1950s Featured Legacies Legacies

James Robertson Driscoll (BSJ55)

James Robertson Driscoll (BSJ55), a former advertising executive, died Nov. 9, 2019. Driscoll was born on Jan. 14, 1933 and grew up in Winnetka, Ill. After graduating from Lake Forest Academy in 1951, Driscoll attended Medill, and then began a long and successful career in the advertising business in Chicago before joining New York based Warwick & Legler, Inc. in 1959.

While at Warwick, Driscoll was promoted to Executive Vice President and led the development of international advertising campaigns to market the full portfolio of Seagram’s beverages. Following his retirement, Driscoll and his wife Cookie relocated to Ohio.

Driscoll served through several outreach ministries which included a long-term international mission in Porto, Portugal. He was happiest spending time with his wife Cookie, his six children and his seven grandchildren. Among his many passions were jazz music, photography, golf, skiing, bird watching, nature and the great outdoors.

Driscoll knew how to make friends with people throughout his life. His joy for living and his infectious enthusiasm drew many people close to him. He would greet everyone with his bright smile and his imaginative sense of humor, and he often went out of his way to make others smile and laugh. Driscoll is survived by his wife, his six children, seven grandchildren and six great grandchildren.

1950s Featured Legacies Legacies

Charles Thomas Alexander (non-alumnus)

Charles Thomas Alexander, professor emeritus at Medill and former director of the Medill News Service, died Nov. 15, 2019.  He was 91. Alexander was born in Minneapolis on Sept. 21, 1928, but his family home was in Mount Vernon, Ind. After receiving his bachelor’s degree from Duke University, 1950, he served in the military during the Korean War and studied for two years at the Boston University School of Theology. He obtained his master’s degree in journalism from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and began his journalism career with the Washington Star in 1956 as an assistant city editor. He then became managing editor of Delaware’s Wilmington Morning News and Evening Journal in 1961, and then an editor and publisher of the Dayton Journal Herald in Ohio. He returned to Washington, D.C. in 1975 to serve as a professor of journalism and director of the Medill News Service. He retired in 1994.

He loved sports, music, theater, travel and the church, and served as an elder of the Georgetown Presbyterian Church for over 30 years.

A long-time Alexandria resident, he is survived by his wife of 68 years, Elizabeth; his daughters Elizabeth and Lucy; and grandchildren Charlie and Emma.


1940s Featured Legacies Legacies

John H. Worthington (MSJ48)

John Henry Worthington, a navigator and proud WWII veteran, died Oct. 16, 2019. He was 97. He graduated from Temple University and earned his master’s degree from Medill in 1948. He lived in Evanston and worked for the Chicago Sun Times, before moving to Michigan, where he worked for The Detroit News for eight years. He completed his career as an editor and publisher of the D.A.C. News . After his wife’s death, Worthington moved to Foxboro, Mass., where he took up golf, gardened, went on walks with his beloved pet, Diva, and enjoyed a leisurely retirement.

Worthington is survived by his children, grandchildren, and brother.

1950s Featured Legacies Legacies

Lois Kroeber Wille (BSJ53, MSJ54)

Lois Kroeber Wille, two-time Pulitzer winner and pioneering Chicago journalist, died July 23, 2019. She was 87.  For 34 years she worked as one of Chicago’s bravest, fiercest journalists, often going undercover to report on economic and social inequality—on mental health and birth control, on juvenile justice and maternal care.

But those who knew her also remember her as wickedly sharp, quick and funny, with an upstanding moral code and deep compassion for others.

“For all of her awards and accolades, all her accomplishments, Lois was held in awe by so many people,” said her nephew Eric Kroeber told the Chicago Tribune. “I have heard from so many people, ‘Lois helped me so much when I was just starting out’ and ‘Lois was such an inspiration to me.’ Well, maybe she never heard any of that because it didn’t go to her head. To me and my family she was just the most down-to-earth, friendly and loving human being.”

