James Richard Williams, professor emeritus of engineering, died Aug. 18, 2011, at the age of 70. Born July 7, 1941, Williams earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in physics from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1962 and 1964, respectively. He received a master’s degree in 1965 and a Ph.D. in 1967 in nuclear engineering, both of which were also from Georgia Tech. During his 13 years at Georgia Tech, he conducted experimental research on heat transfer processes in nuclear reactors, advanced nuclear reactor concepts, nuclear electric power and analysis of reactor shielding performance. He started Independent Living, Inc., a solar energy corporation, but ended that venture after his friend and business partner suddenly died. Following a three-year stint as Idaho State University’s dean of engineering, he served 17 years as CSULB’s College of Engineering (COE) dean, beginning in 1983. During his tenure, the COE grew substantially both in size and capabilities. His first major accomplishment was to secure more than $5 million in cash from the NSF and $8 million in kind from industry in support of the Southern California Coalition for Education in Manufacturing. This initiative also led him to several other major accomplishments, including the establishment of the Center for Commercial Deployment of Transportation Technology and the METRANS transportation center. After his time at CSULB, he served as the COE dean at the United Arab Emirate University in Al Ein, UAE, for five years, followed by a brief tenure as engineering and mines dean at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks in 2005. Williams loved, among other things, photography, fish, animals and technology.
Eldon J. Dvorak, professor emeritus of economics, died Sept. 22, 2011, at the age of 80. Dvorak, who received his Ph.D. from the University of Washington, came to CSULB in 1961 and worked in the Economics Department for 30 years before retiring in 1991. During his tenure as chair, Dvorak helped to expand the department, doubling the number of tenure-track faculty. He also was instrumental in the creation of the M.A. degree program. Along with an extensive list of professional accomplishments, Dvorak was known for his tireless work with the Western Economic Association International, which he helped transform into a major scholarly organization with two high-quality journals: “Economic Inquiry” and “Contemporary Economic Policy,” a periodical created to provide contemporary economic analysis to a broader professional audience and for which Dvorak was the founding editor. Even upon retirement, he remained a strong supporter and great friend to the department. Dvorak enjoyed life and was an avid dancer and traveler. He is survived by his former wife, Veronica Gage Dvorak; son, James Dvorak; daughter, Kathleen Dvorak Ashelford; and longtime companion, Cathy Wernke.
Sue T. Elliott, staff emerita, died Oct. 7, 2011. She was 96. Elliott was born to Fred M. and Icy (Lee) Curtis on May 27, 1915, in Dunlap, Kan. She married Paul E. Elliott on Aug. 9, 1939. An early staff member, she was an assistant to the dean of fine arts at Long Beach State University from 1956 until 1982. Prior to her Long Beach State employment, she worked to promote funding for cerebral palsy. Following retirement, she attended several staff emeriti luncheons. She was preceded in death by her husband in 1956; daughter, Paula Sue Elliott, in 2009; and a sister, Vivian May Deaver. She is survived by her niece, Regina “Jeanne” Jones, of Frankfort, Kan.
George Eric Massey, professor emeritus of philosophy, died Nov. 15, 2011. Born June 23, 1919, in New Rochelle, N.Y., Massey was an outstanding scholar and student leader in high school. He attended Columbia University on a full scholarship, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and graduated cum laude. He earned an M.A. degree in philosophy from Harvard University in 1947 and later pursued a doctorate at the University of Chicago. With all but his dissertation to finish, he left the University of Chicago to join then six-year-old CSULB in 1959. During his career at CSULB, he contributed significantly to the development of the young university as department chair and founder of the school’s Phi Beta Kappa chapter, honors program and student advisory program. He retired as a full professor in 1983, and in 1999, moved with his wife of 65 years, Barbara, to Ashland, Ore., where he volunteered for Smart, a reading program, and was the coordinator for Meals on Wheels. Massey’s greatest satisfaction, which he would declare to anyone who wanted to listen, was his family. All three daughters have made fine lives for themselves; two are professors in the University of California system, and the third is a gifted violinist/violist and painter who has played viola in the Britt Classical Festival. Massey is survived by his wife, three daughters, six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Albie D. Burke, professor emeritus of history, died Dec. 24, 2011. He was 79 years old. Burke was born in Pierce County, N.D., to Henry and Otelia Burke. He studied music at the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago, receiving a Master’s of Music degree before acquiring his Ph.D. in history at the University of Chicago. He continued his love for music by playing his piano daily. For 44 years, Burke taught U.S. constitutional history at CSULB, where he founded the University Honors Program. For seven years he served as editor-in-chief of “The History Teacher” academic journal and wrote dozens of book reviews. He also had a love for exercise and worked out several days a week at L.A. Fitness, where he developed many friendships. A committed runner, he was spotted running through his neighborhood community consistently for 30 years. Burke is survived by his daughters, Laura and Kristin; granddaughter, Sasha; son-in-law, David; and ex-wife and dear friend, Carolyn.
Earl Melvin Smith, faculty emeritus of technology education, died Jan. 14. Born in Johnstown, Penn., on June 2, 1936, Smith and his family moved to Cleveland, Ohio, where he graduated high school. He served as a hospital corpsman in the Fleet Marine Forces of the U.S. Navy and went to college on the GI Bill. Smith received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in industrial arts at CSULB, followed by his Ed.D. from UCLA. In 1968, he joined the faculty at CSULB and retired in 1991. During his career, he served as an officer in the California Industrial & Technology Education Association. After he retired, Smith was active in the United Way. An avid golfer, he and his wife of 54 years, Dorothea (Thea), moved to Clinton, N.C., “for the golf and the nice people.” He is survived by his wife and their two children, Trent Earl Smith and Trina Elizabeth Scharf.