In Memoriam

The In Memoriam page is where Amherst College posts notices of the deaths of any current faculty members, staff members, students or trustees, as well as faculty or staff who have retired from the College. Scroll down on this page to see the most recent notices.

Members of the Amherst community are invited to log in and leave comments on each notice, to share memories and honor the deceased.

Richard H. Dexter (1931-2020)

Amherst College mourns the passing of Richard Henry Dexter on Sept. 9, 2020. Dexter came to the College in 1964 as a custodian in Dining Services, and began working in 1971 as a stock clerk and driver. He retired in 1993. (He was the father of Richard H. Dexter II, who also worked in Dining Services for many years.)

See his obituary for more information.

We invite members of the Amherst College community to leave notes and remembrances by logging in and clicking “Add comment” below.

Log in to post comments

Sara Schmitter (1976-2020)

Amherst College mourns the passing of Sara Schmitter on Sept. 5, 2020. Schmitter worked at the College as a custodian starting in 2006.

See her obituary for more information.

We invite members of the Amherst College community to leave notes and remembrances by logging in and clicking “Add comment” below.

2 commentsLog in to post comments

Stanley J. Dlugozima (1929-2020)

Amherst College mourns the passing of Stanley J. Dlugozima on Aug. 22, 2020. Dlugozima came to the College in 1966 as a custodian and worked in that role until his retirement in 1991.

See his obituary for more information.

We invite members of the Amherst College community to leave notes and remembrances by logging in and clicking “Add comment” below.

Log in to post comments

Prosser Gifford (1929-2020)

Amherst College mourns the passing of Prosser Gifford, the College's first dean of the faculty, on July 5, 2020.

Current Dean of the Faculty Catherine Epstein wrote the following in a July 20 email to faculty and staff:

... Prosser Gifford served as the dean from 1967 to 1979 and was also a member of the faculty during that time. During his tenure, the college began admitting women, and Dean Gifford helped to increase the number of women faculty members from one at the time of his arrival, to twenty-six by the time he left the college. After leaving Amherst, he became deputy director of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and later director of scholarly program at the Library of Congress. According to published obituaries (see below), a private burial will take place. ...

Please see this obituary for more information. 

We invite members of the Amherst College community to leave notes and remembrances by logging in and clicking “Add comment” below.

Log in to post comments

Robert B. Bartos (1941-2020)

Amherst College mourns the passing of Robert B. Bartos on May 27, 2020. Bartos came to the physics department as a research technician in 1983. In 2008, he became a laboratory technician and safety monitor. He retired in 2010.

See his obituary for more information.

We invite members of the Amherst College community to leave notes and remembrances by logging in and clicking “Add comment” below.

Log in to post comments

Ralph E. Beals (1936-2020)

Amherst College mourns the passing of Ralph E. Beals, the Clarence Francis Professor of Economics, Emeritus, on Feb. 12, 2020. Beals joined the Amherst economics department in 1962. He served as acting dean of the faculty in 1988-89 and as acting president of the College in 1991. Upon Beals' retirement in 2002, President Tom Gerety paid tribute to him at commencement, noting his "highly regarded introductory textbook, Statistics for Economists" and his work in Indonesia as a "leading consultant on natural resources and tax reform."  

Beals' family has provided the following obituary:

Ralph Everett Beals, born Oct. 30, 1936, passed away peacefully on Feb. 12, 2020, near his adopted home in Naples, Fla. Professor Beals was the oldest of the four children of Wendell E. Beals and Gratia M. (Burns) Beals, and spent his childhood in Lexington, Ky., where his father worked as a professor at the University of Kentucky.

Ralph graduated from the University of Kentucky in 1958, then earned his master’s degree at Northwestern University in 1959, and then his Ph.D at MIT in 1970.
 
Aside from his long career as a professor at Amherst College, which included a couple of interim stints as an acting administrator, Ralph spent many years consulting with foreign governments. The brunt of his foreign work was done in Indonesia, a country which both he and his family grew to be very fond of. 

Ralph was both an avid sportsman and fan. He was a lifelong fan of the University of Kentucky, but his adopted Boston Red Sox were his favorite team. That passion is in fact how he ended up living in Naples, as he rarely missed spring training, and fell in love with the area during his spring visits to Fort Myers.

Ralph and his wife, Mildred A. "Mickey" (Hubbard) Beals, also loved to travel. In addition to their many trips to Indonesia, they spent much of their free time seeing the world, and in later years developed a love of river cruises.
 
Ralph was gregarious and was often seen with a huge smile on his face. He was generous in all ways, and always made time for his family, students and special causes. He is sorely missed by his family and friends.  

In addition to wife Mickey, Ralph is survived by his children Jerry Beals of Belchertown, Mass., and Ellen Beals of Amherst, and his four beloved grandchildren, Jared Dalkas, Lacey Dalkas, Jack Beals and Leo Beals.   

We invite members of the Amherst College community to leave notes and remembrances by logging in and clicking "Add comment" below.

3 commentsLog in to post comments

Hilda Otaño-Benitez (1929-2020)

Amherst College mourns the passing of Hilda Otaño-Benitez on May 25, 2020. She came to the College in 1986 and worked as a senior lecturer in the Spanish department until her retirement in 2008.

See her obituary for more information.

We invite members of the Amherst College community to leave notes and remembrances by logging in and clicking “Add comment” below.

