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Winter 2022







Kenneth E. Brill, passed away peacefully on Sunday June 19th at the age of 99 years and 7 months. He was pre-deceased by his parents, Evarist and Hulda (Allinger) Brill and his beloved wife of 56 years, Mary Gilday Brill. He is survived by his three proud children, Julie Rasman, Suzanne Brill (Tom Curtis) and John Brill (Jody) along with four loving grandchildren Kate Current (J.T.), Bailey Kraemer (Josh), Callan Curtis (Zoe Josten) and Kennedy Curtis. He was “Four Pop” to his great- grandsons, Eli and Quinn Kraemer and great- granddaughter Josten- Curtis arriving in October.\

Ken, an only child, was born in Kiel, WI and grew up in Milwaukee. He graduated from Washington High School and Northern Illinois College of Optometry. He practiced in Milwaukee first with his father and then in a solo practice for over 40 years. He was a huge sports fan from his kids’ and grandkids’ grade school games all the way up to the pros and was a life-long Badger fan in particular. Sports were followed very closely by his love of a good sheepshead game!


Ben Tsutomu Chikaraishi passed away on Monday, February 21, 2022, at the age of 100 in Lincolnwood IL. Although he had many health setbacks over his long life, Ben remained strong and lived independently with his wife Kiyo right up to his time of passing. After one final stay in the hospital, he returned to the rehab center at Lincolnwood Place where he died peacefully with Kiyo, his beloved wife of 76 years, and their family by his side.

Ben Chikaraishi, was born in Colusa, CA on September 10, 1921, to Saroku Chikaraishi (father) and Sato Oyama Chikaraishi (mother). His parents married in Japan and immigrated to the US in 1904. The fourth of five children, Ben spent most of his childhood in Stockton, CA, helping his father manage a hotel. Ben was the first of his family to attend college and he pursued an optometry degree at the University of California, Berkeley. Unfortunately, WWII interrupted his education and in 1942 Ben and his family were incarcerated in Rohwer Internment Camp in Arkansas as a result of the infamous Executive Order 9066. While at Rohwer, Ben practiced optometry at the camp hospital where he met Kiyo Chino, his future bride.

In July 1943 Ben relocated to Chicago and finished his optometry degree at the Northern Illinois College of Optometry. In 1945, he established his optometry practice in Chicago and was joined by his son Jim in 1974. Together they served many patients in the Japanese American community. He practiced for 41 years until his retirement in 1986.

In 1945, Ben married Kiyo and they resided in Chicago until 1960 when they built a new home in Morton Grove, IL. There they raised their family and hosted innumerable gatherings over the next 57 years. In their later years Ben and Kiyo were able to travel the world and take many gambling trips with the Midwest Buddhist Temple Golden Agers group. In 2017 they moved to Lincolnwood Place for Senior Living. Beyond his devotion to his extended family, Ben will be remembered as an avid fisherman, a bountiful gardener, and life-long loyal Chicago White Sox fan.

As patriarch, his advice and guidance were sought and valued by his family. But Ben will also be remembered for his civic and community contributions. He was a founding member of the Midwest Buddhist Temple in Chicago. There he served in many leadership capacities, including President of the Board of Trustees and Chairman of the Building Committee. The Building Committee was responsible for planning, fundraising, and overseeing the construction of the beautiful Midwest Buddhist Temple building which stands as an architectural icon in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. Dr. Ben was also a driving force behind MBT’s Ginza Holiday serving decades as the Ginza announcer (“and a good, good evening to you!”). Ben’s self-taught investment expertise helped provide financial stability for the temple and that legacy benefits MBT even today. Just as importantly he helped create the Reverend Gyodo Kono Fund, in honor of MBT’s founding minister, which has granted scholarships to many students seeking education in Jodo Shinshu Buddhism. To support the Japanese American youth in the 1950s through the 1970s Ben helped create the Chicago Nisei Athletic Association (CNAA), which enabled Japanese American young people from all over the Chicago area to participate in various sports and organized leagues. Dr. Ben has been a positive influence in the lives of many, many people.


Alfred Henry “Al” Neitzke passed away peacefully at 97 years of age on Wednesday, November 17, 2021 surrounded by his family at Perham Health, Perham, Minnesota.

