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Columbia College Today May 2004
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Alumni Profiles





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Leo Flexser '31Leo A. Flexser, retired pharmaceutical executive, Upper Montclair, N.J., on November 3, 2003. A chemistry major, Flexser was selected for Phi Beta Kappa. He continued at Columbia for graduate work, receiving a master’s degree in physics in 1932 and a doctorate in chemistry in 1935, under the direction of Louis P. Hammett. A few years later, Flexser began working at Hoffmann-
La Roche in Nutley, N.J, where he was involved in developing methods of large-scale synthesis for vitamins and other pharmaceuticals. He retired from Roche in 1975 as v.p. for chemical production. Flexser was the founding president of the Roche chapter of Sigma Xi and was a member of the board of trustees of Jersey City State College. He was predeceased by his wife, Bertha Simberloff Flexser, to whom he was married for 62 years, and is survived by his son, Arthur J. ’67; sister, Lillian Panansky; and nephew, Gerald.


Thomas C. Hana, retired engineer, Westbury, N.Y., on February 19, 2004. Hana was born on August 20, 1911, in New York City. He was a 1929 graduate of Flushing H.S. and received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electronics engineering from Columbia in 1933 and 1934, respectively. While at the College, he was president of his senior class. Hana retired from Hazeltine Electronics as director of research. While employed by Hazeltine, Hana was the project director for the visual displays of the S.A.G.E. system — the precursor to today’s IFF (Identification Friend or Foe) system for the military and the transponder systems used worldwide by all air traffic systems. He also worked on the first U.S. team that developed mine detectors during WWII. Hana was a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. He was active in the Westbury Historical Society and attended Westbury United Methodist Church. His wife, Betty Lou Dayton Page Hana, preceded him in death. Survivors include his daughters and sons-in-law, Denise Hagedorn and her husband, Herman; L. Adrienne Bowlus; and Gail Shea and her husband, Mike; stepdaughter, Nancy Page Pettengill; six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Memorial contributions be made to Planting Fields Foundation, PO Box 58, Oyster Bay, NY 11771.


Chandler Brinkerhoff Grannis, editor and writer, Montclair, N.J., on October 23, 2002. Grannis was born in Union Vale, N.Y., and came to Montclair with his parents at age 5. He graduated from Montclair H.S. in 1930. In 1936, Grannis joined the editorial staff of Publishers Weekly, where he built his lifetime career. From 1942–45, he served in the Army with the 78th Division, 310th Infantry, in Europe. Returning to Publishers Weekly, he became a member of the board of directors of its owner, R.R. Bowker, from 1956–68, when the company was sold to Xerox. Grannis then became editor-in-chief of Publishers Weekly until 1971, when he took early retirement and became a contributing editor to the magazine as well as taking an editorial hand in numerous Bowker books on the history and practice of American book publishing, book censorship and typography. Grannis was editor and co-author of What Happens in Book Publishing, which became known as “the Grannis” in library schools across the country. He edited Banned Books 387 BC to 1978 AD and Heritage of the Graphic Arts, a selection of essays delivered by famous typographers and book designers. Grannis served several terms on the governing boards of the National Book Committee and Rutgers University Press and was an editor for Franklin Book Programs, Inc., an organization encouraging publishing development in the Middle East. He was a member of Union Congregational Church, Montclair, for which he wrote and produced Century of a Modern Church (1983). He is survived by his wife, Martha; sons, John Chandler Grannis and Peter Brinkerhoff Grannis; and two grandchildren.


Joseph H. Walter Jr. '37Joseph H. Walter Jr., retired engineer, Cincinnati, on February 4, 2004. Born in New York City, Walter graduated from Far Rockaway H.S. and entered the College before his 16th birthday. While at the College, he played violin, managed the University orchestra and was on the swim team. After receiving a B.S. and M.S. in metallurgical engineering from the Engineering School, where he was a member of Tau Beta Pi and Theta Tau, he went to work for Procter & Gamble at Port Ivory on Staten Island but soon was transferred to Cincinnati, where he continued to work for P&G for 42 years, retiring in 1981. Walter was active through the years in the Cincinnati area Columbia Club and received the Alumni Federation Medal in 1967. During the early years at P&G, he worked in various areas to help the war effort. Later, he became an expert in water treatment and pollution control. In 1969, he received the Willems Rudolfs Medal, given by the Water Pollution Control Federation for “Outstanding Contribution to Industrial Waste Control.” In addition, he was a member of the local school board for 12 years, president for most of them, was a founding member of the Greenhills Journal, a local newspaper, and was active in the Greenhills Presbyterian Church, serving as elder and deacon. Walter continued to swim throughout his life, winning medals in the Senior Olympics into his 80s. He leaves his wife of 63 years, Eleanor; children, Ann Norman, Joseph H. III ’67 and Paul; four grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.


