Obituaries

1941

Sigmund J. Montgomery, engineer, finance executive, consultant, Darien, Conn., on February 27, 2017. Montgomery, who went by John, was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., on July 10, 1920, and grew up in Katonah, N.Y. He earned a B.S. from Columbia Engineering in 1942, then served in the Eighth Air Force, assigned to Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower's staff in England and France. He left the military as a major with a Bronze Star in 1946. Montgomery then returned to Columbia, earning an M.S. from Engineering in 1949, and was an assistant professor there 1948–59. Montgomery moved to Darien in 1947 and began consulting in management and engineering. He earned a Ph.D. in accounting from NYU's School of Business and then helped to develop the Graduate School of Business at the University of Connecticut Storrs and the M.B.A. program at UConn in Stamford. While teaching at UConn, the school loaned Montgomery to the city of Stamford to be its commissioner of finance. Montgomery was predeceased by his first wife, Jean. He is survived by his second wife, Ruth Richardson Montgomery; daughter, Cynthia Kowalski, and her husband Ronald; five grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and three step-children, Charles Skeele, Harrison Skeele and Sarah Post. Memorial contributions may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association.

Robert D. Zucker ’41

Robert D. Zucker ’41

Robert D. Zucker, retired CEO, Floral Park, N.Y., on June 8, 2017. Zucker enlisted in the Navy in 1941, attained the rank of lieutenant commander and commanded a fleet minesweeper in WWII. He was CEO of several companies, including one that evolved into Nautica. Zucker was mayor of the village of Roslyn Estates (N.Y.) for 10 years, navigated a sailboat to a win in the Newport to Bermuda race and especially enjoyed opera and tennis. At the College, Zucker was CC’41 class president, CC’41 CCT Class Notes correspondent 2008–16, Jester business manager and a ZBT brother. He was married for 58 years to Allyn Van Baalen; she predeceased him, as did a brother, Richard ’44. For the last 16 years, Zucker was the partner of Fran Katz. He is survived by her, as well as his children, Micky (Lorry), Alan ’68 and Nancy; four grandchildren; and 12 great-grandchildren.

1945

Melvin M. Grumbach, pediatric endocrinologist, San Francisco, on October 4, 2016. After growing up in Brooklyn, N.Y., Grumbach was the first in his family to go to college, doing his undergraduate, medical (P&S, 1948) and residency at Columbia. He met his wife, Dr. Madeleine Francis Grumbach PS’51, there. Married 55 years, until her death in 2007, the couple raised three sons, Ethan, Kevin and Anthony, and had five grandchildren, including Jacob ’10 and Matthew ’13. Grumbach’s pioneering research elucidated the biologic mechanisms of sexual differentiation, growth and puberty, and addressed socially charged issues about gender identity and normal height variations. He chaired the UC San Francisco Department of Pediatrics 1966–86, transforming the department into one of the world’s most prestigious programs. Grumbach was most at peace spending time with his family and friends at a vacation home on the Northern California coast, gazing at the Pacific Ocean and watching the sun set. In addition to his sons and grandchildren, he is survived by his brother, Lee. Memorial contributions may be made to the UCSF Foundation, UCSF Department of Pediatrics, 550 16th St., San Francisco, CA 94158-2549, “Attn.: Grumbach Research Award.”

Anthony Vasilas, physician, Manhasset, N.Y., on April 7, 2017. Vasilas earned an M.D. from New York Medical College. He served in the Navy on Governors Island and in Washington, D.C., during the Korean War and became chair of the Radiology Department at Beekman Downtown Hospital, where he practiced until his retirement. Vasilas was a founder and president of the Archangel Michael and St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox churches, an archon and a lifetime member of the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association. He helped to revitalize the Hellenic Medical Society of New York, was its president and was committed to medical education and philanthropic causes. Vasilas was predeceased by his wife of more than 65 years, and childhood sweetheart, Sophie (née Pappas); and daughter, Paula Roussos. He is survived by his son, Peter, and his wife, Sharon; daughter, Constance, and her husband, Ramon Parsons; son-in-law, Sakis Roussos; 11 grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; sister, Elpis Chandras; and brotherand sister-in-law, Nicholas and Alexandra Pappas. Memorial contributions may be made to the Archangel Michael Greek Orthodox Church and the Hellenic Medical Society of New York Scholarship Fund, 60 Plaza St. East, Brooklyn, NY 11238.

