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In Memoriam | Winter 2013

In Memoriam: 1950s

Notices sorted by graduation date

Constance “Connie” Cooke Dixon (Nurs ’50) of Dallas died Sept. 1, 2013. She worked as a registered nurse prior to devoting herself to full-time work as a mother and grandmother. She was active in many organizations, including the Philanthropic Educational Organization, the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the United Daughters of the Confederacy, and was a charter member of the House of Burgesses chapter of the National Society of the Colonial Dames XVII Century. Survivors include two daughters, Laurie Dixon Morgan (Col ’84 L/M) and Lynn Dixon Van Dermark (Nurs ’87 L/M); two sons, including Ernest M. “Dick” Dixon Jr. (Col ’73 L/M); 12 grandchildren, including Christopher B. Dixon (Col ’00, Darden ’10 L/M) and Susie E. Dixon (Educ ’14 L/M); and two great-grandchildren.

Hunter R. Pettus Jr. (Col ’50) of Richmond, Va., died Sept. 5, 2013. He served in the U.S. Army. At the University, he lived on the Lawn and was a member of Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. Mr. Pettus worked in the tobacco trade for 10 years, first at W.A. Adams and Universal Leaf in Oxford, N.C., and then for Leon L. Strause Co. in Richmond. He eventually joined Richmond’s Davenport & Co. as a stockbroker, where he served as an officer and a director until his retirement in 2006. Mr. Pettus was an excellent listener who took a genuine interest in the lives of his family members, friends and co-workers. Survivors include his wife; four sons, including Richard E. Pettus (Com ’79 L/M); and five grandchildren.

George William Sessoms (Col ’50, Med ’54, Res ’70) of Lynchburg, Va., died Aug. 15, 2013. He served in the Army Air Forces during World War II. He practiced family medicine in Shenandoah, Va., until 1968, when he moved to Charlottesville for a two-year anesthesiology residency at U.Va. Dr. Sessoms then practiced anesthesiology in Lynchburg until his retirement in 1983. Survivors include three daughters, including Ann Heriot Sessoms (Grad ’74) and Margaret Carol Sessoms Zdziarski (Nurs ’70); two sons, including William Kenneth Sessoms (Col ’77, Darden ’81 L/M); four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

Samuel N. Whitacre (Col ’50, Med ’53 L/M) of Fredericksburg, Va., died Dec. 21, 2012. He served in the U.S. Army during World War II. Dr. Whitacre began his medical practice in 1956 after completing his residency at the Medical College of Virginia, and in 1970, he and Dr. Gary Wake opened Amherst Family Practice, where Dr. Whitacre practiced until retiring in 1991. In 1976, he was appointed an assistant clinical professor at the University of Virginia, where he trained nurse practitioners. Dr. Whitacre was a member of the Winchester Memorial Hospital medical staff throughout his career, during which he served on a number of boards and participated in many local organizations, among them the Lord Fairfax Community College board, the Clearbrook Fire Co. and the Stonewall Ruritan Club. Dr. Whitacre, who was very active in 4-H and Future Farmers of America throughout his youth, was a country boy at heart. He was happiest on his tractor, in his workshop and tending to cattle in the fields of his Clearbrook farm. He also loved traveling around the U.S. and abroad with his family. Survivors include his wife, JoAnn Van Valkenburgh Whitacre (Nurs ’51); three daughters, including Kay Whitacre Pommerening (Darden ’86); two sons and 12 grandchildren.

Margaret Gordon Seiler (Law ’51) of Richmond, Va., died July 6, 2013. She served in the Women’s Army Corps during World War II. At the University, Ms. Seiler was the first woman to serve on the editorial board of the Virginia Law Review. She began her law career in the Washington, D.C., office of Cleary Gottleib and retired as an associate at McGuire Woods in Richmond. In the mid-1960s, Ms. Seiler and her family lived in the Philippines, where she taught English at the American School in Manila. In New Jersey in the 1970s, she served as legal counsel to the New Jersey Commission on Children and Youth and was an editor at Prentice Hall legal publishers. Survivors include her husband; two daughters; a son, Robert S. “Robin” Seiler Jr. (Col ’77); and four grandchildren.

P. Craig Smith (Col ’52) of Chicago died Oct. 12, 2013. At the University, he was a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity. Mr. Smith served as a Russian language specialist in the U.S. Army from 1954 to 1958. He taught Russian and European history, first at the University of Illinois at Navy Pier from 1963 to 1967, and later at Northeastern Illinois University from 1968 until his retirement in 1999. Mr. Smith loved opera and classical music and was a voracious reader of history, biographies and newspapers. He had a wonderful sense of humor. Survivors include his wife, two daughters, a son and four grandchildren.

Robert W. Trever (Med ’53) of Easton, Md., died Sept. 11, 2013. He served in the U.S. Army. Dr. Trever began his medical practice in Easton in 1958, treating many area families until his retirement in 2004. In his early years as a doctor, his research findings appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine and other publications. A doctor who took pride in his everyday work with patients at his office and area care facilities, he was honored for his many contributions to expanding the quality of care at Easton Memorial Hospital, now Shore Health. In his spare time, Dr. Trever coached the Easton Little League Rotary baseball team and the Falcons Pony League football team, and was an avid Baltimore Orioles fan. He enjoyed birding, photography, archaeology, botany and ecology and loved telling stories about growing up in Washington, D.C. Survivors include his wife, seven children and six grandchildren.

