Francis Adams Pray
Longtime professor, mentor, emeritus professor of biology, and honorary alumnus Francis Adams Pray died on July 20, 2011. He was 86. Pray taught at Cornell from 1957 through 1987, and was particularly well known for educating future doctors. Pray is remembered by former students for his challenging courses— particularly Comparative Anatomy and Embryology—and his detailed lectures. Even more, though, he is remembered for his kindness, quiet empathy and dedication to his students. He served as advisor to hundreds of students in his 30 years at Cornell, and as an unofficial mentor to many more. In addition to teaching, Pray chaired the biology department, and advised foreign students and the Alpha Chi Epsilon social group. Pray and his wife, Edith, were also members of the Society of Friends, which for a time met in their home in Mount Vernon.
Pray was born in Indianapolis. He received a B.A. in biology and English literature from Earlham College, an M.S. degree and a Ph.D. from Purdue University. From 1951 to 1957, Pray taught biology at St. Lawrence University in Canton, N.Y.
After retiring from teaching, Pray and his wife moved to Sarasota, Fla., where they volunteered at the Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium. Since 2004, the couple had lived at Medford Leas, a continuing care retirement community in Medford, N.J. He is survived by his wife, three children, six grandchildren and one great-granddaughter. A memorial service will be held at Cornell during in memoriam Homecoming at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 15, in Allee Chapel. More than 40 alumni have left comments on Pray's obituary. You can see their comments and add your own on his Cornell memorial website.
Artist and former Cornell art professor Leroy Lamis died Aug. 19, 2010, at age 84. Lamis was a nationally renowned sculptor whose work had been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, among many other places. Lamis taught at Cornell College from 1954 through 1961. After leaving Cornell, he taught at Indiana State University from 1961 through his retirement in 1988. His works are in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, The Joseph H. Hirshhorn Collection, the Albright-Knox Museum, and The Brooklyn Museum, as well as many private collections. Lamis was a member of American Abstract Artists, and was well known for his work with Plexiglass and digital projection.
Lamis was born in Eddyville, Iowa.
He attended New Mexico Highlands
University and Columbia University.
He lived in Austin, Texas. He is
survived by his wife, two
Beverly Moser Perlenfein
Beverly Moser Perlenfein, longtime Alumni Office coordinator and honorary alumna, died on Aug. 8, 2011. She was 73. Moser worked at Cornell for 33 years, spanning the terms of four presidents and six alumni directors. For 28 of those years she staffed the Alumni Office, making an immeasurable impact on Homecomings, Golden Alumni Weekends, and area club events. She processed more than 70,000 letters for class agents and served as a great friend and surrogate mother to many students. To many alumni, she served as the face of the college. In addition to her work at Cornell, she was a member of the Malta Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star and volunteered at St. Luke's Hospital. She enjoyed spending time with her grandchildren, reading, traveling, and playing cards.
In May 2004, shortly after her retirement, she married Clyde Perlenfein '57, and they resided in Mount Vernon, Iowa. She is survived by her husband, three children, three grandchildren, three step-children, and six step-grandchildren.
William Petersen '60
Artist and commercial illustrator William Petersen '60 of Evanston, Ill., died Aug. 26. He was 72.
Petersen wrestled and played baseball at Cornell, and he was also a member of Delta Phi Rho. In his senior year, he was named Outstanding Wrestler, and he is a member of the Cornell Sports Hall of Fame.
He earned his bachelor's degree in art and was drafted into the Army, where according to his wife, Sharon Bell Petersen '60, he was able to pursue two passions: illustrating and baseball. After the Army, he worked as a graphic designer before striking out on his own as a freelancer. According to a Chicago Tribune news obituary, he never turned down a job. Among his many illustrations were the Keebler Elves, the Jolly Green Giant, McDonald's packaging, authors for the Tribune's book section, and a caricature of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel. He produced a wide range of work, but enjoyed editorial and humorous illustration the most. He also drew countless caricatures of friends and family to honor their major milestones and accomplishments, and remained active, playing tennis and golf with friends.
Over the past few years, Petersen's greatest passion was his family, especially his five grandchildren, Sharon Petersen said, teaching them to draw and paint as they sat on his lap at his drawing board.
Both the program for Petersen's memorial service and the Tribune obituary mentioned his philosophy, which was, "Be yourself, learn your trade, meet the deadlines, love your family, surround yourself with nice people, and act on your dreams. Also, never draw a happy face, just wear one."
He is survived by his wife, a brother, a son and daughter, and five grandchildren.