Dr. Lajos Pukanszky, Mathematics

Dr. Lajos Pukanszky, an emeritus professor of Mathematics, died on February 15 at the age of 67. He was considered by many to be the world's leading expert on representations of Solvable Lie Groups. Dr. Pukanszky came to the University from UCLA in 1964, as a full professor. He joined the functional analysis group, just forming in the Mathematics Department. That group became, almost at once, the foremost assemblage of functional analysts in the world; Lajos Pukanszky was one of its stars.

Dr. Pukanszky was born in Budapest, Hungary on Nov. 24, 1928. He was educated at the Universities of Debrecen, Budapest and Szeged, receiving his Ph.D. in 1955 at the University of Szeged.

He fled Hungary during the 1956 uprising, arriving at a Yugoslavian refugee camp. His talents were well recognized on this side of the Atlantic. He received a visa and came to the USA in 1957. His career, here, began with an appointment as a Research Associate at an institute in Baltimore. From there, he moved to a position in the Mathematics Department at the University of Maryland. Shortly after that, he accepted a visiting position at Stanford and then a line position at UCLA. He was promoted to tenure a year following that. At that same time, he was happy and proud to become a citizen of the United States.

Lajos Pukanszky will missed by his colleagues and friends.

-- Robert T. Powers

Paul Gay, Biddle Law

Paul Gay, 85, died on January 3 at his retirement community near Washington, D.C. Mr. Gay worked in the Biddle Law Library from 1943 until 1981, holding the position of Associate Director during the '60s and '70s.

Mr. Gay emigrated from Switzerland as a teenager. After attending library school, he worked at the Library Company of Philadelphia until 1943. He began his 38-year career at the University as the Acquisitions Librarian.

Among his other services to Penn, Mr. Gay was the first Librarians Assembly representative to the Almanac Advisory Board, helping to frame the initial Guidelines for this publication's record, opinion and response functions.

Mr. Gay is remembered for his knowledge of law books, especially rare books, and his love of books in general. He also enjoyed history and music. A longtime member of the Philadelphia Art Alliance, Mr. Gay's passion was opera.

Esther Israeli Kahn, Fine Arts

Esther Israeli Kahn, an alumna and staff member who became a major contributor to the life of architecture students here, died February 24, at her home in Center City at the age of 90. Mrs. Kahn, who received her bachelor's degree in education from the University in 1927 and her master's degree in psychology six years later, was a research assistant to a neurologist until her retirement in 1966.

Her husband, the late Louis I. Kahn, was the architect who designed numerous buildings around the world, including the Richards Building here at Penn. After his death in 1974, she opened her home to aspiring architects at the University and to architectural historians. She was a charter member of the Women for the Bicentennial, a nonprofit service group now known as Women for Greater Philadelphia. The group's first project was to raise money to renovate Laurel Hill Mansion in Fairmount Park. Mrs. Kahn was honored last March at a luncheon held by Women for Greater Philadelphia, where Mayor Rendell gave her a citation for her many contributions to the City.Last month the Trustees passed a memorial resolution that concludes:

"Resolved, that the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania, on their own behalf and on behalf of the overseers, faculty, students, alumni and entire University community, express their deep sorrow over the death of their friend Esther Kahn, and in recording this official resolution in her memory, ask the Secretary of the University to convey to her family their gratitude for the long and profound association the University enjoyed with Mrs. Kahn, their gratitude for all Mrs. Kahn did to help ensure that the excellence of the University and its Graduate School of Fine Arts will continue into the next century, and the University community's sympathy for her family."

Mrs. Kahn is survived by a daughter, Sue Ann Kahn; a grandson, Gregory Melitonov, and a sister, Olivia Abelson. Contributions may be sent to the Louis I. Kahn Collection, c/o Graduate School of Fine Arts.

Dorothea Killian, Student Health

Dr. Dorothea M. Killian, who served in Student Health at Penn for 37 years until her retirement, died on February 12 at the age of 86. She was widely known in the city as well for her work in the Sidney Hillman Medical Clinic and with Philadelphia's Youth Study Center.

Dr. Killian earned her bachelor's degree here in 1931, completed her medical training in 1935, and added a master's degree in public health in 1945. She completed her internship and residency at Philadelphia General Hospital, where she was assistant chief of medicine for several years.

Dr. Killian was also an assistant clinical professor of medicine at the Women's Medical College, chief of medicine at Woman's Hospital of Philadelphia, and a Fellow of the American College of Physicians. The City of Philadelphia cited her as supervisor of the year and awarded her the Louis B. Catherino Award when she retired from the Youth Study Center in 1976.


March 26, 1996
Volume 42 Number 25

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