The University Record, July 10, 1995


Webster Earl Britton

Webster Earl Britton, professor emeritus of humanities, College of Engineering, died July 3 at Glacier Hills Nursing Center. He was 89.

Britton held an A.B. from Randolph-Macon College and served for two years as head of the English Department at Norfolk Academy in Virginia. He also taught English at Syracuse University and received an A.M. from that institution. He received his Ph.D. from the U-M in 1945.

He was appointed a teaching fellow in English in the College of Engineering in 1936, instructor in 1939, assistant professor in 1945, associate professor in 1949 and professor in 1954.

“Although he always retained his love of literature, Prof. Britton became internationally known as a teacher and scholar of scientific and technical communication,” the Regents said on granting him emeritus status in 1976. “Numbers of American industrial and governmental research and development organizations have regularly asked him to help improve their written communications.”

Britton founded the Continuing Engineering Course in scientific and technical communications and was a fellow of both the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the Society of Technical Writers and Publishers. He also was a member of the British Institute of Scientific and Technical Communicators.

He served on a number of College and University committees including the College of Engineering’s Executive Committee, the Board of Governors of University Residence Halls and Senate Assembly.

In 1983, he received a special award for outstanding contributions to technical and professional communication from the National Council of Teachers of English, recognizing the fact that he was among the important early contributors to that discipline. He also was cited for his work in curriculum development and for his many publications related to the teaching of technical and professional writing.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Frances. He is survived by daughters Pamela N. Schutz, Elizabeth Britton Creamer and Ruth Britton Sprowls.

Joseph Paxton Chandler

Joseph Paxton Chandler, associate professor emeritus of biological chemistry, died June 24 at the Chelsea Retirement Center. He was 92.

He worked and taught at the Cornell Medical Center in New York City for 18 years prior to joining the Medical School in 1948. He taught biochemistry and directed the biochemistry lab at University Hospital. He was laboratory director of the Clinical Research Unit from its inception in 1960 until he retired in 1968.

Chandler was a member of the Sierrra Club, the Audobon Society and the Washtenaw Nature Conservancy.

He is survived by his wife, Marjorie; a brother, David of Schaumburg, Ill.; a niece and two nephews; and six great nieces and nephews.

Cremation has taken place. A memorial service will be held at a later date. Memorial contributions may be made to Greenville College, Greenville, Ill., or an organizaiton of your choice.

Wesley H. Maurer

Wesley H. Maurer, the oldest active newspaper publisher in the United States and professor emeritus of journalism, died June 23 in St. Ignace. He was 98.

Maurer, publisher of the St. Ignace News and the Mackinac Island Town Crier, began his teaching career at the U-M in 1924 and, a year later, became an assistant professor and director of the journalism laboratory at the University of Ohio.

He returned to the U-M in 1928, was named assistant professor in 1932, associate professor in 1941 and professor in 1948. He also chaired the Journalism Department from 1949 until his retirement in 1966.

“His services to the Journalism Department also included provocative teaching and imaginative curriculum development; the founding and supervision of the Michigan Journalist, a laboratory newspaper that enabled students to see their work through actual newspaper presses; and the establishment of a foreign and domestic internship program, which has greatly benefited students,” the Regents said on Maurer’s retirement.

Maurer bought the Mackinac Island Town Crier in 1957 as a laboratory for graduate students interested in community journalism. He also owned the Harbor Springs Harbor Light from 1963 to 1971, providing additional opportunities for professional internships.

In 1975, Maurer purchased the St. Ignace News and the Les Cheneaux Islands Weekly Wave, which later merged with the News.

Maurer, a member of the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame, organized Michigan’s first teachers’ union, the Michigan Federation of Teachers, and served as its president in 1963-67. He also formed the Ann Arbor Citizens Council, was active in the Wesleyan Foundation and served on the national committee of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Maurer earned three bachelor’s degrees–in journalism, economics and business–from the University of Missouri in 1922. He served as news editor of the Mexico (Mo.) Ledger in 1922-24, held various editorial positions with the Athens (Ohio) Messenger in 1925-28 and contributed to or consulted for many other newspapers throughout his career.

Born Jan. 18, 1897, in Bunker Hill, Ill., Maurer is survived by his wife, Margaret; a son, Wesley Jr. of St. Ignace; and daughters Margaret E. Shelton of Ypsilanti and Marilyn E. Baker of Dublin, Ohio.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Mackinac Island Public Library, Mackinac Island, MI 49757, or to the Mackinac Straits Hospital, Long-Term Care Unit, St. Ignace, MI 49781.

Chris J.D. Zarafonetis

Chris J.D. Zarafonetis, professor emeritus of internal medicine, died here June 27. He was 81.

Zarafonetis received a number of civilian honors from the Defense Department for his contributions to military medicine. They included the Legion of Merit, the Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal and, in 1984, the Medal for Distinguished Public Service for his efforts in evaluating Army hospitals, recruiting physicians and other efforts in the Army Medical Corps, Army Military Reserve and Office of the Surgeon General.

During World War II, he served in the Army Medical Corps in Egypt, Greece, Yugoslavia and Germany, where he helped control the spread of typhus using insecticides.

Zarafonetis received undergraduate and medical degrees from the U-M prior to the war. He returned to the Medical Center as a researcher and faculty member following the war, retiring in 1980. He also worked several years at Temple University Medical School in the 1950s.

He was born in Hillsboro, Texas, in 1914.

He is survived by his wife, Sophia; a son, John Christopher of Washington, D.C.; a brother, William, of Grand Rapids; and two granddaughters.


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