In Remembrance is an occasional column featuring short obituaries of CAS members who have recently died. Longer versions of these obituaries are posted on the CAS website at bit.ly/PCASobits.
Alan Fleck “Al” Royer (ACAS 1959)
Al Royer was born in 1924 in Altoona, Pennsylvania, to John F. Royer and Grace Lucas Royer. A talented musician, he held the second violin chair with the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra while still at John Harris High School in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. During World War II, he served in the Philippines with the U.S. Army’s 32nd Battalion and later became the commander of American Legion Post 46 in New Cumberland, Pennsylvania. After WWII he married Patricia Ann Thomas and attended the Peabody Conservatory of Music. He graduated from Syracuse University with a degree in mathematics and became an actuary, working in Pennsylvania, Illinois, New York and New Jersey. He retired as the casualty actuary for the state of New Jersey in 1987. In retirement he and his wife traveled extensively. An avid skier and cyclist who often traveled with friends from high school, Royer cycled twice through the Netherlands. The couple celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary in 2017. In addition to his wife, survivors include children Rebecca Louise (Peter) Royer Michaelson, Alan Todd (Lorette) Royer and Mark (Marla) Brackenridge Royer; six grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; two sisters, Margaret (John) Royer Billman and Anna Royer. His brothers Gregg and Jim predeceased him.
Program Builder and Methodologist
James R. Berquist (FCAS 1957)
James R. “Jim” Berquist, the coauthor with Richard Sherman of the seminal 1977 Proceedings paper, “Loss Reserve Adequacy Testing: A Comprehensive Systematic Approach,” died just shy of his 90th birthday. An industry standard that is still part of exams, the paper won the Dorweiler Prize in 1978 and was the basis of the Berquist-Sherman method, which has been studied by numerous actuarial students and researchers exploring the concept. Berquist’s childhood in Rhinelander, Wisconsin, was marked by a tough year in which his father was a POW during WWII. Despite this, Berquist went on to serve twice in the U.S. Navy. In 1950 he married his true love and life partner, Elaine Sajna. His career began with Employers Insurance of Wausau in 1953. Transamerica recruited him in 1968 to be vice president of casualty insurance in Los Angeles, and he started the company’s actuarial department. In 1971 he joined Milliman & Robertson in Pasadena as a consulting actuary and principal, again building up a company’s casualty program. He received the Matthew Rodermund Service Award in 2001. Berquist loved his family and valued education, his Catholic faith and philanthropy. He is survived by his wife, five children, four grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
Dutiful and Professional
Ronald A. Dahlquist (FCAS 1980)
I first met Ron Dahlquist when Rick Sherman hired him away from Transamerica to work in the San Francisco office of Coopers & Lybrand, where I was a student. We immediately found something in common — twin boys. His were a little older, and I looked to Ron for advice and perspective in life as well as in my actuarial career. Ron moved from C&L to Industrial Indemnity to build a non-comp pricing team to complement the WC team Les Dropkin had been leading for many years. Soon after he joined Industrial, California’s Prop 103 passed, which was just Ron’s luck! But true to form, Ron rolled up his sleeves and did an outstanding job orchestrating Industrial’s non-comp filings for the first time ever in California. I hear the party after the final submission was quite the wing-ding! Ron moved from Industrial to CSAA (AAA of Northern California) where he modernized the actuarial department and built CSAA’s first product management department. Ron ended his distinguished career as chief actuary for California’s Department of Insurance. In all of Ron’s roles, his commitment to duty and professionalism never faltered. Our Society lost one of its unsung heroes.
Dan Murphy, FCAS, Trinostics, with Martin King, ACAS, Kaiser Permanente
Fierce, Honest and Wise
Martin “Marty” Simons (ACAS 1971)
A fervent insurance advocate, Marty Simons was a public consulting actuary who advised regulators, legislators and consumers throughout the U.S. and Canada. A Washburn University graduate and U.S. Air Force veteran (1959-1963), Simons worked as deputy director and chief actuary for the South Carolina Department of Insurance (12 years) and P&C actuary for the Hawaii Insurance Division (27 years). He gave expert testimony on all lines of P&C insurance on behalf of insurance companies as well the Massachusetts FAIR Plan, the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund and the California Earthquake Authority. He served on the Actuarial Standard Board’s General Committee, the Academy’s Extreme Events Committee and numerous NAIC committees. He wrote about ratemaking, regulation, catastrophe modeling and insurance company profitability, and was a Fellow of the Conference of Consulting Actuaries. Simons spoke at 15 Courses on Professionalism (COP) in his nearly 11 years on the CAS Committee on Professionalism Education. “One of Marty’s sayings to COP attendees that still reverberates with me today is ‘Do not mess up MY profession!’” recalled CAS Actuary Ken Williams. Simons’ wife of 52 years, Sharon, and his brother, Richard, preceded him in death. He is survived by his daughters, Randi Duncan and Stephanie Foster; seven grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
Owen M. Gleeson (FCAS 1978)
Professor, writer and small business owner, Owen Gleeson was at the forefront of expansions in financial analysis. After earning a BA, a master’s and a doctorate in mathematics in his hometown at St. Louis University, he taught there and at various schools before joining USF&G in Baltimore, founding its financial planning department in 1980. He later worked at Gen Re, where he solidified his deep interest in the 1986 Tax Reform Act’s impact on general reinsurance and P&C companies. He founded Financial Analysis and Control Systems Inc., which developed a widely used and accepted model for P&C companies operating under the legislation. The model was adopted by three of the five largest U.S. P&C companies. He served on various CAS financial committees that changed as methods evolved: Financial Analysis, Valuation & Financial Analysis, Dynamic Financial Analysis, and Dynamic Risk Modeling Committees. After being TIG Reinsurance Company chief actuary and operating a consulting firm, he joined MBA Actuaries in 2003 as a consulting actuary and senior director. Gleeson ushered at St. Mary Roman Catholic Church and enjoyed opera, Baroque music, fishing, his Irish/German heritage, Duke University basketball and the St. Louis Cardinals. His wife of 53 years, Judith (Mecker) Gleeson, son, daughter-in-law and sister survive him.
William Van Ark (FCAS 1982)
With his wife and daughter at his side, Bill Van Ark of Wyoming, Michigan, lost a long battle with Parkinson’s disease on October 7. He was born in Chicago, the oldest of William Jury and Esther (Van Houten) Van Ark’s eight children. In the pivotal year of 1968, he graduated from Michigan’s Grand Valley State University, joined the Coast Guard (serving until 1973) and, most importantly, married Judy Palmer. In 1975 he earned a master’s in actuarial science at the University of Michigan and began his long actuarial career that included beginning with Sentry Insurance in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, and ending with Michigan Professional Insurance Exchange in Grand Rapids. He and his siblings began singing as children at Grace Episcopal Church in Holland, Michigan. Years later, “The Ark-Tet” joined their mother, aunts and other relatives in the “Van Arks and Friends” concerts at the church. He sang with church choirs everywhere he lived, including the Grace Episcopal Grand Rapids choir and the Kentwood Seniors Chorale. He sang in Carnegie Hall and cathedrals across Europe with the Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus. He is survived by his wife, his mother, his children and their spouses, two grandchildren, four sisters, three brothers and a large extended family.