Robert Lincoln Dean (Engr ’54 L/M) of Sugar Land, Texas, died Aug. 1, 2013. At the University, he was a member of the Raven Society, Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity and the Army ROTC. After graduation, he served in the U.S. Army Signal Corps at Fort Huachuca, Ariz. Mr. Dean worked in the petrochemical industry as a chemical engineer. Throughout his career, he worked for a number of companies, including Esso Research and Engineering Co., Witco Corp., SMC McEver Inc. and Schenectady International Inc. In 1975, he received his Professional Engineer license, becoming a member of the Texas Society of Professional Engineers. He later served as a member of the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying and assisted in exam preparation. He also volunteered with the East Fort Bend Human Needs Ministry for many years. Mr. Dean enjoyed traveling, bowling and spending time with his family and pets. Survivors include his wife, three daughters and nine grandchildren.

Maxie D. Mason (Educ ’54) of Richmond, Va., died Aug. 7, 2013. He served in the U.S. Army Intelligence Corps in Washington, D.C. Mr. Mason began working as an artist and art director at Cabell Eanes Advertising Agency in Richmond and continued his career with the Richmond Newspapers, where he was creative services manager and then promotion director until his retirement in 1992. He was active in many organizations, serving as a board member of the Richmond Advertising Club and as president of the International Newspaper Marketing Association, among others. He enjoyed playing golf with friends and watching his only grandson play baseball. Survivors include two sons and two grandchildren.

Charles Edwin Hess (Col ’55, Med ’59, Res ’67, ’69) of Virginia Beach died Aug. 19, 2013. He practiced general medicine with his brother in Grundy, Va., before taking a position as an instructor of physiology at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, where he taught until his retirement in 2011. Throughout his career, Dr. Hess co-authored more than 50 medical textbooks and journal articles and held a number of faculty positions, becoming a professor of medicine in the hematology-oncology division in 1980. His passion was teaching, and he was renowned among his colleagues for his ability to read blood and bone marrow slides and produce clinical diagnoses to guide patient treatment. Survivors include a son, two grandchildren, two sisters and two brothers. Memorial gifts may be made to the U.Va. Medical School Foundation, P.O. Box 800776, Charlottesville, VA 22908.

Roland E. Ost Jr. (Col ’55) of Fayetteville, Pa., died March 12, 2013. He served in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War and after, retiring with the rank of major in 1975. At the University, he was a member of Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity, the Jefferson Literary and Debating Society, the Air Force ROTC, the Cavalier Daily staff, the Arnold Air Society, the German Club and the Student Union and served as treasurer of the YMCA. During his career in the Air Force, Mr. Ost flew as a navigator in many different aircraft. He was one of the first men selected to fly the B-58 Hustler bomber, which flew at twice the speed of sound. After retiring from the Air Force, Mr. Ost picked apples and worked in a bakery before working for the U.S. Postal Service in Frederick, Md. He and his wife founded the Christian Coalition in Franklin County, Pa., and Mr. Ost worked for a number of years as a committee chairman in Franklin County, helping to build up local voter registration. He was an avid Civil War and World War II buff. Survivors include his wife, a daughter, two sons and five grandchildren.

B. Tucker “Tuck” White Jr. (Col ’55 L/M) of Winchester, Va., died July 27, 2013. He served in the U.S. Navy and in the U.S. Naval Reserve for 16 years. At the University, he co-captained the soccer team and was a member of the baseball team, Alpha Tau Omega fraternity, the V Club and the P.K. Society. He taught 10th-grade English and established the soccer program at St. Stephen’s School in Alexandria, Va., before beginning his career as a banker and finance officer. Mr. White worked for several banks on the East Coast, including Mount Vernon National Bank & Trust Co. in Fairfax, Va.; the United States Trust Co. of New York and Palmer Bank in Sarasota, Fla. He also served as executive vice president of the Shenandoah Valley National Bank in Winchester, Va. He founded Action Mortgage, where he worked until 2008, when he took a position in commercial real estate with Sperry Van Ness. Active in civic affairs, Mr. White served as special events chairman and director of the Winchester and Frederick County unit of the American Cancer Society and was commissioner of the Winchester youth soccer league. An ardent golfer and avid tennis player, he was the director, treasurer and former president of the Winchester Golf Club. Survivors include his wife, a daughter, two sons, three stepchildren, 12 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

James W. McCampbell (Arch ’56) of Sarasota, Fla., died July 23, 2013. He worked for the Tennessee Valley Authority and relocated to Sarasota on retirement. His interests included photography, hand-crafting guitars, painting, sculpture and carpentry. Mr. McCampbell was a charter member of the Knoxville/Oak Ridge Classical Guitar Society. Survivors include two children and three grandchildren.

