Davis Bitton, a retired University of Utah professor of History
of nearly 30 years, died April 13. He was 77.
Ronald Davis Bitton was born to Ronald Wayne and
Lola Davis Bitton on Feb. 22, 1930, in Blackfoot, Idaho, and grew
up there and on a farm in nearby Groveland. Bitton learned to work
at home and in local retail stores, and learned to write as a reporter
for the Daily Bulletin. He was elected to several student offices,
and competed on the high school debating team, as well as in softball
Bitton studied as an undergraduate at Brigham Young
University and as a graduate student at Princeton University, and
served in the U.S. Army. He went on to be a professor of history
at the University of Texas at Austin, the University of California
at Santa Barbara, and for 29 years the University of Utah, where
he specialized in French history and also did considerable work
in the area of Mormon history, presenting papers at scholarly conventions
and publishing articles and books. Bitton retired from the U in
1995; he was a visiting professor at BYU-Hawaii in 2005 and 2006.
A lifelong member of the Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter-day Saints, Bitton served in roles including as a missionary
in France, elders quorum president, counselor in a bishopric, member
of the stake high council, and gospel doctrine teacher for many
years. From 1972 to 1982 he also served as assistant church historian.
Davis Bitton is survived by his widow, JoAn; children
Ronald Bitton, Kelly Bitton Burdge, Timothy Bitton, Jill Cochran,
Stephanie Ross, Debbie Callahan, Larry Morris, Judy Nauta, Earl
Morris, Delbert Morris, and their spouses; brother John Boyd Bitton;
sisters Marilyn Bitton Lambson and Elaine Bitton Benson; uncles
and aunts on both sides; nephews and nieces; and 56 grandchildren
Interment is at the Salt Lake City Cemetery. Online
condolences may be left at www.larkinmortuary.com.
from the notice published 4/14 - 4/16/2007 and from an article published
on 4/16, both in The Salt Lake Tribune.
Lucille Iasella Ganz BS’37, an elementary school teacher
of more than three decades, died April 18, 2007. She was 93.
Roma Iasella was born March 27, 1914 in Copperton,
Utah, to Guiselle Nicolo and Lucia Disano Iasella. After graduating
from Bingham High School, she received her undergraduate degree
in Elementary Education from the University of Utah, and later a
master’s degree in Education from BYU. She also completed
work on a doctorate.
Roma’s lifelong quest for knowledge was reflected
in her well-worn thesaurus, dictionary, and encyclopedia set. Ganz
taught elementary school in the Jordan School District for more
than 30 years, instilling in her students this same love of learning.
On July 29, 1938, Roma married Floyd Ganz, and they
remained together for sixty-seven years. Creative and caring, Roma
was famous among friends and family for her mouth-watering Italian
gnocchi, spaghetti, and meatballs, homemade bread and scones, and
her delicious Greek cookies, toffee, peanut brittle, and fudge,
which she shared readily. She also crocheted beautiful bookmarks
and afghans. An avid sports fan, especially of the Utah Jazz, she
also loved flowers, music, travel, and crossword puzzles.
Roma I. Ganz is survived by her two brothers, Henry
and Joe Iasella; her son, William (LaRae) Ganz; daughter-in-law
Brenda (Joe) Biesinger; “adopted son” Gary (Jean) Robbins
and family; six grandchildren, Julie, Brad, Bryan, Matt Ganz, Brittany
(Scott) Anderson, Aaron (Niki) Ganz; and two great-grandchildren,
McKay and Taylor Anderson. She was preceded in death by her husband,
Floyd; a son, Michael; and a daughter-in-law, Betty.
Interment is at the Sandy City Cemetery. Ganz requested
that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Bingham High School
Alumni Foundation (www.binghamalumni.org).
Edited from the notice published in The
Salt Lake Tribune on 4/22/2007.
Gordon Paxman, a University of Utah emeritus professor of
Ballet, former chairman of its Ballet and Modern Dance departments
and former associate dean of Fine Arts, died at home on April 9 with
his family by his side. He was 81.
Delos Gordon Paxman was born in Provo, Utah, on
June 11, 1925, to Albert Delos and Veneta Latimer Paxman. While
Paxman was still a child, the family later resettled in Idaho Falls,
Idaho. His mother was an avid dancer, and because of this Gordon
began taking dance lessons at an early age and fell in love with
dance. A gifted and talented athlete, he also played basketball,
football, and track, and while in high school, was named all-around
athlete of the year. He served as a medic for the Navy during World
War II before enrolling for one year at Idaho State University,
where he played football. He also served a mission for the LDS Church
in Toronto, Canada, in 1948 and 1949.
In 1946, Gordon met Dorothy Pieper; they married
August 3, 1950, in the Logan, Utah, LDS Temple and moved to San Francisco
that year. He began dancing for the San Francisco Ballet Company
and became its principal dancer, ballet master, and production manager.
In 1959, the couple moved to Salt Lake City, where Gordon helped
form what is now known as Ballet West. He also began teaching at
the University of Utah, where he went on to become chairman of the
Ballet and Modern Dance Department and later the associate dean
of Fine Arts. He was also a consultant for numerous universities
throughout the United States. Gordon retired from the university
in 1990; in 1995, he and Dorothy moved to St. George, Utah, where
they settled for retirement.
