Obituaries
— Class of 1944

Apr, 2022

David B. Fowler ’44, of South Windsor, Conn.; Oct. 21, after a brief illness. At the start of World War II he left Brown to enlist in the U.S. Army Air Corps and completed his degree at Boston University. He received many commendation medals for his service and spent most of his career working in the insurance business. He is survived by two sons, a daughter-in-law, and a granddaughter. 

 

Aug, 2021

Abby Burgess Rockett ’44, of Peterborough, N.H.; Jan. 26. Before retiring in 1973, she had worked as a bookseller in Providence (Dana’s Bookstore), and after moving to Washington, D.C., in the mid-1960s, she worked in her children’s school library and continued her education in library science at Catholic University of America. Her husband’s job afforded them travel to Japan, Australia, and Denmark. She was a supporter of many environmental and civil rights organizations. She enjoyed gardening, knitting, and needlework. She is survived by daughter Kate Rockett ’80; son Angus ’80; four grandchildren; and nieces and nephews, including Martha Burgess Kroch ’66 and Edward T. Burgess ’66.

 

Apr, 2021

Russell T. White ’44, of Umatilla, Fla.; Sept. 24. A retired World War II Navy commander, he was employed by New England Telephone Company for 35 years. He was a volunteer with the Vero Beach and Indian River County Humane Society and was a member of the Telephone Pioneers of America. He is survived by three children and eight grandchildren.

Jan, 2021

David A.E. Wood ’44, of Silver Spring, Md.; Aug. 4. After serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II, he joined his father’s sales agency that sold equipment for water treatment and filtration and wastewater systems. He subsequently joined BIF (Builders Iron Foundry) in 1955 after his father’s death, where he was a sales engineer. He retired after 40 years. He was active in a number of industry groups, including the American Water Works Association. He is survived by three children, five grandchildren, and one great-granddaughter.

Jan, 2021

Gordon B. Graham ’44, of Randolph, Vt.; Aug. 1. He was an engineer and worked on the Polaris Missile and the F4U Corsair Plane. He was instrumental in the founding of the electrical engineering program at Vermont Agricultural and Technical Institute (now VTC), where he also ran the Radio Club. During the 1960s he was active in the Randolph Players Group. He always enjoyed working on all types of projects, especially those involving woodworking, automobiles, and painting. He is survived by his wife, Evelyn; a daughter and son-in-law; three sons and daughters-in-law; six grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

Nov, 2020

Norman N. Nutman ’44, of Oradell, N.J.; Apr. 8. After receiving a DDS from the NYU School of Dentistry, surgery training at the University of Pennsylvania, and serving in the U.S. Navy, Norman moved to Teaneck, N.J., where he established an oral surgery practice. He was head of the Bergen Oral Surgery Group and on the staff of Hackensack Hospital. He retired in 1989. He was a board member and president of Delta Dental of New Jersey, serving the last two years as its acting chief executive officer. He enjoyed traveling and is survived by his wife, Norma; a daughter; son Tom ’74; a daughter-in-law; a son-in-law; and four grandchildren.

Aug, 2020

Grace Costagliola Perry ’44, of Greenville, R.I.; Mar. 13. She lived in Thousand Oaks, Calif., for 40 years before returning to Rhode Island. While in California, she worked as a medical lab technician. She enjoyed quilting and traveling and is survived by a sister and several nieces and nephews.

Aug, 2020

Marjorie Greene Hazeltine-Wolfe ’44, of Lancaster, Pa.; Feb. 29. She moved to Lancaster after graduating and was involved in community affairs in addition to raising a family. In 1970 she moved to Cape Cod and worked as an administrative assistant to the principal of Cape Cod Technical High School and as a real estate agent, while performing and teaching piano, primarily at the Cape Cod Conservatory of Music. She eventually returned to Lancaster and volunteered in the literacy programs at Lafayette Elementary School and Manor Middle School, served on the board of the Women’s Symphony Association of Lancaster, helped found the Pennsylvania Academy of Music, taught piano at Carter & MacRae Elementary, and gave recitals on piano and harp at Willow Valley Communities. She enjoyed gardening, sailing, traveling, and playing tennis and golf. She is survived by two daughters; a son; a stepdaughter; eight grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; three great-great-grandchildren; her brother Kenneth Greene ’42; and niece Jocelyn Greene ’74.

Apr, 2020

Mary Manton Lesperance ’44, of Warwick, R.I., formerly of Pawtucket, R.I.; Oct. 17. She was an elementary school teacher in the Pawtucket school system for many years until retiring in 1982. She enjoyed knitting, reading, and traveling and was an avid fan of the Boston Red Sox and the New England Patriots. She is survived by a daughter; two sons; and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

 

Jan, 2020

Hope Abrams Mellion ’44, of Warwick, R.I.; Feb. 2, 2019. She was a charter member of both the Cranston and Warwick chapters of Hadassah and served as chairman and president for two years, earning the Woman of Valor Award in 1964. She volunteered with the Rhode Island Food Bank and Ronald McDonald House of Providence. She was an avid reader and read for the blind on local radio. She enjoyed cooking, baking and playing bridge and Mahjong. She is survived by two sons and their wives, including Michael ’73; and four grandchildren, including granddaughter Hannah Mellion ’09.

