Our In Memoriam page carries details of graduates, staff and others linked to the university for whom we have received obituaries. Please contact us via email if you have information you would like to be featured.
Gabriel Epstein, one of the original architects of the University died on 25 July 2017. On a visit to the University in 2009, then aged 91, was quoted as saying that to return to campus was 'a very magical experience' and that it was great to see lots of activity going on as it did 40 years ago. Full obituary written by the University Archivist, Marion McClintock, is here
Gary Waller (Politics & International Relations, 1967, Bowland) passed away on July 21 2017. He was a Conservative MP representing first Brighouse & Spenborough and then Keighley between 1983 and 1997. As well as championing the West Riding's embattled woollen industry, he was a keen sports car racer, spoke on vehicle safety, was briefly PPS to the Transport Secretary David Howell and promoted parliamentary bills for British Rail. Out of the Commons Waller became a director of Which? and in 2011 was elected to Epping Forest council, becoming its cabint member for 'safer, greener and transport' issues, a post he held up to his death.
Peter Whalley (Philosophy, 1967, Lonsdale) passed away in July 2017. He was described as a 'story genius' an wrote over 600 episodes of the soap 'Coronation Street' - more than any other writer in the show's history. In 2009 he was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2009 British Soap Awards. He went on to retire in 2013. He kept in touch with the university and helped regularly with the mentoring scheme.
Ian Stewart (English & Medieval Studies, 1980, Furness) died on 11 June 2017 from a brain tumour. He was an inspirational and highly popular English teacher and went on to become Head of English and Head of Sixth Form at a comprehensive school in Milton Keynes. In addition he worked for AQA, the exam board as a Senior Examiner and developing specifications for A Level English Literature exams. He was married to alumna Arabella Stuart for 40 brilliantly happy and funny years.
Miss Joy Welch, one of Lancaster's longest-standing friends and philanthropic supporters died on Tuesday 16 May. The University is grateful for her generosity and inspiration. Full obituary here
Dr Steve Dempster passed away on Wednesday 29th March 2017 aged 46. Steve was a Lecturer in the Department of Educational Research and Vice-Principal of County College. He graduated from Lancaster after studying a BA in Educational Studies and Religious Studies in 1992, returned to do an MA in Education which was completed in 2002, and was awarded a PhD in 2007. From 2002 Steve was a teaching associate and a research associate in the Department until he took up his lectureship in September 2014. Steve also played a central role in the life of County College during his time at Lancaster, culminating in holding the role of College Dean for 10 years from 2006 and Vice-Principal from 2016 until his death. He served on University Court from 2009-2013 and on Senate from 2011-2013. Steve was completely committed to Lancaster and its students and embodied a great many of the University’s strengths and values.
John Graddon former staff member died on Sunday 12 March 2017. John joined the University Careers Department in 1978 as an advisor and worked here until 1998, latterly becoming Deputy Director of the Careers Service. John was well liked and well respected for his service to students and will be fondly remembered.
Dan Lucas (German Studies, 2009, Cartmel) passed away suddenly on 11 March 2017 aged 31. He was an enthusiastic, knowledgeable and engaging author of the Guardian's popular cricket and rugby union live online reports since 2013. A full tribute can be read on the Guardian website.
Dr Gareth Hughes passed away on 1 March 2017. He joined the Lancaster High Energy Physics Group in 1970 following his studies at Oxford University. His main strength was in the understanding of computers and computing. In the 1990sas well as being a member of the CERN Central Computing Commitee, he was chairman of the committee that produced the reviews guiding policy on computing for the UK Particle Physics. He eventually became the Director of Undergraduate Courses in the Department of Physics. He retired in 2007, but continued his involvement with the ATLAS experiment as an Emeritus staff member.
Mario Soares, Honorary Graduate Mario Soares LLD (Honoris Causa) 1986, former prime minister of Portugal, died on Saturday 7 January aged 92. See here for obituary in The Guardian
Tony Evans, former Head of Security from 1995 to March 2009 passed away on 28 December 2016 aged 72. He was a valued member of Furness College having served as both Vice Principal and Senior Tutor during his time here. See here for full obituary.
Nom Habu, former LU Regional Officer for Nigeria from May 2011 until August 2013 died on 15 December 2016. He came to Lancaster after his regional role to start his MSc in Quantitative Finance. On successful completion he returned to Nigeria to take up the post as Office Manager for LU Ghana heading up a small team.
Donald Kershaw, Reader Emeritus in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics died on 21 December 2016 at the age of 88. He had not been well for some time and suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. His mathematical speciality was numerical analysis. A full obituary appears here
Dr Ken Oates passed away on Friday 25 November 2016. Ken was a former member of staff in the department of Biological Sciences and worked at Lancaster from 1969 until he retired in 1993. See here for further details and an obituary written by his son, Tom.