Gordon Paxman is survived by his wife of 56 years,
Dorothy; children David Paxman and Dina (Neil) Jensen; grandchildren,
Rebecka (Craig) Hereau, Jeremy Paxman, and Sarah, Todd, Jenny, Katie
and Matt Jensen; and great-grandchildren Kylin, Keagen Audrey, and
The family requests that in lieu of flowers donations
be made to any of the following organizations: The Nutcracker Foundation,
in care of West Side Studios in St. George, Utah; Ballet West in
Salt Lake City; or the University of Utah Department of Ballet,
also in Salt Lake City.
from the notice published in the Deseret Morning News from
4/12 - 4/13/2007.
S. Pincetl, M.D., chief information officer for University
Health Care and associate vice president for the University of Utah’s
Health Sciences Information Technology Services, died March 29 after
a struggle with colon cancer. He was 50.
Pincetl was an early leader in the field of information
technology services for the medical profession, anticipating the
importance of this approach. After receiving his medical degree
at George Washington University, Pincetl was awarded a prestigious
Clinical and Research Fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital
in the Harvard School of Medicine, Laboratory of Computer Science.
He then joined George Washington University as an Assistant Professor
of Medicine and Computer Medicine, and Director of Medical Informatics
for the Medical Center. In 1996, he became the Chief Information
Officer at the University of Utah Health Sciences Center, bringing
his cutting-edge expertise to the University.Pincetl shepherded the building of an advanced and
secure Data Processing Center for the University medical school
and hospital and was instrumental in ensuring that the University
of Utah Hospitals and Clinics were consistently rated as one of
the nation’s 100 Most Wired Health-Care Systems by Hospitals
and Health Networks, a publication of the American Hospital Association.
Over the years, he helped the University earn several awards for
innovative use of technology in patient care. Pierre was also a loving father and husband who
enjoyed life and sharing his home and heart with his friends and
family.Pierre Pincetl is survived by his wife, Kim; children
Peter, 20, and Adrienne, 18; his mother, Giselle Pincetl; and his
sister, Stephanie Pincetl (Jonathan Katz, husband).
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the
Pierre Pincetl Memorial Fund at any Wells Fargo Bank.
from news reports and the notice published in The Salt Lake
Tribune from 4/4 - 4/8/2007.
Smuin ex’53, an award-winning choreographer for ballet,
Broadway, film and television, died April 23 in San Francisco of
an apparent heart attack while rehearsing the new season for his
company, the Smuin Ballet. He was 68.
won Emmy Awards for the television productions of his ballets “Romeo
and Juliet,” “The Tempest” and “A Song for
Dead Warriors”—all created while he was co-director
of San Francisco Ballet from 1973 to 1985—as well as a Tony
Award and a Drama Desk Award for his choreography in the 1987 New
York revival of the musical comedy “Anything Goes.”
was born in Missoula, Mont., on Oct. 13, 1938, to parents who were
active in a university theater group. Classes in ballet, tap and
gymnastics — along with experience in boxing—fueled
his lifelong interest in diverse forms of movement and led him at
age 16 to audition for a scholarship to the University of Utah dance
department. There, he took ballet classes from Willam Christensen
and appeared in summer musicals as well as performances of Christensen’s
seeing Smuin dance in 1957, Christensen’s brother Lew invited
Smuin to join the San Francisco Ballet. Smuin accepted and was soon
not only a principal dancer in that company but also a fledgling
choreographer for the Bay Area Ballet (1959) and the workshop chamber
ensemble Ballet 1960. The next year, he was named ballet master
at San Francisco Ballet and special assistant to Lew Christensen,
the artistic director. Smuin also married Paula Tracy, a dancer
he met while on tour with the company and who joined him in the
Bay Area and San Francisco Ballet.
1962, Smuin took a leave of absence to work in New York, on Broadway
and in a nightclub dance act with Tracy. He joined the corps of
American Ballet Theatre in 1966 and two years later was promoted
to principal dancer. His choreography helped earn him an invitation
to return to San Francisco Ballet in 1973, this time as associate
criticism of his work with the ballet led to his dismissal, but
he found plenty of freelance work, with feature films becoming an
important showcase of his versatility. Rumble Fish, The Cotton
Club, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, The Return of the Jedi—Special Edition, Star Wars: Episode I—The Phantom Menace,
The Joy Luck Club, and A Walk in the Clouds all contain
Smuin’s choreography. In 1994 he formed the successful Bay
Area chamber ensemble now called the Smuin Ballet.
is survived by his ex-wife, Tracy (the couple divorced in 2000);
his son, Shane; and brothers Stephen and Douglas. Plans for a memorial
service are pending.
from an article in The Los Angeles Times 4/25/2007 and
other news reports.
& Views © 2007
— An online
by the University of Utah Alumni Association
Questions? Concerns? Contact Linda
Marion, editor (801-587-7837)
or Marcia Dibble, assistant