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In Memoriam: Professors Emeriti

On September 17, 1987, Milton Chernin died in Berkeley of a heart attack, ending one of the longest and most productive careers in the University. Chernin was a major figure on the Berkeley campus, having been associated with it for almost sixty years. Officially retired in 1977, he remained active as president of the Faculty Club and as secretary of the Berkeley Academic Senate and of the Northern Division of the Academic Assembly. 

Ruth Cooper contributed importantly to the development of the School of Social Welfare on the Berkeley campus during her quarter century's association with it. The period was filled with events of great import for the School: World War II; the plenitude of stipends from the National Institutes of Mental Health; the loyalty oath controversy in the University; the expansion of the social work profession; curricular changes in social-work education; and the Free Speech movement. 

On December 20, 1984, a heart attack ended the life of Professor Walter Friedlander, who, over a long career, achieved international distinction. He will be remembered for his efforts to counteract parochialism in social-work education. As a teacher, writer, practitioner and community leader he stressed that social welfare is an international phenomenon. 

One of the most distinguished faculty members at the UC Berkeley School of Social Welfare, Professor Emeritus Ernest Greenwood, died on May 4, 2004. Greenwood helped shape the School’s reputation as the premier research program in social work in the country both through his scholarly work and through his committee service and professional associations.

James Leiby, professor emeritus of social welfare, died in Berkeley, Calif., February 12, 2012 at the age of 87. The School of Social Welfare was both fortunate and unique among social work programs in having a Harvard-trained historian on its faculty, one who devoted his historical attention to research and teaching which benefited the profession and students at all levels of education. 

A mercifully short illness ended the life of Professor Davis McEntire on July 29, 1983. He is survived by his wife, Iras, son, Mark, daughter, Marian McEntire de Garcia, and grandsons Jorge and Pablo Garcia. He leaves a host of colleagues in the University who held him in high esteem.

Joseph H. Solis, fieldwork consultant emeriti at the School of Social Welfare for more than 20 years, passed away April 15, 2010. After a stint in the army at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where he worked in the military prison, Solis returned to Berkeley, first as a practicing social worker and later as a lecturer at the School. He was a loving friend, teacher, mentor, advisor, community advocate and role model for hundreds of students.

Harry Specht, dean of the School of Social Welfare at Berkeley since 1977, died at the age of 65 on Sunday, March 12, 1995. His death followed a struggle of several months with cancer of the throat. His loss has left a deep wound in the School and on the Berkeley campus.

Hassletine Byrd Taylor, who died on March 8, 1993, served as a lecturer in the School of Social Welfare from 1941 until her retirement in 1970. She taught community organization, but soon took over the course “Legal Information for Social Workers” and began developing courses in law and policy that were a staple of the School's program for almost three decades.

After a five-year struggle, Gertrude Wilson succumbed to cancer on December 5, 1984. She was a pioneer in the development of social-group work as a specialty within social work. When few women occupied such positions, she was a full professor in a university of first rank. At Berkeley, she distinguished herself for creative work in professional education.

Kermit T. Wiltse, a professor emeritus of social welfare at UC Berkeley, died at his home in Berkeley on June 19, 2009, at age 94. During his more than three decades on the UC Berkeley faculty, Kermit Wiltse published numerous papers on child welfare, foster care and welfare programs such as Aid to Families with Dependent Children, informed by his insights as a grassroots social worker.

Professor Martin Wolins was a person of great intellectual integrity. A man of conviction, he held strong beliefs, which he implemented in daily practice. He had enormous energy and capacity for work, and, with his buoyant laugh and quick wit, exuded an enthusiasm for life.