Halim El-Dabh, MFA’54, of Kent, Ohio, an Egyptian-American composer best known for the haunting, Eastern-infused ballets he wrote for Martha Graham, died on Sept. 2. At the time of his death, he was university professor emeritus of music at Kent State, specializing in composition and African ethnomusicology. According to The New York Times, hallmarks of his style include melodic fragmentation, rich sonic layering and lyricism combined with strains of the music of Egypt, where he grew up, and that of sub-Saharan Africa, where he did extensive fieldwork. He composed hundreds of pieces, including symphonies, concertos, chamber music and vocal works. His most famous composition was the score for “Clytemnestra,” one of four ballets Graham commissioned him to write, widely considered her masterwork. Halim leaves his wife, Deborah; children Shadia, Amira and Habeeb; and two grandchildren. Richard Smith ’54, of Warren, Vermont, who worked in college placement, career counseling, and engineering/ technical placement in higher education and business, died on Sept. 24 with his loving family by his side. His grandfather John Hall Smith founded Middlesex University, which occupied the land on which the Brandeis campus now stands. He leaves his children, Michele and Derek, and five grandchildren. Eliott Cohen ’57, P’93, of North Kingstown, Rhode Island, a real estate attorney, died on Aug. 11 in his sleep in hospice. He was known for his profound knowledge of the law and his proclivity for tipping bailiffs, clerks and parking attendants at the holidays. He is remembered fondly by his clients and business partners for his honesty and integrity. He was a founding member of Temple Habonim, in Barrington, and helped develop Lischio Field, in Slocum. He leaves his wife of 36 years, Linda; children Candice ’93, Andrea and Jeremy; his brother, Robert ’67; and five grandchildren. His nephew Craig Cohen ’00 also graduated from Brandeis. Criminal defense attorney Robert Bell ’59, of Santa Rosa, California, died on Nov. 16, 2014. Robert’s career in defending constitutional rights spanned four decades, with nearly 30 published cases in appellate courts and the California Supreme Court. He is survived by his wife, Theresa; daughter Sarah; son Daniel; stepchildren Felicity, Justin and Laurel; and four grandchildren. Ruth Ann Sigel ’59, P’87, of Palm Harbor, Florida, a businesswoman who became one of Boston’s first female software engineers, died on Oct. 10 after a long illness. After earning a degree in biochemistry from Brandeis, she worked for the Jimmy Fund for several years before leaving the workforce to raise her daughter. In the 1970s, she owned a Boston-area business that offered needlework instruction and supplies. During the ’80s, she returned to school to learn software computing and went on to blaze trails for women in the field of software engineering. After moving to Florida in the early 1990s to be closer to her grandchildren, she continued to work until her retirement at 77. She is survived by her daughter, Heidi ’87, and her three grandchildren.

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