Alston Jennings, attorney, Little Rock, Ark., on January 19, 2004. Jennings was born on October 30, 1917, in West Helena, Ark. A graduate of Little Rock H.S., he earned his undergraduate degree in mathematics. While at the College, Jennings was an All-American swimmer and captain of the swim team. He received his J.D. from Northwestern, Order of the Coif, in 1941. During WWII, he served as an aviator and flight instructor in the Navy. Jennings began his career in 1946 as a special agent, Intelligence Unit, with the Treasury Department. From 1947–48, he served as deputy prosecuting attorney for Pulaski County. In 1949, he became associated with the law firm of Wright, Harrison, Lindsey & Upton, which later became Wright Lindsey & Jennings. Jenning’s practice of law — with a specialty in trial work — spanned 50 years. He took of counsel status in 1986 but remained active in the practice. Jennings was a past president of the Pulaski County Bar Association and a member of the Arkansas Bar Association and the American Bar Association since 1941. He was a fellow of the American Bar Foundation and past president of the International Association of Insurance Counsel. He also was past president of the American College of Trial Lawyers. Jennings was an athlete and an avid sports fan; he swam against John F. Kennedy in college. Jennings is survived by his wife of 60 years, Dorothy Bule Jones Jennings; brothers, Earp Franklin Jennings Jr. and Walter Clark Jennings; and children, Alston Jr. (Margaret), Gene (Nancy) and Ann Bule Jennings Shackelford (Craig); and six grandchildren.


John D. Molleson, journalist, Southampton, N.Y., on November 26, 2003. Molleson was born in Manhattan on March 13, 1918. He completed his master’s degree at the Journalism School in 1941 before serving in the Pacific theater with the Army Air Corps during WWII, attaining the rank of major. A former staff writer for the New York Herald Tribune and other publications, Molleson began his newspaper career at The Vineyard Gazette in Martha’s Vineyard. At the New York Herald Tribune, he covered the United Nations and metropolitan news, and wrote music and theater reviews. After the Tribune folded in 1966, he worked for The World Journal Tribune and then Parade. He ran the public relations department at the Manhattan School of Music and wrote speeches for Marian Anderson. Molleson is survived by his second wife, Eleanor Pompili Molleson, whom he married in 1984; two daughters from his first marriage; and one grandchild. His first wife, Genevieve Istel Molleson, died in 1976.


Donald Barr '41Donald Barr, educator, writer and former headmaster, Colebrook, Conn., on February 5, 2004. Barr was born in Manhattan on August 2, 1921, and majored in mathematics and anthropology at the College. He went into the Army and served with the Office of Strategic Services in Washington, D.C., and Europe. Returning to Columbia, he taught in the English department while getting his master’s from GSAS in 1950 in English and comparative literature and completing course requirements for a Ph.D. By then, he was teaching courses with field work in sociology and political science at the School of Engineering and writing science and mathematics texts for elementary and junior high school students. In 1955, the Engineering School asked him to oversee its efforts to spot promising elementary and secondary science students, including girls, and enlist them for advanced training at the school to help them rise to the college level. Joining the Engineering Dean’s Office, he developed the Science Honors Program, which garnered the attention and support of the National Science Foundation. Barr became assistant dean of the faculty of the Engineering School in 1959, and the foundation asked him to administer its entire Cooperative College-School Program. He did so beginning in 1963, continuing until he became headmaster at the Dalton School the following year.

Barr, a traditionalist in academic matters, took a no-nonsense approach that rated good conduct as a virtue. He expressed his views on education not only at the schools he headed but also in national forums. His sometimes stormy tenure at Dalton ended in 1974 with his departure after disputes with the trustees over budget priorities and his disciplinarian approach to substance abuse. The next year, he became headmaster at Hackley School in Tarrytown, N.Y., where he soon dismissed more than two dozen students for disruptive conduct and poor academic performance. This time, he had parents and trustees in his corner. He also upgraded the curriculum, adding foreign languages and bolstering academic subjects and the arts. Barr’s wife, Mary Margaret Ahern Barr, died in 2001. He is survived by his sons, Christopher J. ’75, William P. ’71, Hilary B.T. ’74 and Stephen M. ’74; and eight grandchildren.

