David H. Beyer Sr., retired military officer, Hillsboro, Texas, on April 12, 2018. Born on October 28, 1922, in Portland, Ore., Beyer was the son of John Andrew Conrad and Martha Emily (née Schulze) Beyer. On September 1, 1945, Beyer married Elaine Janice Miller in St. Paul, Minn. They lived in many places while Beyer served in the Air Force, eventually moving to San Antonio, where they raised their children. Beyer was honorably discharged as a lieutenant colonel, and he and his wife his wife lived in Austin for three years, Beaumont for 30 years and finally Hillsboro. He was a member of Christ Lutheran Church. Beyer was predeceased by his sisters Marie Schmeidel, Ruth Courtney and Dorothy Nelson, and a granddaughter, Sherri Solleder. He is survived by his children, Janice C. Solleder, David Jr. and his wife, Carol, Mark, and Nancy Keene and her husband, Gary; sister Carol Deitrick; eight grandchildren; 12 great-grandchildren; and three great-great grandchildren. Memorial contributions may be made to Christ Lutheran Church, 915 Corsicana Hwy, Hillsboro, TX 76645.
Frederick R. Messner, retired advertising and marketing communications professional, Woodcliff Lake, N.J., on February 18, 2018. Messner was born on July 1, 1926. He earned both a B.A. and B.S. in chemical engineering from Columbia the same year. Messner served at the VP level for a number of major New York agencies including McCann Erickson and the Poppe Tyson arm of Bozell, Jacobs, Kenyon & Eckhardt. He was a past president of the Business/Professional Advertising Association at the international level, and was voted agency executive of the year by both the New York and New Jersey chapters. Messner was also a member of ASCAP and composed music ranging from pop standards to classical chamber music. In his later years, he employed his significant musical talent teaching piano students of all ages. Messner and his wife, Vye, were frequent theater and concertgoers throughout the greater New York area, and he served on the board of Palisades Virtuosi, a classical music ensemble. He is survived by his children, Steven ’73 and his wife, Jill, Lynne, Kenneth GS’87, and Kate and her husband, Stu.
Andrew P. Siff, retired attorney, New York City, on September 24, 2018. A 1953 graduate of the Law School, Siff had a general practice that included trust and estates law and entertainment law. He was the longest serving board member in the history of East Side House Settlement. Siff is survived by his wife, Julie; daughter, Maria; son-in-law, Philip Yang Jr.; and two granddaughters. Memorial contributions may be made to East Side House Settlement, 337 Alexander Ave., Bronx, NY 10454.
Gordon G. Henderson, retired, Spencer, W.Va., on April 24, 2018. Henderson was born in Galetta, Ontario, Canada, on October 19, 1931. At graduation he won the Hardie Scholarship in Greek to York College but chose instead to accept a scholarship to Columbia; he earned a Ph.D. in 1962 from GSAS. Henderson was predeceased by his brothers Lorne, Earl, Clifford and Harold; sister, Dorothy Grummett; and infant daughter, Abigail. In addition to his wife, Mary Ann BC’53, he is survived by his children Eve Bostic and her husband, Jim, Sara Scheuch and her husband, Jonathan, and Martha Bennett and her husband, Joe; and six grandchildren. Memorial contributions may be made to the Columbia College Fund, Columbia Alumni Center, 622 W. 113th St., MC 4530, 3rd Fl., New York, NY 10025.
Alfred E. Ward, retired dentist, Saratoga Springs, N.Y., on November 26, 2018. The president of his senior class, Ward earned All-Ivy status as a wide receiver and place kicker, setting records for receptions (42) and most consecutive extra points. At the Dental School, from which he earned degrees in 1958 and 1962, he met his wife, Sheila Paquette; she predeceased him after 58 years of marriage. Ward founded four Coach Lou Little football scholarships, and loved opera, sailing, golf, the Giants and everything Columbia. He is survived by his son, Sam ’82, and Sam’s wife, Beverly; twin daughters, Nicole NRS’87 and Tara, and Tara’s husband, Tony; and two grandsons.
