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In Memoriam

  Alumni News  

Charles Adrian ’47

Urban politics scholar Charles Adrian ’47 died May 28, 2004, in Riverside, Calif. He was 82.

Adrian was professor emeritus of political science at the University of California-Riverside and author of 15 political science textbooks. His Governing Urban America was for years the most used and cited college textbook on urban politics.

Prior to his appointment as department chair at UC-Riverside in 1966, he taught at Michigan State and Wayne State universities. He earned a master’s degree and a doctorate at the University of Minnesota, and a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Copenhagen. Cornell awarded him an honorary degree in 1973. He served in the U.S. Air Force from 1943-46, and throughout his academic career returned to military bases around the world to teach political science to officers.

He is survived by his wife, Audrey Nelson Adrian ’47, a son and a daughter, a sister, six grandchildren, and brother-in-law Richard Nelson ’53.

Dale Thomas ’47

Dale “Whitey” Thomas ’47, record holder for the most coaching victories in collegiate wrestling history, died March 4, 2004, in Corvallis, Ore. He was 81.

At Oregon State University, he produced 60 All-Americans, 21 national champions, 20
conference titles, and a 616-169-12 dual meet record. He was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1980 and retired in 1990 after 34 years with OSU.

Thomas captained the 1947 Cornell wrestling team that became the first and only private school squad to win both the NCAA and NAAU titles. In 1952 and 1956, Thomas was a member of the U.S. Olympic Greco-Roman wrestling squad. He coached U.S. international teams in 1961, 1966, and 1970, and refereed in two Olympics and several world championships.

He is survived by his wife, Nadine, three sons, a daughter, and several grandchildren. His first wife, Nina Trump Thomas ’38, preceded him in death.

L. Robert Keck ’57

L. Robert “Bob” Keck ’57, an All-American athlete who later became a minister and author on his quest of “serving humanity,” died April 28, 2004, in Lyons, Colo. He was 69.

Keck was a three-sport standout at Cornell, earning All-American honors in football. He intended to pursue offers from the New York Yankees or Baltimore Colts, but a campus speaker during Religion and Life Week in 1957 changed his focus. “After hearing him, I immediately knew I needed to dedicate my life to serving humanity,” Keck had said.

He earned a master of divinity degree from Vanderbilt and a doctorate in philosophy of health from Union Graduate School. He served churches in Des Moines and Columbus, Ohio, and was on the staff of the Ohio State Medical School. He was president of Boulder (Colo.) Graduate School and became a speaker and author of four books on religion, health, and peak performance.

He is survived by his wife, Diana, three children, five grandchildren, brothers John Keck ’53 (Mary Rump Keck ’53) and Bill Keck ’60 (Barbara Nelson Keck ’60), and a sister.

Charles Cochran

Charles Cochran Sr., longtime vice president for business affairs and treasurer who served as president for a year, died April 28, 2004, in Fort Myers, Fla. He was 83.

He arrived at Cornell in 1957 and guided the college’s financial life for 29 years until his retirement. Seven new facilities, Ink Pond, and the pedestrian mall were added during his service; the endowment grew from $3.7 million to $21.6 million. In 1973-74 he was acting president, ending a particularly tumultuous period for the college. Prior to Cornell he had spent 11 years as dean of men and later business manager at Franklin College, where he began his college administration career after serving in the U.S. Army.

He is survived by his wife, Marjorie, his mother, four children, a sister, and five grandchildren. 

Geneva Meers

Geneva Meers, professor emerita of English, died April 6, 2004, in Iowa City. She was 83.

Meers retired in 1986 after 33 years as an English instructor at Cornell. She served on the Cornell Board of Trustees from 1992-1997, and then was elected a life trustee in 1998.

Meers was a tutor for a Kirkwood Community College adult literacy program and conducted book studies in statewide libraries for a program sponsored by the Iowa Humanities Foundation. She recorded issues of the Cornell Report for blind and sight-impaired alumni. She was an avid bird watcher and gardener when she was not reading for herself and others, and was a longtime active member of the League of Women Voters and Ingleside Book Club.

Prior to Cornell, she had taught at high schools in Hoopeston, Ill., and Battle Creek, Mich., and then at Marquette University. She received a bachelor’s degree from Illinois State University-Normal and a master’s degree and doctorate from Northwestern University.

She is survived by two sisters, five nieces and nephews, four great-nieces and great-nephews, and several cousins.

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