In Memoriam: Alumni Classes of 1970-79

Fred Finkel ’70, of Marblehead, Mass., a well-known jeweler and goldsmith/silversmith, died on Oct. 17, 2012, from injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident. While at Brandeis, where he majored in music, he developed an interest in metals and gems and took a jewelry-making course. After graduation, he apprenticed with a jewelry maker and in 1976 opened a shop in Marblehead, on Boston’s North Shore. He developed into a renowned craftsman, not only working in silver and gold but also in bone, ivory and shell. He was one of a handful of craftsmen trusted by local clergy to repair religious ceremonial pieces and ornaments and also by museum directors to repair silver pieces fashioned 200 years ago by Paul Revere. An accomplished classical violinist, he enjoyed improvising on the “fiddle” and played with a group that accompanied him on guitar and banjo. He also dabbled with the mandolin, the washtub bass and spoons. He leaves his daughter, Serena; his son, Dario; and three grandchildren, Jordan, Michael and Brooklyn. Stephen Pastner, PhD’71, of Ann Arbor, Mich., a professor of anthropology, died on Dec. 29, 2012. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, he received his PhD in anthropology from Brandeis, where his work focused on the Baluchi people in Pakistan. He was a faculty member at the University of Vermont from 1970 until his retirement in 2002. He served as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Michigan after his wife, Judith, was appointed a professor there. In every way a true Renaissance man, Steve was a self-taught and accomplished musician (banjo, guitar, lute and orpharion) and a skilled sculptor. He also enjoyed hiking and canoeing. In addition to his wife, he leaves two daughters, Deborah and Rebecca; his sister, Jane; and two grandchildren, Elsie and Micah. John Charter ’74, of Bucksport, Maine, died on July 20, 2102, after a brief illness. He attended Fitchburg State College for a short time before joining the U.S. Air Force. He served for four years during the Vietnam era, then attended Brandeis. He moved to Maine in 2003 and was most recently employed at OHI (formerly Opportunity Housing Inc.) in Bangor. He leaves two sisters, Barbara and Margaret, and his brother, William. Melissa Susan Jaffe ’74, of Winter Park, Fla., died unexpectedly on Oct. 9, 2012. She worked at the Lakewood Center in Fern Park, where she was a well-respected member of the community. She previously worked in real estate management in New York and as a market research interviewer in Norfolk, Va. Melissa enjoyed taking cooking classes, doing yoga, working with a fitness trainer, attending art shows and going on cruises with her Lakewood friends. She is survived by her sister, Karen, and her brother, Nathan. Clifford Felder, MA’76, of Rehovot, Israel, a researcher at the Weizmann Institute of Science, died on Jan. 1. After graduating from Brandeis, the native of Fall River, Mass., earned a PhD in theoretical biochemistry from Iowa State University. Clifford worked for many years as a research associate in theoretical chemistry and biochemistry at Weizmann. He was an integral member of two teams of scientists exploring the molecular modeling of proteins, drugs and other organic/organometallic compounds. He leaves his mother, Louise, and two brothers, Fred and Lloyd. Elizabeth Auchincloss Ryles ’78, of Brookline, Mass., an artist and longtime program manager at WGBH, the Boston public television station, died peacefully on Dec. 6, 2012, surrounded by loving family, caregivers and friends. She had Parkinson’s disease. Throughout her life, Elizabeth was a practicing artist, producing works across a spectrum of media, including photography, drawing and painting, as well as jewelry, fabric and clothing design. She participated in Gateway Arts, a program for creative artists with disabilities. She also sang in the Trembletones, a singing group for people with Parkinson’s disease, where she met playwright Bobby Joe Bell, who became her beloved companion. In addition to her partner, she leaves her daughter, Phoebe; three sisters, Katharine, Sarah and Priscilla; and her father, J. Howland. Valerie Troyansky ’78, of New York, a longtime employee at the Metropolitan Museum of Art who rose to become the general manager of merchandising administration, died on Dec. 11, 2012, surrounded by loving family and friends. She had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer a year earlier. Valerie filled the last year of her life with joy, culminating in her marriage on Aug. 26, 2012, to Amy Chasanoff, who shared her medical adventures and a remarkably active social life until the end. Valerie was an engaged, generous alumna, serving on the national board of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program. She worked at the Met for 34 years and was president of the Museum Store Association. Valerie was a skilled silversmith and produced Jewish ceremonial objects from a bench at the 92nd Street Y. She was a founding member of West End Synagogue. In addition to her wife, she leaves her father, Howard; her brother, David ’78; her niece, Anna; and her nephew, Aaron. She was predeceased by her mother, Leila (Grossman) Troyansky ’53. Gifts in Valerie’s honor may be made to Brandeis University, 415 South St., Mailstop 122, Waltham, MA 02453, or online at­yourgift/tribute.