JOHN S. “JACK” McINTOSH, Foss Professor of Physics, Emeritus, died Dec. 13, 2015, at age 92. He received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. from Yale University, and came to Wesleyan in 1963. An expert on sauropod dinosaurs, as well as a physics professor and department chair at Wesleyan, he inspired countless students, colleagues, friends, and family. He is known for determining the correct skull of Apatosaurus at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, and in 2010 was honored by having a newly discovered species named Abydosaurus mcintoshii. He flew reconnaissance in World War II before becoming a theoretical nuclear physicist whose lifelong avocation was paleontology. Survivors include a sister-in-law, four nieces, four nephews, and numerous great-nieces and nephews.
WILLIAM FIRSHEIN, Daniel Ayres Professor of Biology, Emeritus, died Dec. 7, 2015. He was 85. After receiving his B.S. from Brooklyn College and his M.S. and Ph.D. from Rutgers University, he came to Wesleyan in 1958 and taught for 47 years. He was elected to Sigma Xi. An active scholar who was awarded research grants totaling more than $2 million over his career, he investigated the molecular biology of DNA replication cell division in Bacillus subtilis and Escherichia coli and their plasmids. In his most recent book, The Infectious Microbe, published in January 2014, he discussed the relationship between humans and viruses and illustrated how pathogens are spread. This book was based on a very popular general education course that he taught for decades. He was a founding member of the Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Department, and served as chair of MB&B for seven years, and as chair of Biology for three years. He was instrumental in the establishment of the Ph.D. programs in Biology and MB&B. Molecular Biology and Biochemistry has awarded the William Firshein Prize in his honor each year to the graduating student who has contributed the most to the interests and character of the MB&B department. His friend, Anthony Infante, Professor of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, Emeritus, said, “He was a true friend to his colleagues and always available for effective useful advice and guidance to the young faculty.” His wife, Anna, and five children survive.
JON K. BARLOW, Professor of Music, Emeritus, died Dec. 15, 2015. He was 73. After receiving his B.A. and M.A. from Cornell University, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, he joined the faculty at Wesleyan and taught in the music department for 34 years. Grounded in Western music history, he expanded his horizons geographically and conceptually, constantly creating innovative courses that attracted serious students. Many of his students went on to become established composers, performers, musicologists, and ethnomusicologists. He was very proud of the interdisciplinary courses he taught, including a course on the metaphysics of baseball. He also co-taught courses with Joe Reed and Bob Rosenbaum, focusing on the films of John Ford, the novels of William Faulkner, and the music of Charles Ives. These courses reflected not only his love of teaching, but also his belief that his best teaching occurred while he was learning and that Wesleyan was a special place to have offered him the opportunity to learn alongside and from his own students. According to his friend and colleague, Mark Slobin, Winslow-Kaplan Professor of Music, “He was a brilliant and original pianist who collaborated with eminent composers and performers, mostly at Wesleyan, and did individualistic scholarship on figures ranging from the medieval Guido d’Arezzo to the New Englander Charles Ives.” He maintained an active program of research in retirement. Survivors include his wife, Muriel Barlow, two children, a foster daughter, and two grandchildren.
SONYA C. CRAMER, a singer, graphic designer, and art director, died Oct. 9, 2015. She was 50. An acclaimed singer who uniquely carried on her family’s musical heritage, as well as a graphic designer, she brought the two together in her longtime collaboration with Smithsonian Folkways Records. Her dynamic artistic life encompassed music, singing, design, collage, bookmaking, poetry, and arts and crafts. She was the daughter of John Cohen, of the folk revival music group, The New Lost City Ramblers, and Penelope Seeger, a potter whose elder siblings were folk musicians Mike, Peggy, and Pete Seeger. She was the granddaughter of seminal musicologist Charles Seeger and the avant-garde composer Ruth Crawford Seeger. She received her Wesleyan degree with honors in Art and Architecture. At Wesleyan, she explored the connections between feminist theory and art through book arts, printmaking, and collage. She began to study and perform in a range of world music styles, along with her family tradition of folk Americana. She sang South Indian music, and in 1990 she traveled to Madras, India to continue her vocal studies of Carnatic music. She met her future husband, Reid Cramer, at Wesleyan, and together they moved to New York City where she worked in film and television with Children’s Television Workshop and the Ginger Group. She also designed exhibitions for the Municipal Art Society of New York, and first began to work professionally as a graphic designer. She continued her visual and book arts education with courses at Cooper Union, the New School, and the School for Visual Arts. While in New York, she became the vocalist for a “chamber folk” music group called Last Forever. In 1997, Last Forever released a self-titled album for Nonesuch Records, followed by Trainfare Home (2000). Later albums appeared on StorySound Records, including Acres of Diamonds (2015). She sang on two records of material from the songbooks of her grandmother, Ruth Crawford Seeger: American Folksongs for Christmas (1989), and Animal Folksongs for Children (1992), both on Rounder Records. She sang with her mother, Penny, brother Rufus, uncle Mike Seeger, aunt Peggy Seeger, and her cousins, Neill MacColl, Calum MacColl, Kitty MacColl, and Kim Seeger. She designed the CD, her first of many projects packaging music, and loved singing and sharing a musical project with her mother and her extended family. As a singer and musician, she performed and recorded a range of original, folk, and world music. While in New York, she studied and performed Eastern European and Bulgarian singing as well. On the