December 2004

In Memoriam

Orlando Cuellar, one of the University of Utah's first Latino professors, died Sept. 26 after a short illness. He was 70.

Cuellar joined the U.'s biology department in 1972. He soon became active in Salt Lake City's Latino community and in 1992 served as president of the Centro Civico Mexicano, an organization that promotes and shares Mexican traditions and culture.

Cuellar was principal founder in bringing the national MESA [math, engineering and science achievement] program to Utah and was instrumental in getting minorities interested in science. He retired as professor emeritus in 1995.

Cuellar's scientific specialty was tracing the origin and evolution of parthenogenetic reptiles. He received numerous honors, including grants from the National Research Council-Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship, and was awarded the National Science Foundation-NATO Travel Award and the U.S.-Soviet National Academies of Science Exchange Research Award. He published prolifically in prestigious scientific journals including The Journal of Genetics, The American Naturalist, Science and Evolution.

Cuellar earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Texas, a master's from Texas Tech in Lubbock and a doctorate from the University in Colorado in Boulder. Before coming to the U., he earned a post-doctoral fellowship from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He served in the U.S. Air Force and was honorably discharged in 1960.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Antonio and Juana Cuellar; brothers Jose H. and Antonio Cuellar, of San Antonio, Texas; and his daughter Leticia Cuellar of Salt Lake City. He is survived by his daughters Graciela Cuellar, Quebec, Canada, and Carolina Cuellar Morton, Salt Lake City; grandchildren Antonio James and Mackenzie Gloria Morton, Salt Lake City, and Charles Orlando Lalonde, Canada; the mother of his daughters, Gloria Peterson, Salt Lake City; sister Gloria Mistician; brothers Jesus Robert Cuellar, San Antonio, Texas, and Hector Saul Cuellar, Houston, Texas; numerous nephews and nieces; and longtime companion Eleanor Ulibarrie.

Edited from the news article and notice published in the Salt Lake Tribune, 9/29-9/30/04.


Journalist and conservative media critic Reed Irvine BA’42, who relentlessly challenged alleged biases of the press for more than three decades, died Nov. 16 from complications of a stroke he suffered late last year. He was 82.

Born in Salt Lake City, Irvine received a degree in philosophy from the University of Utah and attended graduate school at the University of Colorado. He served in the Marine Corps during World War II, where his job was to learn Japanese and translate interviews with prisoners of war in Japan. While serving as a Japanese interpreter, he met Kay Araki, a survivor of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack. The couple married three years later. After the war, he returned to graduate school, enrolling at the University of Washington until he won a Fulbright scholarship to Oxford University from 1949 to 1951, leaving with a master's degree in literature. He worked as an economist with the Federal Reserve from 1951 until 1977, when he retired.

But Irvine is best known as a pioneer media watchdog, founding the nonprofit group Accuracy in Media (AIM) in 1969 during an era when the content and ideological underpinnings of TV and newspaper stories went largely unquestioned.

Irvine took on the credibility of dozens of news organizations and high-profile scions of the so-called liberal press, penning hundreds of columns; joining in spirited debate with foes on CNN's "Crossfire" and ABC's "Nightline," among other broadcasts; and mounting cases against the New York Times, CNN, NBC and The Washington Post, prompting former Post editor Ben Bradlee to call him a "miserable, carping, retromingent vigilante," comparing Irvine to an animal that urinates backward. Irvine responded by sending Bradlee a trophy, courtesy of the Miserable Carping Retromingent Vigilante Society.

Irvine also founded Accuracy in Academia in 1985 to monitor political bias in education and authored two books chronicling what he saw as media deception. Accolades for his efforts included the "Ethics in Journalism" award from the World Media Association and the "Friend of Freedom Award" from the Gielow Family Foundation, which cited his "tireless dedication to the search for truth."

Irvine is survived by his wife, son Donald, and three grandchildren.

Edited from articles published in the Washington Times 11/17 and the Washington Post 11/18/2004.


Muriel Jean (Locket) La Rue BS’50, 73, died March 16 after a long illness. For five decades, La Rue had provided social services as a social worker and social worker educator.

Born Sept. 3, 1929 in Salt Lake City, after receiving her bachelor’s degree and a Graduate Certificate in Social Work at the U, she married Joseph D. La Rue of Pocatello, Idaho in 1951, and they moved to Chicago. She earned her master’s degree in social work from the University of Chicago in 1959 and began her professional career at Cook County Department of Public Aid. She later worked for entities including the Chicago Federation of Settlements and Neighborhood Centers, Chicago Child Care Society and Chicago City College. Her consulting experience included work for the Chicago Board of Health, Department of Children and Family Services and Head Start.

She retired in 1993 as an associate professor, having taught at Kennedy-King, Harold Washington and Malcolm X colleges. She was a founder of the Leaguers of the Chicago Urban League, and served on the boards of The Family Institute, Chapin Hall for Children at the University of Chicago and Salem House.

La Rue also studied classical voice and was a frequent soloist in school programs. She was known for her warm and vibrant personality and as a marvelous cook.

She is survived by her husband, Joseph; daughter Christine; stepsister LaVon Hutcherson; two sisters-in-law; and a step-nephew.

Edited from the notices published in the Chicago Crusader 3/20/2004 and Chicago Tribune 3/21/2004.