The Right Honourable Lord Thomas Taylor of Blackburn CBE JP DL died on Friday 25 November 2016 following an accident. A founder member of the University, Lord Taylor of Blackburn became one of the original members of the Court and was the first of its members to be elected to the Council in December 1964. Mr Taylor, then a Labour member of Blackburn Borough Council, was an active member of the Executive Council for the Establishment of a University at Lancaster from 1963 to 1965. He received an honorary doctorate (LLD – Doctor of Laws) in 1996. At the request of Lord Greenwood, Pro Chancellor, Tom Taylor took evidence for the influential Taylor Report of 1973, leading amongst other things to the setting up of an Information Office. An obituary appeared in The Telegraph
Professor E Roland Dobbs, a founder Professor of Physics at Lancaster passed away on 24 October 2016. His vision and energy gave the department a flying start. He oversaw the design and construction of the Physics building and the appointment of a range of physicists. His own interests were in low temperature physics and ultrasonic studies of solids. He was at Lancaster from 1964 and left to return to London in 1973. A full obituary is published in the Royal Holloway magazine.
Norman Sherry, Emeritus Professor died on October 19 2016. Norman joined the 1970 as Head of the English Department until 1982. He then worked as the official biographer of novelist Graham Greene. There is a full obituary published in The Telegraph.
William Smethurst (History, 1967), founder of the Lancaster University magazine, Carolynne, who went on to be Editor and Producer of The Archers in the 1970s and 80s died on 22 July 2016 aged 71. He joined the programme in 1974 as a writer having started his career as a journalist and writer of radio plays at the BBC. He was script editor on Play for Today working with writers such as Malcolm Bradbury and David Edgar at the time he was appointed as Editor of The Archers in 1978. Full details on the BBC Website here
Dr Alan Waters passed away on 22 July 2016. Alan worked for many years in the University's Institute for English Language Education (IELE) and then joined the department in 2001. His specialism was Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL). He held positions in several countries before coming to Lancaster (Sierra Leone, Kuwait and Thailand), ran courses in many other parts of the world and acted as a consultant to several major ELT development projects. His publications include Interface (Longman), ESP: A Learning-centred Approach, Study Tasks in English (both Cambridge University Press), A Review of Research into Needs for English for Academic Purposes (ETS), two edited volumes of papers and a number of journal articles. He retired in 2012 and continued to maintain an interest in TEFL while pursuing his other passions, which included particularly opera and hill-walking.
Alan Betjemann, who died on 24 June 2016, came to Lancaster as a research associate in Physics in September 1964 to 1968 and then became Director of Productions in the Media Services Unit between 1974-75. He then moved to France for many years, but kept in regular touch with the University.
Porsche Ellis, who worked in the central alumni office between 2001 and 2008 passed away on 30 April 2016 at St Catherine's Hospice in Preston aged 41. Porsche was a key member of alumni staff and was involved with many alumni activities including editing the STEPS magazine and co-ordinating the alumni careers fair, and, as such was well known to many Lancaster graduates. Our greatest sympathies go out to her family, friends and all who knew her. Her husband, Andrew Ellis, also worked at the University as Programme Manager in Network Services Limited between 2001 and 2011.
Richard Watts-Tobin, retired member of staff passed away on 26 April 2016 after a long illness. Richard started with the Physics Department in 1967 and retired in 1996, however he continued to work on a part-time basis until 1999. His research interests were in the theory of super-conductors. At undergraduate level his style of teaching inspired students, several of whom stayed on to do research for higher degrees under his supervision. He was an active member of Furness College and took great interest in the provision of wine within the college.
Dr Chris Paice, who was a member of the Computing Department for 40 years, passed away on 21 April 2016. Chris joined the then Department of Computer Studies as a Research Associate in 1969-70; moving on to a Lectureship and retiring in 2009. Chris was acting Head of Department in 1977-78 and Head of Department 1979-82. His main research contributions were in the area of Information Retrieval and in particular on stemming, anaphor resolution and automatic abstracting.
Mark Goddard Memorial Oak Tree - This is to inform the family and friends of the late Mark Goddard, a Geography undergraduate who sadly died in 1988, that the oak tree they planted in his memory has been moved. It was close to the Geography Department in the Physics Building but subsequently the Department joined with other allied departments to form the Lancaster Environment Centre in 2008 on the west of the campus. As the Physics Building is now being extended, Mark’s oak tree has been moved with care to an area of the campus which is designated as a memorial woodland. This is close to the top of Bailrigg Drive near Bailrigg House. We trust the tree will thrive there as well as it did on its original site.
Tim Holmes, Food Operations Manager, long serving colleague and friend to the University, passed away on 18 April 2016. Tim worked at the University for over 40 years and was well loved by his team. He was a highly-respected and well-known colleague across the University, illustrated by the support and respects paid at his retirement events in December by current and former staff and students. Tim embodied the values of Lancaster, and was dedicated to the contribution he and his team could make towards the University’s success. His legacy will continue to be felt in the years to come as we continue to benefit from his management, flexibility and inventiveness. In recent years this has led to being the first University to be awarded two Gold Food for Life awards and winning the CUBO award for Best University Catering thanks to his hard work and leadership. The University thanked him for his outstanding work over the years with a Staff Award at the degree congregations as part of our 50th Anniversary.
