Mar/Apr 2015 In Remembrance

The AR introduces the first of 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


Ronald J. Sanko (ACAS 1973)

Ronald Sanko died on March 14, 2012. He was 73.

Sanko was born in Inglewood, California on November 27, 1938. He served in U.S. Navy for three years and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Sanko graduated from the University of Oregon in 1965 with a bachelor’s in mathematics. He worked in the actuarial department at State Farm Insurance Companies for 31 years.

An ardent hunter and fisherman, Sanko was described as someone ready to help with guidance or reassurance. He was a board member with the Prairie Cities Soccer League in Normal, Illinois, and helped to establish the local high school girls’ soccer program. Sanko is survived by his wife, Mary L. Beechler; and two children, Dale (Laura) Sanko, of Cincinnati and Jill (Joshua) Taylor of Walnut Creek, California.


Joseph A. Gage (FCAS 2008)

Joseph A. Gage died in a tragic accident on Tuesday, January 1, 2013.

Born May 3, 1980, in Manchester, New Hampshire, Gage earned a BS in mathematics and minors in Spanish and business administration from the University of Hartford.

He was employed as the U.S./Canada Property Pricing Actuary for AIG and earlier was a senior actuary for Liberty Mutual Insurance. His career work included in pricing/ratemaking, reserving and accounting/financial reporting.

Gage was a member of and advocate for the gay community. His hobbies included guitar, travel and volleyball.

A former supervisor of his from Liberty Mutual, Barbara Mahoney, FCAS, greatly admires Gage’s past work. Even though it’s been years since he left Liberty Mutual, Mahoney still has a computer folder titled “Joe Gage” to which she often refers.


Paul Benjamin Deemer (FCAS 2004)

Paul Deemer passed away on January 13, 2013. He was born July 26, 1974, in Traverse City, Michigan, to Benjamin and Lois (Barber) Deemer. He held a BS from Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti and was the chief financial officer of Conifer Insurance in Southfield.

From 2005 to 2006, Deemer was a CAS Research Paper Classifier, helping to populate the online CAS Database of Actuarial Research. He was a woodworker and outdoorsman who carried on his family’s farming heritage, owning and working a small hobby farm. He was a devoted father, who only met with friends after his children went to sleep. He also encouraged his younger cousin, Jason Culp, FCAS, to become an actuary.

Shortly before his passing, Deemer wrote in his notebook, graciously thanking all the people who, with kind words and deeds, helped him and his family during his illness. He is survived by his wife, Erin; his seven children, Rose, Catherine, Anne, John Paul, Benedict, Fulton and Teresa; and his parents.


Rex C. Davis (ACAS 1967)

Rex C. Davis was born in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, and would spend much of his early life there. He attended P.J. Jacobs High School and, in 1957, married Nancy G. Gehrke, the love of his life. He also attended the Central State Teachers College there, receiving a bachelor’s degree in 1958. He later earned a master’s degree from Iowa State Teacher’s College in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

Davis began as a high school math teacher and, after two years as a teacher, he made a career change and began working for Sentry Insurance Company in his hometown. He left Stevens Point to work as an actuary for Allstate Insurance Company in Northbrook, Illinois, working there for 27 years until retiring in 1990.

His enjoyments in life were mainly family. He also enjoyed boating and fishing at his cottage on Big Green Lake in Wisconsin’s Door County.


Walter J. Fitzgibbon Jr. (FCAS 1961)

Walter J. Fitzgibbon Jr. was born in Hartford, Connecticut, and was a graduate of Boston College. In 1955 he embarked on a 40+ year career at Aetna, beginning as an actuarial assistant, then vice president and actuary and eventually vice president and corporate actuary, a title which he held at the time of his retirement in 1994.

Throughout his career, Fitzgibbon saw the insurance industry grow and change as it faced numerous challenges. In a 1991 New York Times article on the growing specialization of insurance companies, Fitzgibbon said, “There was a time when this company wanted to write every type of policy in all 50 states. We just don’t want to do that any longer.”

An active CAS volunteer, Fitzgibbon’s service included treasurer (1974-1978); chair of the Finance, Audit, Ad Hoc Memorials and Bequests Committees; and board director (1988-1990). He wrote the 1965 Proceedings paper, “Reserving for Retrospective Returns.”


John H. Muetterties (FCAS 1956)

John Muetterties was a husband, father, grandfather and World War II Navy veteran.

A charter member of the American Academy of Actuaries, he was awarded the CAS Matthew Rodermund Service Award in 1999 for his volunteer work, including president of the Conference of Consulting Actuaries (CCA) and director on the CAS and CCA boards.

After earning a statistics degree from the University of Wisconsin in 1948, he worked his way up in several companies, including the Insurance Department for the State of Wisconsin, San Franciso’s Industrial Indemnity Company and Sentry Insurance Company in Stevens Point. He went to New York in 1970 to head the Insurance Rating Board’s actuarial-statistical department. Later, he became president of ISO’s government and industry relations.

In 1978 he started MBA Consulting Services in Mountain Lakes, New Jersey, from which he retired in 2006 at the age of 83.

Noted for his wisdom and commitment to the actuarial field, Muetterties influenced the careers of many who knew him.


Stanley Hughey (FCAS 1947)

Stan Hughey was a past president of the CAS and the American Academy of Actuaries with an eye for history and the future.

He earned a BA in mathematics from University of Illinois (1938), an MBA from Northwestern University (1957), and an honorary doctorate in public service from Greenville College (1983).

Hughey served the CAS in many capacities, including as a member of the CAS Council (1957-1960) and Publicity (1954-1963) and Research (1954-1961) Committees.

In 1989 he wrote the “The First Seventy-Five Years” for the CAS Annual Meeting and in 2012 contributed to 100 Years of Expertise, Insight and Solutions: A History of the Casualty Actuarial Society.

In his 1975 presidential address, Hughey cautioned the insurance industry to consider the costs of social programs: “In our enthusiasm for providing security for all, we must not overlook the need to finance these programs, lest we leave to future generations the framework for disaster.”


Marvin E. Van Cleave (ACAS 1958)

The valedictorian of his high school class, Van Cleave attended Central College in Pella, Iowa, on a Des Moines Register & Tribune scholarship, earned while working as local paper boy.

While attending Central College in Pella he met Naomi Abrahams, whom he married in 1944. After graduating from Central College in 1943, Van Cleave enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps, serving as a weather forecaster and flight controller in the Pacific Theater.

He taught high school for a year and then enrolled at Drake University, earning an MA in actuarial science. He began work at the Iowa Department of Insurance, and, in 1956, he became chief of the rates division of the Office of Commissioner of Insurance in Madison, Wisconsin. He retired from there as assistant deputy commissioner of insurance in 1987.

“Not only was he a great man, he was also my grandfather,” said Karen Van Cleave, FCAS. “We shared a unique bond as I followed in his footsteps as an actuary.”

Writing and research by CAS staffers Matt Caruso, Alice Chambers, Kate Niswander, Donna Royston and Elizabeth Smith.