Historian, educator and award-winning author Helen Papanikolas BA’39 died Oct. 31 at age 87. She had been battling cancer and fell and broke her hip the day before, according to her sister, Josephine Theodore.

Born June 29, 1917 to Greek immigrants George and Emily Zeese in the mining town of Cameron in Carbon County, she attended school in Price and graduated from East High School after her family moved to Salt Lake City. She was editor of the Pen literary magazine at the University of Utah and graduated with honors. Following two years as a medical technologist in the old Salt Lake County Hospital, she married Nick E. Papanikolas BS’38. They had two children, Zeese and Thalia.

For more than 50 years, Papanikolas was a chronicler of Utah history, often on such topics as "Ethnicity in Mormondom," about growing up in a land dominated by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the experiences of women in Utah's coal-mining communities. She was the author of seven books, both fiction and nonfiction, and her numerous articles were printed in the Utah Historical Quarterly and other journals. She also edited the Utah historians' contribution to the nation's bicentennial, The Peoples of Utah, which told the stories of Greeks, Italians, Chinese, Japanese, blacks, Jews, eastern Europeans and American Indians who settled the state, dominated by Mormon pioneers. She also served as a consultant for two national educational television series, Greeks in America and The Western Coal Miner, both funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

As a nationally known speaker on Greek American experiences, Papanikolas lectured at colleges and universities throughout Utah and the country. Because of her close connections with the first Utah Greek immigrant generation, she was able to save valuable artifacts. She and husband Nick also established scholarship programs for minority students at the University of Utah and the College of Eastern Utah.

Papanikolas was a fellow of the Utah State Historical Society, the highest honor bestowed by that group, and was awarded the Brotherhood Award from the Utah Chapter of the National Conference of Christians and Jews in 1978. She was a member of the State Board of History and founder and president of the Peoples of Utah Institute. Her other awards include the Japanese-American Citizens League Award, Utah Heritage Foundation Lifetime Award, and the American Association for State and Local History Award of Merit. Her novel The Time of the Little Black Bird won the Utah Fiction Prize for 2000. In June 1984, the University of Utah awarded her an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, and she was the principal commencement speaker.

Her husband, Nick E. Papanikolas, died in 2000. Surviving are her son Zeese (Ruth); and daughter Thalia (Allan) Smart; her grandchildren: Demetrios (Willa), Nick (Ruth) Smart, Cleo (Steve), Luke (Tristan) Smart, Eleni, and Tony; and her great-grandchildren: JD, Kallie, Leo, and Max. Her sisters Josephine Theodore and Sophie Heleotes and many nieces and nephews.

Edited from the news article and notice published in the Salt Lake Tribune, 11/2-4/2004.


John Robert Ward BS’44, MD’46, who founded the University of Utah School of Medicine's Division of Rheumatology, died of natural causes Nov. 1 at the hospital where he had trained medical students and treated patients for more than 30 years. He was 80

Born on November 23, 1923 in Salt Lake City to John Isaac and Clara Elzi Ward, Dr. Ward served his medical residency at Salt Lake County General Hospital, where he met his wife of nearly 56 years, Norma Harris. They were married in Salt Lake City on November 5, 1948.

From 1951-1953, he was in the U.S. Army Medical Corps (during the Korean conflict), then joined the U. medical school faculty. Dr. Ward founded the rheumatology division in the Department of Internal Medicine in 1957 and was its leader until 1988, building one of the most respected academic rheumatology programs in the country. The division grew from a faculty of one to 11, its funded research from $50,000 to more than $2 million and its caseload to more than 11,000. He was also instrumental in establishing the Department of Preventive Medicine (now Family and Preventive Medicine) at the medical school and chaired that department from 1966-1970. He retired in 1992 as professor emeritus of internal medicine. He retired from the Utah Air National Guard as a Colonel, having served as the Commander of the 151st USAF clinic for many years.

Dr. Ward also founded and served from 1976 to 1983 as director of a multi-institutional center for clinical drug studies that was funded by the National Institutes of Health. Early on, he coordinated the clinical trials nationwide that helped establish the drug methotrexate as a favored treatment for arthritis. He also served a two-year fellowship in medicine at Harvard Medical School and a clinical fellowship in medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

Dr. Ward received numerous honors, including Outstanding Professor and Professor of the Year. He received the Distinguished Rheumatology Award from the American College of Rheumatology, one of his specialty's greatest honors. He was a fellow of the American College of Physicians and received the Utah chapter's Laureate Award. The Utah Arthritis Foundation named him Man of the Year. He also wrote 250 scientific papers, book chapters and books and served on the editorial boards of the most prestigious journals in the field of arthritis and rheumatism.

He is survived by his wife, Norma; four children, John Harris (Constance), Pamela Lyn Proctor (Lane), Robert Scott (Diane), and James Alan (Laura); brothers William (Barbara) and Robert (Ivy Jean); sister Patricia (Iven) Alsop;13 grandchildren; and 10 great-grand children. He was preceded in death by sisters Dorothea Ward, Joan Haynes, and Marguerite Howard.

Edited from the notice published in the Salt Lake Tribune, 11/3-5/2004, and a Deseret News article published 11/3.


U-News & Views © 2004 - An online publication
by the University of Utah Alumni Association
Questions? Concerns? Contact Linda Marion, editor (801-587-7837)
or Marcia Dibble, assistant editor (801-581-6996)