Roger R. Flynn

Roger R. Flynn, associate professor in the School of Computing and Information and co-founder of its undergraduate information science program, died June 6, 2018 at age 79.

Roger FlynnAfter earning his Ph.D. at Pitt in 1978, he joined the faculty and helped to develop undergraduate information science education at the school. He co-coordinated the new program with his wife, Ida Moretti Flynn, from 1979-1983, directing it himself after she passed away. He also was an early manager of the school’s computer laboratories.

He wrote the textbook “An Introduction to Information Science” (1987) and served as editor-in-chief of the four-volume Computer Science encyclopedia (2002).

Faculty member Michael B. Spring saw Flynn in action for 25 years, as they had adjacent offices.

“He was the finest teacher I have ever seen,” Spring said. “He relished helping people who had difficulty understanding the fundamentals of computer science.”

And there was no limit to the amount of time Flynn was willing to commit, Spring added.

“It would be very hard for you to be in the building any time between 7 in the morning and 10 at night and not run into him sitting in the hallway with a student,” Spring said. “Until he died, he was teaching two courses a term, three terms a year.”

Spring called Flynn “a very kind man, too, but he held students to standards. You didn’t want to lie to him or try to get away with stuff.” For those students willing to work, Spring added, “he would give you as many hours as you could consume.”

Flynn also was dedicated to teaching information science to inmates at the State Correctional Institute-Pittsburgh, otherwise known as Western State Penitentiary, in the 1980s and ’90s.

Jim Williams, Flynn’s teaching colleague until Williams’ retirement in 2001, also had Flynn as a student and recalls him as “a very bright, intelligent young man.” As department chair, Williams sat in on Flynn’s classes and was “amazed” at his ability to aid students: “He would come up with ideas about research projects that nobody would think of.”

Born May 11, 1939 in Chicago, Flynn earned a B.A. in philosophy from Villanova in 1962 and an M.S.T. in computer science from Illinois Institute of Technology in 1973. He published and presented widely during his many years at Pitt.

Flynn was predeceased by his wife and by his brother, Robert, and is survived by sons Anthony and wife Gina Godfrey, and Christopher and wife Kelly, as well as his four grandchildren, Flynn and Zedueh Godfrey and Emerson and Logan Flynn.

A memorial service will be held Aug. 25, at a location to be announced, followed by interment in Homewood Cemetery. Contributions may be made to the Ida M. Flynn Memorial Award through the Office of Institutional Advancement, 412-624-5800 (, or to the Epilepsy Foundation of Vermont, 802-775-1686 (

Marguerite Stella Jackson Schaefer

Marguerite Stella Jackson Schaefer, past dean of the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing, passed away June 19, 2018 in Slingerlands, N.Y., at the age of 95.

Schaefer was dean of the School of Nursing from 1966 until 1972 and was the first non-nurse to become dean of any school of nursing in the United States.

As dean, she was instrumental in the construction, plan and development of the Victoria Building, which now houses the School of Nursing. Nationally, Schaefer was the first non-nurse to receive the Alpha Tau Delta National Nursing Award, and was recognized for her contributions to the National Committee for the Study of Nursing and Nursing Education.

After stepping down as dean of the School of Nursing, she returned to the school in 1974 as a professor of nursing education and taught nursing administration for several years.

Schaefer was a founding member of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing and was a member of numerous health care organizations. She also was cited as one of Pittsburgh's Ten Distinguished Women.

Later as a resident of Pine Cay, Turks and Caicos Islands, she served for several years as board president of the Meridian Club. In 2008, she established the Marguerite J. Schaefer Institute to implement new concepts in health care for the elderly. 

Schaefer earned her bachelor’s degree at the University of New Hampshire, her master’s at Michigan State University, and her doctorate in biochemistry and human nutrition in 1963 at the University of Pittsburgh.

As a musician from an early age, Schaefer was an admirer particularly of Brahms, Chopin and Schumann and maintained a lifelong love of classical music, playing piano for enthusiastic audiences well into her 90s. She was a longtime supporter of the Pittsburgh Symphony, and in 2008 she established the Marguerite J. Schaefer Endowment for Music to support concert performances and music education at the Beverwyck Retirement Community in Slingerlands, where she lived for 20 years. 

She is survived by her children, Martha Johanna Schaefer and August George Schaefer, and five grandchildren.

Donations may be made to the Marguerite J. Schaefer Endowment for Music, c/o Northeast Health Foundation, 310 S. Manning Blvd., Albany, NY 12208. 


