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In Memoriam | Winter 2015

In Memoriam: 1940s

Notices sorted by graduation date

Leroy Cooper Jr. (Com ’40 L/M) of Los Angeles died July 25, 2015. At the University, he was a member of the track and field, swimming and diving, football and boxing teams and a member of Chi Phi fraternity, P.K. Society and Skull and Keys. After serving in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, he began working at Wright Aeronautical Corp. in Paterson, New Jersey, but left to serve in the U.S. Navy as a naval aviator and flight instructor during World War II. After the war, he returned to Wright to work as an engineering test pilot. Mr. Cooper continued his aviation career at Douglas Aircraft in Santa Monica, California, and Lockheed Martin in the Los Angeles area, traveling often to South America, Europe and Asia for work. In 1976 he co-founded Cammacorp, an aircraft management company that worked to re-engine and recertify McDonnell Douglas DC-8 Series 60 airplanes to comply with governmental noise regulations and improve fuel economy. The company oversaw the retrofitting of 110 aircraft. Mr. Cooper was a member of the Quiet Birdmen and the Society of Experimental Test Pilots. He loved to play tennis, paddle tennis and golf, was past president of the Beach Club in Santa Monica and was a member of the Los Angeles Country Club. Survivors include a son, three grandchildren, two great-grandchildren and a brother, Carroll Cooper (Col ’48 L/M).

William G. Halsey (Arch ’40) of Basking Ridge, New Jersey, died July 17, 2015. At the University, he was a member of Sigma Chi fraternity. He designed warships for Gibbs & Cox Inc. during World War II, and in the 1950s opened an architecture firm that would later become Halsey & Ryder Architects. Mr. Halsey, who retired at age 92, designed numerous houses, churches and other buildings in his many years as an architect. He was active in his community, serving on both the education and planning boards for Bernards Township, New Jersey, and on the Peapack and Gladstone Historic Preservation Commission. An avid golfer and founding member of the Mendham Golf and Tennis Club, he was also a skilled gardener and woodworker who enjoyed playing competitive croquet with his family. Survivors include four daughters, a son, 10 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

Eugene Mackall Childs (Engr ’41) of Annapolis, Maryland, died Aug. 5, 2015. He served in the U.S. Army Air Forces Reserve during World War II. At the University, he was a member of the boxing team, Sigma Chi fraternity and the Aviation Club as well as the Cavalier Daily and Virginia Engineering Review staffs. He was chief judge of Maryland’s 5th Judicial Circuit, which encompasses the circuit courts of Anne Arundel, Carroll and Howard counties. He began his career not in law but as a maintenance engineer with Pan American World Airways/Panair do Brasil and later worked as a senior aeronautical engineer at LaGuardia Field (now LaGuardia Airport) in New York City. During this time, he helped design the first around-the-world commercial flight. After attending law school, Judge Childs served for one year as assistant to the vice president and general counsel of the Western Maryland Railway before establishing a private law practice in Annapolis. In July 1965, he was appointed circuit judge for Anne Arundel, Howard and Carroll counties, a position he held for 16 years. Judge Childs was a member of the American Bar Association, served as president of the Anne Arundel County Bar Association and the Southern Maryland Society, and was very active in his church community as a vestryman and warden. He was also the oldest standing member of the South River Club. He loved hunting, fishing, boat building, boating, woodworking, flying and traveling the world with his wife. Survivors include his wife; a daughter; two sons, Walter S. Childs (Col ’68 L/M) and Eugene M. Childs Jr. (Col ’74, Darden ’80 L/M); seven grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

