Obituaries — September 2011

We mourn the passing of these Gators. Our obituary listings are culled from media reports or can be submitted directly to


Robert Agee (BSCHE ’56) died July 8 at age 78. Agee was head of engineering at Ethyl Corp. and the distinguished research and development adviser at Albemarle Corp. before his retirement. He held 23 patents in specialty chemicals, including the first that allowed commercial production of ibuprofen. He lived in Baton Rouge, La.

Maj. Gen. John Alison (BSIE ’36) died June 6 at age 98. He is considered one of the fathers of the U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command and is best known for leading a 1943 Allied air invasion of Burma during World War II. Alison lived in Washington, D.C.

William Brannen Jr. (BSCE ’56) died July 1 at age 85. Brannen served in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II and worked as an assistant county engineer for Duval County. He was also assistant executive director for the South Florida Water Management District. He lived in Jupiter.

Don Chandler (BSPE ’56) died August 11 at age 76. He was a punter and a placekicker first for the New York Giants and later for the Green Bay Packers when they won the first Super Bowl in 1967. Chandler played on four NFL championship teams altogether, as well as in the 1967 Pro Bowl and the NFL’s 1960s all-decade team. He lived in Tulsa, Okla.

Elaine Conrath (BSISE ’83) died June 27 at age 51. She was an engineer at Motorola and lived in Inverness, Ill.

Francis “The Frog” D’Avanza Sr. (BSP ’68) died July 6 at age 66. He was a pharmacist and an avid Gator fan. He lived in Tampa.

Diego Garcia Jr. (BA ’63, MED ’65) died Aug. 1 at age 72. He was Miami-Dade County’s first Hispanic high school principal and lived in Miami.

Otis Geiger (BBC ’56) died July 17 at age 77. Geiger was a former commissioner and mayor of Coral Springs. Prior to those positions, he worked in steel fabricating and door companies in Delray Beach. He lived in Margate.

James Ghiotto (MED ’63) died July 29 at age 84. He served during the Korean War and was executive director of the Tampa Chamber of Commerce and Florida State Fair. He lived in Jensen Beach.

Gregory Dart Gillette (BSBA ’85) died July 20 at age 48. He was president of Progressive Data Systems in Dumfries, Va. He lived in Lignum, Va.

Gifford Grange (BSBA ’59) died July 1 at age 77. Grange was a retired real estate agent, former Florida legislator and Jacksonville City Council member. He lived in Jacksonville.

James Griffo Jr. (PhD ’60) died Aug. 2 at age 82. He served in the U.S. Army and was professor emeritus at Fairleigh Dickinson University. Griffo lived in Hendersonville, N.C.

Lt. Col. Theophilus Issac “T.I.” Harris III (JD ’55, LLB ’61) died Aug. 8 at age 78. A U.S. Army veteran of Vietnam, he later served as a Judge Advocate General in the U.S. Air Force before entering private practice in DeLand. He was also a counselor for soldiers. Upon retiring, he volunteered as a legal guardian for children. Harris lived in DeLand.

Kristine Jones (BAE ’67) died May 14 at age 65. She was business manager for Sunrise Animal Hospital for 37 years. She lived in Plantation.

Barbara Kinnee (BSN ’67) died July 11 at age 66. She spent most of her 30-year career working with children with special needs and lived in Riverview.

Thomas Edwin McLean Sr.* (BSBA ’50) died July 31 at age 86. He was a Purple Heart recipient for his role as an army medic in World War II and was president of Manufactured Housing Products until retiring in 1985. McLean lived in St. Petersburg.

Albert Nieto (BSBA ’49) died June 29 at age 86. A U.S. Army veteran of World War II, he was a certified public accountant. He lived in Tampa.

Thomas Norton (BA ’51) died Nov. 14, 2010, at age 81. He retired from sales and management in the wholesale distribution and trade association industries in 1992. He lived in

Madison, Miss.

Phil O’Berry (BS ’55) died July 28 at age 73. He worked for the Agriculture Research Service in the U.S. Department of Agriculture for 48 years. He also served as president of the Ames United Way Board of Directors. He lived in Ames, Iowa.

Judith Pink-Goldin (BSOT ’76) died May 16 at age 57. She practiced occupational therapy for more than 33 years at James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital in Tampa. She lived in Lutz.

Curtis Stanton (BME ’40) died Aug. 16 at age 93. He was a general manager of the Orlando Utilities Commission for 35 years, and the company named a power plant, the Stanton Energy Center, in his honor. Stanton was also president of the American Water Works Association, Florida Municipal Electric Association and Orlando Area Chamber of Commerce, and he was presented with the UF Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1979. He lived in Winter Park.

Franklin McChesney Watson (BSA ’50, ME ’55) died Aug. 1 at age 83. He worked as a principal at five schools in Orange County until retiring in the mid-1970s. He lived in Ocoee.

Sterling Wilhoit Jr. (BARCH ’50) died June 30 at age 87. Wilhoit was an architect and served in the U.S. Navy. He lived in Watkinsville, Ga.

Owen Edgar Williams (BA ’49, JD ’50) died May 14 at age 82. He was a retired circuit court judge in Broward County, and he served in The Florida Bar and Broward County Bar Association for 60 years.  He practiced private law with the firm Berryhill, Avery, Williams and Scott in Fort Lauderdale. He lived in Delray Beach.

*UF Alumni Association member

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