Judy Merry (English, 1970, County) passed away on 27 March 2016 in the company of her husband, two sons, daughter-in-law and baby granddaughter after battling cancer for two years. She worked extensively for the BBC, both in radio and TV. In addition to her broadcast work, Judy taught English, Radio Production and Media Studies at a variety of Further Education Colleges in the North West and lectured for the Journalism degree at the University of Central Lancashire, as well as writing a book with Clare Jenkins about the experience of bereavement within the family, Relative Grief. She led training in how to interact with the media in both industry (with AMTV) and in the voluntary sector. Outside work, Judy volunteered with The Samaritans, sang in choirs and was involved in several amateur dramatics groups.
John Urry, distinguished Professor, died unexpectedly on 18 March 2016. John embodied the tradition of world class Sociology that he was central to creating at Lancaster University. He is a former Head of the Sociology Department, Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences and University Dean of Research, and made a significant contribution to the establishment of the Academy of Social Sciences. John not only guided the development of the Sociology Department, which he joined in 1972, but also the direction of research in the wider community of Sociology itself, with interests that crossed disciplinary and national boundaries. John was reassuringly “local” in loyalties and critical engagement during his 44 years at Lancaster University; yet he was equally firmly a “cosmopolitan” with a global intellectual presence and international recognition as a public intellectual. John launched the career of many students and scholars; his influence reaching far and wide. He provided enthusiastic and inspirational support to students and colleagues over five decades. A restless intellectual spirit, John worked at the leading edge of theoretical, empirical and applied fields in the social sciences, reflecting social trends and shaping innovative work on emerging fields and policy areas.
Brian Heron, Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council from 1997 to 2003, died peacefully on 11 February 2016. He leaves a wife, Margaret, children Joanna and Michael, and their children. Mr Heron retired in 1990 as Chief Executive of a major subsidiary of Turner and Newall. He was Chairman of the Working Party on Corporate Governance set up by the Committee of University Chairmen in the late 80s, and he was a keen amateur sailor. He took up office at Lancaster while the university was managing the cash flow problems of 1996 and assisted with the process of its rapid recovery. His period of office included the start of the developments at Alexandra Park and the refurbishment of the colleges, a major review of the Chapter and Statutes, and the appointment of Professor Paul Wellings as fourth Vice-Chancellor.
Dr Richard Xiao (Linguistics and English Language) passed away on Saturday 2 January 2016. Richard started his career in China and first came to Lancaster to study towards his PhD, which he received in 2002. He stayed on as a Research Associate until 2007, and returned as a Lecturer in 2012 after working at UCLAN and Edge Hill. In 2014, he took early retirement due to ill health, having been promoted first to Senior Lecturer and then to Reader. In those two years, Richard introduced Chinese at both UG and PG levels, acted for a year as Director of the Confucius Institute, published many papers and several books, supervised several PhD students, and received funding from the British Academy and the ESRC. His premature death is a huge loss to Corpus Linguistics, Chinese Linguistics and Translation Studies. He will be much missed by colleagues in the Department of Linguistics and English Language, the Lancaster Confucius Institute, and around the world.
Lindsey Tasker (Economics, 1991, Cartmel) died suddenly on 1 January 2016 aged 45 after recently being diagnosed with cancer. After graduation, Lindsey was accepted onto a graduate scheme with Barclays Bank and undertook a number of roles for Barclays over a 12 year period. He also held senior leadership positions with Halifax Bank of Scotland, Lloyds Bank and Asda. Most recently Lindsey was a HR Director at Wm Morrisons. Lindsey was the beloved husband of Maria and a devoted dad of Holly and Joe. A service to remember Lindsey and celebrate his life, was held at the Park Wood Crematorium, Park Road, Elland, on Monday 18th January.
Raymond John Lawrence died on 30 December 2015 at the age of 90. He was Professor of Marketing at Lancaster from 1 August 1965 until summer 1988, thereafter Professor Emeritus. Ray was awarded the first chair in Marketing to be established in the UK. He was particularly fond of mathematics and classics, areas in which he continued to read long after his retirement. He also had a passion and aptitude for chess which he continued to play until the last weekend of his life. He leaves a daughter, a son, five grandchildren and two great-children. A funeral was held in France where he has lived on and off for the last 30 years since his retirement from the University.
Ivor Dykes, former Chief Technician in the Nuffield Theatre between 1968 and 1989, died on 28 December 2015. He was a much valued member of the University and was involved in many societies and was a very active member of the union. An obituary for Ivor was published in the South Leeds Life Online.
Elaine Dodson (nee Smith) - (Educational Studies, 1977, Furness)- passed away on the 15 December 2015 at the age of 60. After graduating she went on to complete a postgraduate diploma in Library and Information Science at Birmingham Polytechnic and her first job was as a Librarian at Sydney Stringer School in Coventry. From 1995 she worked as the Learning Resource Centre Manager at Myton School, Warwick. Thanks to her experience, enthusiasm and determination, the library became the first school of its kind to be awarded the Warwickshire Gold Standard for outstanding provision. She joined the Saint Michael's Singers at Coventry Cathedral in 1977 and continued to sing with them for the rest of her life. She was delighted when her daughter, Jane, chose to come to Lancaster University in 2005 giving her a great excuse to make many return trips and visit old haunts.
