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In Memoriam: February 2013

Published: February 1, 2013

Arthur Axelrad, a former CSULB English professor, died on Jan. 15 at the age of 78.

Axelrad was on campus for 32 years where he served as an educator, adviser and volunteer.

Axelrad began working for CSULB in 1964 and served as chair of the Department of English from 1989-91 before retiring in 1996. He then became a professor emeritus, volunteering in academic advising, teaching Shakespeare in the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and serving as a docent at the University Art Museum.

Axelrad published one book on Jane Austen, finished a second manuscript for a publication and had published works and exhibits on Sherlock Holmes. His work on John Milton’s divorce tracts is also still regularly cited by other Milton scholars throughout the country.

Outside of the CSULB community, Axelrad volunteered at the Seal Beach Animal Shelter and CATPAWS, an organization dedicated to saving cats and finding them homes.

He is survived by his niece, Lynne Mann; and nephew, Scott Goldfine.

A gathering to remember Axelrad is being planned for Friday, April 12, at 2 p.m. in the lobby of Horn Center.

Frank L. Christ, a major contributor to the modern learning-assistance movement, died in Arizona on Dec. 11 at the age of 89.

In 1972, he founded a Learning Assistance Support System at CSULB which served as a model for other such programs around the country. He was coordinator of the program until 1990 and was also a founder and past president of the College Reading and Learning Association. In his later years, he did consulting, worked on online-course development and was an author of the book, 100 Things Every Online Student Ought to Know.

Leo Goodman-Malamuth, a former Vice President for Academic Affairs at CSULB, died on Jan. 20 at the age of 88.
Initially hired in 1956 as an assistant professor, he gained tenure as a full professor and eventually became the AVP of Academic Affairs in October of 1969, where he remained until 1976.

He moved on to become the second president at Governors State University (GSU) in University Park, Ill. As president at GSU, he played a major role in revising its curriculum, redesigning its colleges and developing a new student grading system. Goodman-Malamuth, who served as GSU’s president from October 1977 through July 1992, also reorganized the university’s administration, establishing the first office of Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs.

In addition, he helped establish the GSU Foundation, the university’s fund-raising arm, and expanded the institution’s use of communications technology, especially through the use of telecourses that were transmitted all around the United States.

A California native and a U.S. Army veteran, Goodman-Malamuth spent two decades at CSULB, progressing through faculty ranks in his field of audiology and speech pathology. He received a B.A. degree in speech, radio-TV; an M.A. in speech pathology; and a Ph.D. in speech pathology and communication from the University of Southern California.

Frank Pooler, known to many as a musical director for The Carpenters, a popular singing duo in the 1970s, died Jan. 19 at the age of 86 at his home in Los Alamitos.

A native of Onalaska, Wis., Pooler moved to California in 1959 to teach choral music and direct the University Choir at CSULB, where as choral director, he taught, mentored and nurtured countless students who went on to become musicians and teachers.

His most famous students were Richard and Karen Carpenter who, with Pooler serving as its musical director, formed the group The Carpenters.

With an instinct for recognizing and nurturing artistic talent, Pooler convinced a young, very shy Richard Carpenter, who had come to a choir audition to play piano for someone else, that he could be a talented singer and should be in his choir. Pooler also pushed him to work on his composing. He then saw the same potential in Carpenter’s sister, Karen, who was going to major in percussion before Pooler convinced her that her voice was her greater gift.

In working with the chart-topping pop music duo, he helped produce pop hits including standards “We’ve Only Just Begun,” “(They Long to Be) Close to You,” “For All We Know,” “Rainy Days and Mondays,” “Sing” and “Merry Christmas, Darling,” to name just a few. Pooler wrote the lyrics for the Christmas song in 1946.

Today, more than 500 choral compositions and arrangements bear Pooler’s name, and his efforts to get Norwegian choral works translated into English were honored by Norway’s King Olaf in 1984 with the St. Olaf Medal. Beyond the world of music, Pooler’s talents saw him as a painter, sculptor and an engaging writer.

Pooler is survived by his wife, Rhonda Sandberg Pooler; daughters, Jane Blackman and Susan Dewey; three grandchildren, three great-grandchildren and a brother.

A memorial service is planned for Saturday, Feb. 23, at Grace First Presbyterian Church, 3955 Studebaker Road in Long Beach. In addition, a special tribute is being planned for next fall in the Richard and Karen Carpenter Performing Arts Center on campus.