Log in to post comments

Robert E. Ball (1954-2020)

Amherst College mourns the passing of Robert E. Ball on May 15, 2020. Ball came to the College 1977 as a lead caretaker in Athletics, a position he held until his retirement in 2015.

See his obituary for more information.

We invite members of the Amherst College community to leave notes and remembrances by logging in and clicking “Add comment” below.

Log in to post comments

Ray Moore (1933-2020)

Amherst College mourns the passing of Ray Moore, professor emeritus of history and Asian languages and civilizations, on Jan. 7, 2020. Moore joined the Amherst history department in 1965. Upon his retirement in 2004, President Anthony W. Marx paid tribute to him at commencement, noting, "Moore was instrumental in establishing Amherst’s Asian studies program and the Five College Center for East Asian Studies, and he co-founded the Associated Kyoto Program at Doshisha University."

Please see the professor's obituary for more information.

A memorial celebration will be held for Moore on Saturday, March 28, from 2:30 to 4 p.m. in Pemberton Lounge of Chapin Hall.

We invite members of the Amherst College community to leave notes and remembrances by logging in and clicking “Add comment” below.

Log in to post comments

J. Tracy Mehr (1928-2020)

Amherst College mourns the passing of Professor Emeritus of Physical Education J. Tracy Mehr on Feb. 26, 2020. From 1965 until his retirement in 2001, Mehr coached hundreds of Amherst's student-athletes in seven different sports, most notably football and men’s and women’s golf, and taught thousands of students as a professor.

For more information, please see this Amherst Athletics article and obituary.

We invite members of the Amherst College community to leave notes and remembrances by logging in and clicking "Add comment" below.

Log in to post comments

Miriam “Mitzi” Goheen (1942-2019)

Amherst College mourns the passing of Miriam “Mitzi” Goheen, professor emerita of anthropology and black studies, on Nov. 8, 2019. Goheen arrived at Amherst in 1986 and retired in 2017.

Please see her obituary for more information.

We invite members of the Amherst College community to leave notes and remembrances.

Log in to post comments

Mavis C. Campbell (d. 2019)

Amherst College mourns the passing of Mavis C. Campbell, professor emerita of history, on Nov. 2, 2019. Campbell taught at Amherst from 1977 through 2006. She was the author of Black Women of Amherst College (1999), among other books.

An obituary with more information will be linked from this page when it becomes available. A Thanksgiving service in honor of Campbell will be held on Nov. 29 at 10 a.m. at New Beulah Moravian Church in Mandeville, Jamaica.

We invite members of the Amherst College community to leave notes and remembrances.

Log in to post comments

Lyle A. McGeoch (1959-2019)

Lyle McGeoch, Professor of Mathematics Amherst College mourns the passing of Lyle A. McGeoch, the Brian E. Boyle '69 Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science and chair of the Department of Computer Science, on Oct. 5, 2019.

On Oct. 6, President Biddy Martin and Provost and Dean of the Faculty Catherine Epstein sent the following email to the campus community:

Dear Fellow Members of the Amherst Community,

It is with the greatest sorrow that we write to tell you of the passing of beloved Professor Lyle McGeoch, who died suddenly and unexpectedly at home yesterday of a heart attack. We wish we had a more personal way of sharing the news of this loss, which will be so deeply felt and personal for so many of us.  

We have spoken with Cathy McGeoch, Lyle’s wife and our colleague and friend, and have expressed our sympathies and tremendous sadness, on behalf of the entire Amherst community. Lyle was an extraordinary scholar, teacher, and mentor; the most generous of college citizens; and a kind, modest, and gentle man. As a class dean [most recently for the class of 2017], he earned a reputation for the care and compassion that he brought to his work with students, including the lengths to which he went to help those who struggled the most. He was also a cherished husband, father, and grandfather, who treasured his immediate and extended family—including the Amherst community, of which he was such an integral and admired member for more than thirty years.  

We will talk with Lyle’s colleagues, friends, and family about the most meaningful ways to celebrate his life and memory in the days and weeks ahead. In the meantime, we encourage you to let us know how we can be most helpful to you, as we mourn. We hope you will take comfort in one another during this very difficult time. The college will make support available, and we urge you to take advantage of it. [...]

It is impossible to convey in words how dearly and deeply Lyle will be missed.

Biddy and Catherine

The funeral service took place on Oct. 12 at Wesley United Methodist Church in Hadley. An on-campus celebration of Professor McGeoch's life will be held in Johnson Chapel at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 14, followed by a reception in Lewis-Sebring Dining Commons.

Please see this obituary for more information. 

We invite members of the Amherst College community to leave notes and remembrances by logging in and clicking “Add comment” below.

22 commentsLog in to post comments

James Q. Denton (1929-2019)

Amherst College mourns the passing of Professor Emeritus of Mathematics James Q. Denton on July 14, 2019. He began teaching at Amherst in 1964.

Upon his retirement in 2005, College President Anthony W. Marx paid tribute to Professor Denton at Commencement, noting his academic and intellectual accomplishments; his "passions for music, engineering and philosophy"; and his skill as an educator in asking challenging questions and encouraging "students to be active participants in their own learning."

"As Amherst’s first statistician and first African-American faculty member," said Marx, "Jim Denton was a pioneer."

See Professor Denton's obituary for more information.

We invite members of the Amherst College community to leave notes and remembrances by logging in and clicking “Add comment” below.

Log in to post comments