She began in the newsroom of the Chicago Daily News in 1957, where all but one of her colleagues were male. And she quickly realized those men were held to a remarkably different standard, wrote the Washington Post.

“The men could have tantrums and throw their typewriters and yell and scream if something happened to their copy, or go off on two- or three-day benders, and it was considered very colorful and part of the great Chicago tradition in journalism,” Ms. Wille said in a 1991 oral history interview for the Washington Press Club Foundation.

But women had to appear “in control and calm,” she added, lest they be thought frail or temperamental.

Wille started as assistant to the fashion editor at the Daily News, writing soft news stories for what were then considered to be the “women’s pages,” according to the Tribune. She shot pool with Willie Hop and interviewed Cary Grant about his proclivity for women’s underwear over breakfast.

She thought the lighthearted stories were “really fun,” but gravitated to hard news, once breaking away from a fashion story she was writing to cover a fire she had spotted, according to the Times. After becoming frustrated that the stamps she was using to mail Christmas cards didn’t have enough glue, she pitched and wrote her first front-page story about citywide dissatisfaction with mailing stamps that didn’t stick to envelopes.

That story earned her one of the few hard news reporting slots available for women at the time, and she dove into investigative reporting, covering poverty, mental illness, and social justice.

She often went undercover, according to the Times. For her first series, she exposed abuses in juvenile court by pretending to be a legal aid. She posed as a medical worker in a mental health clinic, complete with white coat and clipboard. The Times wrote that while many might consider her tactics a “breach of journalistic ethics,” Wille was adamant that her methods were justified given the issues at stake.

And Wille’s reporting led to social change:

Less than three months after she reported on the lack of public funding for Chicago birth-control programs, the Illinois Public Aid Commission voted to fund birth-control aid for welfare recipients, according to the Washington Post. Wille’s story won her her first Pulitzer Prize.

Wille was born in Chicago on Sept. 19, 1931. Her father was a German-born architect who specialized in churches, and her mother was a homemaker, according to the Washington Post.

Wille gravitated towards journalism after she read Dale Messick’s comic strip about a redheaded reporter named Brenda Starr. She edited her high school paper and studied journalism at Medill, receiving a bachelor’s degree in 1953 and a master’s in 1954, the same year she married Wayne Wille (BSJ53, MSJ54).

She also wrote the books “Forever Open, Clear and Free: The Struggle for Chicago’s Lakefront” (1972) and “At Home in the Loop: How Clout and Community Built Chicago’s Dearborn Park” (1997).

In 1989, after Wille won a second Pulitzer Prize for her editorial writing, her colleagues wrote of her, “No question. If Lois Wille were running Chicago, it would be a better place. Fairer, more decent, more honest, more demanding and more giving, preserving the best part of its past, while reaching out eagerly to make even more of its future — for all of its people.”

In addition to her husband, Wille is survived by her nephews and several great-nephews and great-nieces.

1950s Featured Legacies Legacies

Nancy Frederick Shuker Weyr (BSJ56)

Nancy Frederick Shuker Weyr, a seasoned book editor who worked on some of the most popular books on American shelves, died July 31, 2019.

Her family wrote that “she was an extraordinary woman with specific and dearly missed gifts: a great sense of humor, a strong moral compass, an enduring love of the arts, a generous spirit, and a mind of her own.”

Born July 26, 1934, in Cincinnati, Ohio, Weyr grew up in Nashville, Tenn., and graduated high school there. She graduated from Medill, and soon after married noted documentarian Greg Shuker, with whom she had three children. Her family lived first in Virginia and in 1960 moved to Bronxville, where she lived the rest of her life.
In the book division at Time-Life Weyr worked on books that would become foundational texts in many American households, including Julia Child’s “Cooks of the World” series. She ultimately became chief of research for the entire book division.

She would later go on to run Senator Jacob Javits’s reelection campaign, reflecting a lifelong interest in politics, and to work in several publishing houses. She was made editor-in-chief for “Bottom Line: Personal,” a business-oriented newsletter, and she edited a “huge variety” of nonfiction books over the course of her professional life. After a long career in writing and language, Weyr spent her free time tutoring local high schoolers.

