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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Filter alumni by decade:
David Alan Pituch '98 DMA, 72, of Evanston passed away June 23, 2020, of health complications after a long battle with the bone marrow disorder MDS and leukemia. A celebrated saxophonist, author and devoted educator, he studied music at the Baldwin and Wallace College Conservatory, the University of Colorado Boulder and Northwestern University.
After serving in the North American Aerospace Defense Command U.S. Army band, he earned his master’s degree at CU Boulder and went on to win a Fulbright grant to research Polish music at the Chopin Academy in Warsaw, Poland. There, he established the academy’s first program in classical saxophone studies and wrote a comprehensive book on the history of the saxophone, while playing concerts across Europe and in the United States.
He played as a soloist with the Boston Pops, the Berlin Philharmonic, the Danish Radio Orchestra and the Warsaw Philharmonic, among others. He also recorded two solo albums on the PWM and ProViva labels and was a contributor to many other recordings. His playing inspired avant-garde composers to write and dedicate numerous pieces to him. After moving back to the United States and earning his doctorate from Northwestern University, he taught at Northwestern, DePaul University and Columbia College of Missouri, both online and in-person.
A loving husband, Pituch met his wife Elzbieta in Warsaw. They married in 1981 and had two sons, Mark and Justin. David was a particularly dedicated father, avid cook and opera aficionado. He loved spending time outdoors kayaking, hiking, cycling or simply going for a nice drive. Pituch is preceded in death by his brothers Chuck and Danny, as well as his sister Annette. He is survived by his wife; sons; brother Tom; sisters Caroline and Marcia; and many nieces, nephews and cousins.
For more, see the memorial website.
Edward Nanas ’53, 88, former newsman, freelance writer and corporate executive, died March 24, 2020, in Reston, Va.
Nanas had a long communications career that included service as a U.S. Navy public information officer, magazine editor at Fawcett Publications in New York City, newspaper reporter and editor at Fairchild Publications, and director of communications at IBM. He pioneered the coverage of news about computers in the late 1950s and early 1960s when the then so-called "giant brains" first were coming on the scene.
In 1960, at Electronic News, a Fairchild weekly, he conceived and edited what is believed to be the first regular newspaper business and technology coverage of computer developments. As part of that coverage, he conducted interviews with legendary computer hardware and programming visionaries, including J. Presper Eckert, co-inventor of the Univac computer, and Rear Adm. Grace Murray Hopper, co-inventor of the COBOL programming language.
As a freelance writer in the 1960s, his action-adventure and technology articles appeared in many national magazines. In 1964 he joined IBM Corporation and served in various communications management posts in the United States and Asia/Pacific area. He retired as director of communications in 1989.
During the 1970s and early 1980s, Nanas often acted as IBM's spokesperson on matters relating to the several antitrust suits then pending against the company, including US v. IBM. That action was dropped by the Department of Justice as being “without merit” in 1982 after 13 years in litigation.
Following his IBM career, Nanas returned to writing articles and executive speeches on assignment from major corporations. He also provided communications and public affairs consulting and taught at colleges in New York and Santa Fe, N.M.
Born in New York City on March 1, 1932, he received a B.S. degree from Northwestern University and an M.A. from New York University. He was an associate member of the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan. Over the years, Nanas has resided in Wilton, Conn., Santa Fe, New York City, Tokyo and finally in Northern Virginia.
His wife of 59 years, Rochelle, passed away in 2015. She danced with American Ballet Theatre in the 1950s. He is survived by their two children, Sally Nanas of Sterling, Va., and Phillip Nanas of Portland, Ore., and a grandson, Steven Androphy.
A private burial took place at Quantico National Cemetery.
John R. McLane, professor emeritus of South Asian history at Northwestern University, passed away on Jan. 24, 2020. This essay by Anupama R. Oza and Rajesh C. Oza, honors a scholar’s passion for India and a teacher’s commitment to his students.
If tenure-track academics are so blessed, they will move through three career stages: assistant professor, associate professor, professor. We like to think of this as striving, arriving, thriving.
Professor McLane, known to family, friends, colleagues and students as Jock, experienced all three stages in more than half a century at Northwestern. After his undergraduate studies at Harvard (which included a three-month trip to India in the fall of his junior year), in 1961 Jock earned his doctorate in South Asian history at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies; at the SOAS, Jock studied with A.L. Basham, a professor who taught many budding historians and is perhaps best known for having written the classic introductory text The Wonder that Was India.
