Categotry Archives: Education


John T. Walton


Categories: Business, Education, Military

John Thomas Walton, an heir to the Wal-Mart fortune and one of the wealthiest men in America, died on June 27 in a plane crash. He was 58.
Walton had just taken off from Jackson Hole Airport in Wyoming on Monday afternoon when his homemade, ultralight aircraft crashed in Grand Teton National Park. He was the sole occupant of the plane, which weighed an estimated 400 to 500 pounds and ran on a small, gasoline-powered engine. Cause of the accident is under investigation.
The Arkansas native dropped out of The College of Wooster in Ohio, then served with the Green Berets as a medic in Vietnam. There he earned the Silver Star for saving the lives of several members of his unit while under enemy fire. When Walton returned to the states, he opted to have minimal involvement with the family business. Instead, he started a crop-dusting company in Texas and Arizona and a boat-building business in California.
Walton’s father was Sam Walton, who founded Wal-Mart and turned it into one of the biggest companies in the world. In March, John Walton and his younger brother Jim tied for No. 11 on the Forbes magazine list of the world’s richest people. (Spot No. 10 belongs to John’s older brother Rob, the chairman of Wal-Mart.) The sixth richest man in America, John Walton had a net worth of approximately $18.2 billion.
Through inheritance, Walton became a major stakeholder in Wal-Mart. He owned about 12 million shares of the company’s stock and shared ownership of about 1.7 billion shares with his family in a joint partnership called Walton Enterprises. Walton joined the board of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., in 1992, and sat on the company committee that reviews Wal-Mart’s finances and oversees long-range planning, but was not considered to be a potential successor to his brother.
Although he was a successful businessman in his own right, Walton’s passion was philanthropy, particularly in the area of education. In 1998, he and Wall Street buyout artist Ted Forstmann co-founded the Children’s Scholarship Fund. To date, the fund has provided tuition assistance to more than 67,000 low-income families that want to send their kids to private schools. In his spare time, Walton loved to fly. He also enjoyed skydiving, scuba diving and riding motorcycles.


E. Harris Nober

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Categories: Education, Scientists

ehnober.jpgE. Harris Nober, an educator whose study of smoke detectors helped save countless lives, died on May 23 of liver cancer. He was 77.
After serving in the Coast Guard for two years, Nober earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Brooklyn College and a doctorate in experimental psychology from Ohio State University. From 1969 to 1998, he taught communications disorders at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.
Nober always had an interest in how people reacted to sounds and spent the early part of his career working in a hospital as a speech-language pathologist. Then in 1978, he began researching how loud a fire alarm should be and how long it would take a family to react to its call.
Nober’s study, which was funded by what is now the National Institute of Standards and Technology, involved installing smoke detectors in 80 area homes. After waiting for several weeks, he used a remote control to test the alarms. Nober then examined the response times of people who slept behind closed doors, those who had drunk alcohol the night before, parents of newborns and the elderly. On average, it took three minutes for people to wake up, call the fire department and leave their house.
Using this data, Nober was able to find the perfect sound level required to awaken even the deepest of sleepers. His work set the standard noise level for most of the smoke alarms on the market today. He also designed smoke detectors for the deaf that utilized flashing strobe lights and vibration mechanisms.
Nober co-edited the 1997 textbook, “Introduction to Communication Disorders: A Multicultural Approach,” with Charlena Seymour, and received the Career Award in Hearing from the American Association of Audiology. He was a fellow and charter member of the American Academy of Audiology and a fellow of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.


John K. Marshall


Categories: Education, Hollywood

John Kennedy Marshall, a documentary filmmaker who produced and directed numerous movies about the lives of the Ju/’hoansi people, died on April 22 of lung cancer. He was 72.
The Cambridge, Mass., native always had an interest in Africa. He longed to visit the Dark Continent and read many books about its nations and people. In 1950, Marshall and his father went on a research expedition, sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution and the Harvard Peabody Museum, to find a lost city in the Kalahari Desert of South West Africa (now Namibia). They didn’t discover the missing metropolis, but encountered a group of “wild” bushmen known as the Ju/’hoansi. Upon returning to the region, Marshall and his entire family learned the tribe’s language and culture. The Ju/’hoansi called him “/Toma !osi,” or ”long face.”
Using a 16mm camera, Marshall recorded hundreds of interviews with the men and women of this unique society and studied their use of ancient hunting and gathering techniques. “The Hunters,” his first documentary about the Ju/’hoansi, was released in 1957. Two decades later, he took a PBS crew to South Africa and filmed the television movie “N!ai, The Story of a !Kung Woman,” which detailed the disintegration of the Ju/’hoansi after they were interned in a government camp and used as a tourist attraction. Marshall’s masterpiece, the five-part, six-hour documentary “A Kalahari Family,” was compiled from more than 1 million feet of film shot over 50 years.
Back in America, Marshall earned degrees in anthropology from Harvard and Yale universities. He worked for NBC, shot the civil war in Cyprus and served as the cameraman for the 1967 documentary, “Titicut Follies,” which exposed the poor conditions at the state psychiatric hospital in Bridgewater, Mass. Marshall cofounded Documentary Educational Resources with Timothy Asch in 1968, and contributed to the Human Studies Film Archives at the Smithsonian Institution.
For his efforts in documentary filmmaking, Marshall received a lifetime achievement award in 2003 from the Society for Visual Anthropology. His career was also chronicled in the 1993 book, “The Cinema of John Marshall” by Jay Ruby.