Rob Dunkley (Accounting and Finance, 2001, Pendle) passed away suddenly on 13 December 2015. Rob was a valued mentor on the Lancaster Career Mentoring programme and his enthusiasm towards helping his mentees was much appreciated. He will be missed by fellow mentors and all those who knew him at Lancaster.
Dee Amy-Chinn (Politics 1981, Fylde) died on 3 December 2015, after four years of living with cancer. Dee joined the graduate scheme in the civil service, but went on to do two Masters degrees at Birkbeck College, London - and then a PhD at Royal Holloway, London. Dee became a Lecturer at Oxford Brookes University and then, from 2006, at Stirling University - in the Department of Communication, Media and Culture. She was much loved as a teacher, and formidable as a writer and researcher. Dee co-founded the Masters programme in Gender Studies at Stirling, where there is a student Scholarship in her name. Dee and Steve (Chinn) met and married at Lancaster in 1980, and Steve welcomes all who knew Dee to contact him at email@example.com.
Philip French, Observer film critic and honorary degree recipient passed away aged 82 on 27 October 2015. Please see here for an obituary published in the Guardian.
Dr Jayne Steel (English & Creative Writing, 1995, County, MA Creative Writing, PhD English) died on 10 October 2015 aged 57. Jayne had a long association with the university, latterly as a member of staff. Please see here for a tribute written by Michael Greaney, Department of English and Creative Writing.
Charlie Pottins (History, 1973, Furness) passed away on 15 September 2015. Charlie came to Lancaster in 1969 and was a part of that generation of working-class mature students, with a strong grounding in left-wing politics and trade unionism,which had a major impact on the culture of the new university. He was a member of the Socialist Labour League, a fundamentalist Trotskyist grouping renowned for the dour political workaholism of its membership. Charlie, though, never fitted the stereotype. He was witty, sociable, and well-read with broad interests in music, art and literature. He would often be seen on the Spine, selling his newspapers and happily engaging anyone in conversation. He was also a gifted organiser and was instrumental in establishing the Socialist Society on campus which for the first (and only) time, united the various left-wing factions into a major force in the university. His blog can still be accessed http://randompottins.blogspot.co.uk/
Dr Andy Bailey passed away on 28 June 2015 following a short illness. Andy was a former Head of Department of the Management Development Division and subsequently Director of the Centre for Strategic Management at Lancaster in the Management School (LUMS). Visit this link to see a tribute written by Steve Kempster.
Richard Dow (PhD Physics, 1984, Bowland, MSc Applied Cryo Physics, 1981, Theoretical Physics, 1979) and 'Bowland Tuner' died in May 2015. He was involved in the Gregson Centre, Lancaster for over thirty years as a trustee and as a director of Gregson Centre Limited (GCL). Richard touched so many lives with his immense generosity, humanity, positivity and humour and will be very sorely missed by all who had the good fortune to know him. He leaves behind four beautiful children Lawrie, Alex, Emily and Eva.
John Crookes, a staff member of the Department of Management Science from 1967 to 1995 died on June 3 2015. John came to Lancaster after industrial experience in Operational Research with Richard Thomas and Baldwins Ltd and British European Airways. He made a huge contribution to the Department and the profession of Operational Research, in which he was particularly noted for his developments of computer simulation.
Professor Joe Shennan, former Head of the Department of History and subsequently Deputy Vice-Chancellor, died on 25 May 2015. Please follow this link to read an obituary written by Professor Andrew Jotischky, current Head of the Department of History.
Arthur Boen, Chemistry porter for many years, died on 19 May 2015 aged 94 years. Arthur first worked for the University at St Leonardsgate, and then at Bailrigg.
John Hughes, Emeritus Professor of Sociological Analysis, died on 15 May 2015. A memorial written by Professor Bob Jessop and in consultation with other colleagues who knew John well is available to view here
Colin Adams, former Planning Officer from 1990 to 2004 died on Friday 1 May, aged 75. He served under five Lancaster Vice-Chancellors during more than forty years of service for the University. Colin came to Lancaster on 1 October 1964 from Keele University, as assistant lecturer and then lecturer in the then Department of Biology, with special interests in animal physiology and ecology. He was Senior Tutor of Bowland College from 1968-77, and Principal of Fylde College from 1977-82, when he moved to the central administration as Senior Assistant Secretary for Colleges and Welfare Services. After retiring from full-time work in 2004, he returned to support the formation of the Lancaster Environment Centre. In 2008 he fully retired from the university and took up a consultative role at the University of Kurdistan, Erbil, Northern Iraq, where he was engaged in rewriting the university’s constitution until 2010.
John Ulyett (Politics, 2005, Cartmel) passed away suddenly on 8th April 2015 in London. John was a licensing manager at TfL and much loved husband, son and friend. During completion of his undergraduate degree at Lancaster he proudly captained the Cartmel Men's Pool B-Team and forged strong friendships. His generosity, humour and kind nature will be missed by all that knew him.