1948

Raymond G. Auwarter ’48

Raymond G. Auwarter ’48

Raymond G. Auwarter, retired newsprint sales CEO, Chapel Hill, N.C., on April 9, 2017. Auwarter was born in Queens, N.Y. After matriculating at the College, he served in the Navy for 18 months and graduated on time with his class with a B.A. in business administration. Auwarter’s newsprint career began in 1948 in the mailroom of The Madden Corp., where he rose to president and CEO of seven companies, and ended at the Donohue Paper Sales Corp., which he owned, in 1993. Auwarter was an active volunteer at Plandome Country Club, in Plandome (L.I.), N.Y.; president of the Nassau Country Club, Glen Cove (L.I.), N.Y., and on the board of Governors Club, Chapel Hill, N.C. He was a former member of the University Club of New York and volunteered for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society in North Carolina, Finland House and the Finnish American Chamber of Commerce. Auwarter played varsity basketball at the College and enjoyed music, dancing and collecting, but his faith and family were paramount. He is survived by his wife of 67 years, Roberta; daughters, Ellen and Julia; son-in-law, Thomas Gleason; and four grandchildren. Memorial contributions may be made to St. Thomas More Church, the American Heart Association or the National MS Society.

1949

Walter A. Schlotterbeck, retired attorney, Mercer Island, Wash., on February 5, 2017. Born on December 22, 1926, to German immigrants, Schlotterbeck grew up in New York City. He graduated from Brooklyn Tech and earned a degree in 1952 from the Law School. He served in the Navy during WWII. Schlotterbeck worked at GE for 30 years and completed his career as SVP and general counsel for the company and secretary to the Board of Directors. He and his wife of 65 years, Pauline, were members of Holy Spirit Lutheran Church in Kirkland, Wash. His favorite and constant message was a well-known saying: “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” Schlotterbeck is survived by his wife; children, Susan Schlotterbeck Ross and her husband, Mark, Tom and his wife, Katie, and Paul; seven grandchildren; and his brother Donald. Memorial contributions may be made to Planned Parenthood, Lutheran Community Services Northwest or, as Schlotterbeck would say, “Surprise me!”

1954

Richard E. Wagner, wooden boat expert and educator, Seattle, on April 20, 2017. A native of East Rutherford, N.J., Wagner was trained as an architect, with no sailing experience. But during the mid-1950s, en route to a summer job in San Francisco, he stopped in Seattle. He fell in love with the city, found a floating home on the shores of Lake Union and married his neighbor, the former Colleen Luebke. The Wagners began to collect small watercraft and within a decade owned about two dozen small boats. They realized they could use them to show people — particularly children — how to build, repair and sail wooden boats. Of interest to Wagner was access for the disabled, the homeless, high-school dropouts and others not typically involved with life on the water. Their first major event was a Wooden Boats Festival in 1977; from that, The Center for Wooden Boats was born. Wagner is survived by his wife; sister; two sons; and a grandchild. Memorial contributions may be made to The Center for Wooden Boats: cwb.org, 206-382-2628 or in person to 1010 Valley St., Seattle, WA 98109. Please include “Dick Wagner Memorial” in the memo or notes line.

1957

Sam R. Brice, retired construction business owner, Fairbanks, Alaska, on May 27, 2017. At Columbia, Brice was a noted wrestler and football player and a member of Beta Theta Pi. After graduating with a pre-law degree, Brice served in the Marine Corps until his honorable discharge in 1960 with the rank of captain. He arrived in Alaska after completing his service and helped establish the family business, Brice, Inc., which evolved to become one of the premier contractors in rural Alaska. He loved flying his small plane in Alaska. Brice was a devoted husband, brother, father, uncle and grandfather. He is survived by his wife, Joan; brothers and their spouses, Al and Carol Brice, Thomas and Berta Joan Brice, and Andy and Lois Brice; seven children; and 11 grandchildren. The governor of Alaska attended his funeral. The family asks all to remember the different ways Brice touched people’s lives and to honor his memory by emulating his compassion.

