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These obituaries are for people who died during 2021. They are listed in reverse chronological order. All of our obituaries have been collected by ASURA volunteers, primarily from the Arizona Republic. They have been edited for use in ASURA publications.
Robert James Creager, M.D.
Lecturer, Family Nurse Practitioners Program,College of Nursind
|12 Jan 2021||
Robert “Bob” James Creager, M.D., 69, passed away on January 12, 2021. Bob obtained his A.B. in biology in 1974 from Harvard University, where he graduated cum laude. He obtained his M.D. from the University of Colorado School of Medicine in 1977, where he also graduated cum laude. He completed his internship and residency in family practice at Good Samaritan Hospital in Phoenix, AZ from 1978 to 1981 where he served as Chief Resident in his final year. Realizing his dream for teaching medical students and residents, he began by tutoring medical students in Biochemistry and nursing students in Biology in 1974. He went on to lecturing at ASU College of Nursing for the Family Nurse Practitioners Program in 1981. This led to him obtaining his M.Ed. in Higher and Adult Education from ASU in 1985 and so began his long career in teaching and mentoring medical residents through the University of Arizona College of Medicine.
Mark I. Harrison
Adjunct Professor, College of Law
|11 Jan 2021||
Mark I. Harrison, 86, passed away on January 11, 2021. He was one of the country's most respected leaders in the field of legal and judicial ethics and professional liability -- a guiding light in the Arizona legal community.
He taught legal ethics as an adjunct professor at both the University of Arizona and ASU Law Schools. Mark loved serving as a mentor to younger professionals, mindful that the experience, knowledge, and values he had acquired should be paid forward to the next generation.
John David Ratliff
Professor, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
|8 Jan 2021||
John David Ratliff, 98, died on January 8, 2021. After graduating from high school, he received a scholarship to attend what is now ASU where he studied classic literature. His time in college was interrupted by his service as a radar technician on a Marine battleship in World War II. John returned from the South Pacific to complete his BA. He taught junior high for a year, married Dellamae Weller and headed for graduate school at Claremont College (MA). He then went to Stanford University for his Ph.D work (specialty in Shakespeare). He got a good job at Oregon State University, but wanted to return to Arizona and landed a position at ASU within a few years.
John enjoyed teaching, but his roving intelligence wouldn’t let him sit still. He intuited in the early 1960’s that the Valley he had known for so long was about to have a significant real estate boom and he wanted to be in on it. He plunged into the world of real estate, working for others at first to learn the ropes while continuing to teach. He’d opened his own business by 1965 and gradually reduced his hours on the ASU campus, but continued to teach Shakespeare courses into the 1970’s. His career in real estate took off and he was a force until he retired to travel the world in his later years. This last adventure took him to at least 80 countries.
John is survived by one daughter, three sons, their spouses and four grandchildren. (Source: Messinger Mortuary)
Rennard Strickland Collection of Western Film History co-acquired by ASU and Scottsdale's Museum of the West. Acquired in 2016
|5 Jan 2021||
Rennard Strickland, 80, died January 5, 2021. He was the Senior Scholar in Residence at the University of Oklahoma Law Center. Strickland, a native of Muskogee was considered a pioneer in introducing Indian Law into the University's legal curriculum. Strickland had been involved in the resolution of a number of significant Indian cases, including testifying on behalf of the Muskogee Nation and against the State of Oklahoma in the case which established the rights of American Indian tribes to engage in gaming.
Emeritus Professor, School of Molecular Sciences
|3 Jan 2021||
Jacob “Jack” Fuchs, 97, of Tempe, AZ, passed away January 3, 2021. His first recollection of interest in chemistry refers to an event that occurred at the age ten. He convinced his father to take him to the chemical supply house Eimer and Amend to purchase chemicals to augment the usual ones found in his regular chemistry set. Fast forward five years and Jack is now a laboratory assistant for his chemistry teacher at Stuyvesant High School.
In June 1944, he was awarded a B.A. in Chemistry from the Heights Campus of New York University but by that time he has already spent three months in basic training in the Army at Camp Croft, S.C. After serving in Europe as a Combat Infantryman with the 79th Infantry Division, he was discharged on Halloween, 1945. A blind date on New Year’s Eve brought Rose Lochansky into his life and they were married six months later. Then it was off to the University of Illinois-UC for graduate study. After receiving an M.S. (Chemistry) 1947 and a Ph.D. (Analytical Chemistry) 1950, there was an additional 18 months of post-doctoral training.
In 1952 Jack accepted an appointment as Assistant Professor of Chemistry at what was soon to become Arizona State University. In addition to normal advancement through academic ranks, he also served as Executive Officer of the department for 14 years. He retired as Emeritus Professor, School of Molecular Sciences in 2007 after 55 and a half years on the faculty, establishing a record dating back to the founding of the school in 1885. Jack was also a member of ASURA. In 1956, he conceived and inaugurated a course geared toward the training of atomic spectroscopists. The “Modern Industrial Spectroscopy” program was offered annually each summer for 40 years and drew attendees from most of the states in the U.S. as well as every continent except Antarctica. In 1985, Jack served as National President of the Society for Applied Spectroscopy.