Michael French, the first Head of the Engineering Department and its founding professor, died on Tuesday 24 February 2015. The undergraduate course he set up at Lancaster embodied radical ideas: extensive use of design-build-test projects in place of formal laboratories and a broad start to the course before students chose a specialist field of engineering. That these features of the course have endured to this day and latterly have been imitated elsewhere, is witness to Michael’s forward thinking. Sadly, he died just one week before the new Engineering Building on the campus was due to be formally opened.
Professor Shaun Fisher, member of the Department of Physics died on 4 January 2015. Shaun joined the department in 1988 and apart from a brief period working at CNRS in Grenoble has been with the department ever since. Shaun is regarded as one of the world’s leading low temperature physicists. Already as a graduate student he was devising experimental techniques which have since been taken up worldwide. In 1998 he was awarded the Charles Vernon Boys Medal and Prize of the Institute of Physics “for a distinguished early research career in low temperature physics…” He has a long list of research firsts to his name but will be best remembered for his discovery of quantum turbulence in superfluid helium-three at microkelvin temperatures (previously thought impossible). He sat on the editorial boards of several journals and was in great demand for international conference talks and was a key member of the European MICROKELVIN network of leading low-temperature laboratories.
The wider low-temperature community has responded to this loss with many messages of support from around the world. The Lancaster Ultralow Temperature Group has lost a valued member and leader whose innovative and meticulous experimental abilities inspired and energised his colleagues. He will also be greatly missed by his colleagues in the Physics Department, where he was Director of Undergraduate Teaching for 5 years and by numerous cohorts of Lancaster physics students who benefited from his comprehensive, enthusiastic and stimulating lectures and laboratory demonstrations.
Simone Novello (PhD Marketing/ Sociology, 2006) passed away on 27th November after a prolonged illness. Simone arrived in Lancaster in June 2002 after completing a degree at the University of Trento to start his doctoral work under the supervision of Professors Elizabeth Shove (Sociology) and Luis Araujo (Marketing). He was awarded a Lancaster University Management School scholarship in his first year and the prestigious Tom Lupton scholarship from the Society for the Advancement of Management Studies (SAMS) for the remainder of his studies. After graduating, Simone joined CESUGA (Centro de Estudios Superiores Universitarios de Galicia) in La Coruña, Spain, an institution associated with University College Dublin. He leaves behind his wife Pilar Murias, a Professor of Economics at the University of Santiago de Compostela and a young daughter.
Anne Cluysenaar, former member of staff, died on 1 November 2014. Anne was a lecturer at Lancaster from 1965 to 1971, she was a member of the Department of English; primarily a poet but someone who also taught stylistics and even general linguistics, as well as American literature. Her funeral takes place on 19 December at Llantrissant, near Usk. An obituary for Anne was listed in the Independent (14 November)
Judith Kirk, née Smallwood (English, 1979, Pendle) died in September after suffering with MS for many years. Judith started a successful career in public relations with Manchester University Press before moving to Thorsons Publishers in Wellingborough as publicity manager, eventually becoming publicity director. After Thorsons was bought by HarperCollins, Judith, not relishing the prospect of working for Rupert Murdoch, set up her own business as a public relations consultant (Smallwood PR) specialising in natural health products. This she continued with great success until 2010 when she was forced to retire through ill health. As well as running a business, Judith was an active Labour Party member in Market Harborough, Leicestershire and Redditch in Worcestershire and an enthusiastic school governor. Judith met her future husband, Peter, on their first day at University in 1976 and they married in 1984. Judith will be remembered by many contemporaries in Pendle for her individual style which marked her out against the uniformity of the late-1970s denim-clad campus.
Professor Graham Chapman died suddenly on 31 August. Following degrees from Cambridge and a Chair at SOAS, Graham joined Lancaster’s Geography Department in 1994 and was HoD from 1995 to 2000. He took early retirement in 2008 and was given Emeritus status. He was former Chairman of the British Association of South Asian Studies, a Fellow of the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies (1994) and the Centre for Advanced Studies (Oslo) 2008 to 2009. His main research interests included geopolitics, water and the environment. His interests in South Asia were well known across campus. In particular his lectures, that drew heavily on his personal experiences in India, gave a unique perspective and were rich in detail appreciated by students. Graham was a familiar figure cycling to work and on the University squash courts and will be sadly missed.
Nicholas Russell, the sixth Earl Russell (Politics, 1994, County), a tireless campaigner for disability rights and a member of the Lancaster University Court for 9 years died aged 45 in August 2014. He dedicated his working life to a combination of his favourite passions: disability rights and politics. He worked for a variety of disability rights organisations including the RNIB and Guide Dogs for the Blind, and he was politically active in not just the Labour party but also the Co-operative Group, where he was on the board, as well as the Socialist Environment and Resources Association and Transport 2000. Follow this link to read the full Guardian obituary.
The grandson of Bertrand Russell and the son of the historian and Liberal Democrat peer, Conrad Russell, Nicholas was styled Viscount Amberley between 1987 and 2004, and succeeded to the earldom at his father’s death on 13 October 2004.