Francis H. Fife (Col ’41 L/M) of Charlottesville died Oct. 16, 2015. He served in the military during World War II. He was a longtime community servant and activist who served on numerous city commissions and committees and on the boards of many local nonprofit organizations. Mr. Fife sat eight years on the Charlottesville City Council, including two years as mayor, from 1972 to 1974. During his time as mayor, the council voted to create the Downtown Mall, seen as a risky proposition at the time, and Mr. Fife abstained from the vote because he was vice president at Peoples Bank, now the Bank of America downtown. Early in his public service career, he served on the Mayor’s Commission for Housing and went on to work for many years to establish affordable and safe public housing in Charlottesville. He started the Charlottesville Housing Foundation, which became Piedmont Housing Alliance, and served on the city’s Housing Advisory Committee, which pushed for several public housing sites to better integrate communities. He co-founded and served as president of the Rivanna Trails Foundation, a private effort to create a trail system circling the city; he helped create and maintain the trails and negotiated with landowners for rights of way. He also helped establish the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority and the Thomas Jefferson Planning District, and supported many local programs such as Camp Holiday Trails, the Charlottesville Free Clinic and the Albemarle Housing Improvement Program. Mr. Fife received many honors throughout his life, including the 2002 Drewary J. Brown Award from Charlottesville’s Democratic Party in recognition of his community service. He was known as an idealist who could keep the pragmatists’ feet to the fire, a man who had a way of finding gentle and kind humor in many aspects of life. He enjoyed laughing and working together with his wife on various projects. Survivors include his wife, Nancy O’Brien (Grad ’86); three children, Millie Hill Fife (Col ’93), Richard H. Fife (Col ’75) and James D. Fife (Col ’78); three grandchildren; four stepchildren, including Kara O’Brien Cox (Col ’89 L/M) and Craig W. O’Brien (Grad ’04); three stepgrandchildren; and many extended family members.

George A. Beck (Col ’43 L/M) of Wexford, Pennsylvania, and Bay Harbor Islands, Florida, died March 20, 2015. He served in the U.S. Navy. At the University, he was a member of the Drama Club, Skull and Keys, Virginia Players, the Cavalier Daily staff, Pi Lambda Phi fraternity and Inter-Fraternity Council. As an alumnus, he served on the Fraternity Alumni Council, working to remove sectarian barriers among and within fraternities and desegregate the University’s fraternity system in the late 1960s. Mr. Beck was executive director of Pi Lambda Phi International Fraternity for 26 years, setting the example that being a member of the fraternity is “not four years, but a lifetime.” He also served as executive secretary, executive vice president and as a trustee for the Pi Lambda Phi Educational Foundation and its predecessor, the Pi Lambda Phi Endowment Fund. Mr. Beck loved attending Virginia Cavaliers football games with his wife and chapter brothers at Scott Stadium. Survivors include his wife, a daughter and a son.

Josephine M. Via Parkinson (Nurs ’46) of White Oak, Pennsylvania, died May 13, 2015. She worked as a nurse for various nursing homes and was very active in her church community. Survivors include two daughters, two sons, 12 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.

Martin J. Votaw Sr. (Engr ’46 L/M) of McLean, Virginia, and Santa Barbara, California, died Aug. 6, 2015. At the University, he was a member of the Glee Club. Mr. Votaw was a communications satellite scientist who began his career in 1946 as a U.S. Naval Research Laboratory scientist. While at the NRL, he was on the design team for the Vanguard satellite and received the Distinguished Civilian Service Award for his successful direction of satellite designs and development of satellite techniques with the Galactic Radiation and Background (GRAB) and LOFTI 1 satellites. In 1963, he joined the newly formed Communications Satellite Corp. (COMSAT), where he helped design and launch the first global communications satellite system. He oversaw production of COMSAT satellites in California during the late 1960s and early 1970s, and later worked with Satellite Business Systems and International Maritime Satellites, from which he retired in London in 1983. Survivors include a daughter, Janet L. Votaw (Engr ’81 L/M), and a son, Martin J. Votaw Jr. (Engr ’80).

Robert P. Craig (Col ’47, Law ’48) of Winter Haven, Florida, died Aug. 21, 2015. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II. At the University, he was a member of the swimming and diving team and Delta Upsilon fraternity. Mr. Craig worked in the title insurance business in St. Petersburg, Florida, where he also served on the economic council and the planning commission. He was past president of Florida Land Title Association and was elected Title Man of the Year. He loved playing golf and building ship models. Survivors include his wife, two daughters, six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

Edward Morgan III (Engr ’48 L/M) of Williamsburg, Virginia, died July 25, 2015. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. At the University, he lived on the Lawn and, in addition to serving as a student instructor in applied mechanics, was a member of Theta Chi fraternity and Tau Beta Pi engineering honor society. He worked in rayon research for DuPont before becoming an Episcopal priest. The Rev. Morgan served in various capacities for a number of parishes throughout Virginia, and was parish rector and professor of pastoral theology and director of field education at the Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria. He was also a skilled photographer and vigorous tennis player. Survivors include his wife, three daughters, a son, five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.