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Updated 11:00 AM November 1, 2004




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Gail W. Rector

Gail W. Rector, president emeritus of the University Musical Society (UMS), died Oct. 18 from complications following a stroke suffered in September.

(Photo by U-M Photo Services)

"We were saddened to learn of Gail's passing," says current UMS President Kenneth C. Fischer, who first worked for Rector as an assistant during the summer of 1967 when UMS presented a series at the Fairlane Estate on the U-M-Dearborn campus to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the University.

"Gail served UMS with great distinction for nearly four decades. During this time he won the admiration and respect not only of the people of Ann Arbor, but of the international community of performing artists, managers and presenters. Hailed as a 'giant' in the industry, Gail received the top awards the field has to offer its most outstanding leaders."

Rector knew that artists were more relaxed in Ann Arbor than when performing in a big city, and he worked closely with National Public Radio in its early years by letting NPR syndicate UMS concerts. "By 1977-78, UMS presentations through WUOM made up more than half of the national distribution of concerts played on public radio stations," according to a March 1993 article in Michigan Today.

He presided over UMS's centennial season in 1978-79, a season that included performances by Vladimir Horowitz, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Murray Perahia (in the "Debut and Encore Series"), the Bulgarian folk ensemble Pirin, the Martha Graham Dance Company and the Guarneri String Quartet.

In the early 1980s, Rector worked in partnership with the Ann Arbor Summer Festival to develop a three-week series of events that continues to this day.

Rector was a member of Arts Presenters for more than 40 years, serving on the organization's board and as president. He received the Arts Presenters' Fan Taylor Distinguished Service Award for exemplary service to the field of professional presenting in 1985 and was made an honorary lifetime member in 1987. He served as president of the International Society for Performing Arts (ISPA) from 1970-71.

He received ISPA's highest recognition, the Patrick Hayes Award, which honors an ISPA member of long standing whose achievements in arts management are deserving of special praise and recognition, in 1984 and later became an honorary member of the group.

A March 1987 Board of Regents Resolution recognized Rector as a "unique and vibrant force in the cultural life of the Ann Arbor and University communities. He has orchestrated the appearances of more than 1,400 distinguished artists and groups from every corner of the world, performing an immense array of music and dance programs as well as other forms of artistic expression. Gail Rector is an acknowledged master in his field. His personal acquaintance among the world's most renowned performing artists is legend. But it is his skill in attracting such individuals and groups to Ann Arbor, staging their appearances, maintaining the remarkable quality and variety of University Musical Society programming which are the hallmarks of his career." A year later, when Rector officially retired, the regents conferred upon him the title of president emeritus of UMS.

Born Feb. 14, 1918, in North Platte, Neb., Rector came to Ann Arbor as a bassoon student in 1937 at the School of Music, which then was housed under the auspices of UMS. He received his bachelor's degree in music in 1940 and completed one year toward a master's degree in business before he was drafted into service in the armed forces during World War II. As a student, he was part of the first ensemble that performed on the Rackham Auditorium stage (1939).

After four years in the South Pacific, where he saw action in Guadalcanal and Bougainville, he returned to Ann Arbor, where he began study toward a degree in business. He began working at UMS in 1945 as an assistant to then-President Charles Sink, serving in that capacity for nine years before moving to Boston, where he spent three years as assistant manager of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and executive secretary of the Berkshire Music Center.

In 1957, Sink recruited Rector to return as UMS's executive director, a position that he held until 1968, when he also became UMS's fifth president since its founding in 1879.

After his retirement, he was retained by Detroit Symphony Orchestra Hall, where he worked to develop a presenting program at the hall.

Rector married his first wife, Kathryn, in 1940, and his second wife, Beth, in 1980. Both preceded him in death. Survivors include his son, Richard (Stockbridge, Mich.); daughter Ellen Stickney (Alan) (Springfield, Ohio); daughter Patricia (Ann Arbor); and three grandchildren, Michael, Carolyn, and Laura.

UMS will dedicate the Nov. 9 Hill Auditorium performance of the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra to the memory of Rector.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Nov. 7 at the First United Methodist Church, at the corner of State and East Huron streets. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be sent to the University Musical Society, Burton Memorial Tower, 881 North University Ave., Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1011.

Letters of condolence may be sent to Richard Rector c/o First United Methodist Church, 120 South State St., Ann Arbor, MI 48104.

Dr. Harold Oberman

In a masterful display of the grace, balance and precision for which he was so well known throughout his life, Dr. Harold Austen Oberman, a long-time member of the Medical School faculty, died peacefully after a long struggle with cancer on Oct. 21, his 72nd birthday.
(Photo courtesy Dept. Of Pathology)

Oberman was known internationally for his contributions to the fields of both anatomic and clinical pathology—a rare achievement in the highly specialized field of pathology. He took equal pride and honor in counseling individual patients and their families as they faced difficult decisions regarding diagnosis and treatment.

