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In Memoriam

Fred L. DeGasperin

Fred L. DeGasperin, 59, of Warren, Michigan, died on October 25. A native of Bruceton Mills, DeGasperin graduated from WVU in 1981 with a degree in mining engineering. He was a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, serving in Desert Storm. He worked as a sales representative for Ensign-Bickford Company and retired as a mining inspector in West Virginia in 2016. He is survived by his wife, Kathy, and two sisters. 

George Fatt

George Fatt, 95, from Dundalk, Maryland, died on August 14. A native of West Virginia, Fatt majored in engineering at WVU and was a member of the football team. After serving in the U.S. Army, he was a 70-year member of the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers. He is survived by four children, seven grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.

Bunie Edward Harper

Bunie Edward Harper, 75, of Bridgeport, passed away on January 21. A native of Kayford, Harper graduated from WVU with a degree in civil engineering in 1966. After a stint in the U.S. Air Force, he began his career with PPG Industries and Bethlehem Mines Corporation. He owned his own engineering and surveying business, Harper Engineering Inc., and was city engineer for the city of Nutter Fort for many years. Harper is survived by his mother, Irene Yancey Harper, his wife, Evelyn, and his son, John. Charles Jenkins, 

Charles Jenkins

Charles Jenkins, 88, passed away on October 25, in Charleston. A native of Bogota, Illinois, Jenkins joined WVU in 1961 as a professor of civil engineering, where he researched water treatment and sanitation, until his retirement in 1992. He was a Fulbright Fellow, where he developed safe drinking water and water sanitation processes for communities abroad including Palau, Cypress, Sri Lanka and Russia. He is survived by his wife, Bernice, and four children.

Isaac P. Long

Isaac P. Long, 82, of Vero Beach, Florida, died on October 13. A native of Charleston, Long earned a degree in electrical engineering from WVU in 1959. He started his career with the DuPont Company in Old Hickory, Tennessee, and ended it in Wilmington, Delaware. After leaving Dupont, Long continued his interest in real estate development and property management. He is survived by his cousins. 

Kyle Nelson Rogers

Kyle Nelson Rogers, 32, passed away in Alexandria, Virginia, on February 21, 2018. He earned his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from WVU and a master’s degree in project management from George Washington University. Rogers played lacrosse for WVU, and continued his love of the game as a high school coach. He worked as an engineer for the Department of Defense, Navy. He is survived by his wife, his parents and his brother and sister

E. Neil Rush

E. Neil Rush, 86, from Wernersville, Pennsylvania, died on August 14. After serving in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War, Rush enrolled at WVU, where he studied civil engineering. Rush retired from the Voplex Corporation of Rochester, New York, where he was director of manufacturing. He previously served as a plant engineer for Sterling Industries in Morgantown and as vice president and general manager of Canford Manufacturing Corporation of Canton, Pennsylvania. He is survived by three sons.

Shawn M. Shisler

Shawn M. Shisler, 52, of Morgantown, passed away Monday, October 8. A native of Clarksburg, Shisler was a program assistant in WVU’s Department of Mining and Industrial Extension. She is survived by her husband, Eric, and three children.

Austin Cole Stratton

Austin Cole Stratton, 19, of Sod, died on December 1. A sophomore at WVU, Stratton served as a combat engineer with the WV Army National Guard, 119th Sapper Company. He is survived by his mother and stepfather, Renee and Scott Nelson, his father and stepmother, Eric and Kwan Stratton, and his sisters, Haley Stratton and Sam Nelson.

David Allen Turner

David Allen Turner, 63, passed away September 30. Born in Frankfort, Germany, Turner graduated from WVU in 1977 with a degree in mining engineering. He is survived by his wife, Vivian; sons J.D., Chris and Jason; and daughter, Jenna. 

William Merle Watkins

William Merle Watkins, 92, passed away on December 14. A native of Grafton, he earned his master’s degree in chemical engineering from WVU in 1951 and later earned an MBA in 1974. Watkins spent 33 years as a chemical engineer for Union Carbide Corporation, specializing in international licensing. After his retirement, he served as manager of process engineering at MTI, an engineering contractor. He was a member of the Licensing Executives Society, American Institute of Chemical Engineering and was a Registered Professional Engineer. He is survived by his three children, six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Caroline Baker Watts

Caroline Watts

Caroline Baker Watts, 91, of Morgantown, passed away on December 7, in Dallas, Texas. A native of St. George, Watts earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in home economics and child development from WVU in 1954 and 1957, respectively. She began her career as an educator in 1958 and went on to spend 22 years teaching biology at Morgantown High School. After retiring in 1989, she assisted her husband, Royce J. Watts, in arranging conferences in connection with his work at the Statler College and the West Virginia Coal Mining Institute. Together, the Watts were longtime supporters of WVU and the former COMER Museum in the Statler College, which was renamed the Royce J. and Caroline B. Watts Museum in their honor in 2005. Watts is survived by her husband of 68 years and her son and daughter-in-law, R.J. Watts, II and Maureen Watts.