 

Jul, 2019

Natalie Gourse Frisch Prokesch ’44, of Canton, Mass.; Mar. 31. She worked in New York City on the staff of Encyclopedia Americana and later as editor of a trade paper. During her years on the North Shore, she was founder and president of the Sisterhood of Temple Sinai of Swampscott and Marblehead, president of the Women’s Division of the Jewish Federation of the North Shore, and a founder and vice-president of the Marblehead Chapter of Hadassah. She was an avid reader. Phi Beta Kappa. She is survived by a daughter; two sons, a daughter-in-law, a son-in-law, seven grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.

 

Jul, 2019

Jean Wenneis Gosselin ’44, of Amherst, Mass.; Dec. 16. After raising her family, she taught grammar school. She later received a master’s in public administration and worked at the Institute of Public and Urban Affairs at UConn for many years. She enjoyed traveling, reading, museums, and foreign cultures. She is survived by a daughter; a son; two grandchildren, including granddaughter Gabrielle Gosselin ’03 and her husband, Nate Drummond ’03; four great-grandchildren; a sister; and two nieces.

 

May, 2019

William W. Nash ’44, of Warwick, R.I.; Apr. 22, 2018. He had a career in business management and consulting for 65 years. He retired as vice president of manufacturing and assistant general manager of United Wire and Supply Company of Cranston, R.I. He served on several corporate boards in addition to acting as a business consultant affiliated with the Small Business Development Center at Bryant and Johnson & Wales universities. A U.S. Army veteran of World War II, he was also a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the Society for the Advancement of Management, the Providence Art Club, the Netopian Club of Providence, the Wickford Art Assoc., Delta Upsilon, and St. Luke’s Church in East Greenwich, R.I., where he served as treasurer and vestryman. He traveled extensively and visited more than 60 countries, as well as every state in the U.S. He enjoyed camping, hiking, swimming, and playing golf. He is survived by his wife, Dorothy; two daughters; a son and his wife; a son-in-law; three grandchildren; a great-granddaughter; and a sister.

Mar, 2019

Miriam Jolley Spencer ’44, of Harrisville, R.I.; Oct. 20. After graduating with a chemistry degree, she went to work with Union Carbide in Oak Ridge, Tenn. She worked on the Manhattan Project and aided in the development of the atomic bomb as one of the girls of the atomic city. She continued her education at Wellesley College and traveled extensively before returning to Harrisville, where she married and began a family. She was active in her church and a member of the American Chemical Society, the former American Society for X-Ray and Electron Diffraction, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She enjoyed researching family history and is survived by two daughters, a son, a daughter-in-law, two sons-in-law, six grandchildren, and two great-granddaughters.
 

 

Mar, 2019

Irma Copes Rusk ’44, of Waterbury, Conn., formerly of New York City; Nov. 14. She worked at Pratt & Whitney in Hartford, Conn., prior to joining IBM, where she spent most of her career, including three years in its Paris office. She retired in 1988. While at Brown, she was editor of the freshman handbook and a member of Sigma Xi and Phi Beta Kappa. She volunteered with God’s Love We Deliver and as a mathematics tutor in the New York public schools. She is survived by a daughter, two grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, two sisters, and several nieces and nephews.

 

Mar, 2019

John L. Merriam ’44, of Warwick, R.I.; Oct. 31. After serving in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II, he became a manufacturer representative handling textile machinery and boiler room equipment. He enjoyed sailing and is survived by two sons, a daughter-in-law, two grandchildren, and a brother.

 

Jan, 2019

Anne Maven Young ’44, ’48 ScM, of Kingsport, Tenn.; Sept. 14. She was a homemaker and community volunteer. Active in the Girl Scouts of America, she was awarded her 60-year membership pin and was president of the Appalachian Girl Scout Council for six years. She was also an active member of the American Association of University Women and the Friends of the Kingsport Public Library, volunteered with Meals on Wheels, and served as state treasurer for the Tennessee Ornithological Society. She is survived by her husband, Howard ’48 PhD; seven children and their spouses; 10 grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

 

Jan, 2019

Norton C. Wheeler ’44, of Mystic, Conn.; Sept. 29. He was employed with Davis-Standard machinery company for 60 years, spearheading the company’s first lab in the 1960s and growing it from a small space to a building equipped for customer trials as well as research and development, including his own. In the early 1980s, he patented the DSB screw design, which became the industry’s premier feedscrew and gave Davis-Standard a global technical presence. The DSB continues to be the basis for all Davis-Standard screw designs. In recognition of his contributions in extrusion technology, he was awarded a Fellow of the Society of Plastics Engineers in 1985 and the Bruce C. Maddock Award in 1998, retiring in 1989 but remaining engaged as a consultant until the age of 90. During World War II and the Korean War he served in the U.S. Army Air Corps and Air Force. He played both clarinet and sax in various jazz bands and was a member of the Mud Clam Five. He was also involved with many local community groups, serving as a trustee of the Mystic & Noank Library and as a volunteer with Meals on Wheels. He is survived by five children; six grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.

