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In Memoriam

In memoriam is a page to read featured obituaries of Northwestern alumni, faculty and staff. Visit Remembrances to read memorials of Northwestern community members submitted by their family or peers. Please send obituaries to alums@northwestern.edu.

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Sanford D. "Sandy" Horwitt

Sanford D. “Sandy” Horwitt ’65, ’70 PhD, Arlington, Va., March 12, at age 79. A talented political adviser, activist and author, Horwitt wrote biographies of significant figures such as Saul Alinsky, Russell D. Feingold and Abner Mikva ’91 H. Horwitt’s career in politics began when he volunteered on Mikva’s 1974 congressional campaign. The two formed a long-lasting friendship. Horwitt served as an aide to Mikva until the Senate confirmed Mikva as a federal appeals court judge in 1979. Horwitt went on to advise several public interest campaigns on Capitol Hill including the National Coalition to Ban Handguns. His 1989 biography Let Them Call Me Rebel: Saul Alinsky: His Life and Legacy became an influential book in the political careers of Barack Obama ’06 H and Hillary Rodham Clinton. Horwitt also contributed to the New York Times Book Review and co-produced the documentary Mikva! Democracy is a Verb. Horwitt attended Northwestern on a baseball scholarship. He played second base and co-captained the varsity team. After graduate school at San Francisco State University, he returned to Northwestern as a graduate teaching assistant in communications. He met his future wife, Joan Engel Horwitt ’67, when she enrolled in his Group Dynamics course. They married in 1970. In addition to his wife of 51 years, Horwitt is survived by his two sons Dusty and Jeff ’00; daughters-in-law Ann and Lauren; and two granddaughters.

Rusty Mae Moore

Rusty Mae Moore ’63, Feb. 23, Pine Hill, N.Y., at age 80. Fluent in six languages, Moore taught international business for several decades at Hofstra University. Moore directed the Hofstra University Business Research Institute, was a Fulbright fellow in Brazil and taught in Russian and the Netherlands. In the early 1990s Moore transitioned as a trans woman and became a prominent transgender and LGBTQ rights activist. She taught the first gender studies class at Hofstra. Moore and her wife, Chelsea Goodwin, opened up their home in Brooklyn’s Park Slope neighborhood to provide housing to transgender and other LGBTQ people in need of housing, including Sylvia Rivera, an important figure in New York’s transgender history. Moore and Goodwin’s home earned the affectionate nickname “Transy House.” Moore and Goodwin were legally married in 2018 after spending nearly 30 years together. The couple ran a bookstore together in Pine Hill, hosted a radio show and founded a festival for people interested in the science fiction subgenre steampunk. Moore is survived by her wife; her children, Jonica, Amanda and Colin; her sister, Susan; and two grandchildren.

Photo Credit: Jonica Moore

Josephine “Jo” Baskin Minow

Josephine “Jo” Baskin Minow ’48, Chicago, Feb. 17, 2022, at age 95. A Chicago philanthropist and civic activist, Minow co-founded the Northwestern University Women’s Board in 1978 and served on the boards of the Juvenile Protective Association and Chicago History Museum, among others. While at Northwestern, she advocated against the exclusion of racial minorities from University housing. Minow later taught kindergarten and fifth grade at Francis W. Parker School in Chicago and wrote three children’s books. She and her husband, former Federal Communications Commission chairman Newton Minow ’49, ’50 JD, ’65 H, supported the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law for decades. The Newton N. Minow Endowed Fund was established in their honor and supports the Newton N. Minow Visiting Professorship and the Newt and Jo Minow Debate Series, a cherished Law School tradition. She is survived by Newt, her husband of 72 years; daughters Nell, Martha ’12 H and Mary; and grandchildren Ben, Rachel and Mira. 

Amos Sawyer

Amos Sawyer ’70 MA, ’73 PhD, Feb. 16, at age 76. An activist, academic and politician, Sawyer was a significant figure in Liberia’s recent progressive age. After earning his doctorate in political science from Northwestern, he ran as an independent for mayor of Monrovia and founded the Liberian People’s Party in 1983. Following the murder of President Samuel Doe, Sawyer was voted as the country’s interim president. He served from 1990 to 1994. Sawyer was active outside his political work as one of the founding members of Movement for Justice in Africa. He taught political science at the University of Liberia, where he received his undergraduate degree, and in December 1980 he became dean of the College of Social Sciences and acting director of the university. Sawyer received the Gusi Peace Prize in 2011 for his work in Africa. He is survived by his wife, Comfort, and their children.

Sherry L. Jones

Sherry L. Jones ’71 MS, Washington D.C., Feb. 14, at age 73. After receiving her master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern, Jones got her start in the film industry working as a field producer for Oscar-winning filmmaker Charles Guggenheim. Jones then started her own production company, Washington Media Associates. Her films won many awards, and during her career she received eight Emmy Awards, three duPont-Columbia Awards, three Peabody Awards and three Edward R. Murrow Awards. Her 2008 documentary and one of her last films before retirement, Torturing Democracy, investigated the history of the George W. Bush administration’s detention and interrogation program where detainees were subjected to various torture methods such as sleep deprivation and waterboarding. It received the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award. During retirement, Jones worked as a volunteer at an organic farm and screened her films at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. She is survived by her husband of 43 years, Alan Stone, and her brother.

Photo Credit: National Security Archive

Valerie Boyd

Valerie Boyd ’85, Atlanta, Feb. 12, 2022, at age 58. An associate professor at the Grady College of Journalism at the University of Georgia, Boyd wrote the well-regarded biography Wrapped in Rainbows: The Life of Zora Neale Hurston. Boyd first discovered the Harlem Renaissance writer’s work in an African American studies class at Northwestern. She spent several years as arts editor for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution before she began teaching in 2004. Boyd was named the Charlayne Hunter-Gault Distinguished Writer in Residence at the Grady College in 2007 and was director of the Giving Voice to the Voiceless Program. In 2017 she received a Governor’s Award for the Arts and Humanities, and later this year she will be inducted into Georgia Writers Hall of Fame. Her most recent book project, Gathering Blossoms Under Fire, The Journals of Alice Walker 1965–2000, will be published this year. Her anthology Bigger Than Bravery: Black Writers on the Pandemic, Shutdown and Uprising of 2020 is also scheduled for publication. She is survived by two brothers. 

Photo Credit: Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Phyllis Elliott Oakley

Phyllis Elliott Oakley ’56, Washington, D.C., Jan. 22, 2022, at age 87. Fascinated by history and public affairs, Oakley joined the foreign service in 1957. When she married fellow officer Robert Oakley in 1958, she left the State Department. Women officers were discouraged from marrying at that time. Years later, when she learned that the issue was being challenged by other women officers, Oakley reapplied to the department and was rein-stated in 1974. She focused on Arab-Israeli relations and the Panama Canal Treaty. In 1986 she was the first woman to be appointed deputy spokesperson at the State Department. In the 1990s she served as assistant secretary of state for population, refugees and migration affairs and assistant secretary of state for intelligence and research. After retiring in 1999, she taught at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and Mount Holyoke College. She  returned to Northwestern in spring 2002 as a visiting professor. Oakley is survived by her son, Thomas; her daughter, Mary; and five grandchildren.