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posted October 28, 1998

Albert Johnson

Albert Johnson, a senior lecturer in the African American Studies Department and an internationally known film critic, died suddenly Oct. 17. He was 73.

Johnson, was known as much for his work on campus, where his film courses were popular among students, as he was for his work in the local community heading the San Francisco International Film Festival and the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame in Oakland.

He was in Chicago for a film festival when he suffered a heart attack.

"The African American Studies Department was shocked and saddened by his passing," said Percy Hintzen, department chair. "It is a great loss to the department and to the university.'

Johnson was born in New York City on May 9, 1925. He earned a bachelor's degree in English from Berkeley in 1954.

He was program director of the San Francisco International Film Festival from 1965 to 1972 and served as director in 1980 and '81.

Johnson created "The Craft of Cinema," a series of annual tributes that brought notable artists to the area, including Gene Kelly, Walt Disney, Judy Garland, John Huston, Bette Davis, Paul Newman and Frank Capra.

He co-founded and edited perhaps the first serious film journal in America, Berkeley's "Film Quarterly." In the 1960s he helped bring serious programs and exhibitions of international and American film artists' work to campus.

"He pioneered this interest in Third World cinema and films from emerging producers whom Americans had never heard of," said Peter Scarlet, artistic director for the film festival.

Johnson was also deeply involved with Oakland's Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame, from its beginnings in 1972 to the present.

He served as a consultant and film critic at venues around the world, including the Cannes International Film Festival in France; the Berlin International Film Festival in Germany; and the Venice International Film Festival in Italy.

Colleagues plan a November memorial service.

Johnson is survived by a brother, sister, brother-in-law and nephew.


Robert Cockrell

Robert Cockrell, a noted expert on trees and wood who also is credited with foresting part of the Berkeley campus, died Oct. 10 at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in San Rafael. He was 89.

A professor emeritus of forestry, he joined the faculty in 1936 to teach courses in forest utilization, wood anatomy and dendrology -- the study of trees.

He also planted hundreds of trees throughout the campus, many of them from seeds given to him by former students and colleagues at Clemson University in South Carolina and Syracuse University, where he taught before coming to Berkeley.

In 1976 Cockrell published a revised edition of "Trees of the Berkeley Campus," described as one of Berkeley's most popular publications. The booklet gave Latin and common names, as well as descriptions, for hundreds of unusual campus shrubs and trees.

His scholarly research in the mechanical properties of second growth giant sequoia revived an interest in the species which led to its planting in many parts of the southern Sierra Nevada.

Cockrell helped develop the graduate program in forestry, served for many years as the graduate advisor for the School of Forestry (now part of the College of Natural Resources), was secretary of the Academic Senate for 10 years, and served as associate dean of the graduate division from 1954 until 1967.

Born Aug. 11, 1909, in Yonkers, New York, Cockrell earned his BS (1930) and MS (1931) from the New York State College of Forestry in Syracuse and his PhD in wood anatomy from the University of Michigan (1934).

Cockrell, who retired in 1977, is survived by his wife Zylpha of San Rafael and three sons.

A memorial service will be held Sunday, Nov. 8, from 4 to 7 p.m. in the Great Hall of the Faculty Club.


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