Remembrances is a page to read memorials of Northwestern community members submitted by their family or peers. Visit In Memoriam to read featured obituaries of Northwestern alumni, faculty and staff. Please send obituaries to email@example.com.
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Vicki Bloye Gainsburg '55 passed away on January 2, 2023. She spent her childhood in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Northwestern University and a master’s degree in philosophy from Radcliffe College, but her lifelong career was art. For eight decades, Vicki painted and drew botanica, landscapes and portraits, in media that included watercolor, pen and ink and pastels. Her work has been exhibited and sold at numerous galleries and juried shows, and dozens of her pieces are privately owned. Vicki’s paintings have received many awards, including an Award of Merit at the International Exhibition of the American Society of Botanical Artists in New York City. Vicki was a member of the American Society of Botanical Artists and the New Jersey Watercolor Society, among other organizations. Beyond her art, Vicki enjoyed reading, walking, swimming and chocolate. Vicki lived most of her life in South Orange, N.J., and spent her final years in Rochester, N.Y. She is survived by her husband of 65 years, Roy Gainsburg; her daughters, Julie and Jeannie; and her grandchildren, Hayden and Becca.
George John Zahringer, Jr., known as Jack, passed away peacefully in his sleep on October 5, 2022, after a full and glorious life of 100 years. He is survived by his loving and devoted wife of 71 years, Rosemary Duncan Zahringer. He is preceded in death by his father and mother, Mary Bernice (Croarkin) and George John Zahringer, Sr., and his sisters Lee Ann Stine, Mary Lou Mitchell, and Jean Burke.
Born July 18, 1922, in Naperville, Ill., Jack grew up in a well-known and respected family. Equally enthusiastic assisting at mass as an altar boy or leading his troop as an Eagle Scout, Jack’s youth presaged the qualities that would characterize his life—a life of energy, activity, centered on faith, family, friends, and civic duty.
Jack matriculated at Northwestern University as a member of the class of 1944. He would go on to bleed purple for the rest of his life. His collegiate experience was formative, and later in life he would happily recount in fondness to family and friends alike tales of his campus glory days, cheering on the Wildcats as freshman football manager in “dirty-white bucs,” the epitome of studied casualness. A diligent student, Jack earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry. He would also serve as yearbook manager and pledge the Delta Tau Delta fraternity, a source of long-lasting friendships.
His undergraduate years were interrupted by World War II. Commissioned as a Lieutenant in the U.S. Army, Jack’s military service would see him sent to Georgia Tech for further education by the Army Corps of Engineers. After the war, Jack attended Harvard Business School, class of 1948, on the G.I. Bill, where he would earn a master’s in business administration and forge further friendships that spanned the decades.
Jack met his future beautiful wife Rosemary, whom he affectionately called Roso, in Chicago and they were wed in 1951 at St. Malachy in Creston, Iowa. His working life saw him in a long, successful career in chemical engineering. He would go on to start his own marketing firm. In his “retirement” career, he worked with Jed Dolce in real estate.
A celebrated Rye resident since 1966, Jack was a civic-minded citizen and selflessly gave his time and energy to the community. He was a loyal Lions Club and Rotary Club member, joined the Rye Board of Architectural Review, and would chair the Rye Landmarks Committee well into his 10th decade. A life-long student of history, he would work to protect Rye’s historical integrity, a task that included restoring Rye’s three Boston Post Road mile-markers, fixed by Benjamin Franklin himself in 1763. For his indefatigable efforts as protector of Rye’s history and recognizing his storehouse of local knowledge, Jack at age 98 received the Mayor John Carey Merit Award, presented to a Rye resident who has “made meaningful contributions to public life in the City of Rye for an extended period.”
In addition to his love of college football, Jack was an avid sports enthusiast himself. A past member of the Westchester Country Club and a current member of the American Yacht Club, he played golf, squash, and successfully drop-shotted his grandchildren on the tennis court into his late eighties.
The last of the Greatest Generation, in a life that bridged two centuries, Jack personified those values of personal responsibility, duty, honor, and faith that had been instilled in him from youth.
He was adored by his five children: George J. Zahringer III (Natalia), Martha Z. Jeffrey, James D. Zahringer (Madeleine), Charles J. Zahringer (Edmee), and Anne Z. Ogilvy.
He will be profoundly missed by all his family including his twenty-one grandchildren: George IV, Killian, Lauren, Alexander, and Christina Zahringer; William, John, and Christian Jeffrey; James Jr. (Ashlee), Charlotte, Dashiel, Kendall, and W. Kress Zahringer; Lucia (Fritz Coan), Charles Jr., Graham, Kylie, and Frederick Zahringer; Charlotte and Margaret Poler; and Melinda Ogilvy, and his four great-grandchildren: James III and Summer Isabelle Zahringer; and Schaefer and Heidi Coan.
A Mass of Christian Burial at the Church of the Resurrection, Rye, N.Y., will be announced at a future date.
Beverly Bainbridge Overmyer ’61 of Valparaiso, Ind., passed away July 11, 2022, at age 83. She was born March 4, 1939, in Chicago, beloved daughter of Francis and Marian (Erickson) Bainbridge. Overmyer received a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications and plied her trade locally as the nature columnist for the Vidette-Messenger. She was also a skilled textbook editor and received an elementary education degree, practicing those skills liberally on her own offspring. Any natural wildlife would immediately become the focus of her attention, especially the opportunity to birdwatch. Volunteering at the Independent Cat Society brought fulfilment to her soul, and attendance at Merrillville Community School orchestra concerts with her husband, Gary, brought joy to her heart, as her daughter was the director. She also brought joy to the musicians’ hearts, many of whom still harbor warm remembrances of her kind gestures.