As a young man still in his mid-20s, Jock came to Evanston with his wife and their two children to teach history of the Indian subcontinent. He was at the very forefront of American scholars introducing India into undergraduate education. Indeed, only a decade before Jock came to Northwestern as an assistant professor striving to research and teach about the vast area called South Asia, the entire field of “Area Studies” was just beginning to take shape in the United States.
In the middle of the 20th century, the Ford Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York and, subsequently, the National Defense Education Act funded more than 125 university-based area-studies units known as National Resource Center programs. In the Midwest, much of this funding went to the University of Chicago, which established its South Asia Language and Area Center (SALAC) as the preeminent locus of scholars concentrating on Indian civilization.
It was within this context of America’s outward gaze toward India and other Asian nations that Jock arrived as an associate professor and thrived as a full professor at Northwestern. During this time, he wrote Indian Nationalism and the Early Congress in 1977, which won the Watamull Prize awarded by the American Historical Association, and Land and Local Kingship in Eighteenth Century Bengal in 1993.
While Jock can surely be honored for having progressed through the three stages of professorship (culminating in being distinguished as professor emeritus), we best remember him for a different tripartite aspect of his life cycle at Northwestern: to be sure as a teacher across generations, but also as a champion of non-Western cultures and as a lifelong mentor encouraging lives well lived. It is in these roles that Jock served as a guru to so many of his chelas, a guide who imparted knowledge to his disciples through enduring relationships.
Teacher Across Generations
Jock taught both of us — the father and daughter authors of this memoriam: Rajesh in 1978 and Anupama (who goes by “Anu”) in 2005. Much changed across that quarter of a century. To be sure, History 385 remained History of Modern India, but Professor McLane evolved his curriculum to reflect the significant arrival of new voices from the subcontinent; as his chelas changed, the guru learned from them and updated his teaching accordingly.
When Rajesh took History 385, the reading list included Stanley Wolpert’s A New History of India, Rudyard Kipling’s Kim and Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre’s Freedom at Midnight (all of which were sourced at the Great Expectations bookstore on Foster Street, quietly suggesting the great expectations Professor McLane had of his students). By the time Anu took the “same” course, the reading list had expanded to include writing by Tapan Basu, Pradip Datta, Sumit Sarkar, Tanika Sarkar and Sambuddha Sen. You’ll surely note that there is a reclaiming of history at work here: Western authors transformed into Indian authors. This is what scholars of subaltern studies call giving voice to the subject (or in India’s case under British imperialism, giving voice to the subjected peoples). Along with an evolution in whose perspective students read (Indian creators), the mediums (film, interviews) allowed for many more Indian voices to be shared as evidenced by Professor McLane’s use of Anand Patwardhan's documentary film “In the Name of God/Ram ke Naam.”
Beyond the pedagogy of the classroom, Jock became more accessible; in part this had to do with the guru’s own evolution as a teacher; but it also resulted from the chelas finding their own voice on a more democratized campus. Perhaps a couple of anecdotes will bring life to this change.
In the spring of 1978, while still a freshman, Rajesh reached for the stars and took Professor McLane’s class that was designed for juniors and seniors. He was distraught in discovering that he knew so little about the history of the country of his birth; and he was taken aback by the intellectual acuity of the dozen or so older students (all non-Indians) who shared the classroom in Harris Hall. But most of all, Rajesh was intimidated by the bearded professor with his Harvard and University of London pedigree; this professor had high expectations, and Rajesh’s midterm blue-book suggested that he was barely keeping up. Suddenly Rajesh had the flu and a dental problem. Given that his family could not afford dental care, he went to the free clinic at Northwestern’s School of Dentistry (subsequently closed in 1998) and learned from the dental students that he had periodontitis; to address this serious gum disease, Rajesh’s root canal treatment required that he make weekly trips downtown at the same time as Professor McLane’s class. Rather than explain his dilemma, Rajesh, for the first and last time, cut class. One day, while playing basketball in Blomquist Gym, Rajesh saw Professor McLane shooting hoops. The chela tried to avoid making eye contact with the guru, but the guru saw his chela and inquired about the absenteeism. With dental treatment completed, Rajesh was back in Harris Hall and made a modest comeback on the final exam.
Champion of Non-Western Cultures
Anu first met Professor McLane in her first-year dormitory, the International Studies Residential College (ISRC), where he had served as its first master in the 1980s. Student life outside the classroom was a cause that was close to Professor McLane’s heart. As a founder of the Residential College system, he believed that interaction between students and faculty was part of a robust college education; indeed, if the Northwestern University Press were to publish an illustrated dictionary, perhaps “collegial” would have a photo of Jock McLane, eyes twinkling with a hint of intellectual collaboration and shared merriment.