Gordon I. Kaye, professor emeritus, former chairman of the board and CEO, Waquoit, Mass., on February 9, 2019. Raised near the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Kaye credited that institution for introducing him to the excitement of laboratory research when he was 7. In 1963, he was named assistant professor in surgical pathology and director of the F. Higginson Cabot Laboratory of Electron Microscopy at Columbia. In 1976, Kaye moved to Albany Medical College as a professor in and chairman of the anatomy department and as a professor of pathology; he retired as the Alden March Professor Emeritus of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. In 1993, Kaye and a colleague founded WR2, which developed and marketed equipment to perform alkaline hydrolysis, the most effective method for the treatment and disposal of infectious biological waste. Alkaline hydrolysis destroys pathogens including the prions that cause mad cow disease, scrapie and Chronic Wasting Disease. A loyal alumnus, Kaye, who earned a master’s in 1957 and a Ph.D. in 1961, both from GSAS, was for years an active admissions interviewer. He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Nancy GSAS’60; daughters, Jacqueline Kaye Dufresne and her husband, Keith, and Vivienne Kaye West and her husband, Rick; and three grandchildren.
Robert Loring, retired orthodontist, Hopatcong, N.J., on February 25, 2019. Loring (né Lifschutz) was born in 1933 in Brooklyn, N.Y. He completed his doctoral and postdoctoral studies at the Dental School in 1958 and 1963, respectively. While at the College, Loring was a heavyweight oarsman. After dental school, he entered the Army and was stationed at Fort Monroe, Va.; he achieved the rank of captain. After his discharge, Loring and his wife, Barbara, settled on Staten Island, where Loring established his orthodontics practice, was president of the Staten Island branch of the Alpha Omega dental fraternity, was active in Kiwanis, volunteered in the Staten Island Hospital dental clinic and raised two daughters. Upon retirement, Loring and his wife relocated to their summer home in Hopatcong. He enjoyed attending lectures and traveling, was an avid classic movie buff and science fiction reader, loved boats, automobiles and car racing, and enjoyed building electronics and home construction projects. Loring is survived by his wife of 61 years; daughter Robyn Specthrie and her husband, Leon Specthrie ’85, PS’90, daughter Susan Crane ’89, LAW’92 and her husband, Hugh Crane ’88; and three grandchildren.
Barry M. Beller, retired cardiologist, Santa Fe, N.M., on October 2, 2018. Born in NYC, Beller graduated from Stuyvesant H.S. and P&S (1960). His postdoctoral training in cardiology was at the University of Chicago. Beller served in the Air Force as head of the cardiac catheterization lab at Wilford Hall Medical Facility, Lackland AFB, San Antonio, Texas. After teaching at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, he returned to San Antonio to help start the University of Texas School of Medicine San Antonio, as head of cardiology, and he held the Freeman Endowed Chair professorship. While in private practice, Beller sat on the boards of the San Antonio Symphony, the Heart Association and the Southwest School of Art in San Antonio, and on the boards of the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival and Performance Santa Fe. He was one of the founders of KPAC, the 24-hour public classical music station in San Antonio. Beller enjoyed music and art, was a prolific photographer and restored antique autos. He is survived by his wife, Natalie Mayer Beller BC’59; and children, Jonathan ’85, GSAS’88, and Valerie, and their families.
Maurice S. Easton, Southport, N.C., formerly of Birmingham, Mich., on October 31, 2018. Born in New York City, Easton loved his family, skiing, tennis and all dogs. He entered with the Class of 1955 and graduated in 1957 with a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Columbia Engineering. Easton is survived by his wife, Cynthia; children, Rachael, and Matthew and his wife, Lauren; twin brother, Stephen ’56, and Stephen’s wife, Elke; and one grandchild.
