Author Archive

Sandra Lee Wallsmith (’68 & UHCL M.S.’95)

February 17, 2023, 11:18 am EST

Sandra Lee Wallsmith Sandra Wallsmith, 78, peacefully passed on Friday January 20th, 2023 surrounded by her loving family. Sandra was born in Athens, TX on November 7th,1944 to Arlou and James Smith. Sandra will be remember for many accomplishments. Sandra graduated from Robert E. Lee High School in 1963. She went on to attend College at the University of Houston were she studied and majored in Pharmacy. She graduated with a Bachelors in Pharmacy and later obtained a Masters in Physiology to become an LPC. After college she committed to a 50 year career as a Pharmacist helping thousands of people. During this time she developed an overwhelming love for children and became an advocate for an Organization know as CASA. She also worked closely with Battered women and children. Those left to cherish her memories include her sister Carol Garib, daughter Anna Saylor, son Matthew Wallsmith, grandson Aubrey Saylor, and all of the friends she acquired throughout her life.

Dr. Spencer V. Moore (O.D. ’73)

Dr. Spencer V. Moore

Waco Tribune-Herald

February 17, 2023, 11:20 am EST

Feb. 28, 1949 – Feb. 6, 2023

Dr. Spencer Vernon Moore, 73, went to be with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, for eternity Monday, February 6, 2023.

Spencer was born February 28, 1949, to Billie Bob and Juanita Moore in Hillsboro, TX. He graduated from Hillsboro High School (1967), played golf for Hill Junior College (1967-69), and earned a Bachelor of Science Degree (1971) and a Doctorate in Optometry (1973) from the University of Houston Optometry School.

He married Jeanie Anderson in August 1971.

In the eighth grade, Spencer knew that God wanted him to be an optometrist. He even applied to U of H Optometry School then to make sure that he took all of the right classes in high school and at Hill Junior College. They said no one that young had ever applied. He practiced for 40 years in Waco, before retiring in 2013. He loved helping people see more clearly and making them smile.

Spencer had been involved in photography since he was in optometry school (it all fit together – lenses, lighting, making the objects sharp and in focus). When he retired, he and Jeanie began traveling to take pictures of nature and wildlife. He loved seeing the world that God created and capturing it in photos that he could share with others.

He also began photographing for Baylor athletics. His real love was football, but he photographed other sports as well. It was his dream job.

Spencer was preceded in death by his parents, Billie Bob & Juanita Moore; and his sister, Vanessa Moore Jander.

He is survived by his wife of 51 years, Jeanie Moore; son, Scot and wife, Leslie Moore; daughter, Melody and husband, Paul Day; and grandchildren, Jonathan, Madeline, Caleb, Caroline, Levi and Daniel Day.

Tommy Eilers (’73)

Tommy Joe Eilers, 74, passed away on Tuesday, February 7th, at his home with his loving wife Debbie and family by his side.

Tom was born on January 29th, 1949 in Baytown, Texas. He was the fourth son of Henry W. and Ola Emma Eilers. He was baptized and confirmed at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Baytown.
Tom graduated from Channelview High School. He continued his education at the University of Houston College of Pharmacy where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in 1973.

Tom met his future wife, Debbie Tesch through the matchmaking efforts of his sister-in-law, Elaine, and brother, Gary. They were married on April 2, 1977, at St. Paul Lutheran Church of Phillipsburg. From this union, three sons were born, Aaron Christopher, Kevin Michael, and Brandon Scott. Tom and Debbie were married for almost 46 years.

Tom enjoyed his work as a pharmacist for 28 years. He loved to spend time not only caring for, but also talking with his Appletree and HEB Pharmacy customers. He never met a stranger. He easily talked to everyone and quite frankly, he could “talk your ear off”. He was forced into early retirement when he had a stroke in 2001.

Tom’s interests included camping, travelling, photography, and wood working. He would take on any project, no matter the size. He liked building smaller things, such as bird houses, decorations, wood toys, and even an aquarium cabinet stand for his son. He was also involved in helping his brothers, Leslie and Jerry, in building their houses. He enlisted his brother Jerry to help him build a barn and garage house.

Tom enjoyed spending time with his family, whether he was spoiling the grandkids or playing 42 with extended family. He enjoyed traveling, seeing the sites, and just taking a drive around the town or out in the country. He especially liked photographing old churches. He loved to assist all his sons in their Cub Scout and Boy Scout adventures. This included everything from pinewood derby car racing to camping adventures at various Scout camps. He loved being a part of it.

Tom had many health issues, but he remained a fighter until the end. His family nicknamed him the “Energizer Bunny” because he never wanted to give up.

Tom is survived by his wife, Debbie; his three sons and their families, Aaron (Courtney), Kevin (Sarah), Brandon (Alexis). He was Paw Paw to four granddaughters, Alyssa, Cierra, Finley, and Clara. He was preceded in death by his father, Henry Eilers; mother, Ola Eilers; mother-in-law, Dorothy Tesch; father-in-law, Leslie Tesch; four brothers, Melvin, Jerry, Gary, and Leslie; sister-in-law, Patsy.

Visitation will be Friday, February 10th from 8 am until 7 pm, with the family present from 4-7 pm at Brenham Memorial Chapel.

Funeral services will be held Saturday, February 11th at 2:30 pm at Brenham Memorial Chapel, with Pastor Craig Dohse officiating. Burial will take place immediately following at Prarie Lea Cemetery.

Elizabeth “Beth” Tudor (’78, M.B.A. ’03)

Elizabeth Tudor
10/01/1955 – 01/22/2023
Elizabeth “Beth” Jean Tudor came to rest during the evening of Sunday, January 22, 2023, after a long illness. She was surrounded by the love of friends and family during the final weeks of her life journey.
Beth was born on October 1, 1955 in Bloomington, Indiana, the only child of Daniel Strain Tudor and Janet Elaine Tudor, née Weiderberg. Beth’s family moved around the country frequently for her father’s work as a petroleum geologist. She came to her love of nature early in life: family trips frequently included spontaneous roadside stops to examine interesting rocks and formations. Her curiosity about the world also turned to how it could be if things were different: she was an avid science fiction reader.
Elizabeth attended the University of Houston, California State University, and Rice University, from which she earned a PhD in Anthropology in 1994. Though her early primatology studies took her to Indonesia, she completed her dissertation on the AIDS Foundation Houston, examining the language strategies staff and patients used to describe those living with HIV. She taught at various universities over the years including UT School of Public Health, Texas A&M Galveston, University of Houston Clear Lake, Houston Community College, North Harris County College, and University of Puget Sound. A life-long learner, she returned to the University of Houston to complete her MBA in 2002.
After completing her doctoral work, she would continue to reside in Houston. Beth served as a research consultant for Xerox Corporation and for many years ran her own business – Tudor Indexing. She was the business manager for the Houston Buyers Club, and her love of reading fueled her time as a book buyer for Lone Star Books and Waldenbooks.
Beyond work, Beth loved to visit state and national parks, especially her beloved Big Bend in Texas. Beth also cared deeply about social issues, particularly those affecting women and the LGBTQ+ community. She was a strong supporter of the Houston Area Women’s Center and Planned Parenthood. She was equally passionate in her love of dogs – dachshunds to be exact – whether her own or those she fostered as a volunteer and supporter for Dachshund Rescue of Houston.
In her own words, Beth appreciated “the simple joys in life: the butterflies, birds, tree frogs, toads, squirrels and many other creatures in my garden; caring for my dachshunds and foster dogs; checking out the modern art at local museums and galleries; cooking for my friends…”
She is survived by extended family from Indiana, California, and Texas, a circle of loving friends, and her fur babies, Maddie and Sammy. We know she is reunited with her parents and her loyal doxies over the years including Peanut, Oscar, Felix, Cooper, and Freckles. Beth’s laughter, her love for friends and family and her passion for doxies are deeply missed.

Jan Dunn (M.S ’83)

Sister Jan Dunn, RSCJ
10/20/1946 – 03/27/2023
Religious of the Sacred Heart, Jan Dunn died on March 27, 2023, in Houston, Texas. She was 76 years old and a member of the Society of the Sacred Heart for 54 years. Jan was born on October 20, 1946, in Houston, Texas, to Edward A. Dunn and Jane Hebert Dunn. She entered the Society of the Sacred Heart on July 24, 1969, at Kenwood. She pronounced her first vows at Villa Duchesne in St. Louis, Missouri in 1972 and made her final profession on May 31, 1979, in Rome, Italy.
Sister Dunn graduated with honors from Maryville College with a B.A. in History in 1968. She earned an M.A. in English from St. Louis University in 1977 and a M.Ed. in Administration from the University of Houston in 1982. She held certificates as an administrator in Louisiana and Nebraska. She served on the boards of Maryville University in St. Louis, Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart in Bethesda, Maryland, and Old St. Ferdinand Shrine in Florissant, Missouri. She authored books and articles published by the Society of the Sacred Heart. Among the titles were the beloved children’s book, Under the Pear Tree, written in 1996, and Life at Sacred Heart in 1986. She also wrote Faithful Friend, a biography of Ursula McAghon, RSCJ, in 2014, and Catherine Collins: Innovator with Heart and Vision, in 2021.
Sister Dunn’s early years in the Society (1969-1974) were devoted to teaching at Villa Duchesne in St. Louis and Grand Coteau, Louisiana. Beginning in 1974, she moved to Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart in Houston, Texas, where she taught and served as dean of students. Following Duchesne, Sister Dunn was dean of students at the Academy of the Sacred Heart in Grand Coteau (1980-1982) and dean of students at the Academy of the Sacred Heart (The Rosary) in New Orleans from 1982-1989.
From 1989 until 1995, Sister Dunn was head of school at the Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart in Omaha, Nebraska. Under her leadership, a case statement was developed to provide trustees, administration, faculty, alumnae, friends and students with a statement of all aspects of Duchesne’s mission. A capital campaign was launched to help fulfill objectives in the case statement leaving the school with a firm foundation to move into the 21st century. Sister Dunn later served as interim director of the Network of Sacred Heart Schools (1995-1996). She oversaw the creation of a video describing the values of Sacred Heart education as lived within the schools of the Network.
Sister Dunn returned to Duchesne Academy in Houston in 1996 and named headmistress of the school, a role she held until 2012. She was also area director in Houston for three years while she was headmistress at Duchesne.
In a 2011 letter to the school community, the chair of the board of trustees recognized Sister Dunn’s leadership. “Her contributions resulted in the excellent reputation that Duchesne Academy enjoyed in Houston and within the Network of Sacred Heart Schools throughout the United States.” Following a one-year sabbatical in 2012, Sister Dunn became the executive director of the Network of Sacred Heart Schools in 2013. She taught formation to mission at Convent of the Sacred Heart in New York City from 2015-2016 and the Academy of the Sacred Heart in New Orleans (The Rosary) where she taught religion, from 2017-2022.
Sister Dunn was an active member of the Associates Leadership Team in the USC Province. She was the coordinator of the Virtual Associates group, and the group contact for Associates in New Orleans and New York.
In December 2022, Sister Dunn moved to Houston and joined the Duchesne Houston Community where she was to be engaged in education and retreat work. Coming back to her Texas roots, being close to friends and her only sister Jenny was a gift to her. On March 27, 2023, Sister Dunn suffered a fatal medical attack, dying suddenly. Her death was a shock to her community and to the Society of the Sacred Heart. She was loved by so many students, parents and friends and will be dearly missed.
Sister Dunn made a difference in the lives of the students and parents she came to know and love over the years. They hold memories of an educator and friend who lived out the values of Sacred Heart education. A student she taught at Grand Coteau, now an RSCJ, remembers that Jan was one of the best English teachers she ever had. “She was demanding and thorough; making an ‘A’ [from her] on a paper was a real accomplishment. I will always remember when I finally figured out what she was looking for in my work. Though Jan spent only one year at Grand Coteau while I was a student, she was a beloved teacher. It was a major loss when we were told she was moving after having been with us only one year!”
Sister Dunn is survived by her sister, Jenny Blanc and her husband, Mike, of Houston, Texas; niece, Paige and nephew, Evan; six grandnieces and nephews; and her sisters in the Society of the Sacred Heart.

Joseph Cooper (’07)

Joseph Cooper
09/09/1923 – 03/18/2023
Joseph H. Cooper, age 99, passed away on March 18, 2023 in Houston, Texas. He was born on September 9, 1923 in Kansas City, Missouri to Ernest and Virginia Bigger Cooper. He is predeceased by his parents, brother Bob, sister Alice, and nephew John.
Joe was raised under the watchful care of his maternal grandparents Maude and Joseph Bigger. He lived through the Great Depression, was drafted immediately after high school to serve in World War II as a stateside military policeman, and began his teaching career after earning his B.S. degree in Education from the University of Houston in 1959 and his M.S. degree in Education from the University of Missouri-Kansas City in 1968.
Joe was an avid reader, home designer and decorator, auto enthusiast, and world traveler, visiting the U.S.S.R, Australia, Fiji, Greece, Switzerland, Italy, and Great Britain. After retirement, Joe moved to Houston in the 1980s to be closer to his brother Bob and family. He served on the Board of Directors at Fondren Place Townhomes as well on various committees at his final residence Lone Star Independent Living.
Joe lived an independent life, with an amazing memory that spanned nearly 100 years. He loved and was greatly loved by his family, including his great- and great-great-nieces and nephews.

Brock Luty (Ph.D. ’93)

BROCK ALLEN LUTY PHD Brock Allen Luty PhD, 58, of Poway, CA, passed away on April 3, 2023, surrounded by his wife and daughters at Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla due to complications that arose after open heart surgery. Brock was born November 19, 1964, in Kansas City, Missouri and was adopted into the welcoming home of Robert and Virginia Luty of McPherson Kansas. He was joined soon after by brother Jeff and sister Denise and together they became a very loving and close family. He was an inquisitive child that was known to take things apart to figure out how they worked although not always getting them back together again. Throughout his middle and high school years, Brock was active in sports, almost always had at least one job, loved to ride his motorcycle and played the first Atari games. His interest in computers and programing was strong from the very beginning and his first Macintosh 512K still sits in his office at home. His family was active in the First Christian Church and have many stories of the youth group activities and the closeness of those friends. It was at a youth group meeting that he met his future wife Jo Strobel who attended while visiting her sister during the summer. He spent most of his 1st period electronics class his senior year writing her letters and their friendship and love continued to grow throughout college even though she attended rival KU. Brock attended Kansas State University and was a member of Beta Theta Pi. He developed strong friendships during pledge training that continue to this day. His return to KSU his sophomore year was delayed after he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Radiation therapy put his cancer into remission, and he was able to return to complete his chemical engineering degree in 1987. He became interested in computational methods for simulating biochemical systems and studied under Dr. Andy McCammon at the University of Houston. Once again, his schooling was delayed as he suffered another battle with Hodgkin’s and underwent Chemotherapy treatments which successfully cured his cancer. In 1990, he married Jo in a small ceremony in Houston and they spent their free time watching theater in the park and enjoying all that Houston had to offer. It was during this time that his friends introduced him to many international traditions and foods and spurred his desire to see more of the world. His final semester at UH was spent writing his thesis and taking care of son Braxton who was born in January. In May 1993, he earned his Ph.D. in chemical physics and his parents proudly attended his ceremony and that of his brother Jeff who obtained his Optometry Doctorate the same day. After being awarded a fellowship in the Human Frontiers program, he continued his studies in applied molecular simulation techniques at the ETH in Zurich as a postdoctoral student with Prof. Wilfred van Gunsteren. During his time in Switzerland, he and Jo welcomed their first daughter Juliet. Brock and Jo enjoyed traveling throughout Europe during this time and welcoming family when they came to visit. After 2 years in Zurich, an opportunity arose to return to the United States and join Agouron Pharmaceuticals to help develop novel structure-based drug discovery methods. He loved working with this group and seeing the drug discovery process from the ground up. After determining that they really loved living in San Diego, they moved to Carlsbad and welcomed their third child Isabel into their family. Brock continued working with the company through its integration into larger entities and eventually to becoming a part of Pfizer Global Research and Development. He left the company in 2008 after obtaining the position of Associate Research Fellow in Pfizer’s Computational Science Center of Excellence in La Jolla. After a short stint as an independent consultant, he joined Dart Neuroscience as Director of Scientific Computing. It was an exciting and fast paced time of working toward a drug that would help improve memory. After that company closed in 2018, he joined a Hungarian based company called ChemAxon where he helped open the San Diego Office and worked with their Professional Services group. Working with ChemAxon allowed him to switch from management roles to a more hands-on scientific computing. He eventually moved into their core architecture team before leaving the company in 2021. Knowing that he had developed a heart condition due to the radiation treatments he had undergone in his 20’s, Brock and Jo decided it was time to slow down a bit and remove some of the stressors that work and COVID had brought upon everyone. Brock became an independent contractor which allowed him to explore new things and work with a few up-and-coming startups as a consultant and advisor. Although he had recently started to call himself fully retired, he was always looking for new things to learn. He frequently commented that he loved living in a neighborhood that was truly a village where everyone looked after each other and kids played in the streets. He enjoyed attending his children’s school programs and rarely missed a soccer game which was quite a feat with all three playing at the same time. He was very proud of each of his children, and he learned so much from them. Brock loved to travel and try new foods at each place, however he hated to fly and always said there was no such thing as a “good flight”. This didn’t stop him from going anywhere and he had a long list of places he still wanted to go. He was often sending Jo a new idea to add to the list. He had just completed a trip to Hawaii with his brother Jeff and their spouses and splurged on a helicopter ride over the Kilauea Volcano which was active at the time. Brock was preceded in death by his grandparents Luther and Verda Horn and Marvin and Nellie Luty. He is survived by his parents Robert and Virginia Luty of McPherson KS; wife, Jo of Poway CA; children: Braxton (Neil) of Indianapolis, IA, Juliet (Christian) of Oceanside, CA and Isabel (Colin) of Carlsbad, CA.; siblings: Jeff (Mary Kate) Luty of Olathe KS, Denise (Brent) Klaske of Rossville, KS; Sisters in law: Susan (Myron) Edmonston Protection KS, Sally (Mike) Robinson of Lyons KS, Nancy (Rick) Trease of McPherson, KS; brother in law Steve (Jan) Strobel of Bucklin, KS; Half-sister by birth Karen Lloyd and half-brother by birth, John Austin both of Torrance, CA; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins that are all in our hearts. A private celebration of life will be held on April 22 in Olathe KS. His body was donated to the UCSD Medical School to help the training and knowledge of future doctors and nurses. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that anyone that is physically able to donate blood to do so at their local blood bank. There is a true and never-ending need for blood products in hospitals every day.