Oberman received a bachelor's degree from the University of Omaha (Nebraska) in 1953 and a medical degree (cum laude) from the University of Nebraska College of Medicine in 1956. He completed residency training in Anatomic and Clinical Pathology at the U-M Medical School in 1960.

He served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps from 1961-63 as a captain, and was appointed assistant to the chief of the Pathology Service at Walter Reed Army General Hospital in Washington, D.C. Upon completion of military service, he returned to the faculty of the Department of Pathology at U-M until his retirement in 2001.

Oberman served as head of the Section of Clinical Pathology from 1981-87 and as co-director of the Division of Clinical Pathology through 1991. He also was director of the Blood Bank from 1964-2001. He was named active emeritus professor in 2001.

Recognized nationally and internationally as one of the country's preeminent experts in the area of blood banking and blood transfusion, he served as a member of the Medical Advisory Committee for the American National Red Cross and other high-profile committees and panels.

He also achieved recognition as one of the leading authorities in the diagnosis of breast pathology, serving as an organizing member of the Breast Care Center at U-M and as a member of the Breast Cancer Task Force and Advisory Committee for the Michigan Department of Public Health.

For many years, he served as the final arbiter for the diagnosis of the most difficult cases that were submitted to him from around the country. His expertise in both anatomic pathology and clinical pathology was viewed as remarkable, even among his peers, and it represents a gold standard that never will be repeated in academic pathology, colleagues say.

He received numerous awards, including the John Elliott Memorial Award from the American Association of Blood Banks, Founders Award from the Michigan Association of Blood Banks, Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Nebraska College of Medicine, and he was named as one of the 2000 Best Doctors in America in 1992, 1995 and 1997. He also edited several journals, spoke at national events, and wrote numerous articles and book chapters.

Oberman was recognized as an outstanding teacher; he received honors such as the Elizabeth Crosby Award (outstanding professor in basic sciences) from the Medical School and an Excellence in Teaching Award from medical students.

He reveled in the role of teacher and mentor; he and his wife Marylen frequently invited students from his laboratory to their home for a social gathering to mark the end of the school term.

A man colleagues say had a generous and warm heart, Oberman found pleasure in the day-to-day joys of life in Ann Arbor. He loved fall for its poignant reminder of fleeting beauty and for the vibrancy of Michigan football games (for which he insisted on arriving in time to hear "Band take the field"). The son of the late Lillian and Isidore Oberman, he was raised with a passion for poetry, music, learning and chocolate. He is survived by Marylen Segel Oberman, his wife of more than 45 years; his children, Michelle, Debra and Jeffrey; his brother Robert; and his grandchildren; as well as generations of pathology residents, medical students and friends.

A funeral service was held at Temple Beth Emeth Oct. 22. In lieu of flowers, please send contributions to the Department of Pathology, P.O. Box 0602, 1301 Catherine, Ann Arbor, MI 48109 or Temple Beth Emeth Caring Community, 2309 Packard Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48104.

Dale Davis

Dale Davis died Oct. 8 at his home in Hartland. Davis was an associate professor of accounting who taught at U-M-Flint from 1982 until his retirement in 1996.

He received a bachelor of science degree in business administration from Eastern Michigan University, his master of business administration in marketing and international finance in 1969 and doctorate in administration in higher education in 1978 from U-M.
Davis "always had time for colleagues, students and especially to talk about his beloved Detroit Red Wings."—U-M-Flint School of Management Dean I. Douglas Moon

Davis served in the U.S. Army Signal Corps and worked with Chevrolet Motor Division from 1957-70 and the Academic Budget Office from 1971-77. He then moved to the headquarters of Volkswagen's Westmoreland, Pa., Assembly Plant, where he was a corporate auditor.

Through the years, he conducted research in the automotive area. His writings included approximately three-quarters of all the corporate procedures now in place at Volkswagen of America Inc.

Davis appeared on national and international television as part of a network series on the world automotive industry and appeared locally discussing domestic content legislation and the automotive industry.

"Dale was dedicated to the University, especially to its students. He also was a man dedicated to his family, especially to his grandchildren," says I. Douglas Moon, dean of the School of Management. "And he always had time for colleagues, students and especially to talk about his beloved Detroit Red Wings."

In addition to serving on numerous departmental and campus-wide committees, Davis was involved with the United Way of Detroit, served as an adviser for Junior Achievement groups, was a fire commissioner in Ypsilanti Township, and served as a volunteer probation officer for the 34th District Court in Romulus.

A memorial mass was held Oct. 22 in Howell.

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