spring 2017

In Memoriam


  • Charles “Chuck” Estes Oliver, E39, at age ninety-nine in March 2016 in Clearwater, FL. At Tufts, he was a member of the Glee Club and enjoyed hiking and climbing in the White Mountains. He worked for several engineering firms before ending his career at Charles T. Main in Boston. He and his wife of nearly seventy-one years, Winifred, raised their family in Needham, MA, before retiring to Florida, where they volunteered for the local food bank, a nature center, and Habitat for Humanity. Predeceased by Winifred by just twelve days, he is survived by four children, seven grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren. 


  • Marie Piilani Cadena, J46, on June 6, 2014, in Hilo, Hawaii, at age ninety-one. She was a retired occupational therapist for the state of Texas, former librarian for the Fort Bliss Special Services, and member and past president of the Kiwanis in Horizon City, Texas. She is survived by eight children, seven siblings, twenty-four grandchildren, twenty-one great-grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews.

  • Irwin Garfinkle, E46, on November 30, 2016, in Carlisle, Massachusetts. On the same day in June 1945, he received his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and his Navy commission. He served as an ensign. He was married to Beryl (Mazer) and lived in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Weston, Connecticut, before settling in Carlisle. He spent his professional career as a patent attorney for the government and the AVCO Corporation, and as patent counsel at Textron. He is survived by many family members and friends, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

  • Eleanor Ruth Mulligan Hayes, J47, of Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, on November 16, 2016, at age eighty-nine. She was the wife of Louis Thomas Hayes, E45, with whom she shared sixty-nine years of marriage. While at Tufts, she was a member of Sigma Kappa and the Pen, Paint, and Pretzel theater group. As a Tufts cheerleader, she was in the first group of women allowed into the Yale Bowl. Besides her husband, she is survived by two sons, a daughter, five grandchildren, and a great-grandchild.

  • Eleanor May, J47, of North Garden, Virginia, on May 8, 2016. In 1990, she retired as professor of business administration from the University of Virginia’s Darden School, where she was the first female member of the graduate business faculty. She also worked as a research associate at Harvard Business School. She published widely and was a frequent public speaker. She was a volunteer executive in Kazakhstan for the International Executive Service Corps in 1995. She was a member of the American Marketing Association and its Census Advisory Committee, chair of the Government Statistics Committee of the National Retail Merchants Association, and chair of NRMA Retail Research Institute. May was an early board member of Meals on Wheels, a board member of the Virginia Women’s Forum, and a founder and board member of the Women’s Faculty and Professional Association of the University of Virginia. She is survived by her goddaughter, a brother, seven nieces and nephews and their spouses, and twelve great-nieces and nephews.

  • Jeanne (Connors) O’Donnell, J44, F46, on August 22, 2016, at age ninety-four, in San Francisco. She was shaped by World War II and the post-war effort to rebuild nations and secure lasting peace. She met her future husband, James O’Donnell Sr., in ninth grade, and they graduated Everett (Massachusetts) High together. In 1944, four months after her father survived the sinking of his troopship on D-Day and received commendation for his heroism, her twin brother, a Navy pilot who was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, was killed in action. The deep and lasting sorrow she suffered in becoming a Gold Star Twin was rarely visible, but always close to the surface. She was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study international law at the University of Paris, where she was the only female graduate student in the law school. She also earned a certificate in French at the Sorbonne. She and her high school sweetheart married at New York’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral on December 7, 1951, exactly ten years after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. In her late fifties, with her four children nearly grown, she earned her U.S. law degree by attending school at night while serving full time as hearing examiner/administrative law judge with the Washington, D.C., Rental Accommodations Office. She went on to practice real estate and elder law in Washington for the next twenty-five years, until she was in her mid-eighties. She and her husband moved briefly back to New England before settling in San Francisco in 2013. They were married for more than sixty-two years before his death in 2014. She is survived by three children, a brother, and a granddaughter.

  • Ralph S. Sawyer, A44, on July 14, 2016, at age ninety-five. In 1947, Sawyer began work as an aeronautical research scientist at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics at Langley Memorial Labs, the precursor to NASA. His career took him to Honeywell, the United Naval Weapons Station, the U.S. Naval Underwater Ordnance Station, and the U.S. Naval Weapons Laboratory, where he worked as a head consultant on the Polaris missile project. He was part of the Space Task Group at Langley Research Center from 1959 to 1961, directing the application of the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Skylab, and Army Specialized Training Program experience to the research, development, and testing of television, communication, tracking, and telemetry systems for the Space Shuttle and Space Station. He was responsible for these systems used on all flight vehicles sponsored by the U.S. He won many awards, including the Project Mercury Group Achievement Award, the Television Academy Award for Outstanding Achievements in Engineering Development–Color Television from Space, and the NASA Medal for Outstanding Leadership. He is survived by his wife of sixty-four years, Helen Howard Sawyer, a daughter, a son, two grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren. 

