In Memoriam

We honor the memory of alumni, former faculty, and staff members who have passed away in recent months. Our deepest condolences to their family, friends and former classmates. 

Park College extends sympathies to the families of our deceased alumni. To share news of alumni passing, please contact Christine Hoffmann at or 314-977-8447.

In Memoriam 2015

Marty Ferman, Ph.D., professor emeritus in the department of aerospace and mechanical engineering at Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology, died Aug. 8. He was 81.

Dr. Ferman received his undergraduate degree in aerospace engineering from Purdue University in 1957. He went on to earn a graduate degree in applied mechanics from Washington University in 1962 and his Ph.D. in engineering from California Coast University in 1995.

Employed by the McDonnell Douglas Corporation for more than 34 years, Ferman worked on the structural dynamics of several fighter, missile and spacecraft projects, including the F-4, F-15, F-18 and Project Mercury.

In 1993 he left the company as a principal technical specialist to join the faculty at Parks College. During his tenure at Parks, Ferman served as the graduate program director for several years. He was instrumental in forging a partnership between the Boeing Company and Parks College for wind tunnel testing which continues to this day.
His work on buffet and fluid-structure interactions earned him the Technical Contributions Award, which was conferred by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics-St. Louis Chapter.

K. Ravindra, Ph.D., associate dean at Parks and former chair of the department of aerospace and mechanical engineering, worked with Ferman for many years and said his impact on those around him was significant.

“Marty mentored many students and was instrumental in assisting them with internships and jobs,” Ravindra said. “He was a wonderful colleague and a dear friend. He will be missed.”

Dr. Ferman retired from SLU in 2008.

Ferman is survived by his wife Reva, son David, daughters Laura Ejikemeuwa and Amy Slakman, and nine grandchildren.


Thomas Bever, P.E., an adjunct professor of mechanical engineering at Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology, passed away on May 14. He was 79.

A graduate of Washington University, Bever’s professional career included design engineering, plant engineering and engineering management for several St. Louis manufacturing companies and engineering consulting firms. He joined the faculty of Parks College in August 2002.Bever also did consulting work in design and forensic engineering and was a lifetime member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) serving as chairman of the St. Louis section twice. In addition, he taught a continuing education course for ASME and was a volunteer speaker for the St. Louis Academy of Science.

Bever is survived by his wife, Carole, daughter Leslie (Daryl) McAdoo and grandson Gerald.


Ray Nitzsche, Ph.D., a former Saint Louis University associate professor who taught in the Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering at Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology for more than 20 years, passed away March 12 at the age of 70.

Growing up in Southern Illinois, Nitzsche attended the University of Illinois and earned his doctorate in Theoretical and Applied Mechanics. Before deciding teaching was his true passion, Nitzsche worked at companies like Whirlpool Corporation and Caterpillar. After six years in industry, Nitzsche joined the faculty of Parks College, and found that Parks was the perfect place for him. Nitzsche was known for his sense of humor and would always pepper his lectures with jokes and stories while teaching. He believed students learned better when they were relaxed, having fun and not put on the spot. Parks faculty and students will forever remember him smiling and finding the fun in every task he did. 

In Memoriam 2013

Paul Czysz, a Saint Louis University professor emeritus and alumnus who taught in the department of aerospace and mechanical engineering at Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology for more than 20 years, passed away August 18 at the age of 79. A graduate of St. Louis University High School, Paul Czysz earned his undergraduate degree in aeronautical engineering from Parks College in 1955.

After graduation he joined the McDonnell Douglas Corporation. He left the company in 1956 to serve in the U.S. Air Force at Wright Patterson Air Force Base until 1963 when he returned to St. Louis to join McDonnell Aircraft where he remained until his retirement in 1991. In 1986, Czysz was named a McDonnell Douglas Fellow for his work in hypersonic aircraft concepts. Following his retirement from McDonnell Aircraft, he opened his own consulting business and in 1992 joined Parks College as the Oliver L. Parks Endowed Chair in Engineering until retiring as professor emeritus in 2002. In addition to his work at SLU, Czysz also enjoyed speaking to groups of elementary students about space technology and science. Czysz is survived by his wife of more than 50 years, Catherine; daughter Donna Czysz McConnell; son Paul M. Czysz and two grandchildren.

Benjamin H. Ulrich (faculty member from 1966–1986) passed away Friday, January 11, 2013. Ulrich is survived by his wife, Phyllis; late wife, Mary; children James Ulrich, Robert Ulrich, Susan Jesse, Vicki Arbogast, Connie Wantland and Dean Wantland, 10 grandchildren and four great grandchildren. Benjamin Ulrich joined the faculty of Parks College of Saint Louis University (now Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology) in September 1966. Ulrich, who taught courses in general aeronautics, structural analysis, and helicopter theory and performance, also served as chair of the department of aerospace engineering from 1966 to 1978. He retired as Professor Emeritus in 1987. Ulrich earned his undergraduate (‘44) and graduate degrees (‘49) from Pennsylvania State University. Prior to joining SLU, Ulrich was a professor at West Virginia University and Ohio State University. He also was a retired U.S. Navy Commander serving in World War II and in the Naval Reserve. He helped develop and serve on the Civil Air Patrol of West Virginia and was a City Councilman, licensed pilot and Deacon in his church. He was a man of service to his country, community, church and family. Ben will be sorely missed by many.