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In Memoriam: June 2009

Published: June 15, 2009

William Ash
William Ash, a professor and chair in CSULB’s Marketing Department for 33 years (1957-90), passed away on Feb. 14 at the age of 83. Ash received his master’s degree from Stanford University and master’s from the University of Southern California, after which he taught at Loyola for three years before coming to Long Beach. He and his wife, Lela, were married for more than 50 years and have a daughter, Nancy, and son, David, along with six grandchildren.

“He was the nicest and happiest man I ever knew,” said Nancy, noting he earned money as a magician to put himself through college and performed magic tricks for his grandchildren. “He always had a bright and optimistic outlook on life.”

Lester Barney Brown
Lester Barney Brown died on Feb. 16. Brown joined the faculty of CSULB in fall 1989 and was an emeritus faculty member of the Department of Social Work and former chair of American Indian Studies. As a member of the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration research team that included Laura Epstein and William Reid, Brown made significant contributions to the development of the social work task-centered brief treatment method. His book Two Spirit People: American Indian Lesbian Women and Gay Men is one of the earliest, and arguably the most seminal exploration of lesbian and gay American Indian issues.

Brown researched, published and lectured extensively on topics of multicultural social work practice, HIV/AIDS, gay and lesbian issues, culturally sensitive educational programs and teaching strategies, minority student recruitment and retention, and sociocultural inequalities. His career was characterized by volunteer service, advocacy and social activism.

Thomas Herman Corcoran
Facilities Management’s Thomas Herman Corcoran passed away unexpectedly on May 4 at home in Westminster at the age of 68. Born in Minneapolis, Corcoran grew up in Montana and served in the Navy following high school. He later migrated to California, eventually coming to work as a groundskeeper at CSULB, a position he kept until his death.

Tom Corcoran
Thomas Herman Corcoran

Remembering his 35 years at CSULB, Corcoran once noted that he liked it all, but particularly enjoyed the very early morning hours on campus when all was quiet and serene. A quiet man, he collected old clocks and was deeply committed to family and friends.

“Tom was incredibly proud of the university and his loyalty and reliability were evident by his string of over 10 consecutive years of perfect attendance,” said Rob Quirk, director of facilities management. “We were able to have a very nice tribute to Tom on campus on May 19 with his family from Montana and Oregon present. The entire ground and landscaping crew and many others from the facilities and parking departments as well as the campus community were present to honor Tom’s work and life.”

He is survived by his sister, Linda Elliot of Colorado; brother, Mike of Montana; sisters, Wini of Oregon, and Margaret of Montana; along with eight nieces and nephews.

Steve Hutchison
Maj. Steve Hutchison, a part-time faculty member in Psychology from August 1989 through January 1997, died on May 10 at the age of 60. He was killed when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle in Al Farr, Iraq. Hutchison, who would have turned 61 on June 5, was the oldest soldier to be killed in Iraq or Afghanistan, according to Defense Department officials. He was in Iraq through a military Retiree Recall program that permits older, experienced warriors to return to action. Hutchison, a senior soldier who served two tours of duty in Vietnam, wanted to defend his country after the Sept. 11 attacks, but his wife, Kandy, did not want him to re-enlist. Following her death from breast cancer in 2006, Hutchison returned to service.

Hutchison joined the Army in 1966 and served two one-year tours in Vietnam and over the next 22 years he was a platoon leader in Germany and commander of a basic training company at Fort Jackson, S.C. For his service he was he was awarded the Bronze Star and the Meritorious Service Medal, among others.

Along the way, he earned a doctorate in psychology from the University of Delaware and after retiring from the military in 1988 took up the life of a college professor teaching in California before becoming a researcher for a health care company in Scottsdale.

“Steve taught a variety of courses for us, starting with social psychology and research methods,” said Keith Colman, chair of psychology at CSULB from 1992-2004, “Over time he got more involved in our industrial organization graduate program and ended up, in an emergency, single-handedly running our graduate program because both of our faculty left, and there he was. He took it over, finished all the students who were in the program. He put the students and the program interests ahead of his own interests. That’s clearly the kind of person that he was. He cared very much about the students and he cared about our program.”

Alexander Lipski
Alexander Lipski, who taught history and later religious studies at CSULB from 1958 until his retirement in 1984, died on April 22 at the age of 89. Lipski was born in Berlin, Germany, coming to the United States in 1947. He received his Ph.D. in Russian History in 1953 and taught history at Michigan State University before coming to Long Beach.

Mia and Alex Lipski
Mia and Alex Lipski

“What I remember most about my father was his sweetness,” said Irene (Lipski) Howard, an administrative support coordinator in Physics and Astronomy. “He always made me feel like a million dollars. His students at CSULB cherished his lectures and some students took five or six of his classes just to immerse themselves in his wisdom. I was told that he got a long standing ovation after his last lecture at CSULB.”

He was a very spiritual person, always praying to God and constantly focused on the eternal quest for truth, according to Irene. A patron of the arts, he studied all types of literature and listened to operas sung in various languages, and loved nature and hiking.

Lipski is survived by his wife of 59 years, Mia, daughters Beatrice, Irene and Sophia and seven grandchildren.