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In Memoriam

  • Donald Lehmkuhl, MA ’49, died on December 15, 2014, following a brief illness. He was 92. Lehmkul grew up in Cedar Rapids, IA, and attended the University of Purdue. He joined the United State Marines through Purdue’s V-12 training program and served in the Pacific Theatre of World War II. He then returned to Purdue and earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education, followed by a master’s degree in education at Stanford. In 1952, he was recalled to active duty in the Marines and served in the Korean War. Lehmkuhl became a longtime teacher and coach at various Bay Area schools, including a physical education teacher and football, baseball, and wrestling coach at Santa Cruz High School, a teacher for the San Mateo Union High School District and a coach at Burlingame High School. When Mills High School in Millbrae, CA opened in 1958, Lehmkuhl became its athletic director of boys’ athletics. At Mills, he moved on to student counseling and earned a master’s degree in guidance and counseling at San Francisco State University in 1967. After retiring in 1984 from Mills High School, he opened a private marriage and family counseling practice. Lehmkuhl enjoyed golfing, camping, hiking, sailing with his beloved dog Barney, and spending time with his family and friends. He was an active member of Sons in Retirement (Branch 118), a fraternal organization for retired men in Northern and Central California. He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Mary Lehmkuhl, his daughter Teresa (Budesa) Lehmkuhl, son-in-law Robert Budesa, grandson Geoffrey Budesda, and daughter Joanne Lehmkuhl. Donations in Lehmkuhl’s memory can be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital or a charity of your choice. 

  • June R. Chapin, EdD ’63, died on September 22, 2014 at the age of 83. A longtime resident of Menlo Park, CA, Chapin was a native of Chicago and a lifelong lover of reading. She attended the University of Chicago, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts and a master’s degree in social sciences. In college, she met Dr. Ned Chapin, who became her husband of over 60 years. Shortly after graduation, the Chapins moved to Menlo Park. She taught at various grade levels, earned an EdD at Stanford, and became a professor of education at Notre Dame de Namur University, where she taught for 29 years. She authored over a dozen social studies textbooks, ranging from the fourth grade to the university level. After retirement, Chapin continued writing college textbooks for preservice teachers, including Elementary Social Studies: A Practical Guide (eighth edition, 2012) and A Practical Guide to Middle and Secondary Social Studies (2014). She enjoyed hiking around the Lake Tahoe area, traveled extensively overseas, won baking awards from the San Mateo County Fair for her cakes, and swam daily. Chapin is survived by her husband Ned, her sister Marie Comiskey, her daughters Dr. Elaine Chapin and Suzanne Chapin, and one grandchild. Donations in her memory can be made to the Hydrocephalus Association, 4340 East West Highway, Suite 905, Bethesda, MD, 20814-4447, or a charity of your choice. 

  • Bringing people together: The legacy of Daniel Mindich 

    (Oct. 31, 1965 – Sept. 1 2014)

    Education. Family and friends. Living life to the fullest.

    According to his classmates at Stanford Graduate School of Education, these were the three passions motivating Daniel Mindich, MA ’91, PhD ’11, who died of a presumed cardiac arrest on Sept. 1 while swimming in an open water race near his home in Honolulu, Hawaii.

    The untimely death of Mindich, 48, came as a shock not only to his wife Shilpa and his children Satya, Asha and Vida, but also to the members of his MA and Ph.D. cohorts at Stanford.

    “Dan was such a vibrant, larger-than-life guy that it’s very difficult to think he’s gone,” says his classmate Judy Hicks Paulick, PhD ’14. “He was truly brilliant and owned it without ever diminishing anyone else’s light. He was just a great role model.”

    “He truly was one of the best of us,” added another classmate, Ken Cor, PhD ’12, who remained a close friend of Mindich over the last few years.

    Mindich earned his master’s in education from the Stanford Teacher Education Program in 1991. He went on to teach in northern California, Vermont and finally, in 2003, Hawaii, where he taught English and history at Punahou School in Honolulu, the K-12 school from which President Obama graduated in 1979.

    In 2008, Mindich moved with his wife, two twin girls and his son back to California, where he completed his doctorate in Curriculum and Teacher Education at Stanford in three short years. His dissertation focused on the factors that help increase or impede collaboration among teachers, a subject his colleagues noted he was exceedingly well-suited for given his own collaborative spirit.

    In his dissertation, Mindich overviewed data from more than 30 schools he visited in New Jersey and created case studies on two of the schools. His work was part of a project with Linda Darling-Hammond, the Charles E. Ducommon Professor of Education, and senior researchers Ruth Chung Wei, PhD ’04, and Ann Jaquith, PhD ’09. 

    “His research made a real difference in advancing our understanding of how to create successful professional learning communities,” said Darling-Hammond. “He  was a true professional in every sense of the word — committed to his students and their learning, committed to his fellow faculty members and their development, and committed to the growth of knowledge in the field of education to support student and teacher learning.”

     For much of his life, Mindich was intensely interested in teacher collaboration and how it affects education and creates a good-quality learning experience for students.  “Just three weeks before his death I was helping him with a conference proposal for a paper on why and from whom teachers seek advice,” Cor recalled. Mindich had in recent years also created an online journal, FacultyShack, which served as a forum for secondary teachers to share their professional successes and challenges.

    While a doctoral student at Stanford, Mindich earned endless kudos for his own team-building style among his classmates. “Dan was always interested in what others were doing,” said Hicks Paulick. “He had your back and was the person who’d leave books or articles related to what you were researching in your mailbox. So few people really did that; it was so hard not to be focused on your own thing.”

