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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Lee Phillip Bell ’50, Beverly Hills, Calif., Feb. 25, 2020, at age 91. Co-creator of The Young and the Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful, Bell expanded opportunities for women in broadcasting and revolutionized daytime television. For more than 30 years she hosted The Lee Phillip Show in Chicago, tackling rarely considered social problems, including the lives of prisoners, the struggles of runaways and the challenges of breast cancer. She also produced the groundbreaking documentary The Rape of Paulette. Bell and her husband, screenwriter William J. Bell, created The Young and the Restless by drawing storylines from topics discussed on her talk show. She received the Daytime Emmy’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007. A member of the University’s Board of Trustees, Bell received the Alumnae Award in 1976 and a Northwestern Alumni Association Merit Award in 1961. She is survived by her children, William, Bradley and Lauralee; and eight grandchildren, including Caroline Bell ’18.
Judd Weinberg ’47, Chicago, Feb. 20, 2020, at age 93. A generous benefactor, Weinberg joined the University’s Board of Trustees in 1982 and was elected a life trustee in 1995. He received the Northwestern Alumni Medal, the highest honor given by the Northwestern Alumni Association, in 2000. Weinberg and his family gave a major gift to the College of Arts and Sciences in 1998. Their generosity was recognized with the naming of the College in their honor. A gift to the Feinberg School of Medicine established the Weinberg Medical Informatics Training Center. The family has also supported the School of Communication, the Donald P. Jacobs Chair at the Kellogg School of Management and the Arnold R. and Edna F. Weber Scholarship Fund. In 2007 Weinberg’s three sons dedicated the Marjorie Weinberg Garden, on the south side of Deering Meadow, in honor of their mother, Marjorie Gottlieb Weinberg ’50, who died in 1993. Weinberg is survived by three sons, David, Richard and Jack; eight grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.
James W. Montgomery ’43, Chicago, Oct. 23, at age 98. Ordained in 1949, Montgomery served as the ninth bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago from 1971 to 1987. He helped the diocese — and the city — navigate change. During the Chicago Freedom movement in the 1960s he chaired the Chicago Conference on Religion and Race and mediated discussions between Mayor Richard J. Daley and Martin Luther King Jr. These meetings, focused on housing issues and civil rights, took place in St. James Cathedral, the diocesan headquarters. Montgomery opened up the same cathedral for a national gathering organized by gay members of the church. When the Episcopal Church allowed women to become priests in 1976, Montgomery objected but allowed his assistants to ordain women. He also voiced his opposition to the nuclear arms race and abortion. Montgomery served in the U.S. Navy as a lieutenant during World War II. He is survived by four nieces and a nephew.
Robert Rechnitz ’54, Middletown, N.J., Oct. 12, at age 89. A lifelong theater lover, Rechnitz co-founded Two River Theater with his wife, Joan, in 1994. It is now one of the most prominent companies in New Jersey. He taught literature and directed student productions at Monmouth University for 35 years. Rechnitz, Two River Theater’s executive producer, was also a director and playwright. In 2016 the theater produced the world premiere of his playwriting debut, Lives of Reason, which he co-wrote. Rechnitz studied under the legendary Alvina Krause ’28 ’33 MA/MS at Northwestern and appeared in the 1954 Waa-Mu Show, See Here, with George Furth ’54. Rechnitz and his wife had generously donated to support the arts, education, environmental stewardship and medical research. In addition to his wife, Rechnitz is survived by their children, Emily, Adam and Joshua; and three grandchildren.
Sander Vanocur ’50, Montecito, Calif., Aug. 16, at age 91. A prominent reporter for NBC, Vanocur covered civil rights, assassinations and the Vietnam War. He was one of the panelists on the first televised presidential debate in 1960 between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon. (See “TV Debates: The Heart of the Presidential Race,” fall 2012.) Vanocur went on to cover the Kennedy White House. He also conducted one of the last interviews with Sen. Robert Kennedy before his assassination and sat down with Martin Luther King Jr. less than a year before his death. In 1984 Vanocur moderated the vice presidential debate between George H.W. Bush and Geraldine Ferraro. Vanocur served in the U.S. Army after graduating from Northwestern. He had planned to attend law school until a piece that he wrote appeared in a London publication and he saw his name in print — an experience that changed his life. Vanocur is survived by his wife, Virginia Backus; his son, Christopher Vanocur ’82; his stepdaughter, Daphne Wood Hicks; and two grandchildren. Photo courtesy of University Archives
Robert LeBuhn ’54, Snowmass Village, Colo., and Murray Hill, N.J., Aug. 9, at age 87. An expert in investment management, LeBuhn became managing director at Rothschild Inc. and then president and chairman of Investor International Inc. He served on the board of US Airways for more than 37 years, helping to guide the airline during a period of growth, deregulation and consolidation in the industry. For a decade he chaired the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation. A member of the Northwestern men’s basketball team in the early 1950s, LeBuhn played in the first game at McGaw Hall in December 1952. He returned in 2018 for the dedication of the newly remodeled Welsh-Ryan Arena. LeBuhn, a lieutenant, represented the Navy on the gold medal–winning U.S. men’s team at the 1955 Pan American Games in Mexico City. He is survived by his wife, Elaine; children Anne, Ellen, Robert, Richard and Jason; 10 grandchildren; and a brother, David.
Jerome “Jay” Singer ’53 MS, Berkeley, Calif., July 30, at age 97. A pioneering physicist, Singer helped develop the technology for MRI scanners. During 25 years at the University of California, Berkeley, Singer created a device to measure blood flow in mice and then in human fingers and arms. He was nominated for a Nobel Prize for his work, and 2003 Nobel winner Paul C. Lauterbur credited Singer for creating “an early predecessor to MRI” in his acceptance speech. Singer, who taught and conducted research in electrical engineering and computer science and biophysics at UC Berkeley, came to higher education after working as a furrier, an electrician and machinist. He spent a few months at Boeing, where he unsuccessfully tried to make jetliners quieter. Singer, who founded or co-founded several high-tech software and MRI technology companies, is survived by his two children, Martha and Sam; and four grandchildren.