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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

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Roger Thomas Ward

Roger Thomas Ward ’68, ’70 MS, Evanston, Dec. 15, 2023, at age 76. A skilled biomedical engineer and researcher at Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital in Los Angeles, Ward investigated biochemical factors for individuals with sickle cell anemia. Earlier in his career, Ward was recruited by IBM and also worked as an aerospace engineer intern at the Rand Corp., Jet Propulsion Lab and Hughes Aircraft. He received a football scholarship to Northwestern, where he studied math and physics and participated in the 1968 Bursar’s Office Takeover. He earned his doctoral degree in engineering from UCLA in 1978. Ward is survived by his brother, Guy; his former wife, Devyanne Ward; four children, Jocelynn Harrod Ridley ’03 MS, Jeffrey, Sarah and Amber; his former wife, Vivian; 11 grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren; and additional relatives and friends. 

Marilyn Faye Katz

Marilyn Faye Katz ’68, Chicago, Oct. 26, 2023, at age 78. Katz dedicated her life to social and political activism. As a Northwestern student in the mid-1960s, she joined Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), then left her studies to organize against the Vietnam War. In 1966 she marched alongside Martin Luther King Jr. in Chicago’s Marquette Park to protest housing segregation. At age 23 Katz served as SDS’s security director to protect antiwar protesters during the turbulent 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. She was a member of numerous women’s rights organizations and an advocate for reproductive rights. After serving as a media consultant for Harold Washington ’52 JD during his successful 1983 mayoral campaign, Katz founded MK Communications, a progressive public relations firm, in 1984. She helped organize a rally in 2002 with Chicagoans Against War in Iraq, at which Barack Obama ’06 H was a featured speaker. She later worked for Obama as a consultant and strategist during his presidential campaigns. Katz co-wrote three books, produced multiple films and served on several boards, including Human Rights Watch Chicago. She is survived by her husband, Scott Chambers, and children, Halley and Grady. 

J. Landis "Lanny" Martin

J. Landis “Lanny” Martin ’68, ’73 JD, ’22 H, Denver, Sept. 1, 2023, at age 77. Martin was one of Northwestern’s most generous benefactors. He joined the Board of Trustees in 1999 and served as chair of the academic affairs committee and vice chair of the Board. As chair of the Board from September 2017 to August 2022, he oversaw a period of tremendous growth and a return to balanced financial operations, in partnership with former Northwestern President Morton Schapiro ’23 H. Martin attended the University thanks in large part to a generous financial aid package. As a result, Martin became passionate about providing scholarships to Northwestern applicants. After earning both his undergraduate and law degrees from Northwestern, Martin joined the law firm Kirkland & Ellis. He became chairman and CEO of Titanium Metals Corp. and later founded Platte River Equity in 2006. He was the firm’s chairman and managing director. Martin and his wife, Sharon, gave nearly $45 million to the University, supporting the Pritzker School of Law, the Department of Athletics and Recreation, the Bienen School of Music, the Block Museum of Art and undergraduate scholarship funds. They also created the J. Landis Martin Professorship of Law and Business and helped establish Lanny and Sharon Martin Stadium, the University’s lakeside soccer and lacrosse field. Martin’s most recent gift established the Law Community Professorship Fund at the Law School. He received the Northwestern Alumni Association’s Alumni Merit Award in 1996. Martin is survived by his wife; children Mary, Sarah and Emily; and nine grandchildren. 

Vernon W. Ford Jr.

Vernon W. Ford Jr. ’68, ’71 MA, Chicago, Aug. 28, 2023, at age 77. A real estate attorney by trade, Ford was community oriented and deeply committed to combating racism. At Northwestern, he played basketball, studied sociology and participated in the 1968 Bursar’s Office Takeover. He went on to earn his law degree from the University of California, Berkeley, then returned to Chicago’s West Side and encouraged middle-class Black families to help reinvigorate the community. A trustee of Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church, Ford encouraged young people to pursue education and start careers, and he generously offered his time and legal skills to his community. A voracious reader, Ford wrote reviews for the American Library Association’s Booklist journal. He is survived by his wife, Vanessa; his son, Vernon J. Ford; his “bonus” sons, Parone E. Mulrain and Aaron C. Ellis; his siblings, Verona, Lafayette and Ronald; his grandchild, Evren; and many other relatives and friends. 

Jerry Springer

Jerry Springer ’68 JD, Chicago, April 27, 2023, at age 79. Springer became famous as host of The Jerry Springer Show, which premiered in 1991. Known for its heated con­frontations and raucous arguments among guests, the show ran for 27 seasons. A former lawyer, Springer worked for Robert Kennedy’s presidential campaign in 1968 and took part in antiwar protests at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago that year. Springer held a position on the Cincinnati City Council and subsequently served as mayor of Cincinnati from 1977 to 1978. Before creating his namesake talk show, he unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination for governor of Ohio and became a news anchor at NBC affiliate WLWT-TV in Cincinnati. In recent years he hosted a political podcast. In May 2008, he delivered the Commencement address at Northwestern’s law school. He is survived by his daughter, Katie.

Photo Credit: Getty Images Entertainment/Cindy Ord

Nancy Clague Carstedt

Nancy Clague Carstedt ’62, Glenview, Ill., Jan. 3, 2023, at age 82. Carstedt became president and CEO of the Chicago Children’s Choir in 1990. She grew the orga­nization, now called Uniting Voices Chicago, from 300 members to more than 3,000 singers represent­ing 73 neighborhoods and school-based choirs across Chicago. Under Carstedt’s leadership, the choir provided music instruction in more than 44 Chicago public schools, cataloged their music collection for licensing to other groups and sent singers on performance tours around the world. Upon retirement from the choir, Carstedt became executive director at the National Alliance on Mental Illness Cook County North Suburban. During her nearly seven-year tenure, she helped transform the group from a mostly volunteer organization into a pro­fessional operation. A lifelong Chicago Cubs fan, Carstedt worked as an usher at Wrigley Field for 18 seasons. To help inspire and support others, she publicly shared her story of overcoming alcoholism and depression. Carstedt is survived by her chil­dren, Blaine, Susan and Whitney; and five grandsons.

Frank Galati

Frank Galati ’65, ’67 MA/MS, ’71 PhD, Sarasota, Fla., Jan. 2, 2023, at age 79. A Tony Award–winning director and longtime Northwestern professor, Galati was a pivotal figure in Chicago theater. As a youth, Galati was recruited by a drama teacher to attend Northwestern’s Cherub program (now the National High School Institute) in the summer of 1960. He earned his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from the School of Communication, then joined Northwestern’s faculty in 1973, teaching in the Department of Performance Studies for more than 30 years before retiring in 2006. During that time, he became an ensemble member of Steppenwolf Theatre and an associate director at the Goodman Theatre, where he directed and acted in several productions. In 1988 Galati was nominated for an Academy Award for his screenplay adaptation of The Accidental Tourist. He won two Tony Awards in 1990 for his stage adaptation and direction of The Grapes of Wrath, which originated at Steppenwolf, and received another Tony nomination in 1998 for directing Ragtime. Most recently, he served as an artistic associate at Asolo Repertory Theatre in Sarasota. Galati was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame in November 2022. He is survived by his husband, Peter Amster, and sister, Frannie Galati Clarkson. Watch Stephen Colbert ’86, ’11 H pay tribute to Frank Galati here.

Photo Credit: Juan Davila