    Mindich also garnered consistent praise as a teaching assistant for Professor Rachel Lotan’s Secondary Teaching Seminar in STEP. “His teaching was exemplary,” said Lotan, who also served on his dissertation committee. “He was always well-prepared and had creative ideas, a great sense of humor and close connections to the teacher candidates.”

    Above all, colleagues fondly recall that he was a devoted father who put his family first. “He was proud of his wife’s accomplishments as a physician, his son’s sports career, and his amazing twin daughters,” said Lotan.

    Upon returning to Punahou in 2011, Mindich resumed his role teaching in the English Department and team teaching with social studies faculty. In January of 2013, he took on the role of director of the summer school and, that year and the next, also facilitated discussions at the summer professional development workshop, Lab School @ Punahou.

    “When you talk to his teaching colleagues, they tell you he was the kind of guy who saw lunch as a time not to get away from things, as it tends to be for many teachers, but to come together as colleagues,” said Cor. “It was another chance to bond and share ideas about teaching,”

    In the days following his death, classmates shared memories and appreciation for Mindich via email and brief video clips that Cor has put together in a four-minute memorial, now available on YouTube at http://bit.ly/1ySs4Za. The video of his memorial service may be found at http://bit.ly/1t5GrqH.

    “We’re all reconnecting in sharing these stories,” said Cor. “It feels like it’s Dan’s last gift to us. Bringing us together is what he would have wanted.”

  • Stephen Saul Weiner, PhD ’73, died on April 21, 2013 of stomach cancer. He was 73. Weiner graduated from UCLA with bachelor and master’s degrees in engineering, and earned a PhD from a joint doctoral program in education and business at Stanford.  From 1977 to 1983, Weiner served in various positions in the UC system, including as associate dean of UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Public Policy, acting dean of the Graduate School of Education, and special assistant to the vice president of the UC system. In 1983, he became provost and dean of faculty at Mills College, and later served as executive director for both the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities. After retiring, Weiner turned his attention to changing public policy and, in 2003, co-founded the Campaign for College Opportunity with his best friend, David Wolf, PhD ’84. A forceful advocate for transforming California’s community college system and improving access to higher education, Weiner helped the Campaign in its successful push to make community colleges focus its scarce resources on students with an academic plan. Weiner is survived by his wife Patricia, daughters Alisa Farkas and Wendy Weiner, sons-in-law Craig Farkas and Matthew Babb, grandchildren Aaron and Courtney Farkas, and brother-in-law Stephen Shields. Donations may be made to the Stephen S. Weiner Memorial Fund at the Campaign for College Opportunity, 714 W. Olympic Boulevard, Suite 745, Los Angeles, CA 90015, Tax ID 2004-27622. This story is based on an obituary in The San Francisco Chronicle. 

  • Francis J. (Frank) Collin, MA ’53, died on October 11, 2013 at the age of 97. A San Francisco native, Collin earned a BA from San Francisco State University, a secondary teaching credential from the University of the Pacific and an MA in education from Stanford. He served in the Pacific during World War II as a naval officer on board several Victory and Liberty ships. A sports enthusiast, Collin coached Bay Area high school football, basketball and golf in Alameda, Lodi, San Francisco and San Mateo, where he served as athletic director at Hillsdale High School from 1956 until his retirement in 1980. Throughout his career, he mentored thousands of high school students, many of whom stayed in contact with him long after graduation. He continued to play tennis well into his eighties and was an avid fly fisherman. Collin was friends with several teachers and coaches in San Carlos, where he raised his family. He was an active parishioner of St. Charles Church and at Woodside Terrace in Redwood City, where he spent his last five years. Collin is survived by his two sons, Frank Jr. (Debby) of Napa and Dr. John Collin (Edith) of Portola Valley, five grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his wife of 63 years, Connie, and his son Peter. Donations in Collin’s memory may be made to St. Anthony’s Dining Room in San Francisco, California Trout, or a charity of your choice.

  • Robert Vernon Lo Forti, MA ’46, died this April at the age of 100. He began his studies at Stanford at the age of 16, earning a BA and an MA in Public Health. He was enrolled at Stanford’s School of Medicine, but when World War II broke out, Lo Forti left to join the U.S. Army, became a captain, and served in Europe, including Germany. After the war, he became a history teacher with the San Francisco Unified School District. From 1947 to 1990, Lo Forti and his business partner Matteo Aiello ran Fil-American Trading Company, DBA Lo Forti Imports, specializing in importing gifts and accessories from Italy, England, Germany and Thailand. The company continues operations today as Lo Forti Fine Prints, specializing in traditional hand colored prints. Throughout his retirement, he continued to work closely with the company and served as its honorary board chair. Lo Forti was also a charter member of the Italian American Athletic Club in San Francisco. An avid reader and a conversationalist, he enjoyed entertaining family and friends in his home. Prior to his death, Lo Forti reached his final goal of celebrating his 100th birthday with much satisfaction. He is survived by his daughter Susan; sister Beatrice (Bebe) Willer; nieces Joan (Kenneth) Perterson, Carol (Brian) Upton, and June (Michael) Milich; nephews William Weiller and Richard Lo Forti, Jr.; and numerous grand and great-grand nieces, nephews, and cousins. He was predeceased by his wife of 62 years, Janis McCreadie; his parents Rosario and Lucille; his sister Angela Regoli; brother Richard Lo Forti and his wife Dorothy; and nephew Paul Lo Forti.