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In Memoriam

  Alumni News  

David Lyon

David Lyon, professor emeritus of biology and a passionate outdoorsman, died Feb. 20, 2006, while volunteer teaching with Cornell biology classes in the Bahamas. He was 71.

Schooled in the Midwest—BA at Beloit College, MA at University of Missouri-Columbia, PhD at Iowa State University—his love of birds and plants lured him to mountains in Mexico and Arizona to study wintering hummingbirds. Tagging along with him were students, his wife, Virginia, and their three children, who often helped with the research. During his career at Cornell, 1965-98, he focused primarily on classes in ecology, ornithology, and environmental studies.

Away from the classroom he was an avid canoeist and hiker, and member of several professional and civic organizations including the Iowa Academy of Sciences, as director of Undergraduate Research Awards; the Iowa Trails Council, as chair; the Linn County Conservation Board; the Mount Vernon Planning and Zoning Commission and Parks Commission; and the Nature Conservancy.

He is survived by three children and eight grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife, on Dec. 31, 2005.



Donald Mishler '26

Donald Mishler '26, a pioneering physician and plastic surgeon, died Feb. 18, 2006, in Tulsa , Okla. He was 101.

He received an MD at the University of Iowa in 1929 and by 1931 had joined the new frontier of medicine, facial reconstruction and plastic surgery. During a residency at Strong Memorial Hospital, University of Rochester (N.Y.), he performed the first clinical procedure to be filmed in color, a cataract surgery filmed by George Eastman.

In 1934 Mishler started a 50-year career in Tulsa, making his mark in the 1950s as one of the nation's first doctors to link tobacco smoke with cancer, and also pioneering a procedure, called fenestration, which restores hearing to a deaf patient. He retired in 1984 at age 80. The University of Oklahoma College of Medicine, where he taught for 14 years, named him professor emeritus of otorhinolaryngology.

In addition to his professional activities, Mishler was recognized for his avocation as a rancher and early breeder of Charolais cattle in the U.S.

He is survived by his wife, Dorothy, two daughters, five grandchildren, five great­ grandchildren, a stepson, a stepdaughter, and four stepgrandchildren.


James "Jim" Swift '41

James Swift '41, a Mount Vernon native who became a friend and publicist to movie stars, died Jan. 6, 2006, in Cedar Rapids. He was 87.

After stops at Cornell and the University of Idaho, he landed in Hollywood, where he worked as a movie extra and hobnobbed with some of the biggest names on the big screen in the '40s, '50s, and '60s. He met Katharine Hepburn at a gas station, they became friends and attended cocktail parties together, and he joined Hepburn and Spencer Tracy on a picnic in the mountains once. He became an advertising and public relations executive—with clients as varied as Marilyn Monroe and cast members from television's Lassie—and later co-owned a flower shop in Brentwood, Calif., frequented by many movie stars. He retired to Cedar Rapids in the early 1990s.

He is survived by two nieces and several cousins.


Gordon "Rick" Meredith '47

Gordon "Rick" Meredith '47, who tended Cornell's 1947 NCAA championship wrestling team as its student manager/trainer and chronicled the team's road to the title as Cornellian sports editor, died March 8, 2006, in West Palm Beach, Fla. He was 83.

Returning to campus after service in World War II interrupted his studies, Meredith became part of one of the most remarkable stories in amateur sports history as Cornell toppled wrestling giants across the nation on the way to NCAA and national AAU titles—the only small college to claim both in the same year.

"I carried a typewriter in one hand and the bag of tape in the other," he told a sportswriter with the Cedar Rapids Gazette, which published Meredith's mat reports, as did newspapers in Des Moines, Waterloo, Davenport, and Chicago.

After graduation, he worked a few years at the Mason City ( Iowa) Globe-Gazette, but spent the majority of his career as a realtor in south Florida. In the mid-'60s he co-founded Meredith Realty Inc. with his wife, Sara Meredith, honorary alumna. Forever passionate about Cornell athletics, he hosted Cornell admission staff and athletic personnel and the recruits they were visiting, and he assisted in the recruiting process that resulted in dozens of Florida high school football players enrolling at Cornell. In 1980, 20 of 71 Ram football players were from Florida, including Matt Dillon '81, Cornell's current head football coach.

Meredith was a former president of Cornell's Alumni Association and served on the Board of Trustees from 1986-95 before being named a life trustee.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by a son, a stepson, and nine grandchildren.

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