  • Elizabeth “Betty” Hubers Springstun, J46, on November 9, 2016, at age ninety-two in Stony Brook, New York. In 1946, she was appointed the first woman editor-in-chief of the Tufts Weekly. She was married to James M. Springstun for fifteen years; they had two daughters. She was a social worker at the A. Holly Patterson Home in Uniondale, New York, for twenty-five years, retiring in 1970. She is survived by her daughters and her companion of forty-six years, Henry “Hank” Huestis.


  • Earl Christopher, E53, on December 4, 2015. He earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and a master’s degree in civil engineering at Northeastern. After retiring from Raytheon in 1992, he and his wife, Lois, moved to Florida. He is survived by three children and three grandchildren.

  • Allan G. Freeman, A52, M56, on January 1, 2016, at age eighty-five, at his home in Keene, New Hampshire. He served as a lieutenant in the Navy Medical Corps from 1957 to 1959. He was the school physician for Keene from 1969 to 1995 and an adjunct assistant professor at Dartmouth Medical School. He was a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, a founding member of the Irish and American Pediatric Society, and a member of the American Medical Association. Since his retirement, he served on the board of the Keene Day Care Center, Camp Holiday, and the Cedarcrest Foundation. He was a member of the Keene Rotary Club, and served as an examining physician for the well-child clinics of Home Healthcare and Community Services of Keene. An accomplished pianist, he performed at numerous functions as a member of the New Directions Trio, a group of retired physicians-turned-musicians. He is survived by his wife of fifty-eight years, Marilyn (DeGoede) Freeman, four children, four grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews. 

  • Ruth I. Gordon, J54, on July 18, 2016. She was a staunch advocate of library services and was a mentor to librarians throughout the United States. She received her Ph.D. from Berkeley University. She was very proud of her academic success, and was known as Dr. Ruth. Her teaching career spanned from the Portola Valley School District in California to the Aviano Dependents School in Italy. She was a National Defense Education Act scholar, a consultant for several library projects, and the managing editor of Critical Reviewing UnLtd. She held numerous positions within the American Library Association and served on the board of directors for the Association for Library Services to Children, as chair of the Notable Children’s Books Committee and the John Newbery Award Committee, and as president of the Association of Children’s Librarians of Northern California. Her role in bringing the bigotry within the Boy Scouts of America to the forefront of America’s social conscience through the power of the library associations was her proudest achievement during many years of activism. As an author and editor, she enjoyed great success with poetry and prose, including Feathers, Peeling the Onion: An Anthology of Poems, Time is the Longest Distance, and Under All Silences: Shades of Love. She is survived by her wife, Victoria Marugg, three nieces, and five grandnieces and grandnephews. 

  • Alan D. Rothstein, A52, M56, on May 13, 2016, at age eighty-five. He completed his internship in general medicine at Indiana University and then was drafted into the Army, serving in Germany for two years. He began his private practice in adult psychiatry and worked as senior physician in the psychiatric unit at Newton-Wellesley Hospital. He was married for sixty-two years to his wife, Natalie, who survives him along with his three children, six grandchildren, and a great-grandchild.

  • Joanne K. Shildneck, J53, J84P, J87P, of Plymouth, Massachusetts, on August 6, 2016, at age eighty-five. She had a lifelong interest in promoting world peace through cultural exchange that was reflected in work at the United Nations and the Experiment in International Living and her involvement with Women in International Trade. Active in Republican politics, she chaired presidential campaigns in Amherst, Massachusetts, for Steve Forbes, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush. She served as a trustee of the Bean Foundation, the Southern New Hampshire Medical Center, the Squam Lakes Science Center, and Hunt Community. Predeceased by her brother, Warren Kean, she is survived by her sister, Nancy, three daughters, six grandchildren, her former husband, James Shildneck, and many cousins, nieces, and nephews.

  • Ira Stepanian, A58, who served on the Tufts Board of Trustees from 1981 to 1993, on February 13, 2017, in Bonita Springs, Florida, at age eighty. He earned his B.A. in economics from Tufts and an M.B.A. from Boston College before beginning his career with Bank of Boston in 1963. He worked his way up from a management trainee to CEO. He was elected chairman in March 1989. In 1993 the New England Council named him New Englander of the Year in recognition of his contributions to banking and his impact on New England’s quality of life and economy.



  • Henry C. Evan, A77, on September 7, 2016, in Sebastopol, California. At Tufts, he majored in geology, sang with the Beelzebubs, played ultimate Frisbee, and enjoyed classes in winter camping and survival. He returned for several Beelzebubs reunions and enjoyed watching the group perform in California—where he lived until his death—during their national tours. He dedicated his career to conservation, working in consulting and environmental banking, and volunteered as president of a grassroots wetlands trust organization. After he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, he spread awareness of its challenges for patients and families and supported research organizations. He is predeceased by his brother, Bob, and sister, Karen. He is survived by two daughters, four siblings, an ex-wife, and his fiancée, Mary Ann Carpenter.