Emeritus Professor Geoffrey Leech died on Tuesday 19 August 2014 at the age of 78. He joined Lancaster University in 1969 and was a founding member of the Department of Linguistics and Modern English Languages. He retired in 2002 and became Emeritus Professor in the department. In March 2009, he was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of Lancaster University, in recognition of his service and contribution to the University, particularly in research, and it was at this time he wrote a moving autobiography which can be read by clicking here. He had an international reputation for his work on stylistics, pragmatics, and descriptive grammar and his research on computer corpora, including the compilation of the LOB Corpus and the BNC (British National Corpus), has been instrumental in establishing Lancaster within the world top 10 for Linguistics. His expertise, knowledge and passion for Linguistics and the English Language will be sorely missed by everyone who knew him, and Lancaster University as a whole. Follow this link to read an obituary written by Greg Myers, Head of Department of Linguistics and English Language.
Professor Peter Harman from the Department of History died on 14 August 2014, at the age of 70, after a long illness. Peter’s widow Juliet has sent the following message:
Professor Harman joined Lancaster University in 1974 and stayed until his retirement in 2007. He published chiefly on the history of natural philosophy and physics in the 18th and 19th Centuries. His major research endeavour was on the 19th century physicist James Clerk Maxwell, whose seminal contributions - field theory and statistical physics - rank in importance with the work of Newton and Einstein and whose writings have been widely influential. His edition of The Scientific Letters and Papers of James Clerk Maxwell was published in three volumes by Cambridge University Press (1990-2002) and reissued in digital paperback in 2008. He had diverse interests in literature, music and art. His last work, the Culture of Nature in Britain 1680-1860 (published by Yale University Press in 2009) is a study of the aesthetics of nature. It embraces themes in art, literature, philosophy and science, exploring the interaction and cultural context of conceptions of ‘nature' in this period. Juliet Harman would like to thank the many former colleagues of Peter who have sent messages of condolence.
Dame Kathleen Ollerenshaw, a Deputy Pro-Chancellor at Lancaster from 1978 to 1992, died in Manchester on Sunday 10 August 2014 at the age of 101. Dame Kathleen had a distinguished career as a mathematician, including as the first woman President of the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications and as an outstanding researcher on magic squares; as an educationalist, for which she was appointed DBE in 1971; and as an expert amateur astronomer. Please follow this link to read the full obituary which appeared in the Guardian.
John Cecil Clegg, mathematician and concert pianist (1928-2014) died suddenly on 9 August 2014. A service of thanksgiving for his life was held at St Mary’s Church, Kirkby Lonsdale on 15 August.
John was unusual in combining two separate strands in his career. He took first class honours in Mathematics from Jesus College Cambridge in 1949 and then went to the Royal College of Music for three years. He came to Lancaster from Aberystwyth and was appointed as lecturer in mathematics on 1 January 1966, but with an agreement by the vice-chancellor, Charles Carter, that he could couple this role with external work as a concert pianist. He was subsequently given a joint appointment by Lancaster, as pianist in residence, from 1981 to 1993. He toured all over Europe, Africa and the Middle and Far East, contributed recitals to BBC radio and television, and made numerous recordings.
Sir Richard MacCormac (1938-2014), Architect of the Ruskin Library, the University Library extension and Reading Room has died, aged 75. Sir Richard was one of Britain’s foremost modernist architects who was also responsible for Southwark Tube Station and Oxbridge college buildings. He was also a former president of the Royal Institute of British Architects. A full obituary is available on The Guardian website.
Professor Alan Mercer, founding member of the university, died following a stroke in July 2014. In 1964, when he had the chance to start the Department of Operational Research (OR) at Lancaster with Pat Rivett and Mike Simpson, he could not resist the challenge of seeking to bridge the gap between industry and a University. This focus was to the fore throughout his career here. He formally retired in 1998, though, after retirement, he came to the University every week until all his doctoral students had obtained their degrees, and continued to lecture to the MSc course for a decade. Until very recently, he chaired most of the Department’s PhD vivas. Last September, he closed the Department’s 50th anniversary celebrations with a lecture of reminiscences which several of the alumni present regarded as spell binding.
Dr Liliana Coposescu, recipient of a doctoral degree in Linguistics from Lancaster University in 2002, died in June 2014, aged 61, after a long battle with cancer. She entered a PhD programme at Lancaster University in 1997 through the LANCDOC project the University was then contributing to, in collaboration with the Romanian Ministry of Education and Research. Throughout her time at Lancaster, Liliana displayed a work ethic, determination, and personal qualities which won her the admiration and friendship of her supervisors as well as her colleagues. The friendships she struck up there continued long after she had returned to Romania, where she continued her professional progress by achieving habilitation not long before she passed. Liliana leaves behind a grieving family, loyal friends and many grateful students.
Julie Stenning (nee Turner, History, 1981, Pendle) died on 26 June 2014 following a long and brave battle against cancer. After graduating she started work in the National Audit Office in Cardiff, where she met and married, David Stenning (Pendle 1976-79). Motherhood soon followed with a daughter Hannah and son Sam. She later joined the NHS as an accountant and became Deputy Director of Finance of several NHS organisations in the Midlands. She became a grandmother in 2010 and 2012 before being diagnosed with terminal cancer. Julie always spoke of her time at Pendle with great affection.
