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In Memoriam



Irving Johnson ’41, a chemist recognized internationally for his research on the thermodynamics of nuclear materials, died Feb. 26, 2001, in Clarendon Hills, Ill. He was 82.

After earning an MA and PhD at Columbia University, he taught chemistry for seven years at Oklahoma A&M College (now Oklahoma State University) and then became a senior research engineer at Ford Motor Co., where he studied fuel combustion. In 1957 he joined Argonne National Laboratory and eventually earned worldwide acclaim for his work in liquid metal and molten salt systems critical to the nuclear energy industry. He retired in 1986 as a senior scientist.

He is survived by his wife, Alice Huffman Johnson ’43; two sons, including Thomas Johnson ’71; and three grandchildren.


Devoted newsman and avid bicyclist Robert Howard ’43 died March 5, 2001, in Winter Park, Fla. He was 78.

He started his newspaper career in 1946 at the Clinton (Iowa) Herald. He moved to the Orlando Sentinel-Star in 1951, working as sports editor, then executive editor, assistant publisher, and public services manager before retiring in 1987. A month later he began a three-month, 4,600-mile bicycle trek from Seattle to Bar Harbor, Maine. Later he toured other areas of the United States and Europe. He wrote Florida Back Roads—A Guide to Freewheeling Adventures.

He is survived by his wife, Charlotte; two daughters; and two granddaughters.

Howard Orms ’43, a theater professor at Southwest Missouri State University whose students included John Goodman and Kathleen Turner, died Feb. 20, 2001, in Springfield, Mo. He was 80.

Orms taught at Southwest Missouri State from 1966 to 1993, but continued guest-directing, voice coaching, and consulting. He returned to Cornell in 1993 as guest director of The Lion in Winter.

After his Cornell studies, which were interrupted by World War II service, he earned an MFA from Yale in 1950, then taught drama at Howard College in Birmingham, Ala., for a year. He spent the next 15 years directing about 230 community theater productions in Nashville, Tenn.; Sturbridge, Mass.; Des Moines; and Tulsa, Okla. He founded the American Community Theatre Association (now known as the American Association of Community Theatre), the Iowa Community Theatre Association, and received an Excellence in Teaching Award from Southwest Missouri State.

He is survived by three children and a grandson.

Benjamin Youngker Jr. ’43, who joined his family to help finance the construction of Tarr Residence Hall in memory of his foster mother, died April 1, 2001, in Buckeye, Ariz. He was 79.

As youngsters, he and his brother, Charles Youngker ’42, were sent to Moravia, Iowa, to live with a relative, Edith Vosburgh Tarr ’03, after their mother died and their father, a rancher in Arizona, became ill. Tarr was instrumental in seeing that the brothers attended Cornell, as had her own children: Burton Tarr ’29 (wife, Ruby Burns Tarr ’30, daughter, Patricia Tarr Mildvan ’54), Mildred Tarr McLennan ’31, and Donald Tarr ’33 (first wife, Cleo Stedwell Tarr ’33).

Benjamin Youngker Jr. earned an MBA at Stanford, worked as a cost accountant for two years, then joined the family grain and cotton ranching business.

In addition to his brother and sister-in-law, Virginia Bolton Youngker ’43, he is survived by his wife, Grace; two sons; grandchildren and great-grandchildren; and his stepmother.


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