For many years, Professor McLane championed a global outlook on campus. He had a solid relationship not only with his students, but also with the University’s presidents, provosts and deans of the College of Arts and Science. While he was not successful in advocating for a substantial change to the curriculum that would have required that all students take one course on a non-Western civilization, he never stopped looking for ways to expand the worldview of Northwestern administrators and students.
By the time Anu took History 385, she had already developed relationships with Professor McLane and many other students at the ISRC and across campus who believed that an educated mind is an open mind. In Anu’s version of the History of Modern India, the classroom seated dozens of students from across the world who challenged each other and Professor McLane to consider and reconsider the reading and writing of Indian history.
It was this type of dialectic that the Nobel Prize–winning economist Amartya Sen wrote about in his Argumentative Indian, a book that Rajesh reviewed shortly before Anu graduated. The review closed with this small tribute: “For Professor John ‘Jock’ McLane, the first of a long line of teachers who fostered in RCO a life-long learning about — and love for — all things Indian.”
The tribute led to Professor McLane and Mrs. McLane inviting the Oza Family to their home for tea and biscuits. Besides the evident love that our host and hostess had for each other, their home on Davis Street was steeped in history, including a grand portrait of a Civil War military leader to whom Professor McLane was related. The McLane family’s gracious hospitality in the middle of Anu’s education led to a deepening of the guru-chela relationship, a relationship borrowed from ancient India and translated into the heart of a university campus in the middle of America.
Lifelong Mentor Encouraging Lives Well-Lived
For Anu, her guru always remained Professor McLane: She took one more course with him on the Indian Partition, introduced him to her grandparents at her graduation, asked him to inspire her students to pursue higher education when she was with Teach for America on Chicago’s West Side (please see attached photo of the Guru, his chela and a batch of Anu’s chelas), and requested that he write a graduate school letter of recommendation to Harvard (which she treasured since it enabled the two of them to share an alma mater).
But for Rajesh, shortly after the tea and biscuits, Professor McLane became “Jock” and Mrs. McLane was “Joan.” Over the past decade and a half, Rajesh has been returning to campus to serve on the McCormick School of Engineering’s Industrial Engineering and Management Science Advisory Board. After the tea and biscuits, Rajesh (who became “Raj” to Jock) always made a point to meet with his old professor. They talked about so much under the sun:
- Jock’s undergraduate days and his decision to study history to better understand social inequalities across the world, and in India, Gandhian non-violent civil disobedience against injustice
- Raj’s shift away from biomedical engineering to organizational change consulting and a lifelong commitment to understanding India, America, and the world through a Gandhian lens
- Jock’s happiness in his and Joan’s son, daughter and grandchildren
- Raj’s happiness in his and Mangla’s daughter and son (and in 2019 Anu’s daughter)
- Jock commiserating on how despite his best lobbying efforts (both on and off the tennis court where he parried with then Northwestern President Henry Bienen), he still could not convince the administration to require a course on non-Western cultures
- Raj sharing that he met President Bienen at Anu’s graduation and asked about how we can best make Northwestern a world-class institute through greater focus on Asia, particularly India
- Jock’s introducing Raj to newer members of the faculty like Rajeev Kinra to whom Jock had passed the baton of teaching South Asian history
- Raj fondly recalling the troika of Jock McLane, James Sheridan and Conrad Totman teaching the histories of India, China, and Japan when he was an undergraduate student
- Jock's perspective on how much the demographics and capabilities of Northwestern students had changed since 1961
- Raj’s musing on how Northwestern’s students had improved, only half-jokingly sharing that he would not have been accepted in the year that Anu matriculated
- Jock conveying his abiding interest in environmental history and “green Chicago”
- Raj proudly appreciating his son’s majoring in Earth Systems at Stanford
- Jock sharing his final academic writing on “Hindu Victimhood and India's Muslim Minority,” which was published in 2010
- Raj sharing his book Satyalogue // Truthtalk, which is a portmanteau of “Satya” (Sanskrit for truth) and “logue” (Greek for discourse)
In Jock and Raj’s final email discourse last fall, Jock was open about his condition. He wrote, “As much as I would like to see you, I think we should look forward to your next visit. I have several things going on at the moment with the cancer and a faulty heart valve, and I need to conserve my energy. I will regret not seeing you. It is a rough period in my life.”
