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Obituaries, Spring 2017

From the Spring 2017 issue of UNLV Magazine.

People  |  May 1, 2017  |  By Diane Russell


Troy Atkinson, ’01 BS Biology, died Dec. 28 following an inspiring fight with colon cancer. A 2004 graduate of the University of San Diego School of Law, he worked for multiple firms before founding the law firm best known as Battle Born Injury Lawyers in 2010. 

David Ault, '73 BS Education, '75 Master of Education in Educational Administration, died Nov. 9. A teacher with the Clark County School District for 27 years, he taught at Park and Williams elementary schools before retiring in 1999. Among his survivors is his wife, Carol McCracken Ault, '72 Master of Education in Elementary Education.

Clarice Guertler Goldberg, ’76 BS Accounting, died June 20 from cancer. She was a certified public accountant, a principal at Goldberg, Maroney & Associates, and an active supporter of Planned Parenthood, Habitat for Humanity, Opportunity Village, and Save the Children. Her son, Jason Aaron Goldberg, ’00 BFA, has established the Clarice Goldberg Scholarship to benefit accounting students who intend to practice in Southern Nevada. 

Leroy Pelton, emeritus professor of social work, was found murdered in his Henderson home in December. His death is still under investigation. An advocate for children’s welfare and for the homeless, he taught at UNLV from 1997 to 2013. He primarily taught welfare policy courses in the School of Social Work, the Honors College, and the doctoral program in public affairs. 

Andre Simmons, emeritus professor of economics, died Jan. 29 following a brief illness. Born in Poland, he joined the Polish Underground during World War II, was wounded in the Warsaw Uprising of 1944, was captured by the Germans, and was liberated by American forces in 1945. He came to UNLV (then Nevada Southern) in 1960 and remained on the faculty until 1994. He served as chair of the economics department, acting dean of the College of Business, and director of graduate programs for the college. In 1963 he was the first UNLV recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship, which he used to teach at a university in Egypt.

John Van Vactor, emeritus professor of special education, died Dec. 28. He had mesothelioma. A specialist in learning disabilities, he came to UNLV in 1971 to help set up a program in that field. He served as chair of the Academic Standards and Curriculum Standards committees and was instrumental in creating the UNLV/CSUN Preschool. He retired in 1996. Among his survivors is his wife, Mary Jane Van Vactor, a former member of the nursing faculty.