Leon I. Schwartz, OD ’49, passed away on August 31, 2021. Husband of Shirley (Green); father of Roni (Randy) Sushko, Lonn Schwartz, OD ’80, and Leonard (Sandi) Freiheit III. Brother of Howard (Marilyn) Schwartz and Anita (Fred) Cohen. Grandfather of Joshua (Kelly), John (Brittany), Jennifer, Heather (Jeff), Sarah and Madeline; great-grandfather of Crew, Greyson, Stella and Jackson.
Garner H. Downey, OD ’50, passed away on February 1, 2022. He was born August 24, 1922, in Elkton, Virginia, the son of the late David Austin Downey and Pearle Lenora Harris Downey. He graduated from Elkton High School, Elkton, in 1939, Bridgewater College, Bridgewater, Virginia in 1948, with a degree in mathematics and then PCO in 1950. Dr. Downey enlisted in the United States Army in 1943. He was in training in “Signal Intelligence,” becoming a high-speed Morse code operator decoding Japanese and German communications. He married Mae Frances Thacker on August 14, 1945 at the Elkton Presbyterian Church, Elkton. They had one daughter, The Reverend Dr. Karen Downey Beals, who currently resides in Hilo, Hawaii. Dr. Downey’s office of optometry, was opened above Downey’s Furniture, his mother and father’s furniture store, in 1950. He retired in 2010 after working 59 years. In addition to his daughter, Karen, he is survived by his granddaughter, Katie Adrianne (Ryan) Jones, and two great-grandsons, Sterling R.T. Jones and Kaimalino M.O.S. Jones, who also reside in Hilo, Hawaii.
Victor S. Morrison, OD ’50, passed away on April 1, 2022 at the age of 94, in Sarasota, Florida. Born on December 28, 1927 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; attended PCO and practiced optometry in Mechanicsburg for 50 years. Survived by wife of 62 years, Barbara; son Daniel Morrison; daughter Nancy Morrison Levitt (Peter Levitt); grandsons Ben and Adrian; sister Barbara Morrison Eller. He is predeceased by brothers Alan and Robert Morrison, OD ’48.
Vincent “Bill” T. Penikas, OD ’50, passed away on December 25, 2021, at the age of 95. Dr. Penikas joined the Army after graduating from Bristol High School in 1943. He began his career as a Doctor of Optometry, then joined the Air Force and earned his PHD in Nuclear Health Physics. His long career in the Air Force took him around the world where he helped monitor the safety of diverse sites, including many space launches. He retired as a Full Bird Colonel, moved back to Bristol and finished his career as Radiation Safety Officer at the UConn Health Center. He is survived by Grace (McCarthy), his wife of 67 years; his sons Jim and Jeff, and his daughter, Kathy (Miller); five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren; brother Robert and sister Dorothy (Ruscica). He was predeceased by his brother, Richard, and mother and father, William and Mary (Adamski).
E. Lee Adams, OD ’53, passed away on July 24, 2022 at Kitty Askins Hospice in Goldsboro, North Carolina. “Doc Adams,” as many called him, was born August 14, 1925 in Adamsville, the section of Goldsboro named for his family. He was preceded in death by his parents, Minnie Fulton & Benjamin Franklin Adams, and sisters Ola Bee Butler and Ercell McDougall. He graduated from Goldsboro High School. Enlisting in the Navy as soon as eligible in 1943, Naval AO 3rd Class Adams was assigned to a PB4Y-2 bomber in the VPB-120 squadron stationed at Shemya Air Force Base in the far Aleutian Islands when WWII ended. After his honorable discharge, Dr. Adams completed a BS degree in biology with a French minor in three years at Wake Forest University. After his completion of his Doctor of Optometry degree at PCO in 1953, Dr. Adams returned to his hometown and served the members of the community with eye care for 58 years. Surviving family members include his wife, the former Hazel Burke, his daughter Betty Susan, sons Edwin Lee, Jr. and Glenn Scott, and a granddaughter Alexan.
