John V. Tunney
June 26, 1934–January 12, 2018
U.S. Senator inspired film The Candidate
John V. Tunney (Law ’59 L/M), a former U.S. senator whose election served as the inspiration for a Robert Redford film, died Jan. 12, 2018. He was 83.
The son of boxer Gene Tunney, John Tunney grew up in Connecticut and attended Yale University before earning his law degree from UVA, where he was roommates with his future colleague and longtime friend, Edward “Ted” Kennedy (Law ’59). Together, the two won the William Minor Lile Moot Court Competition in 1959.
Tunney, a Democrat, represented California in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1965-1970 before launching a successful Senate campaign in 1970 at the age of 36. He was, by many accounts, a successful junior senator, writing 38 passed measures, including the Noise Pollution Control Act of 1972 and the 1975 expansion of the Voting Rights Act.
“I always thought he was underrated as a senator,” former California Rep. Jane Harman told the Los Angeles Times. “I'd like to compare his record to [that of] any other first-term senator.”
Tunney’s Senate victory also served as the basis of the 1972 movie The Candidate.
The 1976 elections brought surprises, though, as Tunney’s liberal base eroded and activist Tom Hayden challenged him in the primary on his stance on the Vietnam War and his ties to the Kennedy family and other elites. Tunney ultimately lost in the general election to former college president S. I. Hayakawa due to “turbulent times, his own miscalculations and the unpredictability of the Golden State,” according to his obituary in The New York Times.
“When you get into public life, you’ve got to be prepared to take your knocks,” Tunney told the Los Angeles Times at the time. Still, he was proud of his time in Congress.
“We did get a lot done, and I think that's why so many people in Washington were quite stunned that I was defeated,” he said then.
After his time in public life, he practiced law with the firm then known as Manatt, Phelps, Rothenberg & Tunney and remained active in the community. In retirement, he split his time among California, Idaho and New York.
Survivors include his wife, Kathinka Osborne Tunney; four children; two stepchildren; three grandsons; and a brother.
Priscilla Reiners Zboray (Nurs ’50) of Longview, Texas, died Sept. 14, 2017. She established one of the first oncology units in the metropolitan area while working at Northern Virginia Doctors Hospital in Arlington, Virginia. She loved music and was active in choral groups and handbell choirs. She is survived by her husband, Bob; a brother; and a sister.
William A. “Skip” Forrest Jr. (Col ’51, Law ’56 L/M) of Richmond, Virginia, died Nov. 27, 2017. He served in the U.S. Army. At the University, he was a member of numerous organizations and honor societies, including Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity, the Cavalier Daily, the Raven Society, Skull and Keys and Omicron Delta Kappa. In law school, he represented the University at the 1955 National Moot Court Competition. He was a partner at McGuire, Woods & Battle and served in several positions, including vice president and general counsel, at A. H. Robins before working at Sands Anderson until retirement. As president of the Alumni Association Board of Managers from 1978-1979, he assessed and then recommended what is now the Jefferson Scholars Program. Mr. Forrest was active in his community. A member of the Richmond First Club, he served and led many organizations and boards, including the Senior Center, the YMCA Camp Weyanoke, Virginia Land Conservation, VCU Health System, Capital Savings and Loan Association, Virginia National Bank, St. Catherine’s School and the Country Club of Virginia. He was also president of the Richmond Tennis Patrons Association. He was an active member of the Republican Party but enjoyed relationships that crossed party lines. Mr. Forrest was known as a wonderful friend and listener, often with a “sundown” drink of his favorite bourbon. He loved UVA sports, and he was an avid bird hunter with his son, Alex, and his Brittany spaniels. He was thrilled to add two of his grandsons to these occasions in his last years. Survivors include his son, four grandsons, a sister, and two nephews.
