In Memoriam

In This Section:

Publications and Resources

Compiled by Editor Peter Szatmary

David D. Anderson (Michigan State University), 87, won plaudits from literary practitioners and military officials alike. This Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Michigan State University, from which he earned a doctorate in English, was an authority on fellow Ohio native and writer Sherwood Anderson (no relation), editor of numerous scholarly journals, and author of 37 books, hundreds of articles, plus poems, a novel, and a collection of short stories. As a result, the Swedish Academy invited him to nominate candidates for the Nobel Prize in Literature. Other accolades: the Ohioana Career Award from the Ohioana Library Association and honorary doctorates from Wittenberg University and his other alma mater, Bowling Green State University (bachelor’s in English and geology and master’s in English). After graduating high school in 1942, he served in the Amphibious Forces of the Navy, participated in the Anzio Landing, and earned a Silver Star and five battle stars. When his torpedoed ship sunk, Anderson was bestowed a Purple Heart. He also served in the Army during the Korean War. In his youth, Anderson played piccolo in a VFW boys’ band and earned badges to become an Eagle Scout. He spent most of his career at Michigan State in what’s now the Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Culture, retiring in the mid 1990s after nearly four decades there. Anderson was a Fulbright lecturer at University of Karachi, Pakistan, early on. Preceded in death by his wife of 53 years, brother, sister, and nephew, he passed away on Dec. 3, 2011. Survivors include a sister and many nieces and nephews.

Heyman Clarke Duecker (University of Toledo), 82, put his expertise in chemistry to use in numerous ways. He retired as vice president of research and development for W. R. Grace, a supplier of catalysts, engineered and packaging materials, and specialty construction chemicals and building materials. Earlier he worked for RCA electronics, Ford Motor Company, and what’s now the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Duecker also was a professor at Indiana Wesleyan University, which named him a distinguished alumnus. He earned degrees from what’s now Marian University (bachelor’s), University of Toledo (master’s), and University of Maryland (doctoral). Preceded in death by three brothers and a grandson, he passed away on Feb. 23. Survivors include his wife of 62 years, three sons and daughters-in-law, daughter and son-in-law, and two brothers and their families.

Dennis Francis Hasson (United States Naval Academy founding chapter president), 77, taught materials science at the United States Naval Academy from 1973 until retirement in 2000. He served on numerous campus committees, won several commendations including the Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Award, and spearheaded the school’s petition for a Phi Kappa Phi chapter. Hasson conducted extensive research at Navy laboratories, was active in many technical societies, and published regularly in his field. Early in his career, he worked at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, precursor to NASA, in experimental aerodynamics and space vehicles; he also taught at other universities. Hasson earned degrees from The Johns Hopkins University (B.S. in mechanical engineering), Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (M.S. in aerospace engineering) and University of Maryland, College Park (Ph.D. in materials science). He died at his home in Severna Park, Md., on Nov. 15, 2011. Survivors include his wife of 50 years, son and daughter-in-law, two granddaughters, grandson, and another son. “He enjoyed being a member of Phi Kappa Phi for many years,” wrote his widow, Jean.

Robert C. LaLance, Jr. (Middle Tennessee State University), 72, spent some 35 years at Middle Tennessee State University, from which he earned a doctorate. LaLance was vice president for student affairs from 1975 until retirement in 1998. Earlier assignments included instructor and assistant professor in health, physical education and recreation; resident hall director; dean of men; and dean of students. He held numerous regional positions with the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators and won the organization’s award for outstanding performance as a dean. Also receiving degrees from West Virginia University (bachelor’s) and University of Tennessee (master’s), LaLance was affiliated with numerous educational and civic societies and was a ruling elder and choir member of his Presbyterian church. He was an avid tennis player, golfer, and fisherman; in his youth, he was an Eagle Scout and junior state archery camp. LaLance died on Jan. 6, after a long battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Survivors include his wife, two daughters and sons-in-law, son and daughter-in-law, eight grandchildren, brother and sister-and-law, and sister and brother-and-law.

Linda Jones McCoy (Pittsburg State University charter member and former chapter president), 70, devoted herself to pedagogy. Earning degrees from University of Kansas (bachelor’s in elementary education and master’s and doctoral in education), she taught first grade in Lawrence, Kan., and supervised teachers for her alma mater. McCoy then accepted a position at Pittsburg State University College of Education, where she spent the bulk of her career, teaching elementary reading from 1976 until retirement in 2005. Former president of the Kansas Reading Association, McCoy authored several books and numerous articles in such instruction. The Kansas native also served as Sunday school superintendent at her Methodist church. Preceded in death by her sister, she passed away on Nov. 27, 2011; survivors include her husband, two daughters and sons-in-law, son and daughter-in-law, another son, two other daughters, three grandchildren, and two brothers and sisters-in-law.

