In Memoriam: 1960s
Eric Gordon Peters Sr. (Engr ’62, Law ’71 CM) of Lynchburg, Virginia, died Dec. 12, 2020. Raised in Chesterfield County, Virginia, he lived on the Lawn at UVA, and was a member of the Raven Society, the Engineering Honor Society and chairman of the Honor Committee. He was also a member of the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps and received a commission in the Marine Corps after graduation. He served for six years in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, Morocco and Vietnam. After graduating from UVA Law School, he clerked for former Virginia Gov. Albertis Harrison (Law ’28 CM) during Harrison’s tenure on the Virginia Supreme Court. He moved to Lynchburg, where he served as commonwealth’s attorney and commissioner of accounts, and he later worked in private practice. He served as president of the Lynchburg Bar Association. He loved the outdoors and enjoyed jogging and cycling, participating in the Virginia 10 Miler road race for many years. He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Sarah Myers Peters; four children, including Charlotte Peters Franzen (Educ ’ 05); son-in-law Eric Franzen (Com ’04); and eight grandchildren.
Richard B. Ansell (Col ’64, Law ’67 CM) of Ocean, New Jersey, died Sept. 6, 2021. While at UVA, he was a member of Phi Epsilon Pi fraternity, lived on the Lawn and later became a member of the UVA Lawn Society. Mr. Ansell joined his family’s law firm after graduation, practicing law for 56 years, with a focus on civil litigation. In 1970, he traveled to Vietnam during the war, successfully defending a U.S. soldier accused of first-degree murder. He was a fierce defender of women’s reproductive rights, obtaining a first-of-its-kind injunction against protesters on behalf of a Planned Parenthood clinic. He also defended cases before the New Jersey Supreme Court, including a medical malpractice case resulting in a ruling that ultimately changed the law in New Jersey and then across the country regarding the issue of informed consent from patients. In 2018, he received the Abraham J. Zager Professionalism Award from the Monmouth Bar Association, celebrating his career-long commitment to the highest professional standards. Mr. Ansell’s greatest joys in later life were gardening, traveling, and spending time with family and friends. His philosophy in life is reflected by his favorite proverb: “Things done by halves are worthless; it may be the other half that counts.” He was predeceased by his brother David K. Ansell (Law ’61). Survivors include his wife, Debbie; four children, including Caroline Ansell (Col ’87 CM); five grandchildren; first wife Constance Wetzler Gatta (Educ ’67 CM); and brothers Robert I. Ansell (Col ’60 CM) and Jack E. Ansell (Col ’68, Med ’72 CM).
George “GG” Griswold II (Col ’65 CM) of New Orleans, Louisiana, died Nov. 26, 2021. At UVA, Mr. Griswold was an avid member of St. Anthony Hall fraternity. In 1962, he left school for a two-year stint in the U.S. Navy. Following his military service, he returned and graduated from UVA as a newlywed in 1965. Mr. Griswold began his professional career with Whitney National Bank in 1965, but soon joined Waters, Parkerson & Co. in New Orleans, where he would spend the balance of his career before retiring as chairman of the board in 2015. Mr. Griswold was a tennis player and a sailor, particularly a catboat enthusiast. He spent many summers sailing and fishing off Martha’s Vineyard. He was on occasion a talented woodworker, although he produced more sawdust than museum pieces. Mr. Griswold served on several boards, both local and national, and was a member of numerous New Orleans social and carnival organizations, where he never failed to thrill revelers with his dance moves. Though he was never one to hog the limelight, his keen wit and self-deprecating humor delighted many. He was preceded in death by his parents and a sister. Survivors include his wife, Mary; a son; two daughters, including Nina Griswold Fitch (Col ’97 CM); six grandchildren; and many wonderful nieces and nephews, in-laws, cousins, family and friends.
George Hairston Jr. (Col ’66 CM) of Spartanburg, South Carolina, died Oct. 26, 2021. He graduated from UVA as an Echols Scholar with a B.S. in chemistry and was later awarded a NASA fellowship for graduate study in chemistry at Rutgers University, where he conducted early research into the formation of boron chains. Mr. Hairston’s career spanned product and process development for a number of chemical companies, specializing in the development of chemicals for industrial use and textile treatments, until his retirement from Blackman Uhler in Spartanburg. Mr. Hairston was a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity and Spartanburg Shares. He enjoyed travel in the U.S. and abroad with his wife, Patty, being outdoors, and, in his younger days, bicycle trips and tennis. Survivors include his wife; a sister; a brother; two nephews; and many cousins and friends.
Michael James Viener (Law ’66) of Williamsburg, Virginia, died Sept. 14, 2021. After receiving his law degree from UVA, Mr. Viener’s talent and interests led him to business law and eventually corporate development with Richardson-Vicks, where he was vice president for acquisitions. In a later career chapter, Mr. Viener applied his experience to the formation of an entrepreneurial vehicle, purchasing two companies, White Lightning Products, later sold to Sherwin-Williams; and Maritime Wood Products in Stuart, Florida, where he and his wife, Karen, retired before moving to Williamsburg. Mr. Viener is remembered as a sportsman and a gentleman, gifted with persistence and purpose. He never sought the spotlight, and quietly worked to “be the best he could be” every day. Mr. Viener set an example in the peak fitness maintained throughout his life, and in his equanimity as a husband, father and entrepreneur. Mr. Viener’s passion for photography was a constant. Often found behind a camera lens, he documented his love of family, friends, humor, nuance and the natural world. He and Karen enjoyed their many ranch vacations and scenic hiking trips in the U.S. and abroad. Survivors include his wife, two sons and three grandchildren.
John Mack Welford (Educ ’67, ’69) of Salem, Virginia, died Sept. 27, 2021. He worked for 32 years at Roanoke College, where he was a beloved and much-remembered professor who dedicated his professional life to the education of future teachers. After retiring, he served as a volunteer lightkeeper at the Cape Lookout Lighthouse in North Carolina. Passionate about genealogy, he spent countless hours tracing his family tree and was a voracious reader known for telling detailed and compelling stories. He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Nettie Alice Welford (Educ ’69); three daughters, including Dr. Catherine Welford Varney, an assistant professor at the UVA School of Medicine; and five grandchildren.
Lynn Z. Lang (Educ ’68) of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, died Nov. 18, 2021. Dr. Lang began her career as an elementary school teacher in Arlington, Virginia. She taught at several universities, including Marymount University, the George Washington University, the American University, the University of Virginia and Virginia Tech, and retired as an administrator and reading specialist in the Arlington school system. After retirement, Dr. Lang took up her many lifelong interests, especially in nature. She became a docent at the Adkins Arboretum in Ridgely, Maryland, and established a native plant meadow and demonstration garden of her own at the property she and her husband owned near Queenstown, Maryland, which they called “Cabochon.” Cabochon was eventually added to tours of the Annapolis Horticulture Society and was designated a “Bay-Wise” property by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. Dr. Lang was a Life Member of The Nature Conservancy. After moving to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, she served on the Board of Orange County Literacy and the Chapel Hill Garden Club. Dr. Lang also served James Madison University as a member of the university’s Foundation Board and the Advisory Board of James Madison University’s Honors College. Survivors include her husband, Jeff Lang (Law ’67), and a cousin.