  • John M. Gray, G73, on September 24, 2016, in Provincetown, Massachusetts, at age sixty-six. He started his career as a fine arts consultant for the New Hampshire Department of Education, working with school districts on arts education programming. He then became the fine arts coordinator for the Newton Public Schools, from which he retired in 2008. During that time, he also managed a visual arts and writing awards program for Massachusetts students, and was program co-director of the Boston Globe’s Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. He received many awards and honors, including the 2009 Kennedy Center Excellence in School Administration Award, the National Art Education Association’s 2000 Educator of the Year award, and the New Hampshire State Art Educator Award in 1983. He was honored as Massachusetts Art Educator of the Year in 2011. One of his greatest achievements, he said, he shared with his husband, Tim O’Connor: they were well known as the Hat Sisters. They met at a dinner party in the summer of 1984 and bonded over their love of dressing up. Their first appearance was during the weekend of Carnival in 1984, when they won first prize for their outfits. The couple celebrated their thirty-third Carnival last year. They were fixtures at Boston’s Gay Pride Parade. Besides his husband, he is survived by his sister, a niece, and a nephew. 


  • Devin Arkin, A87, of Chicago on November 23, 2016. At Tufts, he was a devoted English major and accomplished tennis player, and performed in a production of Hair his senior year. After earning a master’s degree in education from Johns Hopkins, he had a successful career in advertising and marketing, culminating with opening his own agency in Chicago. He was the lead singer for the rock band The Good. He made many lifelong friends at Tufts, and many of them were with him in his final days. He is survived by two daughters, his brother, his sister, and his parents.



  • Tom Bates, a Grammy Award–winning audio engineer and producer and a lecturer in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, on December 2, 2016. He was the co-creator and co-teacher of two courses for the School of Engineering minor in music engineering. He mentored a number of students working on music engineering projects. His knowledge, enthusiasm, and generosity were inspirations to everyone at Tufts who knew him. He attended Berklee College of Music in the mid-1960s, studying piano and composition, and created a cottage industry out of making remote recordings at the Jazz Workshop and elsewhere. A winner of nine Grammy awards, he worked with Paul Simon, the Moscow String Quartet, Pete Seeger, Paul Winter, and many others. During his long career, he collaborated with notable producers Phil Ramone, Roy Halee, and Margot Reisinger. He was technical director for the Metropolitan Opera and Saturday Night Live, and creator of the TimeLine Synchronizer, which revolutionized film and television sound recording in the Eighties and Nineties.

  • A memorial service for Tim Edgar, a professor of public health and community medicine at Tufts School of Medicine, took place on March 4 on Tufts’ health sciences campus in Boston. He died on January 2, 2017, from injuries sustained in a car accident in India, where he was traveling for Unite for Sight, an organization that supports eye clinics in remote locations around the world. The medical school community remembers him for his breadth of scholarship, talents as a mentor/educator, and his dedication to developing the discipline of health communication at Tufts. He joined the medical faculty full time in 2016, after holding a secondary appointment for fourteen years. Before joining Tufts full time, he was on the faculty at Emerson College, where he directed its M.A. in Health Communication program, which was offered in conjunction with the M.S. in Health Communication at Tufts.

  • Allen Everett, professor of physics emeritus, on June 3, 2016. He joined the Department of Physics in 1960, just after completing a Ph.D. in theoretical physics at Harvard. His early research was in nuclear and high-energy physics. He chaired the department from 1977 to 1980, and during that time recruited two theoretical physicists with interests in general relativity and theoretical cosmology, Alex Vilenkin and Larry Ford. The three of them founded the Tufts Institute of Cosmology, the first center in the United States devoted to theoretical cosmology; the center since has achieved international prominence. He was a dedicated teacher who cared deeply about the success of his students, and sought to give them an understanding of the key principles of physics. He developed a popular course on time travel, which combined science fiction and a study of the basics of relativity theory. After his retirement in 2004, he co-authored Time Travel and Warp Drives: A Scientific Guide to Shortcuts Through Time and Space with Thomas Roman. In the past few years, he made substantial donations to secure the future of the Institute of Cosmology and endow a room in the physics department’s new home in the Collaborative Learning and Innovation Complex on the Medford/Somerville campus. 

  • Katy Vecitis, a lecturer in sociology in the School of Arts and Sciences, on November 27, 2016. She began teaching in 2009 and quickly became a popular instructor and respected colleague. Students found her to be thoughtful, inspiring, engaging, funny, and caring. She used to perform stand-up comedy. She taught courses about crime and deviance, youth culture, urban sociology, and American society. 

  • Tufts University lost one of its pioneers—though she was reluctant to use that word—with the death of Esther Wilkins, D49, DG66, a clinical professor of periodontology emerita at the School of Dental Medicine, on December 12, 2016. She had turned one hundred three days before.