Class Notes | Obituaries
Showing obituaries submitted in last 6 months
Long before he became an early Warren Buffett investor and a wealthy philanthropist, Lee Seemann '42 was a 23-year-old from Omaha piloting a B-17 over Germany. Seemann, a decorated war hero who often called himself “an incredibly lucky guy,” died on June 2, 2015, in Omaha. He was 95.
Seemann was born May 10, 1920, in Minnesota, but his father, a car dealer, soon moved the family to Omaha. Lee attended Dundee Elementary and Central High, class of ’38. At 6-foot-1 and 210 pounds, he played football at Santa Clara University in California, where he took part in ROTC and was president of the senior class. After World War II, in which he survived a number of close calls, he met Willa Davis, who immediately liked him.
Seemann bombed the Normandy coast on D-Day, June 6, 1944, and flew his final mission on Aug. 9. Some 30,000 American airmen based in England died in the war, but Seemann enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner with his mother in Omaha.He received the Silver Star, the Distinguished Flying Cross (twice), the Purple Heart and the Air Medal with four oak leaf clusters. He recounts his harrowing tales in his 1998 memoir with David Harding, titled I Thought We Were Goners.
Lee became a branch manager at International Harvester and later started his own business, Seemann Truck and Trailer.Willa’s father was a prominent Omaha urologist, Dr. Edwin Davis. He and the Seemanns, still in their 20s, invested with Buffett in the late 1950s and built large fortunes. Over the years, Lee and Willa Seemann have donated quietly to universities, hospitals, museums, churches and other charities. In the 1990s, they were major contributors to the Strategic Air & Space Museum. They also donated to his high school, and a decade ago Central named its new football facility Seemann Stadium.
In 2000, Seemann underwent heart bypass surgery. In recent times he was in hospice care, and his wife said he died from various old-age ailments.
Faculty & Staff
On June 17, longtime profressor of religious studies Tennant (Tenny) Wright, S.J., '63 STL (Licentiate in Sacred Theology) died at the age of 87. He was born in Los Angeles on September 16, 1927, the son of Tennant C. Wright, Sr., a film director and Warner Brothers executive, and Marion McMahon Wright.
Wright graduated from Loyola High School, Los Angeles, and after earning his BA in English at Loyola Marymount University, he entered the Jesuit novitiate at Los Gatos in 1950. He earned further degrees in English at Gonzaga University, theology at Santa Clara, and pursued graduate studies in religious studies at the University of Chicago. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1962.
Tenny was a man of many interests. His concern with social justice issues resulted in correspondence with presidents, prime ministers, members of Congress, and activists. His interest in literature resulted in a long time correspondence with Graham Greene. He also taught for a brief time in Xiamen, China, studied Zen Buddhism in Japan, and he served the Diocese of San Jose in his ministry to incarcerated youth and their families as well as to the Emmaus Community of LGBT Catholics. He also published articles and op-ed pieces in a number of newspapers and periodicals on a variety of religious and social subjects.
Mary T. Pasetta, born Oct. 7, 1914, a longtime SCU Bookstore employee, passed away on May 5, 2015 at the age of 100. Mary worked for 40 years for the University. She enjoyed helping the students find books in the bookstore. She always had a smile on her face and a twinkle in her eye. She is survived by her son, Robert Pasetta (Patti), her daughter, Janis Neth, and grandchildren, Jason Neth and Christina Pasetta...also many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her beloved husband, Dan Pasetta. May she rest in peace.
Dr. Leo Victor English Jr. died peacefully at home surrounded by family. Leo was born December 31, 1919, to Dr. Leo V English and Elizabeth Baker English in Toledo, Ohio. He graduated from the University of Toledo, 1940; Howard University Medical School, 1944. While practicing medicine in Detroit Michigan he was drafted into the Korean War as Captain Leo Victor English Jr. and served 2 ½ years in Alaska.
In 1954 Dr. English decided to settle in San Jose with his family. Upon the move to San Jose he was unable to rent an office in medical building or buy the home of his liking. He bought a home near San Jose Hospital converted the front to a medical office and the back to the home for the family. Later in his career Dr. English and three associates formed an HMO where he served as medical director.
Community involvement included: 1960-1961 President of the San Jose branch of the NAACP; San Jose Police Chief’s Advisory Board; Santa Clara County Grand Jury. 1965 Leo and his wife Juanita were instrumental in finding summer housing for Selma, Alabama students. Recognition and awards include: 1991 Roll of Honor Citation Howard University Student Non-Violent, Direct Action to Desegregate Restaurants and Interstate Buses Washington D.C. in 1943 and 1944; 1959 “Distinguished Citizen Award” from San Jose City Council; 1964 “Annual Service Award” for outstanding and distinguished service in the field of human relations from the Anti-Defamation League Council of San Jose B’nai B’rith; 1972-1977 Santa Clara University board of Regents; 2002 Martin Luther King association of Santa Clara County, Good Neighbor Award.
