IN MEMORIAM: Arp, Perschbacher, Noda

Coach Fred Aro holds football in air, as if in triumph, on sidelines.
Fred Arp held forth on the sidelines of Aggie football for 41 years. (Wayne Tilcock/The Davis Enterprise)

Fred Arp: Football coach for 41 years

Fred Arp, who played, coached and lived Aggie football for more than half a century, died July 4 at the age of 73.

Fred Arp, headphones on, during game
Coach Arp

Arp ’67, Cred. ’68, had been associated with Aggie football since coming to UC Davis as a transfer student in 1965. He played one season (earning a letter) before being sidelined by a heart condition. He transitioned to the coaching staff, first as the head freshman coach, then as the defensive line coach, a position he held until his retirement in 2007 after 41 years on the sidelines.

He often wore sandals and Hawaiian shirts to practice and allowed his players to run their drills in the shade — earning his squads the nickname “Club Fred.” But, come game day, they produced — contributing to 37 consecutive winning seasons, 20 straight conference titles and 18 NCAA postseason appearances. Arp was the only member of the football program whose career spanned all of those historic achievements.

“He epitomized what Aggie Pride is all about, which is really about character and integrity,” former head coach Bob Biggs said in 2010 upon Arp’s induction into the Aggie Athletics Hall of Fame — the only assistant coach to achieve that honor. “That’s what made him special, and that’s what made people who played for him special, because they were part of something bigger than themselves. And Fred was the person who would make sure that people understood what that really meant, and consequently, they just played their hearts out for him.”

He is survived by his wife of 51 years, Jane, and their son, Ben. Aggie football plans to honor Arp at the first home game of the season: Saturday, Sept. 8, vs.  San Diego (7 p.m. kickoff).

Read more on the Aggie athletics website.

Rex Perschbacher: Law school dean emeritus

Rex R. Perschbacher, dean and professor emeritus in the School of Law, died Saturday (June 30) after a long illness. He was 71.

Rex Perschbacher mugshot

He served as dean from 1998 to 2008, during which time he grew and diversified the faculty and devised an ambitious, ultimately successful plan to renovate and expand King Hall. Construction on the project, begun while he was dean in 2007, was completed in 2010 under his successor, Dean Kevin R. Johnson.

“Professor Perschbacher personified all that is great about King Hall,” said Johnson, who served as an associate under Perschbacher. “His vision led to the beautiful addition and renovation of King Hall. He led an intellectual renaissance of UC Davis School of Law, overseeing the scholarly ascendance of the school, hiring a diverse and excellent faculty and staff, bolstering the law school’s true sense of community and commitment to teaching, and much more. And he was as decent a person as I have ever met. We all will miss him.”

Perschbacher is survived by his wife, Debbie; daughters, Julie and Nancy; and their children.

No services are planned. Donations in Perschbacher’s memory may be made to the Rex R. Perschbacher Scholarship at the law school, or to the UC Davis Hospice Program.

Read more on the School of Law website.

Grace Noda: A life filled with music

The UC Davis Arts Blog reminded June 29 that concertgoers, students and others entering the Ann E. Pitzer Center can thank Grace Noda and family for the $1 million inaugural gift that launched the center’s eventual construction.

Chatting in Recital Hall
Then-Dean Jessie Ann Owens, left, chats with Grace Noda in the Recital Hall during dedication ceremony in September 2016. (Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis)

The center, with a 399-seat Recital Hall, studios and classrooms — and lobby named for Grace and her husband, Grant — opened in 2016.

The Arts Blog’s reminder of the family’s contribution — from Grace and Grant and their daughters, Tanya Yan and Kathy Miura — served as an introduction to the news of Grace Noda’s death earlier this year at the age of 98.

Phil Daley, events and publicity manager for the Department of Music, wrote an obituary that he posted in May, saying Noda died March 14 “surrounded by family and music” and leaving behind “a legacy of kindness to others.”

Hers was a life filled from music, “a kind of refuge to Grace in difficult times because it was always a key element of her happiness,” Daley wrote. She played cello and piano in her youth, and, while interned with other Japanese Americans during World War II, taught music and songs in the camps.

“Grace spent a lifetime promoting peace over conflict, often using music as a setting in which friends could be made,” Daley wrote. “A world of happiness can be made through music, and she taught that to others.”

Read the complete obituary on the Department of Music website.

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