On August 11, 1984, she married Richard “Gary” Overmyer, who survives along with her children, Marc Rosenthal (Angela Elbert) and Diane Rosenthal (Charley Harrison); and grandchildren, Benjamin, Rebecca, Robert and Eric.
William “Bill” Ward Ferguson ’55 DDS of Fort Collins, Colo., passed away June 6, 2022, at age 92. He was born Oct. 23, 1929, to Alice Louise Kjerner and William Wallace Ferguson in Des Moines, Iowa. Preceded in death by his wife, Ellen Louise Ferguson, whom he married in 1958, and son Douglas Ferguson. He is survived by his son Andrew Ferguson and dear friend and longtime special companion, Jean Messinger, whom he met in college and reconnected with later in his retirement. Bill enjoyed an early life of achievement that included being a prom king and Eagle Scout and working to pave his own way doing jobs such as a steel riveting assistant and bottling Blatz beer on the production line in Milwaukee. He graduated from Lawrence College in Appleton, Wis., and went on to obtain a Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from Northwestern University. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War and was always proud of his service while stationed in Morocco, later obtaining the rank of commander in the Naval Reserve. He had a successful career as a dentist in Fort Collins during his working years. Bill loved traveling with his family and the mountains of the western United States. He was a Kiwanis club member and helped many concerns including the local food bank and Boy Scouts. Bill was also a proud stockholder in the Green Bay Packers and was one of their biggest fans, cheese hat and all.
He lived a full and adventurous life and will be sorely missed by all the people who loved him.
Sally Elizabeth Shull Conner ’45, died June 6, 2022. She was just two months shy of her 100th birthday. She graduated with honors from Northwestern University in Evanston in 1945, with a bachelor of science degree in psychology. She was a member of the Upsilon chapter of Delta Delta Delta sorority.
After graduating, she worked as a psychometrist for the Sioux City (Iowa) Board of Education. In 1950 Sally married R. Dudley Conner in Sioux City, Iowa, and together they raised three children. She had a strong faith, profound dignity, a lifelong love of learning and reading, and a contagious laugh and sense of humor. She was highly intelligent and an "outside of the box" thinker.
She loved her years and classes at Northwestern University and spoke of them often.
John H. Stassen ’65, one of the leaders of the Northwestern Library Board of Governors and a devoted NU alumnus, died on March 19.
John joined the Libraries Board of Governors in 1996 and served as chair from 2004 to 2007. John was granted emeritus status in October 2014 and continued to support the Libraries. He generously established the Stassen Family Endowed Fund in 2000 to be used for areas of greatest need at Northwestern University Libraries. John also supported the Dance Marathon and Athletics department, and volunteered with Campaign Northwestern, the John Evans Club Board of Directors, his reunion committees and the NU Club of Chicago, before he later relocated to the Los Angeles area. During his time at NU as a student, he participated in Psi Upsilon and Model UN. John was a prominent senior partner of the law ﬁrm of Kirkland & Ellis and was the principal outside counsel to the Chicago Board of Trade. John’s widow Sara Gaw Stassen ’66, their son Dave Stassen ’99 and grandson Jack Stassen Soler ’23 are all part of the Northwestern family.
John was a truly dedicated, knowledgeable and congenial supporter of Northwestern and its Libraries, and we will miss him.
Cheryl Lee Ross ’78, 65, of Buckeye, Ariz., passed away on March 5, 2022.
Cheryl was born on February 11, 1957, to Ron and Frankie Ross in Columbus, Ohio.
After Cheryl graduated from Whetstone High School in Columbus in 1974, she went on to achieve her bachelor’s degree at Northwestern University, master’s in business at UCLA and her graduate degree in IT at Northwestern University.
After a graduate degree in business administration, she started her first job at Frito Lay as a brand manager, kickstarting a 30-year career in marketing, product management and consumer research. Throughout her career, Cheryl served as the brand manager at Kraft Foods, director of marketing at Spiegel/Eddie Bauer, senior marketing consultant at Accenture, and director of merchandising and sales development at Sears Roebuck & Co.
In 1984 Cheryl met Jim Lacey at Lakeshore Athletic Club in Chicago. Cheryl and Jim went on to raise their two children, Jason and Christie in Glen Ellyn, Ill.
In 2012 Cheryl retired from her rewarding business career and spent her time swimming, hiking, dancing, participating in book clubs, cultivating deep relationships with friends and traveling throughout the west and overseas. She was a lifetime student and had a voracious thirst for knowledge. Cheryl was more interested in getting to know others than talking about herself. She was a critical thinker and was known for her thought-provoking questions. She looked for the best in everybody and was always impeccable with her word. Cheryl exuded friendship and goodwill. She was a dear friend to many and had a contagious laughter and a beaming smile that lit up the room. Cheryl loved bright colors in her clothing, her home’s interior decoration and the flowering plants blooming in her Arizona yard. May her memory be for a blessing.
Cheryl was predeceased by her parents, Ron and Frankie Ross. She is survived by her husband, James Lacey; children, Jason Lacey and Christie Lacey; a sister, Robin Ross Lang; and several in-laws, cousins, and nieces and nephews.