Frank W. DiChiari, OD ’53, FAAO, passed away on April 1, 2022. He was the son of the late Salvatore and Mary (Aceto). He was the husband of Esther (Bontempo) for 62 years until her passing in December 2021. He graduated from LaSalle Academy, completed his pre-medical courses at Providence College and graduated from PCO. He did an internship at Rhode Island Hospital, Ophthalmology Section. He served in the Army and was stationed at the Eye Clinic in Colorado, at Fort Carson Army Hospital where he was instrumental in examining over five thousand troops. He then served at the Eye Clinic at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He started his Optometry practice in April, 1956, which is now Garden City Eye Care in Cranston, Rhode Island. In 1959 he became the director of the Low Vision Clinic at the Rhode Island Association for the Blind, now called In-Sight. He headed the clinic for thirty years. He wrote several articles on low vision and lectured on low vision many times throughout the United States. Dr. Dichiara became a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry in 1970 and became a Diplomate in Low Vision in 1980. He was honored twice by his colleagues with the Optometrist of the Year Award in 1980 for his many contributions to the profession and the Distinguished Service Award in 1987, the highest award the Association gave at that time. He was named Alumnus of the Year by Pennsylvania College of Optometry in 1998. In 2007, the Rhode Island Optometric Association presented the Lifetime Achievement Award to Dr. DiChiara. Dr. DiChiara assisted Dr. William Padula of Connecticut to establish a Low Vision Section of the American Optometric Association, which he subsequently chaired. He was instrumental in producing a manual on low vision. He was presented with the highest award the Section provides, The Low Vision Care Award in 1998. Dr. DiChiara practiced in Cranston, Rhode Island for nearly 60 years, until his retirement at age 83. Dr. DiChiara served on the Board of Directors of Big Brothers of Rhode Island for twenty years and they honored him with the Humanitarian Award in 2004. He leaves his daughter Dr. Louise DiChiara Pastore and his son Frank W. DiChiara and his wife, Elaine; three grandchildren, Elena Anne Pastore, Christina Chiara Pastore and Peter Thomas Pastore III. He was predeceased by his siblings, Michael, Peter, and Anthony DiChiara and Angela Maccarone.
Charles S. Papier, OD ’53, passed away on June 25, 2022. He was born in Trenton, New Jersey, and attended PCO. He and his wife Judy were stationed in Germany for several years during his time in the Army. Dr. Papier went on to practice optometry in Pennington for 35 years. Son of the late Harry and Reba Papier, and brother of the late Donald Papier, he is survived by his wife. They would have been married 70 years in August. He is also survived by sons Kenneth Papier, OD ’84 and Jeffrey Papier (Phil Barboro), sister-in-law Lenore Papier, and granddaughter Maddie Papier. During his time in Pennington, Dr. Papier served as president of the New Jersey Optometric Association and received a number of professional awards from that organization. Dr. Papier was also active in the American Optometric Association. In 1981, he established a free eye clinic for Greenwood House residents and managed the clinic until his retirement in 1990.
A. Gregory Toler, Jr., OD ’57, passed away on March 20, 2022, at the age of 88. He was preceded in death by his beloved parents, Arthur Gregory Toler Sr. and Marie Lenzi Toler; his brother, Petro Carroll Toler; and daughter-in-law, Ann Garrett Toler. He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Mabel; his three sons, Alan (Cheryl), Paul (Darla) and Scott; his two daughters, Genevieve Cozad (Matthew) and Claire Johnson (Curtis); and his 11 grandchildren, Christopher (Meghan), William Toler (Abigail), Garrett, Hannah, Lenzi, David Cozad, Alison, Andrew Cozad, Adam, Bryan Cozad and Saylor Johnson. He is also survived by two brothers, Anthony Toler (Arlene, deceased) and Joseph Toler (Suzanne). He was born, raised and returned to Westover Hills after attending PCO and serving in the United State Air Force. Dr. Toler was a member and held several positions in the following optometric organizations: Richmond Optometric Society, Virginia Optometric Association, Southern Council of Optometrists and American Optometric Association. Dr. Toler was a fellow in the Virginia Academy of Optometry, a member of the Optometric Extension Program and a member of the College of Optometrist in Vision. He was Virginia Optometrist of the Year in 1977. He served at the pleasure of the governor of Virginia on the Board of Optometry 1979 to 1984. He was also a Southern Council of Optometrist Education Committee member. He was certified by the Virginia Board of Optometry to use diagnostic pharmaceutical agents and certified by the Virginia Board of Medicine to use Therapeutic Pharmaceutical agents.