Grammy-winning Pete Seeger at 89 (2008), she sang the translated Japanese poem that Pete Seeger set to music, “When I Was Most Beautiful.” The two performed this song together in March 2007 at the Library of Congress. Besides singing with Last Forever and her family, she sang with others. In 1993, she and her husband moved to Austin, Texas, where she was a full-time graphic designer until the birth of their daughter, Dio, in January 1998. During this period, she worked with the firm GoMedia until it was bought by Excite, the search engine. Later, she worked with a series of public interest and nonprofit organizations. She collaborated with Charles Santos and Eugene Sepulveda on the Austin Festival of Dance, art-directing what was then the largest dance-related AIDS-care benefit in the country. When her husband took a job at the White House in 1998, the family moved to Takoma Park, Maryland. Their son, Gabel, was born in July 2000. She added the name Cramer to her own for professional and personal reasons and, as Sonya Cohen Cramer, became an influential designer and art director. For Smithsonian Folkways Records—a label founded by her godfather, Moe Asch—she designed over sixty CD and record packages of folk and world music, a number of which were nominated for Grammy Awards. Through Folkways, she worked with the Aga Khan Foundation, designing the Music of Central Asia series of recordings and companion book. Her design work on a series of Folkways Records was especially gratifying. As art director for The Sounding Joy: Christmas Songs In and Out of the Ruth Crawford Seeger Songbook (2013), she helped more people connect to her grandmother’s legacy. Throughout her life, she delighted in making things. Along with various arts and crafts, she designed and constructed limited edition art books that often took the form of wedding invitations and family announcements. One of her last projects was a collection of handmade scarves made by felting recycled cashmere sweaters found in thrift stores and sewn together in a style inspired by the quilts of Gee’s Bend. Sold at the 2014 Takoma Craft Show, she called the project, “What I Felt.” She loved living in Takoma Park and was an active member of the community. When her children attended the Acorn Hill Waldorf Kindergarten and Nursery—not far from the house where her mother was born—she designed the school’s community cookbook, Welcome to Our Table, and included her favorite family recipes. She was a founding member of the Takoma Mother-Daughter Book Group, a successful decade-long endeavor, and a contributor to the costume crew for the Montgomery Blair High School Players. She is survived by her partner and husband of 27 years, Reid Cramer; their two children; her father, John Cohen; her brother; and a cousin, Katherine Seeger ’77.
NANCY C. BLEMLY, 62, a retired manager at the National Security Agency, died Nov. 3, 2015. She received her degree in astronomy and then a master’s from Case Western Reserve University in 1981. After graduation from Wesleyan she went to work at the N.S.A., initially in technical positions and retiring as a manger in 2014. She had a passion for genealogy and enjoyed quilting. Survivors include her husband, Mike Blemly, a son, and a large extended family.
DAVID G. SWANSON, 63, a regional and urban planner, died Oct. 12, 2015. After receiving his degree he joined AmeriCorps VISTA in Redding, Calif., and then earned a master’s degree in Regional and Urban Planning from San Jose State University. He began working for the City of Salinas in the city’s community development block grant program and is credited with overseeing the city’s housing rehabilitation program, the city’s housing program, and federal grants for road, drainage and other public improvements. He provided his technical knowledge and assistance in the development of housing projects for the homeless and the elderly. After retirement he continued to volunteer, preparing hot lunches for the homeless and tutoring local students. His wife, Mary Orrison, survives, as do two sons, one granddaughter, and two sisters.
GEOFFREY D. SMITH, who worked for the I.R.S. for 40 years, died June 27, 2015. He was 65. A management analyst, he was also a runner and an avid reader. For many years he volunteered to coach softball and basketball to men and women with special needs. He is survived by his wife, Durinda Garvey Smith, three children, three brothers, and 12 nieces and nephews.
DAVID S. REVENAUGH, who had been in the construction business, died Feb. 13, 2016, at age 65. He was a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon and also earned an MALS degree. An avid and skilled football player, he was a starter with the undefeated 1969 Wesleyan football team. After college, he explored many careers, but found his most fulfilling work as a middle school teacher in inner-city Bridgeport, Conn., and as a builder. His wife, Carol Pease Revenaugh, survives, as do three sons, his brother, and a nephew, Samuel H. Berman ’10.
JAMES F. MOORE III, an accountant and banker, died Feb. 16, 2016. He was 65. After receiving a degree in economics, he worked for a year before obtaining an MBA from Columbia University in finance and accounting. He became a CPA and completed his Series 7 registration. He then held positions with Arthur Young and Company, International Paper Company, Pfizer Incorporated, and Donovan Data Systems, before transferring to the field of banking, where he subsequently held positions with Citibank, Barclays, UBS, and ING. He had been a member of the Board of the Guidance Center and was an elder at his church. Survivors include his wife, Dr. Penelope E. Johnson Moore, his son, a sister, a great aunt, and a large extended family.
RICHARD H. GUBITZ, D.O., a family physician, died Feb. 22, 2015, at age 65. The son of Frederick H. Gubitz of the class of 1930, in 1975 he received a PhD in pharmacology from Michigan State University and then a medical degree from the College of Osteopathic Medicine at Michigan State University in 1978. He continued to teach updated pharmacology courses to medical students at the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific, in addition to practicing family medicine for 30 years in Berlin, Wisc. An active community volunteer and board member, he particularly enjoyed teaching students in medical and allied medical professions. His wife, Betsy Anderson Gubitz, survives, as do several sisters-in-law, nephews, and a niece.