Lawrence Cabot Howard

Lawrence Cabot Howard, former dean of the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA), died March 19, 2018.

Born in Des Moines, Iowa in 1925, Howard served in the Army in the Pacific during World War II. He earned his undergraduate degree from Drake University in 1949, his master's degree at Wayne State University in 1950 and a Ph.D. in political science in 1956 from Harvard University. During his graduate school years, a trip to sub-Saharan Africa sparked a career-long interest in that region’s development.

Howard began his academic career at Hofstra University (1956-1958) and Brandeis University (1958-1961, 1963) and then worked as an associate director of the Peace Corps in the Philippines (1961-1963). He then became associate director of the Center of Innovation in the New York State Department of Education in Albany, followed by a post as director of the Institute of Human Relations at the University of Wisconsin (1964-1967) and vice president of the Danforth Foundation in St. Louis (1967-69).

In 1969, Howard joined Pitt as GSPIA dean until his retirement as professor emeritus in 1973. During a sabbatical, he traveled to Maiduguri in northeast Nigeria as a Fulbright Scholar, and worked with the government of the Bahamas as a consultant in public administration policy management.

Clarence Curry, a retired lecturer in the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business (1975-97) and Howard’s fraternity brother, recalls Howard’s tenure here as one of the few Black leaders at the University during his time.

Howard took an interest in aiding all students, Curry recalled, “but given the scarcity of Black faculty and students at Pitt in that era, he took a general interest in mentoring minority faculty and students. He was outgoing and interested in developing younger faculty as well as students. He mentored me in terms of my career in the business school.”

This focus was also reflected in Howard’s work. He recruited students from African countries to attend a business development program, in which Curry also taught, as well as a special program for students from French-speaking African countries, taught in French.

“Part of GSPIA’s national and international reputation were the strong programs it had for students from developing countries,” Curry said. “He was very proud of that.”

Howard was an editor of the volume “Public Administration and Public Policy: A Minority Perspective” (1977), and co-author of “Public Administration: Balancing Power and Accountability” (1998).

In 1994, the Lawrence Cabot Howard Doctoral Research Award was established to support doctoral students with an approved dissertation proposal, excellent scholarship and a commitment to social justice, to which memorial contributions are suggested.

Howard is survived by his wife, Elizabeth Fitzgerald Howard; daughters Jane, Susan and Laura; and many grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

Bodie Douglas

Bodie Douglas, Professor Emeritus of Chemistry, died on March 24, 2018.

Douglas joined the Pitt faculty in 1952, teaching and conducting research until his retirement in 1989. He stayed active in the department well into the 2000s, advising graduate students in inorganic chemistry.

During his academic career, he published numerous articles and several books, including a senior-level chemistry book in wide use across 49 years, “Concepts and Models of Inorganic Chemistry,” on which he was lead author. He taught as a Fulbright lecturer at the University of Leeds (England), and as a visiting professor at Osaka University (Japan) and in the former Yugoslavia.

Carol Fortney, chemistry lecturer, was a Ph.D. student in the chemistry department in 2003 when her thesis advisor of the past three years, faculty member Rex Shepherd, died suddenly. To prevent Fortney from having to start over on the research toward her degree, she recalled, Douglas came out of retirement to become her adviser. As she learned only later, he was returning a favor from 20 years earlier, when Shepherd had temporarily advised Douglas’ students after Douglas suffered a heart attack.

Fortney met with Douglas through the last months of his life, she said, to aid him in finishing a paper on crystal structures. Then in hospice care, Douglas was working with the software CrystalMaker and, just recently, donated the software to the University for the use of future students.

“He instilled his passion for chemistry in other people,” Fortney said. “I promised him that I would get his paper finished.”

Born Dec. 31, 1924, in New Orleans, Douglas entered Tulane University at age 15, graduating in absentia at age 18 because he was already attending the Navy’s officer training school. He served 1943-46 aboard battleships in the Pacific Theater in World War II. During his military stint, he married Gladys Backstrom, enjoying a 72-year marriage that ended with her death just two months before his own.

Douglas earned his master's degree at Tulane University and a Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry at the University of Illinois.  

He is survived by his children, Judy, Bruce, Sharon and Jan.

Nathan Davis

Nathan Davis

Professor Emeritus of Music Nathan Davis — pioneer in the academic study of jazz as the founder and director of the Pitt Jazz Studies Program and the annual Pitt Jazz Seminar and Concert — died April 8, 2018, at age 81.