Jonathan Lawrence Olson (University of Florida), 53, knew how to program and engineer all sorts of things. He served as a satellite communication technician in the Army from 1979 to 1987; then worked 13 years as a software engineer at the Harris Corporation, an international communications and information technology company; and moved to DRS Optronics, a supplier of defense electronic systems, until 2007, before consulting and teaching part-time. He also was employed as a lead software systems engineer by the nonprofit MITRE Corporation, which provides systems engineering, research and development, and information technology to the federal government. Olson earned degrees from Thomas Edison State College (B.S. in electronic engineering technology), Excelsior College (B.S. in computer information systems) and Webster University (M.S. in computer science/distributed systems) and was posthumously awarded a Ph.D. in business administration from Northcentral University. In his spare time, he enjoyed piloting planes; as a youth, he was part of a Christian singing group and a state champion wrestler in high school and drama club devotee. Olson died on Jan. 31, after an eight-month battle with cancer, at his home in Palm Bay, Fla., surrounded by family. Survivors include his wife of 32 years, son and daughter-in-law, daughter and son-in-law, four grandsons, and sister.

Edward Paul Palmer (University of Utah), 85, cherished physics, Mormonism and family. Earning undergraduate and doctoral degrees in physics from University of Utah, he directed a high velocity lab at Ramo-Wooldridge Corp. in Los Angeles, Calif., and was a professor at his alma mater, a vice president at Utah Research and Development Corp., and a professor at Brigham Young University before retiring in 1991. Palmer married at the St. George Utah Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Utah native and Navy veteran, who served two years during World War II, died on Dec. 2, 2011. Survivors include his wife of 61 years, 11 children, 51 grandchildren and 43 great-grandchildren. 

Matilda “Toni” Perry (University of Nevada, Las Vegas) upheld the law and served her family. She was an attorney in the California State University Office of General Counsel and then a deputy counsel for the County of Orange; later, in private practice, Perry specialized in public finance law and municipal bonds. She earned a bachelor’s degree from University of Nevada, Las Vegas, while working full-time and raising her children; Perry received a law degree from University of California, Berkeley. She died on Nov. 24, 2011, at her home in Huntington Beach, Calif. Survivors include her husband, four daughters, two sons, 12 grandchildren, and 16 great-grandchildren.

Charles E. Shaw (University of Connecticut), 85, educated minds and guided souls. The Bridgeport, Conn., native was ordained to the priesthood on May 3, 1951, at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Hartford. He became principal of the elementary school for the St. Francis of Assisi parish in Naugatuck and then principal of the Immaculate Conception parish primary school in Hartford. Shaw later served as assistant to the superintendent of schools for the Archdiocese of Hartford. In 1961, he was appointed founding principal of East Catholic High School in Manchester, serving until 1970 (and writing the school’s song). Shaw also worked as a counselor and academic dean at Saint Joseph College and as director of guidance counseling at the former St. Thomas Aquinas High School in New Britain until retirement in 1988. He held leadership roles with Connecticut’s board of higher education. Awards include being named the outstanding independent school counselor by the New England Association for College Admission Counseling. Shaw was educated at St. Thomas Seminary, St. Mary’s Seminary & University, Fairfield University (master’s in administration), Central Connecticut State University (master’s in counseling), and University of Connecticut (doctorate in administration). Preceded in death by two sisters, he passed away on Nov. 18, 2011. Survivors include nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Carolyn Thompson (University of North Carolina at Charlotte), 66, made such an impact on academic and medical communities that she was named one of 10 women to receive an “UnBought & UnBossed” award for 2012 from Girls Inc. of Chattanooga, Tenn., for improving the lives of their gender. At her death on March 2 from myelofibrosis, she was the first lady of University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC), at which her husband, Roger Brown (Phi Kappa Phi member from the same chapter) is chancellor. Other survivors include a daughter and son and daughter-in-law. Earlier she served as the founding dean of the Honors College at University of North Carolina at Pembroke, chaired the social work department at Mars Hill College, and established the master of health administration degree program at University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Thompson also directed social work training at the Kennedy Krieger Institute for children and adolescents with pediatric developmental disabilities and disorders of the brain, spinal cord and musculoskeletal system; she further was a medical social worker at the UCLA Medical Center. The native of Worcester, Mass., earned degrees from Emmanuel College (B.A.), Saint Louis University (M.S.W.) and The Johns Hopkins University (Ph.D.) Thompson volunteered with her local Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure against breast cancer; consulted for and served on the boards of numerous civic, cultural and humanitarian organizations in Chattanooga; and co-chaired UTC’s 125th anniversary celebration.

Shanitha Bru’Shonda “NeNe” Williams (University of Texas at Arlington), 35, made the honor roll from elementary school through college. She was vice president of her senior class at Mexia (Texas) High School and homecoming queen the prior year. Extracurricular activities spanned sports (track and basketball), cheerleading, and the band. Inevitably, Williams was voted most popular student. She earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from University of Texas at Arlington. Preceded in death by an older brother, Williams passed away on Feb. 26, at a hospital among family and friends. Survivors include her parents, brother, sister and brother-in-law, and numerous nieces. An obituary concluded that besides her family, “most of all, she loved God.”

The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi