Category Archives: Transitions

In Memoriam: Mike "Sammy" Samuelson (B.S. Housing '94)

Mike "Sammy" Samuelson (B.S. Housing '94) died this week after battling leukemia and other physical ailments for a number of years. In a recent article Star Tribune columnist Jon Tevlin recalled how Samuelson dedicated his work to making life better for, "the poorest areas of the Twin Cities, from Elliot Park to Powderhorn to Frogtown," doing the kind of work, "where you are appreciated for a short time, then you're gone. Nobody puts up a plaque for you." A legendary Twins fan, Samuelson received a lifetime achievement award during an annual baseball banquet put on by a number of his friends last Friday."Michael was 'the' engaged student, always present and participating and he continued to stay connected after graduation," recalled…

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In Memoriam: Joann Gilbert Kulman

Joann Gilbert Kulman (BS Home Economics Education '54) passed away on April 27, 2012. Kulman grew up on a farm in Buffalo Lake, MN and earned her Home Economics degree at the University of Minnesota. She was forever influenced by the program's interdisciplinary approach and its design emphasis in the tradition of the Goldstein sisters. After teaching high school English and Home Economics in New Ulm, MN, she worked as an interior designer at Schuneman's in St. Paul. Marrying and moving to West Virginia University, she taught design and earned a Masters of Home Economics Education in 1962. After moving to Virginia, she co-founded an art gallery, teaching design classes to the public, and started a family. In 1966, she…

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Elizabeth (Lisl) Close (1912-2011): A Pioneer of Modern Architecture

Elizabeth (Lisl) Close, a pioneering woman in the field of modern architecture, would have celebrated her 100th birthday today. She died of pneumonia in November 2011. Close developed an interest in architecture that took her from the University of Vienna to MIT in the 1930's, where she received both a B.Arch and M.Arch degree. She and her husband, Winston Close (B.Arch '27), established their firm, Close Associates, in Minneapolis in 1938, which became known for its modernist approach to design. She designed some of the first modern houses to be built in the Twin Cities and left her mark on the University of Minnesota, designing the music school as well as laying out the West Bank, Duluth and Waseca campuses….

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In Memoriam: George Dennison 'Dennie' Neilson

George Dennison ‘Dennie’ Neilson (B.Arch ’67) died January 31, 2012. He was a resident of University City, MO and North Redington Beach, FL. Born February 10, 1940, in St. Louis, he was the son of Dr. Arthur Wright and Janet Neilson. He attended St. Louis Country Day School and graduated from Clayton High School, Westminster College, Washington University with a BS in Architecture, and the University of Minnesota with a Bachelor of Architecture degree. He was an associate at many St. Louis architectural firms throughout his career notably Claybour Associates, HOK, & William B. Ittner working on diverse projects from the Tuntex 85 Sky Tower in Taiwan to the rehab of the Fox Theatre and Plaza Frontenac. He was active…

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In Memoriam: Margaret Bubolz

Dr Margaret M. (Jacobson) Bubolz Ph.D. November 9, 1925 – February 4, 2012 Margaret (Peg) Bubolz (BS '47 Home Economics) died February 4, 2012 in Lansing, Michigan. After graduating from the University, she taught public school home economics, then entered the Minnesota Cooperative Extension Service. Margaret earned an MA degree at Cornell and PhD at Purdue in sociology. She worked at Pennsylvania State University, then Michigan State in the Cooperative Extension Service where she was Assistant and Associate Professor, then professor and chairperson of the Department of Family and Child Sciences from 1969-1974. She received the Distinguished Faculty and Honorary Alumni Award at Michigan State. Until her retirement in 1991, she taught and conducted research on quality of life….

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In Memoriam: Leonard Parker


Parker.jpgIt is with a heavy heart that I report the passing of Leonard Parker (BArch, 1948; Architecture, Professor Emeritus). Few people have had as big an impact on the School of Architecture as Leonard. Leonard taught for several decades in the School of Architecture as well as ran a successful architectural practice in the Twin Cities, showing generations of students not only how to become skilled designers, but also how to work in ways that would help ensure their own success in the profession. Widely known for his wry sense of humor and his insightfulness about both people and buildings, Leonard will be very much missed by his colleagues, clients, and former students.

Please use the comments section below to share your memories of Leonard. Friends of Leonard have set up the Leonard Parker Fellowship in Leonard’s honor to support professional degree students in architecture. The University will match all gifts to the fund, which can be made online or sent to:

University of Minnesota Foundation
C-M 3854
P.O. Box 70870
St. Paul, MN 55170-3854

Leonard’s funeral is planned for 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 27, 2011 at Temple Israel in Minneapolis, MN. We will pass along any other information as we get it.


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In Memoriam: Dorothy Leeds

Dorothy Leeds (BS Home Economics, 1933) passed away on June 18, 2011. Leeds earned a B.S. in Home Economics Education at the University of Minnesota and then taught high school in Eyota, MN. She later received an M.S. degree in retailing from New York University’s Graduate School of Business. She was Training Supervisor at the Dayton Company in Minneapolis, MN. In 1942 she was commissioned an officer in the WAVES, U. S. Navy and by the end of WWII she had risen to Lt. Senior Grade. Dorothy resumed her career as Training Director for the Associated Merchandising Corporation, a retail research and marketing group. In 1969, she enrolled at Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pa. to study library arts and sciences.

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In Memoriam: Pieter Godfrey

Pieter Godfrey (Arch, 1981-89) passed away on June 9, 2011, at the age of 53. Godfrey attended the University School of Milwaukee and the University of Minnesota, School of Architecture, with continuing education in China. His special expertise included architecture, historic preservation, building materials, urban ecology and sustainable living, as well as his love for the past and present city of Milwaukee. Godfrey served on the Board of Directors of the Layton Art Collection, Inc., and numerous neighboring communities to help strengthen and revitalize those neighborhoods.

In Memoriam: Urban Abendroth

Urban Abendroth (Arch, 1946-1950) passed away on April 24, 2011. Abendroth designed 350 Minnesota school buildings in 31 years as a partner in the St. Louis Park firm Matson, Wegleitner and Abendroth. He specialized in Minnesota public school buildings and was at the forefront for projects in Warroad, Monticello, Big Lake, Osseo, Hibbing, Pipestone and many others.

Urban Abendroth: Architect and a gentleman” Abby Simons, Star Tribune

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In Memoriam: Merland Otto

Merland Otto (BLA, 1976) of Maple Grove, Minnesota, passed away on March 30, 2011. Otto received a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture degree in 1976 from the University of Minnesota. Otto was working as a principal planner for the City of Minneapolis dealing mainly with airport issues. He was an architecture designer for Ralph Burke and Associates and Hakanson Anderson, Inc. of Anoka, MN, designing airports and community projects. He was one of the founders of Pheasants Forever and member of the Minnesota Pheasants Forever Board of Directors from 1984-1997, also serving as Chairman of the Board.

Star Tribune obituary

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