Deaths in the Notre Dame family


Author: Notre Dame Alumni Association

Rev. William Botzum, CSC, who taught in the Department of Psychology for 30 years and served as a residence hall rector, died March 2, 2006, in Holy Cross House at Notre Dame. He was 89 and had been a priest for nearly 63 years.

Father Botzum was a quiet man said to be deeply dedicated to his life as a priest and teacher, with a dry wit and eyes that lit up during a conversation. His academic interest lay in statistical inference, which served him well in his lifelong hobby—playing bridge. He was well-known in local bridge circles, frequently playing in tournaments. He could often be seen walking across campus with his nose in a small book detailing the winning combinations in the card game. In 1958 he was given the “Life Master—Life Member” award by the American Contract Bridge League.

A native of Akron, Ohio, who earned a bachelor’s from Notre Dame in 1938 and a doctorate from the University of Chicago in 1950, Father Botzum also served as chaplain to the Holy Cross sisters and did pastoral work in area hospitals and clinics.

Robert Leader, one of Notre Dame’s most popular and influential teachers, died April 11, 2006, at age 81. The professor emeritus of art, art history and design taught at Notre Dame from 1953 to 1985, and was best known for his Art Traditions course, an introduction to world art and architecture that enrolled in each of its sections more than 300 students. And Leader taught two sections per semester—with no graduate assistants and grading each exam himself. “It was his charisma and abilities as a lecturer that drove that course,” says Notre Dame art historian Charles Rosenberg, who described Leader not as an art historian but as “a painter who had this profound knowledge of the history of art and had a wonderful way of communicating that.”

As a teacher, Leader not only taught this large course to literally thousands of Notre Dame students from all four undergraduate colleges, but he also taught smaller studio art classes. As an artist, Leader developed a talent for stained glass and created windows for churches throughout the Midwest and in chapels and buildings across campus. As a writer, Leader contributed expertly crafted essays to this magazine and other publications. As a 20-year-old Marine Corps corporal in World War II, he was wounded during the invasion of Iwo Jima a few days after having been a member of the patrol that captured Mount Suribachi and famously planted the American flag there.

A native of Cambridge, Massachusetts, Leader earned degrees from Yale University and the University of Illinois. He once said of teaching students to create liturgical art: “It is hardly an academic task to teach young people to capture the sound and sight of God in any media. It is like wrestling a thunderbolt in an attempt to nail it to the wall of a church.”

Vince Raymond, a longtime administrator in the Mendoza College of Business until he retired in May 2000, died March 5, 2006, in Los Angeles at age 83. After earning an MBA from Harvard in 1951 and working in private business, Raymond joined the Notre Dame faculty in 1957. The New Jersey native taught popular courses in small business and management. He helped form the University’s freshman year program before becoming assistant dean of the business college in 1966 and associate dean in 1973.

Widely praised as an administrator, Raymond was also perceived as a good friend to students, especially Notre Dame’s first female undergraduates, and he occasionally expressed a longing to teach more. “I’d like to show them,” he was once quoted as saying of students, “that they need to devote more time to becoming a well-rounded person and less time worrying about which course is going to help them get which job.”

“His kindness and generosity are very much a part of his legacy,” his longtime administrative assistant Sharon Clancy-Orban recalled. “No matter where he went on his many travels, he was always doing something kind for someone. It could be a waitress in a restaurant in Louisiana or a housekeeper in a hotel in California, but always after his trips would come a thank-you card from someone for something he would have done for them—perhaps just a Notre Dame T-shirt he left them as a gift.”

Civil rights activist Peggy Roach, 78, who worked at Notre Dame from 1970 to 1983, died April 20, 2006, in her suburban Chicago home. For decades Roach worked closely in Chicago and at Notre Dame with Monsignor Jack Egan, who died in 2001. She was Egan’s administrative assistant when he served as director of several University centers on pastoral, social and urban ministry. The pair returned to Chicago in 1983 to serve the archdiocese in human relations and ecumenism at the request of Cardinal Joseph Bernardin. Roach continued to work for human rights well into her 70s.

The Chicago native, who received Notre Dame’s prestigious Grenville Clark Award, marched in civil rights demonstrations in Alabama, was active in a women’s organization called “Wednesdays in Mississippi,” which advocated racial solidarity, and was a behind-the-scenes witness to Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. President Lyndon Johnson gave her one of the pens he used to sign the Civil Rights Act of 1964—a pen she later gave to Father Theodore Hesburgh, CSC, when he resigned from the U.S. Civil Rights Commission during the Nixon era.

Carol Marin, writing in the Chicago Sun-Times, described Roach as a “pioneer, a revolutionary, a fearless force in the fight for social and racial justice. Small in stature and elegant in appearance, she was made of structural steel when it came to human rights.”

Robert H. Vasoli, a member of Notre Dame’s sociology department for 33 years and a specialist in criminal justice and criminology, died May 1, 2006, at age 80. Despite his reputation as a demanding and rigorous teacher (famous for his seven-option multiple-choice exam questions), Vasoli’s classes were in demand. He routinely took students to the state penitentiary in Michigan City and placed dozens of students in internships with various agencies, offices and departments within the criminal justice system long before experiential-learning opportunities had become the norm.

Vasoli was described by a colleague as smart and intense, and “awesomely funny in faculty meetings.” His 1998 book, What God Has Joined Together: The Annulment Crisis in American Catholicism, a severe critique of the annulment process, has become a classic reference treatment on the subject and landed Vasoli on national news talk shows. “His sense of justice was off the scale,” recalled a colleague. “He was a man who certainly followed his own light.” Vasoli was said to love Notre Dame and Notre Dame football, was an excellent golfer, a formidable proponent of various civic causes, and was a licensed electrician and member of IBEW Local Union No. 98. It was not unusual for him to show up at a colleague’s house with his belt and tools to fix an electrical problem, sometimes rewiring the whole house.

Vasoli earned a master’s from Notre Dame in 1953 and a doctorate from the University in 1964. He retired as an associate professor in 1990.

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