Unis S. “Jack” Rinaca Jr. (Col ’51) of Shenandoah, Virginia, died Dec. 28, 2017. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He was wounded in action in the South Pacific and received a Purple Heart. At the University, he was a member of Trigon Engineering Society. After graduation, he joined Merck & Co. in Elkton, Virginia, where he worked until his retirement in 1986. Mr. Rinaca was active in the Shenandoah Valley community, where he lived his entire life, and was a member of many organizations, including the Shenandoah Lions Club, the Shenandoah Heritage Association, the Shenandoah Industrial Development Authority and the Page Valley Economic Development Council. He also served on the Shenandoah Town Council and as mayor. He spent time on the Page Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees and the Page County School Board, and he served many years on the boards of both the Rockingham Library Association and the Shenandoah Community Library. He loved gardening and canning, and he enjoyed hunting every fall. He also enjoyed spending time at his vacation home on the Potomac in Westmoreland County, Virginia. Survivors include his wife, Billie Ann; three children; two granddaughters; and a brother, Edward Rinaca (Engr ’59 L/M).
Dana L. “Tommy” Thomason (Educ ’51 L/M) of Colonial Heights, Virginia, died Nov. 26, 2017. He served with the U.S. Marine Corps in the Pacific during World War II and, after graduating from the University, was a colonel in the U.S. Army in Korea. At UVA, he was a member of ROTC, the UVA band, the cross country team, the V Club and the Jefferson Sabres Society. Called to active duty during the Korean War, he served 22 consecutive years in the Army with more than 11 years of overseas service in Germany, Korea, Vietnam and the Philippines, in addition to stateside assignments. He received many military decorations including the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, two Meritorious Service Medals, two Army Commendation Medals and the Vietnamese Medal of Honor and Cross of Gallantry. He is survived by his wife, Lorene; a daughter; a granddaughter; a grandson; three great-grandchildren; and a brother, Barry V. Thomason (Col ’54).
David Wakelee (Col ’51) of Southbury, Connecticut, died Jan. 7, 2018.
Robert C. Raynor (Col ’52, Med ’56 L/M) of Afton, Virginia, died Dec. 27, 2017. He maintained a family medical practice in Afton for more than 50 years, making house calls and delivering babies. He was also on the faculty of the UVA Medical School. He served on the Nelson County Planning Commission when Wintergreen Resort was initially approved, on the Nelson County School Board, as the Nelson County Medical Examiner, and as a founding director of Peoples Bank of Nelson. He served as the medical director for Lovingston Health Care and Shenandoah Nursing Home for two years beyond his retirement. Survivors include his wife, Shirley; a sister; four children; one step-daughter; nine grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.
John “Jack” Newton Faris (Com ’54 L/M) of Amherst, Virginia, died Jan. 16, 2018. At the University, he was a member of the Jefferson Sabres Society and ROTC. He served in the U.S. Army during the European occupation after World War II and earned the rank of captain. He went on to work for State Farm Insurance as a claims adjuster for 40 years. He was a lifelong UVA fan and a member of the UVA Student Aid Foundation and the Alumni Association. Survivors include his wife, Judy; a daughter; four grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.
Richard D. Marks Jr. (Col ’54, Med ’58, Res ’72 L/M) of Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina, died Nov. 16, 2017. He served as a physician in the U.S. Army and practiced family medicine in Scottsville, Virginia, before returning to UVA for a second residency in radiation oncology. In 1972, he moved to South Carolina, where he practiced medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina and Trident Hospital in Charleston. Dr. Marks was a great fan of all UVA sports and especially loved attending football, basketball and baseball games in Charlottesville. Survivors include his wife, Patricia Boggs Marks; three children, including Anne Marks Jones (Col ’90); six grandchildren, including Jonathan Williams (Col ’09); and a great-granddaughter.
