Like the world around us, the Wilkes community has suffered great loss since our last issue. Though we could not include each obituary on these pages, we honor all the colleagues, alumni and friends that we have lost. We send our sincere condolences and caring thoughts to all who are mourning.
In Memoriam from Spring 2020 edition:
Ruth M. Lewis of Redford, Mo., died on Sept. 12, 2019. She served on many boards and commissions such as the Redford Township Musical Society, Historical Commision, Sister City Commission, Redford Union and Township Board of Canvassers, and Beautification Commission.
Edwin Kosik of Covington Township, Pa., died on June 13, 2019. As a senior judge for the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, Kosik was the presiding judge in the 2009 “kids for cash” case in which two Luzerne County, Pa., judges were convicted of taking kickbacks for sentencing youth to for-profit detention centers. During World War II, Kosik served as an armored infantry unit commander, eventually retiring as a colonel. After the war, Kosik received his bachelor’s degree at Wilkes College, before earning his law degree at Dickinson School of Law in 1951. He had a private law practice, servesd as the chairman of the Pennsylvania State Workmen’s Compensation Board, and as judge on Court of Common Pleas in Lackawanna County. President Ronald Regan nominated him to the federal bench in 1986 and became a senior judge in 1996.
Robert W. Brodbeck of Wilkes-Barre, Pa., died on Jan. 19, 2020. He was a U.S. Army veteran who served in World War II. He was a self-employed interior decorator prior to retirement.
Samuel Owens of Southfield, Mich., died on Nov. 19, 2019. He enlisted in the Navy and spent three years in the Pacific during World War II. He was an accountant who worked for the Ford Motor Credit Company at the time of his retirement.
Murray R. Horton of Lancaster, Pa., died on April 23, 2018. He served in the U.S. Navy. He was an electrical engineer with Sylvania Electric, General Electric and RCA Corp. He went on to serve as an auxiliary police officer in Manheim Twp., Pa., before being elected in 1976 as district justice of court of common pleas in Lancaster, Pa.
Mabel-Faye Richards Solomon of Pompano Beach, Fla, died on Nov. 1, 2020. She was a teacher with the Crestwood School District for 30 years.
David Whitney of Brown Manor, Wyo., died on Jan. 25, 2020. Whitney was an educator at New Jersey schools. He also served as a counselor and volunteered at the White Haven Center in White Haven, Pa.
Anita (Gordon) Allen of Southampton, Pa., died in 2019.
Joseph John Mosier of Dallas, Texas., died on Feb. 12, 2020. He served in the United States Army during World War II in the 99th General Hospital Unit, where he saw action during the Battle of the Bulge. A long-time resident of Exeter, Pa, he had a career as an accountant.
Ralph B. “Bud” Rozelle of West Wyoming, Pa., died on Feb. 23, 2020. A professor emeritus and former chair of the chemistry department at Wilkes University, Rozelle served multiple roles during his career at Wilkes, including director of graduate and research programs and chair of the division of natural sciences and mathematics. As director of the health sciences program at Wilkes, he was instrumental in launching the Wilkes-Hahnemann Program, where students would complete their pre-medical requirements in two years at Wilkes and then continue their medical studies at Hahnemann Medical School in Philadelphia. He also helped to establish numerous other health science partnerships benefiting Wilkes students. As a doctoral student at Alfred University in Alfred, N.Y., his thesis research on fuel cell electrode reactions was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense and NASA, eventually leading to on-board power technologies used in the Gemini and Apollo programs. Prior to joining Wilkes in 1962, Rozelle co-founded Surface Processes, Inc. in Back Mountain, Pa. He was an early pioneer in research into abatement of acid mine damage. He served as chairman of the Board of Nesbitt Memorial Hospital and vice chairman of the Wyoming Valley Health Care System.
John Witinski of Hanover Twp., Pa., died on Dec. 6, 2019.
William J. Bergstrasser Jr. of Wilkes-Barre, Pa., died on Nov. 25, 2019. Bergstrasser worked as an accountant.
Ira K. Himmel of Baltimore, Md., died on Feb. 4, 2020. He was an attorney for 55 years. He worked with LifeBridge Health for over 30 years and served as president of what is currently North West Hospital. He was a board member of the Baltimore Council for Boy Scouts of America and served as its attorney for the last 10 years. He also was an an active member of the Family Tree, an organization focused on preventing child abuse.
Howard W. Goeringer of Hanover Twp., Pa., died on Jan. 4, 2020. He served in the United States Navy during the Korean War. Goeringer worked as a casework supervisor for the Luzerne County Public Assistance Office.
Glenn Johnson of North Wales, Pa., died on Feb. 8, 2020. He was a business teacher at Coughlin High Schooland later became business manager of the Shikellamy School District in Sunbury, Pa. In 1971, he joined the administrative staff at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Pa., where he held several administrative roles, going on to hold various positions in the field of medical group management. He was a board member of the Danville Area School District and also served as its president.
Ann (Cotner) McHale of Cleveland, Ohio, died Oct. 31, 2019. She taught at elementary schools in Wilkes-Barre and at Boggs Elementary School in State College, Pa., where she also served as principal. She is survived by her husband, Vincent McHale ’64.
Frank H. Menaker Jr. of Potomac, Md., died on Feb. 18, 2020. A lawyer, Menaker served as senior vice president and general counsel for Lockheed Martin Corporation, as well as general counsel for Martin Marietta. He played a key role in the merger of the two organizations to create Lockheed Martin Corp. Menaker also played a key role in the 1986 Defense Industry Initiative when he served as chair of the working group that developed industry standards for accountability, auditing, ethics and self-assessment.
James F. Antonio of Eynon, Pa., died on Jan. 7, 2020. Antonio was a computer science teacher at Scranton Tech High School. Later he was employed as an IT director at several facilities, including Penn Security.
