Editor’s note: In recognition of the toll taken by the COVID-19 pandemic, CCT wishes to acknowledge those in our community who have died from complications of the virus. Their obituaries are marked with a ♦ symbol.
Richard A. Symes, retired reverend, Granville, N.Y., on April 3, 2020. Symes earned a bachelor of divinity from Princeton Seminary and a doctorate of divinity from San Francisco theological Seminary. He served parishes in Detroit, New York, Palo Alto, Calif., and Caracas, Venezuela, and also served on national committees of the Presbyterian Church. Before he began parish ministry he spent a year in Germany, including a semester at the University in Bonn. Along with members of his congregations, Symes marched for civil rights and in protest of the Vietnam War, yet despite his antiwar stance he collected and painted miniature soldiers. Some of the churches he served became More Light (LGBTQ) and Sanctuary churches. He was a volunteer prison chaplain in New York and a visitor to the local federal prison in retirement. Symes and his wife of 60 years, Patricia, retired to Granville, where he had built a summer cabin in 1973. They traveled extensively in the early years of retirement, particularly in Italy, and he added Italian to other languages he had learned. In addition to his wife, Symes is survived by his sons Christopher, and Preston and his wife, Jennifer; two grandchildren; and sister, Barbara Jones. He was predeceased by an infant son, Mark.
Seymour Hertz, retired attorney, New York City, on May 24, 2020. Born on July 12, 1932, Hertz earned a degree from the Law School in 1956. He was a former partner in the New York rm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. He is survived by his wife, Elaine; daughter, Patricia; and son, Stephen.
Ronald F. Thompson, attorney, Philadelphia, on January 21, 2020. Born and raised in Brooklyn, Thompson earned a law degree from Yale. He devoted much of his career to being in-house counsel at United Technologies Corp. for various divisions, including Otis Elevator in Paris, France. His passion was music; he was an active choral singer for most of his adult life, singing with the Ann Arbor Cantata Singers, the Hartford Symphony Chorale and St. Mark’s Choir in Philadelphia. Thompson is survived by his wife, Susan; daughters Diana, and Dana Goldberg and her husband, Jacob; and Zoe Katz and her husband, Jeremy; and four grandchildren. Memorial contributions may be made to Penn Medicine Hospice, Bala Cynwyd, Pa., or Magee Rehabilitation Hospital, Philadelphia.
♦ Charles Goodstein, psychoanalyst, Tenafly, N.J., on April 30, 2020. Born and raised in NYC, Goodstein graduated from Stuyvesant H.S. After graduation from the University of Pittsburgh Medical School, he served as a captain in the Air Force and then became an adult and child psychoanalyst in Tenafly. Goodstein was a clinical professor on the faculty of NYU Medical School, teaching as part of the Psychoanalytic Association of New York. He was a devoted family man with enthusiasm about the world, an ability to make everyone laugh, a flair for the dramatic and a never-ending intellectual curiosity. Goodstein is survived by his wife of 58 years, Carolyn; son, Clifford; daughter, Catherine Wallace; brother-in-law, Ian Wallace; and two grandchildren.
Norman P. Herzberg, retired mathematician, Princeton, N.J., on March 29, 2020. Born in Brooklyn, Herzberg graduated from James Madison H.S., then magna cum laude from the College and earned a Ph.D. in mathematics from MIT in 1965. He was employed by the Institute for Defense Analyses at Princeton from 1968 until his retirement in 2000. Herzberg published several papers on his specialty, number theory, and wrote numerous classified papers while at IDA. He and his wife of 52 years, Barbara, whom he married in the MIT Chapel in 1967, traveled all over the world together, often to Greece and the nearby islands. They also went to Malta, Morocco, Madeira, Mexico, China, Egypt, India, England, Ireland, Scotland, France and Italy, among other places. Herzberg was an avid and skilled photographer and documented their travels extensively. In addition to his wife, Herzberg is survived by his brother, Edward; and sister, Susan.
Joel Friedman, investor and real estate developer, New York City, on July 20, 2020. Born in Denver on August 17, 1939, Friedman lived in Westchester County and Manhat- tan after graduation. As a partner of Founders Capital Group, he was a skilled dealmaker who loved his work. Friedman was an avid run- ner and expert skier who enjoyed travel, singing and spending time with his family. He is survived by his son, Ted; daughter, Jennifer ’93, LAW’98; brothers, Daniel and Jonathan; and two grandchildren.
Paul V. Reale, retired composer, Canoga Park, Calif., on July 22, 2020. Born on March 2, 1943, Reale earned an M.A. from GSAS in 1967. He was a prolific composer of classical music whose output included works for every musical instrument. A professional pianist, he wrote countless solo keyboard pieces. Reale taught at UCLA, retiring in 2004, and continued to compose music that is available on the Naxos, MSR, and Music & Arts labels. He is survived by his wife, Claire Rydell.
Geoffrey A. “Jeff” Thompson, financial executive, Lyme, Conn., on August 3, 2020. Born on October 26, 1940, in White Plains, N.Y., Thompson grew up in Central Valley, N.Y., as the oldest of five siblings. He attended Deer eld Academy and spent a year working on a sheep station in the Australian outback before majoring in history at the College. After two years in the Navy, he earned an M.B.A. from Harvard in 1967. Thompson often joked that he held 72 jobs in his life, from waiting tables and driving taxis to running a bank and serving on corporate boards. He started his professional career at Newsweek but switched to banking in 1970 and held positions at A.G. Becker and Citicorp before joining GE Capital in 1978 as general manager and VP for consumer nance. In 1981, Thompson moved to Marine Midland Bank and was president and CEO 1985–90. He remained CEO after Marine Midland was acquired by HSBC and sat on the board for eight years. He later worked in the executive search business and private equity, and sat on several corporate boards. A lifelong lover of sailing, Thompson is survived by his wife of 54 years, Claudia; daughter, Marina Cummins and her husband, James; brothers, Jonathan and Kimberley; sister, Kathy McCurdy and her husband, John; and two grandchildren.
