The Memorial Wall

Marshall B. Grossman

Marshall B. Grossman

March 24, 1939 - October 2, 2023

Marshall B. Grossman, an attorney for 55 years who had a highly successful practice, has died.

Burt Pines, a former partner of his, said that Grossman died Saturday night from Parkinson’s disease. He remarked:

“He was a towering figure in the field of civil litigation. A force of nature.

“He possessed a rare combination of intellect, verbal skills, tenacity, knowledge of the law, and ability to think outside the box to seek creative solutions to complex problems. 

“If you were on the other side of a lawsuit with Marshall, you were at a distinct disadvantage.

“I have known Marshall since the 10th grade and had the pleasure of working as his law partner for over 17 years, 1981-1999. 

“I could not have asked for a better partner or firm. Marshall set a standard of professionalism, excellence, integrity, and service to clients that was emulated throughout the firm. He was a wonderful mentor to younger lawyers. He cared about the people who worked with him. He was generous, thoughtful, and always available for assistance. 

“He’s also admired and respected for his work and service outside the practice, including his public service on the Coastal Commission and Commission on Judicial performance, and his service to many organizations in the Jewish community.”

Grossman has been honored by the Century City Bar Association and the Beverly Hills Bar Association for his contributions to the community and the legal profession.

He was a member of the California Coastal Commission in 1985, at a time when the Jonathan Club discriminated by race and religion in granting membership and it wanted to expand its Santa Monica beach facility by renting state-owned land. Grossman is quoted in the book, “Lawyers of Los Angeles, 1950 to 2020,” as declaring:

“What we’re saying is that if you’re going to take (58,000 square feet of) public-trust land, you’re going to have to use the facility in such a way that a Tom Bradley can be a member, that a Diane Feinstein can be a member, or that my kid can be a member.”

The Jonathan Club sued over the decision, losing.

Grossman assumed inactive bar status on Feb. 3, 2020.

He is survived by his wife, Marlene; his children, Leslie and Rodger; and three grandchildren, Sofia, Goldie, and Max.


Remembering Marshall B. Grossman

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Beverly Willis

Beverly Willis

February 17, 1928 - October 1, 2023

Beverly Willis, FAIA, an American architect renowned for her commitment to elevating female design professionals, has died at the age of 95 in Branford, Conn., following complications from Parkinson’s disease. Throughout a career spanning 65 years, Willis's achievements included several notable projects and leadership positions, but her labor went beyond shaping America's built environment. Disturbed by female invisibility in architectural history, Willis also helped mold professional architecture practice in the United States by highlighting accomplishments of, and advocating for, women in the building industry.


When asked why we should talk about the role of women in the architecture profession, Willis told ARCHITECT that "cutting-edge form and large projects have a place in architecture, but I believe most women are more concerned about society as a whole. Thousands of small interventions can make our cities a better place to live, while an occasional iconic, monumental structure does not. And then on the business level, there are more women executives today than ever before. These women are in the position to commission large projects, [and] I don't believe a single-sex team will make the grade."

Born on Feb. 17, 1928, in Tulsa, Okla., Willis was one of 200 women attending the University of Southern California in 1945. Shortly after, Willis studied aeronautical engineering at Oregon State University and, in 1955, she earned a B.A. in art from the University of Hawaii. After working as an independent artist for a decade, Willis founded her own San Francisco–based architectural firm in 1966 highlighting the potential of adaptive reuse throughout her practice and completing one of her best-known designs—the San Francisco Ballet Building—in 1983. In 1971, Willis also pioneered computer programming in firms with Computerized Approach to Residential Land Analysis, aka CARLA, a software developed in-house. Today, 13 of Willis's architectural designs are in the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., and her full archive of drawings resides in the Virginia Tech libraries.

In 2002, after 36 years of leading her eponymous firm, Willis noticed that architectural historians and textbooks often overlooked trailblazing female practitioners. "I looked back and realized that the arbiters of architecture culture had systemically overlooked some of the great women architects of my mid–20th century era," Willis told ARCHITECT in 2007. Aiming to correct this glaring omission, Willis founded the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation, initially a database aimed at honoring the contributions of female design professionals.

"Recovering the stories of women architects is a greater gift to future generations than the singular preservation of my own legacy," Willis explained to ARCHITECT. "It's a living legacy, if you will."

Willis hoped that the foundation would emphasize why the building industry needed a multitude of perspectives to build "a better environment for everyone," she said. "If we incorporate the ideas of the many over the visions of the few, we will create, in my opinion, a much more equitable and humanistic environment for everyone. And, really, shouldn't that be the profession's larger ethical goal?"

In the years since its founding, BWAF has expanded its reach, advocating for and fostering female contributions to the built environment.

Willis also advocated for the rights of women in the building industry, penning an opinion piece with Julia Donoho, AIA, for ARCHITECT in 2018 after multiple women accused the Pritzker Prize laureate Richard Meier, FAIA member emeritus, of sexual harassment.

