Jan/Feb 2022 In Remembrance

In Remembrance is an occasional column featuring short obituaries of CAS members who have recently passed away. These obituaries and sometimes longer versions are posted on the CAS website; search for “Obituaries.” 

The Red Sox Fan

Linda Wolusky Groh (FCAS 1988)

Linda Groh, 74, of Southampton, Pennsylvania, passed away January 2, 2021. Born in Boston, Massachusetts, to Margaret and Charles Wolusky, she earned a bachelor’s degree from Emmanuel College in Boston and a master’s degree at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. A proud Boston native, Groh resided in Branchburg, New Jersey, for 46 years and frequently spent time in Naples, Florida. She was a lifelong Boston Red Sox fan and especially enjoyed watching pre-season games in Florida. A true hodophile,[1] she especially enjoyed visiting national parks and traveled extensively internationally. She was a season subscriber to the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and enjoyed live theater. When home, she delighted in sewing and knitting, especially for her grandchildren. She also loved gardening, crossword puzzles, Sudoku, cooking and reading. An animal lover, she was also a cat owner/servant. Groh was one of a growing number of women actuaries who joined the actuarial profession when it was primarily made up of men. She retired after more than 25 years at the Chubb Group of Insurance Companies as senior vice president and actuary. Groh died at the Floral Creek Alzheimer’s Special Care Center in Yardley, Pennsylvania. Survivors are her husband of 52 years, John Groh; daughter Lauren (Dominic) Holmes of Littleton, Colorado; son Brian (Lisa) of Holland, Pennsylvania; and three grandchildren. Memorial contributions may be made in her memory to Alzheimer’s Association Greater New Jersey Chapter, 400 Morris Ave. Denville, New Jersey 07834.

Devoted to Christian Service

Chester J. Toren (ACAS 1966)

Chester Toren passed away June 11, 2015, in Munster, Indiana at the age of 94. He was born in Chicago on October 10, 1920, to Anthony Toren (a salesman) and Mamie (Dekker) Toren. In 1937 he was the first family member to go away to college, graduating from Hope College with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and education in 1941. He enrolled in a graduate program at the University of Chicago’s School of  Business, which was interrupted by military service in the U.S. Army Signal Corps during World War II. He was discharged with the rank of Staff Sergeant. In June 1947, he married Lucille Teninga, a graduate of Hope College and schoolteacher. The couple, married for 58 years, had five sons. He earned his master’s degree in business administration in 1947 and started his 38-year career with Zurich Insurance Company, retiring in 1985 as an assistant vice president. Devoted to Christian education, he was a founding member of Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights, Illinois, in 1959, and served on its first board of trustees. He also sat on the school boards of Lansing Christian School and Illiana Christian High School. He was very active at his church, which was the core of his social life; he performed in several capacities, including as Sunday school teacher. He is survived by his children, John (Susan) of Shawnee, Kansas; Glenn (Nancy) of Carmel, Indiana; Carl (Margaret) of Lynwood, Illinois; Paul (Heidi) of Shawnee; Kevin (Shelley) of Ada, Michigan; and about 20 grandchildren. Gifts in his honor may be given to the Toren Scholarship Fund, Hope College, Holland, Michigan 49423.

World War II Hero

John S. Ripandelli (ACAS 1966)

John Ripandelli died at his home in Tallahassee, Florida, on June 30, 2018, after a brief illness. He was 99 years old. After graduating from Columbia University in 1940, he was drafted in 1942 and spent two years at infantry training school in Spartanburg, South Carolina. He married Eleanor Richards in North Carolina in 1943 and they spent 54 years together.

During WWII, he was a first lieutenant combat engineer for reconnaissance for the 284th Engineer Combat Battalion. During the Rhineland Campaign, he participated in the battle of the Remagen Bridge, allowing the first U.S. Army soldiers to cross into Germany. For his participation in the Battle of the Bulge, he received the French Legion of Honor medal (Chevalier). He was also portrayed as the character “John” in the book by Mikel Shilling, Silent Heroes, a compilation of the war experiences of the soldiers in Ripandelli’s battalion. In 1953 he left Asheville, North Carolina, to become the state of Florida’s chief actuary and insurance examiner. He resigned in September 1959 to be an independent actuarial consultant and continued until the age of 92. He enjoyed solving crossword and math problems and playing piano. Ripandellli was born in New York City on October 1, 1918, to Ida Gimma and Francesco P. Ripandelli, who was knighted by the Italian monarchy for technological innovation in the Italian banking system. He is survived by three daughters: Carol Ripandelli, Diane Ripandelli and Joan (Wayne) Sizemore; and two grandchildren.

