Obituaries
— Class of 1974

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Apr, 2022

Debi Coleman ’74, of Portland, Ore.; Oct. 15. After receiving her MBA from Stanford, she became part of the original Macintosh team and rose to serve as the company’s chief financial officer and, later, vice president of information systems and technology. She moved to Oregon in 1992 to be vice president of operations and materials at Tektronix but left two years later when Tek spun out printed circuit board manufacturer Merix, where she served as CEO. In 2001 she left Merix to start SmartForest Ventures in an effort to boost local funding available to Oregon startups. SmartForest’s portfolio included an array of regional tech companies, among them SignaCert, Kryptiq Corp., NexPlanar, iMove, Attensa, and Phoseon. In 2008, she formed Rainy Day Productions to fund local theater groups. A longtime patron of the arts, she served on the boards of the Oregon Ballet Theatre and the Oregon Symphony, eventually expanding her activities to include producing Broadway plays, most notably Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. She served on several public companies’ boards of directors and this past September she was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from Technology Association of Oregon. She also received the C200 Luminary Award Honoring Women in Business in 2002 for Technology Innovator and was an emerita member of the Brown Board of Trustees. She is survived by her mother, four siblings, 13 nieces and nephews, and eight grand-nieces and nephews.

Apr, 2022

Diane F. Green-El ’74, of Queens, N.Y.; Oct. 2. She had a career as a pediatrician and a healthcare administrator beginning with a position at the Syracuse Community Health Center, which launched a 40-year commitment to promoting quality healthcare for all. During her tenure at Syracuse, she was medical director of the health center and later became the first medical director for Total Care, a licensed health maintenance organization designed to insure underserved populations. She was instrumental in the development of a seven-day-a-week urgent care program called Extended Hours Services. She later helped to expand the center’s ob-gyn department to include midwives. Under her clinical leadership, the center became one of the first to be certified by the Joint Commission on Health Care Organizations. She maintained her pediatric practice while performing her administrative responsibilities. She was a member of the National Medical Association and an active member of Central Baptist Church. She enjoyed arts and crafts and making jewelry. She is survived by two sons, four grandchildren, her mother, a brother, and a niece. 

 

Oct, 2021

Debra J. Osnowitz ’74, ’75 MAT, of West Roxbury, Mass.; Apr. 7. She taught sociology at Clark for several years. Among her publications are many articles and a book from Cornell University Press, Freelancing Expertise: Contract Professionals in the New Economy. She was interested in social theory, culture, work, occupations and professions, and organizations. She was continuing her research in sociology at the time of her passing. During the 1970s, she was a member of the advocacy group 9to5 and part of the National Association of Working Women, where she chaired the Women in Publishing group. She then worked for many years as an editorial freelancer and was a founding member of the Freelance Editorial Association. She enjoyed classical music and played the viola. She is survived by four nieces.

Jun, 2021

Gary E. Wilcox ’74, of Wilmette, Ill.; Feb. 15, of metastatic melanoma. After Brown, he attended Dickinson School of Law and became a prosecuting attorney in Delaware County. Following a move to Chicago, he worked as a litigator with Peterson, Ross, Schlerb & Seidel, and later with Hardt & Stern. He enjoyed playing squash and tennis, competing in—and winning—numerous squash tournaments through the Racquet Club of Chicago. He also enjoyed auto racing, fishing, and music, and had a deep love of art, cultivating his own artistry in both photography and pottery. He is survived by his wife, Julie; three children; a sister; a brother; and many nieces and nephews. 

Apr, 2021

Richard Preisler ’74, of Reisterstown, Md.; June 2, of progressive supranuclear palsy and possibly COVID-19. He was a chemistry professor and department chair at Towson University. He retired in 2017. He enjoyed classical music, reading, and family. He is survived by his wife, Barbara; a daughter; his mother; and a sister.

Apr, 2021

Barbara A. Erwin-McGuire ’74, of Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y.; Sept. 11, of pancreatic cancer. She obtained a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania in neuroanatomy and joined the lab of Nobel Laureate Torsten Wiesel at Harvard as a postdoctoral fellow. She then moved to Rockefeller University in New York City, where she continued to explore the microscopic structure of the retina. She also lectured at Cornell Medical School. She became disenchanted with research science, returned to Columbia to obtain her master’s in social work, and practiced privately for 20 years. She enjoyed genealogy and gardening. She is survived by her husband, Don, and two daughters. 

Nov, 2020

P. Kevin Walther ’74, of Flowery Branch, Ga.; Apr. 20. After receiving his law degree from Indiana University, he specialized in residential and commercial real estate law in the Atlanta area from 1979 until his death. He enjoyed cooking for and hosting family gatherings, gardening, and walking on the beach. He is survived by his wife, Kimberly; a daughter; his stepmother; two grandchildren; and six siblings.

Sep, 2020

Deborah L. Homsher ’74, of Ithaca, N.Y.; Mar. 16. She won a Wallace Stegner writing fellowship at Stanford University and followed with an MFA in fiction writing from the University of Iowa. She was employed as an adjunct English professor at Ithaca College and during that time, raised a family and published From Blood to Verdict, Women and Guns, and The Rising ShoreRoanoke. In 1995 she was hired as managing editor of publications in Cornell’s Southeast Asia Program, a position she held for 19 years. After developed an enthusiasm for rowing a single shell that lasted for years, and also enjoyed hiking, biking, and gardening. She is survived by her husband, Hugh Egan ’74; two sons, including Kevin Egan ’03; a sister; and a brother.

Jun, 2020

H. Wayne Carver ’74, ’77 MD, of Old Saybrook, Conn.; Dec. 26. He did his forensic training at the Cook County medical examiner’s office in Chicago. He went on to become the chief medical examiner of the State of Connecticut and served with distinction for 24 years. He strove to be impartial to both the prosecution and defense when called to testify, while showing compassion to families. At Brown he played drums in the marching band and played in three orchestras. He enjoyed cooking and is survived by his wife, Deborah DeHertogh ’74, ’77 MD; two sons; a sister; and nieces and nephews.

 

Jul, 2019

Carolyn Spiro-Silvestri ’74, of Norwalk, Conn.; Feb. 17, after a brief illness. She pursued a career in modern dance prior to becoming a psychiatrist. She spent many years in private practice and co-authored with her twin sister, Pamela ’75, Divided Minds: Twin Sisters and Their Journey Through Schizophrenia in 2006. She is survived by her husband, Sal; a daughter; a son; a grandson; two stepsons; three siblings, including Pamela ’75; and four nieces and nephews.

 

 

 

May, 2019

Olafur Gislason ’74, of Jamestown, R.I.; Oct. 3, following a prolonged illness. He worked in seafood sales for most of his life. In 1989 he cofounded Southstream Seafoods, where he served as vice president until retiring in 2017. During his tenure, the company grew to be an industry leader in seafood importing and sales. He was an accomplished bassist and guitarist, who played with numerous rock bands. He was an active member of the Brown Club of Rhode Island and served as president of BASC. He was also active in the Jamestown Community Theater and Boy Scouts of America. He is survived by his wife, Katherine; a daughter; a son, Stefan ’06; a brother and sister-in-law; a nephew and nieces.

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