Marlon Brando

Therapy dog Marlon Brando posing for holiday card.

Marlon Brando, the Statler College’s first therapy dog, passed away unexpectedly on July 20, at the age of 9. An Australian Labradoodle, Brando joined the College in 2014 and was donated by Hearts of Gold, a nonprofit service dog training center located in Morgantown. He spent most of his time in the College’s Cilento Learning Center, helping first-year students reduce stress related to homework and exams. He was also a fixture at many College events, like Welcome Week, Honors Day and Engineers Week. He is survived by his owner and handler, Michelle Poland, and her family.

Roy Harrison Bucklew Jr.

Roy Harrison Bucklew Jr., 89, died on March 4, in Morgantown. Born in Terra Alta, Bucklew served in the U.S. Army before graduating with a degree in mechanical engineering from WVU in 1953. He started his career with Sandia Labs and joined Westinghouse at the Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory in 1955. He later became the manager of the Nuclear Refueling Group at the Plant Apparatus Division. He is survived by his wife, Rena, five children and several grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Anthony Fumich

Anthony Fumich, 97, passed away on July 22 in Morgantown. A native of Pursglove, Fumich earned a degree in mining engineering from WVU after serving as a pilot in World War II. He spent the remainder of his career as a mine inspector for the Federal Bureau of Mines, retiring as a health and safety supervisor. He is survived by three daughters, a son and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Isaac Gibson

Isaac Gibson, 38, of Weston, passed away Friday, August 3. A native of Somerset, Pennsylvania, Gibson earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at WVU in computer science and fisheries management, respectively. He worked for the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources in the wildlife diversity program. He is survived by his parents, William and Catherine; his wife, Genevieve; a son, River; and five siblings.

John Mark Hobday

John Mark Hobday, 82, of Morgantown, passed away on March 27. A native of Berkeley Springs, he was a 1959 graduate of electrical engineering at WVU, making him the first in his family to earn a college degree. A lifelong electrical engineer, he also volunteered as a scout master with the Boy Scouts, coached several sports and volunteered many hours in the public school system. Hobday is survived by his wife, Barbara, two children, Joyce and Jeff, four grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Kenneth Plum

Kenneth Plum, 73, of West Monroe, Louisiana, passed away on December 28, 2017. A 1967 graduate of WVU with a degree in electrical engineering, Plum worked at Summers Supply as a systems specialist. He enjoyed traveling, visiting all 50 states as well as locations around the world. His favorite destination was deep-sea finishing in Cabo San Lucas. He is survived by his wife and travel partner, Diane, a daughter and two grandsons

Paul R. Westfall

Paul R. Westfall passed away Saturday, March 17, in Parkersburg. A native of Good Hope, Westfall served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and later graduated from WVU with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering in 1950. He began his career at Pittsburgh Coke & Chemical, then moved to Parkersburg to work at Marbon, later Borg-Warner Chemicals. He held various positions ranging from process and plant design to site surveys and construction coordination. He served as manager of maintenance and engineering at the WoodMar plant and retired as manager of projects in central engineering. He is survived by his three sons.

Naveen Venkatesan

Naveen Venkatesan died in February while on a trip to India. After earning his master’s degree from WVU in electrical engineering in 2011, he worked as a senior software engineer at GE Power in Seattle, Washington. He is survived by his wife and two-year old son.

Kenneth E. Vance

Kenneth E. Vance, 46, of Morgantown, passed away on November 14. A 1993 graduate of WVU with a degree in mechanical engineering, Vance worked for Fusion Technology as a vice president and principal systems engineer. In addition to his parents, Vance is survived by his wife, Lisa, and his daughter, Ashley, and her husband, Brandon Peterson, of Lexington, Kentucky. 

George E. Sutton

George E. Sutton died July 27, 2016, at his home in Barboursville. Sutton, a 1948 graduate of WVU with a degree in mechanical engineering, served as dean of engineering at Youngstown State University from 1976-1994. He was active in the Ohio and National Societies of Professional Engineers, in the Mathcounts Program and as an advocate for engineering education and ethics. He held faculty positions at Arizona State University and at the University of Nevada-Reno, and was the vice president of the National Council of Engineering Examiners for two years. He is survived by two sons, Dana of Huntington, and Jeremy of Byron Bay, Australia. 

