In Memoriam: Spring 2023
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In Memoriam: Spring 2023


Arthur C. Bittner, OD ‘51, passed away on February 7, 2023 at the age of 98. He was the husband of the late Mary Winschel Bittner, with whom he shared a 67-year marriage. He is survived by his seven children: Terri Ballard (Bill); Lorraine Bittner (Bernard MacDonagh); David Bittner; Gregory Bittner, OD ‘81 (Denise); Mary Lou Mitsch (Richard); Callie Bartos (Scott); and Bob Bittner (Kim). Also surviving Dr. Bittner are his 16 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren as well as numerous nieces and nephews. Dr. Bittner was preceded in death by his eight siblings. Dr. Bittner was born on August 21, 1924, in Glenshaw, Pennsylvania, to Edward and Caroline. He graduated from Etna High School and later Allegheny College; he then attended the Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO) and started his optometric practice which grew to include his son and grandchildren and became the present-day Bittner Vision Associates. Dr. Bittner was the last surviving charter member of the Etna Shaler Rotary Club where he served for more than 50 years alongside his father, brothers, and son. 

in-memoriam-logo1Wayne M. Gardner, OD ‘53, passed away on August 16, 2022 at the age of 92. He was the husband of Nancy and together they shared 12 years of marriage. Dr. Gardner was preceded in death by his first wife, Cathy; together they shared 43 years of marriage. Born November 21, 1929 in York, Pennsylvania, he was the son of the late Maurice and Pansy. Dr. Gardner was an optometrist on Baltimore Street in Hanover, Pennsylvania for 49 years and was a member of Mount Carmel Lutheran Church in Hanover. In addition to his wife Nancy, Dr. Gardner is survived by his sons, David and wife Rhonda, and Craig and wife Nga; grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his sister, Nina Coyne. 

Sheldon L. Leibowitz, OD ‘53, MPH, FAAO, passed away on July 18, 2021, at the age of 91. He is survived by his wife Janet Leibowitz (nee Shapiro); children Fran (Debbie), Sam (Martha), and Amie Smith (Alan); sister Iris Pevner, eight grandchildren; and two great-grandsons. Dr. Leibowitz was a native of Baltimore and a graduate of Baltimore City College High School. He earned his Doctor of Optometry at PCO and then served in the Korean War. He practiced optometry for 60 years, was active in the local and national Optometric Associations, was the director of the Maryland Optometric Center, and in 1973 was honored as Maryland Optometrist of the Year. He earned additional degrees at the University of Baltimore, Loyola College, and John Hopkins University to better serve his patients and enhance his administrative skills. He served on the board of multiple professional, social, and charitable organizations. For many decades he served on the board of directors of the Regal Bank (now WestBanco Bank), which was co-founded by his father Samuel. He was devoted to his wife Janet for 68 years and cherished time spent with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Gabriel Merchan-De Mendoza, OD ‘55, passed away in the fall of 2022. In 1966, Universidad De La Salle in Bogotá founded the first South American School of Optometry and Dr. Merchan-De Mendoza joined six months later as part of the faculty to teach theoretical optometry to second-semester students. Eventually, he taught clinical proceedings, mechanical optics, visual graphic analysis, theoretical optometry, contact lenses, theory and practice, statistics and was the director of the optometric clinic. In 1975, he was appointed dean and stayed in that position for the next ten years. He ascended to the categories of full professor, distinguished professor, professor emeritus and honorary professor.


Richard J. Misage, OD ‘62, passed away on September 12, 2022. He is survived by his wife Pat and four children - Lisette (Kerry), Scott (Lori), Jill (Mark) and Carolyn (Brian) as well as three brothers - Jim, Tom and Bob. Dr. Misage had six grandchildren and grew up in a Slovak family with a tight group of extended friends in the steel town communities of Homestead and Munhall, Pennsylvania. He attended Duquesne and PCO and practiced as an optometrist for more than 35 years in Old Town, Alexandria. 