Israel Greenwald, OD ’59, FAAO, passed away on January 14, 2022 in New York, following a brief illness. Born in 1935, Dr. Greenwald was raised in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, graduated two years early from City College’s uptown campus in 1955 and finished his studies at PCO in 1959. A past president of the New York State Optometric Association, he had a popular optometry practice on Staten Island and was an adjunct clinical professor at SUNY College of Optometry, a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry, and an award-winning Fellow of the College of Optometrists in Vision Development. A pioneer in the field of pediatric vision therapy, his acumen led to national and international speaking engagements and the publication of a textbook on strabismus. He also offered his services to disabled children residing at the Willowbrook State School, improving the vision–and lives–of many of them. He enjoyed 58 years of marriage with his wife, Ruth. She survives him, as do his children, Laurie Saloman (Mark) and Evan (Tracey), grandchildren Ariel and Jonathan Saloman and Samuel Greenwald.
Robert P. Jones, OD ’60, passed away on June 13, 2022, at the age of 89. After graduating from Tufts University in 1954, he volunteered for the U.S. Army during the Korean war. Taking advantage of the GI bill to attend the PCO he earned his OD with honors. While there he met his future wife, Elizabeth L. Delaney, who had graduated from the Germantown School of Nursing. Married in 1960, Dr. Jones and Elizabeth moved to Penn Yan School District in New York and began their life together. Robert started his optometry practice and Elizabeth worked as a nurse for Soldiers and Sailors Hospital and as a substitute nurse for Penn Yan School District. Raising three boys and being very involved in the Penn Yan community, Robert and Elizabeth participated in many fraternal, political, public, military, and social organizations.
Joel S. Frank, OD ’66, passed away on August 28, 2022 at the age of 86. Dr. Frank was born April 11, 1936, in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, to the late Harry Nathanson and Ruth Brown Frank. He was also preceded in death by his brother, Gary E. Frank. Dr. Frank was a USAF Veteran, an alumnus of Wilkes University and PCO. He is survived by his wife Jacqueline; daughters, Adrianne B. Smeltzer and Jonelle (Eric) Brooks; sisters, Sally (Joel) Freed and Susan Frank; grandchildren, Quenton (Inessa), Christian (Emmie), Erica (Graham), Jonathan (Meghan), Mark (Aryn), Cathryn (Kyle), Benjamin; great grandchild, Samuel Jonathan.
Robert E. Purnell, OD ’66, passed away on May 26, 2022, at the age of 79. Before joining his father (Dr. Robert H. Purnell) in Rutherford, New Jersey, Dr. Purnell and his wife Sandy did a one-year residency/internship on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona and New Mexico. They traveled from school to school screening children for eye conditions as well as spectacle prescriptions. He was active, and president, of the medical mission organization called Team Healthcare up until the pandemic, visiting Africa twice yearly for eye exams throughout different regions since 1997. He was a lifetime member of the Lion’s Club and was NJ Jaycees’ past president (1972). He was one of the founding fathers of Camp Jaycees — a camp for intellectually and developmentally disabled adults 1971 (located in Pennsylvania). He was loved and cherished by many people including: his parents; his wife Sandra Purnell (Loux); his sons, Robert Schorn Purnell, OD ’96 (Martha) and Timothy John (Alexandra); and his grandchildren, Troy, Krista, Nixon, Chase, Nolan, Leyla and Adrianna.
Forrest R. Schaeffer, OD ’77, passed away on July 6, 2022. He was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania, to the late Forrest L. and Eleanor (Kitty) Breidinger Schaeffer on April 23, 1951. He graduated from Dieruff High School in 1969 and the University of Pittsburgh in 1973. He then completed grad-school at PCO in Philadelphia. Dr. Schaeffer initially practiced in Susquehanna, Hummels Wharf, and Altoona in Pennsylvania. He then opened offices in Hampton, Newport News, Virginia Beach and Williamsburg in Virginia, as well as Salisbury and Ocean City, Maryland. He was married to the former Janice Camp for 47 years. He is survived by daughter Nicole Noelle (James) Salgado, grandchildren, Maddox Ainsley, Miles Forrest and grandson, Ethan. He is also survived by sisters Judith (John) Condravy and Donna Hertzog.
