1990s Featured Legacies Legacies

Susan Ashworth Bader (MSJ95)

Republished from the East Bay Times

Susan Ashworth Bader, freelance journalist and former Editor-in-Chief of TV Technology, a broadcast industry trade publication, died suddenly on December 4 at her home in Oakland, CA. She was 52.

Compassionate and curious, Susie, as she was known by family, friends and colleagues, was drawn to reporting at an early age. With no school newspaper at Serrano High School, she instead worked on the yearbook. At UC Riverside, she covered campus events from basketball to student body governance meetings for the Highlander.

After graduation, she was accepted at Medill to obtain her Masters Degree. There it was crystallized in her, the core journalistic standards of accuracy, transparency and accountability, which she fiercely held herself and other journalists to throughout her career. During her last quarter at school, with Montana, her cat in tow, Susie moved to Washington, D.C., to continue her studies through assignments covering breaking news events in the nations capital. She met her future husband, Rob Bader, in Gaithersburg, MD. She first began working for TV Technology where she reported on advances in the field of broadcast television, from the newest flying cameras filming the X-Games to virtual reality TV news studios and even “how that elusive yellow first-down line appears on a football field.”

Susie and Rob were married in her hometown of Wrightwood, CA, in 1999. They moved to the Bay Area when Rob was accepted in law school at UC College of the Law in San Francisco. Susie worked for the housing publication Hanley Wood as an editor before moving on to Inman News and American City Business Journals. Susie was a reporter at the annual National Association of Broadcasters convention in Las Vegas for many years. Sadly, in 2022, the Bader family was devastated when Rob was diagnosed Stage IV Cancer. He passed away in March 2023. Susie is survived by her children Jackson, Nate and Charlotte, her sister Jennifer, her brother George Kenneth and her father, George Richard.

Susan Ashworth Bader

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Kurt Paul Stocker (IMC faculty)

Kurt Paul Stocker passed away on February 11th, after a 10-month fight following complications from heart valve surgery. He was 84. Kurt was our patriarch and didn’t leave much on the table. He rounded Cape Horn, he dove from an airplane at 82 years old. He left an indelible impression on all of us. He was a huge contributor in the lives of his family. Beyond the professional accomplishments, Kurt was an artist, a skilled printmaker and filled much of his retirement time in his Corrales studio, porch side with his friends or in a catboat in Florida.

A long time public relations, public affairs and corporate governance professional, Kurt served as Chairman of the NYSE Individual Investor Advisory Board, as a Director of NYSE Regulation Inc. As a member of the Advisory Committee of U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and as a member of the Board of Governors of Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc (formerly, NASD).

Kurt was a Senior Executive with Continental Bank Corporation, United Airlines, Allstate and Hill & Knowlton companies.

Other professional organizations included serving as a past President of The Arthur W. Page Society, as well as being inducted into their Hall of Fame. Kurt was a past Commodore of The Chicago Yacht Club. He was a visiting lecturer and Assistant Professor in Medill IMC in the ’90s and served on advisory boards for PR Newswire, Journal of Integrated Marketing and San Isabel Land Protection Trust.

Kurt and his wife of 62 years, Kathleen attended Marietta College where they met and wed. Kurt is survived by his son Peter and daughter Jennifer and 4 grandchildren, Cate, Graham, Emma and Ian.

Tribute provided by Peter and Jennifer Stocker. 

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Lisa Lee (MSJ93)

Lisa Lee (MSJ93), senior vice president of creative and content for the Academy of Country Music died Aug. 21 after a battle with brain cancer. She was 52. Born Alicia Faye Young in Cabot, Arkansas, on Dec. 24, 1968, Lee earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and English from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and a master’s degree in broadcast journalism from Medill. After graduation, Lee got a reporting job at Cabot Star-Herald newspaper.

One of her early jobs was at KTAL-TV, an NBC affiliate serving Texarkana and Shreveport, Louisiana, where she began to be interested in entertainment stories. Although her assignments covered a variety of topics, Lee eventually convinced station management to allow her to do movie reviews; she promptly constructed her own little critic’s corner set. She also started covering country music concerts and events in the Arkansas area and surrounding states at this time.