John Barbour Orgain III (Engr ’56) of Richmond, Va., died Oct. 13, 2013. He served in the U.S. Navy. At the University, Mr. Orgain was a member of the Corks & Curls staff, Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity, Eli Banana and the Inter-Fraternity Council. Mr. Orgain was an engineer. Survivors include his wife, two sons and a granddaughter.

Robert Simmons Youry (Law ’56) of Morristown, N.J.; and Quogue, N.Y., died Aug. 6, 2013. He served in the U.S. Air Force. After working as an attorney specializing in trust and estate corporate practice with Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft, he worked for 32 years as an investment broker for Kidder Peabody & Co. in New York City. Mr. Youry had a deep love for his family, wildlife preservation, Dixieland jazz and summer in Quogue. He traveled around the world through his life, collecting friends and stories, and was often the last person to leave a party. Survivors include his wife and two daughters, including Sabrina Youry (Col ’97).

Joseph Sessions Keenan (Grad ’57) of Murfreesboro, Tenn., died June 30, 2013. He served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War and in the Army Reserve. Mr. Keenan was an actor and speech pathologist. He began his acting career in New York City before moving to Richmond, Va., where he and his wife performed in the first production at The Virginia Museum Theater. They later lived in Winston Salem, N.C., where the couple helped establish the Haynes Theater. Mr. Keenan’s speech pathology career began with the VA Hospital in Atlanta, where he and his family lived for 10 years. There, he received the Helen Cartledge Award for Best Actor, playing the role of Sir Thomas More in A Man for All Seasons. He wrote numerous short stories, published several books and was an accomplished guitarist who played and sang for social groups and nursing homes. In 1972, Mr. Keenan established an audiology and speech pathology clinic at the VA Hospital in Murfreesboro, where he served as chief until his retirement in 1988. He returned to professional acting in 1992, appearing in numerous roles at the Tennessee Repertory Theatre and the Nashville Shakespeare Festival. Survivors include his wife, three children and three grandchildren.

Ward John Campbell (Com ’58 L/M) of Richmond, Va., died Aug. 15, 2013. He served in the U.S. Army. Mr. Campbell was a career employee of Bell Telephone and Verizon and was an active member of his local Rotary Club. He was a caring friend who could whistle a symphony, recite rhymes with lightning speed and loved a good joke. Survivors include his wife; a daughter, Susan Campbell Kendall (Col ’85 L/M); a son; and two grandchildren.

James K. “Jim” Candler (Col ’58 L/M) of Lynchburg, Va., died Sept. 17, 2013. At the University, he served on the Student Council, was a member of the football and rowing teams, Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, T.I.L.K.A., Skull and Keys, the Z Society and the Raven Society. In 1968, after 10 years of employment with Exxon Co., USA, Mr. Candler established Candler Oil Co. in Lynchburg, Va., where he was a community-oriented businessman for more than 40 years. In 1999, the Virginia Petroleum, Convenience and Grocery Association named him Virginia Oil Man of the Year. Mr. Candler served on the boards of many local organizations, including the boards of Amazement Square, the Rightmire Children’s Museum in Lynchburg; Centra Health Inc., formerly the Virginia Baptist Hospital, from 1978 to 2010; and the Lynchburg City School Board from 1991 to 2010. He was a member of the Board of Managers of the U.Va. Alumni Association from 1986 to 1992, serving as board president from 1989 to 1990, and was chairman of the Jefferson Scholars advisory committee from 1987 to 1989 and a member of the Virginia Student Aid Foundation board for seven years. He was a U.Va. Reunions volunteer and a member of the athletics advisory council and the Virginia Athletics Foundation board of trustees. He also served on the executive committee of the Campaign for the University of Virginia in the 1990s. For his dedication to the University, Mr. Candler received the Raven Society’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 1992. Survivors include his brother, two children, three stepchildren and seven grandchildren.

Charles L. Saunders Jr. (Law ’58) of Corrales, N.M., died Aug. 20, 2013. He served in the U.S. Army. At the University, Mr. Saunders served as editor in chief of the Virginia Law Review. Mr. Saunders practiced tax law in Washington, D.C., and taught his specialty at the University of Georgia and at the University of Virginia School of Law. He also served as deputy chief counsel at the Internal Revenue Service during the Nixon and Ford administrations. After moving to Albuquerque, Mr. Saunders maintained a private tax law practice until his retirement. Survivors include his wife; a son; a daughter, Sarah Saunders Kish (Law ’93); and three grandchildren.

John “Jack” Marshall Dunnavant Jr. (Educ ’59, ’69 L/M) of Charlotte Court House, Va., and Richmond, Va., died Aug. 23, 2013. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. Splitting time as a farmer and educator, Mr. Dunnavant was a well-respected teacher and school administrator who encouraged his students to seek a challenging curriculum and to live life with both purpose and direction. After his retirement, he returned to farming at both the family farm in Charlotte Court House and his acreage in Richmond. Noted for his personal garden replete with tomatoes, butter beans, corn and sweet potatoes, Mr. Dunnavant had a knack for luring friends, neighbors and family to work the land with him. Survivors include two daughters, including Christie Dunnavant Reed (Educ ’98); and five grandchildren.