Her family wrote that Weyr loved the arts, especially theater, and was “always looking for ways to enrich the lives of young people” by exposing them to drama.

Weyr remarried in 1992 to Thomas Weyr, a celebrated author and journalist. She is survived by her husband, her two siblings, her children, her five grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

1950s 1960s Featured Legacies Legacies

Donald D. Horine (BSJ59, MSJ60)

Donald D. Horine (BSJ59, MSJ60) wore many hats throughout his life (including tennis, teaching, and bagpipes) but was, according to those who knew him, “always a newspaper guy.” He died Aug. 11, 2019. He was 82.

As a high school student, Horine convinced the Oregonian newspaper to let him write a weekly high school news column for the paper—and the Oregonian became the first major paper in the country to cover high school news.

He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in journalism from Medill where he met his first wife, Sharon Gould. They married and had two children. Horine served in Okinawa, Japan as a writer for the Stars and Stripes military newspaper, taught journalism at Lehigh University and California State University in Los Angeles, and worked as a city editor for the LA Times.

He was also an associate editor for the National Enquirer and later, the Palm Beach Evening Times. He last worked at the Palm Beach Post, where he was on the editorial board. He wrote once again on high school education in a bi-weekly column there until retiring in 1999.

Late in life, Horine embraced his Scottish birthright: bagpipes, despite having no prior musical experience. After being selected for Palm Beach Pipes and Drums, one of south Florida’s premier pipe bands, he met his wife of 19 years, Darlene J. Holliston, a drummer. They married in 2000.

Horine is survived by his wife, his children and stepchild, seven siblings, and seven grandchildren.

1940s Featured Legacies Legacies

Marilynn Bruder Alsdorf (BS46)

Marilynn Bruder Alsdorf, a lifelong Chicagoan and philanthropist known as the “queen of Chicago’s arts community,” died Aug 1, 2019. She was 94.  Alsdorf and her late husband were passionate art collectors and devoted patrons of the arts, and their contributions of art collections and funding enriched some of Chicago’s most valued art institutions.

In 2006, her contributions to the Art Institute of Chicago endowed a museum curatorial position and art history professorship and made possible a renovation of the galleries for Indian, Himalayan and Southeast Asian Art, which opened in 2009.

Hundreds of pieces from the Alsdorf Collection are on display in the galleries, which are designed by Renzo Piano.

Art Institute President James Rondeau told the Chicago Tribune: “Marilynn was a true connoisseur. With true and wide ranging curiosity and knowledge, an exquisite eye, and commitment to bringing the best to Chicago, she elevated the collections of institutions around the city.”

Alsdorf also gave generously to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and the University of Chicago’s Smart Museum of Art, according to Ed Horner Jr., a former executive vice president of the Art Institute who spoke with the Tribune

Alsdorf was born and raised on the Far North Side of Chicago. She graduated from Medill in 1946, and married Joseph Alsdorf not long after. Before the couple began collecting art, she worked briefly as a model for commercial and fashion photographers.

The Alsdorfs bought their first painting (by Amedeo Modigliani) at a Chicago auction, and began a collection known among collectors for its diversity and quality.

“She and her husband traveled the world back in the 1950s and 1960s when others were not going to Southeast Asia and places like that,” Suzanne McCullagh, former chairman of the Art Institute’s Department of Prints and Drawings, told the Tribune.

The Alsdorfs amassed an “extraordinary” and “encyclopedic” collection of Indian, Himalayan and Southeast Asian art, according to Horner. He added that although Alsdorf’s collections were diverse and eclectic, she could curate the objects so they would speak to each other.

Alsdorf also had a “great eye and great knowledge” when collecting contemporary and modern art, McCullagh told the Tribune.

Alsdorf and her husband were always eager to learn about art and artists from across the globe. After Mr. Alsdorf’s death in 1990, she remained an active collector, adding works by Mark Rothko, René Magritte, Wassily Kandinsky, Frida Kahlo and Fernand Léger, among others.

