Deaths in the Family

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Author: Notre Dame Magazine staff

JAMES L. CULLATHER, a 1940 Notre Dame graduate and the long-time accounting professor whose writing wit defied the stereotype of an accountant as a colorless bean counter, died in April 2004 at age 85. He had retired in 1989 after 37 years on the faculty. Cullather arrived at the business school as an accomplished academic in 1952, a period when Notre Dame’s accounting instructors were all practitioners. Not only had he never worked as CPA, but he held a doctorate in economics. Cullather taught in a field dominated by numbers and was always reserved in person, but former colleagues on the accountancy faculty recall him affectionately and admiringly as a “man of words.” A regular contributor to the Jesuit magazine America, among other publications, he also co-founded the college’s lively ethics newsletter Value Lines, still in publication. These were all notable achievements, but better remembered perhaps are the many letters, articles and even poems he would write filled with keen observations and humorous musings about everyday life: TV anchors who talked of stories just ahead that didn’t arrive for 20 minutes; Band-Aids advertised as skin-colored that didn’t match the skin of black people. He wondered whether being a good Catholic required one to purchase St. Joseph’s brand aspirin. When preparing to teach an intermediate-level accountancy course, the instructor typically reads the textbook ahead of time. Cullather, it is said, would read all the texts available for that course and then inventory the inconsistencies among them. Whether it was a letter to a company or an op-ed in the South Bend Tribune, his missives were never venomous but playful and seasoned with subtle humor. As a friend puts it, “He wrote not with a tongue in his cheek but with a twinkle in his eye.”

ALBERT H. LeMAY, a beloved professor of literature, primarily Spanish and Latin American, who became known as “Mr. Kellogg” as program coordinator for the Helen Kellogg Institute for International Studies during most of the institute’s existence, died in December 2003 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 67. LeMay taught at Notre Dame from 1973 to 1982, at Saint Mary’s from 1982-84, and then returned to Notre Dame, where he also became program coordinator for the then 2-year-old Kellogg Institute. After retiring from that position in 1999, he directed Notre Dame’s study-abroad program in Puebla, Mexico, which he helped establish, until May of last year. LeMay’s ancestors were French-Canadian, and he often spoke French while growing up in Woonsocket, a heavily French-Canadian wool mill town in northern Rhode Island. While a student at Providence, he continued to focus on French until a priest friend recommended he try Spanish. LeMay was well-known for always wanting to make people feel at home, especially scholars visiting from foreign countries. A warm, nurturing teacher, he reached out to Latino youth and migrant workers in and around South Bend as an outgrowth of his commitment to social justice. His 19 years as a commissioner of the South Bend Housing Authority earned him a Key to the City from the mayor’s office. A Kellogg Institute summer research grant is named in his honor.

MICHAEL A. WADSWORTH, a 1966 Notre Dame graduate and the Renaissance man of Notre Dame athletic directors, died of bone cancer in April 2004 at age 60. The picture of robust health during his time in the Joyce Center, he had faced serious health problems in recent years, including successful treatment for bladder cancer last year. He received a kidney transplant last November from his wife, Bernadette, who survives. Wadsworth’s 1995-2000 tenure as athletic director saw many laudable achievements and some disappointments. The University entered the Big East Conference in most sports, Notre Dame Stadium was expanded by 20,000 seats, and the lucrative exclusive-rights contract with NBC Sports to broadcast Irish home football games was extended. He was more directly responsible for expanding opportunities for women athletes, and he played a principal role in negotiating the University’s place in football’s Bowl Championship Series. It was also during Wadsworth’s tenure that Bob Davie replaced Lou Holtz as football coach, that the University discussed joining the Big Ten (and giving up independence in football), and Notre Dame athletics endured a series of embarrassments. If sportswriters and other outsiders faulted his performance, he enjoyed great respect from those around him. He insisted on meticulous planning, colleagues say, but more than that he was always a"stand-up guy" in terms of accepting responsibility for problems. Wadsworth came to work at his alma mater immediately after representing his native Canada for five years as ambassador to Ireland. He had worked previously as a senior executive in the financial services and manufacturing industries, a trial and appellate lawyer, a radio and television sportscaster, and a newspaper sports columnist. He attended Notre Dame on a football scholarship and, despite nagging knee injuries, won a monogram as a defensive tackle in 1964. His father had been a great player in the Canadian Football League. The son won the CFL’s rookie-of-the-year award and played until 1970. A football career seemed an impossibility in his youth as at age 6 he spent six weeks in a hospital fighting for his life against infections in both kidneys. Doctors predicted he would always be frail. He earned his law degree while playing in the CFL and after stepping down at Notre Dame worked as an arbitrator and mediator for a law firm in Toronto.

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