-05). In June of 2004, he received the Edward G. Pleva Award for excellence in teaching. In 2006, he took early retirement from UWO after 37 years of service due to poor health and was granted the title of professor emeritus. He was an avid philatelist and map aficionado. He loved all kinds of music, gardening, baking, the outdoors, and traveling, especially long summer family car trips to national parks and recreation areas in Canada and the U.S. and hiking on trails. At the time of his death, he had just completed the compilation of a comprehensive 80,000-entry (1,400-page) English-Western Armenian dictionary, a project he had dreamed of doing since his teen years. This dictionary is intended as a pedagogical aid to students of Western Armenian. He is survived by a daughter and son-in-law, a son and daughter-in-law, and three grandchildren.
Joseph E. Hight ’71 PhD, of Springfield, Va.; Feb. 12, of ocular melanoma. He taught the principles of economics course for a year at Roger Williams University in Bristol, R.I., and for four years he taught labor economics and money and banking at the University of Hawaii. In 1973, he was an economic policy fellow at the Brookings Institute in Washington, D.C. That led to a position as an economist in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Policy, where he spent a 25-year career working on program evaluation and policy development. He worked on unemployment compensation, trade adjustment assistance for trade impacted workers, job training programs for unemployed and displaced workers, employment and unemployment compensation, and social security. From 1978 to 1979, he was a staff economist for the National Commission on Employment and Unemployment Statistics, specializing in state and local area employment statistics. For a short time he was adviser to Secretary of Labor Robert Reich in the Secretary of Labor’s role as a trustee on the Social Security Board of Trustees. For 10 years he taught economics to master’s degree students as an adjunct associate professor at George Washington University. He served in the Rhode Island Air National Guard and enjoyed reading, freelance writing, and playing tennis. Phi Beta Kappa. He is survived by his wife, Adele; a son; a sister; two brothers; and nieces and nephews.
Paul L. Sheehey ’71 MAT, of Scarsdale, N.Y.; Nov. 6. He was an English literature teacher at Scarsdale High School for 37 years before retiring in 2016. In addition to enjoying opera, he was a member of the Metropolitan Opera. He also enjoyed traveling and for a period of time lived in Laos and Iran. He is survived by his wife, Elisabeth; a brother; and two cousins.
Barbara Bennett Levine ’71 AM, of Providence; Jan. 2. She was an avid reader and lifelong learner and enjoyed traveling to many countries. She is survived by a sister, a daughter-in-law, two granddaughters, two stepdaughters, four step-grandchildren, and five nieces and nephews.
Archie V. Farnsworth Jr. ’71 PhD, of Los Lunas, N. Mex.; July 28. After Brown he began working at Sandia National Laboratories as a scientist and remained there for 34 years until retiring. He was a volunteer firefighter in Valencia County and served in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as bishop, teacher, and executive secretary. In his younger years, he spent two years serving full-time as an ecclesiastical missionary in Mississippi. He is survived by his wife, Jackie; seven children and their spouses; 28 grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and three sisters.
Betty Joy Rossyn Jaffe ’71 AM, of Providence; Dec. 18. After raising a family and returning to school to obtain her master’s degree, she worked as an architectural historian for the mayor’s Office of Community Development. She served on the board of directors of the Bureau of Jewish Education and the Sandra Bornstein Holocaust Education Center, and was a member of the Temple Emanuel school board. In retirement, she volunteered as a counselor at Planned Parenthood. She enjoyed gardening, playing tennis and bridge, and her book club. She is survived by three children and their spouses, and
Henry Helenek ’65 ScM, ’71 PhD, of Milwaukee; Mar. 7. He was a geology and chemistry professor at Bradley University. He enjoyed the symphony and theater, reading and traveling. He is survived by a daughter, a niece, and a nephew.
Ben R. Golden ’71 PhD, of Marietta, Ga.; Nov. 27. He taught for 55 years, including 40 years at Kennesaw State University, finishing his work there as professor emeritus of biology. He is survived by his wife, Noel; four children and their spouses; nine grandchildren; a sister; and a brother.
Ronald S. LeFever ’71 ScM (see ’70).
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.
Mary Margaret Hamill ’71 MAT, of Lakeway, Tex., formerly of Boothwyn and Media, Pa.; Mar. 6. She taught at Penncrest High School in Media for 42 years. Proud of her Irish heritage, she traveled to Ireland to find her family, whom she grew close to over many decades of visits. She is survived by a sister and two brothers.
Patricia M. Euart ’71 AM, ’75 PhD, of Cranston, R.I.; Jan. 30. She taught at Rhode Island College and the Community College of Rhode Island. She published numerous articles, some in the Providence Journal, and a book of poetry. She enjoyed riding her horse and painting. She is survived by a sister.
Russell A. Ekeblad ’68, ’71 PhD, of Portsmouth, R.I. and Jupiter, Fla.; Dec. 12. He was one of the leading U.S. bridge players for the past 40 years, with five major National American Bridge Championship wins and six second place finishes. He earned the rank of Grand Life Master of the American Contract Bridge League. He served in the U.S. Coast Guard and, following his military service, married and founded Kenilworth Creations, a supplier of custom jewelry to women’s specialty stores. He was an active member of his community, served on the board of Moses Brown School, and enjoyed boating, traveling, and playing golf. He is survived by three children and their spouses; two grandchildren; a sister; and a niece.
Judith Wolder Rosenthal ’67, ’71 PhD, of Edison, N.J.; Jan. 4. She taught biology at Kean University in Union, N.J., for more than 35 years and served as an administrator in 1995. She received a master’s degree in bilingual education in 1995 and at the time of her death was studying to become proficient in Yiddish and working on publishing her third book, Early Jewish Women Lawyers c.1900. She was involved with the Washington State Jewish Historical Society and was a member of a Spanish language book club. She was a collector of indigenous and tribal masks and enjoyed traveling the world. She is survived by a daughter, two sisters, and a brother.
Joan M. Reitzel ’71 PhD, of Venice, Calif.; May 25. Over the course of her career she worked as a college professor and a banker and retired as a grant worker for the City of Los Angeles Parks & Recreation Department. She is survived by a sister and two cousins.