Lynne E. Dente, of West Pittston, Pa., died on Jan. 18, 2020. She was a teacher in Frenchtown, N.J., and was an active volunteer for many community organizations, including United Methodist Women, West Pittston Library board and Meals on Wheels of Greater Pittston.
Paul Edward Gavel of Wyomissing, Pa., died Nov. 8, 2019. He was a veteran of U.S. Air Force. He was an entrepreneur in the computer industry for more than 40 years, working for ITT, Honeywell, and started his own successful firm, Palman Systems.
Mark Sanford Levey of Chicago, Ill, died on Oct. 30, 2019. Levey worked as a money manager in New York City and Chicago, Ill, and published articles about politics and economics in the Wall Street Journal and Barron’s.
Stephen A. Kaschenbach, of Sweet Valley, Pa., died on Feb. 11, 2020. Kaschenbach was employed as a teacher in the Dallas School District for 27 years. A former wrestler under legendary Wilkes wrestling coach John Reese, he also coached wrestling as assistant and head coach at Dallas High school. After retiring from teaching, he went on to help establish and operate Lakeway Beverage in Dallas.
Jean Pierkowski, of Wilkes-Barre, Pa., died on Dec. 1, 2019. Pierkowski was a substitute teacher and was employed in the business field for the majority of her life. She also was active as a volunteer for multiple organizations, including the American Red Cross, the Woodward Hill Hose Company, John Heinz, the local SPCA, and multiple long-term nursing homes. She was awarded the Rose Brader Award for Community Service in 2002.
Irv Lebowitz, of Kingston, Pa., died on Jan. 23, 2020. Lebowitz served six years in the Army Reserves during the Cuban Missile Crisis. He was an athletic director for several organizations, most recently serving in that role for 35 years for the Jewish Community Center in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.
Thomas A. Shulde, of Lincoln, Neb., died on Jan. 24, 2020. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps. from 1965 to 1971. He worked for the Florida Department of Corrections and Pennsylvania Department of Juvenile Justice He retired as a corrections case manager for the Nebraska Department of Corrections.
Betsy Bell Condron MS of Kingston, Pa., died Jan. 10, 2020. She was director of planned giving, development, community relations and special events at Wilkes University from 1979 until her retirement in 1998. She served on the selection board for Hahnemann Medical College-Wilkes University program. Condron received the Wilkes Colonel Award honoring her service. Prior to joining Wilkes, she taught at the Northampton School for Girls and at Wyoming Seminary, where she was the college placement director from 1969-1979. Known for her volunteer work in local, state and national fields of health, education and welfare, she was named a Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania in 1975 and later served as the organization’s president. She also received the Pennsylvania Medical Society’s Benjamin Rush Outstanding Service Award, Luzerne County’s Homemaker Service Merit Award; Pennsylvania Health Department Outstanding Volunteer Award. Her many leadership roles on local, regional and state boards included serving as vice chair of the Commission on the Status of Women under Pennsylvania Gov. William Scranton and served as a founding board member for Leadership Wilkes-Barre.
Alison (Miller) Kovalchik, of Shavertown, Pa., died on Dec. 9, 2019. An accomplished artist, Kovalchik was known for combining her Jewish heritage and her love of art through creating Judaica pieces inspired by her many trips to Israel. She also tutored children in Hebrew prior to their Bar and Bat Mitzvahs.
Sharon Ann (Knight) Grivner, of Gouldsboro, Pa., died on Jan. 28, 2020. Grivner was an insurance agent and the owner of Allstate Grivner Agency in Pocono Summit, Pa
Stanley Rajza, of Plains Twp., Pa., died on Nov. 16, 2019. Rajza was employed by Wilkes University in the maintenance department.
Marie Spinosi, of Plains Twp., Pa., died on Jan. 3, 2020. She was employed by Step-by-Step Inc., in Wilkes-Barre as therapeutic staff support.
Anthony Prushinski, of Gilbertsville, Pa., died on Jan. 25, 2020. Prushinski was a branch manager for Automotive Finance Corp.
David Dragon, of Forty Fort, Pa., died on Dec. 11, 2019. Dragon was self-employed as a landscaper and mason.
Laura Mae Reider Novakowski MBA’91, of Hunlock Creek, died on Dec. 5, 2019. As founder and president of Positive Power Strategies, Novakowski provided leadership and organizational development for individuals, communities, large healthcare systems, Fortune 500 companies and government agencies.
Patricia (Heffers) Perna, of Taylor, Pa., died on Feb. 6, 2020. For 35 years, Perna was an educator for the Scranton School District.
Christine (Stackalis) Martino, of Wapwallopen, Pa., died on Nov. 23, 2019. Martino was employed by the Department of Human Services in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.
Moriah L. Bechtold, of Avoca, Pa., died on Nov. 30, 2019. Bechtold was employed at the Bear Creek Charter School, where she also started the K-Kids Program, an after-school mentorship program. She previously told at Ridgeview School.
Jill Wujcik MS of Dallas, Pa., died on Feb. 7, 2020. Wujcik taught special education and general education for the Wilkes-Barre Area School District.
See Ralph B. “Bud” Rozelle – 1954
Wilbur Hayes, professor of biology, died Dec. 10, 2019. He joined Wilkes University’s biology department in 1967 and taught biology classes through 2000. He received the Colonel Award from Wilkes in 2004 marking his dedication and contributions to the institution. Hayes earned a bachelor’s degree from Colby College and master’s and doctoral degrees from Lehigh University. He was a National Institutes of Health postdoctoral fellow at Yale University. Hayes was a member of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology, the Microscopy Society of America, and Sigma Xi, the scientific research honor society for scientists and engineers.
See Betsy Bell Condron – 1979