In Memoriam

In This Section:

Publications and Resources

Compiled by Editor Peter Szatmary

Robert S. Eckley (Illinois Wesleyan University), 90, held leadership roles in academia, business, and research. He served as the 15th president of Illinois Wesleyan University; during his 1968-86 tenure, the longest stewardship in school history, the endowment rose from $6.6 million to $47.4 million; the campus footprint increased by 71 percent from 34 to 58 acres; buildings were renovated and built; a quadrangle was created; and a radio station went on the air. Eckley and his wife Nell also funded numerous school endowments. Trained as an economist, he wrote five books and as a graduate student studied under Nobel laureate in economics George J. Stigler and as a young professor at University of Kansas taught future Nobel economics recipient Vernon L. Smith. Eckley earlier worked as an industrial economist for the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City (1951-54) and as manager of business economics at Caterpillar, the equipment and engine manufacturer (1954-68). Upon retirement, he was a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution. Eckley’s awards include one for scholarship on Abraham Lincoln, and he served as president of the Abraham Lincoln Society. Raised in Peoria, Ill., Eckley earned degrees from Bradley University (undergraduate), University of Minnesota (M.B.A.), and Harvard University (master’s and doctoral). He also was an engineering officer in the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve and served on numerous business and civic boards and held church offices. Preceded in death by an older brother at age 10, Eckley passed away at his home on April 15 after a four-year battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; survivors include his wife of 65 years, four children, and five grandchildren.

Frances Floyd Estes (University of West Georgia), 95, revered education. Always wanting to teach, she did so for 35 years at Georgia elementary schools, until retirement in 1981. Estes also enlightened her community by cofounding with her husband and others the School of Hope (at the First Baptist Church of Carrollton) for children with disabilities; helping to create the Carroll County Association for Retarded Citizens, for which the couple served as co-presidents for years; and participating in the establishment of its present facility, at which their son is a client. A graduate of what’s now University of West Georgia, she was president of its alumni association for two terms and won awards for service. In her spare time, Estes was a charter member of her area Lioness Club and Art Study Club, sang in her church choir, and co-hosted a canasta club with her husband. Preceded in death by her husband of 52 years and her brother, she passed away on Jan. 17. Survivors include her daughter, son, four grandchildren, and two great-granddaughters.

Leslie Gail Herrmann (San Diego State University), 60, loved her family and friends, animals, work, and God. She spent more than 25 years employed at San Diego State University. Her wide-ranging responsibilities in Academic Affairs and Undergraduate Studies included administrative liaison for the Jane K. Smith Cap and Gown Chapter of the national Mortar Board senior honor society, the San Diego State Alumni Association, and the Henry L. Janssen Honors Council. The past few years she also served as administrative liaison for the San Diego State Phi Kappa Phi chapter; former chapter president Christopher Frost remembered her as an avid participant at workshops and “a key enthusiast of Phi Kappa Phi.” Earlier employment spanned Harrah’s Casino, A&M Records, Blue Shield of California, and Picnic People. Raised in San Diego, Herrmann enjoyed drill team and cheerleading and attended Grossmont College and University of Nevada, Reno. She also liked to read, dance, camp, play sports, spend holidays with her inner circle, and plan parties and reunions. Herrmann died battling cancer on March 25. Survivors include her son, daughter, father, stepmother, two sisters, four nephews, two nieces, three great-nephews, and three great-nieces.

Ronald Linscheid (Kansas State University), 82, a retired orthopedic surgeon, spent his career at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. He began as a resident in 1957; was appointed to the staff in 1962; helped develop the section of hand surgery and the biomechanics laboratory; rose to professor; practiced until 1993; and authored or coauthored more than 300 publications, particularly on the biomechanics of the wrist, kinematics related to the unstable wrist, and the functional anatomy of the hand. Linscheid was a former president of the American Society for Surgery of the Hand and the Association of Bone and Joint Surgeons. The Kansas native earned a bachelor’s degree from Kansas State University and a medical degree from University of Kansas School of Medicine, completed his internship at University of Minnesota Medical School, and served two years in the U.S. Naval Medical Corps. In his spare time, the sports enthusiast golfed, skied, surfed, hiked the Himalayas and played tennis; he also was a pilot. Linscheid died on June 10 of Alzheimer’s disease. Survivors include his wife of 59 years (with whom he raised six children), three daughters, two sons, seven grandchildren, and sister.

Edythe Margolin (California State University, Northridge former chapter president), 90, adored children, from her own to those she studied. Margolin specialized in child development and wrote widely on the topic. She taught at California State University, Northridge; Florida International University; University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA); and University of California, Santa Barbara. Margolin also taught kindergarten for a spell early on. She earned bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees from UCLA after being a stay-at-home mother to raise her son and daughter. Margolin enjoyed dressing fashionably and shopping at the best stores. In retirement, she helped edit the Santa Monica Star, a free monthly community newspaper that her daughter Diane publishes. Margolin loved music boxes, Diane explained in an email, especially “a beautiful, heart-shaped ceramic one decorated with roses and ribbons that has her name and Phi Kappa Phi chapter presidency on it” - and that Diane now cherishes. Preceded in death by her husband of 60 years, Margolin died on June 4, 2011. Besides her children, survivors include three grandchildren and her brother.