Columbus Russell Rader, Jr.

Columbus Russell Rader, Jr., 72, passed away on Thursday, December 14. A native of Spencer, he graduated from WVU in 1967 and was employed as a professional civil engineer for the states of West Virginia and Louisiana. He also ran Cross Lanes Engineering, a land surveying company. He is survived by his spouse of 49 years, Stephanie, and three children. 

Alex Kingery

Alex Kingery, 20, of Hedgesville, died on January 1. A graduate of Hedgesville High School, Kingery was a first-year engineering student at WVU and was a member of the WVU Adventure Club. He is survived by his parents, a sister and a brother. 

Eric Kenneth Johnson

Eric Kenneth Johnson, 87, of Morgantown, passed away on Saturday, January 20. A native of Chicago, Illinois, Johnson taught in WVU’s Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from 1980-2015, when he retired at the rank of professor emeritus. He had a lifelong passion for the sport of soccer, playing in the Buckskin league until he was 72. Johnson started the little league soccer program in Worthington, Ohio, in the late ’60s and ’70s and coached in the Monongalia Youth Soccer Association after moving to Morgantown in 1980. He played the clarinet and baritone saxophone and had the privilege of playing in the 1951 Rose Bowl with the University of Illinois marching band. He also played with WVU’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute’s New Horizons Band. He is survived by his three children — Karin, Eric Jr. and Carl — along with several grandchildren and great grandchildren. 

Charles E. Jamison

Charles E. Jamison died unexpectedly in Morgantown on October 26 at the age of 75. After earning his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from WVU in 1965 and his master’s from the University of Pittsburgh in 1967, he served in the U.S. Army as an ordnance officer. He later moved to North Carolina, where he joined Fiber Industries, which was part of Hoechst Celanese. His duties included research and design work in fiber manufacturing, quality-control processes and new equipment installation. As a member of the MAE Advisory Committee, he successfully recruited many WVU graduates into the company. He was inducted into the Department’s Academy of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Distinguished Alumni in 1995. He is survived by his wife of 51 years, Nancy, his sister Michele, and several nieces and nephews. 

Donald Gray

Donald Gray, 71, of Morgantown, passed away on December 19. A native of New Orleans, Louisiana, Gray was a professor emeritus in WVU’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, where he coordinated the environmental and hydrotechnical engineering group. He authored a textbook on fluid dynamics and was author or co-author on more than 200 papers and reports on fluid mechanics. His research was sponsored by NASA, the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Department of Energy and state agencies and private companies. He is survived by his wife, Kay, sons Donald, Ben and Mike, and several grandchildren. 

David Glass

David Glass, 64, of Roswell, New Mexico, died on January 17. Born in Charles Town, Glass grew up in Masontown and Arthurdale and graduated from WVU with a degree in petroleum and natural gas engineering in 1976. He spent his career working for the Bureau of Land Management and went to firefighting school, which led to assignments in Florida, Oregon, California, New Mexico, Texas, Arizona, Colorado, Montana, Idaho, Utah, Nevada and Alberta, Canada. When the 2003 space shuttle crashed and caused a fire, Glass went to Texas to assist with the recovery. He is survived by his sister, Diane. 

John Foreman

John Foreman, 80, died December 11, in Poughkeepsie, New York. A 1962 graduate of WVU with a degree in electrical engineering, Foreman was employed by IBM for more than 30 years. He is survived by his wife, Carole, his daughter, Catherine, and a son, James. 

Theodore Betoney Jr.

Theodore Betoney Jr., 71, of Morgantown, passed away on October 30. A 1969 graduate of WVU with a degree in civil engineering, Betoney worked for more than 34 years in federal service as a civil and mining engineer for the Soil Conservation Service and the Mine Safety and Health Administration. He also attended WVU Tech for mining engineering classes and worked for many years at several coal companies, with his most recent employment at Murray Energy. He was also a land surveyor and a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers. Betoney is survived by his wife, Rita, son Patrick Betoney (a 2007 mechanical and aerospace engineering graduate of the Statler College), two daughters, two grandchildren and a brother. 

Leah Samuel Berhanu

Leah Samuel Berhanu, 21, died unexpectedly on February 1. A native of Morgantown, Berhanu was a senior majoring in civil engineering and minoring in mathematics at WVU. She was involved in Adventure WV, serving as an orientation leader and a high ropes course facilitator; was inducted into Alpha Mu chapter of the Phi Sigma Pi National Honor Fraternity, where she served as the historian and service chair; and the National Society of Black Engineers. She also completed an internship with The Thrasher Group. Berhanu is survived by her parents, Seble and Samuel, and her sisters, Rebecca and Yohanna.