Columbia College | Columbia University in the City of New York
Harold E. Brandmaier, mechanical engineer, Harrington Park, N.J., on April 11, 2022. Raised in Hollis, Queens, Brandmaier graduated from Brooklyn Tech H.S. He entered the College with the Class of 1944 but earned a B.S. in 1947 and an M.S. in 1948, both in mechanical engineering and from SEAS. He served three years in the Navy as ensign and lieutenant and was main propulsion division officer aboard the U.S.S. Newport News, which spent three to four months a year in the Mediterranean. Brandmaier worked for Worthington Pump and Machinery, Curtiss Wright, RCA, Burns, and Roe and Kulite, pursuing new concepts including the development of a vehicle that rode on a cushion of air, nuclear power plants, and the thermodynamic properties of gases and liquids. He was awarded two patents and attended the Apollo 11 moon launch as New York section head of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. He enjoyed making sundials, stained glass panels and lamps, and ship models, as well as woodworking, photography and travel. Brandmaier is survived by his wife of 70 years, Ginny BUS’55; sons, Neil (Joanne Fazio) and Jeff (Muffie Guthrie); daughters, Patty (Mike Lefever) and Carol SEAS’85 (Lee Monahan); and four grandchildren.
James M. Grant, nephrologist, Windham, Vt., on August 3, 2022. A descendent of President Ulysses S. Grant, he was raised in Scarsdale, N.Y., and graduated from the Pomfret (Conn.) School. Grant participated in the U.S. Navy V-12 Program and was a captain in the Air Force before earning an M.D. from P&S in 1949. He practiced internal medicine in the Bridgeport, Conn., area before becoming a nephrologist, and in 1970, along with Dr. Donald Silverman, was instrumental in bringing dialysis to the Bridgeport area. They co-founded the Southern Connecticut Dialysis Unit, now owned by Davita, and Nephrology Associates, which remains an active medical practice in the area. Grant, who retired in 2000, also was chief of nephrology and assistant director of medical education at St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport and assistant clinical professor at Yale School of Medicine. In addition to his wife of 46 years, Paula DiMeo, Grant is survived by his sons, David (Karl) and Thomas (Tracy); daughter, Wendy Grant Haskell (Dr. Marshal Mandelkern); six grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
Edward P. Hardy Jr., chemist, Pleasantville, N.Y., on August 24, 2022. Born in Hudson, N.Y., Hardy majored in chemistry and was coxswain on the varsity crew. He had a nearly 40-year career in New York City with the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, which become part of the Department of Energy in 1977. An expert in radionuclide measurement, he served as director of the Environmental Measurements Laboratory within the DOE. Hardy was predeceased by his wife of 55 years, Elisa Peralles Pinto, as well as two brothers, Robert and Richard. He is survived by his son, Jim (Ann); daughters, Lydia (Philippe) and Carolyn; and six grandchildren.
Paul A. Wallace, attorney, Sleepy Hollow, N.Y., on March 3, 2021. Born on November 3, 1929, in Queens, Wallace graduated from the Law School in 1954 and credited Dean Lawrence Chamberlain with convincing him to major in government and go into law. He practiced trust and estates law in NYC before relocating his practice to Mount Kisco, N.Y., and lived in neighboring Chappaqua for 32 years. An ever-hopeful fan of the Mets, Giants and Columbia football, Wallace is survived by his wife of more than 50 years, Valerie BC’58; son, Andrew; daughter, Fiona; and two grandchildren.
N. David Charkes, physician, Collegeville, Pa., on April 1, 2022. Born on August 13, 1931, in Brooklyn, Charkes graduated Phi Beta Kappa and was a Spectator editor. After graduating from Washington University Medical School, he served as a captain in the Army. During Charkes’ 50-year career at Temple University School of Medicine, he received numerous honors in nuclear medicine, including the Berson-Yalow Award and the DeHevesy Nuclear Pioneer Award, both from the Society of Nuclear Medicine & Molecular Imaging. He performed seminal work in bone scintigraphy and thyroid disease, was the author of numerous peer-reviewed articles and sat on the boards of several medical journals. Charkes’ interests included piano, woodworking, hiking, biking, fencing, sailing, baseball, geology and art, and he enjoyed attending Spectator’s Blue Pencil Dinner and Columbia-Penn basketball and football games. He is survived by his wife, Nancy BC’53; son, Evan ’82 (Julie BC’88, JRN’08); daughters, Susan LAW’83 and Alice (Greg); and five grandchildren.