Dr. English was a member of the Serra Club, which fosters and promotes vocations to the catholic priesthood. Dr. English was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and co-founder of Gamma Chi Boule in San Jose. He enjoyed traveling with his family and assisting his sons in 4-H club animal projects. Leo is survived by his loving wife Juanita MA '75 of San Jose California, four sons: Leo English III (Karen); Isaac English (Sonia), James English '75 (Mary '76, MA '79) and Paul English (Steven). He is also survived by 5 grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren.
An internationally renowned expert on art and cultural property law as well as comparative law, John Henry Merryman, dedicated his life to the study and teaching of law at Stanford, influencing generations of lawyers and art historians here and around the world from the time he joined the law faculty in 1953 until his death this week at the age of 95. Before that he was faculty at Santa Clara University from 1948 to 1956.
“John Merryman was a giant in several fields — comparative law and the field he helped create, art and the law,” said M. Elizabeth Magill, the Richard E. Lang Professor of Law and dean of Stanford Law School. “He was a devoted teacher and mentor to his students. He taught his last class, “Stolen Art,” only a couple months ago, and helped launch the careers of many of our graduates who work at the intersection of the arts and the law.”
Merryman, the Nelson Bowman Sweitzer and Marie B. Sweitzer Professor of Law, Emeritus, and Affiliated Professor in the Department of Art, Emeritus, died on Aug. 3, 2015 at the age of 95 of natural causes at his home in Palo Alto, Calif. Details of a memorial service are not yet available, but one is expected to be held in the fall.
Pioneering the Study of Art Law
“In 1970 no one spoke of art law as a field for serious study or even as a subject for teaching. That art law is today recognized internationally as being essential to every country interested in protecting its cultural patrimony, by every American art museum as vital to the proper conduct of its trustees and by all artists as protecting their rights, is due in large measure to the publications and teachings of John Henry Merryman,” wrote the late art historian and Stanford Professor Albert Elsen in a 1987 Stanford Law Review tribute to Merryman, “Founding the Field of Art Law.”
Merryman introduced the idea for the new course “Law, Ethics and the Visual Arts,” in 1970 to a somewhat skeptical law faculty. Merryman taught the course in 1971, the first of its kind. Elsen collaborated and co-taught with Merryman — the two delving into questions of tax, copyright, contracts, regulation, cultural property, ethics and more — creating a syllabus for the nascent field of study and publishing the groundbreaking book Law, Ethics and the Visual Arts, now in its fourth edition.
Before that, Merryman was a comparative law scholar of international standing. “His great book on The Civil Law Tradition caused a fundamental rethinking of comparative law and subsequent scholarship — and courses based on that scholarship — were powerfully strengthened as a result,” said Thomas Ehrlich, dean of Stanford Law School from 1971 until 1976. “John’s many works relating to art and cultural property, as well as his multiple courses in that arena, were no less groundbreaking. He deployed his strengths in comparative law to produce penetrating analyses on the ownership of antiquities, as well as on art and the law more generally. Students from across the Stanford campus and beyond flocked to John’s classes. John was one-of-a-kind, as colleague and as dear friend.”
Merryman was truly an international scholar who was both a Guggenheim Fellow and a Fulbright Research Professor at the Max Planck Institute. His expertise in comparative law and art law led to visiting positions at universities in Mexico, Greece, Italy, Germany and Austria. He was president of the International Cultural Property Society and on the editorial board for various publications, including theInternational Journal of Cultural Propertyand the American Journal of Comparative Law.
He received numerous international prizes and honors over the course of his career, including the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic and honorary doctorates from Aix-en-Provence, Rome (Tor Vergata), and Trieste, and was celebrated in two Festschriften: “Comparative and Private International Law: Essays in Honor of John Henry Merryman on His Seventieth Birthday” and “Legal Culture in the Age of Globalization: Latin America and Latin Europe.”
In 2004 he received the American Society of Comparative Law’s Lifetime Achievement Award “for his extraordinary scholarly contribution over a lifetime to comparative law in the United States.”
“John was for all of us a model of civility and old-world charm. He bore with unfailing grace the mounting burdens of age, continuing to write and teach deep into his retirement,” said George Fisher, the Judge John Crown Professor of Law and faculty co-director of the Stanford Criminal Prosecution Clinic. “And he never lost his generous interest in the work of his friends and colleagues. He was a scholar for the ages.”
“He was a truly innovative scholar, ahead of his time throughout his long career,” said Lawrence M. Friedman, the Marion Rice Kirkwood Professor of Law.
Merryman’s expertise in and enthusiasm for art benefited Stanford beyond the reach of his scholarship. In the 1970s, when the law school was building its “new” campus, he chaired the design committee.
“When the law school moved from the Quad to its new home in 1975, John undertook to use his art expertise to persuade some of the best graphic printmakers to lend major works of art to the Law School where they became the best art collection at Stanford apart from the Museum,” recalled Ehrlich. “He identified a stunning Barbara Hepworth sculpture [titled “Four Square (Walk Through)”] to borrow as the centerpiece of the school’s courtyard, and when the loan was up he arranged a gift of the elegant Calder sculpture that replaced it (titled “Le Faucon”). In honor of his many contributions to art, a good friend and admirer gave Stanford one of the largest and most handsome sculptures on the campus, created by Mark di Suvero.”