Robert Markowitz, retired health care administrator and risk management expert, New York City and Kent, Conn., on February 17, 2018. Born in New York City on September 16, 1935, to Lottie and Harry, Markowitz earned an M.S. in 1958 from the School of Public Health and enjoyed an esteemed career at The Brooklyn Hospital Center, Long Island Jewish Medical Center and FOJP Service Corp., and served on the boards of the New York Organ Donor Network and New York Blood Center. He and his wife, Susan Forbes Markowitz, spent time in New York City and Kent, Conn. After retirement, they spent most of their time in Kent, where Markowitz volunteered at the town library, photographed special events and mentored entrepreneurs at SCORE. He was an athlete and sports fan, and a New York Times crossword enthusiast. Markowitz is survived by his wife of 23 years; daughters, Randi Udelson and her husband, Don, Julie Abod and her husband, Cornell, and Lisa Markowitz and her husband, George Carson; four grandchildren; brothers Gene Martin and Jerry Markowitz; and former spouse, Robin Pollack (née Elsen), mother of his daughters. Memorial contributions may be made to the Kent Memorial Library or the New York Organ Donor Network.
George H. Betts, retired farmer and social worker, Worcester, N.Y., on October 2, 2018. Born on June 30, 1934, in Highland Park, Ill., Betts met his future wife, Regina, while both worked in the theater in New York City, where they had their four children before moving upstate in 1971. A 1969 alumnus of the School of Social Work, Betts was a dedicated civil rights activist and social worker. He was a member of the NAACP and Temple Beth El in Oneonta, N.Y., until his death. He also became a sheep farmer soon after moving to Worcester in 1984. Shown in the above photo are Betts with his son Christopher ’84 and grandson Joseph ’15 at Joseph’s graduation.
Joseph Geller, retired physician, East Patchogue, N.Y., on September 24, 2018. Geller was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 1936. He was 16 and his wife, Edyie, was 14 when they met at John Adams H.S. in Queens, where Geller was valedictorian of the Class of 1954. At Columbia, Geller was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He and Edyie were married in 1961 and he graduated from the NYU School of Medicine in 1962. Geller was a captain in the Air Force 1963–65, stationed in Bangor, Maine. After his honorable discharge, the family settled in East Patchogue. Geller was a partner in the Patchogue Medical Group, 1965–2001, from which he retired. A dedicated, passionate and patient-centered family physician who until retirement continued to make house calls, Geller and his wife delighted in worldwide travel after he retired, visiting every U.S. state and every continent. They celebrated their 57th wedding anniversary in August 2018 during a family tour of Italy. Geller is survived by his wife; children and their spouses, Mitch and Mary, Pam and Steve, Robin and Brian, and Gregg and Debra; and six grandchildren.
Maurice R. “Rudy” Brody, physician, La Canada Flintridge, Calif., on January 6, 2019. Brody grew up in Brooklyn, N.Y., playing stickball in the streets with classmates from P.S. 181 and walking to Ebbets Field to see the Brooklyn Dodgers. After graduating from Poly Prep, he excelled at the College and the NYU School of Medicine. Brody did a pediatric internship at Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles, but returned to New York for his residency at Bellevue Hospital. It was there that he met an occupational therapist, Jill; they were married in March 1966. Although Brody was passionate about his work, his true love was for his family. He and his wife moved to La Canada in 1971 with their young sons. Brody is survived by his wife of almost 53 years; son Steve and his wife, Melanie, son Jon and his wife, Holly; and three grandchildren.
Costas “Gus” Hercules, psychiatrist, Rapid City, S.D., on January 21, 2019. Hercules was born on March 28, 1944, in New York City to Nick and Hope (née Menicon) Hercules. He graduated from Bronx Science, and later the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. After earning an M.D., Hercules completed his medical residency and became a board-certified psychiatrist. He moved to the Black Hills of South Dakota in 1973, started a private psychiatric practice and served the greater Rapid City area for decades. In his book, Selfishians, Otherishites and Fairishers: A Guide to Harmonious Relationships, Hercules provided the tools and guidance necessary for restructuring unfair and hurtful relationships. He was playfully, but appropriately, dubbed “Costas, the Greek God of Harmonious Relationships.” Hercules is survived by his sister, Thea Hercules Geotas; nephew, Jordan Geotas and his wife, Christyann; and their daughters. He was predeceased by his parents; sister, Anna Hercules; and nephew Eric Hercules Geotas.
Peter Mound, attorney, Santee, Calif., on November 3, 2018. Raised in New York City, Mound graduated from the Trinity School and Cornell Law School. He practiced law with the New York City Corporate Council Office until the 1990s, when he moved to California for private practice.