Richard B. Bloomenstein, plastic surgeon, Englewood, N.J., on August 8, 2022. A graduate of Dalton and Horace Mann, Bloomenstein earned an M.D. at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in 1959 and completed a plastic surgery residency at Montefiore Hospital. In 1967 he joined the Department of Plastic Surgery at Englewood Hospital, N.J., where he practiced for almost 50 years. Bloomenstein was known for his dry wit and wisdom and enjoyed music (especially WQXR), photography, fishing and family. He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Susan Jaffe; daughters, Laura (Eric Boos) and Ellen (Adam Rosenbloom ’83); and one grandson.
Ezra G. Levin, attorney, Bronx, N.Y., on October 30, 2022. Born on February 10, 1934, in Brooklyn, Levin earned an LL.B. from the Law School in 1959 and then served in the Army. He was a partner at Marshall, Bratter, Greene, Allison & Tucker before joining Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel in 1979 as a name partner. Through his leadership, Kramer Levin grew to one of the most prominent and respected law firms in NYC; at the time of his retirement in May 2020, he was the firm’s chairman emeritus. A consummate strategist and superb corporate lawyer, Levin sat on the boards of several public companies, acted as a court-appointed trustee tasked with winding down a failed brokerage firm and held various judicial appointments as special master. Levin lectured at Columbia, Wisconsin and Connecticut on corporate law, corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions, and securities regulation, and co-taught a CC colloquium on human rights. He also was involved in numerous civil rights and Jewish community activities. A member of the Columbia College Alumni Association Board of Directors 1991–99, Levin is survived by his wife, Batya BC’60; son, Zachary ’85; daughter, Ayala Levin-Kruss (David); and five grandchildren.
Gary L. Greer, attorney, Littleton, Colo., on December 3, 2021. Born on May 6, 1935, in Davenport, Iowa, Greer was co-valedictorian at Cheyenne H.S. in 1953 and served in the Army, as a linguist in Germany. He graduated from the University of Colorado School of Law in 1964 and clerked for a federal appeals court judge for one year. Except for three years in Washington, D.C., where he served as counsel to the National Water Commission, Greer practiced law at Dawson, Nagel, Sherman & Howard and then Sherman & Howard, both in Denver, specializing in mineral law and water law. He was a trustee and president of the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, and a member of the Board of Editors of the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation Journal and of the Advisory Board of the Denver University Water Law Review. Greer enjoyed travel, volunteering and reading and was particularly fond of languages, studying Latin, French, Russian, German and Spanish. He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Jacqueline Carol Owen; son, Bradley; daughter, Jane; and two grandsons.
Robert R. Jespersen, attorney, Melbourne, Fla., on June 4, 2020. Born on June 17, 1936, in Brooklyn, Jespersen had a long and varied career in the Marine Corps and as an attorney and university professor. He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Shirley; four grandsons; and three great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by his sons, Randy and Craig.
Jerry W. Monroe, attorney, San Diego, on July 13, 2022. Monroe was an NROTC Marine, a Sachem and a member of Beta Theta Pi, and was active in campus theater. He also was a gifted athlete who set Columbia’s record for the long jump. Monroe graduated from the University of Utah Law School and was an attorney for many years in San Diego. He was predeceased by his wife, Sharon, and is survived by his son, Jerry; daughter, Jackie Pavey (Richard); and one grandchild.
Bruce Ettinger, physician, San Francisco, on June 15, 2020. A native New Yorker, Ettinger was Phi Beta Kappa and a member of Phi Sigma Delta before earning an M.D. from Harvard Medical School in 1964. Ettinger joined The Permanente Medical Group in 1970 as a senior physician in internal medicine and endocrinology at Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Medical Center. From 1980 to 2003, he was chair of the chiefs of endocrinology for Kaiser Permanente Northern California. A dedicated clinician, researcher and educator, Ettinger retired as senior investigator (emeritus), Division of Research, Kaiser Permanente Northern California and clinical professor (emeritus) of medicine and radiology, UCSF. With articles in more than 200 publications, he is best known for his research on kidney stones, osteoporosis and menopause. An avid model airplane/sailing hobbyist, Ettinger sat on the board of the San Francisco Model Yacht Club 2016–20 and developed programs for youths to learn model yacht sailing at Spreckels Lake, Golden Gate Park. He is survived by his wife, Vivian; son, Jon (Jennifer), daughters, Kate, and Jennifer Lucido (Joe); and five grandchildren.