Cliff Wilkinson, from the Department of Management Science, passed away in June 2014, following his battle with cancer. Cliff came to Lancaster, to what was then the Department of Operational Research in 1965, from Liverpool University, where he had been involved in studying bus routing and scheduling. Following his retirement in 1990, he continued to be involved with teaching in the Department for another decade. Cliff made a huge contribution to the fledgling department, and will be remembered fondly by former colleagues and many students, particularly those he supervised on Masters projects.
David Curle (History, 1975, Furness) died on 23 May 2014. His history degree from Lancaster stood him in good stead for his future career, helping him to gain positions within various companies including Bristol Myers and Whitbread where he became Procurement Manager for the group. At university he broadcast for URB and became the envy of his friends when he interviewed some of the rock bands of the day, including Freddie Mercury and Hawkwind. He also used to visit the local folk club on Fridays, though the attractions was possibly the beer rather than the music!
Peter Fisher (Environmental Sciences, 1977, Cartmel), a leading figure in the development of geographical information science, died on 20 May 2014. After Lancaster he moved to the University of Reading for his MSc and completed a PhD at Kingston Polytechnic in 1982. Professor Fisher served as editor of the International Journal of Geographical Information Science (later Science) from 1998 to 2007, the very time when GIS was establishing its credentials within the wider arena of information sciences. He also worked on more political topics such as the impact of closed-circuit television and Global Positioning Systems on human rights.
Brian Kennett MA Marketing Education, 1973, passed away following a heart attack on 3 May 2014 aged 72.
Dr Andy McCabe (Engineering) died suddenly at home after a short illness in May 2014. Andy was a valued colleague, an alumnus of the School of Computing and Communications, LEC and Engineering and had been associated with the university for over 20 years. He was popular with everyone who had the pleasure to work with him and will be sadly missed.
Scott Anderton died on Sunday 20 April 2014, aged 37. Scott joined the University in October 2012 in the Jisc Regional Support Centre (RSC) based in Bailrigg House and in this role he supported practitioners and managers at learning providers across the Northwest. Colleagues from RSC have paid tribute to Scott’s professionalism, positive energy and good humour. Scott is survived by his wife Kelly-Anne and children, Jamie, Sophie and Wilson.
Sylvia Bianconi, née Warburton (French Studies 1968, Bowland) passed away on March 31 2014 after a long and heroic battle against cancer. Her ashes were laid to rest on April 7 near her home in Fontenay-sous-Bois, Paris.
Frank Foster passed away in March 2014. Frank retired in 2000 after 34 years service to the Department of Physics as a lecturer, senior lecturer and reader in Physics. He was a member of the Particle Physics group and was involved in a number of very successful experiments at CERN, DESY and elsewhere. Beyond his departmental duties, he was a very enthusiastic and devoted road runner and one of the instigators of the annual Physics Relay race around the campus.
Professor Jaroslaví Krejci passed away on Sunday 16 February 2014 at the age of 98. Professor Krejci taught in the Departments of French Studies, German Studies and Religious Studies from 1969 to 1983 and received an honorary doctorate from the University in 2000. His funeral took place on Monday 24 February at Lancaster and Morecambe Crematorium.
David Bennett Taylor, MA Marketing graduate from November 1974, died on 10 February 2014. David emigrated to New Zealand in 1975, where he joined Waikato University as a Lecturer in 1975 and retired in 2007. During that period David advanced to Senior Lecturer and then Associate Professor. He was also Acting Dean from 1989 to mid-1990 and Chairperson of Marketing & International Management from 1992 until 2002. Since his retirement David was in demand and held many temporary contracts with WMS in teaching from 2007 to March 2013. David was a founding faculty member of a business school that the city and community can be very proud of and he was known for his quick wit and humour and was well respected by students, colleagues and friends.
Keith Soothill (BA Exeter, PhD London) died in February 2014. He came to Lancaster as a part-time lecturer in Sociology on 1 September 1973, and subsequently became a senior lecturer. His research interests were in the sociology of deviant behaviour, medical sociology,and the sociology of sport. When the Department of Social Administration was set up in 1974, he played a part in its Centre for Youth, Crime and Community. He was made a professor of social research at the end of the 80s and his inaugural lecture, on 21 April 1993, was entitled “Sex Crimes: Changing Patterns of Social Response”. After Social Administration became Applied Social Science in 1989, he became its second head of department in 1991. He was made a Professor Emeritus on 1 September 2006. Keith is survived by his wife Jennifer, son Anthony, daughter Debbie and his grandchildren, Iván, Tom and Joe.
His full obituary appeared in the Guardian
Faizel Vohra (English Language and the Media, 2007, Bowland) died in a car accident in February 2014. He worked as an account manager in public relations and in November 2012, he was featured in PR Week magazine as one of '29 under 29', a competition to find the best young talent in the UK PR industry. He also ran an online blog featuring new innovations in the food industry and mentored students at Lancaster.