Lee started a friendship with a reporter/producer from Jim Owens and Associates, the Nashville-based production company behind TNN Country News at the time. Soon she was checking in with the folks at Jim Owens, updating them on all the entertainment pieces she was working on, while not so subtly working to convince them to hire her. Her persistence paid off when Jim Owens and Associates hired her, and she moved to Nashville to work for the company from 1995 to 1999.

In 2000, Lee moved to CMT and as a news correspondent and producer.

Lee also had a calling to expand the social conversation. She wrote and produced the Prism Award-winning special Addicted to Addiction, as well as the TV news specials Sex in Videos: Where’s the Line and Controversy: Tammy Wynette.

In 2004, Lisa moved to Los Angeles, becoming the Hollywood-based correspondent and West Coast News Bureau Chief for CMT Insider, the network’s interview-driven news show, where she covered music, movies, and television.

In 2007, three years after her move to L.A., Lisa accepted the Academy of Country Music’s offer to draw on her experience as a TV journalist and producer to help the Academy establish and grow their own in-house creative and video production department. As the Academy’s lead staff producer, she oversaw all video production as well as the design, creation, and editing of ACM logos, digital and printed materials including ACM Tempo magazine, the ACM Awards program book, and both the ACM and ACM Lifting Lives websites.

With her long history of production and network teamwork, Lee served as a liaison with CBS television’s creative departments and for promos and creative content surrounding the annual ACM Awards. She was named producer of the Academy of Country Music Honors, a live industry event dedicated to celebrating the Academy’s special award honorees, off-camera category winners, and ACM Industry and Studio Recording Awards winners. Held each year at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Lisa imbued the event with a real love for the people who go the extra mile to support, expand, and protect Country Music in its most creative places.

In 2014, Lee wrote and created This Is Country: A Backstage Pass to the Academy of Country Music Awards. The deeply researched coffee table book celebrated the 50 the anniversary of the ACM Awards and included a forward by Reba McEntire.

Photo: Courtesy Academy of Country Music

Source: Link to full obitutary.

1990s Featured Legacies Legacies

Tom Perrotta (BSJ98)

Thomas “Tom” Perrotta, 44,  of Brooklyn, NY, passed away peacefully at home on January 6, 2021. He was the beloved husband of Rachel Kane and father to Paul and Sean. Born in Providence, he was the son of Norma (Rattenni) Perrotta and the late Leo Perrotta.

In addition to his wife and sons, he is survived by his siblings Leo J. Perrotta (Debbie) of Portsmouth, Michael Perrotta (Rhonda) of Cranston, Lisa Hanch (David Lefort) of North Providence, Patricia Martineau (John) of Johnston and John Perrotta of North Providence. He also leaves 2 nieces and 3 nephews.

Tom attended North Providence High School and received his undergraduate degree from Medill. He became a freelance sportswriter, specializing in tennis, and wrote for several publications, including the Wall Street Journal. He traveled extensively around the world to cover tennis tournaments. It was his “dream job,” but his first love was his family. He treasured his visits to Rhode Island, returning often for holidays and other family gatherings, summertime visits to Charlestown beach and stops at Mr. Lemon for lemonade.

Tom was a loving and generous person who always went out of his way to help friends and colleagues. His memory will be cherished by all who knew him.

Read a tribute from Sports Illustrated:

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Professor Emeritus Don E. Schultz

Don E. Schultz, professor emeritus of Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications, died June 4. He was 86. Schultz, a longtime faculty member, was a pioneer in the field of integrated marketing communications and had worldwide influence on how businesses approach marketing.

Schultz joined the Medill faculty in 1977. At Medill, Schultz chaired the Department of Advertising in the mid-1980s. He was one of the faculty members who led the consolidation of the school’s advertising, direct marketing and public relations curricula in the late 1980s. In 1991, Medill launched the first graduate-level integrated marketing communications program in the United States. He is commonly referred to as the “father of IMC” around the world.

“Don Schultz was a pioneer of integrated marketing communications, and he helped guide our venerable Medill School toward one of the most important new areas of scholarship and education for our era,” said Northwestern University President Morton Schapiro. “We will forever be grateful for his contributions to Medill and to our University.”

“Don was an academic leader and a prodigious researcher,” said Medill Dean Charles Whitaker. “IMC was his vision and he worked diligently to spread it globally. Scholars and marketers around the world are indebted to Don for how he shaped the industry.”