“Her vision and philanthropy can be experienced every day in the Art Institute’s Alsdorf Galleries,” Rondeau told the Tribune.

She is survived by her son Jeffrey, her daughter Lynne, and six grandchildren and fifteen great-grandchildren.

1950s Featured Legacies Legacies

Yet Lock (BSJ58)

Yet Lock, the former president of the Chinatown Chamber of Commerce in downtown Los Angeles and possibly the longest-serving news executive in Southern California, according to the Los Angeles Times, died Sept. 7, 2019. He was 83.

Lock, who was executive vice president of City News Service for 40 years,  graduated from Medill in 1958 and taught as a public schoolteacher before joining the Los Angeles mayor’s office. After working as a top aide to former Los Angeles Mayor Sam Yorty, Lock began working with City News Service in 1972.

Lock, a driving force in the Asian American Journalists Association, had been honored by the AAJA for “paving the way for Asian Americans.” The Los Angeles City Council honored Lock at the time of his retirement. City Councilman Paul Koretz introduced a resolution marking July 27, 2012, as “Yet Lock Day.” Koretz called Lock a “crucial figure” in the history of Los Angeles journalism who helped build CNS into “an amazingly vital and vibrant news agency.”

Lock lived with his wife, June Kim, in Florida after Lock retired in 2012.

1990s Featured Legacies Legacies

Mary Suzanne Costello Vandergrift (BSJ99)

Mary Suzanne Costello Vandergrift, a television news reporter and journalist, died July 26, 2019. She was 42. One of seven children, she was born in Wisconsin Jan. 27, 1977 to Patrick and Susan Costello.

A stellar student, Vandergrift graduated high school in 1995. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Medill in 1999. Peers remembered her as a natural storyteller and as an apt television reporter.  She was an on-air reporter for local news stations in several states including Indiana, West Virginia, Ohio, and Minneapolis. She was most proud of her field reporting during severe weather and her investigative work.

She met her husband, Nate Vandergrift, on the job in Dayton, Ohio in 2006, where he worked as a producer. They married on Dec. 31, 2008, and in 2011, they welcomed one daughter, Olivia Lorraine.

Friends and family remember her humor and her willingness to reach out to others in the face of adversity.

She is survived by her husband, Nathan Vandergrift, and his family; her daughter, Olivia; her mother, Susan; her siblings: William, Joseph, Stephanie, Elizabeth, Isaac, and Scott; her eight nieces and nephews, as well as aunts, an uncle, and cousins.

1940s Featured Legacies Legacies

Edith Van Tuyle Phelan (BSJ46)

Edith Van Tuyle Phelan, a great-great-grandmother and lifelong volunteer, died June 19, 2019, at the age of 94. She was born in rural lllinois, but graduated from high school in Winchester in 1942.

She was active in the women’s athletic association, a sports reporter for the student newspaper and a member of the Chi Omega sorority.

Phelan was a member of Northwestern women’s rifle team, which was nicknamed the “Pistol Packin’ Mamas.” Before graduating, Phelan married Dick Phelan, a graduate of Northwestern’s engineering program, in 1945, and had four children.

As president of the Northwestern Alumnae Association she was honored with an award for her service in 1981, and in 1996 she served as co-chairman of her class’s 50th reunion celebration.

She volunteered for the Children’s Home and Aid Society of Illinois, and was recognized by the Chicago State Street Council for her efforts. She served as a librarian for the First Presbyterian Church of Evanston and for fifty-four years as a judge for Cook County elections.

She was a member of the Chicago North Shore Chi Omega Alumnae group, the Evanston Woman’s Athletic Club, the North Shore Senior Center and the Winnetka Genealogy Writers Group.

She is survived by her husband of 74 years, Richard A. Phelan; two daughters, Carolyn Arra and Peggy; two sons, Robert and James; one granddaughter, seven grandsons, one great-granddaughter, three great-grandsons and one great-great-grandson.