"I became interested in the topic of sexual misconduct when I was trying to understand why many women were dropping out of the design field within their first 10 years of practice," Willis wrote with Donoho. "These were young and talented women who had excelled in architecture school. They were also vulnerable. Recent headlines have made it clear how prevalent sexual misconduct can be when powerful men hold the keys to a person’s career and advancement. There have been too few consequences and too much looking away."

In addition to many professional accolades—Willis was elected the first female president of the California Chapter of The American Institute of Architects in 1979 and received the chapter's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017—Willis also co-founded the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., in 1980.

Willis is survived by her spouse, Wanda Bubrisk. Willis's work is also highlighted in Emerging Ecologies: Architecture and the Rise of Environmentalism, an exhibition on view at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.


Remembering Beverly Willis

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Yacov Sharir

Yacov Sharir

August 22, 1940 - September 29, 2023

Yacov Sharir, who blazed trails for Austin modern dance and inspired University of Texas students for decades, died from complications related to Parkinson's disease. He was 83.

“Yacov Sharir has left an indelible mark on the cultural landscape of this country and certainly in Austin," Charles Santos, director of Dallas-based Titas/Dance Unbound, said. "He guided, trained, inspired more than one generation of movement artists studying at UT to go into the world and find their own creative paths.

"He was a mentor, a friend and a guidepost for me throughout my entire career," Santos continued. "His drive, his creativity and his humanity are permanent lessons I was lucky enough to glean from Yacov. He will be missed, but not forgotten.”

Sharir is credited with helping to put the UT dance program on the national map. In 1982, he founded a key Austin troupe in residence at UT, Sharir Dance Company. The troupe was rebranded in 1997 as Sharir + Bustamante Danceworks, when Sharir shared artistic leadership with fellow dancer and dance-maker José Bustamante.

Together, they brought some of the biggest names in modern dance — Bill T. Jones, Arnie Zane, Trisha Brown, Margaret Jenkins, Bella Lewitzky, Rina Schenfeld — to the city to work with local artists before the company shut down in 2007.

Born August 22, 1940, in Casablanca, Morocco, Sharir moved to Israel in 1948 at the nation's birth. He studied sculpture and ceramics at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design. Sharir danced with the Batsheva Dance Company School, Stuttgart Ballet and the Ballet Theatre Contemporain in Paris. As a performer, he worked under dance legends such as Martha Graham, Jerome Robbins and José Limón.

Early on, Sharir was asked to lead classes for the Batsheva troupe.

“I don’t know why they turned to me because there were other company members who had teaching experience," Sharir later said. "I started teaching that class and have never stopped.”

Fluent in French, Hebrew and English, Sharir became a dual citizen of Israel and the United States. In 1978, he arrived in Austin to create the American Deaf Dance Company.

One day after he arrived, Sharir was invited to teach at UT. "There is a fortune in being a teacher in terms of what you give and what you get," Sharir once said. "To see the transformation in students’ lives is unbelievable. You’re not only teaching dance. You’re teaching your life experience and you’re sharing with them very precious moments. That’s a treasure.”

"Yacov changed my life," said Andrea Beckham, one of the city's leading dance-makers and teachers. "First as a student — I was a sociology major, pre-law, taking his modern dance class — then as a longtime company member of Sharir Dance Company, and later as a colleague in the department of theater and dance for almost 30 years. He mentored me and informed me of my way to move through the world of dance, of choreography, of academia and of life, as a citizen of the world."

In 1989, Sharir secured backing for a 10-year project shared with the legendary Merce Cunningham Dance Company. UT's College of Fine Arts provided the space for Cunningham’s rehearsals and, in exchange, students worked alongside artists of the first rank. This project led to three world premieres.

"Yacov Sharir was a true dance visionary," said Carol Adams, former executive director of Sharir Dance Company. "He collaborated with composers, musicians and visual artists to develop new work. This unique approach to producing and presenting dance afforded Austin audiences ongoing opportunities to see a wide variety of cutting-edge dance and performance. As a colleague, he was inspirational and nurturing, always striving for excellence on and off the stage. As a friend, he was always there for me, and I will treasure our decades of experiences and friendship."

Late in his career as a dance-maker, Sharir pioneered virtual reality, intelligent fabrics and interactive systems in performance. These experiments earned him fellowships from the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity and the National Endowment for the Arts.

"Yacov Sharir was one of the most extraordinary faculty members I knew in my four decades at UT," said Charles Roeckle, retired deputy to the university's president. "His acclaimed accomplishments for the art of dance in the classroom, in performance and in research are a testament to his unparalleled knowledge and vision, as well as his indefatigable hard work and dedication.  But beyond what he accomplished were the personal qualities that made Yacov so special — his boundless enthusiasm and his buoyant optimism."

