Winter 2023
In Memoriam

In Memoriam


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Todd Barnhart A&S ’87, May 2022, age 58, of Chicago. He was born in Washington, Pennsylvania, and graduated from Trinity High School before coming to Pitt. Beginning his career at Discover Card, he worked in marketing and operations management before moving to FICO, where he was a principal consultant until his retirement in 2019. He married Scott Neslund in September 2012, and the couple enjoyed traveling. His passions included being with friends and family, seeing the world, listening to music (especially X, his favorite band) and anything related to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Rita Brocke SPH ’72G, February 2022, age 96, of Erie, Pennsylvania. A Sister of Mercy and primary care nurse practitioner, she held nursing and teaching positions in Erie and other areas in Pennsylvania, as well as Detroit. She served as the leader of the Sisters of Mercy in Erie and remained an active presence in the House of Mercy after retiring.

Ross Workman Buck Jr. A&S ’70G, September 2022, age 81, of Windham, Connecticut. He earned his PhD in Psychology from Pitt and his early career included work at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine followed by an appointment at Carnegie Mellon University. He spent 48 years at the University of Connecticut, Storrs, as a professor of communication and psychology. He was a visiting scholar and fellow with Harvard, Oxford University in England, and Yale. He authored four books on communication, emotion, motivation and nonverbal communication as well as numerous chapters and professional journal articles. He served as editor of the International Society of Research on Emotion newsletter and belonged to many professional organizations. He was born in Sewickley, Pennsylvania, and was predeceased by his parents, Ross and Ruth, and his sister, Judith. He is survived by his wife and children.

David Glenn Davis A&S ’53, July 2021, age 90, of Tulsa, Oklahoma. After graduating from Pitt, where he was a member of the wrestling team, he attended the Western Theological Seminary and became an ordained Presbyterian minister. He was also an avid reader of books and later earned a doctorate in literature, teaching classes at multiple universities. In retirement, he honed his carpentry skills, became a master gardener and volunteered at Literacy and Evangelism International. He is survived by his wife, two sons and two grandchildren.  

William A. DelVecchio A&S ’66, DEN ’69, July 2022, age 79, of Gibsonia, Pennsylvania. A standout sprinter for Pitt’s track team, he once held two school records and served as team captain. After graduation, he worked as an oral and maxillofacial surgeon and as a clinical professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine. He also served in the U.S. Army and volunteered for many years as a youth sports coach. He is survived by his wife, three children and 12 grandchildren.

Herman A. Jones Jr. SOC WK ’73G, EDUC ’83G, July 2022, age 73, of Pittsburgh. After completing his undergraduate studies at Wilberforce University in Ohio, he came to Pitt and earned degrees in social work and education. He was a professor at Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania for more than three decades.

Joseph H. Lang BUS ’60, May 2020, age 82, of Northville, Michigan. A Pittsburgh native and lifelong Steeler fan, he served in the U.S. Navy and volunteered extensively in his community. He is survived by his wife, four children and five grandchildren. 

James E. “Jim” Sczepanski ENGR ’61, October 2020, age 81. While at Pitt, he served as the manager of the marching band and a member of Phi Kappa Theta. After graduation, he earned a master’s degree in engineering administration and embarked on a career as an electrical engineer for Army defense contractors. He played softball well into his 70s and, at 75, coached his team to a gold medal at Huntsman World Series Senior Games. He is survived by his wife, two children, four grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Peggy Sproull EDUC ’48, April 2022, age 95, of Boerne, Texas. Originally from James City, Pennsylvania, she taught high school business classes before starting a family and traveling extensively for her husband’s military career. Later, she worked as a realtor. Her family regarded her as a gourmet cook. She is survived by her husband of 72 years, four children, seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

James “Jim” Sweeney ENGR ’79, October 2022, age 60, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Albany, New York. A proud Pittsburgh native, he attended Seton-LaSalle Catholic High School in Mount Lebanon, where he helped the football team win the Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League championship in 1979. Coming to Pitt as an undergraduate, he brought his talent to Panthers Football. He then played 16 seasons in the NFL, suiting up for the New York Jets, Seattle Seahawks and Pittsburgh Steelers. After retiring, he coached at Duquesne University, Peters Township High School and South Fayette High School, and he later accepted a full-time coaching position at the University of Albany. A father of five, he was a family man who loved to cook and made what his kids call the world’s best school lunches. He is survived by his wife and their children.

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This edition of In Memoriam was published on February 8, 2023. It is part of Pitt Magazine's Winter '23 edition.