Raj responded, “So sorry about this rough patch and hoping it is just that, a patch; but I do recognize that you've previously shared that it is likely to be more of a longer stretch of road. All this talk about roads inspires me to watch Pather Panchali (Song of the Little Road) for the hundredth time. I saw my first Satyajit Ray film at NU; I was a freshman in my first quarter and felt quite confused by "Devi" and all that it represented. A couple of years later I was reading Bibuthibhusan Bandhopadhyay's Pather Panchali and by happenstance went to Facet's Multimedia with friends to see the Apu Trilogy a week after reading the novel. My life was transformed by the transformations that Apu experienced in those three films. Indeed, the film nudged me towards marrying a woman from Bengal, and life has been forever changed.”
Jock’s final correspondence ended with reference to the part of India where he began his studies and what connected him and Raj at deeper, humanistic level:
I loved the Apu trilogy, especially Pather Panchali. I saw it (or maybe them) in London while I was in graduate school. I was already drawn towards Bengal because my friends at the India Office Library were Bengalis. They included Barun De, Tapan Raychaudhuri, and Ranjit Guha, if you know who they were. Is there any prettier pastoral landscape with the pleasing hut shapes than Bengal’s, I do not know it …
With best wishes, Jock”
In his preface to Introducing India in Liberal Education, the University of Chicago anthropologist Milton Singer wrote, “Leaders in the field of liberal education are now generally agreed that a student cannot be considered liberally educated if his undergraduate studies neglect the Asian world. The major question now is not whether to include the Asian world in the undergraduate curriculum but how.” Jock McLane learned that the answer to “how” came from being in ongoing dialogue with his students. And because of a dialogue that transcended the classroom, two generations of the Oza family (and we imagine multiple generations of Northwestern students) have benefited from having their worldviews enlarged to encompass India.
We will miss Professor McLane. Given Jock’s love for the Bengali countryside, perhaps it is fitting that we end by quoting the Nobel Prize–winning Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore, whose Gitanjali (Song Offerings) reminds us that our guru’s undying values live on:
Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;
Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls;…
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habits.
Anupama R. Oza ’08 is on sabbatical from teaching, committing herself to raising her daughter who turned 1 this year. Rajesh C. Oza ’81, ’84, ’86 MS is a change management consultant and also contributes to the development of interpersonal dynamics of MBA students at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business.
Photo caption: Jock McLane giving a tour of University Library to Anu Oza and her students in 2010
James D. Murphy, Dec 3, 2019, Chicago, at age 88. Murphy earned his undergraduate and law degrees from Northwestern University. After serving two years in the U.S. Army in Germany during the Korean War, Murphy established his law practice specializing in estate law. He practiced law for more than 50 years and represented the Franciscan Fathers for many years, beginning with the construction of St Peter’s in Chicago. A longtime resident of Winnetka and Glenview, Murphy was an avid competitive sailor, racing J24 and Enterprise boats. He was also a seasoned golfer, world traveler, storyteller, Irish history enthusiast and 50-plus year Northwestern football season ticket holder. Murphy is survived by his daughters Caroline and Beth '92; sons James and Brian; and three grandchildren, Dani, Liam and Heather.
The wake will be held Sunday, Dec. 8, 3-7 p.m., at Donnellan Family Funeral Services, 10045 Skokie Blvd., Skokie IL, 6007. The funeral will be held Monday, Dec. 9, 10 a.m. at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church, 1775 Grove St., Glenview, IL.
David Anund Eskola '84 died on Nov. 23, 2019, at age 57 in Washington, D.C.
Eskola was a journalist and speechwriter who could pen a line to win over any audience for a high-placed public official. During off-hours, he regaled his friends and family with entertaining stories about history and culture.
Eskola was part of a large family in Duluth, Minn. He graduated from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in 1984.
He started his career with the Greenville News in South Carolina in 1984 and spent 10 years there, ending his run as media columnist.
He moved to Washington in 1994 after he was awarded a congressional fellowship from the American Political Science Association. In a few years he became known as a speechwriter trusted to ensure his boss could garner the good will of hard-headed conference-goers on the rubber chicken circuit.
Eskola was a speechwriter for U.S. Representative Jim Chapman and U.S. Senator Dale Bumpers. Eskola recalled that U.S. Energy Secretary Bill Richardson, a consummate retail politician who later became governor of New Mexico, could always provide an entertaining anecdote that could be woven into formal remarks.
Eskola thought highly of the politicians he worked for and was committed to his craft in a way that few others in Washington can claim. He went on to become a speechwriter for the American Medical Association and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
His friends considered him sage in all matters of taste in their travels across North America and Europe. Eskola loved jazz, cocktails and fine food. He was frequently the instigator for groups to attend concerts and ice hockey and baseball games in Washington.
