November 2005

In Memoriam  
Renowned Utah artist Lee Deffebach BA’49 MFA’89, 76, died Oct. 21 at Salt Lake Regional Medical Center from complications following heart surgery.

Deffebach is credited with being one of the first Utah modern artists, as well as the first female modern artist in the state. Her paintings, which fit squarely into the abstract expressionism movement, were highly valued and received a number of awards. Her work can be found in almost every major public collection in Utah.

Born Helen Hortense Lee Deffebach in Houston in 1928, Deffebach came to Utah to study at the University of Utah. After graduating in 1949 she left for New York, where the abstract expressionism movement was in full bloom. She studied at the Art Students League of New York and displayed her work in Greenwich Village galleries, inspiring a Village Voice review that called her paintings lyric, jazzy, loud . . . a deep breath of fresh air.

In the 1950s Deffebach split her time between New York, Utah and Florence, Italy, where she spent a year studying painting as a Fulbright scholar. She returned to Salt Lake City for good when the University of Utah offered her a teaching job in 1963.

Over the past four decades, Deffebach had more than two dozen solo shows of her work in galleries throughout the Intermountain West. Although galleries in New York and San Francisco expressed interest in her paintings, she never pursued recognition beyond her adopted state of Utah.

During a 2003 interview with the Deseret Morning News, she said that color, especially two colors together, were what triggered the ideas for her work.

Deffebach painted on large canvasses, which could dominate a wall, and was known to employ unique tools, such as paint rollers. She also used found objects and dabbled in Pop Art.

She was married three times but did not have children. She split her time between her home/studio in a converted market in Salt Lake City's Avenues neighborhood and a summer home in the practically deserted mining town of Tuscarora, Nev., some 50 miles northwest of Elko, where she sometimes painted landscapes.

Edited from the article in the Deseret Morning News 10/23/2005.

Robert H. Hinckley, Jr., 88, died Oct. 24 of prostate cancer.

Hinckley was the oldest of three and the last surviving son of Robert H. Hinckley, Sr., who created the Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah and founded the Hinckley Dodge automobile dealership.

When his father died in 1988, Hinckley, Jr. became the Hinckley Institute's board chairman, continuing his father's legacy by helping increase the number of student interns to more than 4,000 and boost the institute's endowment from $4 million to more than $9 million. He also served on the University of Utah Institutional Council, which later became the U Board of Trustees. In 1996, the U of U Alumni Association awarded him its Honorary Alumnus Award.

Hinckley, Jr. was born Jan. 12, 1917 to Robert H. Hinckley, Sr. and Abrelia Clarissa Seely Hinckley in Mt. Pleasant, Utah. He grew up in Ogden during the Great Depression, graduated from Ogden High School in 1936, attended Stanford University in 1937, and graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1942. He married high school classmate Janice Scowcroft in 1944.

Hinckley, Jr. flew bomber planes in Europe during World War II and later in Korea. He flew 35 combat missions, receiving the U.S. Air Force's Distinguished Flying Cross and the bronze star for his participation in the liberation of France. After 13 years in the military, he returned to Utah and resumed his career in the family's automobile business.

Robert Hinckley, Jr. is survived by his wife, Janice; sons Robert (Diana Busch), James (Lyn Cushman), and Scott (Anne McCullough); daughter Kristin (James Yeager); nine grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to: Hinckley Institute of Politics, 260 S Central Campus Dr. Rm. 253, Salt Lake City, UT 84112-9151; Abrelia Seely Hinckley Scholarship Fund, Weber State University, Development Office, 4018 University Circle, Ogden, UT 84408-4018; Edwin S. Hinckley Scholarship Fund, Brigham Young University, A-41 ASB, Provo, UT 84602; Seely-Hinckley Scholarship Fund, Utah State University, 1420 Old Main Hill, Logan, UT 84322-1420.

Edited from the notice and an article published in The Salt Lake Tribune on 10/25/2005.

Marjorie Jacobsen Seeger ex’43, a humanitarian and adventurer, died Oct. 1 in Ogden at the age of 83.

A longtime librarian, she is credited with helping to consolidate the Weber County Library System and later became president of the library board. She created Friends of the Library and also helped initiate Weber County's Bookmobile program.

Seeger dedicated her life to promoting education and reading. She worked at Ogden's McKay-Dee Hospital for 12 years as a medical librarian, where she initiated a patient library. She also formed a patient library at St. Benedict's Hospital in Ogden.

