Jonathan Helmbold, ’01 BS Hotel Administration, died March 18 in an automobile accident. He worked in casino surveillance at Harrah’s Hotel & Casino and was pursuing a master’s degree in hotel administration at UNLV. He had planned to graduate this year and move on to the doctoral program.
Robert Hunter, ’76 BA Psychology, died March 9 of congestive heart failure. Well known as a pioneer in treating gambling addiction, he was a clinical psychologist who earned his doctoral degree at UNR. While recognized for treating those with gambling problems, Hunter, the head of the nonprofit Problem Gambling Center, also treated people with a wide range of other problems.
“His passing is a story of many facets — one of which is a true ‘intellectual property tale,’ as he built a humane approach that he invented in Las Vegas (though he would cringe and insist on giving others credit if he ever heard me say that),” said Bo Bernhard, executive director of UNLV’s International Gaming Institute. “This approach was then sent out to a lucky planet, to save problem gamblers and their families in dozens of states and countries.
“Overall, I would be hard pressed to point to an individual with a greater impact on the well-being of this community, as he very quietly saved thousands when they needed it most,” Bernhard said. “From the most famous Las Vegans to the least famous Las Vegans, they all went to see Rob when they were hurting. You would see folks entering his office in all sorts of pain, and inevitably they would emerge laughing, with hope for the future, and with the tools to achieve it.”
Thaddeus “Ted” Jelen, professor of political science, died Nov. 21, 2017. Still a faculty member at the time of his death, he had joined the department as chair and full professor in 1997. A leading international scholar of religion and politics, he served as chair until 2003. He was the author or coauthor of many books and articles, including The Political World of the Clergy (based on research in Putnam County, Indiana), Between Two Absolutes: Public Opinion and the Politics of Abortion, and the article “Catholicism, Conscience, and Censorship.” The Illinois native also was a founding member of the religion and politics section of the American Political Society Association.
Edward Neumann, professor emeritus of civil and environmental engineering, died Oct. 21, 2017. A faculty member for 23 years, he arrived at UNLV in 1991. For nine years, he served as department chair. He authored an introduction to engineering textbook and published articles on both civil engineering and prosthetics, the latter having become a major interest later in his life. Before becoming a professor, he served in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.