IN MEMORIAM: Thorp, Chuchel, Stern, Feeney

Quick Summary

  • Robbin Thorp: Distinguished professor emeritus of entomology
  • John Chuchel: Mathematics teacher for 35 years
  • Judith Stern: Distinguished professor emerita of nutrition and internal medicine
  • Floyd F. Feeney: Founding faculty member, School of Law

Distinguished Professor Emeritus Robbin Thorp, a global and legendary authority on bees, died June 7 at the age of 85 at his home in Davis.

He joined the entomology faculty in 1964 and took emeritus status in 1994 but continued to engage in research, teaching and public service until a few weeks before his death.

Robbin Thorp

He was a tireless advocate of pollinator species protection and conservation, especially known for his expertise, dedication and passion in protecting native pollinators, especially bumble bees. He was an authority on pollination ecology, ecology and systematics of honey bees, bumble bees, vernal pool bees, conservation of bees, native bees and crop pollination, and bees of urban gardens and agricultural landscapes.

“Robbin’s scientific achievements during his retirement rival the typical career productivity of many other academic scientists,” said Steve Nadler, professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. “His contributions in support of understanding bee biodiversity and systematics are a true scientific legacy.”

Read the complete obituary by Kathy Keatley Garvey of the Department of Entomology and Nematology.

Walter Robinson

A call for random acts of kindness for the retired campus leader known as the “Random Acts of Kindness King.”

John Chuchel: Mathematics teacher for 35 years

John Chuchel, who taught mathematics for 53 years, including 35 years at UC Davis, died May 19 after a long illness. He was 80 and resided in East Sacramento.

John Chuchel

He was a theoretical mathematician with a bachelor’s degree from St. Mary’s College, Winona, Minnesota; master’s degree from the University of Minnesota; and Ph.D. from Montana State University. 

Numerical interests led him to studies of weather, volcanoes and mountains, and to track his more than 275,000 miles of cycling over 55 years. Mountain climbing and hiking were early fascinations, supplanted later by his love for several small Tuscan towns. Jazz, folk and bluegrass, and chamber music dominated his extensive music library.

Survivors include his wife, Suzanne; children, Elizabeth and Stephen; and two grandchildren.

A Mass of Christian burial was conducted May 25 at St. Ignatius Loyola Church, Sacramento. Burial followed at East Lawn Memorial Park, Sacramento.

Remembrances may be made to the John Chuchel Memorial Fund at UC Davis, to provide scholarships for mathematics students. Checks payable to “UC Regents” should be sent to the College of Letters and Science, 1 Shields Ave., Davis 95616 (with the name of the fund in the memo line).

Judith Stern: Distinguished professor of nutrition, internal medicine

Judith Schneider Stern, distinguished professor emerita of nutrition and internal medicine, died May 8 at the age of 76.

Judith Schneider Stern

She joined the UC Davis faculty in 1974. Her work on the metabolic and behavioral aspects of obesity flourished, and she and many graduate students and postdoctoral fellows were well published. Over her distinguished career, she was awarded numerous national and international awards, including election as a fellow of the American Society for Nutritional Sciences and of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences.

She was a founder of and became president of both the Obesity Society and the North American Association for the Study of Obesity. She also served as president of the American Society of Clinical Nutrition. Perhaps the most distinguished of her many honors was her election to the National Academy of Medicine (previously the Institute of Medicine) in 1995, an honor held by only a few nutrition scientists.

Survivors include her husband, Richard Stern; and a son, Daniel.

Remembrances may be made to the Dr. Judith S. Stern Fund for Graduate Student Support at UC Davis. Use the online link or write a check payable to “UC Regents” and send it to the Office of Graduate Studies, 250 Mrak Hall, 1 Shields Ave., Davis 95616 (please write the name of the fund in the memo line of your check).

Read the complete obituary on the Department of Nutrition website.

Floyd F. Feeney: Professor of law

Floyd Feeney

A celebration of life for Professor Floyd F. Feeney, a member of the founding faculty of the School of Law and a beloved teacher to generations of King Hall students, will be held from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Thursday, July 18, in Alpha Gamma Rho Hall at the Buehler Alumni Center.

He died Jan. 18 after a short illness. He was 85. Read his obituary on the School of Law website

The Feeney family has asked people wishing to make memorial contributions to direct them to the Professor Floyd Feeney Scholarship, honoring his extraordinary dedication and commitment to the students of King Hall. Read more about the scholarship and donate here. Donations also can be sent to the School of Law, 400 Mrak Hall Drive, Davis 95616. 

The celebration of life will include the presentation of a memorial resolution from the California Senate. Refreshments will be served.

Please RSVP here.

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