Alfred was born on January 18, 1924 to Robert and Katherine (Riewer) Neitzke in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota. He attended Detroit Lakes High School, graduated with the class of 1942. Al enlisted in the United States Army and was stationed at Fort Snelling in St. Paul, Minnesota.

He attended the University of Minnesota. On January 3, 1946 Al was united in marriage to Maryann Kelty in Fargo, North Dakota. In 1947 he received his Doctor of Optometry from the Illinois College of Optometry in Chicago, where he was President of the Student Council. He then began his 50-year optometry practice in Wadena and Perham, Minnesota. He was a member of the MN Optometric Association for many years where he served as treasurer.

On August 29, 1987 Al was united in marriage to Irene Catherine Egan. Together they made their home in Wadena and Ottertail Lake MN. They enjoyed escaping MN Winter’s at their home in Englewood, Florida.

Al was involved in his community and had many interests and hobbies. He was co-founder and director of the Mid Central Federal Savings Bank with Morris J. Ebner and served as Chairman of the Board for 47 years. He was passionate about golf, playing an instrumental role in the creation of the Wadena Golf Course where he served as president from 1957 to 1974. He was a lifetime member of the Wadena Lions Club.

The family cabin on Ottertail Lake was a special gathering place for his family. Watching others enjoy the special place he created brought him much joy. Al’s love for his family was ever present.



Paul F. McPheron, age 93, of New London, died Thursday, April 16, 2020 at his home. He was born January 1, 1927 in Trenton to Lee Ellis and Anna Katherine Elliott McPheron. On October 11, 1953, he married Wanda Grace Wirsig in Donnellson.

He was valedictorian of the New London High School class of 1944, a graduate of University of Iowa, and Northern Illinois College of Optometry. For 43 years he was a self-employed optometrist in New London, retiring in 1984. Dr. McPheron served as a Seaman in the Navy ROTC during WWII. He was a lifetime member of New London United Methodist Church where he taught Sunday School and was a trustee; and also served on the Burge Cemetery board where he worked tirelessly. During high school he was an outstanding athlete in track, football, baseball, and basketball. He enjoyed doing yardwork and working around the house. Paul and Wanda enjoyed all types of dancing and loved traveling, especially going on cruises.

Besides his wife, survivors include three sons; Jeffrey (Sherri) of Mt. Pleasant, Dennis (Margarita) and Robert (Julie) both of New London; one daughter Diane (Rick) Schnicker of New London; six grandchildren and eleven great-grandchildren. Preceding him in death were his parents, brother Dick, and sister Lois Caldwell.

According to his wishes, his body has been cremated. In keeping with Governor Kim Reynolds order during the COVID-19 health crisis, a private memorial service will be held at Elliott Chapel with inurnment at Burge Cemetery. Memorials have been established for the New London United Methodist Church and the Salvation Army.


Dr. Norman S. Patterson, age 89, late of Frankfort, formerly of Tinley Park, Il. passed away peacefully August 14, 2022. US Army Veteran. Beloved husband of the late Shirley Patterson nee (Leebelt). Loving father of Steven (Tina) Patterson, Cindy (Tim) Douglas, and Jeff Patterson. Loving brother of his twin, the late Norbert (Lucille) Patterson, the late Dolores Hobbs (Orville Pagles and James Hobbs), and the late Melville (Charlene) Patterson. Loving grandfather of Melissa Patterson, Sarah Patterson, and Christopher (Traci) Somrek. Beloved uncle to many nieces and nephews and a great grandfather of Jazzy, Nala, Braden Patterson, Savannah, Ryan, Alexandria, and Charolette Somrek.

Norman was born July 1, 1933, to James and Sarah Ann Patterson nee Cully of Chicago, IL.

Dr. Norman Patterson was a well-respected optometrist in his Tinley Park practice for many years. He had a reputation of being able to fit contacts like no other optometrist. He was a graduate of the University of Illinois and the Illinois College of Optometry. Norman was also a member of the Tinley Park Lions Club. Norman loved boating and was enjoyed by many for his great sense of humor. Norman was loved by many friends, neighbors, and colleagues. We will miss his infectious laugh.