Francis Martin Jr., Reno, Nev., on December 23, 2003. Martin was born in New York City on June 8, 1920. The son of a distinguished Bronx County judge, he was a sales representative for Dumont before joining broadcasting representative John Blair & Co. in the 1950s. He helped take the firm public in the 1960s. In 1965, Martin was promoted to president and CEO and retired after 15 years with the company. He attended Cornell Law School. Martin was a member of St. Anthony Hall fraternity and the Union Club in Manhattan. He was a lifetime social member of the La Quinta Country Club in La Quinta, Calif., where he served for several years on the board of directors. He also served on the board of Desert Hospital in Palm Springs, Calif., for eight years. After retiring, he enjoyed golf, backgammon, bridge, fly fishing and traveling. Martin is survived by his wife of 40 years, Mimi; children, Anne Rossman and Francis III; stepson, Scott Marshutz, and two granddaughters. Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society.

Horace G. Petronella, physician, Port Washington, N.Y., on December 29, 2003. After pre-med at the College, Petronella attended Creighton School of Medicine in Omaha, Neb., where he received his medical degree in 1944. He interned at Flushing Hospital in Queens. After 21 months as a captain in the armed services, he went into general practice for three years then took a residency in otolaryngology (ENT) at Flower-Fifth Avenue Hospital and The Bronx Veterans Hospital. He practiced otolaryngology until he was 76. In his early years, Petronella was on the staff at Flushing Hospital and Booth Memorial Hospital. He spent his last 40 years working out of Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola on Long Island, where he conducted his private practice. He was on the staff of Nassau County Medical University, where he worked in the ENT clinic every Tuesday afternoon for approximately 20 years and was president of the Nassau County Medical Society. Petronella is survived by his wife of 51 years, Rose Marie; brother, Ralph; children, Richard, Lynn, Susan, Robert and Ronald; and three grandchildren.


Thomas Kantor, retired physician, Westport, Conn., on February 8, 2004. Kantor was born in New York City, attended Horace Mann H.S. and graduated from the College at 19. He received an M.D. from P&S in 1946. Kantor served in the Army as a ship’s doctor, during which time he headed the Motion Sickness Team, which led to the development of anti-motion sickness medicine. Kantor settled in Westport with his first wife, Eugenia, and their four children and set up an internal medicine practice there. He joined the NYU School of Medicine in 1961 as associate attending physician at the NYU/Tisch Hospital, Bellevue Hospital, VA Hospital and Hospital for Joint Diseases and served as chief of rheumatology at Beekman- Downtown Hospital. He was appointed professor of medicine in 1972. In 1992, Kantor was recognized as a master by the American College of Rheumatology. A diplomat of the American Board of Internal Medicine, Kantor sat on the National Board of Governors of the Arthritis Foundation, the Board of Directors of the American Society for Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, and was a member of the U.S. Pharmacopoeia. He was a consultant for the Bureau of Drugs; Department of Health, Education and Welfare; Public Health Service; and the FDA; where he served as chairman of the Over-the Counter Drug Panel Review. Kantor was a member of the National Research Council for the National Academy of Sciences and served the N.Y. Chapter of the Arthritis Foundation in a number of capacities, including president. He was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997 by Sen. Bill Bradley (D-N.J.). Kantor performed extensive research on the use of analgesics in patients with arthritis and rheumatism. An internationally-regarded speaker on the topic, he authored many papers and medical textbooks on the treatment of arthritis. Kantor moved back to Westport permanently when he retired from active practice and wrote columns for the Cedar Point Yacht Club bulletin and a local newspaper for several years. Kantor is survived by his wife, Deirdre; children, Anne Lynn, John, Jill Wellner and Reg; and eight grandchildren. Memorial contributions may be made the Arthritis Foundation. PO Box 96280, Washington, DC 20090 or Doctors Without Borders, PO Box 1865, Merrifield, VA 22116.


James A. Ospenson Jr., retired judge, Laguna Nigel, Calif., on March 8, 2004. Born in West Orange, N.J., Ospenson lived there until moving to Laguna Nigel in 2001. Ospenson earned a degree from the Law School in 1954 and was a Navy veteran of WWII. He worked for the FBI from 1950–52 and then was a prosecutor for 16 years for the town of West Orange. He also had a private law practice in West Orange. Ospenson was an administrative law judge for the State of New Jersey for 16 years before retiring in 1995. A member of the West Orange Bar Association, he was president of the West Orange Community House, a member of American Legion Post 22 and a member of the Rock Spring Country Club, West Orange. Surviving are his wife of 41 years, Emily; son, James III; daughter, Emily Crume; and sister, Greacian Goeke.