Upon his 2013 retirement from the University, Davis was recognized as “an institution and an institution builder” by N. John Cooper, then Bettye J. and Ralph E. Baily Dean of the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences. Davis was celebrated for creating only the third curriculum-based jazz studies program at a major university in 1969 at Pitt. In its 48th year, the Pitt Jazz Seminar and Concert draws international jazz musicians to campus to present lectures and demonstrations and perform in the community, culminating in a star-studded concert.

Davis, a saxophonist who played and recorded widely throughout the years, also founded the University of Pittsburgh Sonny Rollins International Jazz Archives in the University Archives and the International Academy of Jazz Hall of Fame in the William Pitt Union. He established the Pitt Jazz Ensemble of student jazz musicians and vocalists, who present a concert on campus every spring and have performed internationally, and the William R. Robinson Recording Studio in Bellefield Hall for student use and education in recording methods. He also began the peer-reviewed International Jazz Archives Journal and was a composer of pieces in a plethora of musical genres, from jazz to classical, with fusions of multiple musical styles. His “Jazzopera: Just Above My Head” had its premiere in Pittsburgh in 2004, while the cello-piano duet “Matryoshka Blues” debuted in New York City in 2013 at the InterHarmony International Music Festival at Carnegie Hall.

He published several books, including “Flute Improvisation” (1975); “African American Music: A Philosophical Look at African American Music in Society,” with his wife, Ursula Broschke-Davis (1996); and “Writings in Jazz” (2002).

In 2013, he received the BNY Mellon Jazz Living Legacy Award from the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

“Of all the things I’ve done, the one I’ve enjoyed the most is teaching the history of jazz to undergraduate students,” Davis said as he was retiring from the University.

Don Franklin, professor emeritus and Department of Music chair for much of the time Davis was at Pitt, noted Davis’ singular impact: “We both came to the University as faculty members the same year, so I was able to see first-hand the passion he brought. I’d even call it a missionary zeal. He was a force in the department and the high profile he brought to jazz will remain at the University.”

Born in Kansas City, Kansas, Davis earned a bachelor’s degree in music education from the University of Kansas and his Ph.D. in ethnomusicology from Wesleyan University. Following a stint in the U.S. Army Band in Berlin, Davis stayed in Europe, performing and recording in Paris. He studied ethnomusicology at Sorbonne University in 1967 and composition under French composer and jazz critic André Hodeir.

Dave Pistolesi, a longtime member of the Pitt Jazz Committee, recalled meeting Davis in 1969, as Davis performed with Art Blakey at the famed Crawford Grill in the Hill District neighborhood of Pittsburgh. Davis eventually served on Pistolesi’s Ph.D. committee — his thesis was a history of jazz — and Pistolesi helped organize Davis’ jazz events each year.

He remembered sitting in Davis’ office, trying to take care of business for that year’s jazz seminar: “His office door would be open, students would pop by. I told him, ‘Nathan, we have things to do!’

“He made time for everybody,” Pistolesi added. “He was a straight shooter, a warm guy.”

Davis also relished the chance to join the Pitt football team as honorary assistant coach for its last game in Pitt Stadium in 1999, which Pistolesi facilitated. (Pistolesi retired 13 years ago as academic advisor to Pitt athletes.) It gave Davis the chance to visit the locker room and to have lunch with the team. “He talked about that for 20 years,” Pistolesi said. “He loved Pitt athletics and he loved Pitt.”

Davis is survived by his wife; children Pierre and Joyce; three grandchildren; and a brother, Raymond.

Additional obituaries for Davis can be read online at The New York Times, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and JazzTimes.


Linda Penkower

Linda Penkower

Linda Penkower, associate professor and chair of the Department of Religious Studies in the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, died Feb. 27, 2018, after a long battle with cancer.

Joseph S. Alter, director of the Asian Studies Center, memorialized her as “a valued and beloved colleague whose energetic, enthusiastic and broad contribution to Asian studies will be sorely missed.”

Penkower earned her bachelor’s degree in philosophy at the State University of New York-Buffalo in 1972, and received her other degrees from Columbia University — an M.A. in 1977, M.Phil. in 1992 and Ph.D. in 1993. Scholarships, including two Fulbright-Hays fellowships, and visiting faculty appointments allowed her to undertake extensive scholarship in Japan and China through 2004.

She taught at New York University and the University of Colorado-Boulder before joining Pitt in 1991. During her tenure at Pitt, she received numerous awards and grants, including several National Endowment for the Humanities fellowships, and served on the University Senate’s tenure and academic freedom committee.

