Mar/Apr 2020 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 at

A Connecticut Yankee in California

David L. Larson (ACAS 1993)

David L. Larson died on May 27, 2018, at his home in Irvine, California. Born November 3, 1964, he was raised in Connecticut and graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a mathematics degree from the University of Connecticut and earned an MBA from Bryant College in Rhode Island. During his last 10 years, Larson was a senior vice president of National General Insurance in Irvine.

He was an active participant in Catholic service and prayer groups. Larson was generous with his time and money for those in need. The avid golfer continued to be a fan of teams from back home including the Hartford Whalers and UConn’s football and basketball teams.

He is survived by his parents, Linda and Joseph Brislin of Wethersfield, Massachusetts, two brothers, four nieces and nephews, and many cousins and friends.

A Life Well-Played

Paul W. Simoneau (FCAS 1960)

Paul W. Simoneau died at home in West Hartford, Connecticut on January 15, 2019. He lived a full life with amazing youth and stamina, even playing tennis competitively with family and friends the year before his death.

Born in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, he graduated from the University of Rhode Island and served as a U.S. Air Force navigator during the Korean War. He then joined Aetna, which wrote property-casualty insurance at the time, and retired after 30 years in 1986.

He was known for his understated wit and being a solid “rock” to his family. He based his life on a strong belief and trust in the Catholic faith. Besides instilling morals and ethics in his children, he taught them how to sail, ski and play tennis and chess.

Buried with military honors in the Massachusetts National Cemetery in Bourne, he is survived by his wife of 63 years, Jeanine; two sons; two daughters; nine grandchildren; and two sisters.

The Actuarial Innovator

Lee M. Smith (FCAS 1972)

Lee M. Smith sought to adapt new ideas to help actuaries better understand and measure risk. When enterprise risk management (ERM) was an innovative concept in the mid-2000s, Smith chaired the CAS Risk Management Task Force for ERM and served the CAS as the ERM liaison to the Risk & Insurance Management Society. An actuarial explorer, he studied alternative concepts such as chaos theory.

Smith died in his home in the Fox Valley River area of Illinois on March 2, 2019, following multiple illnesses. Born March 8, 1945, he was raised in Aurora, Illinois, and graduated with a finance degree from Northern Illinois University and a master’s in economics at Trinity College. As chief actuary for the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services from 1974 to 1981, he oversaw implementation of no-fault auto insurance. When he became national director of Ernst & Young’s actuarial practice from 1983 to 2000, the company became one of the nation’s largest actuarial consulting firms.

In 2000, Smith founded Paradigm Actuaries, which specializes in advanced actuarial and financial modeling solutions for the financial sector. Called a true family man, Smith is survived by his wife, Susan, his two sons and several family members.

The Teacher

Bernard Lynn Webb (FCAS 1965)

Bernard Lynn Webb died February 3, 2016, in Alpharetta, Georgia. After working in several insurance roles and writing numerous books and articles, he felt drawn to teaching. For nearly three decades, he was a professor at Georgia State University’s College of Business before becoming professor emeritus.

Born in Arkansas, he volunteered for the U.S. Navy in 1946 and was stationed at Okinawa, Japan, during World War II. Shortly after the war’s end, he earned his M.S. in business administration specializing in actuarial science from the University of Richmond. Upon retirement, he enjoyed traveling the world and spending time at home in Franklin, North Carolina.

The son of William Albert and Jenny June Webb, he is predeceased by his son, four sisters and two brothers. He is survived by the love of his life and his wife of 69 years, Rose; his daughter; and grand- and great-grandchildren. Donations in Webb’s memory can be made to the Georgia State University Risk Management Foundation.

The Executive and Fixer Upper

Philip Gardner Buffinton (ACAS 1962)

If something was broken or did not work correctly, Philip Gardner Buffinton could fix it. Graduating with a mechanical engineering degree from Massachusetts’s Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), Buffinton would eventually retire in 1987 as State Farm Fire and Casualty Company’s executive vice president and chief operating officer.

Buffinton was born on October 18, 1923, in North Adams, Massachusetts, to Arthur, a history professor at Williams College, and Mary (Edwards) Buffinton. In 1942, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps, piloted B-24 bombers and was lead pilot for 19 missions during World War II. He married Rita Gagnier in 1945 before graduating in 1949 from WPI.

His career began as a fire protection officer for the Factory Mutual Insurance Companies in Boston. In 1961, he became vice president at State Farm Fire and Casualty Company in Bloomington, Illinois. After retirement, he was a consultant for the General Reinsurance Corporation.

Buffinton died August 25, 2016, in Bloomington. He is survived by his wife of 71 years and three daughters, one grandson, two great grandchildren and siblings.

The Jovial Advocate

Joshua Stewart “Stew” Sawyer (ACAS 1969)

Joshua Stewart Sawyer, part of the team that established the first CAS website, died March 31, 2018. He was born March 17, 1942, in Hillsboro, Oregon, to Joshua Stewart Sawyer Jr. and Loree C. Barham. As a youth, Sawyer earned the nickname “Big Stew.” Later, the affable man was simply known as “Stew.” He was his high school’s valedictorian and a National Merit Scholar, and he earned his research and applied mathematics degree from the University of Oregon’s honors college. While there, he was a leader at the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity and the Air Force ROTC.

Sawyer started his 45-year career at State Farm and then worked at Firemen’s Fund before finishing his career as vice president and actuary for Wells Fargo Special Risk. He also was board chair of the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of California. Sawyer was a member, vice chair and chair of the CAS Committee on Online Services, which developed the first CAS website.

He was committed to ensuring that disabled people could enjoy the outdoors as he did, and so he served on the Outdoors for All Foundation Board of Directors for 19 years. He is survived by his wife, brother, three children and five grandchildren.

The Michael Jordan of Crossword Puzzles

Douglas J. Hoylman (FCAS 1979)

Douglas J. Hoylman, the six-time national champion of the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, died at his home on November 2, 2015, in Chevy Chase, Maryland. An actuary for GEICO from 1970 to the 1990s, he was born July 2, 1943, in Kalispell, Montana, to Byron G. Hoylman and Nona Marie (Velten) Hoylman.

He earned a mathematics degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and completed his doctorate in mathematics at the University of Arizona in Tucson in 1969. In high school, Hoylman won several accolades for his mathematical acumen, including double honors and the highest score in the Mathematics Association of America and the Society of Actuaries’ math contest in 1959.

While living in an apartment across the street from his employer, Hoylman rose to fame as a crosswords champion. He was dubbed “the Michael Jordan of crossword puzzles” during a radio interview and was the subject of a November 1998 Actuarial Review column, “Nonactuarial Pursuits of Casualty Actuaries.” He acquired his love for the word game from his mother and also played Scrabble and Trivial Pursuit competitively.

He is buried at Conrad Memorial Cemetery in Kalispell with a headstone featuring a crossword puzzle connecting the words “Crossword Puzzles Champ.” His brother survives him.

Title Insurance Extraordinaire

Paul J. Struzzieri (FCAS 1994)

Paul J. Struzzieri died suddenly on April 12, 2019. The life-long Long Islander graduated in 1983 with a degree in applied mathematics and economics at Stony Brook University. Upon graduation, Struzzieri’s career started at Insurance Services Office as an actuary. He then worked at the Home Insurance Company’s special casualty underwriting unit before joining Milliman, Inc. in 1998. A principal & consulting actuary for Milliman, Struzzieri was the recognized authority on title insurance and was a frequent speaker at captive insurance and title insurance industry organizations.

Born in Wantagh, New York, on February 24, 1961, he was a life-long devotee to New York sports teams, including the New York Yankees and Jets. Noted for his devotion to family, he is preceded in death by his brother, who was a firefighter and 9-11 first responder. Struzzieri’s survivors include his wife, Donna, three daughters, parents and two brothers.

The Passionate Musician

David Reed Bradley (FCAS 1975)

David Reed Bradley died November 30, 2019, with his wife by his side in Avon, Connecticut. Born January 19, 1950, Bradley graduated from Brown University in 1971 with a B.S. in applied mathematics and also served with the Rhode Island National Guard. He joined The Hartford’s actuarial department and rose to executive vice president during his 29-year career.

A talented and dedicated performer, he served as a substitute and interim organist for area churches including Asylum Hill Congregational Church, where he was an active member for 40 years. He loved sports, including golf, tennis and squash.

He is survived by his wife of eight years, Kathleen Schiano. Other survivors include his mother, son, daughter, grandson, stepson, sister and aunt. Donations can be made to the David Bradley Family Fund, c/o Asylum Hill Congregational Church or the David Bradley Music Fund, c/o Ahern Funeral Home in Unionville, Connecticut.