 

Jan, 2019

Shirley H. Reeves ’44, of Douglas, Mich.; Aug. 14, after suffering a stroke. She was a retired school teacher and enjoyed traveling.

 

Sep, 2018

Russel M. Geer ’44, of Gainesville, Ga.; May 22. He was the owner of an H&R Block for 40 years. He is survived by a daughter, a son-in-law, and two grandsons.

 

Jul, 2018

John B. Hill ’44, of Chapel Hill, N.C.; Jan 26. He joined the department of pharmacology as one of the founding faculty members of the Univ. of North Carolina School of Medicine. In 1970 he left UNC to work for the Becton-Dickinson Research Center in Durham, N.C., from which he retired in 1979. He was a World War II U.S. Army veteran. In retirement he enjoyed writing, creating folk art, cooking, playing golf, and spending time with family. He is survived by three children; two sons-in-law; 12 grandchildren, including Anna Jones ’12; and five great-grandchildren.
 

 

Apr, 2018

William O. Harbach ’44, of Fairfield, Conn.; Dec. 18, after a brief illness. He was a television producer, director, author, and the winner of four Emmy Awards and a Peabody Award. He spent one year at Brown before enlisting in the U.S. Coast Guard. After his military service, he was hired by MGM as a stock player and appeared in Good News, Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo, Song of the Thin Man, and Killer McCoy. He lost his job in 1947 when MGM eliminated stock players to cut costs. He then moved to New York City, where he managed the nightclub act Kay Thompson and the Williams Brothers. After landing an entry-level job as an editor at NBC’s New York studio, he was soon editing, directing, and producing such shows as Blind Date. Three years later he produced a local New York program called the Knickerbocker Beer Show, starring Steve Allen; it later became The Steve Allen Show and earned Harbach a 1958 Peabody Award. He produced The Tonight Show, which went nationwide and live from New York City in June 1953. Jimmy Fallon made him an honorary guest on his first show in 2014. Harbach partnered with Nick Vanoff to produce the variety show The Hollywood Palace from 1964 to 1970, as well as multiple specials. In 1966 he cast Raquel Welch as the “Billboard Girl” on The Hollywood Palace, and in 1973 won his first Emmy for The Julie Andrews Hour. Harbach produced and directed numerous TV shows and specials that starred such well-known celebrities as Bing Crosby, Milton Berle, Glenn Miller, Carol Burnett, Bob Hope, and John Wayne. He won a second Emmy for his work on Gypsy in My Soul, a 1976 special featuring Shirley MacLaine and Lucille Ball. He enjoyed playing croquet and was inducted into the U.S. Croquet Hall of Fame in 1983. An avid sailor, he was a member of several yacht clubs and enjoyed competing in yacht races and sailing with Walter Cronkite on annual summer trips. He is survived by two daughters; two stepdaughters, including Victoria Vought ’91; and six grandchildren.

Apr, 2018

Elizabeth Clay Mein Taylor ’44, of Chevy Chase, Md.; Oct. 4. She served in the U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps, and in 1946 she married John Gordon Mein, a U.S. Foreign Service officer who later was U.S. Ambassador to Guatemala and assassinated in 1968. They lived in Italy, Norway, Indonesia, Brazil, the Philippines, and Guatemala. After John’s assassination, she returned to Maryland to raise their children. She was active in her local church and enjoyed singing in the choir. She served as president of the Women’s Missionary Society and started a group dedicated to working with patients from St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Washington, D.C. She enjoyed traveling with Global Volunteers and Church World Service up to the age of 89. She also enjoyed exercising with water aerobics, growing bonsai trees, and collecting praying hands from all over the world. She is survived by a daughter; two sons, including Eric ’79; two daughters-in-law; a son-in-law; eight grandchildren; and 11 great-grandchildren.

Feb, 2018

Jeanne Smith Swoboda Millman ’44, of Torrance, Calif.; Sept. 27. She taught first grade in the Hawthorne school system for more than 30 years. She enjoyed traveling. She is survived by a daughter, two sons, three grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, and a brother.

Feb, 2018

Robert E. Nelson ’44, of Hadley, N.Y., formerly of Ashburnham, Mass.; Aug. 19. While serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II, he trained to be a physician at Maryland Medical School. After the war he taught biology and coached football, baseball, and hockey at Cushing Academy in Ashburnham. He worked as a medical manager at Sanborn Co. in Waltham, Mass., where he was instrumental in the development/implementation of new medical tools. An accomplished trumpet player , he had played in both Cushing Academy and Brown orchestras. He enjoyed camping and all sports, especially golf and tennis. He is survived by his wife, Dora; two sons; a daughter-in-law; four grandchildren; and four great-granddaughters.

Send us an obituary
Help us memorialize your departed classmates