The Social Butterfly

Elisabeth Stadler Pader (FCAS 1990)

Elisabeth Stadler Pader died suddenly on September 29, 2020. She was born in Romania on June 18, 1950, to Eva and Ludvig Stadler, Jewish prisoners who survived Nazi concentration camps during World War II. At 18 she moved to New York City with her mother at the invitation of her aunt. She graduated from the City College of New York with a mathematics degree in 1972. Since she enjoyed math, she was encouraged to become an actuary. She started her career at Royal Globe Insurance Company and worked at Continental Insurance before realizing her greatest accomplishments at Swiss Re. She also participated in various CAS committees. In 1982 she married Curt Pader whom she met at Continental Insurance. She had an absolute joy for life; she enjoyed the performing arts, shopping, traveling, spending time with family, cooking and cleaning. She was also quite social. She had an amazing talent for remembering faces and a knack for making and keeping friends. During her retirement years, she enjoyed volunteering at Tanglewood in Massachusetts, which is the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and a popular venue for several music festivals and artists. She served as a tour guide there and volunteered in other capacities to support the arts. Her survivors are her husband; son Len; daughter Sarah; and five grandchildren.

New York’s Influential Actuary

Stanley A. Dorf (FCAS 1965)

Stanley A. Dorf, the former head of the New York State Insurance Department’s policy and planning bureau, died July 7, 2020. Born in 1931 on Manhattan’s Lower East Side to Irving and Sally Dorf, he suffered permanent damage on his right arm during birth and “mild” polio, but he accepted his limitations without complaint. While in a school for gifted children, he skipped two grades and was later offered a full-tuition scholarship at Columbia University. Since his parents could not afford room and board, he lived at home in Brooklyn, trekking back and forth to Manhattan’s Upper West Side. He enrolled at Cornell University to pursue a master’s degree in philosophy. In 1956 he married Annette Kaplan, the love of his life of 57 years. After briefly working at the Royal Insurance Company, he joined New York’s insurance department. There he served as chief of the casualty actuarial bureau and later at the policy and planning bureau. He was instrumental in enacting New York’s no-fault auto insurance law and contributing to medical malpractice insurance reform. At home he enjoyed spending time with his wife, children and grandchildren. He also pursued a doctorate in history. A lover of the arts and music, Dorf accumulated and categorized more than 10,000 LP records and often played them at high volume. As an early technology adopter, he proudly owned one of the very first calculators and used it until his iPhone app rendered it obsolete. He is survived by his brother, William Dorf; daughter Laura Dorf Queller; son Michael C. Dorf; and grandchildren Sarah, Philip and Julia Queller, and Meena and Amelia Colbdorf.

The Chess Master

Boris Privman (FCAS 1991)

“Had the God of Actuaries [existed and] wanted to punish them for their pride, he’d start with the creation of multiple incompatible data formats,” said Boris Privman in a passage from the 1999 CAS Discussion Paper by Aleksey Popelyukhin called “…Per Aspera: The Last Few Obstacles on the Way to Digital Paradise.” Privman earned his living as a reserving actuary, but his favorite pastimes were being with family and playing chess. Privman was one of the busiest chess players in the U.S. Chess Federation. Perhaps his finest accomplishment was in the 2000 New York Open Chess Championship, where he scored 6-3 against four International Chess Federation (FIDE)[2] grandmasters and three international masters, becoming a FIDE Master at age 43. Following news of his death, his fellow chess players honored him with a memorial chess event. Born in Ukraine, he moved to Israel as a teenager and graduated from Tel Aviv University with a mathematics degree in 1981. Shortly after, he moved to the U.S. and became an actuary by the suggestion of another chess player. He began his career at the National Council on Compensation Insurance and later became managing actuary for the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance in the office of solvency regulation’s actuarial unit. Most recently, he was the supervising actuary for financial reporting for the New York State Insurance Fund. Privman’s survivors are his sister, Robin; sister-in-law, Marina; and six nieces and nephews.

The Faithful Adventurer

Mark S. Wenger (FCAS 2006)

Mark S. Wenger died in October 2020, at the age of 54 after a long struggle with leukemia. He was born in Marion, Indiana, to Dale and Martha Sue (Royer) Wenger. He graduated from Taylor University in Upland, Indiana, in 1988, and earned his master’s degree in mathematics from Miami University of Ohio in Oxford in 1990. Wenger’s Christian faith was his greatest passion in life. He was an active church member, volunteering as a deacon, financial secretary, youth basketball league coach and unofficial brush removal specialist. He also served at Livingston Christian School as its first high school basketball coach. He was an actuary for 29 years. Most recently, he worked 13 years as assistant vice president and chief property and casualty actuary at Auto-Owners Insurance in Lansing, Michigan. He also served on the advisory board at Michigan State University in East Lansing. Wenger lived a life full of adventure. He ran half and full marathons in 2016 and 2018, respectively, and hiked across the Grand Canyon. He also completed bike rides from Lansing to Mackinac City, Michigan; from Montana to Alaska; and down the coast of California. He was an eternally joyful spirit who loved playing games and spending time with friends and family. He is survived by his mother; his wife, Ruth; children, Daniel (Hannah), Luke (Jenny) and Sarah; his sister Debbie (Keith) Harvey; and his nephew and niece.

[1]   One who loves to travel.

[2]   FIDE is the French acronym for Fédération Internationale des Échecs, which is also known as the World Chess Federation.