Campus loses three esteemed faculty membersUniversity of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Diane Chang, (808) 956-0391
Posted: May 23, 2011
UH Mānoa is saddened to announce the passing of three faculty members—Jeff Bitterman, Peter Rappa and Lee Winters.
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Morton Edward “Jeff” Bitterman, a UH Mānoa professor emeritus in psychology and former director of the Békésy Laboratory of Neurobiology at the Pacific Biosciences Research Center, died May 10 in San Francisco. He was 90. Said his wife, Mary, “He joined PBRC and the Békésy Laboratory 40 years ago—they were wonderful and highly productive years.”
Bitterman was an experimental psychologist who was internationally recognized for developing the methodological and theoretical foundations of the comparative analysis of animal behavior. He was honored by the American Psychological Association in 2001 with the D.O. Hebb Distinguished Scientific Contributions Award and received the Ernest R. Hilgard Award for Lifetime Career Contributions to General Psychology in 2004. In addition, he was awarded the University of Hawaiʻi Regents’ Medal for Excellence in Research in l992 and was a Fellow of the Society of Experimental Psychologists, receiving its Howard Crosby Warren Medal in 1997.
Over a period of 68 years, he published more than 300 papers and served as editor of the American Journal of Psychology, the Journal of Animal Learning and Behavior, and the Journal of Comparative Psychology. He was a recipient of the Humboldt Prize from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation of Germany and a Fulbright professor in Argentina, Germany and Yugoslavia. Bitterman was a graduate of New York University, with a MA from Columbia and PhD from Cornell University.
In addition to wife Mary, Bitterman is survived by three children and two grandchildren. His ashes will be scattered at sea by family members. Donations may be made to Project Dana, 2720 Nakookoo Street, Honolulu, HI 96826
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Peter Joseph Rappa, an extension agent with the Sea Grant program in the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology at UH Mānoa, died on May 9 at the age of 59. Since joining Sea Grant in 1979, his life’s work has been dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of the environment, especially the popular visitor and kama‘āina attraction of Hanauma Bay.
Rappa spent the better part of his adult life as an activist for environmental issues. He helped organize the first statewide Earth Day celebration in Hawai‘i that remains an annual event, and worked tirelessly to see the Education Center built at the Hanauma Bay nature preserve. Today, thousands of visitors go through the center everyday and learn to preserve the natural beauty of the bay.
Working with many other environmental groups and causes, Rappa was well recognized for his contributions by organizations and his peers. The Conservation Council of Hawai‘i presented him with a Lifetime Achievement Award, and last year the Department of Urban and Regional Planning named him “Planner of Year.” He also received the Chair’s Special Award for his work with the National Sea Grant organization.
Sea Grant Director Gordon Grau noted that “Peter was larger than life. His love of Hawai‘i, its people and natural resources, his enthusiasm for life, and his dedication to Sea Grant’s mission and purpose were extraordinary. I treasure his friendship and will dearly miss him.”
Rappa is survived by wife, Myrtle Ching-Rappa, who serves as UH Mānoa Director of Career Development and Student Employment, two children and two grandchildren. Private services.
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Lee E. Winters Jr., an Emeritus Professor of English, former music critic for the Honolulu Star-Bulletin and frequent author of program notes for the Honolulu Symphony and Hawaiʻi Opera Theatre, died on April 1. He was 88.
Winters earned his an undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and his PhD in English from the University of California-Berkeley. He then accepted a teaching position at UH Mānoa, where he taught until his retirement in 1985. In the English Department, he was a popular teacher of Shakespeare and world literature, and mentored students from throughout Asia.
His musical knowledge was comprehensive in the classical orchestral and instrumental repertory, and he was a nationally recognized authority on Arturo Toscanni—hosting a series of radio programs devoted to the great maestro’s performances. Winters’ judicious, even-tempered reviews and program notes became important elements in Honolulu’s musical life.
In addition to Toscanni, he always showed infectious enthusiasm for the operas of Verdi, Puccini, and other Italian verismo works of the late nineteenth century, and for the great singers of the early and middle of the twentieth century, from Enrico Caruso to Zinka Milanov. In retirement, he studied the Thai language and soon becoming proficient in both the written and spoken word. His gift for languages was also reflected in a mastery of Cantonese, Mandarin, Japanese, German, and Italian when he was younger.
Winters, a Navy veteran who served in World War II, is survived by a brother and two grandchildren, including local singer Sunway (Chong). No services.