The University Record, February 22, 1999

Obituaries

Deming Bronson Brown

Deming Bronson Brown, professor emeritus of slavic languages and literatures, died at the age of 80 Feb. 5 in Ann Arbor. A native of Seattle, Brown earned an A.B. and M.A. in English and American literatures from the University of Washington and received a Ph.D. in Russian literature from Columbia University in 1951.

He joined the University in 1957 as associate professor of Slavic languages and literatures. He served as chair in 1957–1961. In 1965–1966 and again in 1978–1980 he served as director of the Center for Russian and East European Studies.

Widely recognized as an authority on Russian 19th- and 20th-century literature, Brown’s books include Soviet Attitudes toward American Writers, Soviet Russian Literature Since Stalin, and The Last Years of Soviet Russian Literature.

Karl Kramer, professor of Russian literature at the University of Washington says, “a colleague of mine refers to Deming Brown as ‘Mister Soviet Literature.’ His last two books remain the definitive studies of Soviet literature in the postwar era.”

“His writings reflected the grace and dignity that he offered as a person and colleague,” says Ronald G. Suny, professor of history at the University of Chicago.

He received many grants for scholarly research, including grants from the Rockefeller Foundation and the Fulbright-Hays Program. He served on national committees that included the executive council of the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies. He also served as editor of Russian Studies in Literature, a journal presenting translations of prominent scholars on literary theory and criticism and a broad range of current cultural material. He retired from the University in 1988.

He is survived by his wife, Glenora Washington Brown, two daughters, and two granddaughters.

 

John B. Penney Jr.

John B. “Jack” Penney Jr., 51, a neurologist who was an expert in the diagnosis and treatment of Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease, died suddenly of a heart attack on Jan. 31 at home in Boston, Mass.

A member of the Medical School’s Department of Neurology faculty from 1978 to 1991, Penney and his wife, Anne Young, were known for his work, that revolutionized the understanding of the brain and its failure in certain movement disorders. Together, they established the Medical Center’s Movement Disorders Clinic. While at the University, Penney became known for his work on basal ganglia anatomy and neurochemistry, studies of the neurochemistry of disease, and excitatory amino acid neurotransmitter pharmacology. For nearly 20 years, he was a consulting neurologist to the U.S.-Venezuela Collaborative Huntington’s Research Projects, whose work led to the cloning of the gene that causes the disease. His studies in understanding the basal ganglia and the circuitry of the brain were important steps toward new therapies for Parkinson’s disease.

Penney was born in Winthrop, Mass. A graduate of Dartmouth College, he earned his medical degree at Johns Hopkins University Medical School, and trained in neurology at the University of California, San Francisco before joining the Michigan faculty in 1978. Since his move in 1991 to Massachusetts General Hospital, his contributions to this field continued with his organization and direction of a Parkinson’s Disease Research Center, one of three such centers in the nation funded last year by the National Institutes of Health.

He leaves his wife, Anne B. Young; two daughters, Jessica and Ellen; his father John B. Penney, Sr.; a sister, Janet B. Cronin; and a brother, Stephen E. Penney. A memorial service is planned on May 22 in Boston. Contributions may be sent to the John B. Penney Jr. Memorial Fund for Research on Parkinson’s and Huntington’s Diseases, Department of Neurology, VBK 915 Massachusetts General Hospital, 55 Fruit St., Boston, Mass. 02114.