Thomas O’Driscoll Hunter (Col ’55 L/M) of Rowayton, Connecticut, died Dec. 27, 2017. He served as a captain in the U.S. Marine Corps. At the University, where he majored in art, he co-captained the men’s soccer team and was a member of Eli Banana, Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity and Corks & Curls. In the late 1950s, he embarked on a career as an actor, which led to a 10-year residence in Italy and a number of starring roles in “spaghetti westerns” and other movies shot around the world. In Rome, he formed his own theater company and co-wrote the screenplays for the films The Human Factor and The Final Countdown. Upon returning to the U.S., he wrote and directed plays, ran theater workshops, and published a novel, Softly Walks the Beast and an autobiography, Memoirs of a Spaghetti Cowboy: Oddball Tales of Luck and Derring-Do. Mr. Hunter was an avid tennis player, cartoonist, storyteller and, as a longtime member of the Screen Actors Guild, film lover. He wrote songs, poetry and published op-eds and film reviews. He also designed an energy-efficient home for his family. His daughter, Georgia, followed in his footsteps as a writer and is dedicating the book tour for her novel, We Were the Lucky Ones, to his memory. Mr. Hunter was known for his kindness, humor, imagination and love. Survivors include his wife Isabelle; two daughters, including Georgia Hunter Farinholt (Col ’00 L/M); a sister; and three grandsons.
Walter Gilmore Ranson (Engr ’56 L/M) of Florence, South Carolina, died Dec. 18, 2017. After attending the University of Richmond for two years, he served two years in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Korean War. The oldest of four boys from Buckingham County, Virginia, he earned his civil engineering degree from the University on the G.I. Bill. Beginning in 1956, he worked in the construction division of E.I. du Pont de Nemours Co. in Wilmington, Delaware, for 31 years. He was assigned to sites in Northern Ireland, Luxembourg and Germany and, after a promotion to project manager, worked on sites in Tennessee and South Carolina for the last 19 years of his career. He and his wife spent retirement in Florence, where he was active in civic and community affairs. He was an enthusiastic follower of UVA basketball and football and cherished lasting friendships from his days at the University. Survivors include his wife, Betty Mothershead Ranson (Nurs ’54); one brother; three sons, including Walter A. Ranson (Col ’81) and Carlton S. Ranson (Col ’87 L/M); and two grandchildren.
Charles H. “Pete” Peterson Jr. (Med ’56, Fellow ’63 L/M) of Roanoke, Virginia, died Jan. 3, 2018. He attended medical school at the University after graduating from Hampden-Sydney College, and he returned after his residency for a fellowship in gastroenterology. He worked as a physician into his 80s, retiring in 2014 from Jefferson Internal Medicine Associates after more than 60 years of practicing medicine. After retirement, he was a regular fixture in the office for lunch and fellowship with his former colleagues and patients, and he continued grand rounds at Roanoke Memorial Hospital until July 2017. He was a member of the American Medical Association, the American College of Physicians, the Medical Society of Virginia, and the Roanoke Academy of Medicine. He was twice chief of staff at Community Hospital and served as an instructor at the University of Virginia School of Medicine for 18 years. He was also on staff at Lewis Gale Medical Center. Known for his generosity, Dr. Peterson devoted his time to the Bradley Free Clinic, Meals on Wheels and Blue Ridge Literacy, among others. He loved to travel and counted among his favorite life experiences the memories he made with his family and friends on those trips. He participated in several medical mission trips to Kenya and Peru and regularly hosted physicians from Africa on their trips to the U.S. for professional development. He was a constant optimist and an expert whistler, known for his renditions of “76 Trombones.” Survivors include his wife, Tallulah; two children; three grandchildren, including Sara Cornelia “Neelie” Kibler (Col ’18 L/M); a sister; a nephew; and a niece.
Richard William Mueller (Engr ’58) of Bradenton, Florida, died Jan. 19, 2018. At the University, he was a proud member of Zeta Psi and served in ROTC. He started his career as an aerospace engineer for McDonnell Douglas in Southern California. His job took him to Kwajalein Island in the South Pacific in the late 1960s, where he worked on strategic defense initiatives and spent his spare time sailing and scuba diving. He continued to work for McDonnell Douglas and Boeing in California, Florida and Virginia before retiring in 2004. He enjoyed sailing, golfing and camping adventures with his wife and daughters, and visiting New Smyrna Beach for annual family reunions. Survivors include his wife, Jacqueline; two daughters; one granddaughter; and a sister.