L. Steven Zwerling, educator and writer, New York City, on June 18, 2022. Born in Brooklyn, Zwerling earned an M.A. in English and comparative literature in 1961 from GSAS. He taught at Queens College and was an assistant dean at CUNY and associate dean at NYU; founded a small literary magazine, Niobe; and wrote short stories and novels. After the publication of his book, Second Best: The Crisis of the Community College, he was recruited by the Ford Foundation and became senior director for education, media, arts and culture. With the advent of blogging, he created Behind the (New York) Times, relating his views on current events as well as more personal matters. Zwerling was a gifted storyteller who could bring to life a range of experiences from having met people like Jackie Robinson, Fidel Castro and President Bill Clinton.
Stanley L. Nash, professor, Bloomington, Ind., on July 1, 2022. Born in Brooklyn, Nash earned a Ph.D. from GSAS in 1972 in Middle East/Asian languages and cultures, as well as a rabbinical ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary. He was a professor of Hebrew literature and language at Hebrew Union College 1978–2012, where he taught many Reform rabbis and cantors. Nash was predeceased by his wife of nearly 50 years, Edna, and brother, Arthur Bachner. He is survived by a son, Ethan; daughter, Dr. Rebecca Cohen ’98; sister, Michelle Cohen; and four grandchildren.
Norman J. Schneider, dentist, New York City, on September 3, 2022. A member of Zeta Beta Tau, Schneider graduated from the NYU School of Dentistry in 1965. He served two years as a captain in the Army including one in Vietnam, where he was injured. Schneider practiced in East Harlem for 45 years. After retirement, he was a volunteer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Schneider is survived by his wife of 52 years, Stefanie; and son, Andrew.
Zev Bar-Lev, professor, San Diego, on July 26, 2022. Born in Brooklyn, Bar-Lev (né Robert W. Lefkowitz) was a Fulbright Scholar who majored in Russian and went on to research 40 languages. He taught at Syracuse, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel and San Diego State, and published more than 70 articles and books. Bar-Lev constructed an extensive system to teach Hebrew and chant Torah and said that to teach “was to touch a life forever.” Bar-Lev is survived by his wife of 57 years, Shoshana (née Jane Wirth) BC’63; son, Joshua (Rachel); daughters, Becky Henning (Brian) and Naomi; brother, Lawrence ’60; and five grandchildren.
Leslie E. “Les” Patlove, furniture builder, Charlemont, Mass., on August 27, 2020. Born in Brooklyn, Patlove’s family moved to Massachusetts and he graduated from Northampton H.S. He did graduate work in neurophysiology at the University of Massachusetts. Patlove and his wife, Susie, bought 80 acres and a rundown farmhouse with friends in Charlemont in 1972; the community, known as Windy Hill, has continued for 50 years. They raised cows, sheep, pigs and chickens, and with the help of a greenhouse and root cellar, grew all their own vegetables. As a furniture maker, Patlove had an affinity for Shaker design and philosophy, and pieces of his work were shown at Hancock Shaker Village. In his 20s, Patlove became interested in Zen Buddhism, a practice that he and his wife continued thereafter. He was a founder of the Valley Zendo in Charlemont, and helped construct and establish this practice center. In addition to his wife, Patlove is survived by his sons, Silas, Will (Katie Harrington) and Sam (Gloria Fuentes); sister, Laura; and one grandchild.
Paul A. Burt, film collector and projectionist, San Francisco, on January 5, 2022. Burt began his professional career as a physician in Northern California but left traditional medicine in 1980 to develop his own therapeutic process, which he hoped would alter the origins of diseases rather than reduce their symptoms. His enduring passion, however, was film. He learned to operate a 35mm projector and began collecting 35mm prints, both to sell and to show at the screening room he built in his garage. At one time his inventory numbered in the hundreds; after his death, his collection was purchased by Quentin Tarantino. Burt worked for many years at the Telluride Film Festival. Other interests included traveling, teaching ESL, collecting rare books and antique clocks, winemaking, carpentry, and Lakota drumming and chanting.
