In Memoriam  

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George Hurley George "Frank" Hurley

Sonoma State University’s First Graduating Class
George “Frank” Hurley
, teaching credential, ’61 passed away July 18, 2006 at his Petaluma, California home. Hurley was the first graduate of Sonoma State University when it was known as Sonoma State College. Hurley was born in Apollo, PA in 1929 and worked in a steel mill before joining the Army. After the Army, he worked for Pacific Northwest Railroad, Hamilton Field, and Western Auto, before entering college to earn a teaching credential. In 1961, he began his teaching career in Kentfield, California, and then moved to Grant Elementary School in Petaluma in 1965. He remained at Grant Elementary until his retirement in 1991. Fondly remembered by many students as “the best teacher I ever had,” Hurley enjoyed the outdoors, hiking and gardening. He founded the Grant School Outdoor Ed program and the Petaluma Girls Softball Association.

Carl H. Newby, BA, history, ‘72 passed away unexpectedly on July 5, 2006. For the past 24 years, he resided in Contra Costa County, California. Newby recently retired after 25 years of dedicated service as district manager for Daimler Chrysler Corporation. Newby enjoyed watching and participating in team sports, hiking on Mt. Tamalpais and was an avid runner and gym enthusiast.

Michael K. Petersen, BA, biology, ‘86 of Grants Pass, Oregon, died from complications related to esophageal cancer on May 24, 2006. He was 46. Dr. Petersen attended medical school at Des Moines University in Iowa. He performed his internship and residency in Internal Medicine at University of Nevada, Reno. There he was named “The Outstanding Resident” in his second year and spent his final year as Chief Medical Resident. Dr. Petersen spent eight years in the United States Army Reserve and was honorably discharged with the rank of Captain. He was in private practice in Grants Pass for 12 years. Dr. Petersen’s leisure interests included hunting, fishing, camping, travel and playing guitar.

William Michael Allman, BA, biology, ‘92 died on September 22, 2005. Allman was working as a water and wastewater treatment operator and district manager for Palmer Creek Community Services District in Fortuna, California, at the time of his death.


Eli KatzEli Katz

Rand LinkRand Link

Rand Link, former vice president for student affairs, passed away on October 5, 2006, after battling cancer. Link was a recipient of the “Leadership Excellence Award” at the 2005 CSU Alcohol Advisory Councils on April 22, 2005. He began his career at Sonoma State in the student career center but quickly became actively involved in student affairs. Link was the founder of the Student Advocates for Education program. He was involved in all aspects of student affairs and worked particularly with 18 and 19 year old students living in the residential community. He came to Sonoma State in 1970 from the greater Los Angeles area. Link received his master’s degree from Ohio State University and his doctorate from UC Berkeley. His wife Ileene, children Mark and Elizabeth, father Irving Link and sister Gale Wachs, survive him.

Eli Katz, retired professor of the Linguistics department, passed away on July 22, 2006, from complications of a stroke. Katz was a Yiddish scholar, translator and professor. In 1964, he refused to answer questions about his political affiliations and beliefs, which led to his dismissal from the faculty of UC Berkeley. Katz ignited the blazing fire of issues concerned with academic freedom and discourse. In 1970, Katz became part of the Sonoma State faculty as a professor in the Department of Ethnic Studies. He specialized in Euro-American immigrant experience and the experiences of Jewish Americans. Katz was the pioneer of the Department of Linguistics which is now embedded inside the Department of Anthropology. Katz was very active in faculty governance at SSU, serving on many Academic Senate and School of Social Science committees. He served as Chair of the Academic Senate during l978-79. He also served a term as President of the Sonoma chapter of the United Professors of California, which eventually merged into the present faculty union, the California Faculty Association. Katz had a strong social conscience and was committed through his life to causes associated with the achievement of social justice.

Denise Kirchner, designer and co-supervisor of the Costume Shop, passed away on September 5, 2006. Kirchner died suddenly in her home with husband Ron present. Kirchner was hired by the Center for Performing Arts three years ago. She contributed to the design and costume construction of many shows during her time at Sonoma State. Kirchner influenced many student designers, actors, directors, and stage technicians. During the 1970s and ‘80s, Kirchner and her husband were successful window dressers in department stores throughout Chicago and New York City. The couple slowly evolved into costume design and stage production for on and off-Broadway productions.

Patricia NourotPatricia Nourot

Patricia Nourot, friend, mentor, and colleague to many within the School of Education, unexpectedly passed away in August 2006. Nourot was actively involved with the School of Education from 1988 to 2004. She began teaching in the early childhood program in the mid 1980s and became an Assistant Professor in the School of Education in 1988. She assumed leadership as Coordinator of the Early Childhood credential and MA programs in 1990 and continued in that role until her retirement in 2004. She was a friend and role model to her students and a scholar of high stature in the community, state, and nation. Throughout her career she worked closely with school districts in Sonoma, Napa, and Solano Counties toward the goal of high quality education for preschool, primary, and elementary age children. Donations may be made to the Patricia Nourot Early Childhood MA Scholarship Fund.

Bruce Walker, Sonoma State University’s Chief Architect Bruce Walker died at the age of 47 due to a heart attack on November 6, 2005 at his home in Healdsburg. Walker was responsible for overseeing millions of dollars in construction projects from blueprints to operational buildings. Walker was involved in every step of the construction process for many buildings on campus. He volunteered and shared his knowledge at St. John’s Catholic School where he was the lead on two $1 million expansion projects, which included a new gymnasium dedicated in his name. In 1998, Walker joined Sonoma State and coordinated the completion of the Jean and Charles Schulz Information Center. Walker helped in the construction of the new recreation center, remodeling of Salazar and Darwin halls, and launching of the Green Music Center.