Thomas B. Attea, Jr., OD ‘65, passed away on October 14, 2022. Dr. Attea was one of America’s most award-winning copywriters and the founder of Heavy Creative, Inc. As executive creative director of a digital agency in SoHo, he won the Gold Mobius for writing the “Best B2B Internet Services Advertisement.” He has held executive positions in major agencies, including Young & Rubicam and the Interpublic Group. Dr. Attea wrote copy for Grey Poupon, Dr. Pepper, Jello and other Kraft brands, Citibank, Bristol-Myers, Squibb, Johnson & Johnson, Fuji, and other top brands. Dr. Attea attended Duquesne University and earned a Doctor of Optometry degree at PCO. After his arrival in New York, he studied composition and orchestration at Juilliard. Dr. Attea is survived by his domestic partner, Sharman Wheatley, as well as his daughter, Lisa Attea Harris (son-in-law, David) and his son, John, (daughter-in-law, Brittany, and granddaughter, Peyton). 


Martin D. Markowitz, OD ‘71, passed away on November 6, 2022, at the age of 73. Dr. Markowitz was born Nov. 2, 1946, in Pittsburgh, and grew up in Garden City and Monroeville, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Gateway High School and went on to attend Ohio University and PCO. After graduating from optometry school, Dr. Markowitz served stateside as an optometrist for the United States Army. He then joined his father, the late Dr. Louis S. Markowitz, in his optometry practices in Greensburg and Indiana, Pennsylvania, where he spent the next 38 years. Dr. Markowitz is survived by his wife of 54 years. In addition to his father, Dr. Markowitz was preceded in death by his mother, Lillian. Dr. Markowitz is also survived by his two children, Craig and Pace (Michelle); two grandchildren; and siblings, Cindy (Jerry) Brodsky of Lyndhurst, Ohio, and Michael (Charlotte Paskman) Markowitz of Chalfant, Pennsylvania. 

James C. Frangos, OD ‘77, passed away on July 17, 2022, at the age of 76. He was born January 18, 1949, in Dover, New Hampshire, to Costas and Alexandra.He went on to graduate from the University of New Hampshire with a degree in Zoology before obtaining his doctorate from PCO in 1977. In 1984, he opened his own practice in Dover on Broadway, later moving to its current location on Portland Avenue in 1994. Every summer he also volunteered his time by providing eye exams to the Special Olympics. A lifelong member of the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Dover, his Greek heritage was always very important to him. Members of his family include his wife of 38 years Peggy (Parkhurst) Frangos of Conway; three children Justin Hussey and his wife Julie of North Conway, Andrew Frangos, OD ‘16, and his wife Jennifer of Boston and Lilly Lirette and her husband Adam of Dover; three grandchildren; his brother Dennis Frangos and sister Paula Maskwa and her husband Paul.


David A. Evans, III, OD ‘83, passed away on September 2, 2022, at the age of 64. Dr. Evans was born in Kingston, Pennsylvania on Dec. 20, 1957, and was the son of the late David A., Jr. and Evelyn. Dr. Evans 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 Sweet Valley Church of Christ where he served as a former deacon, American Optometric Association and the Pennsylvania Optometric Association and on 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, Dr. Gail Evans; children, Kyle and his wife, Taylor; Brooke Evans; and Curtis and his girlfriend, Rachel Vidumsky; siblings, Amy Boytin and her husband, Chuck; Darrell Evans, OD ‘85 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. He is also survived by 10 nieces and nephews, their partners and their children who were dear to his heart; and thousands of patients who he cared for over the past 38 years in his eye care practice.


Florence Hafter, passed away on June 17, 2022. Wife of the late Martin Hafter, OD ‘49. Mother of Ronnie (Stanley) Rubin and Rob (Cindy Kaufman) Hafter. Grandmother of Joshua (Rachel Berger) Rubin and Cara and Becca Hafter. The Hafter family’s generous contributions have resulted in the creation of Salus University’s Hafter Student Community Center, the Hafter Electro-Diagnostic Service, the Hafter Electro-Physiology Laboratory, the Hafter Light and Laser Institute and the Hafter Student Endowment Fund. Florence Hafter and the Hafter family have left a lasting impact on Salus University that will be remembered for years to come. 

Ken Newton, retired faculty member and clinical educator in the Speech-Language Pathology program, recently passed away. He was a vital part of the department and greatly impacted the lives of the students, clients, faculty and staff. He will be greatly missed by the Salus community, his two sons, Lucas Finalle Newton and Jesse Finalle Newton; his brothers, Raymond Newton (Lynn), Patrick Newton Jr (Linda), Michael Newton (Roseann) and Robert Newton (Lora); his sister, Mary Ann Newton and many nieces and nephews.