Attorney and activist Barbara Brenner *77 challenged the cancer establishment. She died of ALS in May.
Attorney and activist Barbara Brenner *77 challenged the cancer establishment. She died of ALS in May.
Liz Hafalia/San Francisco Chronicle/Corbis

Princeton knows the power of pomp. Students begin their time on campus with a ceremony combining all the seriousness and exuberance of a grand new phase of life; they leave after celebrations — both poignant and raucous — marking four years’ worth of accomplishments, fun, and friendships.

Of all the ceremonies that Princeton does so well, the Service of Remembrance may be the most affecting. It is this Chapel service, held each Alumni Day, that best speaks to the community that is Princeton, by marking the deaths ­— and the lives — of those who recently died. All are remembered: alumni, students, professors, and staff from every department; the famous and those known only to family and friends.

In this annual tribute, PAW celebrates the lives of alumni who died in 2013. Those whose stories are told on the following pages — you may recognize some but not all of the names — represent a small slice of the losses Princeton experienced last year. There are many others: industry giants such as marketing genius Robert Elberson ’50, who introduced the distinctively packaged L’eggs pantyhose brand; scholars like Clifford Nass ’81 *86, who studied how people multitask while using new technologies, and warned of the dangers; “local heroes” such as Dick Kazmaier ’52, Princeton’s only Heisman Trophy winner (see PAW, Sept. 18). Chet Safian ’55 was a lawyer and investment banker but found his true calling as a volunteer and as a co-founder of Princeton Project 55, now called Princeton AlumniCorps. Another alumnus who found satisfaction after retirement was Nelson Runger ’53, a public-relations executive for 30 years before becoming an acclaimed narrator of audiobooks. 

Every alum has a story. Here are just a few.

Click the Lives 2013 tag below to read profiles of 11 alumni whom Princeton lost in 2013.