John D. Vandenberg, retired engineer, Westfield, N.J., on January 22, 2004. Born in Paterson, Vandenberg’s undergraduate degree was in experimental psychology. He earned a master’s in industrial psychology, and then, in 1958, a Ph.D. in industrial psychology from Purdue. Vandenberg worked at Lockheed Electronics in Plainfield, N.J., from 1962 until he retired in 1990. He was a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, the Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society and the Human Factors/Ergonomics Society. A Navy veteran of WWII, Vandenberg served aboard the USS Bostwick in the Pacific. He is survived by his wife of 28 years, Doloros; daughters, Carol Patulo and Donna; stepson, Joseph Shaffer; stepdaughters, Margaret Turner and Cynthia Schrope; and six grandchildren.


Eugene V. Mohr, professor, San Juan, Puerto Rico, on January 8, 2004. Mohr was born in New York City but lived in Puerto Rico for almost 50 years. He received a master’s in English and comparative literature from GSAS in 1952 and was a professor of English and linguistics at the University of Puerto Rico. In 1996, he was named professor emeritus. Early in his academic career, Mohr studied and wrote about science. Across many years, readers of the San Juan Star will have seen his reviews of Puerto Rican and Caribbean literature and also his columns, which had a broad range: social, historical, and political topics; illogical government policies; nonsensical political positions; and the peculiarities of society. Long before the English department had the resources to begin its doctoral program in the “Language and Literature of the English-speaking Caribbean,” Mohr was eagerly researching and teaching in these fields. His book, The Nuyorican Experience: Literature of the Puerto Rican Minority, was an early and important contribution to what is now a flourishing area of literary study. He also was instrumental in the work of the English section of the College Entrance Examination Board, an organizer and first president of the Caribbean Chapter of the College English Association, an interim director of the English department at the Rio Piedras Campus of the UPR and instrumental in the creation of the graduate program in English. In addition, he was chairman of English and linguistics at Inter American University, an editor for the Revista/Review Interamericana and an interim director of Inter American University Press. Mohr was a wood and stone sculptor and a connoisseur of Oriental art, which he came to know while a doctoral student at the UC Berkley. He is survived by his wife, Lolinne Pérez Marchand de Mohr; and son, Eugene R.

Brian F. Wilkie, professor, Fayetteville, Ark., on December 14, 2003. Wilkie was born on March 30, 1929, in Brooklyn. His undergraduate degree was in English; he received a master’s degree from the University of Rochester in 1952 and his doctorate in English from the University of Wisconsin in 1959. Wilkie served in the Army Signal Corps from 1952–54. He taught at Dartmouth for four years, at Illinois for 22 years and at Arkansas, which he joined in 1985, for 18 years. When the College of Liberal Arts at Illinois began its Teacher Excellence Award in 1965, Wilkie was the first recipient. He received several other awards and served on several committees of the Modern Language Association. Wilkie authored numerous books and articles and was co-editor of the widely used anthology Literature of the Western World. He authored several other books, including Romantic Poets and Epic Tradition, a standard work among Romanticism scholars, and Blake’s Thel and Oothoon, as well as more than 80 articles, reviews and translations. He had recently finished Romanticism and Values. Wilkie directed dissertations and taught courses, including English Romantic Poetry, Shakespeare, Literature and Opera, European Short Story and others, in world comparative and English literature. He was a strong advocate for students, helping graduate students prepare for careers and serving for years as the faculty adviser to the UA graduate students in English organization. He is survived by his wife, the former Ann Allen; sons, John M. ’80, Brian S. and Neil T.; brother, James L. ’57; sister, Eleanor O’Neill; and four grandchildren. He was preceded in death by an infant son, three brothers and a sister. Memorial contributions may be made to Fayetteville Humane Society, 1640 S. Armstrong, Fayetteville, AR 72701.