Michael R. Sesit, retired journalist, New York City, on January 24, 2019. A native New Yorker, Sesit was a second-generation Columbian, following his father, Myron Sesit CC 1927, and like his father, played football for Columbia. After earning a master’s in modern European history from NYU, Sesit returned to Columbia to briefly work in the Provost’s Office before beginning a long career in journalism. He worked for Businessweek, The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg, covering international finance in New York, London and Paris. Coworkers knew him as a dogged and dedicated journalist, a loyal colleague and an ardent sports fan (still following the Lions), as well as an accomplished military historian who never missed a chance to sneak in a sports or military analogy. Survivors include his wife, Susan Blackwell. Sesit had battled Parkinson’s disease for nearly 20 years; memorial contributions may be made to The Michael J. Fox Foundation.
Christopher P. Kirk, Cambridge, Mass., on October 31, 2018. Kirk was born on January 24, 1945, and grew up in Seattle. He earned an M.F.A. from Washington University. Kirk is survived by his wife, Karen Dorn; and sister, Hannah. He was predeceased by a son, Spencer, and an uncle, B. Kirk.
Ronald M. Pristin, IT professional, New York City, on October 27, 2018. Pristin was born in 1947 in New York City and spent his entire life on the Upper West Side. His Columbia friends knew him for his commitment to moral causes, including human rights and civil liberties. Pristin taught elementary school for many years before becoming a successful IT professional in both the financial and public sectors. He was a lover of music, photography, film and the New York Mets. He will be remembered first and foremost for his sense of humor and his love and devotion to his family. Pristin was married to Pauline Lee-Pristin for 42 years. She survives him, as do his children, David and Steven; daughters-in-law, Catherine and Jazmyne; and two grandchildren. Pristin was predeceased by his parents, Irving and Sina, both Holocaust survivors. Memorial contributions may be made to the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation.
Eugene “Gene” J. Kisluk Jr., independent appraiser of books and manuscripts, New York City, on November 19, 2018. Born in Poland, Kisluk went to New Britain, Conn., in 1961 and graduated from New Britain H.S. He earned both a master’s and a Ph.D. in history, in 1977 and 1991, respectively, from GSAS. Kisluk’s dissertation, Brothers from the North: The Polish Democratic Society and the European Revolutions of 1848–1849, was published in 2005. Kisluk was known for his facility in languages and his evaluation of books and autographs, as well as the personal papers of important 20th century literary and political figures. Among his more celebrated projects was the appraisal of a trove of letters written by Pope John Paul II, which became the subject of a BBC/PBS documentary in 2016. Many knew Kisluk as an erudite man, with a gift for engaging people on countless subjects. He was a devoted husband and father, coaching his son Eugene’s soccer team and never missing an event in which his son participated. His son survives him, as does his wife, Daniëlle Grosheide. Memorial contributions may be made to the New York Public Library.
Paul J. Kulkosky, retired professor of psychology, Butte, Mont., on January 20, 2019. Kulkosky was born in Newark, N.J., on March 3, 1949, and attended St. Cecilia Elementary and Saint Peter’s Preparatory in Newark. He earned an M.A. from GSAS in 1972 and a Ph.D. in 1975 from the University of Washington, Seattle, where he met his future wife, Butte native Tanya Weightman. They married in 1978. Kulkosky was a past president of the Rocky Mountain Division of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. After 35 years of science and university teaching, Kulkowsky and his wife left Colorado State and Pueblo to retire in Butte. They enjoyed traveling, camping and hiking, and loved New York City but also Montana cowboys, thanks to their family friend Roy Delmoe. Kulkosky is survived by his wife; mother-in-law, Gracie Gillette; brothers and sisters-in-law, Chris and Mary Anne Kulkosky and Peter and Elaine Kulkosky and their sons, Mark Kulkosky and Steven Stein; uncle, Ed; cousins, Victor, Daniel, Michael, Gregory, Lucy Leonetti Pipitone and Dominic Leonetti; brother-in-law, Kerry Weightman, and sister-in-law, Rita Casagranda Weightman, and their children, Cassie Weightman Wick and her husband, Jon, and Ryan Weightman.
— Lisa Palladino
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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