David A. Evans, III, OD ’83, passed away on Sept. 2, 2022. He was born in Kingston, Pennsylvania, on Dec. 20, 1957, and was the son of the late David A., Jr. and Evelyn Evans. He graduated from Northwest High School, Wilkes University and PCO. He had an independent optometry practice in Nanticoke, Pennsylvania, and was a partner in Family Vision Care in Kingston. He was a member of the American Optometric Association and Pennsylvania Optometric Association and its board for many years leading up to his presidency in what he called “2020: The Year of the Optometrist.” Dr. Evans is survived by his wife of 42 years, Gail Evans, OD ’84; children, Kyle and his wife, Taylor; Brooke Evans; and Curtis Evans; siblings, Amy Boytin and her husband, Chuck; Darrell Evans and his fiancée, Jackie Pascucci; Doug Evans and his wife, Lori; and Robyn Confalone and her husband, Jay; sister-in-law, Connie Higgins and her husband, Dennis.
Thomas E. Fisher, AuD ’03, passed away on May 23, 2021. He was born in Wilmington, Delaware, on Christmas Day, 1953, to E. Eugene and Anne Marie (Mullen) Fisher. He married Lorrie, and together they had two children. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point with a master’s in Communicative Disorders-Audiology. He was employed as an audiologist in Champaign, Illinois and then relocated to Wausau in 1979 and joined Ear, Nose and Throat Associates. Later he completed a Doctorate of Audiology (AuD) at the PCO School of Audiology and continued to be dedicated to his patients at ENT Associates until his retirement in May of 2019. He is survived by his children, Kim (James) Kramer and Ben (Nicole); his former wife, Lorrie; his grandchildren, Jackson, Carter, and Emlyn; his father, E. Eugene Fisher; his three sisters, Karyn (Jay) St Pierre, Nancy (George) Slater, and Barbara (Steve) Ingraham. He was preceded in death by his mom, Anne Marie.
Crystal B. Jackson passed away on May 24, 2022. She was born August 29, 1953, in Philadelphia, PA to Alfretta E. Bronson and David A. Bronson. She left Philadelphia with her mother at the age of six and settled in Atlantic City. She was educated in the Atlantic City Public School system graduating from Atlantic City High School, Class of 1972. Even though she was raised in Atlantic City, Philadelphia called her back to attend Pierce Jr. College (graduating 1974), attended the National School of Health Technology, becoming a registered medical assistant. Unable to find a position as a medical assistant, she was hired by PCO and worked there for 43 years. She is survived by her son, David Windsor Jackson.
Donald P. Kolessar passed away on July 3, 2022 at Paul’s Run Retirement Community. He was born in Freeland, Pennsylvania, and grew up in Philadelphia where he went to Dobbins High School. He was a corporal in the Army during the Korean conflict. Following his service, he became a firefighter for the City of Philadelphia where he was employed for 22 years. He also worked in facilities and maintenance at PCO, where he was employed for more than 30 years.
Debra McReynolds passed away on August 26, 2022. She was born April 23, 1960, to Harry Wiggins and Curly Cutner. and raised in Williamston, North Carolina. She graduated from Williamston High School, class of 1978. She furthered her education at UNLV in Las Vegas, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in biology. She started working at The Eye Institute (TEI) at PCO/Salus in 2005. She worked at the Godfrey Avenue location of TEI for all 17 years of her service to the University. She was the administrative assistant for the vice president of Clinical Operations. She also served as the Notary Public at TEI, and managed the privileging and the insurance credentialing for all the providers. She ensured the providers remained up to date on their licenses, CPR certification, and CAQH attestations. She is survived by her husband, Aaron; daughter, Carla Wallace; sons, Craig Brown and Darryl Blackwell; and one granddaughter.