James M. Barker Jr. (Educ ’71) of Colonial Heights, Virginia, died Dec. 14, 2017. While serving in the U.S. Navy as a hospital corpsman with the U.S. Marine Corps, he was an instructor in atomic, biological and chemical warfare. He served in the Navy Reserve for six years. After earning his bachelor’s degree from the University of Richmond, he attended Washington and Lee University and the Richmond Professional Institute before earning his master of education degree from the University of Virginia. He had a long career in education. Licensed to teach English, French and chemistry, he taught high school English and French and served as an assistant principal and principal for many years. He was the director of adult education for Colonial Heights Public Schools as well as the director of summer school, and he taught Japanese in the after-school elementary school program. He then served as the district’s principal and director of secondary education for 12 years before retiring in 1998. Mr. Barker was involved in many education-related activities, including serving as the Dominion District chairman and secretary and treasurer of the Central Region of the Virginia High School League. He also served as secretary of the Richmond-Petersburg Supervisors Group. He was active on numerous committees and commissions for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and was a member of the Virginia and National Associations of English and French Teachers, of Secondary School Principals and of Curriculum Development. He was also a member of the Colonial Heights Retired School Personnel Association. He served on the Colonial Heights City Council and School Board as well as the governing board of the Appomattox Regional Governor’s School. He was a member of the national Harley Owners Group and its local chapter. He held life membership in the Third Marine Division Association. Survivors include his wife, Hisako; two daughters; three sons; eight grandchildren; and one great-grandson.
Dennis Neil Rankins (Col ’72, Arch ’74 L/M) of Richmond, Virginia, died Dec. 16, 2017. At the University, he was a member of Pi Kappa Phi fraternity. He was the co-owner of R + R Property Development in Richmond, Virginia. He is survived by his mother, Joy Rankins; three children, including Elizabeth Stark-Rankins (Col ’06); and a nephew.
Michael “Mike” Dussia (Com ’75 L/M) of Chesapeake, Virginia, died Nov. 22, 2017. After graduation, Mike was employed at Mutual Federal Savings and Loan, where he was instrumental in the successful conversion of the bank to a computerized system for processing accounts. He did banking system consulting for several years and also worked for the Fairfax County Public Schools and Williamsburg Soap and Candle. Survivors include his wife, Trish; a daughter; and a son.
Janet Evon Brockmiller Ecker (Engr ’75), of Columbia, Maryland, died Sept. 12, 2017. At the University, she was one of only six first-year women among 300 entering engineering students in 1971. She was the business manager of Corks & Curls and a member of Trigon Engineering Society. She earned her MBA from the University of Washington in 1978 and her law degree from George Washington University in 1982. A partner at both Newman & Holtzinger and Morgan, Lewis & Bockius firms, she was known as an accomplished and respected attorney in the field of nuclear regulatory law. Survivors include her husband, David Ecker (Com ’75 L/M); four children; and five grandchildren.
Kevin Gerard Rodgers (Col ’77) of Indianapolis, Indiana, died Nov. 20, 2017. At the University, he was a member of the football team. After earning his physician assistant’s degree from Emory University and his M.D. from the Medical College of Virginia, Dr. Rodgers served in the U.S. Army beginning in 1982. From 1986 to 1998, he served at Brooke Army Medical Center, Fort Sam Houston, in San Antonio, Texas. After being honorably discharged at the rank of lieutenant colonel in 1998, he served as the co-residency director for Indiana University School of Medicine’s Department of Emergency Medicine, where he was the residency director emeritus until he died. He also served as the president of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. As a trainer and a mentor, Dr. Rodgers aimed for each individual to become the best physician possible. He often said, “You have to have a center. Center begins with family and friends. When you have a true center, you will become the best physician possible.” Devoted to his faith and his family, he served as a volunteer doctor on medical missions to Haiti and served as an assistant coach and team doctor for the Cathedral High School lacrosse team for more than 15 years. He was also a medical consultant with the FBI. Survivors include his wife, Ruth; four sons; and a sister.
William Kenneth Sessoms (Col ’77, Darden ’81 L/M) of Charlottesville died Nov. 7, 2017. Survivors include his sisters, Ann Heriot Sessoms (Grad ’74) and Margaret Carol Sessoms Zdziarski (Nurs ’70).
Richard J. “Dick” Dauphin (Educ ’79) of Marshall, Virginia, died Dec. 6, 2017. He grew up on a farm in Arlington where they grew flowers for the White House and embassies in Washington, D.C. His father raced thoroughbreds; Mr. Dauphin exercised the horses each morning, which instilled in him a deep love for horses. He earned his bachelor’s degree from LaGrange College before earning his master’s from UVA. He was a coach and teacher for 37 years and beloved by his students, who called him “Flipper.” Survivors include his wife, Katherine “Randy” Dauphin; a stepdaughter; and a sister.
B. Leigh Drewry (Col ’79 L/M) of Lynchburg, Virginia, died Dec. 1, 2017. At the University, he was a manager and head manager for the football team and manager of the women’s basketball team under Debbie Ryan. After graduation he worked as a reporter for a biweekly newspaper in Franklin, Virginia, before attending law school at the University of Richmond. He worked as a legal aid attorney in Culpeper before moving to Lynchburg to work as an Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney. He then served as a prosecutor in Campbell County for two years and in Lynchburg for eight. In 1994, Mr. Drewry opened his own practice and later combined his solo practice to form Cunningham & Drewry. He served on the board of directors and as the president of both the Virginia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Central Virginia. He also served as president of the Lynchburg Bar Association and as a trustee of the Virginia United Methodist Foundation. Survivors include his wife, Anne; two children; his mother; a brother; and a sister.