In Memoriam

Burke “Mickey” Syphax (1910-2010)

Burke Syphax, the former head of the department of surgery at the Howard University College of Medicine, died last month from kidney failure at Howard University Hospital. He was 99 years old.

Dr. Syphax was a native of Washington, D.C. He traced his roots to Maria Syphax, the daughter of the adopted son of George Washington and a black slave.

Dr. Syphax graduated from Howard University in 1932 and from the university’s medical school in 1936. He became head of the surgery department at Howard in 1957, seven years after the death of Charles S. Drew, who held that position at the time of his death. Syphax served as head of the surgery department until 1970. He remained on the medical school faculty until his retirement in 1978.

Kenneth Harlan Simmons (1933-2010)

Kenneth Simmons, professor emeritus of architecture at the University of California, died last month in Johannesburg, South Africa, after a battle with cancer. He was 77 years old.

Professor Simmons was a native of Oklahoma. His father made a fortune in the oil industry. Simmons worked in the oil fields during summer vacations from high school and college.

Professor Simmons earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Harvard University in 1954. Fifteen years later he decided to change fields and earned a second bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of California at Berkeley. He joined the Berkeley faculty in 1968. While teaching at Berkeley he worked as an architect designing buildings throughout the Bay Area.

After retiring from Berkeley in 1994, Simmons moved to South Africa where he lectured at the University of The Witwatersrand.