In Memoriam: Alumni
Gustav Ranis ’52, H’82, P’89, who was the valedictorian of the university’s inaugural graduating class and achieved a series of “firsts” during his 65 years as a Brandeisian, died on Oct. 15, 2013. In addition to graduating atop Brandeis’ Class of 1952, he was also the first alumnus to earn a PhD, be elected to Phi Beta Kappa and join the Board of Trustees. In recognition of his work as a renowned international economics professor at Yale and his dedication to his alma mater, he received an honorary degree and the Alumni Achievement Award from Brandeis. After escaping from Nazi Germany with his mother and brother, Peter ’58, in 1941, he settled in the U.S. in 1943. At Brandeis, he majored in economics and played for the football team. He served as Student Union president in 1950-51 and was senior class president the next year. As senior speaker at Brandeis’ first Commencement in 1952, he shared the stage with Eleanor Roosevelt, who delivered the Commencement address. He met his wife of 55 years, Rachel ’56, at Brandeis. Following graduation, Gus served as president of the Brandeis Alumni Association in 1953-54 and was on the Board of Trustees from 1968-93. He and his wife generously supported a number of initiatives at Brandeis, including the Class of 1952 Endowed Scholarship. After earning his doctorate in economics from Yale in 1956, he worked for the Ford Foundation in Pakistan from 1958-61 as director of the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics. He returned to Yale in 1964 as an economics professor and was named Frank Altschul Professor of International Economics in 1982. He led Yale’s Economic Growth Center from 1967-75 and 1992-93, and also consulted with the World Bank, the United Nations Development Program and the Brookings Institution. In addition to his brother and wife, Gus leaves two sons, Michael and Jonathan; his daughter, Bettina ’89; and four grandchildren, Benjamin, Daniel, Hanna and Sasha. His nephew Paul Ranis ’91, Peter’s son, also graduated from Brandeis. (For more, see the “In Memoriam” tribute on page 86.) Peter Kessner ’52, P’80, of New York City, who served as CEO of K&R Sportswear, died in March 2013. He was a Brandeis Fellow and received the Brandeis Pride Award in 1997. He was also the third president of the university’s Alumni Association, serving from 1954-56 and again from 1961-63. He leaves his wife, Eva; two daughters, Judith ’80 and Barbara; and 11 grandchildren. Milton Nichaman ’53, of Chevy Chase, Md., who conducted research in nutrition and epidemiology for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the U.S. Public Health Service, died on Aug. 18, 2013. He leaves his wife, Rhoda; daughters Judy, Leah and Shira; and eight grandchildren. Peter Nadash ’54, of West River, Md., a longtime leader at the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union (ILGWU), died on May 30, 2013, from cardiac arrest. The New York native graduated from Boys High School in Brooklyn and received a scholarship to play football at Brandeis, where he met his wife, Frances ’53. Upon graduation, he entered the ILGWU’s staff training school, beginning a career-long dedication to the trade-labor movement, working primarily on behalf of low-wage workers. He rose to become a business agent and district manager, and retired as an international vice president and a member of the union’s general executive board. In addition to his wife of nearly 58 years, he leaves his daughters, Nina and Pamela; his son, Daniel; his brother, Paul; and four grandchildren, Bennett, Carson, Hugo and Georgina. Lawrence Kane ’57, of Greensboro, N.C., who served his alma mater in a number of capacities, including director of public affairs, director of alumni relations and president of the Alumni Association, died on July 21, 2013. A Waltham native, Lawrence began his studies at Boston University before joining the U.S. Army, where he served as a public relations noncommissioned officer and combat correspondent during the Korean War. He was named New England Soldier of the Year in 1952. After graduation in 1957, he accepted a job as the assistant director of public affairs at Brandeis, where he helped organize campus visits by John F. Kennedy, Adlai Stevenson, Nelson Rockefeller and Eleanor Roosevelt. In 1958, Lawrence was elected to a two-year term as the sixth president of the Brandeis Alumni Association. He was promoted to director of public affairs in 1961, became an assistant to President Abram Sachar in 1965 and was named director of alumni relations in 1968. Throughout the 1960s, he also served as the university’s representative to the Archdiocese of Boston. After leaving Brandeis, he worked as executive director of the Human Life Foundation and served in development positions at Benedictine University, Marywood University, Lackawanna College and the National Council for Adoption. He was recognized by B’nai B’rith for promoting interracial and interfaith activities, was named Waltham’s Man of the Year in 1959 and received the Distinguished Alumni Service Award from Brandeis. He was the first former Brandeis employee to be elected a Fellow of the university. Lawrence leaves his wife of 61 years, Isabelle; daughters Sally, Anmarie, Patricia, Isabelle and Eileen; sons Christopher, Joseph, Lawrence Jr. and David; 15 grandchildren; and one great-grandchild. Glenn Fishbeck, MA’58, of Wesley Chapel, Fla., a leading crypto-linguist at the National Security Agency during his 48 years of federal service, died on Aug. 1, 2013. He was inducted as a distinguished member of the KRYPTOS Society in 2008. He earlier served as a Presbyterian minister. He leaves his wife, Diana; daughters Christine, Barbara, Carol and Sarah; son Tom; several stepchildren; and his sister, Doris. Steve Fishman ’59, of Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., a longtime social worker, died on June 14, 2013. He retired after more than 30 years of working at the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health. He enjoyed sailing and gardening; appreciated music, theater and movies; traveled extensively; loved cars; and was game for adventures of all sorts. He volunteered as a docent at the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium and the Point Vicente Interpretive Center; generously supported educational, environmental, health and social services organizations; and was a member of the South Coast Corvair Club. He leaves his wife, Henia; his stepdaughters; and four grandchildren. Harry Cohen ’59, of Laguna Beach, Calif., retired director of the County of Orange Mental Health Services, died on Aug. 21, 2013, after a prolonged battle with multiple myeloma. He received his PhD in psychology from McGill University in 1963 and later worked at the Stanford University sleep research lab. He joined the School of Medicine faculty at the University of California, Irvine, in 1972 and spent the last decades of his professional life in public health. He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Adrienne ’57; his sons, Sascha and Jonathan; his sister, Vicki; his brother, Irwin; and grandchildren Alexandra and Gabriella.