Denis B. Frind, attorney, Portland, Ore., on October 6, 2016. Frind was born on May 20, 1935, in New York City. He graduated from Forest Hills H.S., Queens, N.Y., and in 1960 earned a degree from the Law School. He served as a staff judge advocate with the Army at postings in Tehran and New York City. Frind practiced law in New York City at Altieri, Kushner, Miuccio & Frind and, later, at Goetz Fitzpatrick. He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Donna; daughters, Karen and her husband, Malcolm Delaney, and Amie and her husband, Adam Getis; son, Steven, and his wife, Leslie Danon; and six grandchildren. Memorial contributions may be made in the name of Denis Frind to Volunteer New York!, 220 White Plains Rd., Tarrytown, NY 10591.

1974

Ralph C. Coti, attorney, Hawthorne, N.Y., on September 14, 2016. Born on October 16, 1952, in the Bronx, Coti made his home in Ridgewood, N.J., with his wife, Mary Alice, and son, Peter. Coti earned a B.A. Phi Beta Kappa and then a J.D. and an M.B.A., both in 1977, from the Law School and the Business School, respectively. Admitted to the New York and New Jersey bars, he built a busy and respected practice as one of the last of a dying breed: the generalist attorney in Manhattan. Coti’s practice areas included real estate, corporate transactions, trust and estate, litigation, not-for-profit and tax matters. He was a scholar, historian, lover of literature, patriot and contrarian. A devout Roman Catholic and staunch political conservative, Coti was also a gentle and unvaryingly courteous soul. In addition to his wife and son, Coti is survived by his sisters, Valerie Ferlauto and Laura Coti Garrett, and their husbands and children; and his aunts, Fil Magavero and Tecla Martemucci. Memorial contributions may be made to Rosary Hill Home, 600 Linda Ave., Hawthorne, NY 10532.

1989

Cynthia E. Barber-Mingo, software engineer, Westford, Mass., on February 13, 2016. Barber-Mingo was born in Washington, D.C., on February 25. She was educated in New York City public schools from kindergarten through high school, including Bronx Science. At the College, Barber-Mingo majored in computer science and then immersed herself in her chosen career as a software engineer, which began at 16 when she worked at Merrill Lynch in NYC as a merchandising and trading systems summer intern. She also worked for NYNEX, Digital Equipment Corp. and IBM, achieving the title of “Master Inventor” while at IBM. Her name appears on 13 U.S. patents that are the IBM patent portfolio. Barber-Mingo loved to knit and crochet. She is survived by her husband of 25 years, Eric R. BarberMingo ’90; children Ernest, Mya and Aaron; and mother, Hortense L. Howell-Barber.

1993

Christine Staco, professor, Flushing, N.Y., on March 28, 2017. Staco was born in New York on August 11, 1971, and from a young age demonstrated a yearning to excel and grow. She loved to go on hikes, to read, and to research and understand human behavior, positive energy and spirituality. Staco was educated at Our Lady Queen of Peace, The Mary Louis Academy, Columbia and Cornell. She earned an M.A. in literature. Staco moved often but adapted easily and made friends, living the saying “Home is where the heart is.” She is survived by her parents, Clarenns “Boby” Staco and Gabrielle Caillet Staco; sister, Michelle; children, Ama, Felix Jr. and Fernando; nephew, Justin; brother-in-law, Ty; and aunts, uncles, godparents, cousins and friends. Memorial contributions may be made to the National Brain Tumor Society.

— Lisa Palladino

Obituary Submission Guidelines

Columbia College Today welcomes obituaries for College alumni. Please fill out the “Submit an Obituary” form. Biographical information, survivors' names, address(es) for charitable donations and high-quality photos may be included.
Or, mail materials to:

Obituaries Editor
Columbia College Today
Columbia Alumni Center
622 W. 113th St., MC 4530, 4th Fl.
New York, NY 10025