Peter A. Angeles, professor and author, Sedona, Ariz., on March 2, 2004. Angeles was born in Ambridge, Penn., and moved to Martins Ferry, Ohio, at an early age. After receiving his B.A., M.S. and Ph.D. from Columbia, he began his academic career in London, Ontario, Canada, where he and his wife, Elizabeth (McConnaughy) Angeles, raised their three children. He taught philosophy at the University of Western Ontario for 14 years before he and his family moved to Santa Barbara in 1970. Angeles taught philosophy at UC Santa Barbara from 1968–69 on a Canada Council Fellowship and was a visiting professor at Albert Schweitzer College, Churwalden, Switzerland, during the summers of 1963 and 1966. In 1973, while chairman of the philosophy department at Santa Barbara City College, Angeles traveled to the East-West Institute at the University of Hawaii, Honolulu, through a grant from the National Endowment of the Humanities. He was professor and chairman of the department of philosophy at SBCC from 1970–90. In “retirement,” he moved to Sedona, Ariz., where he taught at Yavapai College, Verde Campus Clarkdale, Ariz., and Northern Arizona State University from 1990–92; and Maricopa Community Colleges, Mesa and Scottsdale, Ariz., until 1994. He also taught at the University of Phoenix. Angeles authored and published a number of books as well as numerous articles in humanitarian and philosophical journals. After 26 years of marriage, his wife, Elizabeth, passed away in 1977. He later married Darlene Jures, who helped him produce avant-garde and children’s plays along with four dance dramas. Angeles authored 104 half-hour radio programs titled “The Children’s Storytime Radio Show.” He is survived by his sisters, Virginia Fanos, Katherine Deitche (Sam Loumis) and Mariann A. Zacharellis; his children, Beth Basham (Jon), Jane Angeles (Shane MacKay) and Adam P.; four grandchildren; sisters-in-law, Agnes McConnaughy and Selma Haught; and many nieces and nephews. Memorial contributions may be made to the Cancer Center of Santa Barbara, 300 W. Pueblo, Santa Barbara, CA 93105.


Eugene Weiner, rabbi, Haifa, Israel, on February 24, 2003. Weiner was ordained as a rabbi in 1960 from the Jewish Theological Seminary, where he worked for a number of years as assistant to the chancellor, Dr. Louis Finkelstein. In 1969, he received his Ph.D. in sociology from Columbia and then joined the faculty of sociology at Haifa University, Israel, where he taught for 27 years. Weiner was an intellectual and an activist. He marched in Selma with Martin Luther King, Jr. and in Israel, was the founder of a number of organizations, including the Abraham Fund, which works to promote coexistence between Israeli Jews and Arabs. He was raised in Miami Beach, where he was recently inducted into his high school’s hall of fame for his life’s work. According to a note that CCT received from his wife, Anita, “[Gene’s] undergraduate years at Columbia College provided him with the intellectual foundation for his lifetime activities, and his Columbia Ph.D. enabled him to find a suitable academic framework from which he could teach and contribute to society at large. He deeply valued his Columbia education.”


Jonathan Harris, attorney, Larchmont, N.Y., on January 18, 2004. An attorney with Swidler, Berlin, Sheareff and Friedman, Harris is survived by his mother, Mollie; wife, Myra (née Levine); sons, Arthur and Robbie; and brothers, David, Andrew and Benjamin. Memorial contributions may be made to the UJA Israeli Emergency Fund, 701 Westchester Ave., White Plains, NY 10601.


Daniel Barr, attorney, New York City, on February 19, 2004. Barr was a founder of Barr & Ochsner. He was remembered in The New York Times as “a scholar and a generous inspiration to many in the world of art.” He is survived by his parents, Yael and David Barr; and brother, Michael. Memorial contributions may be made to an educational charity of your choice.

Lisa Palladino

Other Deaths Reported

Columbia College Today has learned of the deaths of the following alumni (full obituaries will be published if information becomes available):

1930: Walter C. Huebner, Hackettstown, N.J., on December 29, 2003. Huebner earned a graduate degree in civil engineering from the Engineering School in 1932 and a B.S. in engineering, in addition to his College B.A.

1942: Michael S. Gelber, physician, Blue Point, N.Y., on December 8, 2001.

1945: Bruce C. Dunbar, Birmingham, Ala., on January 21, 2004. Martin Havlik, Brooklyn, N.Y., on March 5, 2004.

1946: Peter Miller, New York City, on September 24, 2003.

1954: Richard C. Leonard, Sykesville, Md., on July 26, 2001.

1956: Stuart E. Greer, Boynton Beach, Fla., on July 5, 2003. Greer earned a B.S from the Engineering School in 1957.

1959: Seymour H. White, Los Angeles, on December 27, 2003.

1960: Leonard F. Binder, Miami, on March 1, 2004.






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