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UC Davis Magazine

Volume 31 · Number 1 · Fall 2013

In Memoriam


Samuel Armistead, one of the world’s leading scholars of Spanish literature and language, died of natural causes on Aug. 7 at his Davis home. He was 85. His scholarly work ranged from the ballads of Spain and North Africa to the dying language of the Isleños of St. Bernard Parish, La. He wrote some 30 books and more than 500 articles.

Benjamin French, professor emeritus and former chair of the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, died in August at his Davis home. He was 90. An authority on economic effiency in plant operations and agricultural marketing, he served as a consultant to Congress, federal agencies and agricultural firms. In World War II, he fought as a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division in France and Germany.

Paul Gumerlock, Ph.D. ’88, an adjunct faculty member at the UC Davis Cancer Center, died in Sacramento in July after an extended illness. He was 58. One of the first researchers to use polymerase chain reaction techniques in investigating multiple molecular abnormalities in cancer, he was also known for his ability to explain the science to nonscientists.

William Knox, a professor emeritus of physics and a former Manhattan Project scientist who became an anti-war activist, died in July at age 92. During World War II, he worked on production and separation of the plutonium that was used in the first atomic bomb test in New Mexico. He joined other Manhattan Project scientists in signing a letter urging President Truman to detonate the bomb at sea as a demonstration of power rather than on a city. Joining UC Davis in 1960, he helped develop the physics program and became an early protester of the Vietnam War. Survivors include his wife, Barbara, daughters Margaret, Sarah ’82; and sons William Jr. and Reggie.

John Owens, a professor emeritus of political science and a Davis resident, died in May shortly before his 87th birday. His research focused on California politcs, campaign financing and the legislative process.

Lloyd Smith, a professor emeritus of food science and technology, died in Davis in June. He was 96, and an expert on edible oils, fats and dairy processing.

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