A prolific scholar, Schultz consulted, lectured and held seminars on integrated marketing communications, marketing, branding, advertising, sales promotion and communication management in Europe, South America, Asia/Pacific, the Middle East, Australia and North America. He is the author/co-author of 28 books, including the seminal “Integrated Marketing Communication: Putting It Together and Making It Work,” as well as “IMC: The Next Generation,” “Brand Babble,” and “Understanding China’s Digital Generation,” among others.

He is one of the most cited marketing communications thought-leaders, with more than 150 academic, professional and trade articles. He was the founding editor of the Journal of Direct Marketing (now the Journal of Interactive Marketing) and a featured columnist in Marketing News and Marketing Insights. He was on the editorial review board of a number of trade and scholarly publications.

“Don constantly challenged the status quo, including his own work,” said Medill Associate Dean for IMC Vijay Viswanathan. “Very few academics and researchers have the humility to do that. Don had an incredible charisma and an ability to connect with people of different cultures. While IMC had core ideas, he always encouraged marketers to adapt IMC for audiences and brands all over the world. He was deeply committed to innovation in both marketing and teaching.”

Schultz’s reach went well beyond the United States. He served as a visiting professor at schools ranging from the University of Beijing and Tsinghua University in China, to Queensland University of Technology in Australia, the Hanken School of Economics in Helsinki, Finland, Cranfield School of Management in the UK, and to the University of Chile in Santiago.

Schultz was an active participant in industry service, including serving as chair of the Sales Promotion and Marketing Association of America and past chairman of the Accrediting Committee for the Accrediting Council in Journalism and Mass Communications. He was also a member of the American Marketing Association, American Academy of Advertising, Advertising Research Foundation, Association for Consumer Research, Business Marketing Association, Direct Marketing Association and the International Advertising Association.

“Real thought leadership takes a very rare combination of things all of which are true about Don Schultz — bravery, courage and willingness to say the sometimes unwelcomed thing. Learned, wise and skeptical. Smart, clever and, ideally, continuously improving,” said Tom Collinger, associate professor and executive director of the Medill IMC Spiegel Research Center. “Because Don Schultz was all of these things, the marketing and communications industry benefitted. And Medill benefitted. And the University benefitted. And there’s the audience that benefitted most: the 30-plus years of alumni all over the world practicing in their profession because of Don’s thought leadership. To say he will be missed would be a gross understatement, but his fingerprints will not just live in the past, but forever be encouraging our future.”

Schultz received numerous honors, including the Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award from Northwestern in 2010 and being inducted into Medill’s Hall of Achievement in 2019. He was given the Ivan Preston Award for Outstanding Advertising Research Contribution by the American Academy of Advertising in 2014 and was named Outstanding Alumni of Michigan State University in 1988, Direct Marketing Educator of the Year in 1989, Distinguished Advertising Educator in 1992, Sales and Marketing Executive of the Year in 1996, and one of the top 80 Marketing Leaders by Sales and Marketing Management Magazine in 1998. In 2020, he was named a Fellow of the Australian and New Zealand Academy of Advertising.

He also was President of Agora, Inc., a global marketing, communication and branding consulting firm headquartered in Chicago.

Schultz is survived by his wife, Heidi, who was his business partner and co-author on several books. He also is survived by his sons Steven, Bradley and Jeff, as well as seven grandchildren Dory, Emily, Jacqueline, Colin, Benjamin, Daniel and Isabel.

In the coming months, Medill and the Northwestern community will come together to celebrate Schultz’s life and legacy.

Gifts given in memorial will be added to an endowed fund in IMC being created by Don and Heidi Schultz. To contribute, you may donate online or mail a contribution to:

Northwestern University
Alumni Relations and Development
1201 Davis Street
Evanston, IL 60208

1990s Featured Legacies Legacies

Betsy Rothstein (MSJ95)

Betsy Rothstein, columnist for the Daily Caller, passed away after a long battle with cancer.  Her friend, Olivia Nuzzi, said this about Rothstein in an article posted after her death in “The Intelligencer.”

“I don’t know what I expected Betsy Rothstein to look like, but I guess I wasn’t expecting a woman who made her living filleting media personalities and nurturing feuds to be so tiny in stature. When she approached me on the grass outside the Capitol building and introduced herself, I almost burst out laughing. She was delicate — almost birdlike — with a sweet, girlish voice. I can’t remember what exactly we were both doing there. It was some kind of rally, and we were surrounded by protesters and people dressed up like soldiers in the Revolutionary War. This was 2014, what would turn out to be the last semi-normal year in American politics. I’d only been a part of the Washington press corps for a few months, but already I knew about Betsy, having learned about her, as many young journalists did, when she wrote about me in her gossip column. I knew she was regarded with a mixture of fear and contempt. I also knew that my colleagues read her, scanned her copy for their boldfaced names. I did the same.

