The Online Edition

In Memoriam – Spring/Summer 2016


Harriet (Thalenfeld) Gray, Kingston, Pa., died Jan. 26. Gray co-owned and operated The Fashion Youth Center and was a member of Temple Israel and its sisterhood, the Jewish Council of Woman, Hadassah and Jewish Community Center.


Gifford S. Cappellini, Dallas, Pa., died Jan. 14. He was judge of the Court of Common Pleas in Luzerne County from 1985 to 2005. Cappellini was senior partner at Cappellini, Reinert, Cardone Law Firm. He served as Wilkes-Barre city solicitor, prothonotary for Luzerne County, and was a lifetime member of the Pennsylvania and Luzerne County bar associations. Cappellini served in the U.S. Army as a sergeant in the Judge Advocates Department.

Gretchen Troback McLain, Franklinville, N.J., died Jan. 23, 2015. McLain taught English at Delsea Regional High School for 27 years until her retirement in 1989. She was chairperson of the Franklin Township Historical Society and chaired the Franklin Township Bicentennial Committee.


Joseph V. Pringle, Kingston, Pa., died Dec. 28, 2015. He worked for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as an employment counselor and supervisor. Pringle served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps during World War II on Iwo Jima. He is credited with naming Wilkes’ athletics teams the Colonels in a contest held during his student years.


John Joseph Rostock Sr., Mountain Top, Pa., died Dec. 17, 2015. He was employed for 25 years by Foster Wheeler Energy Corp. as plant accountant, several years with the Luzerne County Housing Authority as project manager, and later was self-employed as a tax accountant. He was a World War II veteran of the U.S. Army.

M. Thomas Robbins, Ottsville, Pa., died April 28, 2015. He served in the U.S. Army during World War II in Japan and the Philippines. Thomas worked in sales for a local engineering firm.

Leonard Stanley Anthony, Homestead, Fla., died Feb. 8. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force and retired at the rank of lieutenant colonel after a 20-year career. He was a veteran of the Vietnam War. He served in the U.S. Air Force in hospital administration. After his retirement from the Air Force, he held positions as a hospital administrator and in public health care insurance.


Dr. John Albert “Jack” Lupas, Pottstown, Pa., died Dec. 26, 2015. He assisted Dr. Jonas Salk in the development of the polio vaccine. Lupas was the chief of pediatric and general medicine at the Oklahoma Indian Hospital until 1962. He maintained a large family practice in Pottstown.

Andrew Sofranko, Hanover Township, Pa., died Feb. 26. Sofranko served as a high school guidance counselor and as a biology teacher in New Jersey.

Edward A. Laux, Wilkes-Barre, died Feb. 16.


William Marker Farish, Williams, S.C., died Nov., 20, 2015. Farish worked in the textile and rubber industries and was also a poultry farmer.


Paul J. Tracy, Perryman, Md., died Feb. 27, 2015. Tracy began teaching in the Harford County, Md., public schools in 1958 at Havre de Grace High School as a social studies teacher. He later was assistant principal at Bel Air and Aberdeen high schools before being named social studies supervisor for county schools. Tracy was inducted into the Harford County Public Schools Educator Hall of Fame.


Cromwell Wayne Griffith, Weston, Mass. died Feb. 1. He served overseas in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. Griffith spent over 40 years as a successful senior operating executive and was an entrepreneurial chief executive officer in several startups and turnarounds.


Robert L. “Bob” Dickerson, Towanda, Pa., died Aug. 2, 2015. He served in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War. He began his career in banking with the Public Loan Company in Owego, N.Y., and eventually worked for Citizens & Northern Bank and First Bank of Troy, where he served as assistant vice president of business development and loan officer of the Towanda office until 1988.


Jane M. Morris, Dallas, Pa., died Jan. 4. Jane was a music teacher and later a school counselor at Lake-Lehman High School. She was the Lake-Lehman field hockey coach for 16 years.

Frederick “Rick” E. Hackett, Brodheadsville, Pa., died Jan. 10. He served as a professor of education and supervisor of student teachers at East Stroudsburg University and as the superintendent of schools and assistant superintendent for personnel for the Stroudsburg Area School District from 1997 to 2006.


Robert Stefanko, Luzerne, Pa., died Dec. 20, 2015. He was employed at Wilkes University in the bookstore.


James T. Kozemchak Jr., Harveys Lake, Pa., died Feb. 26. He was a U.S. Navy veteran. He worked for Exxon as a dealer salesman. In 1969 he purchased Paramount Photography Studio and later he purchased Ace Hoffman Studio, which he ran successfully for 35 years. He was a well-known photographer.