Martin Cominsky (B.A. ’80)

Martin B. Cominsky ’80, graduate of the UH Honors College was awarded the Phi Beta Kappa Community Service Award on April 26, 2023.  Cominsky was a former Assistant to the President of UH and then, national director of Business Volunteers for the Arts before founding the SERVE HOUSTON Americorps program.  He served as regional director of the Anti-Defamation League before becoming the President and CEO of Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston (IM). Cominsky spoke on the importance of service and education for a complete life urging people to strive to be servant leaders.  IM provides Meals on Wheels, Refugee Services, Volunteer Houston and Interfaith Relations and Community partnerships working to bring Houston faith community to understanding and respect, while providing important services to the City’s vulnerable populations.  Cominsky serves on the advisory board of the UH Honors College and the board of the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship program.  He is a senior fellow of the American Leadership Forum Class XXV.

Jeanne Clerc (Ed. D. ’83)

Dr. Clerc is now retired in Roanoke, VA. She spent her career in higher education after graduating from the University of Houston. Most of the time was in higher education administration as a dean, associate provost, etc. Her last position was at Western Illinois University where she returned to teaching in Health Sciences as a professor.

Charles Edward Orand (’59)

Charles Edward Orand

The Dallas Morning News
February 17, 2023, 11:14 am EST

Charles Edward Charles Edward Orand passed peacefully on February 6, 2023, after a courageous battle with Parkinson’s disease. We are comforted knowing he is fully alive in the Kingdom of Heaven with his Lord Jesus Christ. Born November 11, 1936, Charles grew up on the family farm in Fairfield, Texas before moving his senior year to Texas City where he graduated high school in 1955. Charles worked his way through college at The University of Houston, earning his bachelors of science degree. Soon after, he moved to Dallas where he began his lifelong career at Texas Instruments as a senior member, technical staff, of avionics within the defense systems and electronics group. In 1967, while at a dance with friends, he met the love of his life, Betty Kelly Bailey, whom he married in June, 1969. And while Charles loved his work at T.I., he always left it at the office each evening so he could be fully present with his family, which was his absolute greatest joy. Laughter around the dinner table was a nightly event. Charles loved the mountains and he and Betty traveled often together to their favorite places including Estes Park, Colorado, and Ruidoso, New Mexico; as well as tropical getaways to Acapulco, Hawaii and later Corpus Christi. Charles was a do-it-yourself kind of man and could take apart and fix anything. Weekends were often spent under the hood of the family cars where he taught his sons a love for automobiles and how they operated. Charles taught his family the value of hard work, but most of all, he modeled the meaning of true love, especially for his “everything” Betty, who was the focus of his adoration until the day he died. Charles is preceded in death by his father Ellis Orand and his mother Inez Thacker Beniretto, and his special stepfather Pete, along with his brother Bill Orand. He is survived by his wife Betty and his children Patrick Orand and Terry Mascolo, Jeff Bailey and wife Anne Marie, Craig Bailey and wife Shelly. Charles was greatly loved by his grandchildren Francesca Movchan (Kent), Stephen Bailey (Holly), Lauren Bailey Prioleau (Mack), Cole Bailey (Allison), and Olivia Bailey; along with great grandchildren Niko, Isabella, and Giuliana Movchan, and recently born Hudson Cole Bailey. Charles’ family would like to express their love and gratitude to his caregivers at C.C. Young and especially Mary Pat Smith, his hospice nurse, who was a source of love, wisdom, strength, and stability to Charles and his family over the past year and a half. We bless you all! A private family graveside service will be held on Friday, February 10th at Hillcrest Memorial Park.