Frederick W. Kantor, New York City, retired physicist and inventor, on May 15, 2020. Born in NYC on July 19, 1942, Kantor entered with the Class of 1963 and earned a Ph.D. in physics from GSAS in 1973. For his doctoral thesis, Kantor invented a way to polish the surfaces of an X-ray telescope. Although the rocket carrying the telescope he built crashed on takeoff at Los Alamos, N.M., his patented design was replicated by Lockheed for NASA. His other patents included new ways to make air conditioners, to carry away sewage waste and to help people with macular degeneration to read again. He developed an approach to physics that was captured in his groundbreaking book, Information Mechanics (1977). Kantor had an ear for music and taught himself guitar, piano and organ. He is survived by his sister, Susan G. Zepeda and her husband, Fred P. Seifer; and brother, Paul B. ’59 and his wife, Carole J. Kaplowitz Kantor. Memorial contributions may be made to the Columbia physics department or the New Jewish Home in Manhattan.
♦ Mark J. Steiner, philosophy professor, Jerusalem, Israel, on April 6, 2020. Born in the Bronx, Steiner entered the College in 1960 but spent a year studying Talmud in Israel prior to his senior year. Azriel Genack ’64 recalled Steiner as being “deeply engaged with fellow students and faculty, especially with Professor Sidney Morgenbesser,” with whom he developed a close friendship that lasted until Morgenbesser’s death in 2004. After a Fulbright Fellowship at Oxford, Steiner earned a Ph.D. from Princeton in 1972 before becoming an instructor at Columbia. He moved to Israel in 1977 and chaired the philosophy department at Hebrew University in Jerusalem in the 1990s, although he often returned to Columbia to teach during the summer. Steiner also translated a series of Jewish philosophy books from Yiddish to English. In his most famous book, The Applicability of Mathematics as a Philosophical Problem (2002), Steiner argued that man’s ability to discover natural laws means that the universe is innately user friendly and that there is meaning and reason in things. He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Rachel Freeman BC’65; brother, Richard; sons, Hillel, Yoel and Aharon; daughters, Hadas and Navah; and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Charles I. Linzner, attorney, Yardley, Pa., on June 6, 2020. Born in Philadelphia on August 30, 1948, Linzner earned a J.D. from NYU in 1974 and began his professional career at Dewey, Ballantine, Bushby, Palmer & Wood, where he worked in NYC 1974–77 and 1980–83 and in Paris 1977–80. He became VP, general counsel, for Squibb Medical Systems in Bellevue, Wash., in 1983; associate general counsel for Squibb in Princeton, N.J., in 1985; and general counsel of U.S. operations for Squibb in 1988. Since 1991, Linzner was VP, senior counsel pharmaceutical research institute/worldwide business development, for Bristol-Myers Squibb. His interests included mountain climbing, technical rock and ice climbing, skiing, scuba diving and fly fishing. He is survived by his wife of 29 years, Nancy J. Meyer.
Jorge de Jesus “George” Guttlein, attorney, Bronx, N.Y., on December 23, 2019. A history major who was a residence hall security guard to fulfill work-study obligations, Guttlein earned three graduate degrees from Columbia: international fellow in 1976 from SIPA, M.I.A. in 1979 from SIPA and J.D. in 1979 from the Law School. He practiced criminal and immigration litigation law for more than 30 years, including in the Latino community. In 2007, he founded the Bronx firm of Jorge Guttlein & Associates and mentored many young attorneys. He was an avid student of history, a foodie and a benefactor of the arts. Guttlein is survived by his wife, Luisa De La Nuez; son, Juan Carlos and his wife, Jessica; stepdaughter, Pamela Gonzalez; and two grandchildren.
Harlan H. Simon, financial executive, Chappaqua, N.Y., on June 22, 2020. Simon earned an M.B.A. from Penn’s Wharton School of Business and was a foreign exchange trader at Bank America International. As an undergrad, he was the conductor of the Marching Band and a member of Nacoms. He supported the Marching Band Alumni Board and maintained lifelong friendships with classmates, band members and Nacoms. Dennis Klainberg ’84, a fellow band member, recalls Simon as “superbly non-musical, lanky, intelligent, confident, droll and very tall ... towering over a sea of musicians, just waving his hands with great joy and truly no idea of a downbeat! Encouraging and enthusiastic about making the band a fun refuge, Harlan was nonetheless an exemplar of hard work and dedication, managing to keep up an internship at Citibank during his senior year and forging a successful career in nance.” Simon is survived by his wife, Eden M. Platt; sons, Nathaniel and Jacob; daughter, Rebecca; father, Morton; and sister, Leslie.
— Alex Sachare ’71
Columbia College Today welcomes obituaries for graduates of Columbia College, the undergraduate liberal arts college of Columbia University in the City of New York. CCT does not publish obituaries for undergraduate or graduate alumni of any other Columbia University school. Word limit is 150; text may be edited for length, clarity and style at the editors’ discretion. Links and/or addresses for memorial contributions may be included. Please fill out the Submit an Obituary form.
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