Betsy was a professional thorn in the side of Washington media figures, whom she covered at The Hill, and then Fishbowl DC, and then the Daily Caller. Nora Ephron once said that when she watched TV news, she did so wondering if what she was seeing was actually a romantic comedy. Betsy watched the political media as if it were a sitcom. She was always looking for characters, preferably ones that amused her. She thought we were all silly. She was chronically wrong on the minor details, but on this larger point she was always correct.

Betsy had confronted the idea that she might not live, and she had chosen to try very hard, to suffer, to continue to be a part of this world. She wanted to live more than those of us who do not have to consciously register our will to live each day. She was taken out unwillingly. She did not “lose a fight” or “lose a battle.” We did. Those of us who loved her, robbed of her spirit and originality. Robbed of her delightful strangeness. And those who feared or loathed her, spared of her bite, unaware that they have lost something vital too.”

Photo: Darrow Montgomery

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Benjamin C. Williams (BSJ96)

On Thursday, September 17, 2020, Benjamin Charles Williams, beloved husband to Jill and devoted father to Ashley and Joel, passed away unexpectedly at the age of 46. 

Ben was born on April 14, 1974, in Houston, Texas, to Chuck and Debbie (Matteson) Williams. He attended Cypress Creek High School, where he made lifelong friends in the band and graduated in 1992. He loved to write and earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University in 1996. Shortly after graduation he joined the ranks of the Houston Police Department, graduating with Cadet Class 171 in March of 1998, and eventually achieved the rank of sergeant. On June 5, 1999, Ben married his childhood friend and high school sweetheart Jill McCormack. Ashley Rose was born on February 3, 2004, and Joel Benjamin on October 12, 2008. 

Ben was an encyclopedia of movie trivia and could settle any debate about anything movie-related. He was a steadfast Astros fan. He also had a heart for animals and was always bringing home or threatening to bring home a stray kitten, dog or any other species. 

Along with Jill, Ashley and Joel, Ben is survived by his father Chuck and wife Lisa, mother Debbie Ellisor and husband Gene, sister Erin Williams Lowery and husband Aaron, sister Allison Williams Reeves and husband Zac, stepbrother Don Ellisor, mother-in-law Pam McCormack, father-in-law Jack McCormack and wife Nicole, brother-in-law Mike McCormack and wife Suzana, and brother-in-law Heath Harrington and wife Kim. He also leaves behind many aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews and pets.

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Joe Ruklick (MSJ90)

Former Northwestern basketball star Joe Ruklick died of natural causes Thursday, September 17, 2020. He was 82.

Rucklick played for the Wildcats from 1956-59 and was an All-American as a senior. The 6-foot-10 center said he was better known as a “walking footnote.” 

He was proud to have taken part in one of the NBA’s most iconic moments — assisting on Hall of Famer Wilt Chamberlain’s 99th and 100th points in a record-setting game for the Philadelphia Warriors on March 2, 1962, against the New York Knicks. 

“I was wide open,” Ruklick recalled in a 2016 interview with the Chicago Tribune. “I’m looking at the New York players who will not yield. I don’t know what I thought, but I knew I had to get the ball to Wilt. There were 46 seconds to go, and there’s a guy hanging on his left hip. He went, ‘Woo!’ and that meant he was open briefly. There were his hands, and I got the ball to him. And he scored.”

Ruklick said he patiently waited by the scorer’s table to make sure his assist was properly recorded. 

Ruklick, a Princeton, Illinois, native, averaged 19.9 points and 13.2 rebounds in three seasons at Northwestern — including 23 and 13 in 1958-59. The Warriors selected Ruklick in the second round (ninth overall) of the 1959 draft, and he played sparingly in three seasons. He said the pay was lousy and he morally objected to team owners wanting to keep him on the roster to appease fans who didn’t want too many Black players at the time.