The di Suvero sculpture, “The Sieve of Eratosthenes,” was, according to a Stanford press release from March 2000, donated to Stanford by Daniel Shapiro and Agnes Gund, who wished to honor Merryman “by thanking him for all he has done for us and everyone interested in art by giving a gift in his honor to Stanford of a work of an artist that John thought was sorely missing on campus. And so now, because of John, there is Mark di Suvero’s ‘The Sieve of Eratosthenes,’ the work of a great artist to celebrate a great teacher and friend of art.”
Early Enthusiasm for Music and the Arts
Born in Portland, Ore., on Feb. 24, 1920, Merryman studied chemistry at the University of Portland and received a B.S. in chemistry in 1943. He continued his study of chemistry, receiving an M.S. from the University of Notre Dame in 1944, but then switched to law. He received a J.D. from the University of Notre Dame in 1947. NYU School of Law provided him with a teaching fellowship and the opportunity to continue his legal studies and he received his LLM in 1950 and JSD in 1955. He taught law at Santa Clara University (then called the University of Santa Clara) and joined the Stanford Law faculty in 1953.
Merryman also was a professional, card-carrying musician, financing his early education by playing piano in a dance band he formed called John Merryman and His Merry Men. He continued to play piano throughout his life, sharing his enthusiasm for music and the arts at Stanford.
“John and his wonderful late wife, Nancy, were friends of my wife Ellen and me for over 50 years, since we first came to Stanford in 1965, as they were friends of countless others — literally from around the world,” recalled Ehrlich. “John had a joyful spirit that illuminated not just every conversation of which he was a part, but every room where he was present. He was a wonderful piano player of Broadway show hits, jazz and much more. John was a learner, and he was able to share his learning with his friends with such a twinkle in his eye that you quite forgot that he was really teaching you and helping along while telling riotously funny tales.”
That early enthusiasm barely dimmed in retirement, as he continued to publish — and to teach. “Stolen Art,” which he taught in fall 2014, was a new course he had recently developed, likely the first of its kind.
“Some years ago I had the pleasure of ‘taking’ John’s oral history. I was struck by the satisfying life revealed in his reminiscences, full of intellectual challenge and warm communal interchange,” said Barbara Allen Babcock, the Judge John Crown Professor of Law, Emerita. “He was an inspiration.”
While his scholarship was international, it was perhaps most keenly felt at Stanford.
“In my 30 years as a faculty member at this remarkable place, John Merryman was clearly one of the most remarkable of my colleagues,” recalled Henry “Hank” T. Greely, the Deane F. and Kate Edelman Johnson Professor of Law. “Hired here as the law librarian, he managed not one but two spectacular scholarly careers, the first as one of the leading comparative law scholars in the world and then later as one of the world’s very top ‘art and the law’ scholars. His civil law work led to him being named an Italian knight — un Cavaliero della Republica Italiana. Which brings to mind an even more important point about John. He was always a gentlemen: gracious, helpful, self-deprecating. I would say that they aren’t making them like John Merryman anymore, but they (almost) never did. He was a great scholar, a wonderful colleague and a very good person. I miss him.”
“John was a treasured colleague. We all sought his advice on a range of subjects because of his incisive mind, his wit and his insight. The world is a less interesting and elegant place without John,” said Magill. “We all mourn the passing of this wonderful man, who was a class act in every respect.”
Merryman is survived by three step-children, Leonard P. Edwards, Samuel D. Edwards and Bruce H. Edwards; four step-grandchildren; and five great step-grandchildren. His wife, Nancy Edwards Merryman, passed away in January.
Ian Murray, emeritus professor of mechanical engineering (1951-1988) and father of Barbara Murray, professor of theatre and dance, died on March 30. At 92 years old, Ian lived a long and full life, much of it spent serving at Santa Clara University. He was active in his profession as author, teacher and researcher while also dedicating time to the University community in numerous ways. He served as Faculty Senate president and was an active member of Tau Beta Pi, the national engineering honor society, and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Among his creative achievements, Ian merged his passion for sailing with his academic expertise in thermodynamics and fluid mechanics to develop the course, Dynamics of Sailing, in the 1960s.
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Margaret M. Casanova, born October 1, 1915, passed away peacefully, February 26, 2015, at the age of ninty-nine. Margaret was born and raised in Payette, Idaho. She attended the University of Idaho where she was a member of Delta Gamma sorority. Margaret was a member and great supporter of the Catholic Newman Center at the University where in 2003, she established the Len and Margaret Casanova Scholarship Fund, for students who were active in Newman Center. She also was a lifelong member of the PEO Sisterhood.
Margaret married Leonard Casanova '27, Bronco Hall of Fame football player and coach 1946-1949, on August 17, 1963. He was also a University of Oregon football coach and athletic director. She was a devoted Duck fan and traveled with the football team until two years before her death.
Retired judge John Marlo J.D. '61 died May 26, 2015. Marlo, 81, was the Capitola city attorney before he became a municipal and superior judge from 1973 to 1993. He had a long and varied career, all while raising five children with his wife, Patricia Marlo, in Aptos. Marlo died of Leukemia, his colleagues said.