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In Memoriam

  Alumni News  

Richard B. Wolfe ’27

Longtime Mount Vernon, Iowa, attorney and community leader Richard B. (R.B.) Wolfe ’27 died Oct. 27, 2002, in Mount Vernon. He was 96.

After graduating from the University of Iowa Law School in 1930, he began practicing law in Mount Vernon. He and a brother, Dan Wolfe ’25, were partners in the law firm Wolfe and Wolfe; from 1976 until R.B.’s retirement in 1996, he associated with his son, Douglas Wolfe ’72, in the firm of Wolfe Law Offices.

R.B. served as Mount Vernon city attorney for more than 30 years, past president of the Mount Vernon Chamber of Commerce and Mount Vernon school board, director of the Mount Vernon Bank and Trust Co. for 27 years, and past chair of the board of trustees of the Mount Vernon United Methodist Church. He was a Republican precinct committeeman for more than 25 years and attended the 1964 Republican National Convention in San Francisco as a delegate at large from the 2nd Congressional District.

Besides his son, he is survived by a daughter; six grandchildren; four brothers, including Thomas Wolfe Jr. ’50 and John Wolfe ’51; and two sisters, including Elizabeth Wolfe Kroul ’47. His wife, Caroline Weseman Wolfe ’31, and his brother Dan preceded him in death.


S. Francis Williams ’32

S. Francis Williams ’32, part of a five-generation Cornell dynasty and co-founder of a California hospital, died June 29, 2002, in El Cajon, Calif. He was 91.

He cultivated a love for chemistry at Cornell, becoming one of the rare grads to earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees. After medical school at the University of Iowa, he began a 22-year career as a Navy physician. When he retired from the Navy in 1960, he joined a group of physicians in founding the El Cajon Valley Hospital, which he served as chief of radiology.

He is survived by his wife, Faye; two daughters, including Barbara Williams Reisweber ’61; two sons, George Williams ’69 and Howard Williams ’73; 10 grandchildren, including Cornell senior Amy Williams; and six great-grandchildren.

Other Cornellians in his family included his grandmother, Mary Fancher Williams, who attended Cornell in the 1870s; his father, the Rev. Sylvester Vernon Williams ’01; his sister, Marjorie Williams Weber ’35, and her husband, Karl Weber ’37. His grandfather, Sylvester Niles Williams, was a professor of civil engineering at Cornell for 40 years.


Gordon W. Ellison ’34

Gordon W. Ellison ’34, a national championship wrestler who was never pinned in his four years at Cornell, died Sept. 14, 2002, in Mount Vernon, Iowa. He was 92.

Raised on the family farm north of Mount Vernon, he brought his work ethic to the wrestling mat, where he won the national AAU heavyweight title in 1933, placed second in 1934, and third in 1936. He was an alternate on the 1936 Olympic team. He was inducted into the Cornell Sports Hall of Fame in 1972.

He worked as a claim agent for Union Pacific Railroad, drove tour buses in Glacier National Park, farmed in Linn and Johnson counties, was a cattle buyer, and retired in 1975 after 15 years as a right-of-way agent for the Iowa Department of Transportation.

He is survived by his wife, Dorothy, an honorary alumna; two sons; two daughters; a sister; a brother, Arlo Ellison ’44; 10 grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. Cornellians Myron Ellison ’28, a brother, and Florence Ellison Gideonson ’29, a sister, preceded him in death.

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