“Many of them didn’t think there would be more than a handful of Black players every year,” he told the Tribune. “They thought: ‘Chamberlain is a freak. We’ll never see another Bill Russell.’ That’s how dumb we were back then. People were ugly sometimes. But it was as common as the morning sunshine.”

Chamberlain and Ruklick, who had played against each other in college when Chamberlain was at Kansas, remained friends until Chamberlain’s death in 1999.

After his NBA career, Ruklick became an investment banker and a father of three. He earned a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern at 50, later working at newspapers such as the Chicago Defender. Ruklick lived in Evanston and often attended Northwestern games as a reporter for the Aurora Voice.

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Rickey L. Wedeking (GJ95)

Rickey Lee Wedeking passed away on Wednesday, September 30, 2020. He was born on January 19, 1962, in Indianapolis to Dr. Fred L. Wedeking and Denise O. Wedeking. 

Rickey began regaling crowds at an early age with his infectious smile and impish nature. With initial aspirations to follow in his father’s footsteps, Rickey obtained his paramedic degree from Kalamazoo Valley Community College in 1980, the youngest to receive such a degree at that time. He then worked for Emmett and RNEMS Ambulance services and on his first run delivered a baby. Rickey next attended Michigan State University to study marketing, graduating in 1986. During his time as a Spartan, Rickey was very active with the Sigma Chi fraternity. Post graduation, Rickey started his own marketing firm in Kalamazoo, Different Dimensions, Inc. He later owned and operated Plainwell Printing and then acquired his real estate broker’s license to sell houses in the Kalamazoo area. 

Eventually, Rickey wanted to return to school, and he enrolled in Northwestern University’s marketing communications program. He graduated in 1995 with his graduate degree cum laude as class valedictorian. Rickey’s next adventure took him to Newport Beach, California, where he was employed in marketing research by Urban Science. He became president of the local chapter of the American Marketing Association. When not at work, Rickey loved his oceanside life and spent many weekends surfing, sailing and ambling around his beloved Catalina Island. 

Rickey lived life to the fullest, living large and loving hard, enjoying the arts, the bars, fine dining, the study of history and the Bible, world travel and, of course, his family. Rickey’s focus changed to healing and fighting after his diagnosis of multiple sclerosis in 1998. Rickey was always positive through tough times and willing to embrace his next battle. He and his family are especially thankful to all those at Alamo Nursing Home, his second family, who cared, laughed, loved and prayed with and for Rickey during his most challenging times. 

Rickey’s memory is still alive in those that survive him, including his parents, sister Tammy (Sue) and her husband, Steve Withers; brother Ritch Wedeking; aunts Nancy Wedeking and Peggy White; uncles Jeff Neel, Dickson Matos and family, Kilton Matos and family; many more beloved family in Puerto Rico; nephew Karsen Withers; niece Taryn Withers; and cousin Michelle Neel.

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Matthew T. Gamber (MSJ97)

Fr. Matthew T. Gamber S.J., age 61, passed away Friday, October 16, 2020, in Cincinnati, Ohio. Matt was a graduate of Loyola Academy, and received a bachelor’s in political science from Marquette University, a master’s in philosophy from Loyola University, a master’s of divinity from Weston Jesuit School of Theology, and a master’s in journalism from Northwestern University. Father Matt was a gifted journalist, and was published in the National Catholic Register, Catholic World Report and Catholic Herald. He was most recently appointed chaplain and director of youth ministry at St. Xavier High School. Previously, he was associate pastor at St. Francis Xavier Church in Cincinnati, and he enjoyed a lifelong career in the religious order including positions in Chicago, Gonzaga University in Washington, Xavier University in Cincinnati, and in the Vatican Radio and Catholic News Service in Rome, Italy.

Father Matt loved being a priest, and a channel of God’s healing graces and love for the people he served. He led a profoundly spiritual life, dedicated to his faith, his family, the Society of Jesus, and his many friends. Known for his hearty laugh and inquisitive spirit, Father Matt was beloved by many and enjoyed connecting with people wherever he went.

Matt was preceded in death by his father Mark J. and brother Lawrence M. Gamber. He is survived by his mother Ruth Ann (nee Henneman) Gamber; siblings Mark (MaryJo), William (Linda), Mary Margaret, and Robert (Suzan) Gamber; sister-in-law Carol Gamber; nieces and nephews Matthew (Alexandra), Casey, Charlie, Jamie, Mary Kate and Luke Gamber; and great nephew Benjamin.