HomeAlumni NewsJanuary 20, 2014

January 20, 2014

We learned this week of the passing of two former SB members from the early 1950s.

John Bruce Hays DS’54 died on Jan 3, 2014 in Corvallis, Oregon. He was 76 years old. John was born in Springfield, Illinois and later moved to Southern California where he graduated from Monrovia High School. He turned down a Naval ROTC scholarship to Stanford University in order to attend Deep Springs, arriving in the summer of 1954. John subsequently attended the University of New Mexico on an ROTC scholarship. He majored in chemistry, math and social life, and met Judith Gumm. The couple married in 1961 while John was honoring his obligation to the U.S. Navy, serving three years on a minesweeper – and they remained together for the rest of his life.

Science called to John, so he resigned his commission and enrolled in the physical chemistry graduate program at the University of California, San Diego. During the first years of graduate school, he continued in the Naval Reserve as an officer on a World War Two-era destroyer. He earned a doctorate in physical chemistry in 1967 and did postdoctoral research at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. He joined the faculty at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, earning the position of full professor. However, he always wanted to return to the West and in 1987 became Chairman of the Agricultural Chemistry Department at Oregon State University. He later resigned as chairman in order to pursue his research full time. John was internationally recognized as an expert in mammalian and plant DNA repair. He continued his research part time after retiring from OSU in 2010.

He loved classical music and could identify almost any piece after hearing just a portion of it. A sports enthusiast, John was particularly fond of pick-up basketball, where he made many good friends. After his knees objected, he became an avid bicyclist who could go the distance. He was active in the Episcopal Church of the Good Samaritan, where he pursued his interest in social justice. John enjoyed fine wine, Camp Sherman and the Metolius River. A family man, he was happy spending time with his cousins and grandchildren.

Frank A. Walker DS’52 passed away on May 1, 2013 in Louisville, Kentucky. He died peacefully in his sleep with his wife of fifty-five years, Rosina Neidich Walker, at his side. He was 79 years old. Dr. Walker was born in San Francisco and came to Deep Springs in the summer of 1952. Following Deep Springs, Frank completed undergraduate studies at UC Berkeley, then graduated from medical school at McGill University in Montreal, where he met and married Rosina. He later pursued a Ph.D. in genetics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He was also a Fellow of the American College of Physicians. Dr. Walker practiced medicine in underserviced communities, multiple states, and several countries, including Canada and Saudi Arabia. As a researcher, he published many articles in prominent journals on causes of mental retardation, and lobbied through articles and testimony for screening of newborns for early indication and response. He was also active in matters of public health, particularly in the prevention of lead poisoning.

Dr. Walker held teaching positions at multiple universities, including Medical College of Wisconsin, where he was also the director of the Department of Metabolic and Genetic Disorders at Milwaukee’s Children’s Hospital. After his research career, Dr. Walker practiced pediatrics in Louisville. Following retirement from private practice, he contributed to research on metabolic disorders and served on the institutional review board for University of Louisville and Bellarmine University.

Dr. Walker was a man of great spirit and courage. Though he was never athletic, after being severely injured in a car accident in 2009, he fought through multiple setbacks in his determination to walk again – which he did. He was a Christian who practiced his faith by using his knowledge to help others and provide for those he loved. They take comfort in the knowledge that he is at peace. “For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end.” Psalm 48:14