John Richard Wheeler (PhD Physics 1999, BSc Physics, 1993, Fylde) died suddenly and unexpectedly on January 20 2014. Husband of Susie (nee Susan Davis, Culture & Communication, 1996, Pendle), father of Lydia and Eleanor and brother of Diane (Biological Sciences, 1984, Fylde). Susie would like to thank everyone who joined them in a creative, uplifting and loud farewell to John on January 31st and for all the messages of condolence.
John Patrick Brooke Rowley (History, 1976, Cartmel) died peacefully on 10 January 2014 aged 58 years in Shrewsbury after being diagnosed with terminal cancer last July. He leaves a wife, Susan, and two daughters Katherine and Eleanor. He worked as a teacher in Hampshire before joining the Advisory service, working in London and finally Shropshire. He loved reading The Guardian, watching football, researching his family tree, walking in the countryside and going on holidays to France and Spain.
Gill Sudlow was known to many staff and students on campus, having worked since 2003 managing campus guest rooms, and then transferring to Fylde College as College Residence Officer. She was always willing to roll her sleeves up and meet fresh challenges head-on. It was rare that a meeting with Gill would not result in laughter, either as a result of her distinctive way of putting things, or the crazy facts that she would impart. Gill was diagnosed with terminal cancer 18 months ago, but always hoped she would be able to return to work. She finally accepted that this would not be possible and we held a packed retirement do in December. Gill passed away at home on 29 December 2013.
Philip Aspden (MA 1968, PhD 1972, Operational Research) died suddenly on December 22, 2013, at his home in Washington, D.C. He came to Lancaster after receiving his BA (Hons) in Mathematics from Cambridge University. At the time of his death, Philip was Chief, Population Health in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs). He was also a professorial lecturer at the School of Public Health and Health Services of The George Washington University. Philip chose the public sector joining the British civil service immediately after graduate school, eventually serving in the Department of the Environment, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Treasury. Seconded by DHSS to the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Vienna in 1979, he met and married Jeannette Weiss Lindsay; they were married for 34 years, and their two children have carried on his legacy of dedication to the public good. Cricket was Philip’s passion: he was an active member of the Association of Cricket Statisticians and of the C.C. Morris Cricket Library and he umpired at the Philadelphia International Cricket Festival for many years. He achieved cricket nirvana in 2008 when he umpired a Halifax Cup match involving the Gentlemen of Philadelphia at Lord’s, albeit on the Nursery Ground.
Wing Commander RAF Regiment (retired) Brian Liversidge (MA Management Learning, 1998, Graduate) died at home on Sunday 20 October 2013 after a long illness, aged 69. He was Chief Executive of the Brathay Educational Trust, Ambleside for 14 years from 1992-2006
Malcolm McDonald, Graduate Studies Officer in the office of the Academic Registrar for over twenty years, died on 5 August 2013, just three weeks short of his 80th birthday. Malcolm joined the staff of the university on 24 August 1964 as a Graduate Assistant, and he was thus one of the elite group who worked in Bailrigg Mansion before the university was officially open. A Board of Graduate Studies was set up late in 1964, independently of the undergraduate boards of studies, with responsibility for all graduate studies and students from admission to graduation. Malcolm oversaw a huge increase in programmes of study and student numbers before his retirement in December 1992 and his work laid the foundation of postgraduate studies as we know it today.
Gemma Oliver (BBA, 2009, Pendle) passed away peacefully on Friday 14 June, 2013 aged 26 years.
Dave Foster passed away suddenly in February 2013. Dave came to Lancaster to read Economics in 1967. A member of County College, he was a fine sportsman and played in the University 1st XI football team which got to the final of University Athletics Championship. He enjoyed socialising in the legendary Shakespeare Hotel and what then was the newly built County College Bar. In later years, along with Peter Waller, he made annual visits to campus and his old haunts in Lancaster and Morecambe. He is sadly missed by his son Jack and all of his friends from those days. His funeral took place in Northamptonshire.
Raymond Saffin (MPhil Physics, 1972, Bowland) passed away in September 2011 after a short illness, aged 64.
Geoffrey Nigel Brown (Philosophy, 1976, County) died suddenly in August 2010 while living in Huddersfield aged 57. Geoff had wide ranging talents and interests. He was an accomplished musician, a piano and church organ player, and a composer. At Lancaster he edited Scan magazine late into the night in an office above Alexandra Square. While doing this, he was happy to provide stimulating conversation, accompanied by somewhat less stimulating Nescafe coffee whitened with lumpy milk granules. In those days Scan was put together from typed text pasted onto sheets of paper which would then be copied and printed. The process involved blue pencil which did not show up when copied, and many applications of Tippex to hide typing errors and marks. How times have changed in the magazine world. Geoff took aim at some of the more pretentious characters at Lancaster in his William Wormcast column. Somehow he also found time to be one of the first members of LURG – the Lancaster University Revue Group, founded by Keith Macdougall. He gave a memorable revue group performance as Victor Adereth, paying homage to one of the leading political figures on campus at that time.
After leaving Lancaster, Geoff gained a PHD at Newcastle University and went on to lecture at Newcastle, at Sheffield University and had two spells lecturing at Leuven in Belgium. His next job was in Leeds, where he changed from focusing on philosophy to working in computing.