Jack Miller of New Rochelle, N.Y., died April 25. He was a member of the Wilkes University Board of Trustees since 1999. Miller served two terms as board chair, from 2005 to 2008 and from 2011 to 2013. He also served as vice chair of the board and chair of the governance committee. As chair, Miller’s leadership helped to accomplish a series of strategic initiatives, including providing the board support necessary to complete the Cohen Science Center. He was a great friend of the University and generous with his time, talent and philanthropic support.
 His generosity to Wilkes included naming a geology lab and an office suite in the Cohen Science Center, sponsorship of the Miller Conference Room in the Henry Student Center and the KPMG/John R. Miller Scholarship, which is awarded to an accounting major.

A native of Wilkes-Barre, Miller graduated with a bachelor’s degree in commerce and finance from Wilkes and entered the accounting profession. He retired in 2005 as a partner and vice chairman of KPMG LLP. His extensive public service included serving as chairman of the board of trustees of the Osborn Retirement Community in Rye, N.Y., serving as a trustee and regent of the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine in New York, and as a vestryman of Trinity Wall Street, as well as Christ’s Church in Rye, N.Y.


Nancy (Schmidt) Orcutt, Ashley, Pa., died Jan. 18. She was a bookkeeper at Union Petroleum, Luzerne.

William D. Kuss, Milwaukee, Wisc., died Jan. 2. He was employed by Miller Brewing Co., Milwaukee.


Charles Lawrence Cappa, of Springfield, Va., died on Sept. 28, 2015. Cappa retired after 41 years at the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in Washington, D.C., as an information technology specialist.


Thomas S. Lasky, Dallas, Pa., died Dec. 31, 2015. He was a World War II veteran of the U.S. Army. Lasky worked for Wellington Pump, and then worked as a chemist for Rohm and Haas in Philadelphia and for IBM Corp. He returned to the Wyoming Valley and worked at his family company, Life-Kleen Oil Filters. He retired as vice president of operations with Blue Cross of Northeastern Pensylvania.


Robert T. Komnath, Wilkes-Barre, died Feb. 14. He was employed for 35 years at Luzerne County Community College, Nanticoke. He was a former Wilkes-Barre Township councilman and served on the zoning board.


Matthew B. Donahue, Camp Hill, Pa., died Feb. 2. He was the owner and operator of Matthew Donahue Courier Service.


Ruth Rico, Wilkes-Barre, died Feb. 19.


Rev. Edward Krewson Furman, Pittston, Pa., died Jan. 5. Furman served in the U.S. Army. He also served as an ordained minister in the United Methodist Church, primarily in the Wyoming Conference.


Eunice Mae Bebb, Wilkes-Barre, died Jan. 27. She worked at various nursing homes in the area.


John Michael Ford, Nanticoke, Pa., died Feb. 3. He served in the U.S. Air Force. He worked in the banking industry.


Alexandria (Sandy) Soletski, Plymouth, Pa., died Dec. 30, 2015. She was an elementary school teacher at Hunlock Elementary School from 1966 to 1969 and then by Greater Nanticoke Area Schools from 1969 to 1997.

Jill M. King, Scott Township, Pa., died Jan. 26. She was an administrative clerk for Verizon Corp. in Scranton, Pa.


Maria E. (Camiola) Scalleat, Schnecksville, Pa., died Nov. 22, 2013. She was a middle school teacher and literacy coach in the Hazleton Area School District for 18 years.


Bernadine I. (Barchik) Pierontoni, died Feb. 9. She started teaching at Northwest Area School District in 1975. She retired after 31 years.


Psychology Department Receives Bequest From D. Keith Ferrell ’72

The estate of the late D. Keith Ferrell ’72 donated educational materials to the wILKES uNIVERSITY psychology Department. more than 1,000 books, journals and articles were contributed, including some rare books by Dr. Albert Ellis, who pioneered the development of rational emotive behavior therapy. Other donated materials include issues of the Journal of Rational-Emotive Therapy and the Journal of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, psychological testing materials and educational materials amassed over Ferrell’s 40 years of practice as a psychologist. The donation was made by Ferrell’s wife, MaryLee Brennan Ferrell.

Ferrell, a resident of Wilkes-Barre, died in May 2013 and was one of Pennsylvania’s first certified drug and alcohol counselors. He worked in private practice in Wilkes-Barre and Hazleton and was founder and director of the Forensic Assessment and Counseling Unit at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility. Ferrell was a certified substance abuse professional. He was the program director for the Pennsylvania Institute for Rational-Emotive Therapy and a Fellow and certified supervisor associated with the Albert Ellis Institute in New York.