No biography would be complete without mention of Jack’s parallel “career” as a musician which spanned six decades. He performed with many types of musical aggregations, both large and small, from jazz combos to symphony orchestras. He spent 27 years as Principal Timpanist with the Phoenix Symphony followed by 18 more years in the same capacity with the Symphony of the West Valley, providing him with the opportunity to share the stage with many notables ranging from the likes of jazz great Benny Goodman to conductor Arthur Fiedler. Perhaps his simultaneous listing for many years in American Men and Women of Science and in the International Who’s Who in Music sums up the life of Jack Fuchs, scientist/educator and musician.
Jack is survived by his daughter Tara (Alan) Roesler, Past President of ASURA, as well as a daughter-in law, four grandchildren and four great grandchildren. Jack was preceded in death by his wife, Rose, and a son.A visitation will be held on Thursday, January 7, 2021 from 12:30 pm – 1:00 pm with funeral service at 1:00 pm at Green Acres Memorial Chapel, 401 N. Hayden Rd, Scottsdale, AZ. The service will be live streamed at https://www.facebook.com/GreenAcresMortuary/ (Source: Arizona Republic) text
Sheldon Weiss Simon
Chair, Political Science Department
Director, Center for Asian Studies
|2 Jan 2021||
Sheldon Weiss Simon, 83, passed away on January 2, 2021. Besides being at the top of his class academically, in high school he found that he loved performing in musical theater. By college age, he was not only striving for academic excellence at the University of Minnesota but also studying vocal performance and appearing in university musicals. Upon graduation, he began his master's degree at the Woodrow Wilson School of International Studies at Princeton University with the thought of entering the foreign service upon graduation. Instead, he accepted an offer from the University of Minnesota to return for doctoral studies in political science.
Santos C. Vega
Professor Emeritus, Director, Community Documentation Program and Community Art and Research Organization in Hispanic Research Center
|2 Jan 2021||
Santos C. Vega, age 89, passed away on January 2, 2021. Santos honorably served in the U.S. Air Force, 1950-54 and was a Veteran of the Korean Conflict. He earned a B.A. Ed., 1958 and a M. Ed., 1959 from the University of Arizona; Bachelor of Law, 1967, from Blackstone School of Law; Ph.D., 1975, in Education from ASU; and a M.A in Theology, 2004, from San Francisco University.
Santos was a lay Dominican of the Life-Professed Order of Preachers Laity (OPL), St. Mary Magdalene Chapter, Tempe, Arizona. He directed the Hispanic Ministry Program at St. Thomas Theological Seminary, Denver, Colorado; Director of the Tercer Encuentro Process in Ecclesial Region XIII; was the Director of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, Denver, Colorado; and was the Executive Director of Braun Sacred Heart Center.
Santos was a passionate educator. His career in education began at the Florence Elementary and Junior High Schools, Florence, Arizona. He promoted education to all ages; he supported the Florence Head Start program; taught General Education Development (GED) courses and conducted the GED test throughout AZ, including the Gila River Reservation, Sacaton, AZ. Santos taught courses and was involved in programs at Central Arizona College, Phoenix College, University of Arizona, and ASU. Among many subjects, he enjoyed teaching English, Mexican American History, and United States citizenship courses. He ended his career at ASU where he served as a Director for the Community Documentation Program (CDP) and Community Art and Research Organization (CARO) in the Hispanic Research Center, and was a Professor Emeritus.
Santos received the President’s Volunteer Service Award from US President, Barrack Obama. This national recognition was due to his years of service including but not limited to: Vice Mayor of Florence, Arizona, President of Arizona Association of Chicanos for Higher Education, Board member of Aurora Public School District, committed member of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), and his participation on numerous Boards and Committees in both Colorado and Arizona. He also taught at the Arizona State Prison and volunteered as a firefighter.
Santos is survived by nine children, 23 grandchildren, 24 great grandchildren and his wife, Josephine R. Vega. Santos was preceded in death by his wife, Edilia G. Vega, two brothers and two sisters.
A visitation will be held on Monday, January 19, 2021 from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm, with a Recitation of the Holy Rosary at 6:00 PM, at Richardson Funeral Home, 2621 South Rural Road, Tempe, Arizona. Mass of Christian Burial will follow on Tuesday, January 19, 2021 at 10:00 AM at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church, 2121 South Rural Road, Tempe, Arizona. Interment, with full military honors, will follow on Wednesday, January 20, 2021 at 11:00 AM at Holy Hope Cemetery, Tucson, Arizona.
In Lieu of flowers, the family prefers donations to his church, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, 2121 S. Rural Rd. Tempe, AZ 85282. The funeral mass will also be live-streamed at: https://olmctempe.com/specialevents for those that cannot attend or don't feel comfortable attending. (Source: Arizona Republic)
ASU Retirees Association
Mailing address: PO Box 873308, Tempe, AZ 85287
Physical address: Community Services Building Room 201, 200 E. Curry, Tempe, AZ