J. Richard "Dick" Wessling '37
Life trustee J. Richard “Dick” Wessling ’37 died May 7, 2007, in Naperville, Ill. He was 92.
His ties to Cornell began with his father, a member of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, which performed annually at Cornell’s spring music festival for more than 60 years. He earned a master’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of California-Berkeley. He worked for the Allen-Bradley Co. for 25 years until his retirement. He received Cornell’s Distinguished Achievement Award in 1969 and is a past-president of the Alumni Association Board. He served on the Board of Trustees from 1955–1979, when he became a life trustee.
He is survived by a son, John Richard Wessling Jr. ’67, and wife Julie Van Berg Wessling ’68; a daughter; four grandchildren; and a great grandchild. His wife, Jeanne Hall Wessling ’40, preceded him in death.
Memorial gifts may be given to the J. Richard and Jeanne Wessling Scholarship at Cornell, through the Office of College Advancement, 600 First St. SW, Mount Vernon, IA 52314.
Francis Allen ’41
Francis Allen ’41, a leading legal educator and thinker, died April 6, 2007, in Gainesville, Fla. He was 87.
He was a principal architect of the provision allowing legal counsel to indigent defendants, through his scholarly writings and as chair of the Attorney General’s Commission on Poverty and the Administration of Federal Criminal Justice, which led to the Criminal Justice Act of 1964 and the Bail Reform Act of 1966. He helped write the Model Penal Code of the American Law Institute and was the principal architect of the Illinois Criminal Code
of 1961, which among other things decriminalized sexual acts between consenting adults of the same sex.
For more than 40 years he taught on law faculties of major universities: Northwestern, where he earned a law degree; Harvard; the University of Chicago; Michigan, where he was dean of the law school; and the University of Florida. He was a Guggenheim Fellow twice and received honorary degrees from Cornell, the University of Chicago, and the University of Victoria (British Columbia). He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1975.
He is survived by his wife, June; a son; two grandchildren; a brother, William Allen ’48; and a sister.
Leonard Wilson '41
Leonard Wilson ’41, who helped create and market one of the first bicycles with training wheels, died July 23, 2007, in Geneva, Ill. He was 90.
While working for Huffy Bicycles in Dayton, Ohio, in the 1950s, he was part of a team that created the Huffy Convertible, a bike with training wheels. He later joined AMF Inc., eventually serving as CEO of the Wheel Goods Division. In the ’70s, while chairing the public relations committee of the Bicycle Institute of America, he encouraged the building of thousands of miles of bike paths around the United States.
He is survived by his wife, Mary Hubbard Wilson ’42; three sons; a brother; and eight grandchildren.
Wallace “Pic” Littell ’47
Wallace “Pic” Littell ’47, of St. Petersburg, Fla., a Foreign Service specialist in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe during the Cold War, died May 28, 2007, at his summer cabin in Pennsylvania. He was 85.
For 35 years he served as an educational and cultural specialist with the Foreign Service, retiring in 1985 with the rank of minister counselor. His diplomatic career developed after post-World War II trips to Greece and Poland with the U.N. Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, encouraging him to pursue an M.A. and Russian Institute Certificate from Columbia University.
Interested in opening the Soviet Union to educational and cultural exchanges, he was director of policy and research for the 1959 American National Exhibit in Moscow. He served seven years in the Soviet Union, plus tours of duty in West Germany, Poland, Yugoslavia, East Germany, and Hungary.
His success on Cornell’s football, track, and wrestling teams—including a conference mat championship in 1947, the year Cornell also claimed NCAA and NAAU national titles—earned him election to the Athletics Hall of Fame. Cornell awarded him an honorary degree in 1982.
He is survived by his wife, Ilda Hall Littell; five children; siblings Franklin Littell ’37, Marge Littell Schmiel ’41, Claire Littell Stout ’47, and Eloise Littell Reinhardt ’53; and nine grandchildren.
Memorial gifts may be given to the Cornell scholarship set up by his parents, the “Judge” and Mrs. C.F. Littell Statesman Scholarship, through the Office of College Advancement, 600 First St. SW, Mount Vernon, IA 52314.
Paul Christiansen, professor emeritus of biology and a pioneer in prairie research and restoration across Iowa, died Oct. 2, 2007, in Cedar Rapids. He was 75.
He spent his career as a teacher, first at the high school level and then for 29 years at Cornell, retiring in 1996. He spearheaded the research into prairie establishment along Iowa’s roadsides and served on the advisory board of the Iowa Living Roadway Trust Fund, which his research inspired. His work produced numerous articles and a resource book, An Illustrated Guide to Iowa Prairie Plants.
He served on boards—including as president—of The Nature Conservancy in Iowa and the Iowa Academy of Science, which bestowed on him the Distinguished Service Award. By gubernatorial appointment he was named to the Iowa State Preserves Advisory Board and the Iowa Natural Resource Commission. He was a member of the Mount Vernon Community School Board for 12 years, including a term as president, and the board of the Indian Creek Nature Center, which honored him in 2006 with the establishment of the Paul Christiansen Prairie at the Nature Center in Cedar Rapids.
He is survived by his wife, Barbara; two sons, including Dana Christiansen ’79, and wife Elizabeth Hicken Christiansen ’79; two grandsons; three sisters; and a brother.