Phillip Davis, long time professor of art in the School of Art & Design, died July 2 at his home in Webster Township.
Davis was born in Spokane, Wash. Oct. 15, 1921, the son of William and Mary Augusta (Maples) Davis. The family moved to upstate New York when he was 12. After graduating from high school he enlisted in the military. Davis was commissioned in 1943 and served as an Air Force flight instructor until his discharge as a first lieutenant in 1945.
In 1948 he graduated from Albright Art School in Buffalo, N.Y. and joined the staff of what is now the Taubman College of Architecture + Urban Planning as an instructor in design and drawing. From 1964 until his retirement, he served as a professor of art, teaching photography and drawing. He received two Horace H. Rackham Foundation Grants, in 1967 for investigation of historic photographic processes and in 1974 for further investigation of non-silver processes.
During those years, he also worked as a freelance photographer in advertising illustration and received numerous awards, medals and honorable mentions from the Detroit Art Director’s Club and from organizations in New York and Chicago.
As part of the University’s sesquicentennial celebration in 1967, Davis conceived, produced and supervised installation of an exhibition of 264 photographs mounted on steel structures on the Rackham Mall between Hill Auditorium and the Michigan League. A book of these photographs titled “The University” was published by the University of Michigan Press.
His other publications included three textbooks, magazine articles, a limited edition of platinum prints made from noted cinematographer Karl Struss’ original glass negatives, and “The Dexter Portfolio,” a limited edition of mounted black and white prints. His work is represented in numerous public and private collections, including those of the Detroit Art Institute, Chicago Art Institute, International Museum of Photography in Rochester, N.Y. and the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.
In addition to appearances as guest artist, juror and speaker at various events, Davis conducted a series of workshops throughout the country in his Beyond the Zone System method of producing photographs using proven scientific testing methods which allow photographers to produce superior photographs through a precise working knowledge of their chosen materials.
He retired as professor emeritus of art in 1985 and in 1988 one of his former students, Chicago architectural photographer Nick Merrick, organized and curated Phil Davis, Photographer: The Teacher and His Students, an exhibit in the Paul Slusser Gallery of Davis’ work and that of 20 of his students.
He is survived by his wife Martha (DeLano); sons Carl (Becky) of Eaton Rapids, Mich. and their children Anna-Lisette, Charlotte, Gretchen, Philip, and Lucy; Tim (Katy Robinson) of Byron Center Mich.; and Jon (Amy Mattox) of Norcross Ga.; his sister Helen Beck Reimondo, her sons Tom and Dave Beck and their families.
In accordance with his wishes, cremation has taken place and there will be no services. Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice of Michigan or the Dexter District Library, 8040 Fourth St., Dexter MI 48130.
Dr. Thomas Graber
Internationally renowned orthodontics researcher and clinician, Dr. Thomas Graber, who was the only person from the U-M School of Dentistry to receive an honorary degree from the University, died June 26. He was 90.
Graber’s affiliation with the School of Dentistry began in 1958 when he was asked by Dr. Robert E. Moyers, then chair of the Department of Orthodontics, to serve as a visiting faculty member. He served as a visiting faculty member under two successive chairs, including Dr. Lysle Johnston, Jr.
For nearly 20 years, Graber was a participant in the annual Moyers Symposium, sponsored jointly by the Center for Human Growth and Development, which he helped found, and the School of Dentistry.
In 1994 he delivered the Jarabak Lecture, one of the school’s most prestigious named lectures. In December of that year, he received an honorary Doctor of Science degree at the University’s Winter Commencement ceremonies.
Graber formalized a $1.2 million commitment to the School of Dentistry in 1995 to fund the Thomas M. Graber Professorship in Orthodontics. Dr. James McNamara holds that professorship.
When he made the gift to fund the professorship, Graber, in an interview in the Summer/Fall 1995 issue of the School of Dentistry’s alumni magazine, DentalUM, said, “I’m not trying to leave a monument in my name. …Despite the fact that I’m affiliated with the University of Illinois, I consider Michigan’s Department of Orthodontics to be the best in the country. …Very few schools in the entire country can say they have people the caliber of Lysle Johnston and Jim McNamara.”
Dr. James McNamara, the Thomas M. and Doris Graber Endowed Professor of Dentistry, said, “Tom was a tireless worker, a personal friend, and a great role model for all of us. We’ll miss him.”
A memorial service for Graber will be held on July 20 at the Donnellan Funeral Home, 10045 Skokie Blvd., Skokie, IL.
Andrew Ladd, 28, assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer science, died March 4 at the University Medical Center. He was 28 years old. Ladd, a new faculty member in the College of Engineering, was on the threshold of an outstanding career in which he was poised to make great contributions, colleagues say.
His research focused on algorithmic robotics, which broadly studies how computers reason about physical systems. The field is inherently multi-disciplinary, using and developing tools from algorithms, artificial intelligence, computational geometry, graphics, numerical computing and systems. Ladd authored or coauthored 20 papers, had several invited papers and talks, and was a reviewer on numerous conference, workshop and transactions publications.
He was known throughout his studies by peers, mentors and faculty as a man of inventive intellect, keen wit, outstanding intelligence and overwhelming kindness, who approached everything he did with passion and intensity. He was an extremely gifted computer scientist whose intellectual drive and humor were irrepressible, colleagues say.
Ladd received a B.S. in joint honors mathematics and computer science from McGill University in Quebec. He received a Master of Science and a doctoral degree in computer science from Rice University.
Ladd is survived by his wife Fumiko Chino, as well as his parents Stuart and Debra Ladd, sister Kelly, grandparents Gordon and Phyllis Ladd and Graham George (June), parents-in-law James Gordon and Dr. Irene Gordon, and many loyal friends and relatives.