She was born Dec. 26, 1921, in Ogden. As a girl, she lived in the Australian outback with her family. When the local one-room schoolhouse could no longer provide her with an adequate education, Seeger traveled alone, three days on a train across Australia and 40 days on a freighter to the United States, to live with her grandparents in Ogden and attend school. She never lived full time with her parents again.

Seeger graduated from Ogden High School before attending the University of Utah. She received a master's degree in librarianship from Denver University. She married her first husband, Fred Becker, in 1943. Becker, a brew master at the Becker Brewery in Ogden, died in 1954. Seeger married her second husband, Paul Seeger, in 1955; he preceded her in death in 1988. Marjorie Seeger spent the final 18 years of her life in Mesa, Ariz., returning to Ogden recently because of declining health.

Seeger was a den mother for more than 30 years, a member of First Presbyterian Church in Ogden, and she enjoying hunting, fishing, and traveling.

Edited from the notice published in The Salt Lake Tribune 10/8/2005.

Scott Sneddon MS'65, 65, former mayor of Ogden, died October 2 after a months-long battle with cancer.

Born in Ogden on Jan. 9, 1940, Sneddon graduated from Ogden High School and received a bachelor's degree in health, physical education and recreation from Weber State University. He went on to obtain a master's degree in physical education from the University of Utah.

Sneddon was on the Ogden City Council from 1977 to 1989, when he was elected mayor. He served one four-year term and was the last mayor under the city administrator form of government. Soon after he was elected to the council, Sneddon began to work to revive a relationship with Ogden's sister city: Hof, Germany.

He is survived by his wife, Katherine Marie Dixon Sneddon of Pleasant View; and four children, John S. (Lorraine) Sneddon, Houston, TX; Brian M. (Cheryl) Sneddon, North Ogden, Lisa M. (Casey) Trujillo, Riverdale, UT; Jennifer L. (Evan) Granucci, Castaic, CA; and 14 grandchildren.

Interment is at Ogden City Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Weber State University Development Office, 4018 University Cir., Ogden, UT 84408, to establish a Memorial Scholarship in his name. E-mail condolences to the family at

Edited from the notice published in the Deseret Morning News from 10/5-10/6/2005 and an Associated Press article 10/5/2005.

Alonzo Wallace “Lon” Watson, Jr. BA’43 JD’50 died October 24th at his home in Salt Lake City.

Born to Alonzo W. and Lolita Byrd Watson on May 3, 1922, he received degrees from the University of Utah, the Georgetown School of Foreign Service (BSFS '47) and the University of Utah College of Law. During World War II, he served for three years as a First Lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corp. On May 10, 1952, he married Mary Louise Koch, a marriage that lasted over 50 years until her recent death. They had two children, Robert Wallace Watson, born in San Francisco in 1958, and Hillary Anne Watson, born in Salt Lake City in 1961.

Watson began his career as a lawyer working for the U.S. Department of Justice as a special assistant attorney general and for firms in San Francisco, San Diego, and Milwaukee. After returning to Salt Lake City, he was a lawyer with Ray, Quinney and Nebeker for over 40 years, rising to the senior position in the firm. He served on the boards of many charitable foundations, including the S.J. and Jessie E. Quinney Foundation, where he was an advisor and trustee. He helped create both the Marriner S. Eccles Foundation and the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation, and served on their boards for more than 30 and 20 years, respectively. He was also a member of many other boards including Westminster College, the Utah Symphony, the University of Utah National Advisory Council, and for 10 years with the Sundance Institute National Advisory Board.

In February 2005, the University of Utah Alumni Association awarded Watson its Distinguished Alumnus Award, the highest honor bestowed on U of U alumni by the Association, at its annual Founders Day Banquet.

A devout Democrat, Watson was a key member of the exclusive ODO (Old Democrats Only) group, which meets each Friday at the Alta Club. His bible was The Conquest of Happiness by Bertrand Russell.

Lon Watson is survived by E. Jean Watson, his sister; Robert and Anne Watson, his children; Gavin, Kacey, Ashley and Cole Watson and Chloe Hardmon, his grandchildren; and Eric McChancey and Alexis Watson, his great-grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, his family suggests contributions to the Watson/Koch Scholarship Fund at Westminster College, c/o Advancement Office, 1840 S. 1300 E., Salt Lake City, UT 84105, and the Alonzo W. Watson, Jr. Scholarship at the University of Utah's S. J. Quinney College of Law, c/o Development Office, 540 Arapeen, Ste. 250, Salt Lake City, UT 84108.

Edited from the notice published in The Salt Lake Tribune on 10/27/2005.

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by the University of Utah Alumni Association
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or Marcia Dibble, assistant editor (801-581-6996)