He is survived by his mother Betty, brothers Eric, John and George, sister Karen Eskola Tordoff, niece Grace Tordoff and nephew Eli Tordoff.
Karen P. Smith '86 PhD was a talented and dedicated psychologist who provided excellent care to her clients for over 30 years.
Smith was a lifelong Chicagoan — only leaving the city to attend Grinnell College (Class of 1969) — who enjoyed the city as home to her unapologetic life as a brilliant Black woman, doctor, lesbian and advocate.
Initially drawn to public service through legal aid, Smith received her Juris Doctorate from the University of Chicago (Law School, 1974). She utilized her legal scholarship in public interest law to serve as a Staff Attorney at the National Legal Aid and Defender Association, and at the Legal Assistance Foundation of Chicago.
Understanding that her legal work was meaningful, but too far removed from the service she always felt most drawn to, Smith committed herself to fulfilling her longtime aspiration of becoming a clinical psychologist. Smith excelled in Northwestern’s doctoral psychology program and combined her experience in legal aid and psychoanalytic therapy early in her career as a psychologist within the Psychiatric Institute of the Circuit Court of Cook County.
Holistically, Smith cultivated a career defined by the research and practice of self psychology. Bringing the theory of “mirroring” to the center of her work, she effectively facilitated the ability of others to see accurate, worthy, and well versions of themselves throughout their therapeutic journeys.
As a practitioner with a core philosophy of analyzing through empathy and reflecting existing bases for self-worth, Smith was significantly ahead of her time as a culturally competent care provider to people of color as well as LGBTQI community members. During her tenure as a professor at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology, she expanded the praxis of clinical cultural competencies through her leadership as Director of the Center for Intercultural Clinical Psychology.
As a consummate professional and tremendously giving person, Smith genuinely desired to provide therapy to others until the end of her life. And that she did. She acutely understood her life’s purpose through the counseling and affirmation of others and she uncompromisingly lived that purpose.
Although Smith’s work was defined by the private nature of counseling, her life openly achieved what we all desire: to do what we are called to do and to live the life we are called to well. Her indefatigable ability to apply brilliance, resolution, kindness, justice, and -- above all -- love to the manifestation of being who she knew she needed to be epitomized her well-lived life. Undoubtedly, Smith’s life will be remembered in the way that we all hope to be memorialized: known for the ways in which she bettered the world because of her reverberating presence within it.
Karen leaves behind a community of chosen family, including the people who live their lives as a direct result of the healing she facilitated. The transformative power of her mind, her courage, and her care genuinely changed the world for innumerable people who benefited greatly from all that she offered so generously.
Saul Needleman ’57 PhD, Chicago, July 18, 2019, age 91, was a biochemist, teacher, author and artist.
He earned a Bachelor of Science in Organic Chemistry, Illinois Institute of Technology, 1950; a Master of Science in Biochemistry, Illinois Institute of Technology, 1955; and a Doctor of Philosophy in Biochemistry and Medicine, Northwestern University in 1957.
His career as a biochemist includes: VA Research Hospital, Chicago, 1965–1973; coordinator science affairs at Abbott Laboratories, North Chicago, 1974–1979; director clinical affairs at Schering-Plough, Memphis, 1979–1981; director medical affairs at Hollister Inc., Libertyville, Ill., 1981–1985; consultant with the United States Naval Dental Research Program; medical expert with the United States Navy Drug Program, Great Lakes Naval Station; legal-medical consultant with the Drug Abuse Program, United States Navy, 1986-1995. Needleman retired after 10 years as a civilian working at the Great Lakes Naval Station Drug Lab and serviced with United States Naval Reserve from 1945 to 1947.
Additionally, he was an associate professor of biochemistry and neurology at Northwestern University, Evanston, 1960—1973; chairman, department of biochemistry at Roosevelt University, 1973–1975; and taught nutrition at Oakton Community College, 1995–2000.
While his career was biochemistry, his passions were the arts and numismatics. He worked in various media from painting, sculpture, stained glass, woodworking, furniture and photography. His books include detailed research in protein analysis and various books on numismatics. He is well known for the Needleman–Wunsch algorithm, used in bioinformatics to align protein or nucleotide sequences.
Achievements include patents in biochemistry and medical fields; recipient Presidential Award, Abbott Laboratories, 1979; RESA Science Research Award, 1960; Toni Research Fellow, 1954-1955; and Gillette Research Fellow, 1953-1954. Additionally, there were many achievements in the arts and numismatic fields.