Sharir's wife, Pat Clubb, who retired as UT's vice president of operations in 2016, said plans for a memorial on campus are underway.

"He was very much a fighter," Clubb said. "He never gave up. He just did it. He had an enormous amount of energy. It was hard to keep up with him. In public, he was charismatic but reserved. Very genuine, gracious, very stubborn. He was determined to do the right thing."

Sharir leaves behind a daughter as well as Clubb's two sons. "We have six grandsons between us," Clubb said.

"He had a pair of phrases that came to shape my life," Beckham said, "and the lives of our shared students: 'This too shall pass,' and if that wasn’t happening, 'You will prevail.'" 


Remembering Yacov Sharir

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Ben S. Wood III

Ben S. Wood III

July 5, 1945 - September 21, 2023

Ben S. Wood III, 78, died peacefully on Wednesday, September 21, 2023, after a long battle with Parkinson’s Disease. Ben was the son of Ben S. Wood II and Rachel Humphries Wood. He died in his home on Blue Lantern Farm, the only home in which he ever lived.

Ben was a well-known, local businessman who owned the Copper Still stores and Blue Lantern Farms, among other business ventures. He loved history and was an avid student of genealogy, having served as President of the Christian County Historical Society. Ben served on numerous boards and committees, including the Hopkinsville-Christian County Library Board.

Having a fondness for antiques, Ben accumulated several collections of historical items, including old whiskey jugs, antique spoons, lap blankets, and China tea cups. Ben loved animals, and he established a pet cemetery on his property. Ben and his father owned several horses, and they raised and raced trotting horses at the Red Mile in Lexington. After he retired, Ben continued to attend races there.

Ben is survived by his long-time companion, Kathy Faye Collins, his sister, Diane (Joey) Wood Pendleton, Kathy’s children, Richard Dale (Stacy) Collins, and Brooklyn (Kristopher) Collins Bliss, Kathy’s grandchildren, Richard Dale Collins Jr. and Zackery Hunter Collins, and Ben’s beloved pets, George and Rocky.


Remembering Ben S. Wood III

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Dr. Ross Carl Sugar

Dr. Ross Carl Sugar

February 8, 1960 - September 18, 2023

Dr. Ross Sugar, a loving husband, dedicated father, fantastic friend and accomplished physician, passed away in Baltimore on September 18, 2023, at home, surrounded by his family. He leaves behind a legacy of love, laughter, and a life enthusiastically lived.

Born on February 8, 1960, at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, Ross was the beloved son of Jack and Judy Sugar. He grew up in Garrett Park, Maryland, surrounded by sisters who adored him and a broader family who cherished him dearly. During his youth, he displayed a natural aptitude for math and science, and a love for athletics, excelling in tennis, golf, and running.

Ross had a lifelong bond with tight-knit groups of friends from high school and college. His friends appreciated his humor, kindness, sense of adventure, and enthusiasm for life. He was there to support and help any friend, anytime, anywhere, for whatever they needed. His friendships endured throughout the years, until the very end.

Ross attended Charles W. Woodward High School in Rockville and Duke University, where he earned a degree in mathematics. His passion for learning led him to a career in programming, where he met his future wife, Julie, who worked on his software development team. Their love story began at JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) in California, where they shared a passion for travel, humor, and calculus, and embarked on a journey that would define their lives.

They married in 1990 in Baltimore, surrounded by family and friends. Throughout their marriage, Ross and Julie supported each other professionally, challenged each other intellectually, and never stopped making each other laugh. They enjoyed traveling the world together and shared a passion for restoring old houses, renovating 8 of the 9 homes they owned together. Julie’s pragmatic nature complemented Ross’s visionary outlook, and she excelled at turning Ross’s ideas into reality. Everyone who knew them was aware of their deep respect, reverence, and love for each other.

During his first career, Ross had the privilege of working on many exciting projects, including some at NASA, where he contributed to cutting-edge scientific endeavors. However, he felt a calling for a new adventure and craved to follow closer in his physicist father's footsteps. At the age of 34, he embarked on a second career by enrolling in medical school.

His dedication and brilliance were evident as he achieved the highest grade in the country on his subspecialty boards, winning him the Elkin’s award. As a pain management doctor and exceptional diagnostician, Ross was known for his analytical mind. His scientific approach to medicine enabled him to unravel complex medical mysteries. In his residency, after lamenting the lack of quick-reference books for PM&R (Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation) residents, he co-authored one using his own personal notes and drawings. Called the “PM&R Pocketpedia,” it is used by medical residents across the country.

His patients admired and adored him, recognizing his caring and compassionate nature. He had a “no shortcuts” approach to patient care and pain management that resulted in him being voted Baltimore’s Top Doctor many times. His professional journey took him all over the country, including to Los Angeles, Atlanta, Richmond, and Baltimore.

Ross first became a father while in medical school, and was incredibly proud of his children, Kirsten and Nevin, whom he cherished above all else. Parenthood was a central part of his life and he believed it was the most important thing he would do. He coached his son’s sports teams and participated in his daughter’s nightly piano practices, never missing a night. He was their emotional mentor, confidante, and biggest supporter, never missing a single game, show, or event and always answering every phone call.

Dr. Ross Sugar had a lifelong thirst for mastery and knowledge. He played the guitar and violin, enjoyed golfing, tennis, running, skiing, and hiking, and had a diverse set of ever rotating hobbies and pursuits. His retirement allowed him to explore these interests fully and start up new ones. He took up drumming, drawing, and songwriting. He and his sister Erica took boxing lessons together. He edited scientific papers and even wrote a horror screenplay in his later years.

Even after his Parkinson’s diagnosis at 54, he was obsessed with pushing his body and his endurance to their limits. He cycled (he preferred the hills), continued to ski (the steepest black diamonds), climbed mountains (at the age of 53, he and three friends climbed part of Mt. Ranier), and undertook long distance hiking (he walked 500 miles on foot from New York City to Toronto over the course of months in early retirement to raise money for Parkinson’s research). He was fascinated with achieving peak physical fitness and was constantly reading books and researching in pursuit of this goal.

Music was an equally integral part of his life. He was a true aficionado of classic rock and classical music. His ability to identify songs and artists was unmatched and he wasn’t afraid to shed a tear over a powerful chord or a moving lyric.

He had a satirical, self-deprecating sense of humor, and a glimmer in his eye that always made you feel in on the joke (he was a master joke teller, often in character). He had a talent for giving moving toasts and telling engaging stories.

Ross was a dreamer, always brimming with new ideas that he eagerly shared with those around him. He also had a knack for explaining complex things in understandable terms. He was a charming and gentle soul, who had a talent for making others feel like they were the most interesting person in the room. He was open-minded and had an insatiable curiosity, always eager to learn new things.

Dr. Ross Sugar's legacy will live on in the hearts of his family, friends, and the countless lives he touched through his medical practice. His unconditional love, boundless humor, and infectious excitement for life will be remembered with reverence and gratitude.

He leaves behind his wife Julie, his children Kirsten and Nevin (and wife Hilal), his sisters Eve Clancy (and husband Tom) and Erica Sugar (and husband Bobby), his nephew Sam, his uncle Don Blumberg, his aunt Judy Brodsky, his cousins Karen Sledge and Rich Belzer, his sisters-in-law Georgia VanBeck, Linda Kacur (and husband John), and brother-in-law Bob Rappold (and wife Barbara). Ross is also survived by many loving nieces and nephews and countless dear friends.

Remembering Dr. Ross Carl Sugar

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Fernando Botero

Fernando Botero

April 19, 1932 - September 15, 2023

Fernando Botero, a Colombian artist who developed a signature style painting rotund, inflated yet sensuous figures with a whimsical or satirical edge, and who branched into monumental sculptures that adorned some of the world’s most famous boulevards, died September 15th, 2023 at a hospital in Monaco. He was 91.

Mauricio Vallejo, a co-owner of the Art of the World gallery in Houston and a close friend of Mr. Botero’s, confirmed the death and said the artist had pneumonia and Parkinson’s disease.

Mr. Botero’s aesthetic — often shorthanded as Boterismo — became a major draw at contemporary art museums and decorated the Champs-Élysées in Paris, Park Avenue in New York, Madrid’s Paseo de Recoletos and other renowned thoroughfares, as well as parks and plazas from Buenos Aires to Moscow to Tokyo. His emblematic oversized figures helped turn global attention to Latin American artists in the second half of the 20th century.

With deadpan irreverence, he scoured Colombia’s bourgeois urban scenes for imagery of extravagance, pomposity and greed. Mr. Botero early in his career seized on sharp visual contrasts: Tiny snakes, parrots, flies and bananas adorn his portraits of blimpy bullfighters, bishops, prostitutes, acrobats, ballroom dancers and politicians. Men with rotund faces sport tiny mustaches; hefty ladies smoke miniature cigarettes.

His figures on the canvas and cast in bronze were often voluptuous and slyly fanciful, although he would turn later to darker themes inspired by current events, such as drug violence in Colombia and torture at the U.S.-run Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

Mr. Botero’s work was highly popular and could fetch millions of dollars. Critics, however, especially in the 1960s, did not always approve of his work. Some dismissed it as gimmickry or caricature. An ARTnews reviewer once belittled his enlarged figures as “fetuses begotten by Mussolini on an idiot peasant woman.”

Edward J. Sullivan, a New York University professor who specializes in Latin American contemporary art, traced such animosity to the humor and accessibility of Mr. Botero’s public art installations, which challenged an establishment that often embraced inscrutability and jealously guarded its gatekeeper role.

“My popularity has to do with the divorce between modern art, where everything is obscure, and the viewer who often feels he needs a professor to tell them whether it’s good or not,” Mr. Botero told the Los Angeles Times. “I believe a painting has to talk directly to the viewer, with composition, color and design, without a professor to explain it.”

Mr. Botero’s cheekiness showed in his paintings of Marie Antoinette sauntering through the cobble-stoned street of a Colombian town, a humongous ballet dancer en pointe at the barre, and a serious-minded cleric lying in comical repose in a park. In a self-portrait, Mr. Botero depicted himself as a painter dressed in full bullfighting regalia.

He rejected suggestions that he should move beyond the voluminous figures in his paintings and his bulbous sculptures.

Fernando Botero Angulo was born in Medellín on April 19, 1932, the second of three siblings. His father, a salesman who sometimes made his rounds on horseback, died of an apparent heart attack when Mr. Botero was 4. His mother, a seamstress, struggled to maintain the family.

An uncle enrolled Mr. Botero in a bullfighting school, where pupils practiced passes before imaginary bulls. “We were about 20 pupils in the school. After much training, one day, the professor finally said, ‘Now, we’re going to experience with a real bull.’ Nineteen left the school, me included,” Mr. Botero told the South China Morning Post.

He began sketching scenes from the bullring, finding a passion outside his Jesuit school, where priests, scandalized by an admiring essay he wrote on the Spanish artist Pablo Picasso, expelled him in 1949.

Mr. Botero graduated from a public high school, eventually moving to Bogotá, the Colombian capital, a breathtaking experience that thrust the young artist into a creative milieu — artistic and literary — far removed from provincial Medellín. When one of his paintings placed second at a national competition in 1952, he used the prize money to study art in Madrid.

He visited the Louvre in Paris and settled in Florence in 1953, delighting in Renaissance paintings. But upon returning to Colombia in 1955, Mr. Botero bombed in his efforts to sell his work.

Mr. Botero and his first wife, Gloria Zea, moved a year later to Mexico City, where Mr. Botero seized on what would become his signature style. A Botero painting from this era — depicting a mandolin with an improbably tiny sound hole that made the instrument appear out of proportion — signified the artist’s exploration of volume.

He told the South China Morning Post that he resented the tendency among some viewers to dismiss his subjects as fat. “For me, it’s an exaltation of volume and sensuality,” he said. “I’ve done the opposite of what most artists do today — I’ve given importance to volume. I’ve also given importance to subject matter and expression — poetry. I don’t want to shock people. I want to give them pleasure.”


Remembering Fernando Botero

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Lisa Walsh

Lisa Walsh

January 1, 1954 - September 14, 2023

From the day she started editing the Longboat Observer to the day she handed over editing duties of the four newspapers she built with her husband, there was never a frantic rush, never a shout, never a tense flurry of activity to meet deadlines. 

No matter how late the papers to the printers or how big the story, Lisa Walsh was never anything but poised. 

It had nothing to do with how much she cared about the papers — and make no mistake, she cared down to the comma — running around barking orders or breathing down reporters’ necks to get copy just wasn’t her nature.

But that doesn’t mean she wasn’t effective. As she leaned over your desk and said, “We’re going to need that story now,” writers got the message. Despite her petite 5-foot-4 frame, perfectly styled hair and manicured nails, she was tough. And everyone knew it.

Of course, everyone knew this by the way she faced challenges — head on. She sought solutions instead of indulging in problems. She let logic prevail over emotion. And in her understated way, whether it was navigating three deadlines a week, sorting out a crisis at a nonprofit or even battling a rare form of Parkinson’s disease for seven years, she led with patience, grace and dignity.

It was that way until the end. She died at 12:25 a.m. Thursday, September 14th, 2023, from complications from her Parkinson’s. She was 69. 

Walsh died at Sarasota Memorial Hospital. When her health began deteriorating rapidly Tuesday, September 12th, 2023, doctors gave her four to six hours to live. She kept going for 27 more.

“My mother, tiny though she was, was incredibly strong and determined and never gave up,” said Emily Walsh, her eldest daughter.

Walsh was surrounded when she died by her husband Matt and three adult children, Emily, Kate, and Brian. Walsh is also survived by three grandchildren, Rhys Parry, 13; Maeve Walsh, 6; Jackson Walsh, 3; her father, David Beliles, of Sarasota and her brother, David Beliles Jr., Lincoln, Nebraska.  

On Longboat Key and in Sarasota and east Manatee County, the Walshes are most known publicly for the Observer Media Group, which publishes multiple weekly print publications, seasonal and quarterly magazines and daily news websites. 

But Lisa Walsh, based on accounts from her family and friends in Sarasota and beyond, was much more than a newspaper editor. 

She was a devoted wife, mother and grandmother, quick with advice and counsel and also quick to host and prepare a feast-worthy Christmas dinner. She was a behind-the-scenes executive, idea-generating machine and tight-knit business partner with Matt — they were married 47 years — as they and the Observer Media Group navigated the rapidly-changing media industry for nearly three decades.

Walsh was an intensely loyal philanthropist who gave time and treasure to a host of causes; and a go-to friend for many who loved to giggle with her partners-in-crime while also providing a trusted and empathic shoulder — in addition to recipes, suggestions for books and what TV shows to watch. On that last point, one of her more recent TV recommendations was Bosch, an Amazon Prime show based on the Michael Connelly novels.

“She was brilliant and beautiful,” said Brian Lipton, director of the West Coast Florida chapter of the American Jewish Committee, one of the organizations Lisa Walsh supported. “She was a kind lady and a class act.” 

Despite her title of vice president and executive editor, Walsh was happy to let others have the spotlight. In the business, she let Matt do most of the talking at companywide presentations, but the two shared all big decisions. 

Every business expansion or sale, every hire or fire was discussed around the dinner table — with Lisa providing the level-headed counterbalance to Matt’s passion and eagerness to grow. 

From the height of the toilets in the ladies’ room to the fonts of the redesigned print editions to the company’s taglines — many of which she dreamed up in her witty style — were subject to the Lisa taste test. 

Humor was a primary tool for persuasion for Lisa. In response to one angry reader who wrote a searing letter to the editor complaining about the conservative nature of the Longboat Observer’s editorial page and its incorrect bridge column, Lisa retorted: “We do apologize for the error in the bridge column, and in the future, we will keep it just like our opinion page: right.” 

Devotion to community and her friends and family were another hallmark of Walsh’s life. On the community side, she served as president of the boards of Safe Place and Rape Crisis Center and the Longboat Key Center for the Arts and on the boards of the Longboat Key Chamber of Commerce and Ringling College Library Association. As the chair of galas for the American Jewish Committee, Neuro Challenge Foundation for Parkinson’s and Sarasota Ballet, she raised thousands of dollars for those organizations.

Those community activities paid off for Walsh as well. She made close, lasting friendships. Derek Billib, another longtime SPARCC board member, says Walsh was the most sensitive person of their group. “She was so compassionate, sincere and genuine,” Billib said. “When she was talking with you, she was always listening, always paying attention.”


Some friendships go back to Walsh’s University of Missouri college days, in the early 1970s. That’s when she both pledged the Pi Beta Phi sorority and met Merry Gnaegy, a fellow sorority sister, who went on to become a lifelong friend. 

Gnaegy introduced Walsh, then Lisa Beliles, to a Mizzou journalism major and baseball player named Matt Walsh, setting the pair up on a blind date. 

Walsh and Gnaegy were roommates for several years. They danced to Elton John’s “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” attended formal dinners, line danced to “China Grove” and hit the “Double Bubble” at the Ramada Inn, Gnaegy recalls. 

Even back then, echoing a theme in her life, Gnaegy says Walsh “always seemed put together. She had that perfect complexion that didn’t require makeup. She was smart, cute and perky, even in our standard attire of overalls, saddle oxfords and red bandanas.”

Walsh became president of the Pi Phi house in her junior year. In recent years, after Walsh became a primary financial contributor to rebuild the sorority house, the sorority named the president’s suite after her, with her name in a plaque on the wall next to the door.

Last fall, on a trip through Columbia, Missouri, Lisa and Matt stopped at the sorority house. She wanted to see the plaque for the first time in person. It was on the second floor of house — a house with no elevator.

Unable to walk because of her Parkinson’s, with Matt holding her up from behind and bystanders watching in amazement, Lisa held on to the stair railings and pulled herself up two flights of stairs and shimmied down two flights of stairs.

“I learned early on in our marriage,” Matt says, “despite her diminutive size and elegant demeanor, it was never a good idea to tell her she couldn’t do something. She had amazing inner strength and determination; always poised, never a raised voice, never complain; she would do what needed to be done, never giving up. It was that way to her last breath. A role model for us all.”


Remembering Lisa Walsh

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Robert A. Seaman

Robert A. Seaman

June 15, 1935 - September 11, 2023

Robert Amasa Seaman passed away peacefully at home on the morning of September 11th, 2023 in the Banning-Wrigley Historic District of Wilmington, California with his wife of 37 years by his side. Diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease over 8 years ago, he constantly defied his medical team’s expectations with his strength and determination.

Bob was born June 15, 1935, in Fowler, California, to Rev. Maurice Seaman and Gladys (Lawson) Seaman. Three years later, the family expanded by one with the birth of Bob’s brother, John. Gladys was a lifelong musician and teacher, exposing her sons early on to myriad musical performances. Bob preferred classical music, especially Mozart, as a result.

Bob started his unbelievable athletic exploits at Reedley Grant Elementary school as part of an 880-meter relay team which set a record at the West Coast Relays. He competed in high jump and the standing long jump as well.

At Reedley High School, he was active in student government, usually as the vice president or president of his classes. A three-sport athlete, he excelled in the middle-distance events and relays, took the field as a defensive end and halfback on the football team, and was a forward on the basketball team. It was as a mighty Pirate that he won the state mile at 4:21 on the historic clay track at Ratcliffe Stadium, beating the record set by the iconic Louis Zamperini of Torrance in 1934.

Originally committed to Occidental College, this record-shattering run meant that a spot at UCLA opened for him instead. UCLA was hoping to turn around 30 years of track dominance by USC, which they proudly accomplished by his senior year. Under coach Ducky Drake, Seaman set records his freshman year in the half mile and mile, running 1:49.9 and 4:14 respectively. By his sophomore year, he was getting closer to the four-minute-mile mark, running the mile in 4:01.4 in the Compton Relays. Bob’s little brother, John, joined him on the track team at UCLA. At the Stanford meet, they tied in the mile, crossing the finish line holding hands. In 1957, the UCLA team captain was also named the American Mile Champion of the Year.

Seaman toured with the Los Angeles Track Club after his graduation from UCLA. In 1962, he became the eighth athlete in history to run a sub four-minute mile, at 3:58 in London. He proved his talent once again in 1963 at the Compton Invitational, running the mile in 3:59.1. At the time, it was considered the “Greatest Mile Race in History,” with 6 men being timed at under four minutes.

His world class run ended with an Achilles injury, but Seaman did not leave the world of track and field. In 1968, he joined the Amateur Athletic Union, moving from a competitor role to establishing the qualifying standards for national championships. He was the women’s track chairman with the AAU from 1972-1990. Involvement in Olympic and World Cup track teams came naturally, and he assisted in both Latvia and Montreal. Seaman was assistant manager of the US Women’s Olympic team in 1984 and the head manager in 1998. He was also an award-winning meet official up until his retirement in 1996.

In 1986, Bob married Simie Hollis and they settled into their Spanish-style home in their historic Wilmington neighborhood. They loved hosting parties and often displayed their impeccable home on home tours. They donated much of their time to the Banning Mansion and Museum and loved going to the museum’s events.

Bob worked at SC Johnson for nearly 38 years and Allied West Paper Corporation for an additional 15. Post retirement, he was an extra in several movies, regaling us at the holidays with amusing stories from on set.

Bob was a meticulous man. He carried himself with elegance and was never seen with a hair out of place, his beard perfectly groomed. He loved his yard and his cats, the official pets and the strays. He cheered on the Bruins in every sport he could catch on television. When home, he liked to spend time in his office and on the adjoining balcony.

While Parkinson’s disease did strip him of some of his autonomy, it did not take his memories or his quick wit. He could remember dates and times and the weather of any event in his past, and always the full names of his acquaintances. He was always able to make connections between people and places and had the most unbelievable, but ultimately true, stories of his exploits.

Bob is survived by his wife, Simie. He is missed by his brothers-in-law, Gregory and Rock (Theresa); his niece, Desiree (Matt); nephew, Rock, and his grand-nieces and grand-nephews. He was preceded in death by his mother, Gladys; his father, Maurice; his brother, John; his sister-in law, Lana; and his most beloved feline, Daisy.


Remembering Robert A. Seaman

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Ian Wilmut

Ian Wilmut

July 7, 1944 - September 10, 2023

Ian Wilmut, the British embryologist who led the team that created the first mammal cloned from an adult cell, popularly known as Dolly the Sheep, died at the age of 79. Wilmut died after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2018, according to the University of Edinburgh.

Wilmut, Keith Campbell and other members of their team are credited for what is arguably one of the greatest scientific breakthroughs in the 20th century—the creation of the cloned sheep Dolly from an adult cell in 1996. Campbell passed away in 2012. Dolly’s cloning was the first time that scientists were able to make a mature adult cell behave like a cell from a newly fertilized embryo, according to AP. This meant that they were able to create an animal genetically identical to the “donor.”

The researchers used a cell from the mammary gland of a dead adult sheep to create a new living animal, according to BBC. They stimulated the cell with electricity and added chemicals, which changed the adult DNA into an embryo. They then put this into an empty sheep’s egg before implanting it into a surrogate sheep.

Dolly’s birth nearly 30 years ago was an epic scientific achievement, but it also sparked debate about the ethics of this research. A year after Dolly’s birth, then US President Bill Clinton announced a ban on human cloning experiments, stopping short of banning all cloning research. Dolly’s life came to an end not long after. About six years after birth, the sheep developed an incurable lung tumor and it was euthanized by scientists.

After the terrific success of the Dolly experiment, Wilmut focused his efforts on using cloning technology to make stem cells that could be used in regenerative medicine. His work was critical to research into treating genetic and degenerative diseases by helping the human body repair damaged tissue.

While his research did trigger anxieties about the ethics of cloning technology, many of those fears haven’t really panned out. Wilmut is a hero of the scientific community and his research laid the groundwork for new medical technology that could save lives.


Remembering Ian Wilmut

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Paul J. Gallagher

Paul J. Gallagher

August 16, 1943 - September 7, 2023

Retired Summit County Common Pleas Judge Paul J. Gallagher, who worked in public service for more than 40 years, died after a long illness. He was 80 years old.

“He had Parkinson’s,” said his wife, Diane K. Evans, an attorney. “So it’s over. He’s not suffering anymore, so that’s good.”

A Cuyahoga Falls resident, Gallagher retired Dec. 31, 2018, after 12 years as a judge. During his distinguished career, he also served as a Summit County Council member and Portage County assistant prosecutor.

“He was a good man,” Evans said.

Born August 16, 1943, in Roslindale, Massachusetts, Gallagher was a baby when his Irish American family moved to Akron. His father, John, was an accountant at Firestone. His mother, Mary, taught at West High School.

He graduated from Archbishop Hoban High School in 1961 and earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the University of Notre Dame in 1966 after spending a year in a monastery wearing a cassock.

No wonder that judge’s robe felt so comfortable in later life.

He started out as a journalist, working as an intern for the Record-Courier, a reporter in Connecticut, West Virginia and Maryland, and then as a press secretary in Maryland, earning a master’s degree in administration science from Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. Gallagher returned home to Ohio after the 1970s.

Gallagher served as Tallmadge safety service director from 1980-82 before going to law school at the University of Akron. After earning a law degree, he worked as a defense attorney for several years.

He was elected to Summit County Council in 1984 and served until 2006. Gallagher also served as assistant prosecutor in Portage County from 1991 to 2006, starting in juvenile court, then moving to municipal court and common pleas, where he was one of the lead prosecutors.

“He was a guy who always spoke his mind, which is good, and had strong convictions in what he believed in,” said retired Judge Tom Teodosio, a longtime friend. “I think that’s what I’ll always remember Paul for.”

Teodosio served with Gallagher on the County Council from 2000 to 2006, and remembers how the local media labeled him “a watchdog” because he was a straight shooter who sometimes disagreed with the county executive’s office.


Drawing on his journalism experience, Gallagher published a newsletter called County Watch and used it as a platform to raise issues.

After they both were elected to Summit County Common Pleas in 2006, Teodosio said Gallagher earned “an excellent reputation as a fair judge who worked hard.”

“As Common Pleas judges, he was on the third floor and I was on the second floor,” Teodosio said. “We’d get together if I had a break or he had a break. We’d often show up in each other’s courtrooms and share a cup of coffee, and either chat about the law or about other things going on in the community.”

When the Summit County prosecutor obtained a federal grant in 2011 to start a new felony domestic violence court, Gallagher stepped up to become the presiding judge.

Gallagher was 69, one year shy of Ohio’s cutoff for a judicial seat, when he last ran for election in 2012. He retired from the bench in 2018, advising his successors: “Be patient. Everything works out. Be patient.”

Not everyone knew that the judge was grappling with an illness. He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in November 2011, and the condition slowly worsened over the last decade.

Gallagher spent the past six months at Regina Health Center in Richfield. His wife praised the staff for its “excellent, excellent care.”

An agency caregiver, who apparently had some familiarity with the court, recognized the judge and treated him with the utmost respect.

Evans said the worker told her: “I couldn’t believe when I got here and saw it was Judge Gallagher. I am so honored to have been able to have cared for him. He’s the best.”

Evans described her husband as quiet and mild mannered, a rather private person who became an extrovert when campaigning.

And he was a big fan of Notre Dame football.

“He liked sailing, he liked walking, he liked exploring, whether it be an issue, like digging into an issue, or whether it would be going to a city and just kind of wandering around,” she said.

She said he was a guy who liked “to sniff his way through life.” If he saw something he was interested in, he pursued it.

It’s hard to believe, but the judge even garnered the respect of defendants.

“They said he was fair,” Evans said.

She remembers going to an event at the courthouse after Gallagher retired. Defendants were waiting in the lobby for a proceeding to begin when they saw Gallagher. Their faces lit up.

“Oh, judge!” they exclaimed. “Oh, judge!”

Teodosio and former County Council member and former judge Clair Dickinson went to see Gallagher at Regina Health Center last week.

“I’m glad Clair and I were able to visit him,” Teodosio said. “We had a nice little chat.”

Evans said funeral arrangements were pending at Newcomer in Akron. A Mass is tentatively planned for Saturday, Sept. 16, with the time and church to be announced. 

Preceded in death by his parents, John and Mary, and brother, John J. Gallagher, the judge’s survivors include his wife, Diane, sister, Madeline Hebert, brother-in-law Lee Hebert, sister-in-law Margi Gallagher and a host of nieces and nephews.

“He’ll be missed,” Teodosio said. “No doubt about that.”


Remembering Paul J. Gallagher

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Indian Wells, CA 92210

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Updated: August 16, 2017