Obituaries — October 2012

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


Dr. Arthur Alper (BA ’49, MA ’50, PhD ’62) died Sept. 19 at age 84. He served in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War and spent two years in the Air Medical Evacuation Squadron of the Georgia Air National Guard. He was a professor of special education at the University of Florida and later taught at the University of Georgia for more than 20 years. He also worked at his own private counseling practice for eight years. He lived in Athens, Ga.

Col. David Baker (MBA ’75) died Aug. 1 at age 66. He served in the U.S. Air Force as a medical service corps officer and then pursued a career in health care. He was an administrator at the Patrick Air Force Base military hospital in Cocoa Beach, where he organized a recovery mission after the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster in 1986. In 2000, he became president and CEO of Humana Military Healthcare Services Inc. in Louisville, Ky., a post which he maintained until his retirement in January. He lived in Prospect, Ky.

Austin Caruso Sr.* (BSA ’43) died Aug. 1 at age 91. He served in the U.S. Army during World War II and worked at his family’s citrus business, Southern Fruit Distributors, upon his discharge in 1946. He later became chief administrative officer of the company, which leased land to one of the first Publix Super Markets in Orlando. When the business closed due to the freezes of the 1980s, Caruso switched his focus to real estate development. He lived in Orlando.

Thomas Coakley (BS ’70) died Aug. 25 at age 63. He was a chemist at Owens Corning Fiberglass for 35 years until his retirement in 2004. He lived in Aiken, S.C.

L.B. Connell (BSA ’50) died July 26 at age 90. He served as an aviator and fighter pilot in the U.S. Navy during World War II and later worked with irrigation and farm machinery sales. He lived in Quincy.

Timothy Cudd (PhD ’92) died Aug. 26 at age 55.  He began working at Texas A&M University in 1994, where he supervised the diagnosis and treatment of fetal alcohol syndrome. Prior to that, he was a veterinarian in Lexington, Ky., where he established the first private equine neo-natal treatment center in the country. He lived in Gainesville.

Mary Delaino (Med ’57) died Aug. 3 at age 94. She taught English for 30 years and worked at school libraries throughout Levy County. She lived in Cedar Key.

Jennifer Dreyer (BSR ’83) died Aug. 10 at age 54 after a battle with breast cancer. She was bus marketing manager for the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood. She lived in Pompano Beach.

Neal Fessenden (BSPE ’80) died Aug. 28 at age 58. He was an electrician, and he lived in Royal Palm Beach.

Robert “Bob” Hudson (BAJ ’48) died Aug. 20 at age 91. He served in the U.S. Navy Air Corps during World War II as a pilot and instructor. In 1948 he became associate editor and manager of the Star-Advocate, a Titusville newspaper his family owned. When the family sold the paper in 1965, Hudson was named publisher and editor. The former mayor of Titusville worked with the NAACP to integrate the town’s schools during the Civil Rights movement. He received the William L. Lowry Award from UF’s College of Journalism and Communications in 1963 and was inducted into the Florida Newspaper Hall of Fame in 1993. Hudson maintained a column, “The Mullett Wrapper,” for the Star-Advocate until 2008. He lived in Titusville.

Adam Jackson (BSBA ’84, MBA ’86) died Aug. 25 at age 50. He worked at SafeStitch Medical, a company that manufactures and markets medical equipment. Prior to that, he worked for Levitt Corp., Romika USA Inc., and Greenwich Air Services Inc. He lived in Miami Beach.

Earl Jacobs (BSCOM ’57) died Aug. 17 at age 77. He was Pinellas County bureau chief of WFLA-TV, public information director for St. Petersburg and owner of Allied Life and Health Insurance Agency. He lived in St. Petersburg.

Thomas Johnson (LLB ’63) died Aug. 5 at age 73. He began practicing law with his father in 1963 and continued in the legal profession with his son until his retirement in 2010. He was also president of the Escambia-Santa Rosa Bar Association from 1975-1976. He lived in Milton.

David Kerns (LLB ’39) died Aug. 11 at age 95. He worked in the legislative, executive and judicial branches of Florida government, with some of his roles including executive counsel to the state and special master to the Florida Senate. He also served in the Intelligence Service of the U.S. Army. He lived in Tallahassee.

Blanche Knowles (MEd ’79) died July 23 at age 86. She taught at Leesburg High School until her retirement in 1988. She lived in Leesburg.

George Kolias (MEd ’56) died Aug. 11 at age 83. He served in the U.S. Air Force for four years and was stationed in Germany as an interpreter. He worked as a salesman for IBM in Charlotte, N.C., Lexington, Ky., and Miami before his retirement in 1980. He lived in Tallahassee.

Herb Leadley (BIE ’58) died Aug. 2 at age 83. He served in the U.S. Air Force as a jet fighter pilot and retired as a USAF Reserves Lieutenant Colonel. He was also a systems engineer at IBM Corp. for 28 years. He lived in Castle Rock, Colo.

Grace Maxwell (MA ’55) died Aug. 1 at age 92. She was a professor and dean at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee from 1969 until her retirement in 1992. Prior to that, she taught at Florida State University in Tallahassee and North Florida Junior College in Madison. She lived in Winter Park.

Patricia Nelson* (BS ’79) died Aug. 10 at age 55. She worked at Morton Plant Mease Hospital in Clearwater. She lived in Crystal Beach.

Bert Purga (PhD ’79) died Aug. 9 at age 62. He was provost of Brevard Community College’s Palm Bay campus from 1994-2007. Prior to that, he was vice president of academic affairs and student development at the college. He lived in Merritt Island.

David Treadway Sr. (BAE ’55, MEd ’61) died Aug. 3 at age 79. He served in the U.S. Army and was a coordinator, principal and teacher before his retirement. He lived in Tavares.

Kathi Weaver (MNSG ’86) died Aug. 6 at age 57 after a battle with ovarian cancer. She had a 28-year career as a nurse and even had a stint as the administrator of the School Health Volunteer Nurse Program. Most recently, she taught agriculture at New Smyrna High School in New Smyrna Beach, where she lived.

N. Alfred Winn (JD ’52) died Aug. 6 at age 88. He served in the U.S. Army during World War II and practiced law in St. Petersburg. He lived in Gulf Hammock.

Joseph Womack (BA ’52) died Aug. 14 at age 85. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and practiced law in Miami until his retirement. He lived in Mocksville, N.C.

*UF Alumni Association member

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