Thomas Kalfa, airline executive, Cerritos, Calif., on March 16, 2022. Born in Brooklyn, Kalfa graduated from Stuyvesant H.S., where he became an expert fencer. He continued in the sport at the College and helped the Lions win an NCAA championship in 1965 before earning an M.B.A. in management from CUNY Baruch. After serving two years in the Army, Kalfa worked for 36 years at United Airlines, where he rose to head the Western Division of Safety and Security. He was an avid swimmer and creative writer. Kalfa is survived by his wife of 51 years, Dottie; and sister-in-law, Sabina; he was predeceased by his older brother, George.
Thomas M.H. Kappner, professor, New York City, on September 16, 2022. Born in Shanghai, to which his father had fled from Nazi Germany, Kappner grew up in Argentina, Chile, Peru, Brazil and Mexico and spoke Spanish, German, Portuguese and English. While at the College, Kappner became interested in social justice and was active in community affairs, which he continued throughout his life. He earned a master’s and Ph.D. from CCNY and became a professor of political science and Latin American affairs, teaching at CCNY, Rutgers, Adelphi and Bard. Kappner also worked with the United Nations Development Program during the 1980s. He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Augusta “Gussie” Souza BC’66, SW’84; daughters, Tania and Diana; sons-in-law, Kenneth and Alexander; sisters, Angela and Patricia; two grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.
Ronald A. Fischman, physician, Los Angeles, on May 16, 2022. Born on October 11, 1948, in Brooklyn, Fischman grew up in Great Neck, N.Y., and majored in chemistry. He earned an M.D. from SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, N.Y., and completed nephrology training at New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center in NYC. Fischman was the co-founder of Southland Renal Medical Group in Southern California, and a leading board-certified nephrologist and internist. He enjoyed playing golf and traveling. He is survived by his wife, Corazon (Pangilinan); son, Michael (Tiffany); daughters, Leslie and Nicole; and four grandchildren.
Howard Blatt, sports writer and author, Rockville, Md., on October 3, 2022. Born on February 21, 1954, Blatt graduated from Tilden H.S. in Brooklyn and was a sports writer for Spectator. After working as a sports reporter and columnist for the Burlington (Vt.) Free Press and an editor for Associated Features, Blatt was a reporter and editor in the sports department for the New York Daily News 1980–96. He had a lifelong passion for the New York Mets and channeled that energy into a column about the team, “Extra Innings.” Blatt married Nina Hoffman, a publishing executive, in 1993; in support of her career move to a senior position with National Geographic in the Washington, D.C., area, he departed his native New York and the Daily News and sacrificed direct access to the Mets. He worked briefly on the baseball desk of USA Today and authored several sports books, including Amazing Mets Memories. In addition to his wife, Blatt is survived by his son, Marc; and sister, Isadora Wiener.
Adam M. Sutner, ski resort executive, Crystal Mountain, Wash., on April 4, 2022. Born on October 5, 1960, in Brooklyn, Sutner’s family lived in Mexico City and Vancouver before settling in New Jersey. He was starting goaltender for varsity soccer teams at Connecticut and the College, where he majored in art history. After a few decades in advertising in the United States, Europe, Asia and Australia, Sutner switched careers and became a marketing executive at Polaris Industries, a snowmobile and ATV manufacturer. He quickly became an expert in marketing outdoor sports, and after four years became sales and marketing director at Vail (Colo.) Ski Resort. After four years Sutner opened his own marketing strategy consultancy and in 2013 became chief marketing officer at Jackson Hole (Wyo.) Mountain Resort. Sutner moved to Washington in 2019 to work at Crystal Mountain, the largest ski area in the state, where he was VP of business development, skier services, and sales and marketing. An avid and fearless skier, he owned a condo in Chamonix, France, for many years.
Melanie R. Roche, energy healer, The Hague, Netherlands, on September 29, 2022. After majoring in religion, Roche became an energy healer in private practice who integrated mind-body healing, meditation, therapy and movement in serving clients. She was on the faculty of the Barbara Brennan School of Healing in Boca Raton, Fla., and helped inaugurate the Integrative Health and Wellness Program at Canyon Ranch Miami Beach. Roche also coordinated a program at NYU School of Medicine for high school students who planned to become physicians. She is the author of Thriving Through Cancer: Tools and Practices to Feel Better and Improve Your Quality of Life During Cancer and Beyond – An Integrative Method. She is survived by her husband, James.