Paul Langehough, February 17, Iowa City, IA. Paul attended the University of Iowa and was a graduate of the Illinois College of Optometry. Paul served in the U.S. Army from 1953 to 1955. On June 12, 1957 Paul married Ruth Guenther in Eldora, Iowa. They moved to Iowa City in 1958 where Paul joined the optometric practice of Drs. James and Philip Hottel. He became a partner and the practice grew into Eye Associates of Iowa City, where he practiced for nearly 40 years.



Ralph E. Parkansky, Nashville, Tenn., November 17, 2022. Ralph is survived by his wife Linda of 53 years, twin daughters Kendra and Beth, 5 grandchildren, and numerous friends and optometric colleagues.

Ralph’s optometric career was multi-faceted. It began with private practice in Collinsville, Illinois. Ralph then proudly served his country in the Navy’s Medical Service Corps as an optometrist for 20 years, achieving the rank of Lieutenant Commander. His duty stations included both stateside and international sites. While in the Navy, Ralph earned a master’s degree in physiological optics at the University of Houston College of Optometry. His thesis title was Temporal Tuning Effects in the Visual Evoked Response. Following the Navy, Ralph served on the faculty at the Southern College of Optometry for 19 years, obtaining the rank of Professor. Consistent with his life-long quest for more knowledge, Ralph later earned a master’s degree in business administration.



Joseph Malee of Palos Heights passed away on November 8, 2022. Dr. Malee was a Life member of the IOA/AOA and had been a member for 51 years.



Joseph William Johll was born August 12, 1957, in Prairie du Chien, WI as one of 6 children to Alfred and Audrey Johll. Determined from the beginning, he paid for his first car and saved for college by working at the Country Kitchen in high school. In 1979 he completed a Bachelor of Science in Nursing at Viterbo College, LaCrosse, WI. After which he was commissioned into the United States Air Force, with tours in Biloxi MS, Turkey, and CA. He married his college sweetheart, Gail Ann Reicks, on June 18th, 1983. While working nightshift as a critical care nurse in the emergency room, he began Optometry school in Chicago, IL, graduating in 1990. His devotion to his family, work as an optometrist, and most importantly his Catholic faith included moves to Ankeny; Chariton; Fairfield; and finally Winterset in 2006. He was a member of the American Optometric Association, Knights of Columbus, Lion’s Club, Opus Dei, and Regnum Christi, to name a few.

His pride and joy were his family, including his wife Gail, seven children, Mark Joseph, Maria Elizabeth, Benjamin Michael, Rebecca Anne, Matthew Joseph, Miriam Therese, and Anne Dominique. His life was a dedicated example of service to his family, extended family, friends, and church, through music, medical missionary work, and travels to Washington, DC for the March for Life. One of his many talents included singing for weddings, funerals, church, and numerous community events. He enjoyed cultivating the domestic church by spending time with family, gardening, and caring for his home in the country. Most importantly, he exemplified a life of great faith and was an inspiration to all. His 16 year-long journey with Progressive Supranuclear Palsy – Parkinsonism (PSP), included many obstacles and challenges which he met with great determination and support from his comrades at neurocycling and Rock Steady Boxing.

He died peacefully in his home on April 5, 2022.





Friends and Family

Stuart Paul Richer, passed on October 26, 2022. Dr. Richer was an active member of the CAPT James A. Lovell FHCC medical staff for 39 years before his recent retirement.

Dr. Richer earned his undergraduate degree from the Rochester Institute of Technology after which he completed a dual OD MS (physiological optics) at University of California at Berkeley in 1981 followed by a residency in low vision at the Kansas City DVA Medical Center. He was Chief of Optometry at DVA Medical Center, North Chicago for over 30 years. He has been involved in teaching optometry and medical students and postdoctoral fellows. In 1996 Dr. Richer earned his PhD in human physiology and biophysics from Chicago Medical and taught in many academic settings. Dr. Richer published numerous papers in prestigious journals from his 35 research projects and was a sought after speaker worldwide. Always involved in primary care, Dr. Richer had a special interest in aging, nutrients for macular degeneration, low vision glaucoma and cataract prevention.


To submit your news and announcements for Class Notes or In Memoriam, click here.

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

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