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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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William B. Mead ’55, Bethesda, Md., Dec. 14, 2017, at age 83.

A journalist and baseball writer, Mr. Mead wrote seven books on baseball, including Even the Browns: The Zany, True Story of Baseball in the Early Forties. A native of St. Louis, Mr. Mead grew up watching the Browns, one of the worst Major League Baseball teams in history. His book details the franchise’s single wartime championship season.

He also wrote The Official New York Yankees Hater’s Handbook, and in 1993 he co-authored The Presidents’ Game, which explored links between baseball and U.S. presidents. In addition to baseball books, Mr. Mead co-wrote American Averages: Amazing Facts of Everyday Life, a 1980 collection of statistical trivia.

After graduating from Northwestern, Mr. Mead spent two years in the U.S. Army. He later held reporting jobs with the United Press International and Money magazine.

He is survived by his wife, Jennifer Hilton Mead ’55; a son, Christopher; a brother; and three grandchildren.

Mary Mix McDonald

Mary Mix McDonald ’46, New Berlin, N.Y., Dec. 12, 2017, at age 92.

Ms. McDonald became the first Republican woman elected to the Cook County Board of Commissioners in 1974. When she stepped down from the board after two decades, she was lauded for writing legislation that served as national models, including ordinances that raised the drinking age from 18 to 21 and made parents responsible for teen vandalism and teenage drinking in the home.

Ms. McDonald also chaired the county board’s Chicago Botanic Garden committee and in 1994 joined the garden’s board. She helped raise funds to annex a 100-acre oak woodland, which was named in her honor in 1996.

Ms. McDonald is survived by her children, Elizabeth, Sandra and Gerald; four grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; and two brothers, B. John Mix Jr. ’53, ’56 JD and Joseph Mix.

Joseph Newton III ’51, ’52 MS, Goodyear, Ariz., Dec. 9, 2017, at age 88.

A former sprinter for Northwestern’s track team, Mr. Newton joined York High School in Elmhurst, Ill., in 1956 and became cross-country coach four years later. During Mr. Newton’s nearly six-decade coaching career, York won 20 national cross-country championships and 28 state titles.

Mr. Newton became the first high school track coach to serve on the U.S. Olympic coaching staff when he was assistant manager of the U.S. men’s track team in Seoul, South Korea, in 1988.

A four-time national cross-country coach of the year, he was inducted into the U.S. Track and Field Federation’s Hall of Fame and the Chicago Sports Hall of Fame. He retired in 2016.

Mr. Newton is survived by his wife, Joan; daughter, Cindy; sons, Thomas and John; and four grandchildren, Caitlin, Kyle, Julia and Lauren.

donna jean gimbel lane obitDonna Jean Gimbel Lane ’52, Portola Valley, Calif., Nov. 18, 2017, at age 87.

A Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences graduate and lifelong patron of the arts, Mrs. Lane was a longtime and generous supporter of her alma mater.

The Jean Gimbel Lane Prize in Piano Performance was established in 2005 with a contribution from Mrs. Lane and her late husband, L. W. Lane Jr. In 2015 Mrs. Lane made a $5 million commitment to the Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music to ensure the perpetuity of the $50,000 piano award, which honors pianists who have achieved the highest levels of national and international recognition. In recognition of her longtime support, Northwestern named a room in the Ryan Center for the Musical Arts the Jean Gimbel Lane Reception Room.

In 1996 Mrs. Lane and her husband established the Jean Gimbel Lane Humanities Professorship at Northwestern. The two philanthropists also established the Lane Fund for Environmental Studies at Northwestern. 

After graduation, Mrs. Lane, an art history major, worked as an interior designer in Chicago before meeting her husband, who was publisher of Sunset magazine and served as U.S. ambassador to Australia during Ronald Reagan’s presidency. Mr. Lane, former owner of Lane Publishing Co., passed away in 2010.

Mrs. Lane thrived in the communities that centered around her interests of nature, music and art. She was a member of the board of the National Tropical Botanical Garden and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. She was also a longtime docent and supporter of Stanford’s Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve.

Mrs. Lane is survived by her children, Sharon, Robert, and Brenda; her brother Arthur D. Gimbel ’55; and five grandchildren.

Jean Harvey Lightfoot

Jean Harvey Lightfoot ’73 PhD, Chicago, Nov. 15, 2017, at age 81.

A powerful soprano with a wide vocal range, Ms. Lightfoot performed with the famed Fisk Jubilee Singers, an a cappella ensemble at Fisk University that has performed spirituals around the world since 1871.

She toured Europe with the singing group in 1956, performing 66 concerts in 56 days. The tour included a performance for royalty in Portugal and an eight-encore show in Rome.

Ms. Lightfoot continued to perform spirituals with the John W. Work Chorale in Chicago. She went on to earn a doctorate from Northwestern, where she studied education and urban anthropology.

She taught English and served as an administrator at Hyde Park High School, Kennedy-King College and the University of Illinois at Chicago. She retired as dean of students at Columbia College.

Ms. Lightfoot is survived by her daughter, Jaronda, and two granddaughters, Jaya and Jorie.

norbert gold obitNorbert L. Gold ’46, Winnetka, Ill., Nov. 13, 2017, at age 93.

When Mr. Gold was diagnosed as a Type 1 diabetic at age 16, his doctors did not think he would live past age 30. But Mr. Gold mastered his health by watching his diet and taking his insulin. He lived with diabetes for 77 years. In 2004 Eli Lilly honored him for being a diabetic on insulin therapy for more than seven decades.

After studying English and history at Northwestern, Mr. Gold earned a law degree from John Marshall Law School before embarking on a career as an attorney and real estate appraiser. As an attorney for the Illinois Highway Department, he bought farmland for the construction of Interstate 55. Mr. Gold then joined Litton Industries as an attorney and director. He purchased and sold more than 100 properties in the Midwest area.

Mr. Gold established his own real estate appraisal and brokerage firm. He appraised more than 20,000 properties and served as an expert witness on property values in county courts and federal bankruptcy courts.

He is survived by his wife, Mary Lou Bilder; three children, Carolyn, Tom and Bill; a stepdaughter, Marina; and seven grandchildren.

ray simon obitRaymond Simon ’42 MS of New Hartford, N.Y., Nov. 7, at age 102. Known as the “father of public relations education,” Mr. Simon earned international recognition as a pioneering public relations educator and textbook author.

After serving in the U.S. Army Signal Corps during World War II, the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications graduate was hired by Syracuse University to develop one of the first undergraduate programs in public relations at Utica College, then a Syracuse satellite campus, where he established one of the first chapters of the Public Relations Student Society of America. He wrote three textbooks on teaching public relations and several public relations handbooks.

He was the first member of the Utica College faculty to receive the Distinguished Teacher Award and he remains the only faculty member to receive it twice. Mr. Simon, who retired in 1985, was also named among the 20th century’s 100 most influential people in public relations by PRWeek. The Public Relations Society of America honored him with its 1975 Outstanding Educator Award.

The alumni-funded Raymond Simon Institute for Public Relations at Utica College has awarded more than $250,000 in scholarships and awards and funds faculty projects and student activities. The Raymond Simon Convergence Media Center, which opened in honor of Mr. Simon’s 90th birthday in 2005, is home to Utica College’s public relations and journalism programs.  

Mr. Simon is survived by his wife Lyn; two daughters, Melissa and Brooke; and a grandson, Daniel.

Photo courtesy of Utica College