Sherry F. Colb, law professor, Ithaca, N.Y., on August 25, 2022. Colb majored in psychology, was class valedictorian and earned a J.D. from Harvard Law. She clerked for Hon. Wilfred Feinberg of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and for Associate Justice Harry A. Blackmun of the Supreme Court. Colb taught at Rutgers School of Law until 2008, when she became the C.S. Wong Professor of Law at Cornell. She was also a visiting professor at Penn’s School of Law and Columbia’s Law School. Colb was a pioneering scholar and prolific writer on constitutional criminal procedure, animal rights and sexual equality. She is the author of Beating Hearts: Abortion and Animal Rights, about the connection between animal rights and fetal rights; Mind If I Order the Cheeseburger? And Other Questions People Ask Vegans, about animal rights; and When Sex Counts: Making Babies and Making Law, about modern challenges of sex equality. She also wrote extensively about these topics on the website Justia’s Verdict as well as in regular posts on the blog Dorf on Law. Colb is survived by her husband, Michael Dorf; and daughters, Meena and Amelia.
Christopher P. Ziadie, athlete and teacher, Hollywood, Fla., on September 18, 2022. Born on July 8, 1967, in Kingston, Jamaica, Ziadie quickly became a soccer standout under the coaching of his father, Dennis. He starred at St. George’s College and on the international stage as a member of the Senior Reggae Boyz and the Jamaica National Team at youth levels. He graduated from Suffield (Conn.) Academy in 1986 and majored in economics at the College, where he captained the soccer team and was a three-time All-Ivy midfielder, playing alongside his brother Nick ’91. He went on to play professionally for the Kingston Lions in the Caribbean Professional Soccer League and represented Jamaica six times internationally 1992–93. Later he coached Real Mona and Waterhouse FC and was assistant coach of the Jamaica Under-20 team. After moving to Florida, Ziadie became an avid golfer and taught English at Somerset Academy Miramar. He was passionate about teaching and was dedicated to his students inside and outside of the classroom. Ziadie is survived by his wife, Debbie; son, Ryan; daughter, Chelsea; mother, Claire; and siblings, Nick, Sharon, Craig, Kim and John.
Katina Pearl-Blando, manager and consultant, Robbinsville, N.J., on October 1, 2022. Born in Manhattan, Pearl-Blando graduated from The Marymount School, majored in psychology and earned a master’s from the Mailman School of Public Health in 1996. Pearl-Blando started her career at the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, where she served as senior public health educator and policy and planning analyst in lead poisoning prevention. She later was a project director at Genecom and Bristol Myers Squibb and managing director at Association Associates of Hamilton, N.J. Pearl-Blando is survived by her husband of 21 years, Ken Blando; son, Jonathan; daughters, Ava and Katherine; mother, Anita Pearl; and sister, Renee Alevras ’91 (née Pearl).
Srilakshmi “Sangeeth” Kottai Gnanasekaran, physician, Cairo, Egypt, on September 11, 2022. Born on October 29, 1971, in Cairo, Gnanasekaran majored in economics before earning an M.D. in 2000 and an M.P.H. in 2001, both from P&S. She completed a residency in pediatric medicine and throughout her career studied healthcare policy with a focus on children with chronic disease. Gnanasekaran was a board-certified pediatrician licensed to practice medicine in Massachusetts and New York and was an instructor in pediatrics at Cambridge Health Alliance. She loved to travel, cook and eat in restaurants. Gnanasekaran is survived by her husband of 22 years, Christopher William ’94, GSAS’02, PS’03; son, Alexander; father-in-law, Maged; and mother-in-law, Nahed.
Meena Merchant, filmmaker and artist, Renton, Wash., on August 15, 2022. Born in Santa Cruz, Calif., Merchant was valedictorian of her high school class and studied architecture at the College. She was a graphic designer, product designer and marketer, and owned a graphic design company and a stationery company. Merchant was CEO of Werxo, a multimedia production company that strove for artistic storytelling. She also spent time creating, teaching and promoting the creation of art in her home, at her sons’ schools and in her community. Merchant is survived by her husband, Mitch Shepherd; sons, Mizan and Mohan; mother; older sister; and brother-in-law.
— 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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622 W. 113th St., MC 4530, 4th Fl.
New York, NY 10025