Harold S. McNabb, Jr. (Iowa State University former chapter president), 83, taught botany, plant pathology, and forestry at Iowa State University for 47 years until retirement in 2000. He specialized in oak wilt, Dutch elm disease, and poplar trees. McNabb was the faculty advisor to the university’s botany club, an evaluator of area high school biology programs, a supporter of the state high school science fair, and a mentor to undergraduate interns and high school students. It follows that he bred irises as a youth, worked for the U.S. Forest Service summers during high school, and became an Eagle Scout and was a scoutmaster for 25 years. Honors include the George Washington Carver Distinguished Services Award from Iowa State. McNabb lectured widely on Carver, his role model in science, including at the dedication of the Carver Center in Washington, D.C., and at a Carver Birthplace Day celebration. He also served six years on Iowa State’s faculty senate, including as president, and almost a decade as a board member of the Ames Community School District. McNabb additionally was secretary, chief of staff, and parliamentarian for his wife, Margo, during her 11 years as the county Democrat chair. He earned degrees from University of Nebraska (bachelor’s) and Yale University (master’s and doctoral). McNabb died on May 12, 2011. Survivors include his wife of 61 years; they had a son and daughter.

Joye Patterson (University of Missouri-Columbia), 86, helped pioneer the field of science journalism in higher education. She taught the subject for more than three decades at the Missouri School of Journalism, from which she earned master’s and doctoral degrees. During her 1965-98 tenure on campus, Patterson also consulted for the National Science Foundation and the National Library of Medicine. Early interest in science came from her grandfather, a doctor. After earning a bachelor’s degree from University of Texas at Austin, she worked as a high school journalism teacher, medical researcher at University of Tennessee, and public information officer at a hospital before attending graduate school. Patterson published widely, won several honors, and was a founding member of the Science Writers Educators Group within the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication and of the International Society for the Scientific Study of Subjectivity. In her spare time, Patterson was active in her Calvary Episcopal Church, volunteered at the University of Missouri Hospital and Clinics, and held posts at the Columbia Art League. She also enjoyed reading, tai chi, environmentalism, canoeing in the Ozarks, and traveling to Cape Cod. Patterson died on April 16; survivors include her husband of more than 22 years and two stepsons and their families.

Frances Olivia Hill Schmidt (University of Texas at Austin), 66, distinguished herself early and often. She was valedictorian of Wellington (Texas) High School in 1966. Earning math degrees from University of Texas at Austin (bachelor’s) and University of Houston (master’s), Schmidt became a computer programmer for the theory and analysis group at Lockheed Electronics at NASA for a few years and was a member of the Man on the Moon team. An occasional teacher who helped run her father’s farm and cattle, she was the first woman elected to the board of trustees of the Wellington Independent School District and the first president of the Collingsworth Public Library in Wellington. Other community service included board president of the Wellington Ritz Theatre and board secretary of the Cal and Ina Sugg Medical Scholarship Foundation. Schmidt won service awards from the Amarillo Chamber of Commerce and the Amarillo Area Women’s Forum. Preceded in death by her son, brother, and father, she passed away on April 25. Survivors include her husband of more than 42 years, son and daughter-in-law, grandson, granddaughter, and mother.

Alice Skeens (University of Toledo), 75, spent almost five decades at University of Toledo, from teaching at its former community and technical college to serving as founding dean of its College of Languages, Literature and Social Sciences. Other roles: psychology professor, assistant to the president, assistant and associate dean of student affairs in the College of Arts and Sciences, first female chair of the faculty senate, faculty grand marshal at commencement, faculty representative to the NCAA, and chapter advisor of the Alpha Lambda Delta honor society for freshmen women. Thus, she was named “Woman of the Year” by the school’s Catharine S. Eberly Center for Women. And Skeens won the university’s outstanding adviser award. As a young woman, she taught in county schools in her native West Virginia. Skeens earned degrees from what’s now Concord University (bachelor’s in English and social sciences), West Virginia University (master’s in English, counseling and social sciences), and University of Toledo (doctoral in education). Preceded in death by her husband, three sisters, and four brothers, she passed away on Nov. 12, 2011. Survivors include her son and daughter-in-law, three granddaughters, grandson, and sister.

Sandra M. Stokes (University of Wisconsin-Green Bay scholarship/award coordinator), 64, Professor Emerita of Education and Women’s Studies, influenced and trained many future teachers and teacher candidates during her 16-year career at University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. She served as director of clinical experiences in education at the school and was liaison for early childhood education to the College of the Menominee Nation. Stokes also was editor of the Wisconsin State Reading Association Journal from 2004 to 2010. Community outreach tied to her training included working with the Family Literacy Program of Greater Green Bay, serving on the board of Reading Connections, Inc., and being co-president of the Greater Bayland Reading Council. Other civic causes: the Salvation Army, Leadership Green Bay, the League of Women Voters, and Altrusa International. Stokes further was a board member of Guardian Angels of Green Bay. In 2004, she was appointed by Gov. Jim Doyle to the Wisconsin Council on Physical Disabilities. Stokes earlier taught at Kent State University, Youngstown State University, Methodist University, and University of Mount College. She earned degrees from University of Bridgeport (bachelor’s), Fairfield University (master’s), and Kent State (doctoral). Stokes supported the Humane Society and adopted several dogs from the shelter. The daughter of a World War II test pilot, she earned her pilot’s license in 1985 and was a member of the Ninety-Nines international organization of women pilots. Stokes died on March 26 at her home, surrounded by family and friends. Survivors include her father, son, brother and sister-in-law and niece.

The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi