June 2006

In Memoriam

Verle Harrison Brown BS'47 passed away on May 16, 2006 in Shoreline, Wash. Born on June 13, 1923 in Ogden, Utah, Brown was a WWII Veteran who landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day.

A graduate of the University of Utah in aeronautical engineering, Brown was a licensed mechanical professional engineer in three states. He was a recognized hydrocarbon expert, lifetime member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, on the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, and an entrepreneur and pilot.

Verle was also an avid trumpet player who started winning contests at age 8, performed in Swing bands at the age of 16, and was in many big bands, most recently Route 66 of Seattle.

He had a vast depth of knowledge and excellent memory, and a keen sense of humor. Those who will miss his puns and punditry include his wife, Cornelia, his children, Robyn Brown (Seattle), Lauri Brown (Edmonds), Adrian Carotenuto (Michael, Vancouver, BC), Traci Brown (Denise Bender, Thousand Oaks, CA), Sheli Story (Bremerton), Marla West (James, Tracy, CA), Harlan D. Brown (Cheryl, Lynnwood), Kimberle Fisher (Kenneth, Bonney Lake). He is also survived by 10 grandchildren and one great grandchild, his sister, Marilyn Fox (Bountiful, UT) and dear friends, George and Sandy Landers (Malott, WA). His son, Kevin D. Brown preceded him in death.

Edited from a notice published in the Seattle Times on 05/21/06.

Eugene Chen Loh, 72, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Physics at the University of Utah, died of renal cancer on May 19 at his home in Arlington, VA. He lived in Salt Lake City for 25 years and had relocated to Virginia to take a position at the National Science Foundation.

Dr. Loh joined the physics faculty of the University of Utah in 1975. He led the construction and operation of the world’s most powerful cosmic ray detector, the Fly’s Eye Project, built in the Utah desert.

He became a full professor in 1977 and enjoyed a nine-year tenure as chair of the physics department. For his pioneering work in ultra-high energy cosmic rays, the University conferred upon him the titles of Distinguished Researcher and Distinguished Professor. He was awarded the Governor’s Medal of Science and Technology in 1987.

He was a Fellow of the American Physical Society and served as director of the High Energy Astrophysics Institute at the University of Utah until his departure for Virginia.

In 1998, Loh became rotating program director of astrophysics at the National Science Foundation. He worked to establish particle astrophysics as a new and separate area of science within NSF, and was a tireless advocate for the field.

He retired from the University of Utah in 2002 and continued to serve as program director at NSF until shortly before his death.

In 1948, at the age of 14, Loh emigrated to Virginia with his family from Suzhou, China. He later became a U.S. citizen. He received his B.S. degree from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and his Ph.D. in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

While at MIT, he met and married Jocelyn Dow in 1958. They raised their three sons in Massachusetts, then Ithaca, NY, where Loh took a position at Cornell University. They finally settled in Salt Lake City.

Eugene Loh is survived by his wife, Jocelyn, three sons and daughters-in-law (Stephen and Margaret, Stanton and Adrienne, Stewart and Jeung-Hoi), five grandchildren (Kendall, Keith, Daniel, Julia and Madeline), sister (Evanne Hoehn-Saric), three brothers (Eddie, Edwin and Elwyn) and their families.

Edited from a notice published in The Salt Lake Tribune on 05/25/06.

Don Alfred Orton BA’42 was born Feb. 26, 1918, to Francis A. and Maud (Vandenberg) in Sandy, Utah. His father managed the municipal affairs of Sandy and also served as a member and president of the Board of Education of the Jordan School District.

Orton graduated from Jordon High in 1936, and served a Mormon mission in Sweden from 1937-1939. In 1942 he graduated with a B.A. from the University of Utah, where he was selected for Phi Beta Kappa. He received an M.A. in 1944 from Ohio State and an Ed.D from Harvard University in 1950. He was also selected to Phi Kappa Phi and Phi Delta Kappa.

Orton’s long and distinguished career in academia began as superintendent of schools in Driggs, Idaho (1944-1946). He then was an instructor and assistant professor of education at the University of Utah (1947-1950), director of general education and professor of education at New York State College for Teachers at Albany (1950-1952), dean of the College of Education at the University of Utah (1952-1960), visiting professor at Harvard University (1959-1960), and president of Lesley College (1960-1984). Orton taught as a visiting professor at a number of universities including Harvard Business School and the University of California at Los Angeles. He had an active consultancy and authored many publications.

Orton leaves behind a wife, Leslie (Feuer) Orton; and children Andrew (Kemper), Kate Jensen (Newel), and four children from a previous marriage, Don (Mae), Bruce (Susan), Allison (Michael) and Guy (Tammy); father-in-law of Vicky Peppler (Scott); proud grandfather and great grandfather.

Edited from a notice published in the Deseret News and The Salt Lake Tribune on 5/28/06.

Roy William Simmons ex'38 died at his home on May 9, 2006, surrounded by family members, after a very full lifetime of service to others.

Simmons was born in Portland, Ore., on Jan. 24, 1916, and adopted shortly after by Henry Clay and Annie Mudd Simmons. At age 8, after his mother’s death, he was raised by a family friend, Blanche Davis Reese, in Salt Lake City. He developed industrious habits early on, delivering flowers and working at a gas station. At age 13, he bought vegetables at the farmers’ market and resold them door-to-door from a hand-pulled wagon. These jobs were followed by countless others, including selling jewelry, insurance, iceboxes and shoes, and developing real estate.

Simmons graduated from South High School and attended the University of Utah, where he was president of his freshman class. He met his sweetheart, Elizabeth Ellison “Tibby” Simmons in a drama class. They were married on Oct. 28, 1938, and were later sealed in the Salt Lake Temple.

He was hired by his father-in-law, L.E. Ellison, to work as an assistant cashier at The First National Bank of Layton, beginning a long and distinguished banking career. In 1949, he was named Commissioner of Financial Institutions for the State of Utah, and in 1952, he organized the Bank of Utah. He joined The Lockhart Company as president in 1953, and built it into a leading consumer finance company with offices throughout the state.

In 1960, with his partner, Leland Flint, Simmons acquired a majority interest in Zions First National Bank from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In 1964 he became president and CEO of Zions Bank, and in 1965, he merged the bank into Keystone Insurance and Investment Co., which he had formed in 1955, and which was the owner of The Lockhart Company, forming one of the nation’s first one-bank holding companies. Zions Utah Bancorporation (now Zions Bancorporation) became a publicly traded company in 1966. Roy served as chair and CEO until 1990, and continued as chair until 2002, when he was elected chairman emeritus of the company.

Over the course of his four-decade career with Zions Bancorporation, Simmons built the company into one of the nation’s largest and most respected banking organizations. In 1977, he organized Simmons Media Group, a prominent radio and media company.

He was engaged in numerous other community and business activities, including serving on the University of Utah Board of Regents, and later as a founding member of the Utah State Board of Regents. He received honorary doctorate degrees from the University of Utah, Weber State University, and the University of Southern Utah. He found particular joy in working with his wife, Tibby, on the restoration of historic buildings, and in providing numerous college scholarships to single mothers.

An active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he served faithfully in many capacities, including as stake patriarch. Happily married for more than 67 years, Roy and Tibby were part of a case study by Harvard Business School of how to find a successful balance between work and family life

Roy is preceded in death by two grandchildren, Alexandra Watkins and Jack Simmons. He is survived by his wife, Elizabeth Ellison (“Tibby”) Simmons, and by his six children: Matt (Ellen), Julie Watkins (Mack), L.E. (Ginny), Liza Hoke (Bland), Harris (Amanda) and David (Melinda). He is also survived by 26 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren.

Edited from a notice published in The Salt Lake Tribune from 5/11/- 5/13/06.

Noall Wootton JD’64 died of cancer April 27 in Salt Lake City. Wootton was in his first term as Utah County attorney when he prosecuted Gary Gilmore, who was executed by firing squad (which Gilmore chose instead of hanging) in January 1977, the year after the United States Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty following a 10-year moratorium. Wootton earned his bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University.

Read the article "Ex-Utah County attorney oversaw 1st post-hiatus death sentence in '77" published in The Salt Lake Tribune, 05/01/06

Fred Keller Weidner BS'49 died May 3, 2006. Born Dec. 15, 1923, Weidner was the only adopted son of Fred Earl Weidner and Rose Amelia Steed. He graduated from South High School in 1942, when he was drafted into the U.S. Army, serving three-and-a-half years.

He then attended the University of Utah, where he graduated with a degree in business management and where he met Patricia Ann Welcker. They were married on Sept. 11, 1947, in the Salt Lake LDS Temple.

Weidner was a member of the U’s 1947 National Championship Basketball Team. He loved all sports and was fiercely loyal to his beloved U. He was president of the Crimson Club, a board member of both the University of Utah Alumni and Emeritus Boards, and a board member of the Fort Douglas Hidden Valley Country Club.

He worked for 43 years in the heavy truck transportation industry, serving on Ford Motor Company’s National Heavy Truck Council. He was also a high priest in the Monument Park 13th Ward.

Weidner is survived by his wife of 58 years, Patricia; his children, Bill (Marsha), Columbus, Ohio; Ann (Randall) Grant, Salt Lake City; and Bob (Eloise), Fairfax Station, Va.; 11 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

Edited from a notice published in the Deseret News from 5/6/2006 - 5/7/2006.

U-News & Views © 2006 - An online publication
by the University of Utah Alumni Association
Questions? Concerns? Contact Linda Marion, editor (801-587-7837)
or Marcia Dibble, assistant editor (801-581-6996)