Ralph D. Comer, MD, PhD, DS44 died on March 10, 2018 at his home in San Antonio TX. He felt that his time at Deep Springs had a profound influence on his life. Bent upon serving, he earned five university degrees over time and used them for 22 years as a doctor in the Navy, first as a general practitioner, then in communicable diseases and preventive medicine and, thanks to a recovering alcoholic friend, ended his career working with alcoholics, drug abusers and their families, both in the Navy and in the private sector. After retirement, he was active in senior sports events, made music with friends, fished at every opportunity and enjoyed his family. He and his wife Joanne enjoyed 68 years of marriage, four children, six grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. Ralph was 90 at the time of his death and avowed it was “a long and blessed life.”
Darren Olson, beloved friend and member of our Deep Springs Class of 1997 died unexpectedly at the end of March. He is survived by his wife Meghan Stone, his children Corinne, Loudy, and Gunnar, his father Stephen, his mother Linda, and his brother Kevin.
A memorial service will be held in Pittsburgh, Saturday, May 5 at 7:00 PM at Garden Dreams Urban Farm & Nursery, 806 Holland Ave, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15221. This will be an open service in the Society of Friends tradition. Please feel free to join the family afterwards for a reception. You can RSVP online on his Facebook memorial page:
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Garden Dreams Urban Farm or The Pittsburgh National Aviary Encounters Sloth Program.
Darren is remembered keenly and warmly for his smile, laugh, energy, wit, style, and enduring humanity and friendship by all who knew and loved him. We miss you Darren.
Bob Gatje passed away April 1 at his home in New York City. Bob’s service to humanity as well as his many friends was felt at Deep Springs though his presence as a trustee, architectural guiding spirit of the Building Committee that rebuilt the college buildings in the late 90’s, and as friendly gadfly and steadfast supporter. He is already greatly missed in the valley.
An internationally-recognized architect, Bob also served as a trustee of the New York Hall of Science and of the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Foundation. You can read Bob’s New York Times obituary; a fuller memorial notice is forthcoming in our Spring Newsletter.
Bob is survived by his long-time partner Sue Witter, daughters Alexandra Gatje, Marianna Perrier and Margot Small, by his sister, Norma Smith, and three grandsons: Lucas Perrier, Evan Small and Andrew Small.
A memorial service will be held at 4:00 PM on Tuesday, May 15, 2018, at the Unitarian Church of All Souls, 1157 Lexington Ave in Manhattan.
David Burleson peacefully left our world on New Year’s Eve. David’s family thanks all who cared for him with such engagement. John Hudson DS51, his roommate during John’s first year at Deep Springs, shares that David contributed greatly to peace and it was a joy to have known him.
David (“Noel”) was a Deep Springer and London School of Economics Fellow with National Science Foundation and Woodrow Wilson grants. In preparation for a lifelong career in United Nations Diplomacy, David graduated with a Harvard Anthropology PhD where he also taught. David treasured his service as Associate Director of the Pathfinder Fund and as Visiting Professor of Social Anthropology with the Faculty of Medicine, University of El Salvador (funded by the Rockefeller and Pop Council). David reached many through myriad human rights programs and as UNESCO advisor to UNICEF.
David and Nan married in 1970. Nan stretched David to explore skiing and hiking many nature preserves globally. David was an avid swimmer and gardener on the beloved banks of the Mianus River where he and Nan loved to kayak with friends. He enjoyed making and sharing maple syrup for over three decades with his family and friends. David soulfully and tirelessly advocated for girls’ education and helped bridge divisions by being the change he wished to see in the world.
David was also an avid poet, saying:
I am ever grateful that my day’s daze is but a brief phrase,
When each night’s knight whispers some praise,
Then, I do believe I find quiet reprieve.
Thanks to his daughter Betsy who provided the material for this remembrance.
This month, the MacArthur Foundation announced the 2017 Class of MacArthur Fellow award winners. Damon Rich DS’93 was among them. Damon is an urban planner and designer in the greater New York City region whose work focuses on creating community engagement and democratic processes for urban planning. He is noted for inventive methods of involving the public in design projects and policy. He served as Director of Planning for the city of Newark from 2008-2015 and subsequently co-founded the design studio Hector (with Jae Shin) to expand his practice. Previously, he was founder and president of the Center for Urban Pedagogy from 1997-2007. We congratulate Damon on his accomplishments and wish him much further success. Read more details about Damon’s work as highlighted by the MacArthur Foundation.