Obituaries — December 2012

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


Aubrey Bassett Jr. (ME ’49) died Sept. 2 at age 86. He was a geophysicist for Shell Oil Co. for 41 years and was inducted into the Geophysical Hall of Fame in Galveston, Texas. He lived in Lafayette, La.

Arlie Bobo Jr. (BS ’70) died Sept. 24 at age 64. He was a medical malpractice attorney who founded the Bobo, Ciotoli, Bocchino, White, Bugias & Russell law firm in North Palm Beach in 1986. He lived in Palm Beach Gardens.

Carolyn Burnett (BA ’49) died Sept. 12 at age 84. She was the first president of UF’s Sigma Kappa Sorority chapter and was among the university’s first class of graduating women. She began working as a third-grade teacher at Arlington Elementary School in Duval County. She later became a credit manager for a home-appliance retailer and worked in the Duval County building inspector’s office. In the 1980s, she founded Carolyn Burnett Interiors in Pasadena, Calif. Upon returning to Florida, she established Carolyn Burnett Real Estate, a firm in Tallahassee, where she lived.

Joe Burton (EDS ’92) died Sept. 16 at age 68. He served in the U.S. Air Force as a Vietnamese linguist during the Vietnam War. He taught psychology at Rochester Community and Technical College in Rochester, Minn., for seven years. Prior to that, he taught at Santa Fe College in Gainesville for 10 years and was also an English-as-a-Second-Language teacher for several years. He lived in Rochester, Minn.

The Rev. Dr. Charles Caldwell (BA ’57) died Sept. 12 at age 77. He was a priest and an assistant professor of pastoral theology at Nashotah House Theological Seminary in Nashotah, Wis., for 10 years. He also authored two books, “Pastoral Theological Hermeneutics” and “Head and Glory,” in 1978 and 1995, respectively. He lived in Naples.

William Cobb (BA ’49) died Sept. 23 at age 84. He worked in the Palm Beach County School District for 30 years as a teacher and principal. He lived in West Palm Beach.

Albert Conyers (BCE ’57, MSE ’59) died Sept. 25 at age 78. He was a retired director of Manatee River Bank and the FCCI Insurance Group Inc. in Sarasota. He also co-founded the West & Conyers Architects & Engineers firm during the 1960s in Sarasota, where he lived.

John Farrell (JD ’50) died Sept. 25 at age 86. He served in the U.S. Navy and practiced law for 42 years. He was also president of the Palm Beach County Bar Association in 1964 and served as a member of the Federal Judicial Nominating Commission for two years. He lived in West Palm Beach.

Patricia Farris (MA ’72) died Sept. 5 at age 80. She worked as a reference librarian at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine in Mobile, Ala., and the State Library of Florida and First District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee. A civil rights activist, she also taught sociology and social science at Santa Fe College and Tallahassee Community College and worked as a field coordinator in the UF Department of Psychiatry. An avid traveler, she took more than 30 trips to 38 countries. She lived in Tallahassee.

David Gulkis (BEE ’60) died Sept. 22 at age 78. He served in the U.S. Air Force and worked at the Honeywell International Inc. manufacturing firm for 15 years. After he retired, Gulkis worked in wholesale apparel sales. He lived in Clearwater. 

Herman Gunter Jr. (BA ’39) died Sept. 18 at age 94. He was a vocal coach and choral conductor from 1965-2008. Prior to that, he taught music at Florida State University in Tallahassee from 1948-1965, where he created the opera program and Choral Union. He lived in Tallahassee.

James Lang (BSBA ’42) died Sept. 20 at age 90. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and the Berlin Crisis of 1961. He was a certified public accountant and worked in banking after his retirement. He helped bring the Salvador Dali Museum from Cleveland to St. Petersburg and helped create Pioneer Park in Dunedin. He lived in St. Petersburg.

Stephen McAliley (BA ’55, JD ’67) died Sept. 19 at age 78. He served in the U.S. Army and was senior partner of the Brennan, McAliley, Hayskar & McAliley law firm in West Palm Beach. He lived in Palm Beach Gardens.

Ernie Morris Jr. (BAE ’85) died of cancer on Sept. 11 at age 52. He taught social studies and geography at Greenwood Lakes Middle School in Lake Mary until his retirement in 2004. He lived in Sanford.

Alfred Posey Sr. (BA ’50) died Sept. 21 at age 90. He served in the U.S. Army during World War II. He was a retired special agent for the U.S. Treasury’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and a UF Hall of Famer. He lived in Tampa.

Morris Rogers Sr. (BSPE ’50, MPH ’51) died Sept. 14 at age 89. He served as an aircraft dispatcher in the U.S. Army Air Corps and later coached football, basketball and baseball at Niceville High School in 1951. He worked at several other schools and served as principal of Laurel Hill School before becoming assistant superintendent of education for Okaloosa County in 1962. He later returned as principal of Laurel Hill School. After retiring from teaching in 1979, Rogers worked as a substitute mail carrier for the U.S. Postal Service from 1982-1993. He lived in Laurel Hill.

Esther Smith (PhD ’72) died Sept. 29 at age 97. She was a scholar, professor and author, and she lived in Lutz.

Gerald Watson (MS ’69, PhD ’71) died Sept. 25 at age 67. He taught at the Willamette University College of Law in Salem, Ore. He was also a supervising attorney for the university’s clinical law program and special counsel to the Oregon Law Commission. Prior to that, he taught political science at Winona State University in Winona, Minn., the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, Colo., and the University of Portland in Portland, Ore. He lived in Salem, Ore.

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