Donald Lawson (MCU) was born on April 10, 1923 to Charles Lawson and Jessie Handsor on Windsor, Ontario, Canada. He passed away on October 23, 2022, surrounded by friends and family. He began his practice in Evanston in 1947 with four other physicians and had a thriving optometric practice. He was very active in developing a tutoring program in the Evanston school system and served on the advisory committee of the Evanston Child Care Center.
Orlou Reitz Raeber Burkemper, (NICO), 96, died peacefully on February 15, 2023, surrounded by family. Dr. Reitz was the first optometrist in Waterloo. She began her practice in September 1947 and for 20 years was the only eye doctor serving the community. During her professional career, Dr. Reitz became active with the humanitarian organization Volunteer Optometrists in Service to Humanity.
Herschel York (NICO), age 100, passed away peacefully on November 27, 2022, beloved husband of the late Jewel York, nee Golden, cherished father of Clifford York, Cathy (Arthur) York Richards, and the late Susan (Sheldon) York Wittenberg, loving grandfather of seven grandchildren, great grandfather to seven great-grandchildren.
Morris Ossias Mission Viejo (NICO), passed away on February 4, 2022, just 3 months shy of his 102nd Birthday. He served in the U.S. Army Air Force during World War II, and was stationed at an air base near Fairbanks, AK, working with the Air Force's weather predictors, to provide information useful to our forces in the Pacific theater.
Michael Joseph Kacere Sr. (NICO), was born on May 17, 1922 in Cedar Rapids, IA and passed away peacefully on Feb. 1, 2023 at the age of 100 surrounded by his loving family. Mike was a World War II veteran who served in the U.S. Army Air Corps from 1942 until 1945. He was a navigator on the B-17 bomber and completed 25 missions in the European theater of operation. After the war, Mike decided to use his G.I. Bill to become an optometrist.
Lester Caplan (NICO), of Rancho Mirage, CA, passed away on Friday, December 2, 2022 at the age of 98. Lester was a U.S. Army veteran of World War II and then began his professional career as a Doctor of Optometry as a private practitioner in Baltimore, MD. After the passing of his first wife, he had another successful career as an academic at the University of Alabama where he was Assistant Dean and retired Professor Emeritus. He became a leader in public health optometry at the local, state and federal level. He is recognized as the father of optometry in the Indian health service. He made many trips to the reservations out west to ensure that Native Americans were getting proper eye care.
Arthur Rubin (NICO), passed away peacefully on November 27, 2022 at the age of 95. Dr. Rubin had been a member of the Illinois and American Optometric Associations, and the Rock Island County Optometric Society. He had been a Fellow in the American Academy of Optometry and served on the Illinois Optometric Executive Board and the Illinois Vision Service Plan.
Alfred A. Gossan (NICO), of Escanaba, age 95, passed away on September 8, 2022. He spent a year at Wilson Community College before joining the U.S. Navy in 1945, where he worked in the eye clinic at Chelsea Naval Hospital and was inspired to begin a career in optometry.
Joseph Philip Roumain ("Doc") (NICO), 98, was born in Baton Rouge, LA on August 18, 1924, and passed away peacefully on October 19, 2022. He volunteered for the military and served in the U.S. Army Air Corps in World War II, where he flew missions to Okinawa. He was an active member and past president of the Lakeshore Lions Club with perfect attendance for 60 years and was also a member of the chamber of commerce.
Jule Lamm, (NICO), died peacefully at his home on February 11, 2023 at 99 years old. During Jule’s senior year, after the attack on Pearl Harbor, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps. He was later sent to the Pacific where he flew C-47 (DC3) and C-46 planes, transporting people and supplies to far-flung outposts.
For several decades, Jule piloted teams of nurses and doctors on monthly medical missions to a clinic he helped establish in rural Sinaloa, Mexico. After retirement Jule volunteered as an optometrist for the Venice Family Clinic, Santa Monica Schools and The Jules Stein Mobile Eye Clinic, providing eye exams for preschool students across the region.
Robert E. Haradon (NICO), age 99, of Wilmington, NC passed away on June 4, 2022. Bob grew up in Taunton, MA and served in the U.S. Coast Guard for 3 years during World War II. In 1950 he graduated from the N. Illinois College of Optometry, after which he owned and operated his optometric practice in Taunton, MA for about 33 years. Then he was one of the founders and practiced at EyeCare-EyeWear Associates, also in Taunton, before retiring in 1989.
Art Hillman (NICO), passed away on September 8, 2022, at 96 years old. After being discharged from military service in Italy during World War II, he went to University of Miami and then to Illinois College of Optometry on the G.I. Bill after which he set up practice in North Miami Beach, Florida. After about 25 years of practice, he retired from optometry to pursue other areas of interest as a 911 Operator, Post Office Claims Clerk, Parking Enforcement Officer of Orange County, Arbitrator for the Better Business Bureau Lemon Law, Mediator for the Division of Florida Land Sales and best of all, Mediator for Orange County.
William Hoffman (NICO), of Columbia, MD, formerly of Pittsburgh, PA, passed away on September 10, 2022, at age 98. He served as a radio operator in World War II, and then settled in Pittsburgh working as a self-employed optometrist.
Wallace Benjamin Siff (CCO), 93, of Hollywood, Florida passed away on January 4, 2023.
William Gosnell (ICO), passed away on January 24, 2023. William was born and raised in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. He attended Bartlesville High School, Central Christian College, Northwestern Illinois and Illinois College of Optometry where he graduated Cum Laude. Dr. Gosnell was in private practice for 60 years. He served as President of the Optimist Club, Englewood Lions Club, Independence Bass Masters, Vision Service Plan Missouri Charter and the Greater Kansas City Optometric Society. In the middle of his career, he also authored a book, Handbook of Ocular Therapy.
Ronald O. Davis (NICO), passed away peacefully at home in Rancho Palos Verdes, California on February 6, 2023. He was 98 years old. He served our country in the U.S. Navy during World War II throughout the South Pacific as a morse code operator on the USS Barnes aircraft carrier. Dr. Davis graduated from the University of Washington and later graduated from the Illinois College of Optometry. He returned to Seattle and founded Davis Optical in the University District in 1955 where he joyfully practiced optometry until his retirement. Dr. Davis was a pioneer and leader in the Seattle optometric community. He trained many young local optometrists over the years and served generations of patients.
Richard P. Chlapecka (ICO), age 91, of Hines, IL, formerly of Warrenville, IL, passed away on April 19, 2023. Richard was a U.S. Air Force Veteran. Richard was a graduate of Illinois College of Optometry, Class of 1968 and practiced in West Chicago for 35 years. Richard remained active in his local rotary club.
Arabel Ellen Hatfield (ICO), passed away on February 4, 2023, at Charleston Memorial Hospital after a short illness. She served as a president of the West Virginia Optometric Association. "Dr. A" practiced optometry in Logan at Hatfield Eye Care Associates with her father, Coleman C. Hatfield, OD, until her retirement. She also worked with her brother, Dr. R. Mark Hatfield, OD, MD, at Retina Consultants PLLC until her death.
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The following abbreviations denote predecessor names of the Illinois College of Optometry.
NICO: Northern Illinois College of Optometry
CCO: Chicago College of Optometry
MCO: Monroe College of Optometry