Penkower’s work focused on medieval Chinese and Japanese Buddhist history as well as modern East Asian popular religion. Among her most recent publications was the book “Hindu Rituals at the Margins: Innovations, Transformations, Reconsiderations,” 2014, which she co-edited.

“She was a fighter — clearly,” said Adam Shear, her departmental colleague since 2001 and currently acting chair. He noted that, following a cancer diagnosis nine years ago, Penkower was teaching the demanding senior capstone seminar as recently as last fall.

“She was so dedicated to mentoring the work of young scholars,” Shear recalled. “She kept on being a relentless advocate for the department, and a wonderful mentor for the faculty in the department, especially the junior faculty.”

Shear said that during her 11 years as religious studies chair, among the 11 department faculty, Penkower brought three junior faculty members to tenure, hired two assistant professors and a new lecturer and worked to get lecturers promoted — “all the while being a mentor to graduate students,” he added.

Shear was particularly struck by Penkower’s ability to teach a seminar for undergraduates and graduate students on death and the afterlife in the Buddhist tradition. “She’s teaching this seminar while she is facing this real health crisis — and kept it to herself,” he said. “I really admired her teaching this class on this topic that must have weighed personally on her mind. She was also very optimistic about being able to beat the disease.”

He recalled his last conversation with her: “‘Let’s talk about what I’m going to be teaching next fall,’ she said. She wasn’t going to say, ‘I’m going to give up’ until the end.”

She is survived by her sister and brother-in-law, Sheila and Bruce Post, as well as nieces and nephews.

Memorial donations should be directed to the GCS Project, which aims to find a cure for gynecological carcinosarcoma, at

A memorial service for the Pitt community is set for March 18, 1 p.m. in the second-floor Alcoa Room of the School of Law, with the gathering beginning at 12:30 p.m.

Edward Gerjuoy

Edward Gerjuoy, emeritus professor of physics and astronomy in the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, died Jan. 31, 2018, at 99 following a long and varied career as a theoretical physicist, environmental lawyer and human rights activist.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Gerjuoy studied quantum mechanics at the University of California-Berkeley under Robert Oppenheimer (known as “father of the atomic bomb”), earning his Ph.D. in 1941. Not wishing to be involved in Oppenheimer’s atomic weapons research, Gerjuoy chose to work in a shipyard during World War II and then moved to New London, Connecticut, to research new Navy sonar technology. He helped develop anti-submarine strategies for Allied destroyers.

He joined the University of Southern California faculty in 1946, then discovered Pittsburgh during the summer of 1952, when he worked at Westinghouse Laboratory. That fall, he became a University of Pittsburgh faculty member.

After a stint back in industry beginning in 1958 — at the General Atomics Laboratory in San Diego and RCA Labs in Princeton, working on plasma physics — Gerjuoy returned to Pitt as a full professor in 1964. He researched nonrelativistic collision theory and electron-atom collisions through the early 1970s.

After spending a sabbatical year in 1974 as a first-year law student at Hastings College of Law in San Francisco, he enrolled in Pitt’s School of Law and graduated in 1977. He was appointed to the Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board by Gov. Richard Thornburgh in 1981 and served until 1987. Gerjuoy was editor-in-chief of the American Bar Association’s Jurimetrics: The Journal of Law, Science, and Technology for six years, published a number of legal papers concerning the qualifications of scientific expert witnesses and worked on environmental law cases for the Pittsburgh law firm Rose Schmidt, 1987 to 2002.

Gerjuoy was also involved with several prominent human rights cases, including serving on the defense team for Los Alamos employee Wen Ho Lee, who had been accused of espionage.

Physics and astronomy department chair Arthur B. Kosowsky noted that Gerjuoy’s contributions to their field continued long after his retirement. Starting in 2002, when he was named emeritus professor, Gerjuoy began his sixth decade of research by investigating the theory of quantum computing. One of his last articles, “Memories of Julian Schwinger,” concerning his former classmate, a Nobel Prize winner, appeared in the Asian Journal of Physics in 2014.

Professor Emeritus Ezra “Ted” Newman recalled his longtime departmental colleague as “the sweetest cantankerous person I’ve known” and “bigger than life.”

“He was one of the most fascinating characters I have ever known,” Newman said. “He had many, many moods, but Ed was an extraordinarily decent person. He was always for the downtrodden.”

Newman also noted that Gerjuoy was the first to welcome him to Pitt by inviting Newman to his home: “It was very, very lovely. I’ve had a good time with Ed for 60 years.”

Gerjuoy was married for 65 years to the late Jacqueline Reid, and is survived by sons Neil and Leif.