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Posted January 13, 1999

Mary Lou Norrie Brown

Mary Lou Norrie Brown, former chair of the Department of Physical Education for nearly a decade, died Dec. 2 of a heart attack. She was 71.

Born in 1927, Norrie was extremely active in her profession and in campus administrative matters.

Norrie first came to Berkeley as a student, earning both a bachelor's and master's degree in physical education in the early '50s. She gained her PhD from Columbia University.

In 1962, Norrie joined the Berkeley faculty. She specialized in motor learning and mentored many graduate students. By the 1970's her influence on campus had spread beyond the classroom. She served as the campus's Ombudsperson, worked on various committees of the Academic Senate and was president of the Women's Faculty Club.

In 1973 she became chair of what was then called the Physical Education Department and served through 1982. Along the way, she married former physics professor Robert Brown.

During her retirement, which began around 1983, Norrie traveled around the world to pursue her hobby in amateur radio transmission.

Harmer Davis

Harmer Davis, professor emeritus of civil engineering and founder of what is now the University of California Institute of Transportation Studies, died Dec. 24 at his home in Walnut Creek. He was 93.

Davis was an international leader in transportation policy and founder of the nation's first program combining research and teaching in transportation issues, the campus-based Institute of Transportation and Traffic Engineering. He served as its statewide director from 1948 until his retirement in 1973.

Born and raised in Rochester, N.Y., Davis served on the faculty for 45 years.He was chair of the civil engineering department from 1955 until 1959 and was known as an excellent teacher.

Davis is survived by his third wife, Phyllis Davis, of Walnut Creek, and three children by his first marriage: Lynn Davis of San Diego, Eugene Davis of Union City and Willard Davis of Berkeley. His survivors include three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

To make a donation to student aid in his memory, call the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at 642-3261.

Joseph Esherick

Architecture Professor Emeritus Joseph Esherick, internationally renowned architect and educator, died December 18 after a long illness. He was 83.

"Joe was a gift," said Harrison Fraker, dean of the College of Environmental Design (CED). "His buildings and words inspired all of us, even those who never met him."

Esherick joined the architecture faculty in l952, receiving the Berkeley Citation upon his retirement in l985. During his tenure at Berkeley he served as chair of the CED faculty (1972-73), architecture department chair (1977-81) and CED acting dean (summer 1984).

"Joe has been fundamental to the spirit and quality of the department and to the character of architecture in the Bay Region," architecture department chair Donlyn Lyndon said of his colleague. "His design studio teaching was of singular importance to generations of professional students, who were led through a process of free and open examination rooted in the circumstance of how buildings are made and how they actually work for the people who will use them."

In addition to serving on the faculty, Esherick was a noted Bay Area architect and founder of the San Francisco firm of Esherick Homsey Dodge & Davis (EHDD).

He became a fellow of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) in 1965, and received numerous honors including the AIA Gold Medal for lifetime achievement and the prestigious Topaz Award for excellence in architectural education.

Among his most notable projects are Wurster Hall, designed with faculty colleagues Donald Olsen and Vernon DeMars; The Cannery in San Francisco; the Monterey Bay Aquarium; Adlai Stevenson College at UC Santa Cruz; and the Student Union at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. His last project, the new Tenderloin Community School in San Francisco, is now in its final stages of construction. Esherick, for whom education was a lifelong commitment, donated his time to the project.

Esherick is survived by his wife, Norma; five children, Lisa of Berkeley, Joseph of San Diego, Peter of Albuquerque and Maria and Julie of San Francisco; three stepchildren, Linda Small, Kent Taylor and Jonathan Taylor; five grandchildren and eight step grandchildren.

A memorial gathering will be held at 2 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 30 at the First Congregational Church, Dana and Durant Streets in Berkeley.

Anna Espenschade

Former Professor of Physical Education Anna Espenschade, renowned for her work tracking motor development among children, died on Nov. 27 following a short illness. She was 95.

A professor at Berkeley from 1928 to 1968, Espenschade was born in 1903 in Mifflintown, Penn. She obtained her PhD in psychology at Berkeley.

She began exploring motor correlates of child development while working on her doctorate, and continued such investigations from the 1940s through the 1960s, bringing together the findings of other researchers and her own work. Her 1967 book, "Motor Development," co-authored with colleague Helen Eckert, was long considered a classic in the field.

Espenschade received numerous awards, including the Hetherington Award, the highest honor of the American Academy of Physical Education.

She was a guiding force in developing simple, reliable methods for school officials to gather data useful in measuring the physical ability of public school students.

Espenschade is survived by her nephew, Wayne Espenschade of Missoula, Mont.

Dorothy Bird Nyswander

Dorothy Bird Nyswander, a world leader in public health education and a founder of Berkeley's School of Public Health, died peacefully in her Berkeley home Dec. 18. She was 104.

Known by generations of health professionals worldwide, Nyswander was active, although bedridden, up to the last days of her life, holding monthly seminars on public health in her home. People often had to schedule two weeks in advance to join the steady stream of visitors to her bedside.

Once asked the secret to her long life, Nyswander said spontaneously, "I never have dieted or done anything just for health. I live and have a good time. Loving people is the secret of my life."

In 1946, Nyswander came to Berkeley, where she pioneered the introduction of behavioral sciences into public health and trained a generation of practitioners in a new method of health education.

Following her retirement from Berkeley in 1957 at age 62, Nyswander began a 16-year career with the World Health Organization, traveling the globe to set up health education programs.

Born in Reno, Nev. in 1894, Nyswander grew up on a cattle ranch. In 1926 she earned a PhD in psychology from Berkeley. She was 32 at the time, a divorced single mother and a socialist.

Her approach to health education was to put people in charge of identifying and solving their own problems. Revolutionary in her time, this participatory approach, in Nyswander's hands, resulted in stunning successes.

Her husband of more than 20 years, George Palmer, died in 1971. Her daughter, Marie Nyswander (Dole), died in 1986. Nyswander is survived by a niece, Barbara Ann Walker of Mission Viejo, Calif., and several cousins. A memorial service will be held this spring.

The American Indian College Fund has established the Nyswander-Manson Fund in honor of her and her sister, Margaret Bird Manson. Contributions, to be matched by the AICF, can be sent to: AICF, 21 West 68th St., Suite 1F, New York, NY 10023.


January 13 - 19, 1999 (Volume 27, Number 19)
Copyright 1999, The Regents of the University of California.
Produced and maintained by the Office of Public Affairs at UC Berkeley.
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