Jef Raskin

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Categories: Business, Education, Writers/Editors

jraskin.jpgJef Raskin, an author, educator and computer interface expert who was known as the “Father of the Macintosh,” died on Feb. 26 of cancer. He was 61.
The New York native studied mathematics and philosophy at the State University of New York at Stony Brook and earned a master’s degree in computer science at Pennsylvania State University. He enrolled in the graduate music program at the University of California at San Diego, then spent four years teaching art, photography and computer science there.
In 1978, Apple hired Raskin to run its publications department. At the time, computers were mostly used by scientists and academics, but Raskin believed the machines should make tasks easier for ordinary people to use. With this vision in mind, he assembled the initial development team that created the first Macintosh computer, which was named after Raskin’s favorite variety of apple. He wrote the manual for the Apple II, pioneered the use of the word “font” and helped invent the “click and drag” method of manipulating icons on the screen.
But when the first Macintosh debuted in 1984, Raskin was no longer with the company. In fact, he’d quit two years earlier after his relationship with Apple co-founder Steve Jobs went sour.
Raskin later designed the Canon Cat, a small computer that used a text-based user interface, and published the landmark computer book, “The Humane Interface: New Directions for Designing Interactive Systems.” He also wrote and/or edited for Forbes ASAP, Wired, Mac Home Journal, Pacifica Tribune and Model Airplane News. In recent years, Raskin worked on The Humane Environment, a revolutionary software system that incorporates open source elements with his own user interface concepts.
Listen to a Tribute From NPR
Listen to an Interview With Raskin


Ruth Warrick


Categories: Actors, Education, Hollywood, Writers/Editors

rwarrick.jpgRuth Warrick, the veteran actress known for playing Phoebe Tyler Wallingford on the ABC soap opera “All My Children,” died on Jan. 15 of complications from pneumonia. She was 88.
Born in St. Joseph, Mo., Warrick studied drama at the University of Kansas City. She traveled to New York in 1937 after winning a local beauty contest. As Kansas City’s paid ambassador, Warrick presented a live turkey to Mayor Fiorello La Guardia on the steps of City Hall. Once in the Big Apple, however, Warrick decided to stay and pursue a career in acting. She worked a few modeling jobs, then joined the Mercury Theater of the Air, a radio acting company headed by actor/director Orson Welles.
In 1941, Welles brought Warrick to the west coast to appear in his film, “Citizen Kane.” Welles handpicked her for the role of Emily, the wife of newspaper magnate Charles Foster Kane, because no “ladies in Hollywood” were as suitable for the part. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the film’s opening, the famous New York restaurant Sardi’s posted a caricature of Warrick on its wall of fame.
Although it wasn’t a financial success, “Citizen Kane” opened numerous doors for Warrick. She appeared in 30 other movies, including “The Corsican Brothers,” “Song of the South” and “Journey Into Fear,” and on Broadway with Jackie Gleason in “Take Me Along” and Debbie Reynolds in “Irene.” But it was television that turned Warrick into a star.
She acted in two soap operas — “The Guiding Light” (1953-54) and “As the World Turns” (1956-60) — then played the starring role of Ellie Banks in the 1960s TV series “Father of the Bride.” Warrick received an Emmy nomination for her portrayal of Hannah Cord on the long-running primetime soap “Peyton Place,” and later reprised the role in the 1985 made-for-TV movie “Peyton Place: The Next Generation.”
When the soap opera “All My Children” debuted in 1970, Warrick originated the role of Phoebe Tyler Wallingford. She was so convincing as the meddlesome, grande dame of Pine Valley that fans often had trouble separating the actress from the character. The role earned Warrick two Daytime Emmy Award nominations. She made her final appearance on “All My Children” two weeks ago to commemorate the show’s 35th anniversary.
The author of the 1980 autobiography, “The Confessions of Phoebe Tyler,” Warrick also taught at Julia Richman High School in New York and worked with several charities. She received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in 2004. Her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is located at 6689 Hollywood Blvd.

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